Friday, March 26, 2010

How They Make An Oscar Statuette

Have you ever wondered how they make an Oscar statue? Below is a link to an interesting video from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences showing how an Oscar Statuette is made.

The Oscar is first cast in Britannium, then electro-plated in Copper, Nickel, Silver, and finally, 24K Gold. They are then mounted on a black nickel-plated base. The personal engraved tags which identify the winners are engraved after the ceremony and attached later.

Click to watch "Making an Oscar Statuette" at

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Luise Rainer, 'The Viennesse Teardrop': 100 Years

This year, 1930s screen legend LUISE RAINER celebrated her 100th birthday.

Co-star William Powell described her as "one of the most natural persons I have ever known. Moreover, she is generous, patient and possesses a magnificent sense of humor. . . She has judgment and an abiding understanding which make it possible for her to portray human emotion poignantly and truly. . . Everything she does has been subjected to painstaking analysis. She thinks over every shade of emotion to make it ring true. "

Born January 12, 1910 in Germany, she went on the stage at the age of sixteen. She became a well-known German and Austrian stage actress before entering into Austrian films. In 1935, she came to Hollywood and was cast in "Escapade", opposite William Powell, who was so impressed with her that he insisted she be billed with him above the title and even introduced his co-star at the end of the film.

The next year, Producer Irving Thalberg lobbied for her to play the role of Anna Held, insisting that Luise Rainer was the only actress who could play the part. She was cast (again opposite William Powell) and her heartfelt performance, particularly in her final scene where she telephones Ziegfeld to say 'goodbye', was praised by audiences and critics alike. On March 4, 1937, she was awarded the Best Actress Academy Award.

Her next film, "The Good Earth" (based on Pearl S. Buck's best-selling novel), where she plays the wife of a Chinese farmer whose land is threatened by famine, earned her another Best Actress Academy Award, becoming the first actress to win consecutive Oscars, a record unmatched until thirty years later by Katherine Hepburn.

Unhappy in Hollywood, and feeling emotionally drained, Rainer left Hollywood in 1938 for Europe, where she studied medicine and returned to the stage, occasionally appearing on television.

At the beginning of this year, she celebrated her 100th birthday, making her the oldest surving Oscar winner. She will be appearing in April as a special guest at the Turner Classic Movies Film Festival to introduce a new restored version of "The Good Earth". She currently resides in England.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

"A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody . . ."

One of the most spectacular musical extravaganza numbers, "A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody" from "The Great Ziegfeld", won an Oscar for Best Dance Direction. Costing over $200,000 (almost the same amount the real Ziegfeld spent on an enitre show), featuring more than 175 performers, and using 4,300 yards of Rayon for the gigantic curtains, this can't help but be a spectacular musical number. A young Dennis Morgan is featured as the solo singer, although - for some unknown reason - the studio dubbed him, and it is actually Allan Jones' voice that you hear singing. The song was written by the legendary Irving Berlin for the real "Ziegfeld Follies of 1919".

"A pretty girl is like a melody
That haunts you night and day,
Just like the strain of a haunting refrain,
She'll start up-on a marathon
And run around your brain.
You can't escape she's in your memory.
By morning night and noon.
She will leave you and then come back again,
A pretty girl is just like a pretty tune."

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Movie Trivia: Trigger's Film Debut

Roy Rogers' famous horse, Trigger, began his soon-to-be-distinguished movie career in a very small, and rather unnoticeable, role.

Originally named "Golden Cloud", Trigger appeared in the 1938 Technicolor classic film "The Adventures of Robin Hood", starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland. Covered in burgandy trappings, he made two brief appearences as Maid Marian's horse, both of them in the sequence that depicts the ambush in Sherwood Forest. Needless to say, he looks much more impressive with Roy, wearing his plastic saddle and looking like "The Smartest Horse in the Movies".

(Leonard Maltin interview clips from "Welcome to Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood")