Happy Birthday, Stay Classic!

Dear readers,

Can you believe that it has been a year since Stay Classic began? From February 2010 ’til the bitterly cold February 2011, I have gotten over 3,500 hits, posted 16 full-length movie reviews, and procrastinated more than anyone I know. If anyone still reads my humble little blog, I promise to you that I will post more reviews, more lists, and more general rambling than ever before!

Please comment! Wish Stay Classic a happy birthday! Feel free to give gifts!

-luke

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Published in: on February 4, 2011 at 12:48 pm  Comments (5)  
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Happy Birthday, Alfred Hitchcock!

Macabre humor, thy name is Hitchcock!

It’s here! Today is the 111th birthday of the Master of Suspense, Sir Alfred Hitchcock.

Perhaps the most influential and talented of all the Hollywood directors, Hitch got his start in silent films in England. His first completed directorial project was The Pleasure Garden (1925), and he went on to enjoy nearly fifty years of legendary status. He directed some of Hollywood’s (and England’s) greatest stars, including Cary Grant, James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Kim Novak, John Gielgud, Joan Fontaine, Laurence Olivier, Gregory Peck, Ingrid Bergman, Montgomery Clift, Karl Malden, Ray Milland, Paul Newman, and Sean Connery. Wow.

His films are some of the most visually and mentally arresting films ever to come out of Hollywood. After making a small splash with his 1927 silent film, The Lodger, and fairly big splashes with Blackmail (1929), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), and The 39 Steps (1935), he made his first American film, Rebecca (1940), with famous Hollywood producer David O. Selznick.

Many modern directors (including Martin Scorsese, M. Night Shyamalan, and Guillermo del Toro, just to name a few) give Hitchcock generous doses of credit for their inspiration. Hitch’s phenomenal films have thrilled (and continue to thrill) generations of viewers. Here was a man who constructed classy suspense. Check out my reviews of Rear Window (1954) and Psycho (1960). I promise to have many more Hitchcock reviews soon.

Happy birthday, Sir Alfred, and rest in peace.

-luke

Published in: on August 13, 2010 at 6:10 pm  Comments (6)  

Happy Birthday, Dom DeLuise!

A truly great comedian.

Today is the birthday of one of the most gifted, constantly hilarious comedians in Hollywood history. There cannot be enough said about this man, and I bet ya I won’t say anything that hasn’t been said before. He’s a wonderful entertainer, a great actor, a hilarious comedian, and an all-around likable guy. Period.

He tragically passed only last year, but his art lives on in dozens of films and countless TV appearances. He was one of Mel Brooks’ stock company, with Madeline Kahn, Harvey Korman, Gene Wilder, Cloris Leachman, Marty Feldman, and Kenneth Mars… Possibly the greatest team of comedians ever. He was featured in Brooks’ Twelve Chairs, Blazing Saddles, Silent Movie, History of the World: Part I, and Robin Hood: Men in Tights, as well as many other films of equal or greater hilarity.

We will always remember you, Mr. DeLuise. Happy birthday, and rest in peace.

-luke

Published in: on August 1, 2010 at 7:30 pm  Comments (3)  

Happy Birthday, Mel Brooks!

Today, June 28th, is a very special day. It is the birthday of one of the most talented, brilliant comedians to ever wind up in Hollywood. The man of whom I speak is the very funny and wildly popular Mel Brooks.

Starting out as a stand-up comedian in the Catskills (from 1945 to 1949), he was first recognized as a great writer of comedy when he wrote sketches for Sid Caesar’s Show of Shows (along with Neil Simon and Mel Tolkin). He wrote and directed his first film, The Producers (starring Gene Wilder, Zero Mostel, Kenneth Mars, and Dick Shawn) in 1968. For this he won his first and only Oscar (Best Screenplay, 1968), beating out 2001: A Space Odyssey.

He then went on to make The Twelve Chairs, an adaptation of a Russian novel. Neither film did well at the box office. However, in 1974, he made two of the most popular comedy films of all time: Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein. The ’70s also gave rise to Brooks’s loving homage to the Master of Suspense, High Anxiety, and an outright parody of silent movies (aptly named Silent Movie).

During the ’80s, Brooks was still up and running, giving audiences three memorable (but not legendary) comedies: To Be or Not to Be (a remake of the 1942 Benny/Lombard masterpiece), History of the World: Part I, and Spaceballs.

The ’90s were fairly unfair, as Brooks made three films (Life Stinks, Dracula: Dead and Loving It, and the very funny Robin Hood: Men In Tights), all of which failed financially and critically.

However, Mel has made millions of us laugh over the years, and, just a spring chicken at 84, hopefully plans to continue. Thanks, Mr. Brooks, and a very happy birthday to you. I’ll send you some Raisinets.

-luke

Published in: on June 28, 2010 at 5:49 pm  Comments (2)  

Happy Birthday, Dean Martin!

The King of Cool.

Today is the birthday of one of the most talented male vocalists of all time. He also starred in nearly 50 films, and was a member of the famous Rat Pack (along with Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop). Some of my favorite films of Martin’s include Rio Bravo (1959), Ocean’s 11 (1960), Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964), and Some Came Running (1958).

I cannot, of course, talk about either Dean Martin or Jerry Lewis without mentioning the other. Martin and Lewis made one of the most successful comedy teams ever (tied, possibly, with Abbot & Costello and Hope and Crosby). They made several films and countless radio and television appearances. His Celebrity Roasts are an absolute gem of comedy, including guest stars such as Bob Hope, Don Rickles, Ronald Reagan, Jack Benny, Sammy Davis Jr., Foster Brooks, Johnny Carson, Frank Sinatra, Jonathan Winters, Dom DeLuise, and many more.

His easygoing attitude was a breath of fresh air amid the actors and comedians who took themselves too seriously. He was an extremely talented, handsome, fun-loving entertainer. He will be remembered for decades to come.

Happy birthday, Mr. Martin, and rest in peace.

-luke

Published in: on June 7, 2010 at 6:47 pm  Comments (2)