Producer Jerome Hellman was a gentleman and a class act. He had a stellar 20-year run between the mid ’60s to mid ’80s — The World of Henry Orient (1964), A Fine Madness (1966), Midnight Cowboy (1969), The Day of the Locust (1975), Coming Home (1978), Promises in the Dark (1979 — Hellman also directed) and The Mosquito Coast (1986).
Cowboy‘s Best Picture Oscar triumph was the peak moment. Plus Hellman (I’d forgotten this) played a small part in Hal Ashby‘s Being There.
The Mosquito Coast was a bust, and we all know it’s hard to launch your next film when the most recent has wiped out. It still seems curious that someone as driven, cultured and connected as Hellman, 58 in ’86, never produced again.
We all know that Hollywood movie culture began to coarsen in the mid ’90s and drift more toward Jan de Bont-type films, and was therefore more and more at odds with the kind of mature, adult-friendly film that Hellman stood for. And we know that sooner or later older producers always get elbowed out of the room by whippersnappers.
A man of refinement, intelligence, smoothitude. I don’t know for a fact that Hellman never wore gold-toe socks, but I’m betting he didn’t.
I’m especially sorry that Hellman had to suffer through the ignominious April ’18 release of Criterion’s notorious teal-tinted Midnight Cowboy Bluray — by any reasonable visual standard a complete desecration.
B.J. Thomas got lucky with three singles issued between the late ’60s and mid ’70s — “Hooked on a Feeling” (’68), Burt Bacharach and Hal David‘s “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” (’69 — the song that popularized Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and vice versa) and Larry Butler and Chips Moman‘s “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song” (’75).
Thomas was a popular, attractive, first-rate crooner — great pipes, knew how to breathe and phrase, cool cheekbones, intense eyes. His singing of the final “nothin’s worryin’ me” became his peak moment — Thomas stretched “me” into 11 notes or flutters or whatever the correct term is.
Thomas’s “Hooked” was released on October ’68 and therefore first out of the gate. But most Average Joes prefer Blue Swede‘s 1974 version (“Oogah-oogah-chow-chow-chow”).
Thomas passed today at age 78.
This is my idea of a moving Memorial Day essay. The highlight comes when Lt. Col. Fred Wellman (retired) says the following: “Let’s never forget the oath they took to uphold and defend the Constitution, against enemies both foreign and domestic. And if the events of the last five years has taught us anything, we still have to fight for our nation, and we still support those who do.”
Wellman’s delivery reminds me of similar sentiments spoken by Harve Presnell‘s “George Marshall” in Saving Private Ryan, only more straightforward.
I’ve always preferred the terms “those who served” or “those who fell in service to our nation” as opposed to “those who gave their lives.”
My father, a former Marine Lieutenant who battled the Japanese at Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima (and who once confessed to having downed a few belts of Scotch with some fellow officers before the assault on Iwo Jima on 2.22.45), always dismissed the wording of that sentiment.
Nobody “gives” their life in combat — they fight as best they can to achieve victory or at the very least not get killed, and sometimes fate tilts against them.
If any one group fits the definition of “domestic enemy,” the January 6th bumblefucks are the pig’s poke. Deranged, stupid, beardos with dad jeans…enemies of our Constitution, defilers of decency, the lowest of the low.
5.29, 9 pm Update: HE’s comment numbers are back, thanks to a very good friend and an excellent human being. Crisis concluded!
Earlier: On top of all the other daily aches and pains and gashes in the soul, the WordPress plug-in that displays the number of comments per each post has stopped working. I just have to find the right plug-in and then update it. I’m sure it’ll only take me three or four days or maybe 48 hours…a twinkling in the broad cosmic scheme of things. But until it’s fixed, every story will “appear” to have zero comments. I live for these grueling experiences. They make my day.
I will somehow get this matter fixed. I’ve reached out to some tech guys. Yes, it’s infuriating and deflating.
A few days ago I highlighted a quote of a Daily Beast Tom Wolfe interview, posted seven or eight years ago. “People are willing to confess to anything colorful or exciting [in their lives]…they murdered somebody or they smoked a lot of dope…it could be almost anything. Except for the humiliations. They will never write about the humiliations, which, George Orwell said, make up 75% of life.”
This is one such moment — a humiliation.
Again, I’m trying to repair it with the help of someone who’s smarter than me when it comes WordPress plug-in issues. This effort is failing so far, partly because some people don’t like working on Saturdays. Whatever the reason, the bottom line is that HE is now looking like a shunned site.