"Mary Poppins" is the complete fantasy. It will amaze and delight more people than you can count, and I imagine quite a lot of them won’t be kids, either. I must admit that it entertained me most of the time, but I must add that I am something of a square: It also discombobulated me.
Scheuer goes on to explain that the fantastical elements — the fact that in the film “reality is nearly nonexistent” — weren’t to his liking.
But soon we become conscious that the feats the dancers are performing are plainly beyond human ability to accomplish. And “Oh!” we say. “Trick stuff.” In direct ratio then, our admiration for the skill of the dancers as dancers (despite its having been considerable) is dissipated in a more routine respect for what the special-effects men can do.
That seems to rather miss the point of a movie that pairs Dick Van Dyke with dancing penguins. But Scheuer has a lovely turn when he addresses the stars, Van Dyke and Julie Andrews.
It is the first movie role for Miss Andrews of the stage’s “My Fair Lady” and “Camelot,” and she plays it coyly and captivatingly. Her singing voice, of course, is liquid sweetness. And she swings a wicked soft shoe. Paired happily with her (no romance, you know, but the two seem to share a winking secret) is Dick Van Dyke as Bert, who shows up in various guises — a street musician, a chalk-pavement artist, a sport, a chimney sweep and a surprise character — without any explanation. What they have in common are Dick Van Dyke and a cockney accent.
That singing voice of “liquid sweetness” helped Andrews win the Oscar for best actress at the 37th Academy Awards — Andrews is seen above with Audrey Hepburn, who starred in 1964’s best picture, “My Fair Lady.”
Original published caption, April 6, 1965: TWO ‘FAIR LADIES’ — Audrey Hepburn, the film’s “My Fair Lady,” congratulates Julie Andrews, right, star of the stage version, on winning the best actress for her performance in film “Mary Poppins.” Credit: Los Angeles Times
Karen Dotrice, who played young Jane Banks, spoke to Times reporter Susan King last year about the experience, and fondly recalled the man she still refers to as “Uncle Walt” (Walt Disney, of course).
"The joy that you see on the screen is the joy we felt," Dotrice said of working on "Mary Poppins."
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Bernie Tiede, a former assistant funeral director from east Texas convicted in 1999 of killing octogenarian millionaire Marjorie Nugent, has been released from prison. A judge recommended that Tiede’s sentence be reduced to time served and that he be released on $10,000 bond pending appellate court approval.
Among the conditions of Tiede’s release: He will be living in an apartment owned by Richard Linklater, who directed the 2011 film “Bernie,” which starred Jack Black as Tiede, Shirley MacLaine as Nugent and Matthew McConaughey as Dist. Atty. Danny Buck Davidson. The real Davidson supported Tiede’s release.
Reporter Matt Pearce explains how Tiede came to be released — and it’s quite a story — in the L.A. Times today.
Photo: Tiede smiles at the courthouse in Panola County, Texas, after his release is granted. Credit: LM Otero / Associated Press
If you haven’t made Oscar predictions yet, there’s still (a little) time. May we recommend our play-at-home ballot? If you want to look over someone’s shoulder, these are Times film reporter Glenn Whipp’s picks.
Photo: Workers cover Oscar statues with plastic in case of rain. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times
Shirley Temple Black has died at age 85.
The beloved child star of films like “Bright Eyes,” “Curly Top” and “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm,” she was Hollywood’s reigning box-office champion from 1935 to 1938.
After she retired from acting, she went on to a career in diplomacy, with posts that included ambassadorships to Ghana and Czechoslovakia.
She died at her home in Northern California.
Photo: Temple with Eddie Cantor during a celebration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s birthday in 1937. Credit: UCLA Library / Los Angeles Times
Pharrell Williams sat down to talk with L.A. Times entertainment writer Mikael Wood today about his Oscar-nominated original song “Happy,” his performance with Daft Punk and Stevie Wonder at the Grammys and more.
He also answered questions from viewers. Williams said he is a big fan of the homemade lip-sync versions of “Happy” that are a You Tube sensation: “They’ve been amazing. What better way to spread that sentiment than for people to take the song on and make it their own.”
Leonardo DiCaprio though the years
A teen heartthrob who became one of the most accomplished actors of his generation, DiCaprio’s life has been thoroughly documented on film and in photos - above is just a sampling of Times photographers’ experiences with the star.
Photos: Kirk McCoy, Wally Skalij, Genaro Molina, Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times
"Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” was released 50 years ago this week. The film is regarded as a cinematic masterpiece today (AFI ranked it No. 39 in its’ 10th anniversary Top 100 in 2007), but in February 1964, Times’ film editor Philip K. Scheuer didn’t find much to like. I’m partial to the deadpan of the subheadline: "Kubrick’s ‘Satire’ Tells All About End of World, Ha Ha." But this is a great line too:
… a publicist at Columbia, which is distributing the picture, assured me it would be my “cup of tea.” After suffering through two screenings of “Dr. Strangelove,” I would sooner drink hemlock.
Scheuer issues no spoiler alerts while giving away the ending and laments that “[a]ll members of our armed forces are pictured as either utterly unscrupulous or just plain stupid.”
And then he makes a point that is rather jarring to a reader in today’s era of the antihero.
Is all this necessary? I submit that, as with “[It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad,] Mad World,” villains are not funny per se — especially when there are no good guys around to offset them.
Scheuer doesn’t spare the actors either.
Peter Sellers plays three parts, all in widely disparate make-up: the President, an RAF exchange officer and Dr. Strangelove, a Nazi fanatic employed as our top nuclear scientist. His bumbling Briton comes through; the others are, with all due respect to his talent for mimicry, simply preposterous. George C. Scott (I have never seen him give a bad performance till now) makes the staff chairman — Gen. Buck Turgidson — a mugging, stomach-scratching, gum-chewing vulgarian.
That’s Peter Sellers above, later in 1964. He’d had a heart attack and was photographed leaving the hospital with his wife.
Original published caption, May 8, 1964: GOING HOME — British comedian Peter Sellers, 38, stricken with a heart attack April 6 that almost cost him his life, gets a hug from his Swedish actress wife, Britt Eklund, 21, as he leaves Cedars of Lebanon Hospital on an ambulance litter Thursday. Credit: Los Angeles Times
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'12 Years a Slave,' 'American Hustle' lead Academy Awards
In a much-anticipated ceremony held early this morning, the nominations for the 86th Academy Awards were declared, with some predictable honors, surprise acting recognition and, for what seems like the millionth time, a nomination for Meryl Streep.
The list of best picture nominees is as follows:
"12 Years a Slave"
"Dallas Buyers Club"
"The Wolf of Wall Street"
For a look at the rest of this year’s nominations, head right here.
Photos: Fox Searchlight Films, Warner Bros. Pictures, Sony - Columbia Pictures
"American Hustle," "12 Years a Slave" top the Golden Globes
With the Globes being the Globes, there were plenty of bizarre moments (Jacqueline Bisset, we’re looking your way) to accompany the plentiful booze.
And of course, photobombs:
Photos: Wally Skalij, Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times, E!
2014’s stars in the making
With the new year just beginning, we thought you may want to get an early jump on some of the filmmakers, performers and creators who could be grabbing headlines later this year.
Gia Coppola’s continuation of her family’s Hollywood legacy, Zara McFarlane’s reaffirmation of jazz’s vitality and the husband-and-wife team pushing the boundaries of what counts as a video game are just a glimpse of who may make it big this year.
And yes, while “Welcome to Night Vale,” is no stranger to Tumblr, we wouldn’t be surprised if the podcast’s creative team sees even greater success in months to come.
So want to see who else made the list, or think we may have left someone off? Head over to our full listing right here.
Photos: Brownswood Recordings, Rick Madonik / Toronto Star via Getty Images, Anton Nickel, Media Greenhouse