Posts Tagged ‘Film Noire’

Rita Hayworth is still one of the most iconic pop culture figures of the 20th century and one of the four or five most iconic ‘Hollywood’ stars of the last century.
A few weeks ago marked the thirtieth anniversary of her death in 1987, and I wanted to take a moment to draw attention to some of the curious things relating to Hayworth and also to generally reflect on her.

Her story is an extraordinary, though not particularly happy, one; one that straddles the ‘Golden Age’ of Hollywood and cinema, the Second World War, and even becomes a real-life story of a princess, is punctuated by high-profile marriages and dysfunctions, and eventually finishes as a sad story of early onset Alzheimer’s.

The fact that Hayworth developed Alzheimer’s very young – and a time when the illness wasn’t very well understood – is the saddest aspect of her story. For much of her final years, it is said she didn’t really even know what being ‘Rita Hayworth’ meant and didn’t fully even remember her past.

My own fascination with Rita Hayworth began not with any of her films, but with a feature-length documentary film about her life I remember seeing on TV a number of years ago. It was narrated by Kim Basinger and called simply Rita – The Biography of Rita Hayworth; I remember being entranced by it when it was on in the very late hours of Christmas Day (or early hours of Boxing Day) about twelve years ago. (more…)

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In a mansion in the fictional Xanadu, a vast palatial estate in Florida, the elderly Charles Foster Kane is on his deathbed. Holding a snow globe, he utters the mysterious word “Rosebud” and then dies; the snow globe slips from his hand and smashes on the floor.

And that’s how one of cinema’s most iconic scenes opens one of the greatest motion pictures ever made. (more…)

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I’d barely had time to react to the shocking death of Robin Williams last night when I saw breaking news to announce the death of Hollywood legend Lauren Bacall earlier this evening. In fact they interrupted a news report on Williams’s death to break the news about Bacall.
In Lauren Bacall we lose one of the very last surviving, great icons of a long-gone age in cinema, an era that many still regard as cinema’s richest. An era that was full of memorable, iconic performances and images in time that echo down through the generations of cinema and culture; the image of Lauren Bacall in black-and-white film, with her intent, ice-cool look and with compulsory cigarette between fingers, being prime among them.

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