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Beloved 'Sound of Music' Actress Eleanor Parker Dies Aged 91


Eleanor Parker Christopher Plummer

Eleanor Parker, one of the stars of the original Sound of Music movie cast and an iconic actress with a legacy spanning five decades, died Monday in Palm Springs. She passed away at the age of 91 from pneumonia complications. The unfortunate news was confirmed by her son, actor Paul Clements, for the LA Times

Continue reading: Beloved 'Sound of Music' Actress Eleanor Parker Dies Aged 91

'The Sound Of Music' Star & Oscar Nominee Eleanor Parker Passes Away, Aged 91


Eleanor Parker Julie Andrews Christopher Plummer

Eleanor Parker, an esteemed actress with a rich history of well-received performances from a career stretching over 50 decades, has passed away due to complications from pneumonia at a medical facility close to Palm Springs, California. The renowned actress was 91-years-old upon her death, with Variety first releasing the news of her passing.

Beginning in 1941 with an unused bit part in They Died with Their Boots On and lasting until her appearance in the TV movie Dead on the Money in 1991, Parker was one of the best know actresses of her time in the 1950's and 60's. In her 50's heyday, Parker was nominated for an Academy Award three times, all for Best Actress, but it is her role in the timeless movie version of Rogers & Hammerstein's The Sound of Music that she is known best for today.

Her role as The Baroness, who was left behind by Christopher Plummer's Captain Von Trapp for Julie Andrews' Maria in the film, has made sure that she has been remembered to this day, however Parker was an well-regarded and wide ranging actress in her day.

Continue reading: 'The Sound Of Music' Star & Oscar Nominee Eleanor Parker Passes Away, Aged 91

Home from the Hill Review


Excellent
The trailer for Home from the Hill blares, "The story of the Hunnicutt Family and The Secret they hid too long! The town that talked too much and the love they tried to destroy!" In 1960, Home from the Hill, based on the bestselling book by William Humphrey, was the latest in the smoldering big-screen genre Hollywood was cooking up featuring big stars and Cinemascope vistas: Upscale Southern Decrepitude. Influenced by William Faulkner and Tennessee Williams, the genre showcased the likes of the blown-all-out-of-proportion The Long Hot Summer, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Douglas Sirk's simmering Written on the Wind. The films contained the same ingredients -- expansive manor homes, horny patriarchs, family secrets, and neurotic children ready to blow the lid off of everything. Home from the Hill has all that but it also has a bit more -- terrific acting by Robert Mitchum, George Hamilton, and George Peppard (forget Eleanor Parker, who plays her role like Blanche Dubois on the range), plus Vincente Minnelli as director.

Mitchum is a Texas landowner, Capt. Wade Hunnicutt, who owns the town, lives in a big house, and spends his time bedding down most of the women in the town (Wade comments at one point, "I'll tell you something -- I can't even remember which one she was"). Holding his face to the mirror is his wife Hannah (Parker), who for the past 17 years has locked her bedroom door to Wade, forcing Wade to take his biological urges elsewhere. Wade wants Hannah to forgive him and unlock the door. Hannah just gives him an icy stare. As their son Theron (Hamilton) remarks, "They live in the same house and kill each other a little at a time." Theron is their only son. He is 17 and now Wade wants to take him under his wing and show him how to be a man. Wade teaches Theron to hunt and has his hired hand Rafe (Peppard) show him the ropes as far as women are concerned. But then all hell breaks loose when Hannah reveals to Theron that Rafe is, in fact, Wade's illegitimate son. With the gloves off, Wade is forced into the realization that "We're rotten parents and we live in a rotten house." But by then it is too late for the Hunnicutts.

Continue reading: Home from the Hill Review

Detective Story Review


OK
It's just another day at the precinct for Jim McLeod (Kirk Douglas)... well, that's what we're supposed to think anyway.

Detective Story takes place almost entirely within a detective squad room of a police station. Originally a play, the film focuses on the dramas -- large and small -- that go on during this fateful day. A woman (Lee Grant) is hauled in for shoplifting. She spends the entire day just sitting there, waiting. Another man is brought in for stealing from his boss in order to fund his girlfriend's expensive tastes, while her sister begs for the cops to let him go. Two burglars are given the shakedown. And, in what drives the film's most critical plot forward, McLeod spars continuously with a suspicious doctor for reasons unknown. When McLoed's wife (Eleanor Parker) shows up, it'll come to a head.

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Between Two Worlds Review


Weak
This innovative drama earns points for originality, but bungles the execution: A group of British travelers have all been killed during World War II... and they all find themselves on a cruise ship headed... where? The catch: Some know they're dead, and some don't. The film's conflict comes from arguments between these two groups. What could have been a proto-version of The Sixth Sense instead becomes a rather dull bit of preachiness where little ends up happening. The film is based on the play Outward Bound (which will forever taint the name of the organization by the same name for me), which was a flop on Broadway.

The Sound of Music Review


Excellent
The Sound of Music... well, what can I say? And why should I bother? If any movie were ever critic-proof, it's this one. In fact, famed critic Pauline Kael was fired for daring to write a bad review of it when it first came out. Julie Andrews sure worked her mojo on that one.

Funny thing is: The Sound of Music doesn't need protection from critics. Yes, it's schmaltzy, but it's not nearly as schmaltzy as, say, Titanic. Yes it has all those adorable kids and all those adorable songs and even a cute puppet show stuck right in the middle of it, but it also has grit, drama, and some harrowing moments. Hell, it's got Nazis racing around in big black cars! It is a total cinematic experience, and one that benefits greatly from technological advances that let you enjoy its lavish sights and sounds on a big TV screen with big surround speakers that make it feel like Julie Andrews is embracing your or the Nazis are sneaking up on you from behind.

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The Naked Jungle Review


OK
Back in the 1950s, Charlton Heston was cranking out two or three movies a year, most of them cheapies like The Naked Jungle.

This schizophrenic little drama starts with an incredible uninspiring setup: Heston is the hapless owner of a cocoa plantation in South America, 1901. For no particular reason, he sends off for a mail order bride, which arrives in the form of the far too lovely Eleanor Parker. But Parker's got a secret: She's a widow. Gasp!

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The Man with the Golden Arm Review


OK
Otto Preminger turns in this interesting, early attempt at the drug drama, and it's probably not what you're expecting. Frank Sinatra turns in a credible performance as a reformed heroin addict straight out of the joint -- and finds his options aren't so sweet upon his return to the world. Dreaming of a job as a jazz drummer, he instead falls back into his "golden armed" card dealing job... not to mention a return bout with the H.

Things don't turn out too well for Frankie Machine (Sinatra), as the sauce is constantly calling (and causing his drummin' arms to jitter), he has to resort to cheating at card games, and then there's his wife (Eleanor Parker), who's bound to a wheelchair, not to mention her many neuroses.

Continue reading: The Man with the Golden Arm Review

Detective Story Review


OK
It's just another day at the precinct for Jim McLeod (Kirk Douglas)... well, that's what we're supposed to think anyway.

Detective Story takes place almost entirely within a detective squad room of a police station. Originally a play, the film focuses on the dramas -- large and small -- that go on during this fateful day. A woman (Lee Grant) is hauled in for shoplifting. She spends the entire day just sitting there, waiting. Another man is brought in for stealing from his boss in order to fund his girlfriend's expensive tastes, while her sister begs for the cops to let him go. Two burglars are given the shakedown. And, in what drives the film's most critical plot forward, McLeod spars continuously with a suspicious doctor for reasons unknown. When McLoed's wife (Eleanor Parker) shows up, it'll come to a head.

Continue reading: Detective Story Review

Eleanor Parker

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