Tremendous images of nudity

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We’ve reached the magic 64-post mark, and it’s finally time for the obligatory “search terms that brought people here” post. Here’s a sampling of those that don’t involve confusion over the end of Skyline, confusion over whether Kim Basinger or Brad Pitt or “Sex on Wheels” was in Who Framed Roger Rabbit [no, that was Cool World], animated gifs of Mick McCarthy, the Paisley Panda, Sten Egil Dahl, Björn Vleminckx, the weasels from Roger Rabbit, x-rated animated gifs of Betty Boop, or requests for Jennifer Salt, Margot Kidder, Glynis Johns, Marjorie Woodworth, Joan Blondell, Dame Maggie Smith, or Jessica Rabbit naked.

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Image searches

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Celebrity image searches

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Clowns

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Nintendo

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Ringer

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Beautiful Persian actresses

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Abstract

  • need room would keep always on video with my one love in the eye have 20 negrons worms in new york
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  • i’d search to the far corners of the ether to find those teutonic lesbian vamps.
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Two more with Terry Moore

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Beneath the 12-Mile Reef [Robert D. Webb, 1953]

The more I think about Beneath the 12-Mile Reef the better it seems. This may be because the overacting is tiring to watch, but leads to warm memories later. The third movie shot in Cinemascope, it simply looks great. Filmed on location, the setting is convincing [though the characters aren’t], and the scenes onboard the boats convey a good geography: home versus far away versus not so far away, open ocean versus inlets, it’s pretty immersive. There are quite long sequences filmed underwater that use the novel wide-screen technology to its fullest, though these don’t take up much of the running time. Edward Cronjager’s seventh and final Oscar nomation was for Beneath‘s cinematography. Here’s an interesting trailer for the film — you’ll note that it’s basically a trailer for Cinemascope.

This is a story about Greek sponge-divers in Tarpon Springs, Florida, and their rivalry with non-diving WASP sponge fishermen [called “the Englishmen” once, and “the Conches” thereafter] in the Florida Keys. If these topics are as foreign to you as they were to me a week ago, this bit of history is a good introduction. How much did this rivalry existed in real life? The two areas are over 200 miles apart.

An obvious response here is to wonder why this groundbreaking technology was employed for an on-location blockbuster about Greek sponge-divers. It’s not based on a novel. Was there a Life magazine article about Greek sponge-divers that had recently captured the nation’s interest? Greek-Armenian-American screenwriter A.I. Bezzarides [Kiss Me DeadlyThey Drive By Night] certainly was not basing it on his own formative years in the orchards of Northern California. Obviously making your characters Greek indicated that they were emotional, spontaneous, lived life to the fullest and so forth. The WASP family, led by Richard Boone, are pretty emotional themselves, but not devil-may-care like our heros. From an interview with Cineaste editor and modern Greek culture expert Dan Georgiadis:

From the 1930s-1950s well over half the Greek American characters are professional gamblers. There is also a theme of Greeks as wrestlers. Broadly, there are many more male characters than female, and the female characters are almost all stereotypical mothers or sisters. From the mid-1950s onward, there begin to be more and more Greek professionals such as attorneys and architects.The first Greek professional identified so far is from a film of the late 1960s…Also there is a kind of minor genre featuring sponge divers of Florida.

To my amazement, there is indeed a minor genre featuring sponge divers, including Greek and Greek-set movies, and others about the Florida gulf coast [Harbor of Missing Men, 16 Fathoms Deep, and at least one “Flipper” episode]. Beneath the 12-Mile Reef certainly limits its female characters to stereotypical mothers and sisters [the father addresses his wife as “wife”, that sort of thing]. The male characters are diverse in their accents if not in their personalities. Future TV star Robert Wagner is cocky young Tony who sounds like any other American. As his father Mike, Mexican-born Gilbert Roland plays Big Chief Red Indian. The ovoid moneylender [Jacques Aubuchon] sounds like Shylock. And as for Uncle Soak [Socrates], the vocal resemblance to Speedy Gonzales is enhanced by his lack of height. I looked up Irish-American actor J. Carrol Naish to see if he specialized in the Speedy Gonzales thing. His roles include “Chico” and “Papa Rico Molina”, but also “Rabbi Arnold Fishel”, “Dr. Igor Markoff”, “Signor Michel O’Sullivan”, Charlie Chan, about a dozen Native Americans, and five years as star of CBS radio’s Life with Luigi, in which he sounds like any other Italian stereotype.

A promotional shot of Robert Wagner for this movie. I swear, it's not a musical.

The opening credits are scored by an overbearing Bernard Herrmann soundtrack including some of the most forceful harp glissandos ever recorded. The music is fun, using weird themes for the underwater scenes including a terrifying trombone for the terrifying octopus. Some might say there’s too much music, like when Uncle Soak is telling everyone to be quiet as a mouse [“every word like bullet!”] as the soundtrack almost drowns him out. More than once I was shocked when the characters didn’t burst into song. Possibly because Robert Wagner looks like a professional dancer straight off the set of West Side Story, and possibly because of the enthusiastic-Greek gesticulating and leaping around. Maybe the startling physical chemistry between Wagner and Terry “Hollywood’s Sexy Tomboy” Moore would be…let’s say, classier…if their flirtation was in the form of song lyrics rather than dialogue. It certainly would make their initial courtship less ridiculous [she runs away from her family with a guy who has a sustained and violent grudge against all of them, literally two minutes after meeting him] if it were in a musical, where everything is heightened and stylized.

Terry Moore’s character is named “Gwyneth Rhys”. She shows the romantic impulsiveness of her Welsh mythic predecessor Blodeuwedd in turning against the all-male family that has dominated her life. I think it’s an intentional Romeo-Juliet parallel that she seems particularly juvenile here, always with either a huge smile or a huge look of concern. Tony seems like the older and experienced guy who sweeps her off her feet, outshining her boring, even-older presumed fiance Arnold Dix [Peter Graves]. Terry Moore was born in 1929, Robert Wagner in 1930, and Graves in 1926, so the dynamic is a bit weird. Richard Boone’s father figure is written very well as he seeks to pacify this situation and the feud with the whole Greek family.

Not only is that Terry Moore, it's her character from "Beneath the 12-Mile Reef".

So, yes, Peter Graves. That’s the only name I recognized from the cast. He’s introduced as if he’s the hero. He’s trying to get her to marry him, she loves him as a brother, he’s boring. His jealousy after she meets Tony leads to violence. Thinking about his character, I think it’s one that would be extremely hard for actors to play nowadays. Arnold is prejudiced against Greeks, as is the Rhys family with whom he spends all his time. He’s the villain. But his racism, even though he directs it toward the hero, is not one of his character flaws [those would be jealousy and short temper].

The whole family thrives within a racist system. The Greeks can dive for sponges in the dangerous waters near Tarpon Springs and Tampa Bay, including the eponymous reef. The Anglos use hook-boats to find sponges more easily in shallow waters [“the glades” here]. Sometimes the Greeks get desperate and fish in the glades, and are met with violent reprisals, death threats, and the theft of their catch, delivered from smiling faces who aren’t so much bullying as restoring order. Arnold has respect for Greeks in theory, he allots them a place in society, but when they aspire to his place in society, he can’t believe what he’s seeing. And then, only after he thinks other people see him as weak, does he respond with violence.

58 years later, and 44 years after In the Heat of the Night, isn’t it rare to see a depiction of a racist character where the very fact of his racism doesn’t mark him as some sort of sociopath?

Come Back, Little Sheba [Daniel Mann, 1952]

I think this is more a staged tableau representing the movie than an actual still from the movie.

The inveterate TCM viewer and DVR recorder will have often seen films in the listings of the sort that would not be appealing on the basis of its stars and story, but becomes intriguing on the basis of being adapted from a prize-winning stage play. “At least there’ll be good dialogue”, you think. Then you start watching, and the arms of sleep beckon when it turns out to all be set in three rooms, and contain 25-minute scenes of people in armchairs talking, and be filmed in uninspiring black-and-white because filming in color would signify lack of maturity. Or it may be a naturalistic story that comes across super-depressing on film — enjoyable on stage because you can take breaks and suspend your belief by noting that these are clearly actors and this is clearly a set, but hard to take in what looks like a real house in a real town.

Come Back, Little Sheba is one of those adaptations, adapted extremely well. The b&w is shiny and crisp and the camera angles are well-chosen, which I wouldn’t say about Long Day’s Journey Into Night or The Male Animal. Warren Low’s editing was Oscar-nominated, when that category was less dominated by epics and thrillers. It has a variety of moods. And having heard Robert Osborne discuss how the original plan was to have Sidney Blackmer reprise his Broadway performance as Doc but get a well-known actress to play Lola [the opposite was done, when no suitable female star was found], I could spend the film wondering what it would be like without Shirley Booth’s iconic mannerisms and Burt Lancaster’s anti-theatrical underplaying.

Adapted faithfully from William Inge’s play, the story is more about dramatizing concepts than suspense or character arc. It follows turning points in a couple lives, but past and future events are just as important, and nobody has a metamorphosis during the couple months we see them. It’s about nostalgia, and voyeurism, and temptation, and addiction. Characters learn about characters. We learn about them. There are two inevitable confrontations. That’s the story.

In 1952 Terry Moore was no longer typecast as the pal of dumb beasts like the horse in The Return of October, the squirrel in The Great Rupert, the giant ape in Mighty Joe Young, and the orange-picking magician in He’s a Cockeyed Wonderbut at 23 and 5’2″ she wasn’t yet being cast as grown women.

"Sure! What's more interesting than nature? And especially our own bodies. And speaking of bodies, there's my friend Turk."

Her character is not that different from Gwyneth Rhys. A chipper young woman, who can maintain a huge smile throughout long conversations, she is beloved by her elders, pursued by two gorgeous men, and unable to think of a reason why she shouldn’t be the girlfriend of both of them. In Beneath the two guys had similar approaches to life – each working hard and standing up for his family against its rival, despite one being a hot-blooded fun-lover and the other being a stoic glowerer. In Come Back, Little Sheba college student Marie has the typical dilemma of long-distance relationship and planning for the future [with a guy named Bruce whom we barely see] versus a fling with charismatic athlete Turk [Richard Jaeckel]. Robert Wagner’s character was always trying to kiss Gwyneth, but he was about as sexually sophisticated as Max Fischer. Turk has literally one thing on his mind, and Jaeckel is very convincing as a young creature of entitlement. Their carefree coeducational college setting foreshadows the concept of the “teenager” that would arise in the mid-fifties.

However, the main setting is Doc and Lola’s house, where Marie rents a room. As Lola, the personification of the word “dowdy”, Shirley Booth seems instantly familiar to me, probably because Estelle Costanza is a parody of her persona [George even says in The Subway that he used to liken his mother to Hazel]. The actress gives Lola a sing-song form of friendliness which implies that she wants other people to truly be happy but she can only pretend to be happy. Somehow she combines a mischievous smile with a total lack of self-esteem. Doc, played by a pale, sunken-eyed, furrow-browed, though barely greying, Burt Lancaster, is accustomed to this passive-aggressive atmosphere, and tries to overcome alcoholism by immersing himself in the satisfaction of routine, then responds to that routine by regretting past choices, since everything he has is less than what he could have had. He says “Alcoholics are mostly disappointed men.”

The healthier and more realistic he gets, the angrier he gets at himself and Lola. She channels her frustration into the harmless search for the titular lost dog rather than talking about things close to home. This flatters her into sort of a saint, but one who’s lost touch with reality. Meanwhile we realize from the start that Doc has gotten the wrong idea of who Marie is, hoping something ideal has arrived in his world to balance it out, and we wait with apprehension for how he reacts to her being a normal person.

The Marie plot is destined for a conventional happy ending, and we hope Doc’s stability resumes when she leaves his house.

  • Lola: I’m pooped.
  • Doc: Honey, don’t use that word. It sounds vulgar.
  • Lola: Well, I hear Marie say it all the time. I thought it was kinda cute.
  • Doc: You don’t hear Marie saying it. Her language is refined.
  • Lola: Well, Turk then. Somebody! [giggles]

In Hollywood, if I might make a ludicrous analogy for a paragraph or two, The Lost Weekend [Billy Wilder, 1945] was to alcoholism what Brokeback Mountain [Ang Lee, 2005] was to homosexuality. It takes a topic that has been covered many times before in a superficial way, and treats it with as much sincerity as humanly possible, being richly rewarded for the effort. And to us in the audience, it’s the signal that when we see even what might be a stereotypical depiction of a drunkard, we aren’t expected to react with laughter or pity. Nuance is now permitted w.r.t. this inflammatory subject matter!

I don’t know about the theater, but it seems relevant that Eugene O’Neill waited until very late in his career to use his wealth of drug and alcohol life experience as material for drama, and didn’t allow any such plays to be performed until The Iceman Cometh in 1946. The plays Come Back, Little Sheba and Clifford Odets’s The Country Girl both date from 1950. In 1954 you have the film of The Country Girl with Bing Crosby, and Lillian Roth’s massively successful memoir I’ll Cry Tomorrow which shortly became a Susan Hayward movie that introduced harshly realistic alcoholism to the show-business rise-and-fall biopic. Then in 1958 was Days of Wine and Roses, the teleplay that was adapted into another acclaimed film in 1962.

One thing Come Back, Little Sheba has in common with Days of Wine and Roses is the valorization of Alcoholics Anonymous. We see AA as a force more reliable than willpower in saving drunks from their impulses, by providing salt-of-the earth friends for the male lead to rely on [Jack Klugman in DWR; Philip Ober and Edwin Max in CBLS] and by giving him an outlet to help other people. Doc only seems motivated when he’s going out at night with Elmo and Ed to the hospital to assist an AA newcomer. He has a new identity as a volunteer.

Sixty years later, we’re always seeing movie and TV characters go to meetings of twelve-step programs, those unusual social forces that combine bureaucratic rigor with intense human encounters and the seemingly anti-modern idea of accepting one’s limitations. It’s shorthand for telling us a character has a problem, she knows she has a problem, and the tension is whether she can control that problem. But we rarely get as full a picture of how daily life is shaped by AA principles.

"They gave me a part in a thing called Beneath the 12 Mile Reef. They said I’d play with Terry Moore, and I liked that fine. So they made me her father.”