Peculiar opening credit text

Sometimes the opening credits of a film include a peculiar reference, that the film maker feels they must tell the audience.
Here is a collection of such occurrences.

THE OLD DARK HOUSE (1932)
Directed by James Whale, whose film Frankenstein, a year earlier, had starred Boris Karloff.
oldhouse

WHISKY GALORE (1949)  

Directed by Alexander Mackendrick.  An Ealing comedy based on a real life 1941 shipwreck.
whisky

FARGO (1996)
Directed by the Coen Brothers.  The film is fictional, but apparently sourced from several events of murder cases.
fargo

MYSTERY STREET (1950)
Directed by John Sturges.   See, it pays to go to College.
mystery

HELLZAPOPPIN’ (1941)
Directed by H. C. Potter,  Edward F. Cline.   Setting the bar low I see.
hellz


RAIN (1932)

Directed by Lewis Milestone.  For United Artists, by way of MGM, Miss Joan Crawford everybody.
rain


SON OF THE SHEIK (1926)
Directed by George Fitzmaurice. How very kind of Agnes Ayres.
sonofthesheik

KISS ME DEADLY (1955)
Directed by Robert Aldrich.  Scrolling down.
Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 8.07.06 PM

Tollbooths in Film: a rhettrospective

Often situated at the mouth of a freeway or a bridge,  the cinematic equivalent pops up in the most peculiar places.
With the most peculiar consequences.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
Richard Dreyfuss chases the mysterious sky lights on a blacked-out night.
They rush through a tollbooth, thereby restoring its power.
The scene even appeared on a 1977 Wonder Bread collector card series.

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Blazing Saddles (1974)
The absurdity of it all.   A single tollbooth in the middle of the desert, that Lamarr’s posse can simply go around.
But no.  “Has anyone got a dime?” , followed by “Somebody’s gotta go back and get a shit-load of dimes”
BlazingSaddlesToll2

The Godfather (1972)
Sonny’s demise takes place at the tollbooth of the Long Beach Causeway.   He’s on his way to confront Carlo, who has beaten up Connie (Sonny’s sister).  The attendant drops the change, the tollbooth door closes, Sonny looks to his right. A hail of bullets.   James Caan (Sonny) later appeared in a film called Henry’s Crime, where he plays the cellmate of a disgruntled tollbooth attendant.
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The Phantom Tollbooth (1970)
A boy comes home one day to find a tollbooth in his room, and drives his toy car through it to emerge into another world. A live action / animated film , directed by Chuck Jones, Abe Levitow and Dave Monahan.
the_phantom_tollbooth


Hudson Hawk (1991)

Hudson himself managed to make his way through a tollbooth, whilst on an ambulance gurney, by throwing exact change at it as he flashes by.
HudsonHawk2

Big Daddy (1999)
Adam Sandler works one day a week in a tollbooth, despite having a degree in law.  The $200,000 compensation he was awarded from a vehicle accident is a main reason for his lack of motivation.
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The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)
The fireball in the finale, destroys everything in its path, including the tollbooth that Samuel L Jackson and co barely make it through.
longkissgoodnight

In Men in Black (1997), Will smith and Tommy Lee Jones drive through the tunnel, upside-down, and through the tollbooth, where they even have exact change! ($1).
…and yes we acknowledge there are a few films out there actually called Toll Booth (1994, 2004)

Film Winks: A Rhettrospective

A look back at the winks in film history.   The mischief, the affectionate and the down right creepy.
I’ve tried to avoid spoilers.
(by Rhett Bartlett – DialMForMovies)

CLEOPATRA (1963)Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 8.19.06 PM
A bow and the crowd erupt and then Cleopatra winks at Ceasar. A wink that only those in front of her can witness.
A strange directorial decision, considering Taylor’s previous scenes are stilted.  Her wink snaps us out from the spectacle. It feels out of place, looks out of place.  Had a historical film before ever done such a thing?

FAMILY PLOT (1976)09911
Hitchcock’s 53 film career ended, not with a horror film (as brilliant as Frenzy was late in his career), but with the subdued heist Family Plot.
The last image from his last ever film is a Barbara Harris wink.  A breach of the fourth wall by the film’s protagonist.

FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF (1986)Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 8.33.46 PM
Cheeky Ferris puts the wheels in motion for the greatest pretend sick day in history, with an over-the-top wink to his sister Jenny, behind his parents back, at the start of the film.

FIELD OF DREAMS (1989)Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 8.16.36 PM
Under the spotlit baseball diamond, built on the instinct from a voice, young Archie Graham moves up to bat.  In his professional yearshe never made it onto the diamond to bat, only as a fielder.  1 baseball game.  Now, a chance at the redemption.  He had said earlier in the film that if he got his chance before a pitcher he would ‘stare him down and then just as he goes into the windup – wink! Make him wonder if I know something he doesn’t’  And so he does.

STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE (1977)Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 8.29.12 PM
And so the end of the fourth chapter (or is that the start of the second trilogy) has Hans Solo’s wink towards Princess Leia at the medal ceremony.
Leia shoots back a smirk, and all is good in the universe.

FUNNY GAMES (1997)wink
The creepy Michael Haneke film (the original) gets creepier with the wink from Arno Frisch, one of the two young boys on the verge of terrorising a family.
The film was remade in 2007, by the same director, in a shot for shot remake (a future list I suspect ‘Directors who remade their own films)

MOULIN ROUGE (2001)Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 8.41.33 PM
Kidman’s best role, with a wink during her stunning, energetic performance near the film’s beginning.

The entire sequence is a joy to experience; dazzling camerawork and editing, glorious sets and costume, and Kidman (top hat and all) the star seductress breaking the fourth wall.
Blink and you’ll miss it.

METROPOLIS (1927)winkmetropolis
The robot Maria’s fourth wall creepy wink, one of the earliest captured on film, and one of the most memorable.
Is there an earlier wink in film that breaks the fourth wall?
Fritz Lang was a genius.

But wait, there’s more….

ANACONDA (1997)
One of the most ridiculous and disgusting winks in film history.
Jon Voight’s regurgitated wink to Jennifer Lopez.

FREDDY vs JASON (2003)
Speaking of ridiculous, coming a close second is the head of Freddy winking at the camera, as it is pulled out of the water by Jason.  Don’t forget the evil laugh on soundtrack.

TARZAN AND THE MERAID (1948)
In his last performance as the fictional character Tarzan, Johnny Weissmuller disguises himself in the large regal dress of the island god, and shoots a secret wink to captive Brenda Joyce

DOGMA (1999)
The icon Buddy Christ, showing a smiling Jesus , giving the thumbs up, and winking at onlookers.  Created by the Church to replace the crucifixion image of Jesus.

THE LAST ACTION HERO (1993)
Schwarzenegger’s wink at the end of the film, to Danny, somewhere out there watching him from the cinema.

NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN (1983)bond
Bond had to make an appearance on this and there he is, at the end of the movie, bedding a beauty.  Connery’s wink happens in the second ‘0’ of a very large 007 onscreen graphic.

GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES (1953)
Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe both shoot a wink to the audience as they sing ‘I was young and determined, to be wined and dined and ermined, and I worked at it all around the clock’ in the opening number of the film.
Russell also throws a wink during a later musical number as she sits beside her brother.

If have some more ‘winks’ to suggest, feel free to post them below or tweet me @dialmformovies

Luise Rainer (1910 – 2014)

Luise Rainer, the oldest living Oscar winner, has died aged 104.

She won the Academy Award for Best Actress in consecutive years ,  the first actress to achieve that feat, and only since equalled by Katharine Hepburn. Luise Rainer3
Her first Oscar came for her performance as Anna Held in ‘The Great Ziegfeld’ (1936).

In the film she played the wife of William Powell’s Florenz Ziegfeld Jnr – the famed American Broadway impresario.   It was a huge success for MGM in the 1930s and contained a stellar supporting cast of Myrna Loy, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Nat Pendleton and Reginald Owen.   She was the only cast member to receive an Oscar nomination.  The film won the Best Picture award.
In her acceptance speech before newsreel cameras she simply said: ‘Thank you very much, I’m very happy that I got it’

The following year she won again in the same category,  as O-Lan  the Chinese peasant farmer’s wife who struggles with her husband (Paul Muni) through drought and famine in ‘The Good Earth’ (1937).   Again she was the only cast member to receive an Oscar nomination.  The statuette was later used as a door stop, and bent, she gave it to removalists who helped her moved from Switzerland to London. The Academy later presented her with a replacement.

Her failure to rise to any stardom again, let alone another Oscar nomination, began what many called the ‘Oscar curse’.  Those who careers never hit the high points after winning an Oscar.   Her film career all but ended after, amongst many things,  becoming disenchanted with the roles offered to her, along with personal decisions she made in her life.  However she did continue to act on stage and television.

Despite only making one film in 54 years (‘The Gambler’ in 1997) , The Academy continued to embraces her for its heritage.
At the 70th and 75th Academy Award ceremonies, she appeared on stage with previous acting recipients in a retrospective tribute.
But her return to Hollywood on that night opened old wounds.   “I resented myself very much; there were many things that I should have done. I feel it today, at nearly 100 years old: God, or whoever it is, gave so much into my cradle and I have not lived up to it.” she told a journalist shortly after.

Upon her death she was the last surviving Oscar winner from the 1930s.