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  • Delovely, The Story of Cole Porter, 2004 for Noir Movie Monday

    Posted on July 26th, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 1 comment

    de_lovely-posterA little known and underrated movie for sure, Delovely is the almost fantasy-like tale of the flamboyant (and very private) life of one of the most beloved songwriters to ever grace us with his insurmountable talent, Cole Porter.

    With an outstanding performance by Kevin Kline, you’ll believe your actually seeing and hearing Porter himself from first few seconds of the opening scene. An incredible supporting cast includes Ashley Judd, Johnathon Pryce, and a stage-full of cameos by some of the “Biggest Names in Showbiz” including Elvis Costello, Diana Krall, Sheryl Crow, Natalie Cole…the list goes on.

    A portrait of Cole Porter’s life, the story is presented as a fantasy musical biographical stage-show being produced at the end of Porter’s life. He leads “the director” through flashbacks of his colorful life, and we learn about Porter’s previously very secret lifestyle through these scenes…filled, of course, with Porter’s songs woven into the story. The “Show” scenes are very noir, dark, often sad. The “Flashback” scenes are generally uplifting and jubilant. Great juxtaposition adds to the charm.

    Diana Krall steals a scene with only a few seconds of on-camera time. She should have been given a LOT more.

    Diana Krall steals a scene with only a few seconds of on-camera time. She should have been given a LOT more.

    I  don’t want to give anything away…it’s fun discovering things about this incredible man and his accomplishments and contributions, his marriage to the love of his life, and the hidden meaning behind some of his very risque lyrics (Let’s just say I’ll never think of “Your the top” and “Blow, Gabriel Blow” the same way again.)

    The movie is a perfect little time capsule of 1920s-1950s America and Europe, with exquisite sets, costumes, and storyline that any vintage music lover will instantly love. Unfortunately the movie was not a hit; the box office was disappointing, critics and audiences are split down the middle on whether it’s a masterpiece or a long-winded semi-musical bomb. Who is right? Well, if you’re like me…and if you read this blog you are…then you’ll get it, and you’ll love Delovely.

    de-lovely-kline-juddMy only complaint about this flick is that (probably for time constraints) some of the best songs are cut off, or just grace the background of a scene. But don’t worry, the soundtrack is available on

    Sit back with a bottle of champagne, a dinner of Chateaubriand, and if you’re the emotional type, a box of tissues, and enjoy this truly incredible movie.

    Here’s the original trailer:

    -Tiki Chris, reporting from the sound stage at Star Dust Studios, Florida

  • Noir Movie Monday: The Man with the Golden Arm, 1955 starring Frank Sinatra

    Posted on January 11th, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 1 comment

    man_with_golden_armContinuing our foray into the dark and dirty underworld of mid-20th century addicts, this week we’re diggin’ in to one of the most powerful portrayals of a heroin addict ever dared to be shown on the silver screen. From 1955,

    The Man With The Golden Arm

    Starring Frank Sinatra, Kim Novak, Arnold Stang, Eleanor Parker and Darrin McGavin.

    Gritty, true-to-life, this movie not only shows the dark side of life, but throws it in your face. From Sinatra’s character shooting H, to showing him going “cold turkey”; from the way the pusher slowly pulls him back in; from the subtle yet obvious sexual relationship with Novak’s shady burlesque dancer character…the flick doesn’t pull any punches. Otto Preminger made it so realistic that The Motion Picture Association of America originally refused to let it fly. It wasn’t until a year later, when the by-laws were changed to allow drugs and prostitution in movies that it finally got the MPAA certification.

    Sinatra and Novak

    Sinatra and Novak

    Sinatra, coming off his high from “From Here to Eternity” jumped so fast at the part that Marlon Brando didn’t have a chance to say yay or neigh. He plays the horse-addict character with such force, you’d think he was really high on heroin – and getting sick coming off of it – on film. Anyone who says Sinatra wasn’t an actor oughta have his head banged in with a hammer.

    Compare this dirty, realistic portrayal of real drug addicts to the hopped-up, over-exaggerated “dope fiends” in Refer Madness and High School Confidential, and you’ll see why this movie is such a stunner.

    Imagine seeing this on the big screen in 1955.

    Imagine seeing this on the big screen in 1955.

    The story is about a recovering heroin addict who, just getting off a six-month vacation at a rehab prison, returns home to his invalid wife and old pals with a new look on life. While in the joint he learned how to play drums…a real natural, a guy with golden arms…and even has an audition set up with a band, to go straight. But the pressures that led him to the monkey come piling back fast, and before he knows it he’s back in his old role, dealing cards for gangsters, taking speed to stay awake, taking H to forget his troubles. You can imagine where things go from there…or you can watch the movie.

    As usual, I won’t give anything away here. Let’s just say that when you’re done watching this flick, you’ll wonder why anyone would ever do drugs in the first place. It’s rough, really tough. And dark. Hence, Film Noir.golden-arm-dealer

    McGavin (yeah, the dad from Christmas Story) delivers one of the best lines of the flick, as the pusher: “The monkey is never dead, Dealer. The monkey never dies. When you kick him off, he just hides in a corner, waiting his turn.”

    Food & Booze: I would suggest buttermilk and cold turkey.

    A final note: When I was a kid, my family (who loved this movie) said it was based on the story of Gene Krupa, the swing drummer for Benny Goodman (who later had his own big band). He was supposed to be a hop-head, a horse addict who got kicked out of Goodman’s band for showing up high too many times. Since then I’ve read a lot of conflicting reports on this story, all the way down to how the movie had nothing to do with Krupa, and that he never had a monkey on his back. In fact, he had been busted on a trumped up reefer charge, and that was about it. Amazing how rumors used to fly in the old days before the interwebs, huh?

    Here’s the original trailer:

    golden-arm-title-Tiki Chris P. reporting from the back room…the one behind the hidden panel, in the back of that dark, shady bar you try to stay away from.