The 60th anniversary of the JFK assassination will be upon us before we know it (concurrent, by the way, with the 11.22.23 opening of Ridley Scott’s Napoleon) and I’m asking myself something.
Why after all this time has no one ever suggested that Lenny Bruce may have been on to something when he suggested that Jackie Kennedy was simply, immediately terrified about being shot herself (as anyone would be) and was following a blind instinct to avoid a similar death by getting the hell away from the line of fire by climbing out of the back seat and onto the limousine trunk?
That has always seemed to me like a very natural and default kneejerk response — haul ass in order to save your own terrified, freaked-out ass.
And yet every last person who’s ever analyzed what happened during those fateful seconds in Dealey Plaza…they ALL say she was trying to retrieve a piece of her husband’s skull that had been blown onto the trunk. And maybe she was, but why has no one ever suggested that Bruce’s interpretation was at the very least a reasonable possibility?
If so, Jackie wasn’t behaving in some cowardly or ignoble fashion. She’d just seen half of JFK’s head — very close, only inches away — explode into blood and skull and brain matter and vapor — soaking her gloves bright red and all that cranial flotsam spraying upon her own face. Naturally she came to a split-second realization that she might be next and immediately thought about saving herself from a similar fate and, not incidentally, staying alive in order to care for her two children.
Would that have been such a terrible instantaneous reaction?
I’m told that the new Fatal Attraction limited series (Paramount +, 4.30, ten episodes) doesn’t just stretch the plot of Adrian Lyne’s 1987 original by adding new twists and turns and whatnot. It sympathizes with the Alex Forrest character (currently played by Lizzy Caplan, and famously portrayed by Glenn Close 36 years ago) into a traumatized victim with a tortured history while frowning upon Dan Gallagher (played by Michael Douglas in the oldie as a flawed hero-victim, and by jowly-faced Joshua Jackson in the newbie).
Dan, you see, is an entitled white shit who deserves to suffer for catting around.
And therefore the new Fatal Attraction, “developed” by Alexandra Cunningham and Kevin J. Hynes, and directed by Silver Tree (her actual name), has been described as a woke-as-fuck saga in a #MeToo, bad-white-guy sense.
SPOILERS AHEAD: If you’re going to sympathize with Alex you can’t have a boiling bunny, and so no hares or rabbits meet their doom in the Paramount + version. In the first version of Lyne’s original film Alex killed herself (slit her throat with a carving knife) but Dan was nonetheless accused of killing her. In the second version of the ’87 film Alex was shot dead by Anne Archer.
In the new series neither of these things happen. Gallagher is arrested, though (the trailer shows him in prison) and the real murderer….okay, saying no more.
There is, I’ve been told, a whole subtext about how horrible Dan Gallagher is…he did something cruel and selfish by having a fling outside the bonds of marriage, and so he deserves to suffer, as do all older white guys.
On top of which the plot eventually advances 15 years and we learn that Dan’s grown-up daughter (remember the little girl in the ’87 film who looked like a boy, the one whom Glenn Close kidnapped and took to an amusement park?) has a complex about selfish and predatory white males.
You basically need to understand that Dan Gallagher is a bad, rotten, shithead male, and that poor Alex Forrest had been hurt terribly by her father and was just looking for special attention when she had the affair with Dan…she was hurt and crying out, which is how Glenn Close wanted her portrayed in the first place.
Except test audiences who saw the ’87 original hated the suicide ending, and so Lyne re-shot an ending in which Alex-the-witch invades the Gallagher home and is shot to death.
…a friend passed along a Cinecitta anecdote from no less a personage than Charlton Heston. Heston had told him “that the majority of shots were taken from a single side of the set, to simplify camera placements.” Oh, for God’s sake!
HE reply: “Be that as it may…okay, fine. But why in heaven’s name would William Wyler build a full-sized stadium and arena with a huge middle island with those four kneeling warrior sculptures…a massive, full-sized stadium and chariot racetrack with acres and acres of room on all sides…why build this massive outdoor set if the plan was to mainly use one side of the racetrack for filmimg?
“Common visual logic (i.e., the attached photos) tell us there were no physical obstructions or logistical advantages to emphasizing one side or the other…talk about an illogical scenario.
1st AD to Wyler: “Uhm, Willy, we’ve taken a hard look at things and the ample size and massive scale of this hugely expensive outdoor set notwithstanding, we’ve figured it’ll be simpler to mainly shoot on just one side of the arena.” Wyler to 1st AD: “You’re fired.”
BTW: This morning I re-watched the chariot race sequence from the 1926 version of Ben-Hur, and there’s a great shot around the 2.25 mark that Wyler’s 1959 version didn’t have. It was apparently taken from inside a dug-in hole in the track, and shows several chariots thundering directly overhead.
I’m sorry but the two dance numbers in this clip from You’ll Never Get Rich are magnificent…pure joy. Not to mention the boogie piano.
Sometime in early 1941, the 22 year-old Rita Hayworth costarred with Fred Astaire in this film, which is commonly described as a “wartime” comedy even though the U.S. wasn’t in a war until the attack on Pearl Harbor (12.7.41) and didn’t go to war against Nazi Germany and fascist Italy until early ’43. The most you could say was that the country was on a wartime footing with very first peacetime draft in U.S. history having been enacted on 9.6.40.
On 8.11.41, the famous bedroom bodice photo of Hayworth was featured in an iconic LIFE magazine spread. (The photographer was Bob Landry.) You’ll Never Get Rich opened six weeks later on 9.25.41. Hayworth’s performance as headstrong dancer Sheila Winthrop was her first starring role.
Born on 10.17.18, Hayworth was 22 when the film was released. Astaire was 42.
Roughly two months ago a very early draft of Eric Roth‘s screenplay for Killers of the Flower Moon (dated 2.20.17,...More »