Category Archives: roald dahl

Patricia Neal 1926-2010

Multiple award-winning actress Patricia Neal passed away yesterday at her home on Martha’s Vineyard. She was 84.

One of the finest actresses of her era, Patricia Neal was noted for performances in The Fountainhead, the original The Day the Earth Stood Still, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Hud for which she won an Academy Award for Best Actress, and one of my favorite films, A Face in the Crowd.

She was also a star of Broadway and television as well, winning awards in both arenas. As well as the parts she did play, Neal was also noted for those she did not – she turned down the role of Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate and was unable to play the mother in “The Waltons” for health reasons.

Her personal life was plagued by both health problems and drama. Her affair with the much older and married Gary Cooper caused a feeding frenzy in the press of the day, and her turbulent marriage to author Roald Dahl ended in divorce after thirty years. These events however are overhsadowed by all of her good work over the years for various charities.

We have another one of the greats of Hollywood. Patricia Neal will be missed.

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Spies and Victims

Three Days of the Condor ~ I’m watching this the day after hearing of Sydney Pollack’s passing and this is truly one of his better films. What strikes me immediately is how violent the flick is without actually showing the violence the way a current film would. My, how things have changed, and not for the better. Thinking about the movies that Pollack has directed Robert Redford in I really have to say that he brings out the best in the actor. I’ll have to remember to watch Havana again soon. This film though is excellent and highly recommended.

36 Hours ~ Another excellent but also probably sadly forgotten flick. James Garner, showing terrific acting chops rarely seen in his role as Jim Rockford, gives an amazing performance here as an American soldier on the eve of D-Day who is captured by the Nazis, and tricked into believing it’s six years later and the war is over – so they can discover the details of the invasion. Brilliant flick based on a short story by Roald Dahl.

Mary and Rhoda ~ A desperate shot at reviving the magic of the old “Mary Tyler Moore Show” two and a half decades later. Mary and Valerie Harper’s Rhoda meet up in New York and help each other deal with their college age daughters. This TV movie was so bad that even the actors in it wish it best forgotten.

Ulli Lommel’s Black Dahlia ~ This is just a sick sick sick mess. Writer/director Lommel (and it hurts to even give him the benefit of the doubt as those titles) is a hack and would be better off making snuff films. The only thing this has to do with the Black Dahlia is that the three sociopaths who ‘act’ as protagonists repeatedly reenact Elizabeth Short’s murder on victim after victim after victim. I hated this.

Quickies 2-13-2007

You Only Live Twice – A James Bond I had seen decades ago and not since. I was reeled in to watching it again when a glance at the opening credits revealed the screenplay was by Roald Dahl of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” fame. His words have always delighted and impressed me. Armed with the knowledge of his hand, some of the absurdities of this Bond-er stood out. Still, it’s a Sean Connery and he can’t be beat in the role. Interesting to see Charles Gray in the cast but not as Blofeld. There are some painful dated sexist sequences when it comes to portrayals of Japanese men and especially women, but other than that, a great JB flick.

Un Dia Sin Mexicanos – I came across this supposed satire on HBO while popping through the channels. It’s a what-if? that explores the idea that one day California wakes up and its entire Latino population has vanished. Basically a one joke gig however, great concept, bad follow through. It might have been a terrific five minute skit on “MadTV.”

The Invincible Iron Man – Something that should be remembered about all comic book properties is that the lure for the audience is folks in spandex (or in this case, armor) fighting bad guys also in spandex. This DVD flick is beautiful rendered and animated, tells a wonderful storyline, but lacked serious (or even silly) superhero action – a no-no for any superhero flick. I just wanted to see Iron Man hit stuff. Guess I’ll have to dig out my videos of the 1960s cartoons for that.