Thursday, December 18, 2014

'Awful' Christmas attraction closes after ONE DAY






'It promised a ‘fully immersive’ Christmas experience, with reindeer, a festive market and, of course, Santa’s grotto. But visitors to Yorkshire’s Magical Winterland found it to be far from magical and barely wintry. Children were left in tears as they entered a desolate warehouse with cardboard boxes and random material strewn all over the ground. Magical Winterland only opened its doors on Wednesday, but was forced to pack up just 24 hours later due to its "appalling" quality.







'The Yorkshire Magical Winterland, set up at the Great Yorkshire Showground, advertised the event as having "fantastic features" and offered visitors the chance to "focus on losing yourself in our Magical Winterland". But the grim reality of the Christmas-themed event was that of rubbish-strewn hallways, poorly-constructed exhibitions and sombre-looking reindeer surrounded by a sprinkling of straw.









'Hundreds of messages were posted on the Magical Winterland's Facebook page after it opened. All complained about the price of admission - the top price for a child is £22.50 - and accused the management of misleading the public. Matt Freeman wrote: "I could have cobbled something together better than this in my own back garden for half the cost."

'"Something didn't feel right," wrote Beryl Mansfield. "Perhaps it was the thick white paint that rubbed off the festive polar bear fountain and all over our clothes. Or the rictus-like grins of the shivering elves in their cheap velour outfits. It was a spectacular disaster of smoking elves, sweary Santas, smelly mud, piles of rubbish and sacks of fake snow dumped on wooden pallets by the main entrance."

Families were left stumped by many of the exhibitions in the winter walk, saying it was unclear what the scenes were supposed to represent











'Kat Manson, from Skipton, West Yorks, who booked to take her niece Evie to the event, said: "We've had a family ticket booked for a long time for this special event. The journey there was full of excitement and wonder, Evie was going meet Santa! We checked the website this morning to see what we were going to be doing but there was no mention of any closure. We were all excited. We arrived at a near empty car park and a lonely car park attendant ushered us into a car parking space without saying a word. We were met at the desk by two female staff who said sorry we are closed. They explained that our tickets were valid for the other days but so many people had complained that it was a waste of money that they were closed. How were we supposed to explain to a four year old girl that she couldn't see Santa after all. She was devastated. She thinks Santa didn't want to see her."

Parents complained about the creepy-looked mannequins and statues of an ice queen and one which looked like an attempt at the Grinch







'Mother-of-one Suzie Smith, of Barnsley, South Yorkshire, who brought her daughter Heidi, two, to the attraction, said: “I had a vision in my head of a really magical place for kids to come before Christmas but to be honest it’s just a bit depressing. The area is too big and they haven’t been able to fill it. It’s been advertised as a magical place to come and it just isn’t."

'There were multiple reports that the attraction's multiple Father Christmases (five were spotted by some confused children) were alternately too gruff, too skinny or smelt of booze. One elf reportedly told a guest to ‘have a s*** Christmas’. The presents they gave out were cheap, plastic and unwrapped. And then there was the "snow".

'"Mummy, this isn’t snow. It’s strange," said one child within earshot of this reporter. He was pointing at what looked like dirty papier-mache spread greyly across the mud outside the front entrance. "It looks like paper. I think it’s litter. It looks like litter. It’s stuck to my boot. Mummy, get it off!"

There was a three-hour wait to visit Santa, who was guarded by another pair of elves who were reportedly Incapable of answering basic questions about the event









'Mother-of-one Laura Bamforth, who is also 30-weeks pregnant, from Pontefract, West Yorkshire, said: "We spent a total of 20 minutes in the building and we were totally appalled with the entire event. The event itself was nothing more than a fairground. The rides was overpriced and the so-called Christmas market was a total of four stalls. When leaving the event feeling very let down we told the staff on reception who also was very rude and never tried to apologise. I would like a refund for all the money I have spent."

'One family from Solihull spent £85 on tickets for three adults and two toddlers. "It was even worse than I had read in the newspaper," said the mother of the family Karen Brosius, 32. "The elves’ smiles were so fixed it was scary. It was as if they had never seen a child before — they didn’t have a clue."

The festive nine hole golf course promised 'twinkling Christmas lights, fantastic gifts to overcome and even Santa Claus himself'















'After nearly three hours — a good half of it spent waiting about and looking vainly in the stalls for something decent to buy — this reporter had had enough. As had a young boy near me. "Can we go home now?" he asked his father. "I thought there was going to be snow. But there isn’t — it’s just that strange grey stuff." And when his father asked him what had been his favorite part of the Magical Winterland, perhaps Father Christmas, or the merry-go-round or the Fairy Queen, or even the two live reindeer? "Splashing in puddles in the car park," he said.' -- collaged

It is with great regret that we have decided to close Yorkshire’s Magical Winterland at the Yorkshire Event Centre in Harrogate permanently from tonight. We worked very hard to create a family event and have received some positive feedback but also some adverse publicity. We plan to refund anyone who bought tickets in advance and can be contacted at info@yorkshiresmagicalwinterland.co.uk









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p.s. Hey. ** Chilly Jay Chill, Hi, Jeff. Thanks re: the post. No, as far as I can remember this morning, I don't know that Saul Bass film at all. Wow, cool, I'll see if I can track it down. Thank you a lot for alerting me. I just saw that there's a new Stewart Home novel yesterday. And you're the news anchor about the new English language Guyotat. Wow! I know, both are total musts. Of course I'd really, really like to read your new novel stuff. A wait is okay, though, because I'm going to be out of commission regarding almost everything for the next month at least, I fear. The editing goes well, very intensively. Whatever happens, I think we'll be pretty headfirst continually into the editing for quite a while. I'll have a several day break around Xmas when Zac goes off for family holiday thing. If the Berlin Film Festival wants the film, it'll be intense because that means the film would need to be completely finished by late January including at least two weeks of post-production work in Berlin. If they don't want it, we're going to try to finish in January anyway. A lot of work to do, a lot. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi, sir. So nice that you knows Ms. Laurie, and that she's as great a person as she would seem to be. She's wonderful in her interviews. ** Kier, Hi! Yes, well, you were yet again the trigger and inspiration re: the Piper Laurie post due to your mention of her in 'The Faculty', so that post owes you a ton. Bardufoss photos! And film? Link(s) would be awesome. Yesterday was our longest editing work day yet. We started on Scene 4. We always knew it would be a tough one because we shot 24 hours of footage for that scene, and it took us all day and into the later night yesterday just to go through all of that and begin to pick out shots and moments and things that we liked a lot and that could work. It's going to be the toughest scene to get right. Its narrative is quite complex, and we made so many changes to the scene just before shooting and during the shooting that the scene has become a big mess, or I mean a mess relative to what we had originally planned for it to be. So we need to kind of reinvent the scene in the editing, and we're not sure about the best way to do that yet. It took so long to go through the footage that we only barely began to lay out an extremely rough cut at about 9 pm last night. Hopefully, we'll have a solid draft by this afternoon, and a plan in motion by tonight. The good thing, or one of the good things, is that the scene, which was mostly shot outdoors in a small town and a forest in Northern France, looks amazing and beautiful visually. Anyway, that was complete entirety of my day, and today will be more of the exact same, but hopefully we'll have figured out a clear route forward by tonight. Oh, and the only other thing that happened yesterday is that my eBook-like, non-novel-like new novel got officially announced, here and elsewhere, if anyone cares. Okay, I'll be stepping onto the metro very shortly on my way to the editing room, and what will you be doing very shortly, or, rather, what did you do very shortly and what was the end result of that come the fall of night? ** Damien Ark, Hi, Damien! I love when something that seems like it'll be short reveals itself as the basis and piece of a possible novel, don't you? That's exciting, man. I don't ... think I know Sion Sono. Hm. If you want to do a post about him and his stuff, I would fall to my knees or something, or I could try to do one from my total ignoramus pov. ** Steevee, Hi. I think some counter-hacker group would have to offer a million dollars or, I don't know, immortality, to anyone who actually goes to see 'The Interview' to get me to see it. It just seems like the epitome of what I have no interest in seeing. But if you see it, let me know if I'm just being a hard-ass. Really, you think film journals/mags would be too squeamish or something re: that piece you were interested in writing? It sounds pretty interesting in theory. ** Robert-nyc, Hi, Robert. She kind of really rules. PL, I think. Thanks about my lists. If you do yours, do tell us where. I'm glad you said hello, man. Hello! ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. Well, this post today would never have been a thing of any thingness without you. I fear you've probably already read and seen the all the stuff in the post. I scoured, and I think I found everything lurking in the corners. I hope. Ooh, 'the break out' area sounds very exciting. What is it, and how it get that kind of explosive name? ** Keaton, Hard Rock nachos are peculiarly amazing. Most of the time. Sometimes they have a rushed quality about them. But I think they would die before they could be delivered. Just a guess. I think their lifespan is maybe 15 minutes. We got the Pierre Herme buche. But it will not be my final buche. I'm studying the candidates and making my decision on #2 as we speak. Ha ha, startling and awesome: your Xmas narrative, and weird too 'cos Santa is a character in the novel I'm writing. Although he behaves slightly differently in mine, ha ha. Thank you for the glory, buddy! ** Sypha, Hi. Yeah, I'll take your word for it on the Minaj album. Cool about the review! Everyone, Sypha gives his no doubt masterful opinion on the David Cronenberg novel 'Consumed' on goodreads, and you can read it. Best of luck on the long Xmas shifts. Man oh man. ** Bill, Inscrutable, me? Cool. ** Misanthrope, You forgot to put in the link, ha ha. Okay, see, while your enthusiastic writing about this basketball stuff is quite a joy to read in and of itself, you've entered territory whose foreignness glazes my eyes. Interesting mixed experience, in other words. Ultimately a very positive one. ** Okay. Today you get to see how one attempt to create a simulacrum of Xmas at its best on earth went horribly wrong. I love this kind of stuff, and I'm gambling that some of you might too. Basically. See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Piper Laurie Day





'The first thing I think of when I think of Piper Laurie is ‘Movie Star’. This label is perhaps a bit inaccurate when considering her expansive body of work over seven decades, that stretches across nearly as many artistic mediums – acting in film, television, theater; sculpting, painting and now, with the release of her memoir, Learning to Live Out Loud, writing. When it comes to contemporary acting, however, distinct flashes of Laurie’s style can be glimpsed, albeit fleetingly, in the performance styles of starlets such as Carey Mulligan and Michelle Williams—women who are striking, intellectual, maybe a bit bruised, maybe a bit tough – tremulous gamines with hearts of steel. Piper Laurie began doing that in the 1950s as a contract player working with stalwarts like Douglas Sirk, and continued refining this type into the1960s with her iconic turn as Sarah in The Hustler (1961).

'Known largely now for its stinging treatment of pool shark culture and the cool, The Hustler shined a spotlight on the hunky king of that world, Fast Eddie Felson (played of course by a never-hotter Paul Newman). Upon closer inspection, there is such an edgy nastiness to the film that makes its purposeful nihilism still feel shocking. Shocking not because of the frank dissection of its characters’ narcissistic, deliberately hurtful behavior and desperation (though those are incredible moments), but instead for how shockingly tough, scrappy and new the punched-in-the-guts emotional impact feels every time Laurie appears on screen to temper the overall machismo with her patented brand of tough cookie feminine energy. There’s real danger in this film, a thrilling sense of risk-taking.

'The Hustler still feels that way more than fifty years later. Fresh. Exciting. Deadly. The film works largely thanks to Laurie’s contribution to the incredible ensemble that includes not only Newman but also towering greats George C. Scott and Jackie Gleason. The doomed, tragic romance between Laurie’s Sarah and Fast Eddie grounded The Hustler in a stark and bitter reality that hadn’t been depicted for the screen previously. After being nominated for the Best Actress Academy Award for her work in the film, Laurie soon found that Hollywood was an inhospitable place for women who didn’t necessarily fit into just one mold as an artist.

'Rather than take work that wasn’t up to snuff, Laurie did something that might have been considered, again, a little shocking: she stopped playing the leading lady (or, in her words “perky starlet”) and promptly left movies for work on her own terms. The result was a daring collection of female characters who were not only close to the edge, but some who, in fact, went over that edge a long time ago. Colorful, memorable roles in films like Carrie (1976, for which she makes our Essential Performances list), Children of a Lesser God (1986) and Twin Peaks (1990) solidified her reputation as a singular talent. When one digs a bit deeper into her body of work, into films like the 1979 Australian drama Tim opposite Mel Gibson or the Truman Capote-inspired realms of deeply-Southern magical realism in The Grass Harp (1995), the breadth of her characterizations is impressive, there is always a deliberateness to her portrayals, and each is impeccably constructed and thoughtful.

'Female movie stars of today may possess the basic, bare minimum tenets of Piper Laurie’s blazingly original screen persona, but very few can claim the kind of honed, strong chops she can. They just don’t make them like this anymore, as the saying goes. However, as her revealing biography points out, a thirst for learning and a constant search for new ways of creatively expressing oneself can take a performer to spectacular heights, and she done both opposite some of the greatest artists ever to work, counting Maureen Stapleton, Jean Simmons, Kim Stanley, David Lynch, Douglas Sirk , Paul Newman, George C. Scott, Sissy Spacek and Brian De Palma amongst her closest collaborators. She no doubt also taught them a thing or two as well, which means the future is indeed bright for the Carey Mulligans and Michelle Williamses of the world after all.' -- Matt Mazur



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Stills


















































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Further

Piper Laurie @ IMDb
Book: 'Learning to Live Out Loud: A Memoir' by Piper Laurie
'Piper Laurie On Her Big Twin Peaks Secret'
'Why I had to reject Hollywood'
'Piper Laurie Discusses Twin Peaks Revival & Carrie'
'Piper Laurie in-depth, or 'I'll have what she's having, hold the knives'
'Piper Laurie remembers the smoldering genius of George C. Scott'
'Why didn't Piper Laurie win the Oscar for Carrie?'
'Piper Laurie Emerges From Your Nightmares'
'Piper Laurie On Not Winning The Oscar'
'Piper Laurie claims Ronald Reagan was a 'show-off' in bed'
'Piper Laurie reflects on the past'



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Extras


PIPER LAURIE ~ INTERVIEW 2012 "Life Of A Legend"


What's My Line? MYSTERY GUEST: Piper Laurie


Twin Peaks Piper Laurie Bonhams Live Auction


TALKIN' WITH PIPER LAURIE


Golden Globes 1991 Piper Laurie Wins the Award for Best Supporting Actress



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Interview
from Pop Matters




Your career began at a pivotal time in cinema history when the way movies were being made was quickly changing. What were your initial ambitions?

Piper Laurie: Well, I wanted to be a really good actress and I had planned on going to New York to work in the theater. I screen-tested before, several times, and they failed them. So I was sort of surprised when Universal decided to exercise the test option contract after the screen test that I made with Rock Hudson. It was so flattering, that they wanted me, and that they were going to pay me for doing what I loved to do. I got trapped into something that I wasn’t expecting. I knew nothing about the kind of movies that Universal made at that time. I was forced to lower my standards. I didn’t really lower my standards, it was just agony I must say, to have to play the parts in the movies that they gave me. On one hand I was grateful that I was getting a name, which I later had to live down, but it was certainly not what I had aspired to.

Do you ever revisit those movies, like the ones you did with Douglas Sirk?

PL: No, I haven’t seen them for years. I don’t think I ever saw any of them more than once. You know, modern people enjoyed them…

The Hustler is such a favorite of mine and I’ve recently revisited it. Talk about a movie that stands the test of time… when you were constructing your character for this film, what about playing Sarah was most intriguing to you?

PL: Well, I think not necessarily playing her, but the whole project: the meticulous, vibrant script and the opportunity to work with Robert Rossen and to play opposite the actors that were starring in it. The overall project was really the appeal, not necessarily her part. Those sad creatures require almost to dredge up a lot of sadness in one’s life and that’s never fun.

Speaking of great ensembles, I wish I could have seen you do The Glass Menagerie with Pat Hingle and Maureen Stapleton, I’m such a fan of that play and of Tennessee Williams.

PL: It was really a lovely production! That’s what I’ve been told by enough people so I believe it! (laughing)

What were the challenges of performing this demanding role for the stage? Did you for example take to the language naturally?

PL: You put it very well. I think most actors respond to his language. That’s why so many of us like to work on his material. I’d worked on a lot of things, plays, in my acting classes before I even went to Universal and became a professional actor. Tennessee Williams was a very important person to me. I got to meet him and know him a little bit while we were rehearsing and during the play and he came to many of the performances. The Tennessee Williams one-act play, This Property Is Condemned, was made into a movie that had nothing to do with the play, it was a completely different story. It was basically a two-character play, the main character was mainly a monologue, a 14-year-old girl. I played the main character, I worked on that in my acting class, and used it as an audition piece when I went to Universal.

They were going to give me three minutes, they were going to start the play, and I expected them to stop me, but they didn’t and I ended up doing the whole 25-minute play. And they signed me, and I made a screen test, and they put me into junk. Anyway…. Tennessee Williams is a fabulous part of my life and actually I just came back from the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival in New Orleans where I was on a number of the panels and did a reading, the Katharine Hepburn role [from Suddenly, Last Summer] from when she first appears in the movie. There was a whole afternoon devoted to Williams.

I’m so interested the women you mention in your book. Maureen, Kim Stanley, Jean Simmons, and Estelle Parsons. How did your associations with these talented women impact you?

PL: Greatly (laughing). Maureen was just… so human and tortured and dear and intelligent. Brilliant. As gifted as she was, that’s how intelligent she was as well. We spent a lot of time together while doing the play and then afterwards as well. She was a generous human person, who had a hard time with life and made a lot of bad choices like a lot of actors do. But I loved her very much, she was a wonderful person.

It is striking just how prescient Carrie is in its depiction of bullying and teenage horror. I have to ask – what are your thoughts on the planned remake and Julianne Moore tackling Margaret White?

PL: Oh, you know, I hope that they have fun like we did! Or like I did anyway. I wish them well and I know that they did another version of it on stage recently, and I did get to see the first of the previews. They had a different take on the story, and they had every right to. I loved our movie, our version of it, because I think that Brian De Palma brought a joyful sensibility to it, there was all that freshness. Even though it was about a lot of misery, there was still joy in all of those young people, in all the characters. There was flamboyance about Brian De Palma’s work, I think. I know he certainly made me feel comfortable. I think the people involved with the new version will do their own take on it and I wish them well.

I had a chance to research some of your filmography that I hadn’t seen previously and was so impressed with some of the more underrated titles. Particularly I loved watching Tim, with Mel Gibson, which had so many great observations about gender, age and atypical relationships. In the book you touch on working with Mel, but I was so fascinated with your character, she seemed so much different from anything else you had done until that point. What did you hope to express through Mary, your character in Tim?

PL: You know, I don’t really approach a part with what I want to express, I think my ambition during filming is to respect the material, to fulfill the nature of the character as written. I don’t feel I can take charge and be the playwright. I just saw her as a very decent woman, and a generous one. I don’t really think I had a motive to be a certain kind of person, I just wanted to fulfill the story.

What was the personal significance to you of being a woman of Jewish descent playing a Nazi like Magda Goebbels with Anthony Hopkins as Hitler in The Bunker?

PL: It was very interesting to do the research on Hitler, Goebbels and his beautiful wife, who I was playing. I had a knot in my stomach the whole time I was reading. I had, even as a child, a violent response to Hitler as, I suppose you can call him a ‘human being’, though I really don’t think he deserved that title. He was alive at one point, he was a person, but I just had nightmares about him when I was a little girl. It was kind of treacherous getting into this material and trying to empathize with people who were very close to him. Magda Goebbels was very close. He trusted her. She was the only person who could cook something for him and he wouldn’t demand a taster to see if it was safe to eat. So I approached it from another’s point of view and tried to imagine her as being a mother, a human and the feelings that she probably had about her children and being in that underground place that they had at the end.

I wanted to ask you about film criticism since you were married to one of the great film critics, Joe Morgenstern, and also knew Pauline Kael. What changes have you observed in film criticism throughout your career?

PL: For a long time, for many years, there were very few critics, most people who wrote about movies were called ‘reviewers.’ I suppose they still exist, they were the people who would spoil the movie by telling the story. It had no values at all [talking] about performance. It was just all very superficial. I think there are a lot of real critics now, I guess that’s good (laughing). I don’t like reading reviews myself about a movie I’m going to be seeing. I like reading the ones I respect after I see the movie, that’s really fun to do.

What did playing Catherine on Twin Peaks, and her Japanese businessman disguise Mr Tojamura, allow you to do as a performer that you’d never done before?

PL: I didn’t expect it. When I was little girl, I used to get into elaborate disguises. I remember there was an old folks home across the street, in this huge Victorian house, and the people would always sit out on the porch and rock or spend the afternoon. With the help of my sister, I got into the disguise of an old lady, powdered my hair, bent my body over, and put on some old clothes and clunky shoes. I actually had a following there! (laughing) My sister and some of the kids in the neighborhood thought ‘this is pretty bizarre and interesting!’ (laughing) I pretended to be an old lady and of course all of the old folks knew that it was a kid doing this and they went along with it, but I remember there was one man who tied my shoelace for me! I found such joy in being able to change who I was. It was fun, it’s why I loved Halloween, because we could wear costumes. So, to be handed the opportunity by David Lynch, to do that in the show, was pure heaven!

You’ve been awarded three career Oscar nominations – what did these Oscar nominations mean to you when you were first nominated and how did your perception change as you collected other awards and nominations?

PL: Well, the first Oscar nomination for The Hustler was meaningless to me. Because I didn’t have the perspective of the movie, I was too subjective when I viewed it. It wasn’t what I had expected. When I’d see a scene, I’d remember that my shoe was too tight or that we were having difficulty or had to shoot it a lot of times. You know, I just remembered all of the things we’d experienced on the set, rather than looking at it objectively as the story was going. I thought it was bullshit, frankly, that I had been nominated and I just didn’t believe in it. I didn’t even go out to California for the ceremony. I watched it on a little set with my mother-in-law and my husband. Then, later as I started getting nominations, I was a little more relaxed about myself, I was able to enjoy the fun and that my peers thought I had done a good job. I never really enjoyed going. I pretended I was enjoying going to the ceremonies, but it’s always difficult.

What about when you win and you have to give speeches?

PL: I’ve won things a few times. Once I won my Emmy, when I wasn’t there, not because I didn’t want to go but because I was doing a play somewhere. James Woods accepted for me and that was fun. The only other time I was present and actually won was the Golden Globe for Twin Peaks and that was hell, I’ll be honest with you! (laughing) When I heard my name, I really didn’t expect to hear it. I didn’t even bother to tidy up before the broadcast started. It took forever before I got to the podium, I don’t even know what I said. It was stupid, I’m sure! (laughing)



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18 of Piper Laurie's 112 roles

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Douglas Sirk Has Anybody Seen My Gal (1952)
'The reason why Has Anybody Seen My Gal is enjoyable, even now over 60 years after it was made is because of Charles Coburn. Coburn was such a great comedic actor that even when he was playing a grouch he was likeable and so from the minute we meet Samuel Fulton, berating his staff as he dictates his Will you just smile because Coburn simply makes him fun. And it is the same throughout, be it a knowing look, his attempts to make soda-pops or the way he treats the Blaisdell's home like his own without a care in the world he just makes you smile. As such whilst there are entertaining performances from Larry Gates, Lynn Bari as well as Piper Laurie and Rock Hudson it is Coburn who is the star and who makes it worth watching. Although for sheer cuteness Gigi Perreau as young Roberta deserves a mention because she maybe a childhood cliche but she is fun especially as she befriends Fulton.' -- The Movie Scene



Excerpt


Excerpt with commentary by Piper Laurie



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Rudolph Maté The Mississippi Gambler (1953)
'1953's The Mississippi Gambler was the third Universal Studios film to bear this title--though with a different plot each time. Tyrone Power plays an all-around adventurer who cuts quite a swath through antebellum New Orleans. In between scenes of gambling, fist-fighting and swordplay, Power woos Piper Laurie, who chooses to marry wealthy Ron Randell; in turn, Power is wooed by Julie Adams, whose ardor is not reciprocated. The climax finds Power in a card table showdown with Ms. Laurie's ill-tempered brother John Baer. Mississippi Gambler is consistently good to look at, even when the storyline threatens to snap under the pressure.' -- collaged



the entire film



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Edward Buzzell Ain't Misbehavin' (1955)
'Up and coming hopefuls in the film arts have to cut their milk teeth somewhere, and Ain't Misbehavin' is the type of zwieback on which they chew. Yesterday at the Palace Piper Laurie and Rory Calhoun could be seen industriously learning their trade in the Universal-International color musical. The story line of rich young man and poor chorus line hoofer, set atop San Francisco's Nob Hill, flits frantically about the place and never really goes anywhere. Miss Laurie sings and dances four alleged "production" numbers, and she's in there batting every minute. It's a forced, joyless thing that director Edward Buzzell has wrought. All surface and no distinction. The music is tired and the dances are flaccid repetitions of hundreds of other movie dances. But when the summer nights afflict you like wet wool, and the theatres beckon with their super-cooled zephyrs, Ain't Misbehavin' will fill the double bill. At worst it's a soporific.' -- NY Times



Excerpt



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Robert Rossen The Hustler (1961)
'I wanted to do The Hustler before I had even gotten to the part in the script where my character came in. The words painted a picture that was so vivid in my imagination. It drew me in so quickly and completely, as the movie does. I didn’t have that in my mind while I was acting. I was very subjective in my relationship with Paul [Newman], so I had no idea where the camera was or what was going on. When I saw the finished movie, it was so different from what I imagined the first time I read the script that I was shocked and I hated the movie. It took me years before I could see it and realize how really wonderful it was.' -- Piper Laurie



Trailer


Excerpt



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Brian De Palma Carrie (1976)
'For anyone unfortunate enough to have caught Carrie as a child, you might remember Piper Laurie from every fucking nightmare you’ve ever had. In a film crowded with macabre images—a blood-soaked Sissy Spacek and a young John Travolta among them—Laurie manages to be the most singularly terrifying thing on the screen. One moment she’s seemingly calm and collected, and the next she’s grinning maniacally as she stalks her daughter with a kitchen knife. And she does it all in the name of God. Laurie’s performance just might be the scariest thing to come out of Christianity since Mormon underwear. But what’s even more startling about Laurie’s performance is how surprisingly well it has aged. Despite its revered status, Carrie as a whole doesn’t hold up very well. Its split-screen climax is about as dated as “Disco Duck.” But Laurie’s looney-tunes Margaret White remains terrifying, a diabolical mix of high camp and classic horror. Look at those crazy eyes and the way she seems to float down the hallway, her nightgown blowing ethereally as if by being sent aflutter by the breath of demons. She isn’t just the epitome of the warped righteousness of fundamentalism. She’s one of the best monsters ever committed to film.' -- Willamette Week



Compilation of PL's scenes in 'Carrie'


the entire film



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Curtis Harrington Ruby (1977)
'RUBY (1977) is not one Curtis Harrington’s better films, but it was his biggest moneymaker. In fact, it was the most successful American indie ever until the following year’s HALLOWEEN. The presence of veteran actress Piper Laurie, on the comeback trail after playing the demented mother of CARRIE, was a definite factor in its success. Curtis Harrington’s films were characterized by darkly atmospheric settings and dreamlike horror. Those things are in scant evidence on RUBY, which tends to rely on cheap shocks to achieve its effects--blood emitting from a vending machine, a seeping bullet wound appearing in Ruby’s daughter’s forehead--along with a seriously tacky PSYCHO-inspired score. Plus it cribs shamelessly from THE EXORCIST in its later scenes, as Ruby’s child becomes possessed and exhibits a full spectrum of Linda Blair-isms. The film is, however, trashily enjoyable. Gorehounds will get a kick out of all the exploitive bloodletting, and Piper Laurie gives a memorably histrionic performance as the title character. As for the loony ending, it would be better if it weren’t so abrupt; apparently Harrington’s original cut had a more elaborate fade-out that was jettisoned by producers.' -- fright.com



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the entire film



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Glenn Jordan In the Matter of Karen Ann Quinlan (1977)
'This is a true story. In April 1975, Karen Ann Quinlan suddenly lapsed into a coma, baffling hospital doctors. Her foster-parents realise that it is only a matter of time before she dies, because the brain damage is so severe that Karen could never recover. They have to make a terrible life or death decision. And then they have to face some bitter complications. Co-stars Brian Keith and Piper Laurie splendidly portray the tormented couple.' -- sky.com



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Michael Pate Tim (1979)
'The opening scenes of Tim are so indifferently shot and so sitcom-bright that I realized with a start that I'd never really seen Australia or Australian cinema look this way. I didn't know Tim's premise, just that the film debuted Down Under about three months after the first Mad Max did in 1979, rocketing Mel Gibson to superfame, and earning him the AFI award for this performance. Based on the Disney Channel palette and the juvenile scoring, all pan flutes and comic slide-whistles for no particular reason, I got ready to Learn Something About Life, the way you do in those movies where some girl called Christy or Rebecca or Anne stands around in tall-grass or in front of church-shaped schoolhouses, sporting a lot of long-sleeved gingham and wearing her goodness like sunblock, right there on the outside. Piper Laurie is Mary Horton, the single, middle-aged, school-marmish woman who sees Tim finishing up some home-repair project for her next-door neighbor and hires him to do some odd jobs for her. With everything in place, including a totally de-sexed teacher-confidant, we settle in for a less pastoral Mel of Avonlea, or some life-affirming combination of Charly and Gibson's own directorial debut, The Man without a Face. Laurie plays Mary is a self-aware chicken-hawk who thinks she needs to play the innocent-mentor angle and ride it out patiently in order to get what she wants.' -- Nick's Flick Picks



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Lee Philips Mae West (1982)
'The viewer is advised at the outset that the script, written by E. Arthur Kean, is ''based on events in the life of the legendary Mae West.'' Legend, of course, doesn't necessarily have anything to do with truth. In this case, certain autobiographical facts are embellished with several of Miss West's more famous comments about life and sex (''When I'm good, I'm very good; when I'm bad, I'm better''), some of them taken out of their original performance context and delivered as passing conversation. In the process, the woman behind the public image emerges as a trailblazing feminist and a brave denouncer of censorship. Her detractors, however, are offered a measure of comfort in the depiction of her private love life as a mess. The wicked, presumably, will still be punished. Her Mama is played with saintly reserve by Piper Laurie.' -- NY Times



Compilation of PL's scenes in 'Mae West'



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Walter Murch Return to Oz (1985)
'A tween-aged Fairuza Balk plays Dorothy, whose insistence on recounting her adventures following her return from Oz has Aunt Em (Piper Laurie) and Uncle Henry (Matt Clark) convinced that she must be experiencing delusional depression. They nearly bankrupt themselves (in a town already so broke that it can’t afford a flagpole, no less) in order for Dorothy to see a psychiatrist. Dr. Worley (Nicol Williamson) is less interested in her mental health than in ensuring that Dorothy’s perceived problems stop bothering the adults around her, though. He is obsessed with what he perceives to be progress, declaring that the 20th century (the film is set in 1900) will be “a century of electricity.” During a storm, this relentless push for modernity quite literally backfires: The lights go out, and Dorothy is finally able to hear the screams of discarded patients in the absence of the ominously cheerful hum of electricity. With the help of a mysterious young girl, she escapes down a stream and miraculously wakes up in Oz.' -- City Paper



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Randa Haines Children of a Lesser God (1986)
'Children of a Lesser God is a 1986 romantic drama film that tells the story of a speech teacher at a school for deaf students who falls in love with a deaf woman who also works there. It stars William Hurt, Marlee Matlin, Piper Laurie, and Philip Bosco. In her debut role as Sarah Norman, Matlin won the 1986 Academy Award for Best Actress. The film also garnered Academy Award nominations for Best Actor for William Hurt, Best Supporting Actress for Piper Laurie, Best Picture, and Best Writing for an Adapted Screenplay.' -- collaged



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David Lynch Twin Peaks (1990-1991)
'After we wrapped up the first season, David called me at home and said, in his Jimmy Stewart drawl, “Rosie, I want you to give some thought to the next season. Your character was last seen at the fire in the sawmill. We don’t know whether Catherine escaped or not. When we come back, I want the audience to think you died in the fire. Your husband, Jack Nance, will think you’re dead. Everyone will think you’re dead, and we’ll take your name off the credits of the show.” It crossed my mind for a millisecond that this was David’s original way of telling me I was being fired. But he continued, “Now, Rosie, this is the part I want you to think about. You will return in some sort of disguise, as a man, and you’ll spy on the town and create trouble for everyone -your husband, your lover, everyone. You should probably be a businessman. I want you to decide what kind of businessman you would like to be. Maybe a Frenchman or a Mexican. Think about it for a while and let me know.” I was so enchanted with the open possibilities and the power of being able to choose my part. (…) I decided I’d be a Japanese businessman because I thought it would be less predictable. I was so filled with excitement and laughter: this was joyful children’s play. There was no argument from David when I told him my choice, no attempt to influence me. He simply accepted it. Then came the hard part. David wished me to keep it a secret from the entire cast and crew. Not even my agent or my family was to know. That was important to him. I wasn’t to tell a soul. There was so much preparation involved in pulling off the subterfuge. There were secret makeup and wardrobe tests at a laboratory in the Valley. Paula Shimatsu-u, who was Mark Frost’s assistant and one of the few people who knew, was helpful in making tape recordings of Japanese friends reciting my lines. I practicec imitating them while driving to and from work. I had assumed that, of course, the placement of my voice would be electronically altered, but they had given it no thought and were not prepared on the morning of my first scene. I am trained to keep going no matter what, and when I realized I was on my own, I ended up going to a place in my chest and throat to get that appropriate guttural sound. It turned out to be painful to sustainm, and I sipped liquids constantly between takes. I shall never do that again for fear of injuring my voice permanently.' -- Piper Laurie



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Piper Laurie talks Twin Peaks



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Dario Argento Trauma (1993)
'You know, I haven’t seen that since I made it. I had a lot of fun on that film when we shot it because it was so silly. [laughs] I felt silly acting in my black wig and I had some sort of funny accent. It was over the top and I just had fun laughing in between takes.' -- Piper Laurie



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Charles Matthau The Grass Harp (1995)
'Helmer Charles Matthau combines a sensitive screenplay adaptation of Truman Capote’s autobiographical novel The Grass Harp with a wonderful ensemble cast to create a jewel of a film. Collin Fenwick, Capote’s alter ego, loses both his parents at an early age. The young Collin (Grayson Frick) is forced to move in with two of his father’s cousins, the Talbo sisters. In an inspired bit of casting, they’re played by Piper Laurie and Sissy Spacek (who portrayed mother and daughter in Carrie). All the performers do superior work but Piper Laurie stands above them all with a performance that is exquisite, touching and real.' -- Variety



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Yves Simoneau Intensity (1997)
'A young woman staying as a guest in a Napa Valley farmhouse becomes trapped in a fight for survival with a self-proclaimed homicidal adventurer, and races to save his next intended victim. Teleplay by Stephen Tolkin based on the novel by Dean Koontz. Directed by Yves Simoneau. Starring Molly Parker, John C. McGinley and Piper Laurie. TV so quality isn't great, but it's decent and I don't think this was ever released on video or dvd. Pretty intense at times with fine acting, in particular by John C. McGinley. I haven't read the book so I can't vouch for how close this is to the Dean Koontz's original story.' -- IMDb



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Robert Rodriguez The Faculty (1998)
'Robert Rodriguez is a vastly fun director. He is always very kinetic and edits his own films. There is no such thing as a slow-paced Rodriguez film. He knows how to make the most out of a shoestring budget and has a good eye for gore effects. Rodriguez gets fun (not good but fun) performances from everyone including Bebe Neuwirth and Piper Laurie as other faculty members. While Rodriguez normally writes, edits, and directs, here he wisely turns the writing chores over to Kevin Williamson. Rodriguez writes efficiently but Williamson really knows how to write young people. He throws in the usual pop culture references including a hilarious one about Invasion of the Body Snatchers ripping off Heinlein’s The Puppet Masters (which it did). The Faculty is essentially the same story.' -- collaged



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Conrad Janis Bad Blood (2006)
'Summer vacation will never be the same for nine College students on their way to Lake Tahoe when they are derailed from their plans and land at 'Millie's Cherry Pie Inn and Diner' and the very 'normalcy' of both 'Lawrence' the Charming Patriarch of this group of "Outlanders" and his wife "Millie", and their grandson "Jim" prove to be chillingly threatening in their simplicity and rejection of all that is 'Modern'...Our nine enthusiastic young travelers are lulled into a false sense of security until they are forced to face the fact that the Devil sometimes wears a gray suit and smile, and that their only hope of survival is to stick together and escape the cloyingly sweet tentacles of terror and death woven by the seemingly benign inhabitants of this secret Clan.' -- IMDb



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Spencer Susser Hesher (2010)
'Hesher is a violent, uncontrollable wild man who might easily hail from Borneo, but in time the script is hell-bent on revealing a sensitivity to the plight of others that is as bracing as electro-shock therapy. Natalie Portman makes an unlucky cameo appearance as a penniless supermarket cashier named Nicole who becomes T.J.’s only friend when she rescues him from a sadistic bully. Hesher wrecks everyone’s trust by throwing Nicole into bed (she likes tattoos) but redeems himself by showing up at a funeral stoned and dragging the corpse away on a motorbike. Don’t ask. The whole thing seems to have been directed by long-distance cell phone and edited with a rotary jigsaw. Mr. Gordon-Levitt, in the title role, never makes the lobotomized Hesher a coherent character. The only thing he doesn’t set fire to is the negative. The kid who plays T.J. looks like a miniature version of the already miniature Justin Bieber. Only the great Piper Laurie delivers dollar value. Otherwise, Hesher is to movies what graffiti is to a rotting fence.' -- New York Observer



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p.s. Hey. ** David Ehrenstein, Amoeba is a considerable slice of heaven. Luckily, it's not the last record store, but it's certainly in the top tier of the ones in the running for the best one standing. I forgot about 'What's My Shoe Size', ha ha. Ha ha about the show, not about my forgetting. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi. I saw that about the Magical Journey. If I had time, I'd add it into my imminent Magic Winterland post. My favorite quote from the MJ stuff I found: 'It turns out the ‘journey’ is not an extensive train ride through acres of wooded wonderland but, in fact, a couple of weak elf sketches, a lot of hanging around in the cold, and a two-minute wet-bottomed rumble through a very pretty wood with cars roaring past on a nearby road. There is no music on the train, so the elf at the back sings a couple of verses of Jingle Bells and then peters out when the driver elf refuses to join in. But small mercies — the train works and Freddy loves it. Last week it had to be pushed up a hill by a group of elves after one reckless elf drove into a tree, then a trailer and then, apparently, ran out of petrol.' But, yes, the employees got fucked. The quiet heroes. ** Tosh Berman, Me too. I've spent many an hour with 'What's in My Bag' while daydreaming about what records I'd put in mine were I aware that I was about to get my bag searched on camera. I'm really looking forward to taking a record store tour the next time I hit LA. There's a good one, name escaping me, just a few blocks from my LA pad on Hillhurst. I'm sure you know it. ** Sypha, Those King homilies are just intolerable. That assessment of his writing seems pretty spot on from my limit experience, but the guy is at least a minor genius when it comes to thinking up and ladling out horror tropes. ** Kier, Hi, buddy boy! Yeah, I don't even really like sweet drinks that aren't alcoholic. I've hated Coke, Pepsi, 7-Up, Mountain Dew, Orangina, etc., etc. since I was about five years old. I like water. I'm old fashioned. I'll skip that movie, yes. I am curious about 'Meth Head' from the trailer. I saw 'Solarbabies', yikes, yeah, kind of sort of really fun. I guess it's good that your psych wants you to be prepared for the very worst, unlikely case scenario, and hopefully that's all that's going on there. 'Point Break', right. Keanu. My day ended up being an off-day re: the editing. My last for a while. Which isn't to say I wasn't doing film stuff a lot, like crossing town to FedEx to send the DVD of the three rough/finished scenes to our producers, who will have them in hand in the next couple of hours whereupon we'll see what they think. Stressful. As I may have mentioned already, I don't think the film we're making is the film they have been expecting. Not that we've misled them at all. It's just that, knowing their tastes and what they usually produce, our film is a lot more artful and serious. Hopefully, they'll like that about it, but you never know. Anyway, nervous. So, I did that. Then I tried to catch up on stuff I have to do and am way behind on. I did the revisions on the theater piece script. I made 1 1/2 blog posts. I creased my huge backlog of unanswered emails. I went out at one point to hang with yesterday's guest-host Jonathan Mayhew because he's about to head off to Norway for the holidays. We had coffee, book shopped, blabbed, strolled. It was nice. Then I came back and did some work and work-ish stuff, ate pasta, uh, ... slept. Back to the editing room today. What was the shape and character of your today? ** Keaton, Man, The North Pole has never seem more real or more enticing as a tourist destination than it is in your hands. I haven't been over to Grand Boulevard this Xmas yet. I got close yesterday 'cos Fed Ex is on Blvd. Haussmann. I need to get over there. It's a short walk, and I'm definitely in sore need of some Hard Rock nachos. ** Misanthrope, Hi, G. Ha ha, no I was kidding about Le Bron. I knew he plays basketball. I knew he's a huge deal in the sport. I even knew that he touched princess ... sorry, Duchess What's-her-butt. I've just never seen him play and would never recognize him in a million years if he was in my face. Who's the one of the four that he's not better than? Not that the answer will mean much to me. I know who all those guys are, and I've actually seen Kobe play with my naked eyes a few times. They're shoes that are designed such that they can be neatly and easily buried to the heel in bottompassif's ass. ** Steevee, Cool, I'll try that Danny Brown next chance I get. I saw giant posters in the metro for 'Eastern Boys' maybe a month ago, so I suspect it has come and gone. Very striking posters. Even though I've been over quite a while, it still amazes me to see a movie like that one advertised everywhere with the same populist outreach and giant-sized posters as blockbusters 'The Hobbit', etc. But that's Paris. Very good question about what France will do re: 'The Interview' now. I guess we'll know before it opens here, whenever that is. My guess is that they'll release it as usual, but who knows. ** Rewritedept, Hi. It must be interesting and cool to have that '60s radio music available to absorb without all the context that saddles it for those of us who grew up with it as the contemporaneous soundtrack. Well, your goal for a partner seems doable. I mean it doesn't have anything too far fetched about it. It's all luck, accident, fate, etc, that stuff. Cool that you get to see Sleater-Kinney. I wonder if they'll tour here. I wonder if they're beloved over here. I have no idea. The Berlinale is the Berlin Film Festival. My week's good. I'm glad you're getting used to the unipolar depression if that's your only option. ** Hyemin kim, Hi. I saw your email. I'll try to send you the interview today. I have to track it down. Honestly, I don't know why I was compelled by Robert Piest. I think in the interview I try to figure that out slightly, but, with virtually everything that fascinates me and that I end up writing about, I don't know why, and that's why I write about those things so I can try to figure out why in the process. And I usually never do.  ** Thomas Moronic, Hi, T. Get through your last three days. Are you doing Xmas-y things for the kids in these last days? I would guess? It will be great to see you more! ** Jonathan, Hey! Awesomeness to get to see you yesterday, and thank you so much again for the Xmas treats, edible and audible! Yay that you have an idea for the thing! If you can, you-know-who will be very happy, as will I, duh! I haven't pulled the CD out of its shrink-wrap yet, but I'll make sure my ears are prepared and careful when I spin it, just in case. Have the jolliest holidays ever, and I mean ever! ** Okay. For some reason, the blog has been on a cult character actor worshipping kick of late, and here's a new extension of that phase starring the glorious Piper Laurie. Enjoy, I would think? See you tomorrow.