TV Fact #312 – August 31st, 2015:

The Canadian dramatic series “Da Vinci’s Inquest” (1998-2005) was loosely based on the real life experiences of Larry Campbell, the former chief coroner of Vancouver, British Columbia, who was elected mayor of that city in 2002. However, the lead character of Coroner [Mayor in Season 8] Dominic Da Vinci was written specifically for actor Nicholas Campbell.

Also, elements of the series storylines were taken from sociopolitical issues faced by the real-life Vancouver, such as the plight of the homeless, the controversy over a designated injection site for drug users, the idea of establishing a red light district, and the disappearance of homeless women and sex workers-similar to the case of serial killer Robert Pickton.

As I keep saying…why use fiction when you got great dramatic material in the real world to base your work off of and keep people in a grounded environment when they watch the show?

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Published in: on August 31, 2015 at 11:15 PM  Leave a Comment  

Movie Fact #861 – August 31st, 2015:

The 1980 American romantic musical fantasy film “Xanadu” was never a huge success…in fact it got terrible reviews and failed at the box office. Unfortunately, is was also an inspiration for the creation of the Golden Raspberry Awards to memorialize the worst films of the year. On the plus side, the soundtrack album became a huge commercial success around the world, and was certified double platinum in the United States with the song “Magic” becoming a U.S. number one hit for lead actress Olivia Newton-John, who played the lead character Kira (Terpsichore). Also, the title track “Xanadu” (by Newton-John and ELO) reached number one in the UK and several other countries around the world. Shows there can be a platinum lining to anything.

Published in: on August 31, 2015 at 11:09 PM  Leave a Comment  

Quote #861 – August 31st, 2015:

“Never have preconceptions, my boy.  Open mind, that’s the thing.”

– John Williams, “Island in the Sun”

Published in: on August 31, 2015 at 11:04 PM  Leave a Comment  

TV Fact #311 – August 30th, 2015:

“The World at War” (1973–1974), a 26-episode British television documentary series chronicling the events of the Second World War, has, since production was completed, attracted acclaim and is now regarded as a landmark in British television history. In fact, producer Jeremy Isaacs was considered ahead of his time in resurrecting studies of military history and leading to Isaac winning a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary Achievements (Cultural) in 1974 as the show’s producer.

However, the series was also criticized for not mentioning that the UK broke its pact with Poland, and bombed Germany first on the night of 3rd September 1939 with the RAF having bombed German cities every night from the 11th of May 1940, four months before the Blitz started on London.

Published in: on August 30, 2015 at 8:59 PM  Leave a Comment  

Movie Fact #860 – August 30th, 2015:

For the third Movie Fact about 1954’s “Rear Window”, based on author Cornell Woolrich’s 1942 short story “It Had to Be Murder”, let’s focus on the magnetic female lead actress Grace Kelly…who was an interesting woman of her time.

Kelly played the character Lisa Carol Fremont and it was as this character that we saw the only time that Kelly is seen with a cigarette in a film. She normally refused to smoke in films but I guess Hitchcock as director was enough to persuade her. Also Kelly’s character was not in the original short story by Woolrich which had no love story and no additional neighbors for the lead character L.B. “Jeff” Jeffries (Played by James Stewart) to spy on. Those elements were created by director Alfred Hitchcock and screenwriter John Michael Hayes, who adapted the short story. Hayes was encouraged by Hitchcock to spend time with Kelly before writing the Lisa character. Hayes admitted that elements of Lisa were inspired by the actress. Apparently Kelly was just all around liked while on set too.

By most accounts, everyone was crazy about Grace Kelly with Stewart quoting , “Everybody just sat around and waited for her to come in the morning, so we could just look at her/ She was kind to everybody, so considerate, just great, and so beautiful.” Stewart also praised her instinctive acting ability and, as he puts it, her “complete understanding of the way motion picture acting is carried out.” However, Kelly may have been a bit too beautiful and friendly, at least for the Paramount publicity department and Stewart’s wife. See Kelly was known privately as a sexually free young woman, often having affairs with her leading men. In fact, she made everyone nervous by confessing to gossip columnists that she found Stewart one of the most masculinely attractive men she ever met.

Finally, Hitchcock spent a great deal of time with costumer designer Edith Head on Grace Kelly’s look, which was characteristic of his often obsessive relationship with his leading ladies. On a side note, Hitchcock used Head on all of his Paramount films. Anyway, one costume he fretted over was the negligee Lisa wears to spend the night at Jeff’s, quietly pulling Head aside and suggested falsies to give Kelly a bustier look. However, Head and Kelly made only a few changes in costume construction and posture which fooled Hitchcock into thinking Kelly had been padded and approved the look.

So, in conclusion, Kelly’s sexuality and strong projection of her personality led to her character existing, showing her influence as an actress and a woman.

Published in: on August 30, 2015 at 8:49 PM  Leave a Comment  

Quote #860 – August 30th, 2015:

“Human beings have an immeasurable desire to discover, to invent, to build. ”

– Reg E. Cathey, “Fantastic Four”

Published in: on August 30, 2015 at 8:32 PM  Leave a Comment  

TV Fact #310 – August 29th, 2015:

Although the show “Being Erica” (2009-2001) was never officially cancelled by the CBC, show creator Jane Sinyor told TV Guide during the fourth and final season run that the series had reached a natural conclusion and she had no plans to write or produce a fifth season.

Published in: on August 30, 2015 at 8:13 PM  Leave a Comment  

Movie Fact #859 – August 29th, 2015:

As said last night, I planned to do multiple Movie Facts on 1954’s “Rear Window”. As mentioned last night, the entire film was shot on one set, which required months of planning and construction.

Just to refresh your memory, the apartment-courtyard set measured 98 feet wide, 185 feet long and 40 feet high, and consisted of 31 apartments, eight of which were completely furnished. The courtyard itself was set 20 to 30 feet below stage level. This was to accommodate the enormous set because a higher ceiling was required so director Alfred Hitchcock had the production company tear out the entire floor of the studio, revealing the basement. So what the audience sees as the courtyard was originally the basement level of the studio. At the time the set of this film was the largest indoor set built at Paramount Studios. Since the apartment of the lead character L.B. “Jeff” Jefferies (Played by James Stewart) was technically on the second floor of his building, that meant the apartment was actually on stage level since the courtyard was in the basement level of the building.

The set itself included 31 apartments, of which 12 were fully furnished. The whole thing became a marvel that visitors to the studio were eager to see. In fact, the set was featured in magazine spreads while shooting was still in progress. The final touch to creating the outdoor nature of the neighborhood was the lighting…which would be a challenge to work with and a nightmare for some cast members.

The enormous set had to have four lighting set-ups always in place for various times of the day. Remote switches located in Jeff’s apartment controlled the intricate lighting. Virtually every piece of lighting that wasn’t employed on another Paramount picture had to be used. In fact, by some counts 1,000 huge arc lights and 2,000 smaller ones were used. At one point, the lights were so hot they caused the sprinkler system to go off, which shut everything down and plunged the set into total darkness although Hitchcock wasn’t bothered as he calmly told an assistant to bring him an umbrella and let him know when the “rain” stopped. However, thanks to extensive pre-lighting of the set, the crew could make the changeover from day to night in under forty-five minutes. It should be noted that it wasn’t just Point A to Point B.

According to actress Georgine Darcy, who played the character Miss Torso, there were four separate lighting settings for the film, which were meant to replicate early morning, afternoon, late evening, and night. Darcy also noted that for some of the settings, the heat from the lights was nearly unbearable for the actors on the top floor of the apartment buildings that were constructed to be five to six stories high.

Technical innovation in a film is a greatly undervalued aspect of filmmaking. It involves creating the setting and feeling of the environment that the actors work in. With a lot of work, and lights, Hitchcock pulled off a set that could simulate the world. Guess Hitchcock could stop the sun from going down…in his own way.

Published in: on August 30, 2015 at 8:06 PM  Leave a Comment  

Quote #859 – August 29th, 2015:

“Winning isn’t everything, family is.”

– Alexandra Holden, “In a World”

Published in: on August 30, 2015 at 7:30 PM  Leave a Comment  

TV Fact #309 – August 28th, 2015:

The short-lived show “Cult” (2013) was originally supposed to air on the now defunct network, The WB. When The WB was replaced by The CW in 2006, the executives of The CW at that time dropped the show, which was supposed to star actor Matthew Bomer originally. The show was reevaluated for production back in January 2012 with a revised version of the series was revived on The CW with a pilot order.

I have to admit, I knew a lot of people who were curious about this show and were sad to see it go after one season. I feel worse for the creators of the show who, after thinking for 6-7 years the concept of “Cult” was dead and buried, got a chance for the show to be produced…only then to see the show cancelled after 13 episodes. Talk about a tough break.

Published in: on August 28, 2015 at 11:29 PM  Leave a Comment