Humphrey Bogart

6 Degrees of Film February Round-up: Oscar Nominations are here!

Film fans, there has been a lot of hype surrounding this awards season in Hollywood. Some films were snubbed and some great acting performances were overlooked. But there has been more emphasis on diversity and inclusion, and this is something new to the Hollywood brand! The Oscar Nominees for 2022 Denzel Washington (The Tragedy of MacBeth) and Benedict Cumberbatch (Power of the Dog),  are two actors that are always in my top tier of Best Actor choices.  Also nominated in the Best Actor category:   Javier Bardem (Being the Ricardos),, Will Smith (King Richard) and Andrew Garfield (Tick, Tick..Boom!)   For Best Actress: Kristen Stewart is nominated for Spencer along with Penelope Cruz  (Parallel Mothers), and Nicole Kidman (also Being the Ricardos) plus Olivia Colman (The Lost Daughter.) Jessica Chastain has long been one of my favorites, and she is up for The Eyes of Tammy Faye.   The Best Picture list is long (too long!) There are ten films that include most of the usual suspects that were expected to be nominated, or have won other prestigious awards. The Power of the Dog is a strong favorite, along with Belfast from Kenneth Branagh. The other films are Dune, Drive My Car, King Richard, Licorice Pizza, Nightmare Alley, Don’t Look Up, CODA & West Side Story.   The Best Director category is notable as Jane Campion is one of the few female directors who has even been nominated for this honor. Kenneth Branagh is a strong favorite,  as is Paul Thomas Anderson for Licorice Pizza. But the Japanese film, Drive My Car has also won several top honors so director Ryuseke Hamauguchi has a good shot at it, making this a very tight race! Turner Classic Films: The Armchair Film Fest   We often speak of the Armchair Film Festival (even before there was COVID!), so this month is chock full of films to record and to revisit in the wake of the Oscar Nominations. The Boxing films to record for an Armchair Film Fest would begin with the great documentary on Muhammad Ali’s fight with George Foreman called, When we were Kings. It is a good film to see as part of Black History Month also.   The Set Up with Robert Ryan tells the classic story of an aging boxer on the ropes who is asked to throw a fight. Robert Ryan is one of my favorites from the Noir genre. The director is notable too; he is Robert Wise, the same director from the Film Noir genre who went on to fame with his masterful direction of The Sound of Music in the sixties. Pioneering Women The women pioneers of #MeToo are out in force in February. Judy Garland plays this remarkable character in The Harvey Girls that was based on the real-life women who worked in these Western towns and really were instrumental in helping to build and to carve out civilization in the “Old West.” Lauren Bacall debuted opposite Humphrey Bogart in To Have & Have Not, which was based on a story by Ernest Hemingway. It’s a good film, not as good as Casablanca, and not as engaging as The Big Sleep, but it’s still a good B movie. Armchair Film Fest Recommends…   One of the best Film Noir stories is shown in a two-part Armchair Fest featuring Gene Tierney. Laura is the Film Noir classic that is definitely required viewing for all lovers of Noir. Next is The Ghost & Mrs Muir, which is an entertaining and unique romantic tale of two lovers who meet and are doomed to be apart as one of them is already dead! The ghost is played superbly by a young Rex Harrison. Some of the greatest actors in Hollywood are featured on TCM this month. Gene Hackman and Dennis Hopper are outstanding in Hoosiers. And Montgomery Clift is featured in Red River followed by Wild River. The young Monty Clift vs the older version is worth recording for the Armchair Film Fest… And since PBS has shown a series based on the Jules Verne classic, “Around the World in 80 Days,’ it’s worth seeing the version that was a big hit in the fifties starring David Niven. Rounding out Turner Classic this month are films that honor black history. We have mentioned When we were Kings, and for your Armchair Film Fest, you can add the documentary Black Panthers, and the film, Mississippi Burning, starring Willem Dafoe.  The film was based on a true story of what happened to Freedom Riders in the sixties as they tried to register African-Americans to vote in the deep South. 6 Degrees of Film: The Long Reads   This month, Friday Flix has an article from Film Comment that delves into the question of what is going to happen to the art form of cinema in the post-COVID world.  That is an interesting question that was also discussed at length in my book from 2013:  6 Degrees of Film: The Future of Film in the Global Village.  The era of streaming and the pandemic has created a real dilemma for the film industry which has always been based on the big business of profit and loss over the question of artistic freedom and purity. There are other questions that are raised when discussing where film is going, and were also addressed briefly in 6 Degrees of Film. One of them regards the 74 year old court ruling known as “The Paramount Decree” which sunsets in August of this year. The move paved the way for the rise of television but also ushered in the end of the Golden Age of Film.  Movie theaters controlled a monopoly, as they also owned the theaters in which their films were shown. When they were ordered to sell their theaters, the profit margin collapsed along with their business model! That ruling is discussed as well as what may happen to the industry when the law sunsets in August. Another fly in the ointment of

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February Film Round up

6 Degrees Holiday Film News: The Armchair Film Fest for December!

This month on Turner Classic Movies, I’m seeing a slew of favorites for those of us who love the idea of the “Armchair Film Fest.” I like to record several films from favorite directors and actors that are shown in one block to watch during the month. Last month it was Cary Grant, this month we are back to Hitchcock and another favorite actor, Humphrey Bogart. Bogey is in “Sabrina” with Audrey Hepburn in this 1954 comedy, as well as the classic Casablanca from 1942. Hitchcock is also prominent in December, with some of his best work featured in Psycho, The Birds, Rear Window, and Marnie with the late, great Sean Connery. Christmas Season For the Christmas season, there is the 6 Degree staple: The Shop Around the Corner. The reason it’s so apropos for 6 Degrees is that the film has been remade three times. The Shop around the Corner is the original and the remake with Judy Garland is called In the Good Old Summertime and was set as a musical in 1949. Finally, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan remade it with “You’ve Got Mail” 6 Degrees of Film has some recommended posts from our own archives to recommend this month. We have a post on Casablanca, one on Lawrence of Arabia and on the legacy of James Dean in film. (Paul Newman and Steve McQueen films are both showing this month!) Comedy There is a bonanza of comedy gold this month (also on TCM),  with a full filmography for the funniest comic duo in history, Laurel & Hardy. There’s the first unofficial appearance of the pair in Putting Pants on Philip all the way through to the fifties when they were both past their prime. Some of the recommended records are: Laughing Gravy Putting Pants on Philip The Music Box Way out West  Brats Our Relations Towed in a Hole (I love this play on words as Stan Laurel was English and this is from their well-known breakfast Dish: “Toad in a Hole” which is sausages cooked in egg!) Other comedies of note for December on TCM include Ma & Pa Kettle at Home with Marjorie Main and The Long, Long Trailer, starring Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz in a  1954 film made during their long running hit TV show: I Love Lucy. The afore-mentioned “Sabrina’ is also hilariously funny, one of Bogey’s few comedies. For those who may tire of Laurel & Hardy, there is one of Charlie Chaplin’s best silent films, The Gold Rush with Charlie in a cabin in Alaska where he is searching for gold while dreaming of a saloon girl and fighting to survive the harsh winter conditions. Westerns The Westerner is being shown on Dec 18th; Gary Cooper and Walter Brennan star in this Western from 1940. It’s a must-see for all those who love Cooper and Westerns. I particularly like this one as it isn’t shown as frequently as later films with Cooper. Walter Brennan excels as Judge Roy Bean, the man famous for his love of the theatre star Lillie Langtry. John Wayne stars in a Western directed by John Ford from 1940, The Three Godfathers.  It’s more of a spiritual departure for Wayne, who is one of three outlaws that learn the meaning of sacrifice when they become the guardians of a newborn baby and find themselves stranded in a barren desert. Three Godfathers was also made with Walter Brennan as one of the three outlaws in 1936. Strong Women: Pioneers in Hollywood 6 Degrees is always interested in highlighting performances from pioneering strong women in Hollywood. This month, there is one of my favorites, Myrna Loy, in the entire film fest of The Thin Man series shown on New Years Eve. You really cannot go wrong by ringing in the New Year with Nick and Nora Charles, the sleuths starring in an entire Thin Man movie marathon on New Years Eve. Other strong women highlighted include the great Marjorie Main, so funny in Ma & Pa Kettle at home. There is Katherine Hepburn in The Lion in Winter as well  as Guess who’s Coming to Dinner with Spencer Tracy. I feel the latter one is dated, but it’s worth seeing, as the climate of the times made this a particularly controversial subject of a black man wanting to marry a white woman. I love The Lion in Winter, but like The Outlaw Josey Wales and a few Cary Grant movies, I can’t watch it all the way through as I know all the dialogue! Spoiler alert: I’m a huge spoiler! There is also some interesting Turner Classic shows for those of us who love film and film criticism. Film buffs will know of the work of Pauline Kael, not only a strong woman writing in a man’s world and excelling, but also a damn fine film critic. She is featured in The Art of Pauline Kael, made in 2018. Along with it, another interesting piece from 2009 is For the Love of Movies: The story of American Film Criticism. The James Dean Legacy in Film The Thomas Crown Affair from 1968 stars Steve McQueen and Cool Hand Luke features Paul Newman.  These two films illustrate part of my long-running theory turned essay: The James Dean Legacy in film. Both these actors inherited the mantle of ‘cool’ and began their careers about the same time that James Dean did in the late fifties. So many of their later roles were in keeping with the type of loner/rebel character that James Dean was known for and became his legacy. 6 Degrees Magazine on Flipboard This week in 6 Degrees Magazine, there’s an interesting discussion on the history of the Marvel Movie Cinematic Universe on RogerEbert.com.  Also in the magazine, several posts talk about how the studios are still reeling from the most difficult period in the history of the film business.  Warner Bros. studios just announced that all of their new films will debut in online streaming format through 2021. 

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Letting Go

Six Degrees Growing Group: Know when to hold and when to fold

There are so many times in life where we read advice such as: “Don’t let anyone tell you that you are not worthy!” or “Stand up for yourself at work!” These are all very nice tropes but when put into real-world applications, they can and do often lead us astray. We all know that there are times at work when you are mad as hell and can’t do anything about it! We simply have to grin and bear it. But where is the point where we need to simply say, “This is it-I’ve had enough!” Well, there are times in the past where that person has been me! I can attest to the real-world application of knowing when it is expedient to simply grin and bear it and when it’s time to move on. Recently, I did experience a job upheaval where I found myself at the point where there was no compromise in my position. I had been working for lower pay in a rewarding job, but I knew it wouldn’t last forever. The hope was that I could continue to stay until the small church where I worked was going to move and I would simply leave or renegotiate terms at some point. There were many areas where I did simply offer my writing and marketing service to the organization for no extra charge. However, when the board appointed someone in a new position, there came a time when I simply took the already completed letter of resignation from my file and pushed SEND. I had found there is a certain set of criteria that should be met when facing an important career move. Criteria to meet:  Document your work! Back up with proof that there is more than just bluster to the words that you brandish about regarding your services. Keep your core principles intact. You do not need to comprise your integrity through bowing and scraping to someone who has obviously targeted you or your position. In my case, the charge was something regarding my work hours, which was ludicrous. It was an obvious and cheap power play by someone who was trying to score points. Another factor in my decision was that the job did not pay enough to warrant making a stand when my own dignity and integrity came into question. My satisfaction came in knowing that to replace my position, they required at least two or three people to immediately step in and function as replacements. The Bogey Principle applies There is a certain point in life where we have to know our own value. Such was the case with one of my favorite movie stars, Humphrey Bogart. Bogey once wrote that he had something called “F You” Money. When the studio boss would harass him, he was able to simply walk away. I realize not all of us have that luxury of keeping a stash of “FU” Money available. However, when we realize there is no going back, it’s best to plan accordingly. Keep these factors in mind when making the decision-should I stay or should I go? Factors for making the decision: Stay or Go?  Your ethics and moral values, your sense of decency and honesty are something that you own and that no employer can alter. Know when to walk, and when to negotiate terms. In my case, there was an attempt to undermine my own sense of ethical values, as well as to apply pressure regarding the work I had done. This new employee simply did not understand what I did, couldn’t comprehend the value of my contributions; and was not only ignorant but bragged about their power over me. That gave me a clear choice to just say “No” and walk away. Work with Compromise in mind. When it’s clear someone is working to undermine your integrity or simply ‘playing games’ with your work ethics; know that it’s time to fold up the tent and move on. When faced with challenges- document everything. Then talk to some trusted friends, preferably not connected with the office or organization, to make sure that you are not looking at a situation that can be rectified or one where you may be taking offense too easily. If you do see that there is difficulty, write it down and have a resignation ready to go…that doesn’t mean you should send it! I held a resignation letter for over a year at one job until I knew the time was right to go. Keep the letter in a private folder or email file until you need it. If and when you need it fast, you can simply press SEND. Work with the Bogey principle in mind. Bogart had his “F You Money” ready, so that when the Big Studio bosses began to pressure him, he could simply walk away. This is always a good plan! When you realize that you have left a job that has been giving you too much grief in your personal life, or is simply making you miserable, nine times out of ten you will be able to look back and realize that you did the right thing. Leaving a job where you go after assessing the situation rationally, and not in a fit of anger or after one incident, will let you know that there are better things in store for you if you plan it out.  You need to keep in mind that the best things in your life may not mean working in a place that is compromising your values and jeopardizing your health. In the end, planning and knowing your core values will guide you in the right direction every time.

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