Month: March 2012

Remembering the cast of The Birds

This week  is the anniversary of The Birds being released in cinemas back in 1963.
It made stars of Tippi Hedren and Rod Taylor.
But let’s focus on the supporting cast, and see where else we may recognise them from.

1. Veronica Cartwright played ‘Cathy’ the schoolgirl and younger sister of Rod Taylor’s character ‘Mitch’

16 years later, film fans may recognise her as ‘Lambert’ in the 1979 sci fi film Alien – as the navigator of the Nostromo

2. Ethel Griffes portrayed the ornithologist ‘Mrs Bundy’ that Tippi Hedren and Rod Taylor meet in the restaurant.

28 years earlier she appeared opposite Greta Garbo as Madame Kartasoff in Anna Karenina (1935) (pictured in the centre)


3. Charles McGraw also appeared in the restaurant scene in The Birds, as the fisherman Sebastian Sholes.

Film lovers may recognise him as Kirk Douglas’ trainer ‘Marcellus’ in Spartacus. (pictured on the right).
McGraw holds the distinction of being directed by Hitchcock and Kubrick.


4. Ruth McDevitt’s pivotal role in The Birds was as the pet shop sales lady Mrs MacGruder

For fans of The Parent Trap two years earlier (1961), they would recognise her as the camp counsellor Miss Inch.


5.  Joe Mantell plays the travelling salesman , who we meet in the restaurant.

Famously, 11 years later, he appeared in Chinatown as Lawrence Walsh who speaks the famous lines ‘Forget it Jake, It’s Chinatown’


6. Malcolm Atterbury portrays Al Malone, a police deputy who appears in the restaurant scene.

More famously he appeared in North By Northwest as the man who tells Cary Grant that it is strange that a cropduster is dusting where there is no crops.

– by Rhett Bartlett
Follow me on twitter – @dialmformovies

Screenshots courtesy of Wikipedia, Hitchcock Wiki, Google, Avelyman


Tony Giorgio 1923 – 2012

Tony Giorgio was a magician.
Across 88 years, he was regarded as the ‘world’s foremost card manipulator’
He had lectured and written about gambling and the con industry , produced several DVDs on ‘handmucking’ and was a technical advisor on Mission Impossible.

But with his passing the film industry lost a performer who gave a significant cinema performance in one of cinema’s finest films.

Tony Giorgio was Bruno Tattaglia in ‘The Godfather’.
At his nightclub, he greets Luca Brasi in the restaurant, talks to him, lights his cigarette, gently pats his hand, before restraining Luca’s left arm as Virgil Sollozo drives a knife into it.  Brasi is then strangled from behind.

With his chiselled ragged face, Giorgio’s brief but significant appearance is fondly remembered by lovers of the Godfather trilogy.
His character of Bruno Tattaglia is later killed off screen.  ”We hit Bruno Tattaglia four o’clock this morning.” Tessio explains.

With that murder, Don Corleone (Marlon Brando), at a meeting of all the family heads says: ‘Tattaglia has lost a son; I have lost a son.  We are quits.  Let there be a peace.”

On February 1st 2012, there was.


You may notice a few changes to the site.
I’ve changed servers – however all my original content has been moved across.
So simply scroll down the page to reveal all previous posts or click on the headings at the top of the page to take you to my ‘projects’

Rhett Bartlett

In defence of ‘Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close’ (4 stars)

This post is in defence of Extremely Loud and Incredible Close (EL + IC).
There have been two key points of complaint about the film which was released in 2011.

One is the universal disdain for the lead performance, teenager Thomas Horn, who portrays Oskar Schell.

Many have made fun of his performance by mocking the film’s title- ‘Extremely Loud and Incredibly Annoying’ is one such joke.  Most have found his performance irritable.

Secondly, many have felt the film’s central emotion to be contrived, manufactured – and as some have put it –  solely for the purpose of the Oscar voters.

But despite that, the film did receive a Best Picture nomination – which surprised almost everyone apart from The Hollywood Reporter’s leading awards blogger Scott Feinberg, who predicted its nomination.

On Oscar’s night itself, the film received a less than flattering round of applause when its name appeared on the Best Picture montage.

But the film is not terrible. The performance is not irritating. The emotion is not forced.

When I voiced my initial review of EL + IC on twitter, I was met with many tweets expressing surprise, some thought I was joking.  A handful of those hadn’t even seen the film.
I became irritated at what I felt was a collective gathering of negative comments and derailment of the film by critics and websites.

So let me put in black and white what I think of EL + IC.
It is the best of the 9 films nominated for the Best Picture Oscar.
It will be considered as one of the best films of 2012, when my time comes to review the year.

Thomas Horn’s performance is totally genuine. He is clearly a kid who carries with him a difficult ability at social interactions (the film rules out Asperger syndrome),  which is heightened after a traumatic event at the film’s beginning.

His way of contact and the use of a tambourine as a security blanket are totally acceptable in the scheme of his motives – and are the furtherest from an irritant as you can get.

Infact all the performances in the film are outstanding – their motivations, and their emotions are sharply felt by the viewer.

Even those whose screentime amounts to just a few seconds are devastatingly emotional.  A montage of characters who Horn had touched, and even unintentionally harassed, each deliver a deep connection to the young kid’s journey.

My irritation can’t be direct just at other film folk.  It also lies with the film’s trailer.
It is a total mash-up of emotions, an awful 2 minutes 29 seconds of spoilers, and overlays a U2 song that tries to force rapidly upon the viewer, emotions that are better elicited slowly through out the film.

Let me be clear on how I think films should be viewed.
Do not watch a film’s trailer.  Cover your ears, leave the cinema if you must.
Come into a film blind.  Know as little as you can.  Let it lead you.

If you do that with EL + IC, you will be rewarded.

Rhett Bartlett
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – 4 stars.

You can follow me on twitter – @dialmformovies