Six Damn Fine Degrees #49 – Three generations of songs in A Star is Born

Welcome to Six Damn Fine Degrees. These instalments will be inspired by the idea of six degrees of separation in the loosest sense. The only rule: it connects – in some way – to the previous instalment. So come join us on our weekly foray into interconnectedness!

To me, Julie’s fascinating comparison of the earlier variations of what came to be A Star is Born triggered many a musical memory and it made me wonder how besides plot, characters and settings the musical flavours of this often-remade screenplay had changed over time. Specifically, what would the three Oscar-recognised songs from the Judy Garland version (“The Man that Got Away”, 1955), the Streisand remake (“Evergreen”, 1976) and the recent Lady Gaga iteration (“In the Shallows”, 2018) tell us about each moment this star-making (or -breaking) story hit the big screen?

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Six Damn Fine Degrees #44: Whatever happened to Richard Lester?

Welcome to Six Damn Fine Degrees. These instalments will be inspired by the idea of six degrees of separation in the loosest sense. The only rule: it connects – in some way – to the previous instalment. So come join us on our weekly foray into interconnectedness!

Reading about the subdued but enormously suspenseful bomb-on-a-boat thriller Juggernaut in last week’s post, I couldn’t have agreed more with Matt’s analysis that even though we might expect a classic disaster movie, we are given something much more riveting and truthful in the hands of director Richard Lester.

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Six Damn Fine Degrees #41: Pandemic and Disaster in The Cassandra Crossing (1976)

Welcome to Six Damn Fine Degrees. These instalments will be inspired by the idea of six degrees of separation in the loosest sense. The only rule: it connects – in some way – to the previous instalment. So come join us on our weekly foray into interconnectedness!

The grim reality of an ongoing global pandemic and the eerie parallels to other historical viruses like the Spanish flu of 1918 (so poignantly discussed in last week’s post) have not exactly whet our appetites for pandemics in movies. The likes of Contagion (2011) and Outbreak (1995) might be too real for comfort and post-virus zombie tales of World War Z (2013) or 28 Days Later (2002) too horrific for escapist entertainment.

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Six Damn Fine Degrees #35: Michel Legrand’s Thomas Crown Affair

Welcome to Six Damn Fine Degrees. These instalments will be inspired by the idea of six degrees of separation in the loosest sense. The only rule: it connects – in some way – to the previous instalment. So come join us on our weekly foray into interconnectedness!

Gangster portraits in recent movies have tended towards more and more nasty realism, as Julie so admirably analysed in last week’s post on iconic  French gangster Jacques Mesrine. Long gone seem the late golden days of Hollywood gangster glamour, in which style prevailed over morality and sexiness seemed to make up for all crimes committed. 

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Six Damn Fine Degrees #31: Talia Shire in Rocky and The Godfather

Welcome to Six Damn Fine Degrees. These instalments will be inspired by the idea of six degrees of separation in the loosest sense. The only rule: it connects – in some way – to the previous instalment. So come join us on our weekly foray into interconnectedness!

Alan’s shining piece on why Shelley Duvall is the true star of The Shining, Stanley Kubrick’s masterful Stephen King adaptation, reminded me of another late ’70s star almost forgotten for the emotional impact she had on audiences while staying in the background of strong male leads – and doing it twice in the most successful and critically acclaimed films of the decade: Talia Shire in The Godfather and Rocky series of films.

Woman in the shadows, but always at the very heart of each of her Rocky outings: Talia Shire as Adrian.
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Six Damn Fine Degrees #26: That ’70s Gay Cliché!

Welcome to Six Damn Fine Degrees. These instalments will be inspired by the idea of six degrees of separation in the loosest sense. The only rule: it connects – in some way – to the previous instalment. So come join us on our weekly foray into interconnectedness!

Last week’s fascinating look by Alan at previously coded gay relationship between Marvel cartoon characters made me once again fully aware of how secretively (and also inventively) homosexual characters and relationships were allowed to feature in mainstream popular culture before the proper arrival of LGBTQ+ cinema in the past two or three decades or so.

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Six Damn Fine Degrees #20: Dubbed and snubbed – the secret voices of Hollywood

Welcome to Six Damn Fine Degrees. These instalments will be inspired by the idea of six degrees of separation in the loosest sense. The only rule: it connects – in some way – to the previous instalment. So come join us on our weekly foray into interconnectedness.

Question: Do you think this is actually Audrey Hepburn singing the wonderful “Moon River” from Breakfast at Tiffanys (discussed in last week’s post by Alan)?

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Six Damn Fine Degrees #15: The Talented Mr. Finney

Welcome to Six Damn Fine Degrees. These instalments will be inspired by the idea of six degrees of separation in the loosest sense. The only rule: it connects – in some way – to the previous instalment. So come join us on our weekly foray into interconnectedness.

I have yet to see his romantic performance alongside Audrey Hepburn in Two for the Road, which Matt so vividly described in last week’s post, but there has been so much evidence of enormous versatility in his career, that I wanted to dedicate my post to him (who left us only two years ago, on 7th February, 2019, just two weeks prior to Stanley Donen, director of Two for the Road). To me, he will always be the actor with that special edge – the incredibly talented Mr. Albert Finney.

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Six Damn Fine Degrees #11: Martin Landau

Welcome to Six Damn Fine Degrees. These instalments will be inspired by the idea of six degrees of separation in the loosest sense. The only rule: it connects – in some way – to the previous instalment. So come join us on our weekly foray into interconnectedness.

Would you have guessed who the young and apparently artistically gifted man in the image below is? Well, reading about him in the last Six Damn Fine Degrees post by Julie, I was reminded of how often this enormously talented actor has been a saving grace and the secret star of so many movies and TV shows I love. And therefore I decided to dedicate this eleventh post to him!

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Six Damn Fine Degrees #5: Jerry Goldsmith – Hollywood’s golden composer

Welcome to Six Damn Fine Degrees. These instalments will be inspired by the idea of six degrees of separation in the loosest sense. The only rule: it connects – in some way – to the previous instalment. So come join us on our weekly foray into interconnectedness.

Following up on Eric’s deep space exploration of the not-so-beloved Star Trek – The Motion Picture, I was reminded of how much of what we are supposed to believe and feel about the film’s improbable plot and presumed depth is achieved by its soundtrack: the grandeur of the USS Enterprise, the viciousness of Klingon aggression or the prolonged mystery surrounding V’ger are all greatly heightened and intensified by that one composer who more than once saved Star Trek (and Hollywood!) with his music: Jerry Goldsmith (1929-2004).

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