"Life is not measured by the number
of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath
September 30, 2010
The passing of
another great: Arthur Penn. Vanity Fair's excellent piece here.
Miracle Worker in his honor.
One of the
most ferocious slugging matches in town has been waged nightly for the
past eight weeks between an amateur fighter from the Bronx, standing 5
feet 6 inches tall and weighing 122 pounds, and a novice from Manhattan,
standing 4 feet 4 3/4 inches tall and weighing 60 pounds.
September 17, 2010
Anne Bancroft, who won an
Academy Award for Best Actress for her role as Anne Sullivan in The
Miracle Worker (1962), was born September 17, 1931. Two conjunctions
in Virgo (Sun-Venus and Mercury-Neptune), gave her exceptional attention
to detail. The Venus and Neptune influences heightened her creativity and
imagination. Mars in Scorpio intensified her drive, focus and charisma,
while Jupiter in Leo opened doors in her career as an entertainer on stage
and screen.... In her personal life, Moon in Sagittarius gave her an
adventurous, fun-loving side, which is what probably caught the attention
of her husband, comedian Mel Brooks.
September 13, 2010
I miss your warmth. I
miss your grace.
I miss your laugh. I miss your face.
Grab some refreshments, time for some updates! Here
are some of the goodies that amassed in my mailbox over the summer.
Beautiful words about Fatso
I’m writing this the
day after Anne Bancroft passed away. Shame on me, in this age of instant
electronic communication, for never having even tried to let her know
how much this warm, lovely film meant to me and my sisters. And now she
is gone. (The fact that Ms. Bancroft, apart from June Allyson, was the
only genuine, certifiable star of stage and screen to hail from my part
of The Bronx – Throgg’s Neck – just made it that much more
special.) But perhaps, in some small measure, I can make up for my
lamentable omission by Spreading The Good Word about “Fatso.”
First off – don’t be
fooled by the title. The trials and tribulations of tubbiness are
definitely NOT what this movie is principally about. To paraphrase a
line from her husband’s masterpiece, “The Producers,” this
wonderful movie is practically a love letter to growing up
Italian-American in New York anywhere from 1940 to 1980. (To my
knowledge, the only other film that even comes close is “Marty.”)
From the sausage-and-pepper heroes to the picture of the Sacred Heart of
Jesus in the stairwell to the tomato sauce simmering for hours in the
chipped white enamel pots, THIS is the most truthful picture of typical
Italian-American family life ever brought to the big screen. I’ve long
suspected that Anne Bancroft, Dom DeLuise and Ron Carey weren’t really
acting here – they were just reminiscing.
But the MOST authentic
and MOST important thing about “Fatso” is the evident affection that
the members of the DiNapoli family have for one another – warts,
tempers, avoirdupois, and all. Just as in real life, even when the
characters are arguing, you can tell that it’s just momentary – not
born of lasting anger or hatred, but out of genuine love and concern for
the other’s well-being. From every standpoint, this is The Way It Was.
It’s The Real Thing.
My sincere condolences go
out to Mel Brooks, their son Max and the whole family. May they find
solace in wonderful memories and – as Dom DeLuise assures Zi’ Mari’
in the opening scene of the picture – the certainty that she is “in
paravise con i santi” even now.
and this nice idea:
In memory of my father,
who introduced the film to our large Italian-Irish family, we organized
a “Fatso” party where we served food seen/eaten/talked about in the
film (including buttered beets and kale), with looping showings of the
movie all day.
Meanwhile, other folks are
pondering the Italian spoken in a scene from Fatso here.
Mel Brooks sells
Water Mill home for $5.3 million
Funnyman Mel Brooks sold
his home in Water
Mill last month
for $5.3 million, according to the Long Island Real Estate Report. The
Flying Point Road beach house is just down the street from a home owned
by supermodel Christie Brinkley.
Public records show that
Brooks purchased the home with his late wife, actress Anne Bancroft, for
$2.995 million in 2000. The waterfront home has three bedrooms, two
baths and a fireplace and sits on .74 acres. Prior to the couple’s
purchase of the home, it was rented for two summers by socialites
Alexander and Alexandra Von Furstenberg, published reports say.
Bancroft died in 2005.
She was married to Brooks for 40 years. The pair owned property in
Lonelyville on Fire Island for many years before moving to the Hamptons,
where they briefly owned a home in Southampton before settling in Water
Poor Peter Walker.
There also was a botched
screen test Walker did with Anne Bancroft for “Casablanca” director
“I was nervous as hell,”
Walker laughs. “When I get nervous, I get a lot of saliva. This great
wad of spit came down and hit Anne, and Curtiz yelled, ‘Cut!’”
So Walker turned to TV.
A star-struck person
encounters Anne & Mel (link).
Remembers Love Anne Bancroft: "We Were Glued Together"
Mel Brooks has made
audiences laugh for more than a half century, but it was his wife, the
late Anne Bancroft, who made him smile.
It's been nearly five
years since the actress passed away, but not a day goes by that Brooks
doesn't think about her.
"I had 45 of the
greatest years of my life," Brooks says.
His first feature film,
1968's "The Producers," won an Academy Award for best
screenplay. It became a Broadway hit in 2001.
responsible," Brooks says of turning his Oscar script into a
Tony-winning musical. Story continues below Advertisement
Brooks says he was
approached by David Geffen to do the musical version of the film, but
was reluctant at first. Tensions increased when Geffen suggested
bringing in Jerry Herman to write the remainder of the songs. It was
then that Bancroft intervened.
"I won't let you do
this, if they don't let you do the score," she told him.
"That's the only reason to do it, the score."
Brooks went back to
Geffen, and told him: "It's me or no musical." And the rest is
history as "The Producers" won a record-breaking 12 Tony
Brooks says Bancroft
always had his best interests at heart right until the end. One of the
last things she did was help him structure "Young
Frankenstein" as a musical.
"She suggested where
and when to sing, and what to save (from the film version)," Brooks
said. "She was wonderful."
Bancroft did not live to
see the show's Broadway opening in late 2007.
"I had to open it
without her," Brooks says, choking up. "It was hard. It's
A Comic History of the
Cocktail -- from Life
(click on the link for the pic)
"Yes, I'm drinking,
Mike. You told me Jon Voight was playing the part!"
We marked the passing of
the great Patricia Neal this summer. She and Anne were very dear friends,
and as you all know, Anne stepped in for Patricia in Seven Women.
David Ehrenstein wrote:
Actually she (Neal) shot
several weeks on Seven Women. Anne Bancroft (who so memorably took over
for her) told me all about it several years back when I had the
unspeakable joy of interviewing her (and having lunch with her, and
hanging out and laughing uproariously over her tales of Hollywood,
Broadway and her fabulously wacky hubster.) Neal had appeared with
Bancroft on stage in The Miracle Worker. When she was asked to step in
she did so immediately. "I read the script on the plane to L.A. I
had no idea what it was." She had a great time doing it, and she
and Ford became a mutual admiration society.
Side note: if you enjoy
reading biographies/autobiographies as much as I do, the finest I've ever
read is Neal's As I Am. The honesty takes your breath away.
New York Confidential
was released on DVD in June! It features a restored print with many extras
i.e. the trailer, stills, lobby cards, restoration demo. Commentary track
by Alan K. Rode and Kim Morgan. Read all about this film here.
Click here to order!
Did you guys
ever read Ebert's 1997 review of The Graduate? Interesting stuff. Here.
about a young man of limited interest, who gets a chance to sleep with
the ranking babe in his neighborhood, and throws it away in order to
marry her dorky daughter.
New Yorkers got to see a
nice half hour show about Anne & Mel on July 20th -- did any of you
10:30-11pm GREAT ROMANCES
OF THE 20TH CENTURY -- Brooks & Bancroft - The relationship between
actor Mel Brooks and actress Anne Bancroft, whose marriage has lasted
more than 30 years.
Anne and Mel met when she
was rehearsing for the Perry Como television show the musical number,
"Married I can Always Get." She was wearing a white suit. Mel
Brooks called from offstage, "I'm Mel Brooks." She told her
psychiatrist the next day that she had met the right man.
Mel bribed an employee of
the television show to find out where Anne was going to have dinner that
evening. He wanted to appear to accidentally meet her again so he could
talk with her some more.
Anne and Mel were married
on August 5, 1964 at the New York City Hall. They asked a passer-by to
be the witness for their wedding.
Anne and Mel had one son,
Maximilian (Max) Michael Brooks, who was born in 1972 in New York. He
married Michelle Kholos, a playwright, in 2003. Max is a screenwriter
and wrote for "Saturday Night Live."
John Ford and Seven
Women -- nice commentary, here.
I truly love this type of
genius. Visit the
site for cooking instructions!
Dinner en homage to
Cafe Drake is merely
preaching to the choir and reading to the already literate when we state
the obvious fact that legendary stage and screen actor Anne Bancroft has
the most distinguished of careers spanning decades and dozens of
awe-inspiring character performances (or more correctly, inhabitations).
Still, we're partial to her iconic performance in 1967's The Graduate as
the absolute pinnacle of chic perfection and icy glamor. Only more
endearing (and disturbing) are the flawed aspects of this semi-tragic
figure, but indulging our superficial side we can't get past the
wardrobe, the witty sarcasm, the enchanting ennui of the elegant
In honor of both Ms.
Bancroft and her timeless alter ego (though Bancroft stated many times
in interviews she found the association tiresome), Cafe Drake presents
below an imaginary menu for a guest we will never host, and never could
in reality given her fictional status. Then again, that's never stopped
us before. Appropriately, we have tailored the evening's meal (food and
wine selections) to the time and milieu of Mrs. Robinson, drawing from
our archives of retro classics still withstanding time's test.
DINNER EN HOMAGE MRS. ROBINSON
Cream of Mushroom Soup
California Pinot Noir
Rack of Lamb Dijonnaise
Salad of Boston Lettuce and Endive
Cantaloupe in Port
page is gobs of
fun. I love stuff like this.
If you don't already know,
everything at the top of today's page is from Fatso.
June 14, 2010
I'll Be So Ladylike,
They Won't Notice I've Come!
I'm headed south to
Texas for the next few weeks, and the only reason a person should ever do
that is if said person is going to visit family (or teach a little girl
how to spell w-a-t-e-r). Not a fan of heat here! We're already having
unbelievable temps here in the Ann Arbor area.
A sad Texan prayed once:
"I wish it would rain -- not so much for me, cuz I've seen it -- but
for my 7-year-old." Unless you've ever burned your hand opening a car
door, or gotten branded by a seat belt, or driven with two fingers in
July....... you just don't understand!
Reid writes with the
I thought you would be interested to know that Anne's 1986
film 'night, Mother is receiving its first-ever U.S. DVD release on
August 3rd, 2010. Here is a link to pre-order:
I was wondering if
you could also mention that some fans are concerned that the DVD does
not include a widescreen presentation of the film. If anyone would like
to request that a widescreen version be added to the disc, they should
do ASAP via this
How could they possibly,
possibly release this film without a widescreen option?? Thank you so much
for letting us know.
And thanks to Jody for this
wonderful piece of DVD news -- Anne's earliest TV appearances:
The documentary Yoo-Hoo,
Mrs. Goldberg will be released by Docurama Films in a special
two-disc special edition DVD set on August 24. Aviva Kempner has
directed the film.
The documentary focuses
on Gertrude Berg, who wrote, starred in and produced the first
successful American sitcom, The Goldbergs, tracing her rise to
stardom from her childhood in New York to her early radio days to her
work on the sitcom, which earned Berg the first Best Actress Emmy in
history. The sitcom ultimately inspired the Broadway musical Molly in
In addition to the
documentary, the DVD set includes interviews with Supreme Court Justice
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, actor Ed Asner, producers Norman Lear and Gary
David Goldberg, and NPR correspondent Susan Stamberg, as well as early
career appearances of Anne Bancroft and Steve McQueen. The bonus
features have over two hours of additional material including an audio
commentary with Aviva Kempner, episodes of The Goldbergs,
Gertrude Berg's guest appearances with Edward R. Murrow and on Ed
Sullivan, additional scenes and interviews, a Gertrude Berg recipe, and
an essay from the director. source
A great interview with Mel here.
At the Kennedy Center, he
sat in the seats of honor alongside President and Mrs. Obama and Bruce
"[The president] was
really very sweet. He actually put his arm around me at intermission and
said, 'I'm very sorry for your loss. Your wife [Anne Bancroft] was a
great actress.' It really was a very lovely moment, very personal."
More of fannetastic Mel here.
His next big project for
the stage, he said, is a full-on musical adaptation of “Blazing
Saddles,” his irreverent 1974 take on Westerns. If his son, “Zombie
Survival Guide” author Max Brooks, has his way, Brooks will also pull
together an autobiography.
“Max keeps prodding me,”
Brooks said. “He's such a good writer. What I might do, really, is get
one of those old-fashioned Walkman tape recorders and think and talk and
have somebody put it on paper. It might get very interesting.”
If he does get around to
doing it, the memoir might touch on his long marriage to actress Anne
Bancroft, who died in 2005 just shy of their 41st anniversary.
“I miss her a lot,”
he said. “And you know, they say, ‘Maybe you'll meet somebody.' Meet
somebody? You're crazy. A woman is a pain in the neck. You're got to be
so lucky to find someone you can both kiss and have a cup of coffee
with. Spare me. I'm doing fine.”
Did you see this one? One
of Anne's earliest performances (as Anne Marno) -- a small role as Maria
Cassini in The Man Who Had Influence for Studio One... from 1950!
We'll have a fine time on
Annie's birthday this year (don't we always?):
September 17, Friday
– Roddy McDowall and Anne Bancroft both celebrate birthdays today, so
TCM will split the day in two to honor two distinguished performers. The
Roddy portion kicks off at 6am with Man Hunt (1941), followed by The
White Cliffs of Dover (1944; 7:45am) and Holiday in Mexico
(1946; 10am). Anne takes over at 12:45pm with The Girl in Black
Stockings (1957), followed by The Pumpkin Eater (1964;
2:15pm) 7 Women (1966; 4:15pm) and Young Winston (1972;
5:45pm). (Well, I didn’t say it was an even split.) All times are EST.
And don't forget TCM's
special junior classics lineup -- a great way to spend the summer
introducing classic movies to the next generation! Here.
The Hirshhorn began their Summer Camp
Apesploitation series with Gorilla at Large. Kelly
Gordon, associate curator, said:
I caught Gorilla at
Large on TV and was entranced. And let’s face it, you want to see
Anne Bancroft and Raymond Burr in ANYTHING, no?
Why, yes. Yes, as a matter of fact, I do. Succinctly put!
One of the best assessments of Mrs.
Robinson I've ever read here.
I agree with Fritz completely.
Today's photo at the top courtesy of