It’s hard to imagine Kirk Douglas at 100, mostly because it feels like he exists outside the normal passing of time. He’s less of a walking man but more of an image captured forever on celluloid in the likes of Spartacus, Paths of Glory and Ace in the Hole. What makes him special is a unique blend of Technicolor heroism, dazzling charisma and more than a hint of darkness. He wraps himself in the latter two qualities for The Bad and the Beautiful, a heady mix of hagiography and cynicism that revels in the only subject Hollywood truly cares for: itself.
Tag: Vincente Minnelli
Liza with a Z – 1972 – dir. Bob Fosse
It is hard to describe to those who weren’t there just how famous Liza Minnelli was in the 1970s. During that decade, along with Barbra Streisand who bested her, but not by much, she cornered the market on kooky chic, and a singing voice like a locomotive coming straight at you right out of the dark (Liza was a “belter” in the tradition of her mother, Judy Garland). Get out of her way! She was out to overthrow the curvaceous Monroes, MacLaines and Lollobrigidas of the 50s and 60s and create a place for the ugly duckling becoming the swan.
New York, New York – 1977 – dir. Martin Scorsese
The legendary Martin Scorcese likes to dabble in different genres: urban angst and alienation in Taxi Driver, sports in Raging Bull, mobsters in The Departed, mystery/thrillers in Shutter Island. Here, with New York New York is his loving tribute to Hollywood musicals of the 30s and 40s.
Headlining his film are Robert De Niro as saxophone player, Jimmy Doyle and Liza Minnelli as big band singer, Francine Evans, both up-and-coming musicians hoping to make it to the top.