Sylvia Kristel was the queen of soft porn movies. She died after a long battle with cancer.
Kristel was the face of sexuality for a generation. In the late 1970’s there was a pay television service called ON TV. It was a cheap way to get cable-type service, but without having cable. (Chicago didn’t have cable until 1981).
We had a bootleg ONTV box that my father got from a co-worker. It opened up the world of bad cable movies to my family. This was years before high definition, of course, and all the movies were fuzzy and had a lot of hiss over the soundtrack. (Actually, ONTV’s claim to fame was that it was the first place STAR WARSwas shown on television. It might have been my first viewing party.)
Every night at midnight, the system would switch to a different frequency and they would show adult soft porn films, for an extra charge if you were paying for the service. On regular television sets without the box the picture would scramble and occasionally you would be able to catch the briefest shot of a breast or a love-making scene. Sometimes a word or two would float over the static noise. Everyone knew about this. I recall going to parties where scrambled ON TV movies were on, and people would gather and giggle.
After my parents would go to sleep, I would sneak in and turn on the television set; As a 17 year old, it was as if the gates of heaven were opened up. I watched such classics as THE WORLD OF HARRY PARIS, THE EROTIC ADVENTURES OF PINOCCHIO
They were terrible, terrible movies. Except for a boob or butt shot, and lots of humping, they were pretty tame by today’s standards. Among these movies, the ultimate star was Sylvia Kristel. She was the epitome of sexuality, every boy’s dream of what a woman could be. Soft focus, the warble of strings.
EMMANUELLE was the film that started it all. It was porn for the masses, not graphic like DEEP THROAT, but quiet and sensual.
Kristel could never break away from this role, even though she did get some main stream pictures such as AIRPORT 79 and THE LOVE BOMB. She was always the sex symbol.
I recall seeing PRIVATE LESSONS at The Brighton Theater when it came out. The theater would show a cartoon at 1 pm, two PG rated films at 3 pm and 5 pm, and then an R-rated film at 7 pm. I would stay all day. This movie was every teenage boy’s fantasy come to life.
It makes me sad she has passed away so young. She brought class to sex.
English: Publicity photo of Andy Williams from his television show. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Andy Williams is gone. We will miss his charm, his distinctive voice (formally declared a “national treasure”), and his singular, laid-back style that we came to know through his long run as a recording artist and entertainer of stage and television.
Although he’s known for his blockbuster hits of several movie theme songs, including, of course, Moon River and Love Story, Andy didn’t have a substantive track record as an actor on the silver screen.
There is one little treasure, though, that I am longing to see. Williams starred in the Ross Hunter romantic comedy I’D RATHER BE RICH (1964), along with Sandra Dee, Robert Goulet, Maurice Chevalier, Hermione Gingold, Charles Ruggles, and Rip Taylor. What a cast. What possibilities.
From the reviews and clips I’ve seen, I’D RATHER BE RICHappears to be a delightful indulgence, and it includes the captivating song Almost There. Unfortunately, a quality home video DVD version isn’t available. It seems a mystery that this one’s been neglected, but the good news is that there is an opportunity to vote in favor of such a release here on the Turner Classic Movie web site.
Please vote today and help us get this one out in honor of Andy. RIP, Mr. Williams. You were one in a million.
SPECIAL NOTE: Home Projectionist blogger, Ben Alba, was a personal friend of Andy Williams. To access his recent WGN radio interview reflecting on Williams’ life, go to Remembering Andy Williams.
Gloria Bowman is a writer, storyteller, blogger, movie lover, freelance editor, and author of the novel, Human Slices. Access her blog at www.gloriabowman.com; on Twitter @GloriaBow
Lyricist extraordinaire Hal David passed away last week at age 91, leaving behind a legacy of timeless, honest, clever, and memorable lyrics that are woven into our lives.
But I always felt he wrote those songs especially for me.
As lyricist partner of composer Burt Bacharach, Mr. David penned the words to contemporary classics such as “Walk on By,” “What the World Need Now (Is Love Sweet Love), and “This Guy’s In Love With You,” to name only a few…only a few out of hundreds and hundreds! What an astounding collection of work.
Back in the day, I remember crying and singing “One Less Bell To Answer” along with the radio in my old Chevy after my high school boyfriend Bill broke my heart in 1970. And then there’s my all-time favorite Bacharach-David heartbreak song, Who Is Gonna Love Me? It’s still my go-to recording whenever I’m feeling exceptionally mournful about a failed romance.
In addition to the popular hits, there were also the gems that David and Bacharach created for film, with Best Song Oscar-nominees like “What’s New Pussycat?” for the 1965 film of the same name, and “The Look of Love” for CASINO ROYALE. And, who doesn’t know Oscar-winning “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” from BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID?
But my all-time favorite is another Bacharach-David Oscar nominee, “Alfie,” which was written for the 1966 classic film starring Michael Caine.
To be sure, it is totally illogical and weird that a movie song named “Alfie” would endure for so long. David chose a line from the ALFIE script, “What’s it all about?” to lead the narrative, and the rest is music history.
After its tender, sweet beginning, the melody and lyrics turn frustrated: “I know there’s something much more/Something even non-believers can believe in.”
And then it gets downright hostile: “Until you find the love you missed….you’re nothing, Alfie.”
Eek. That’s an indictment.
Hope springs eternal, as they say, and the concluding lyrics send Alfie off with a wish for better days ahead: “When you walk, let your heart lead the way. And you’ll find love any day….”
I can read music a bit, but unfortunately, I have never been diligent about practicing. The only song I can play reasonably well is “Alfie.” It gives me such great pleasure that my hands still can find those notes when I periodically feel compelled to open the well-worn sheet music.
The song was a huge hit recorded by Cilla Black and of course, the Bacharach-David muse, Dionne Warwick. Joss Stone got the honor of recording it for the 2004 remake. And I had forgotten that Cher ever sang it.
Thank you, Mr. David, from the deepest part of my heart for writing all of those wonderful words. You always knew exactly how I felt.
Gloria Bowman is a writer, storyteller, blogger, movie lover, freelance editor,
and author of the novel, Human Slices.
Access her blog at www.gloriabowman.com; on Twitter @GloriaBow
In the last couple weeks we’ve lost three of the best character actors: Ernest Borgnine, Andy Griffith and now Celeste Holm. Ironically, Ernest and Celeste were both 95.
Celeste Holm was one of those actresses that lit up the screen when ever she appeared. She was the archetypal best friend or favorite aunt. Never the leading lady, but what would All About Eve have been without Celeste’s witty and touching performance? She held her own with being a buddy to Frank Sinatra in High Society, and was the voice of reason in Gentlemen’s Agreement (for which she won an Academy Award). Actresses like her are few and far between.
Growing up in the 60’s I knew her best for playing Cinderella‘s fairy godmother. It was probably the first color program I recall seeing and most likely my first organized group viewing. I remember the excitement of going to my Uncle Jim and Aunt Tootie’s house to watch it with my sister and cousins on their Spanish Modern design twenty-five inch console (of which my parents soon bought one that was more elaborate, so as not to be outdone). Sitting on the pea green colored, stain resistant carpet, I watched Celeste sing,
“But the world is full of zanies and fools who don’t believe in sensible rules and won’t believe what sensible people say…and because these daft and dewey eyed dopes keep building up impossible hopes impossible things are happening every day!” I wanted her to be my fairy godmother.
Celeste Holm in Cinderella
Through the years she was always popping up like an old friend on my favorite shows, “Colombo“, “Fantasy Island“, “The Love Boat“. A few years ago I saw one of her last movies, “Still Breathing” which is a lovely indie romance story. She plays Brandon Fraser’s wise old grandmother telling him to listen to his heart to find his true love. A lovely later role. I highly suggest seeing her in it.
Miss Holm lived a full and rich life and leaves behind a fine and varied body of work. I think it’s less sad that she passed away, but it’s as if with her passing the last of the old Hollywood is finally sinking into the sunset.
I’d like to remember her this way, as she is on What’s My Line. You can see why she stole the show every night in Oklahoma. She’s funny, playful and everyone’s best friend.