All those critics grinding Sex and the City 2 into the sidewalk with their heels made the Siren think of another movie shot in Morocco--or rather, Morocco, Warner Brothers, which was probably more fun. Such were the Siren's thought processes. So here, from his autobiography Ladies' Man, is Paul Henreid describing a day on the set of that movie he made with Michael Curtiz and Humphrey Bogart.
At one point we were supposed to be shooting in a Moroccan street filled with vendors, a cart, a donkey and a crowd of people. Curtiz reviewed the set before we started and said, 'It's very nice, but I want a poodle.'
The prop man was upset. 'Mike, you never told me that. We don't have one.'
'Well, get one,' Curtiz snapped.
'All right.' Nervous now, the prop man said, 'What size?'
'What size? A big one, a big one!' Curtiz turned away in annoyance.
'What color?' the prop man persisted.
Curtiz threw his hands up. 'Dark, you idiot! We're photographing in black and white.'
'It's going to take about half an hour.'
Curtiz rolled his eyes. 'You think time is nothing? All right, all right!'
We went back to our dressing-rooms, and Mike and I started a game of chess while Bogey kibitzed. In half an hour the prop man poked his head in happily. 'I have it now, Mr. Curtiz. Will you come and look?'
'Pauli, don't touch the pieces. I think I have you mate in three moves.' And Mike went out. We went with him so he wouldn't accuse us of cheating, and there on the set was a beautiful black standard poodle. Mike looked bewildered. 'What do I want with a dog?'
'You said you wanted a poodle.'
'I wanted a poodle in the street,' Curtiz shouted. 'A poodle, a poodle of water!'
'Oh my god, you mean a puddle!'
'Right. A poodle, a puddle, that's what I want, not a goddamn dog!'
All in all I found Mike Curtiz a charming man...
Meanwhile, links of interest:
David Cairns posts something he must have known I would have to link to.
Glenn Kenny writes up Wellman's Wild Boys of the Road with his signature panache, at Mubi. (I guess I need to change that name on my sidebar, but I'm resisting.)
Gorgeous Lawrence Harvey could no more portray sweet or warmhearted than he could sing Tosca, but give him a snake-eyed assassin or soul-dead careerist to play and he was more than equal to the task. Kimberly Lindbergs takes a look at his first role--a greed-crazed villain in House of Darkness--at Movie Morlocks.
The Siren has never much cared for Grace Kelly's Oscar-winning role in The Country Girl; doesn't like the script, doesn't like the movie, doesn't like Kelly in the movie. But, at Another Old Movie Blog, Jacqueline T. Lynch makes a good case for all three--and brings up the too-little-acknowledged fact that "nearsighted people are almost always glamorous and elegant," which made the Siren smooth down her skirt and squint even more closely at her computer screen.
If you want a corrective to the Siren's lack of enthusiasm for The Fall of the Roman Empire, start right here at Ferdy on Films.
Finally, in her anniversary post, the Siren shamefully neglected to thank Stephen Whitty, who has pointed his New Jersey Star-Ledger and Newhouse News readers her way more than once. Stephen shares the Siren's regard for women's pictures. And yesterday, in a witty and pointed article, he also lamented the lack of modern movies aimed at women: "Every summer, studio execs act like Guy Pearce in Memento, unable to form new memories. Hey, women go to the movies! Women go to the movies to see other women on screen! We should make more movies like ... wait. What?"