YESTERDAY IN HOLLYWOOD: BLACK & WHITE EDITION

Written by  on May 21, 2013

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It is well known amongst movie-buffs and Hollywood aficionados that black and white is the glamour of cinematography;  I present here, for your delectation, some of  the “Golden Age” of Hollywood’s most enduring stars/legends, many of whom have been captured here by the supreme master of the black & white/glamour/film-noire movie-star portrait –  George Hurrell.

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John Payne - by George Hurrell 1939 - Kid Nightingale

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now29House Of Retro/Gary Alston makes no claim to the ownership of images shown on this page; copyright remains with the respective owner(s).

 

THIERRY MUGLER HOMMES – PRINTEMPS-ETÉ 2013

Written by  on May 16, 2013

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Thierry Mugler’s menswear collection for Spring/Summer 2013 is an hommage to avant-garde tailoring, featuring a silhouette which is clean and edgy/beautifully structured, in gorgeously subtle aquatic shades described by Mugler creative director Nicola Formichetti  as:  “sand, coral, sea-foam and oyster”.

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 House Of Retro/Gary Alston makes no claim to the ownership of images shown on this page; copyright remains with the respective owner(s).

TAMARA DE LEMPICKA : ART DECO ARTIST

Written by  on May 14, 2013

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A selection of stunning paintings by Polish Art Deco painter Tamara De Lempicka (16 May 1898- 18 March 1980) exuding the glamourised style she was so famous for.

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 House Of Retro/Gary Alston makes no claim to the ownership of images shown on this page; copyright remains with the respective owner(s).

WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?

Written by  on May 12, 2013

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I’ve written a letter to Daddy, his address is heaven above

I’ve written “Dear Daddy we miss you and wish you were with us to love …

Instead of a stamp I put kisses, the postman says that’s best to do….

I’ve written this letter to Daddy, saying: “I LOVE  YOU!”

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Who could ever forget the bizarre and grotesque sight of Bette Davis as “Baby Jane Hudson” in Robert Aldrichs’ darkly camp movie classic “Whatever Happened To Baby Jane”, released in 1962.Based on the novel of the same name by Henry Farrell and using a “Grand Guignol” format, this macabre tale of two sisters, one a former child-star (Bette Davis) the other a former movie-queen (Joan Crawford) forced into premature retirement as the result of an accident, offered audiences a war- of- nerves situation, with a surprise twist at the end. As it turned out, the movie evoked the strange, unreal atmosphere of Hollywood in the 1930s, even though it took place in the 1960s.Photographed in sharp black  & white and with claustrophobically ornate sets by William Glasgow, ‘Whatever Happened To Baby Jane’ was not only a masterpiece of the genre,  but also a  virtuosic piece of casting where life did indeed imitate art , for throughout their long and brilliant Hollywood careers, Davis and Crawford had been bitter arch-rivals. Joan had been a star first, much to Bette’s chagrin; when she  acidly suggested that Crawford’s success had come via the “casting couch” Joan shot back:  “It sure as hell beat the cold, hard floor!”. Thus the stage was set for a clash of the “duelling divas” and one of the most inspired pieces of casting in Cinema’s history.

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It may come as a surprise to some to learn that  it was Joan Crawford herself who presented the “Baby Jane” project to Bette.When she told Davis that she had always wanted to work with her, Bette (in her own words) said: “I looked at her and thought, you’re full of shit!” However, having read the book, Davis revised her opinion of Crawford’s proposal thus: “Well it could work, you know.It’s all there – ‘Phony Joan’ and ‘Crazy Bette’! Once his star leads had agreed to play their respective roles, (at a minimal fee of $50,000 plus a percentage of the profits) Aldrich’s hardest challenge came in financing the film; in 1962, Davis and Crawford were no longer considered “box-office” and he was informed by countless studios to re-cast the movie and hire some star names. The bottom line from the studio-heads was: “We won’t give you a dime for those two old broads”,  whilst Jack Warner  (Bette and Joan’s old boss at Warner’s) put it far more colourfully: “I wouldn’t give you one dime for those two washed-up old bitches”. Ultimately, salvation came Aldrich’s way via “Seven Arts”, a small independent company owned by Englishman Elliot Hyman. He financed the movie with Davis and Crawford, (albeit  on very tough terms)  because he believed in Aldrich’s vision and his choice of the two legendary divas  in the star-roles.

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Once the financing had been secured, Jack Warner agreed to distribute the movie, but would not allow it to be filmed at his studios;  instead, Bette and Joan were dispatched to “The Producers Studio” on Melrose Avenue, a delapidated lot used for “B” Westerns.The production was ‘cigarette-holders-at-ten-paces’ from day one. At the signing of the contracts, Joan was mistakenly handed Bette’s copy and faster than a slug of Pepsi, she noticed that Bette’s salary exceeded hers – to the tune of $60,000 for the picture, plus $600 a week in living expenses. Not to be out-done, Miss Crawford insisted that a new clause be inserted into her contract, giving her $1500 a week living expenses, and further more, if production on the film exceeded six weeks, she was to receive the same amount of overtime as Davis.

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Whilst Davis moved into an expensive residence in Beverly Hills to learn her lines, Crawford was at work in North Hollywood, preparing for her role as a cripple.She took instruction on how to navigate a wheelchair from a Korean service veteran who had been left a paraplegic as a result of seeing action in the war. Norma Koch was the costume designer on the movie and for her sterling efforts, she received an Oscar. When the adult  Jane  first appears  in the film, she is depressed, drinking heavily and taking her miserable situation out on her sister.At this stage, Koch dresses her  in the sleaziest of  nightwear and the scruffiest of slippers, in which she drags her feet and slouches around the mansion to great (character) effect.When she finally decides to make her comeback as ‘Baby Jane’, Norma created adult versions of little girl’s dresses for Davis to wear, creating an extension of the child-star Jane had once been .In the scene where Jane has to drive downtown to place a showbusiness ad in the local newspaper; Koch  deliberately puts her in an under-sized, tight-fitting dress, teamed with tawdry accessories – a black waist-cincher (by that stage there was a lot to cinch! ) a black beret, an old road-kill fox-fur piece pulled from her closet and for her footwear, the classic Joan Crawford “Chase-me fuck-me pumps”.

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Aldrich began shooting on “Whatever Happened  To Baby Jane” on Monday,  July 23rd, 1962.Crawford arrived at the location in true “Norma Desmond” style, complete with chauffeur-driven limo and entourage, amongst whom were her hairdresser, make-up man, secretary, maid  and a junior agent from the William Morris agency. Her chauffeur carried a portable cooler filled with ice and bottles of Pepsi (naturally); in stark contrast, Miss Davis arrived alone.This diva-like behaviour continued with Joan re-designing her dressing room and lavishing gifts on the cast and crew.Bette viewed her co star’s actions with disdain. She refused any alterations to her own space, commenting: “Dressing rooms do not make good pictures”. When it came to costumes and appearance for the movie, Bette did her utmost to make herself a vision of decay and pantomime  whilst Joan angled at every opportunity to exploit her legendary glamour.She was dismayed  to learn, however,  that there were no Adrian gowns on this gig and that any thoughts or plans of  such would immediately be scuppered by Norma Koch who (needless to say) had an uphill battle all the way with Miss Crawford’s vanity. When one of the crew commented that Crawford was the only person they had ever seen cry at her own wardrobe tests,  Bette blasted: “The BITCH could cry on demand!”

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For a brief period (at the start of the production) Davis and Crawford were extremely polite to one another (in front of the cast and crew); after all,  they both needed the picture and were determined to out-do each other in the co-operation stakes.Filming began in a riotous fashion, with Aldrich telling Bette that she was coming on too strong in her depiction of Jane, to which she responded:  “Who’d-cha expect, Ann Blyth?”. Meanwhile, Joan was pre-occupied with some unwanted attention from her character’s parakeet – whilst perched on her shoulder, it was pecking away at  her make-up.When the bird’s trainer informed her that it was a sign of affection, Crawford snapped: “Then we’d better find one that hates me!” Bette had insisted to Mike Connolly of “The Hollywood Reporter” that there was no feud between her and Joan; according to Bette’s daughter – B.D. (Hyman): “It was beneath them to compete with each other.Both felt so superior to the other that they couldn’t acknowledge their hatred, let alone express it”. Ernest Haller, the movie’s cinematographer, had previously worked with Bette on “Jezebel” and “Mrs Skeffington” and with Joan on “Mildred Pierce” and “Humouresque”.He was too tactful on-set to say who was his favourite star to photograph, but acknowleged that if he had filmed the two in this way ten years earlier, his head would have been on the block.Both ladies sobbed at their rushes, Joan from day one – for the duration.Bette felt that there were too may flattering close ups of Joan: “Miss Crawford was a fool,” she said some years later, “A good actress looks the part.Why she insisted on making Blanche look glamorous, I just don’t know”. Joan responded in kind: “I am aware of how Miss Davis felt about my make-up in “Baby Jane”, but my reasons for appearing somewhat glamorous were just as valid as hers, with all those layers of rice powder she wore and that ghastly lipstick.Blanche had class, she had glamour – Blanche was a LEGEND”  – “Blanche was a CRIPPLE” Bette replied,  “a recluse.She never left the house or saw anybody, yet Miss Crawford made her appear as if she lived in Elizabeth Arden’s beauty salon”.

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One of the most electrifying scenes in the movie comes when Jane discovers Blanche making a telephone call to their doctor, advising him of Jane’s rapidly deteriorating mental-state; consequently, in a vicious ‘revenge-attack ‘ Jane sets about beating Blanche using a series of the most vicious kicks, aimed at her head and other parts of her body. It was a shocking and violent scene where most of the action was shot with a hand-held camera and the close-up  on Bette as she demolished several mannequins in her ferocity.However, for two long-range shots of the brutalising,  Crawford herself had to step in .Laying on the floor,  she had to constantly roll-over, as if propelled by Bette’s kicks ; in spite of careful staging and choreography, at one point Bette’s foot made contact with Joan’s head. Crawford in best drama-queen fashion screamed, whilst Bette merely uttered: “I barely touched her”.Various (gleeful) reports in newspapers and magazines came thick and fast: “She raised a fair sized lump on Joan’s head” declared Hedda Hopper.”Her scalp was cut and required three stitches” said another. According to Bob Sherman, these accounts were nonsense; he said : “I don’t believe that Bette ever hurt her.If she did, it was an accident. She was too much of a pro for that kind of behaviour.”Crawford of course, got her own back – in the scene where Jane has to drag Blanche from the bedroom (where she has been bound and gagged on the bed) she wore a special weight-lifter’s belt beneath her long gown.When the scene was finally in the can, Bette collapsed in agony, letting out the most blood-curdling scream imaginable: “My back! Oh my God, my back!”. Crawford stepped over her, smiling innocently as she headed for her dressing room.

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The movie opened to rave reviews on November 3rd 1962.Some critics praised Bette’s performance whilst  others championed  Joan’s; overall however, they were unanimous in their verdicts: “A brilliant tour-de-fource of acting and film-making” said Time, “Fine, horrific fun… take it straight and you’ll recoil from a murderous duel of snarls, shrieks, moans, and rattlesnake repartee by Bette Davis and Joan Crawford” said The New York Times, whilst The Nation reported: “Joan is such a sweetly-smiling fraud.Such an artless, hapless ninny, that one feels virtually nothing for her. No wonder her crazy-sister finds her a deadly bore”. Joan replied: “Sure, Miss Davis stole some of my big scenes, but the funny thing is, when I see the movie again, she stole them because she looked like a parody of herself, and I still looked like something of a star”. Bette was nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of Baby Jane, however there is evidence to show that Joan did all she could to scupper the Academy’s final vote. On Oscar night itself, Bette lost out on the ‘Best Actress’ award to  Anne Bancroft, who won that year for “The Miracle Worker”.In an extremely Machiavellian fashion, Joan had arranged before-hand to collect the Oscar on an absent Miss Bancroft’s behalf, thereby dealing a devastating double-edged blow her adversary; she turned Bancroft’s award/night it into her own personal triumph whilst delivering to Bette a final humiliating denouncement. Gossip-queen Hedda Hopper commented: “I was rooting for Bette, but when it comes to giving or stealing a show, nobody can top Joan Crawford”. Bette Davis has said that “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane” was a break-through in women’s pictures, the first successful one of its type in ten years.Baby Jane Hudson was one of her favourite parts and she found the whole project a delight (other than working with Crawford!). When the book’s author Henry Farrell visited the set, Bette Davis revelled in the fact that he had told her: “My God, you look just EXACTLY as I pictured Baby Jane”. The final (hilarious) line in my re-telling of this movie-diva saga must go to Miss Bette Davis, who when asked about her co-star’s fashion-sense,  venomously spat:  “Joan Crawford, what did she ever do for fashion, apart from those goddamn shoulder pads and TACKY “Fuck Me” pumps!”

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WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? ‘ Text ©copyright Gary Alston 2013.
House Of Retro/Gary Alston make no claims to the ownership of images appearing on this page.

A VINTAGE SPRING

Written by  on May 7, 2013

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Spring is in the air and these wonderful vintage fashion photographs/illustrations from the late 1940’s and early 1950s capture the mood in consummate style!

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House Of Retro/Gary Alston makes no claim to the ownership of images shown on this page; copyright remains with the respective owner(s).

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN REVISITED

Written by  on May 6, 2013

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Director Ang Lee’s “Brokeback Mountain” provides a mesmerising watershed in the world of mainstream Hollywood cinema. It bravely debunks that great American myth – the machismo of the cowboy West, and more to the point it does so on home territory, amidst the panoramic beauty of Wyoming’s mountains, forests, and lakes.The notion of homosexual love complete with a lariat is nothing new; one only has to refer to “Red River”, “Midnight Cowboy”, Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid”, not to mention “The Lone Ranger” and “Tonto”; but whilst these movies and characters did not explore their “shadowy” side, “Brokeback Mountain” most certainly does – and then some. Based on Annie Proulx’s short story in The New Yorker, “Brokeback Mountain” exposes the complexities of human nature, and runs the gamut of emotions from unbridled passion and love, through heartache and bigotry, repression and betrayal. Ang Lee’s insightful direction affects deeply, whilst evoking a fragile melancholy that cutslike a knife.

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Jake Gyllenhaal as he appears in BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, 2005.

“Brokeback Mountain” spans a period of twenty years in the telling.It recounts the story of casual ranch hand Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) and rodeo cowboy Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) whose paths cross when both are hired for a seasonal job as sheep-herders by Montana rancher Joe Aguirre (Randy Quaid) on Wyoming’s Brokeback Mountain, in the summer of 1963. What ensues is a tale of forbidden love, set amongst a barren wilderness that provides the perfect canvas for the rawness and intensity of human desire that develops between them. The bond they forge together on an isolated ridge starts normally enough; boozy sessions around the campfire lead Ennis to divulge his lonely upbringing, raised by his brother and sister after his parents died in a car crash. Jack talls of his lifelong estrangement from his bull riding Father. However, the daily grind of herding sheep followed by eating canned beans and slugging back whiskey is soon forsaken for something more risqué. One night on Brokeback, the extreme cold brings the two together in the same tent.Jack makes the first move; Ennis initially recoils, but soon succumbs. Afterwards, he tries to reject any suggestion of homosexuality or romance by muttering “It’s a one shot thing we got going here…I ain’t queer”.When the two get ready to leave Brokeback at the end of the season, Ennis’ parting line to Jack is the almost throwaway “see you around”.Ironically, the “one shot thing” he referred to earlier is anything but, and will ultimately consume both men.In the meantime, they go their separate ways – Ennis marrying his childhood sweetheart and adoring house drudge Alma (Michelle Williams), and Jack marrying Texan rodeo queen Lureen Newsome (Anne Hathaway).In due course both couples have children, (Ennis two girls, and Jack a boy) and appear to settle down; but in spite of their efforts to conform, a persistant restlessness underlines both marriages, and the men are reunited four years later by a powerful yearning that refuses to go away. Theirs is a love that will not die – even if it dare not speak its name.As Annie Proulx writes: “What Jack remembered and craved in a way he could neither help nor understand was the time that distant summer on Brokeback when Ennis had come up behind him and pulled him close, the silent embrace satisfying some shared and sexless hunger.”

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Eventually Jack sends a general delivery postcard to Ennis in Wyoming, telling him that he will be passing through the area, and suggesting that they meet up.Once they set eyes on each other, their suspended feelings explode in a wave of unrestrained passion and desire.(Alma spies their clinch in horror and disbelief; from now on her life becomes one of abject misery.) Overcome by the moment, the two lovers retire to a motel; thus begins a long and tormented affair, as guilt ridden and complex as it is sporadic. Ostensibly to the outside world they are fishing buddies who get together a few times each year.The reunions always take place on Brokeback Mountain, which represents their personal nirvana. Over the years the secret bond between the two is never broken, but whilst their lives are now inextricably linked, they are never fulfilled, and sadly, conflicted.Ennis feels compromised by their situation, whilst a frustrated Jack attempts to move things on; suggesting that they leave their wives and set up a ranch together. In the second half of the film, the relationships between the two men and their families disintegrates before our very eyes.Alma, torn apart by the pain and rejection she felt when her secure world was overturned by Ennis and Jack’s betrayal, has moved on to find solace in the arms of another man.Meanwhile, Jack and Lureen have become increasingly estranged to the point that their marriage is conducted by telephone.Ironically, at the same time, Ennis and Jack’s attempt at recreating their youthful eden on Brokeback Mountain has collapsed.The liberating environment that once fuelled their love affair (whilst at the same time providing a safe haven where it could flourish) has now become suffocating and desperate.

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The film has attracted a large degree of attention, mostly (it has to be said) due to the homosexual subject matter. However, it would be dissapointing if one were to view “Brokeback Mountain” merely as a “gay cowboy movie”, as its basic message has a far broader appeal.In any case, if one were to be pedantic (as some have), it should be noted that Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist are wranglers, not cowboys.Wranglers herd sheep; cowboys herd cattle, and ne’er the twain shall meet, according to traditional western folklore. Homosexuality aside, this is a story of true love; its strength and fragility, its meaningfulness, and how it survives in the face of adversity. Both of the lead characters are struggling with their own demons, and for social acceptance in an environment and era that upheld repressive moral standards. At the film’s beginning, the notion of two men loving one another is an alien concept – particularly for Heath Ledger’s character, Ennis.From the outset, he is the reluctant participant; his lack of a formal education and conservative upbringing has chained him to stifling views of love, sex, and commitment.Moreover, an incident from his childhood has come back to haunt him with devastating results; his father had taken him to see the mutilated body of a rancher, beaten to death with a tyre iron for living with another man. The memory has sparked within him fear and shame, and as a consequence, he relentlessly subjects himself to agonising self doubt throughout the affair. Jack on the other hand, wears his heart very much on his sleeve, and is more accepting of his sexuality; he intuitively knows what’s right for him, and is prepared to act on his feelings, although this does leave him horribly exposed and vulnerable; ultimately with the most tragic of consequences.

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Annie Proulx’s story works on every level; written in a gritty, down to earth style, it culminates in a totally believable ending which should melt the coldest heart. Apart from refusing to be political, her characters cleverly avoid any stereotyping. Proulx’s men are not fey imitations – they walk the walk, smoke the marlboro’s, and cuss up a blue streak, as good as the next wrangler. Her tale is a universal fable of a beautiful but tragic love affair between two ordinary people in an unforgiving society. The fact that they happen to be of the same gender is a coincidence, although there can be no denying that the theme of homosexual love is the story’s driving force. Likewise, Ang Lee’s masterful direction is one of the film’s greatest strengths. He neatly avoids the trap of turning the proceedings into a “queer movie”, by avoiding any overt references to political correctness, or titillation. His restrained (some have commented frigid) handling of the subject only serves to make it more accessible to a broader audience, whilst generating a stronger empathy, and connection. This is a director who has a consummate grasp of the material he is working with; his delicate and respectful touch brings a heartfelt realism to the piece.

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Heath Ledger turns in a tour de force performance and career best to date; he brings an incredible physicality to the role of Ennis, whilst his gruff demeanour and inarticulate mumblings serve to highlight the fact that his character is an emotional retard. Ennis’ naturally quiet temperament and inability to communicate what is really going on in his head brings pain to not only himself, but to everyone around him. Whilst he is a man who doesn’t deny his feelings, ultimately he finds it impossible to accept them, and as a result who he is, or what he really wants. Heath Ledger manages to convey these aspects of Ennis to perfection, and most impressively, often with his tone and looks alone; instantly saying more than words ever could. To the outside world, the laconic Ennis may appear a simpleton, but clearly, the audience knows otherwise; for this is a man of complexity and depth, whose vulnerability is excruciating to watch. The truly sad part is that his inability to accept the danger of a homosexual romance also deprives him of fulfilling his true love with Jack.

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Jake Gyllenhaal acts up a storm as the rodeo cowboy Jack Twist. His drooping silver dollar eyes, natural warmth, and talkative manner is the perfect ying to Ennis’ Yang. His love provides Ennis with his strongest anchor to emotional truth.Jack’s reckless optimism is perhaps his most endearing quality, whilst the frustration and pain he endures makes it easy for the audience to connect and empathise with him.Jake Gyllenhaal quite effortlessly makes Jack Twist likable.At the same time, Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway add considerable polish to the proceedings, neatly conveying the frustration of western women, and the misery of their lot. In the original short story their characters are more or less sidelined, but for the film they were developed, with excellent results.Their contribution adds great substance to the dynamics of the plot.Michelle Williams is quite superb as Alma; the simmering fire of knowledge about her husband’s indiscretion may be eating away at her beneath the surface, but it’s all too visible to the naked eye – whilst Anne Hathaway’s feisty Lureen disintegrates into a zombie like shell of her former self as Jack increasingly gives himself over to Ennis.

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Argentine musician Gustavo Santaolalla provided the soundtrack to “Brokeback Mountain”. Noted for his remarkable atmospheric pieces on “The Motorcycle Diaries”, his sparse, yet resonant guitar-based compositions add a sublimely poignant mood to the film’s score.Elsewhere, Willie Nelson’s beautifully minimal version of Bob Dylan’s “He Was A Friend Of Mine” tugs at the heartstrings more effectively than any violin, whilst Emmylou Harris imbues “A Love That Will Never Grow Old” with her unmistakable style. The musical soundtrack, along with all other elements of this film, come together as one to create the most perfect of harmonies.

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“Brokeback Mountain” won a “Golden Lion” at the Venice film festival in 2005. It cleared up at the BAFTA’s, with Ang Lee collecting “Best Director”, and Jake Gyllenhaal “Best Supporting Actor”. It received a disappointing reception at the Oscars, with only three awards: “Best Director” going once again to Ang Lee, “Best Adapted Screenplay” to Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, and “Best Original Score” to Gustavo Santaolalla. Sadly, Heath Ledger’s outstanding performance was overlooked.” Brokeback’s” failure to sweep the boards at the Oscars forced screenwriter Larry McMurtry to tell reporters backstage that he believed “Crash” won “Best Picture” due to the fact that it was set in Los Angeles, where many of the 6,000 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences live. “Americans don’t want cowboys to be gay,” McMurtry said. Ang Lee thanked the normal list of agents, managers and other Hollywood handlers, then added the comment that the fictional characters in his movie had taught audiences “the greatness of love, itself.” Whatever the Academy’s reasons for voting as it did, nobody can deny that Phillip Seymour Hoffman is quite remarkable in “Capote”, just as nobody can deny that Heath Ledger is magnificent in “Brokeback Mountain”.All of those involved in the “Brokeback Mountain” production can be justifiably proud, regardless of whether they won a statuette or not. The film adaption of “Brokeback Mountain”, proved better than the book it was based on. It is an old fashioned, romantic film, made with great care and loving affection; one which asks the audience to walk several hundred miles in its characters shoes before passing any judgements. Its story of forbidden fruit and those who sample it also rewards the viewer with a sumptuous taste, and a rich and rewarding experience that will last long after the final credit has rolled.At the same time, it serves as a stark reminder to us all that we should grab and grasp true love whenever and wherever it rears its head; life is too short, and the world is a big, lonesome prairie.

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BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN

Directed by Ang Lee; written by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, based on the short story by Annie Proulx
Director of photography: Rodrigo Prieto
Edited by Geraldine Peroni and Dylan Tichenor
Music by Gustavo Santaolalla
Production designer: Judy Becker
Produced by Ms. Ossana and James Schamus
Released by Focus Features, running time: 134 minutes.

WITH: Heath Ledger (Ennis Del Mar)
Jake Gyllenhaal (Jack Twist)
Linda Cardellini (Cassie)
Anna Faris (Lashawn Malone)
Anne Hathaway (Lureen Newsome)
Michelle Williams (Alma)
Randy Quaid (Joe Aguirre)
Kate Mara (Alma Jr.)

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Jake Gyllenhaal press conference for "Love & Other Drugs". The Waldorf Astoria, New York City, New York. November 6, 2010.

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HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE

He was a friend of mine
He was a friend of mine
Every time I think about him now
Lord I just can’t keep from cryin’
‘Cause he was a friend of mine

He died on the road
He died on the road
He never had enough money
To pay his room or board
And he was a friend of mine

I stole away and cried
I stole away and cried
‘Cause I never had too much money
And I never been quite satisfied
And he was a friend of mine

He never done no wrong
He never done no wrong
A thousand miles from home
And he never harmed no one
And he was a friend of mine

He was a friend of mine
He was a friend of mine
Every time I hear his name
Lord I just can’t keep from cryin’
‘Cause he was a friend of mine.

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Words & Music Bob Dylan

House Of Retro/Gary Alston makes no claim to the ownership of images shown on this page, images remain the copyright of  their respective owner(s).

‘Brokeback Mountain’  ARTICLE ©copyright Gary Alston 2013.
May not be reproduced in any form without prior permission.

VINTAGE BARBIE FASHIONS BOOKLET 1962 (YELLOW BOOKLET)

Written by  on May 5, 2013

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Another dip into the wonderful, magical world of the Barbie fashion booklet, this time the yellow booklet from 1962; there was also a a blue-cover version released that year (as always) showing the remainder of the Barbie line.Enjoy!

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©copyright 1962  by Kokusai Boeki Kaisha, Ltd.
House Of Retro/Gary Alston makes no claim to the ownership of the images appearing on this page.

 

JEAN SHRIMPTON: “THE AVENGERS”

Written by  on May 5, 2013

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The legendary Jean Shrimpton, famously known as “The Shrimp” was an English model and actress who was an icon of London and the “swinging sixties”.She is considered to be one of the world’s first supermodels, appearing on the covers of Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Vanity Fair, Glamour, Elle, Ladies Home Journal, Newsweek and Time magazines, amongst many others; in June 1963, “Glamour” magazine named her “model of the year” and subesquently she enjoyed such acccolades as : “the world’s highest paid model”, “the most photographed in the world” the “It Girl” “the face of the moment” “the face of the sixties” and was also described as having “the world’s most beautiful face”.She broke the mold of previous aristocratic, curvaceous models with her coltish, gamine look, stunning long (big) hair with  fringe,  wide doe-eyes, long wispy eyelashes, arched eyebrows, and pouty lips.In short, she  perfectly represented the “youthquake” movement of the 1960’s and the camera loved every part of her! Here she is snapped by the equally legendary David Bailey in a spread for “Vogue” magazine, based on that other iconic figure of 1960’s female emancipation – Mrs. Emma Peel (Diana Rigg) of television’s “The Avengers”.The newly-filmed series of “The Avengers” featuring Mrs. Emma Peel’s  British debut premiered at the end of September 1965, so this shoot was designed as the perfect tie-in to promote both the t.v. series and the new “Avengers Jean Varon Collection” designed by John Bates and worn here by Jean; she is aided (attacked!) in her endeavours by real-life Avengers stuntman, Ray Austin.The “Avengers” collection sold in high-street stores to great success; enjoy this iconic and fabulous moment in fashion history!

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First two photographs ©copyright VOGUE .

House Of Retro/Gary Alston makes no claim to the ownership of images shown on this page.

TOM PURVIS: VINTAGE AUSTIN REED POSTERS

Written by  on May 4, 2013

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Tom Purvis ((12 June 1888 – 27 August 1959) was the greatest and most influential poster-designer of the twentieth century; his work was prolific, stylish, colourful, unique and  defined an era.He was born in Bristol, the son of a sailor and marine artist – T.G. Purvis.He trained with the legendary German artist Walter Sickert and the equally legendary French artist Edgar Degas and also at Camberwell School of Art, then for six years he worked for the advertising company Mather &  Crowther before becoming a freelance designer.His most famous posters were created for the London & North Eastern Railway, Shell and Austin Reed during the 1920s and 1930s.Tom Purvis’ exclusive method of painting consisted of  a bold, two-dimensional style which made use of large blocks of vivid, flat colour whilst eliminating detail; it was particularly suited not only to advertising work, but also  the “Art Deco” vogue of the 1930’s.From a fashion perspective, Purvis’ work for the gentlemen’s outfitters Austin Reed is of particular interest/merit.Austin Reed opened their shop in Regents Street in 1926 and through the advertising agency of Pritchard Wood, Purvis was commissioned to produce a series of stylish posters which would define the corporate sense of style that Austin Reed sought to promote and the type of client they wished to entertain/cater for.The posters were a resounding success, promoting an aspirational life-style via  Purvis’ superb use of bold, flat, colour and a keen sense of British (class) culture and fashion. Purvis served on the committee for the British Art in Industry exhibition at the Royal Academy (1935) and was made one of the first Royal Designer’s for Industry in 1936.He gave up his poster-art after the second world war (he had fought himself in the first world war in “The Artist’s Rifles”) to concentrate on portraits and religious pictures.Tom Purvis was an incredibly talented/expressive artist and his work for Austin Reed forms a significant part of the rich legacy he left for us to enjoy.

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House Of Retro/Gary Alston makes no claim to the ownership of images shown on this page; copyright remains with the respective owner(s).

TEXT  © Gary Alston 2013

SUPERNATURAL: THE WINCHESTER BROTHERS

Written by  on May 2, 2013

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 An extremely cool gallery of publicity-stills and fan wall-papers from the mega hit t.v. show “Supernatural”; conceived and created by Eric Kripke, the series follows the on-the-road adventures of brothers (and “Hunters”) Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles), as they travel the highways of the U.S.  hunting supernatural/demons and monsters to destroy.Their quest begins with the hunting of the demon Azael – who killed their mother (when they were children) before they encounter/take on the father of all evil himself – Lucifer!

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IMAGES  ©copyright The WB Television Network and Warner Bros Television Production Inc.

  House Of Retro/Gary Alston makes no claim to the ownership of images shown on this page.