giovedì 27 dicembre 2012

White Christmas... with Irving Berlin

Irving Berlin

 Irving Berlin

Irving Berlin has been one of the greatest songwriters and composers of all times. He wrote his most famous songs during the first half of the twentieth century. He has worked with important and influent personalities and artists like Barbara Streisand, Cher, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Doris Day, Ella Fitzgerlad, Judy Garland, Ethel Merman, Liza Minelli, Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Julie Andrews, Florenz Ziegfeld and Marilyn Monroe. 
 Marilyn Monroe and Irving Berlin

It would be enough to remember just three of the long list of songs written by Mr Berlin, to understand how big was his impact in America music history. I'd like to offer you Irving on a silver platter by taking randomly some of his succeses and allow you to meet one of the real souls of America, the Russian-born Israel Isidore Baline, Irving Berlin. 

He wrote in 1911 "Alexander's Ragtime Band", lately performed by Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong and Liza Minnelli, and by Donald O'Connor in the 1954 musical "There's no Business like show Business", but also the song was included in White Star Line Songbook, and played during the sinking of the Titanic (the scene is included in James Cameron' movie "Titanic",1997).

In 1918 he wrote "God bless America", a patriotic song written while he was serving the U.S Army. 

In 1919, "A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody" became the Theme song of the Ziegfeld Folies, a Broadway production inspired by Les Folies Bergères in Paris; successively brought on the screen by Academy Award winner Louise Rainer and William Powell. 

In 1924 George Gershwin's concert "An Experiment in Modern Music", the "Semi-Symphonic Arrangement of Popular Melodies", was a combination of three tunes written by Berlin, "Alexander's Ragtime Band", "A Pretty Girl Is Like A Melody", and "Orange Blossoms in California".

He wrote "Easter Parade" in 1933 performed  by Bing Crosby in 1942 movie "Holiday Inn" starring also Fred Astaire. 

In 1936 he wrote for the film "Follow the fleet" starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers "Let's Face the Music and Dance", for their remarkable dance duet.

In 1942 he had his biggest success by writing "White Christmas", performed again by Bing Crosby, and his versione has become the best-selling single of all times.

In 1946 "There's no Business like Show Business" was written for the musical Annie Get your Gun, and become so popular in 1954 when was performed byEthel Merman (also seen in "All that Jazz"1979).


 In 1948 the movie "Easter Parade" starring Judy Garland and including the song "I Want To Go Back To Michigan" written by Berlin won the Academy Award for Best Musical Score.

Berlin died at the age of 101 in New York City, the former President at that time was Ronald Reagan who co-starred in Irving Berlin's musical "This is the Army" in 1943.

domenica 23 dicembre 2012

Christmas... movies

Christmas... movies 

It's Christmas Time!!!

Wherever you are... wherever you go... you cannot escape Christmas... you cannot escape food, sweets, hugs and tv!
It's Christmas time, it's time to wear your biggest pajama and lying on the couch with your family... waitin' for Santa to come!
The best way to wait for Santa is watching a Christmas movie!!!
Here is a list of some of the most famous, beautiful and funny Christmas movies for me... n'joy

A Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens' classical novel amazingly brought on the screen by Zemeckis in 2009, is the perfect representation of the true meaning of Christmas.

Home Alone

Since 1990 the perfect American comedy movie directed by Chris Columbus starring Macaulay Culkin.

It's a Wonderful Life

Directed by Frank Capra and starring James Stewart, It's a Wonderful Life it's a 1946 American drama that describes how a man that has given up is helped by an Angel named Clarence to believe in life again, by showing him all the lives he has touched and changed, and how different his community would be if he had never been born.

Trading Places

1983 American Comedy directed by John Landis and starring Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy. Two men involved in a social funny experiment of changing their lifes.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas, 1993.

Miracle on 34th street

Directed in 1947 by George Seaton 

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Ron Howard, 2000, starring Jim Carrey.

venerdì 21 dicembre 2012

Italian Living Legends

Italian Living Legends 

Being Italian... and thinking about our glorious past makes me so proud. Italy has given so much to the film industry and it's impossible to forget our legends... That's why today I wanna celebrate with you some of the greatest Italian living legends...

Their names are...

Franco Zeffirelli - Born February 12, 1923

Gina Lollobrigida - Born July 4, 1927

Ennio Morricone - Born November 10, 1928

Valentino Garavani - Born May 11, 1932

Sophia Loren - Born September 20,1934

Claudia Cardinale - Born April 15, 1938

Dante Ferretti - Born February 26, 1943

Roberto Benigni - Born October 27, 1952

 Franco Zeffirelli

Born Gianfranco Corsi, Franco Zeffirelli is one of the greatest directors and producers alive. He started his brilliant career co-working with Luchino Visconti, Roberto Rossellini and Vittorio De Sica. Zeffirelli's greatest success  was Romeo and Juliet in 1968. He has worked with Hollywood legends like Liz Taylor and Richard Burton (The Taming of the Shrew), but also Ernest Borgnine, Ian Holm, Lawrence Olivier, Christopher Plummer, Anthony Quinn and Peter Ustinov (Jesus of Nazareth - 1977). 

Liz Taylor and Richard Burton (The Taming of the Shrew)

He directed Mel Gibson, Helena Bonham Carter and Glenn Close (Hamlet - 1990). He wrote, designed, and directed Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata in 1983, starring Placido Domingo as Alfredo Germont. He worked as Stage Director at the Metropolitan Opera (Don Giovanni), and at La Scala with Luciano Pavarotti (Don Carlo). He was a close friend of Maria Callas, they worked together on La Traviata and La Tosca and he dedicate to her his last movie Callas Forever (2002). He also directed Cher and Judi Dench in Tea with Mussolini (1999).
He received two Academy Awards nominations for Best Art Direction (La Traviata) and Best Director for Romeo and Juliet for which he won the National Board of Review Awards, Nastro D'Argento and the David di Donatello.

 Gina Lollobrigida

Born Luigia Lollobrigida, Gina has been one of the most famous actresses and sex symbol of the 50's. She has been directed by John Houston in 1953' Beat the Devil, starring Humphrey Bogart and Jennifer Jones, she worked with Anthony Quinn, Rock Hudson, Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and  Sean Connery. She co-starred Tony Curtis and Burt Lancaster in Trapeze, 1956.

Gina Lollobrigida meeting Marilyn Monroe on the Seven Year Itch set

In 1961 she won the Golden Globe Henrietta Award (World Film Favorite – Female), and in her career she won three David di Donatello and one Nastro D'Argento.

 Ennio Morricone

Composer and conductor, for more than 50 years, Ennio Morricone is a real legend. He worked with his friend Sergio Leone, composing music for A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965), The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), and Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), and Once Upon a Time in America (1984). He composed the music for:
Roland Joffé's The Mission (1986)
Brian De Palma's The Untouchables (1987)
Giuseppe Tornatore's Cinema Paradiso (1988), Malèna (2000), Fateless (2005), Baaria (2009)

 Ennio Morricone with Clint Eastwood, Honorary Oscar 2007

During his career Morricone collected a huge number of Awards, including: five Baftas and two Golden Globes, six David di Donatello and two Nastri D'Argento.

 Valentino: Master of Couture at Somerset House, London

Il Maestro... Born Valentino Clemente Ludovico Garavani, Valentino is a real icon of style, elegance and glamour. During his long career he designed dreaming dresses for some of the most beautiful and talented women and men on earth. Wherever you find a red carpet, Valentino is present. From Grace Kelly to Sophia Loren, from Naomi Campbell to Jackie Kennedy, or Eva Herzigova, Gwyneth Paltrow and Claudia Shiffer every woman that wanted something more than a dress, have to wear a Valentino.

Valentino and Anne Hathaway on the red carpet, Oscars 2011

Sophia Loren in La Ciociara
Sophia Loren

Born Sofia Villani Scicolone, Sophia Loren has been directed by legendary Director Vittorio De Sica in La Ciociara (Two Women), for that performance Sophia won the Academy Award for Best Actress (the first actress winning that award for a non-english speaking performance).
She co-starred Marlon Brando in Charlie Chaplin's last movie A Countess from Hong Kong. She has worked with Charlton Heston, Gregory Peck, Richard Harris, Martin Sheen, Ava Gardner, Clark Gable, Paul Newman, Peter Ustinov, Anthony Perkins, Cary Grant, George Cukor, Julia Roberts, Judi Dench, Marion Cotillard, Nicole Kidman, Robert Altman, Penelope Cruz, Daniel Day-Lewis, Walter Matthau, Jack Lemmon, Kate Hudson, Mira Sorvino, Totò, Marcello Mastroianni and Alberto Sordi.
She has presented the Academy Award when Roberto Benigni won for Life is beautiful, screaming and laughing "Robbberto!!!".
She won:
2 Oscars (1962 La Ciociara, 1991 Honorary Oscar)
1 BAFTA (1962 La Ciociara)
1 Honorary Golden Berlin Bear (1994)
1Palma D'oro Cannes (1962 La Ciociara)
9 David di Donatello (including a Golden Plate, a Special Plate and a Career David)
12 Golden Globes (including Henrietta Award, Career Golden Globe and Cecil B. De Mille Award)
... and several other awards during her career.
I have to admit... Sophia you are my favourite... 

The Famous Streaptease with Marcello Mastroianni in Ieri Oggi Domani directed by De Sica

Sophia Loren

Claudia Cardinale

During the 60's the beautiful Claudia Cardinale appeared in some of the most important italian movies, directed by Luchino Visconti, she co-starred with Alain Delon in Rocco e i suoi fratelli, and after three years again with Alain Delon and Burt Lancaster in Il Gattopardo (Luchino Visconti).
In the same year, 1963 she appeared in Federico Fellini's Otto e mezzo ( 1963) with Marcello Mastroianni, the movie won two Academy Awards, and is listed as one of the most remarkable movies ever.
From 1963 to 1968 she acted in other famous movies like: 
The Pink Panther (1963), 
Circus World (1964) with John Wayne and Rita Hayworth
Blindfold (1965) with Rock Hudson  
The Professionals (1966) with Burt Lancaster and Jack Palance
Don't Make Waves (1967) with Tony Curtis and Sharon Tate
and in Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West (screenplay written by Sergio Leone, Bernardo Bertolucci and Dario Argento in 1968 and scored by Ennio Morricone) with Charles Bronson, Henry Fonda and Jason Robards.

Henry Fonda, Claudia Cardinale, Sergio Leone, Charles Bronson and Jason Robards 
 Once Upon A Time in the West (1968)

Il Gattopardo, Alain Delon and Claudia Cardinale

Dante Ferretti and his wife Francesca Lo Schiavo in 2012 Academy Awards

Dante Ferretti

Arte Director, Costume and Production Designer, Dante Ferretti started his career in the 70's. During his long and glorious career he received ten Academy Awards Nominations, and won three Oscars for Best Direction working with his wife Francesca Lo Schiavo: 
in 2004, The Aviator, directed by Martin Scorsese
in 2007, Sweeny Todd, directed by Tim Burton
in 2011, Hugo, directed by Martin Scorsese


Scorsese and Ferretti developed a huge professional and long lasting relationship, thanks to Dante's vision and imagination, Scorsese decided to include the Italian genius in several movies, starting from The Age of Innocence, Casino, Kundun, Bringing out the Dead, Gangs of New York and Shutter Island.
It's impossible to forget Dante's vision in Bram Stoker's Dracula or Interview with the Vampire, Meet Joe Black or The Name of the Rose. I am proud that Italy's talented figures have been recognized all around the world. 

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Last but not Least...

Roberto Benigni and Nicoletta Braschi in La Vita è Bella 

Roberto Benigni

A charismatic figure, a totally wilde genius, a little crazy boy in an adult body, the smartest fool you have ever met in your life (if you have been so lucky, I'm not). Roberto is melted with ice cream and iron, a combination of madness and control. He's sweet, but he can sting like a bee.
He started his career in the 70's. He worked with Massimo Troisi in Non ci resta che Piangere (1984), with Blake Edwards, Walter MAtthau, Federico Fellini and several other greatest actors.

 With Sophia Loren... Robberto!!!

His greatest success is La Vita è Bella with his wife Nicoletta Braschi (Life is Beautiful 1997), for that movie he won three Academy Awards, Best Actor, Best Original Score (Piovani) and Best Foreign Film.

                                        The memorable Chairwalk winning for Best Actor


Stay Tuned... Uncleoscar

mercoledì 19 dicembre 2012

U.S. Patent 1,909,537 THE DRIVE-IN

U.S. Patent 1,909,537 THE DRIVE-IN

Richard Milton Hollingshead, Jr. applied for a patent on august 6, 1932 and obtained it on may 16, 1933. The number of his patent was U.S. Patent 1,909,537, and actually he was the inventor of the Drive-In.
Richard was the owner of an auto parts company, The Whiz Auto Products, and he lived in Camden, New Jersey. When he obtained the Patent in 1933, he founded the Park-It Theatres, Inc.
He opened a 400-acre Drive-In on Crescent Boulevar - US-130,
Pennsauken, New Jersey, calling it "Automobile Movie Theater".

About that night...
Price of admission: 25 cents for the car 
                                25 cents per person 
Cars: 400
Movie: “Wives Beware” (Two White Arms) starring Adolphe Menjou

 The first Drive-In in Camden

So... Sit in your car and enjoy talkies

 The drive-in


The Patent

Stay tuned... Uncleoscar 

Pure Elegance

Pure Elegance

When the occasion is important...
When they are walking on the red carpet...
All the attention is focused on...

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt

elegance, style, charm, class and sophistication...

Enjoy the most glamorous and beautiful couple ever...