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Category Archives: classic film star

Flower Drum Song, a 1961 Musical Stage play and film adaption

Music Richard Rodgers
Lyrics Oscar Hammerstein II
Book
Oscar Hammerstein II
Joseph Fields
David Henry Hwang (2002 Revised Version)
Basis Novel by C. Y. Lee
Productions
1958 Broadway
1960 West End
2002 Broadway revival
Flower Drum Song was the eighth musical by the team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. It was based on the 1957 novel, The Flower Drum Song, by Chinese-American author C. Y. Lee. The piece opened in 1958 on Broadway and was afterwards presented in the West End and on tour. It was subsequently made into a 1961 musical film.

After their extraordinary early successes, beginning with Oklahoma! in 1943, Rodgers and Hammerstein had written two musicals in the 1950s that did not do well and sought a new hit to revive their fortunes. Lee’s novel focuses on a father, Wang Chi-yang, a wealthy refugee from China, who clings to traditional values in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Rodgers and Hammerstein shifted the focus of the musical to his son, Wang Ta, who is torn between his Chinese roots and assimilation into American culture. The team hired Gene Kelly to make his debut as a stage director with the musical and scoured the country for a suitable Asian – or at least, plausibly Asian-looking – cast. The musical, much more light-hearted than Lee’s novel, was profitable on Broadway and was followed by a national tour.

After the release of the 1961 film version, the musical was rarely produced, as it presented casting issues and fears that Asian-Americans would take offense at how they are portrayed. When it was put on the stage, lines and songs that might be offensive were often cut. The piece did not return to Broadway until 2002, when a version with a plot by playwright David Henry Hwang (but retaining most of the original songs) was presented after a successful Los Angeles run. Hwang’s story retains the Chinatown setting and the inter-generational and immigrant themes, and emphasizes the romantic relationships. It received mostly poor reviews in New York and closed after six months but had a short tour and has since been produced regionally.

Henry Koster
Produced by Ross Hunter
Screenplay by Joseph Fields
Based on Flower Drum Song
by Oscar Hammerstein II
Joseph Fields
Starring Nancy Kwan
James Shigeta
Miyoshi Umeki
Jack Soo
Benson Fong
Juanita Hall
Music by Richard Rodgers
Cinematography Russell Metty
Edited by Milton Carruth
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
November 9, 1961
Running time
132 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Cantonese
Budget $4 million[1]
Box office $5 million (US/ Canada rentals) [2]
Flower Drum Song is a 1961 film adaptation of the 1958 Broadway musical Flower Drum Song, written by the composer Richard Rodgers and the lyricist/librettist Oscar Hammerstein II. The film and stage play were based on the 1957 novel of the same name by the Chinese American author C. Y. Lee.

In 2008, Flower Drum Song was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

Plot

A young woman named Mei Li arrives from China as an illegal immigrant with her father in San Francisco, California to enter into an arranged marriage with the owner of a night club, Sammy Fong (inspired by the actual Forbidden City nightclub). Her intended is already involved with his leading showgirl, Linda Low, and does his best to dissuade Mei Li from marrying him, sending her to live in the house of Master Wang, where he presents her as prospect for Master Wang’s son, Wang Ta. Dissolving the marriage contract is harder than either of them imagine. Master Wang is persuaded by his sister-in-law, Madame Liang, to allow Mei Li to fall in love naturally with Master Wang’s son, Wang Ta. But Wang Ta is dazzled by the charms of Linda, who ‘enjoys being a girl’, and succeeds in landing a date with her, during which she convinces him to give her his fraternity pin (it symbolizes that they’re “going steady”). Linda wishes to use Wang Ta to get a real commitment from Sammy Fong, who gets wind of her plan when Linda attends a party in honor of Wang Ta’s and Madame Liang’s graduation from university and citizenship classes, respectively. At the party, Linda has another club employee pretend to be her brother, and grant his permission for Linda to marry Wang Ta. Mei Li, hearing this, becomes discouraged, while Ta and his father argue over his marriage plans. Ta argues that he is old enough to make his own decisions, but the father says that he will be the one to let Ta know when he is old enough.

Sammy, in an effort to keep Linda from marrying Wang Ta, arranges to have Wang Ta (and his family) see her nightclub act, where he is shocked at her performance. He leaves, distraught, accompanied by his friend since childhood, the seamstress Helen Chao, who also grew up in America and deeply loves Wang Ta. Ta becomes drunk in his misery over Linda, and Helen ends up letting him stay for the night in her apartment. She sings “Love Look Away”, about her unrequited love. In the morning, Mei Li comes to deliver a burned coat for Helen to mend, and becomes distressed when she discovers Wang Ta’s clothing in Helen’s kitchen. When Wang Ta wakes up (seconds after Mei Li leaves), he still does not notice Helen’s affections, even as she pleads for him to stay, and he leaves quickly. He goes to speak with Mei Li, now realizing that she is a better match for him than Linda Low, only to have Mei Li reject him, saying that she once loved him, but not anymore. She and her father leave Master Wang’s house and pursue the marriage contract between Mei Li and Sammy Fong. This is unfortunate in that Sammy has already proposed to Linda, but now will be unable to marry her (the contract is binding). Before the wedding, Wang Ta goes to see Mei Li, and they both realize that they are deeply in love with one another. They agree to try to come up with a way to get Mei Li out of her marriage contract.

The day of the wedding, right before she is to sip from a goblet (which would seal her marriage to Sammy), Mei Li declares that, because she entered the United States illegally, the contract is null and void. Wang Ta can thus marry Mei Li, and Sammy decides to marry Linda right there as well, resulting in a double wedding. Helen ends up empty handed (in fact, she does not appear again after Wang Ta leaves her apartment). In the novel, Ta’s rejection actually leads her to commit suicide.

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“I SAW WHAT YOU DID and know who you are” starring Joan Crawford and John Ireland

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I Saw What You Did is what I would classify as a 1965 American suspense, thriller film rather than the genre of horror. The film was released by Universal Pictures and starring Joan Crawford and John Ireland. The plot follows two teenage girls who find themselves in serious danger after making a prank phone call to a man who has just murdered his wife. The screenplay by William P. McGivern was based upon the 1964 novel Out of the Dark by Ursula Curtiss. The film was produced and directed by William Castle.

Plot
When two mischievous teens Libby (Andi Garrett) and Kit (Sara Lane) are home alone with Libby’s younger sister Tess (Sharyl Locke), they amuse themselves by randomly dialing telephone numbers asking prank questions, telling whomever answers: “I saw what you did, and I know who you are.” Libby places a call to Steve Marak (John Ireland), a man who has recently murdered his wife, Judith (Joyce Meadows) and disposed of her body in the woods. Believing he has been found out, he decides to track down the caller to silence her.

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Marak’s neighbor Amy (Joan Crawford) is in love with him and has been trying to woo him away from his wife. She finds out about the murder. Libby fatefully decides to get a look at Marak because she was intrigued by his voice and takes an increasingly frightened Tess and Kit in her parent’s car to Marak’s address.images-163.jpeg

Amy discovers Libby and chases her off, thinking she’s preventing Marak from meeting with a younger lover but inadvertently saving the girl from being murdered by Marak, who has seen her and grabbed a knife. Amy also snatches Libby’s mother’s car registration from the car seat before Libby drives away, and gives it to Marak, telling him to keep it as a souvenir, his last “Suzette” meaning involving himself with a much younger woman like his deceased wife, Judith. Amy tries to blackmail him into marrying her, telling him she knows about his wife Judith, but he stabs her to death after they have a drink. Libby’s mother’s identification has the family address and phone number, which Marak then uses to track down the girls. He calls asking if her parents are home. She innocently answers no, and he sets out to her home.

During this time the parents have been unable to contact the girls by phone. A policeman arrives at Libby’s home to investigate just after the girls arrive at the house. Libby swears Kit to secrecy over their misadventure. Kit’s father arrives to take her home. While he drives her home, the car radio announces that a woman’s body was found in the woods with a description of the man seen leaving the burial site.

Marak enters the home and questions Libby and Tess about the call. Libby convinces him it was just a prank. He returns her mother’s identification and leaves but waits outside. Kit calls and Libby describes Marak. Kit tells her that he matches the description of the killer just reported on the radio. Marak overhears this and enters to silence Libby and Tess but they evade him. Kit tells her father and he calls the police. Libby tries to escape but cannot start her parents’ car. Marak emerges from the back seat and starts to strangle Libby, but he is shot by a police officer. Libby and Tess return to their home to await their parents’ return from Santa Barbara.

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Posted by on TueAmerica/New_York2018-06-19T14:00:43+00:00America/New_York06bAmerica/New_YorkTue, 19 Jun 2018 14:00:43 +0000 31, in classic film star, classic movies

 

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“CASABLANCA – starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman”

Hal B. Wallis
Screenplay by
Julius J. Epstein
Philip G. Epstein
Howard Koch
Based on Everybody Comes to Rick’s 
by Murray Burnett
Joan Alison
Starring
Humphrey Bogart
Ingrid Bergman
Paul Henreid[1]
Music by Max Steiner
Cinematography Arthur Edeson
Edited by Owen Marks
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
November 26, 1942 (Hollywood Theatre)
January 23, 1943 (United States)
Running time
102 minutes[2]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $878,000[3]
Box office $3.7 million (initial US release)[4]

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Casablanca is a 1942 American romantic drama film directed by Michael Curtiz and based on Murray Burnett and Joan Alison’s unproduced stage play Everybody Comes to Rick’s. The film stars Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and Paul Henreid; it also features Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, and Dooley Wilson. Set during World War II, it focuses on an American expatriate who must choose between his love for a woman and helping her Czech Resistance leader husband escape the Vichy-controlled city of Casablanca to continue his fight against the Nazis.

Story editor Irene Diamond convinced producer Hal B. Wallis to purchase the film rights to the play in January 1942. Brothers Julius and Philip G. Epstein were initially assigned to write the script. However, despite studio resistance, they left to work on Frank Capra’s Why We Fight series early in 1942. Howard E. Koch was assigned to the screenplay until the Epsteins returned a month later. Casey Robinson assisted with three weeks of rewrites, but his work would later go uncredited. Wallis chose Curtiz to direct the film after his first choice, William Wyler, became unavailable. Principal photography began on May 25, 1942, ending on August 3; the film was shot entirely at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, with the exception of one sequence at Van Nuys Airport in Van Nuys, Los Angeles.

Although Casablanca was an A-list film with established stars and first-rate writers, no one involved with its production expected it to be anything out of the ordinary.[5] It was just one of hundreds of pictures produced by Hollywood every year. Casablanca was rushed into release to take advantage of the publicity from the Allied invasion of North Africa a few weeks earlier.[6] It had its world premiere on November 26, 1942, in New York City and was released nationally in the United States on January 23, 1943. The film was a solid if unspectacular success in its initial run.

Casablanca did account for three Academy Awards – Best Picture, Director (Curtiz) and Adapted Screenplay (the Epsteins and Koch) – and gradually its reputation grew. Its lead characters,[7][8] memorable lines,[9][10][11] and pervasive theme song[12] have all become iconic and the film consistently ranks near the top of lists of the greatest films in history.

Plot

In December 1941, American expatriate Rick Blaine is the proprietor of an upscale nightclub and gambling den in Casablanca. “Rick’s Café Américain” attracts a varied clientele: Vichy French and German officials; refugees desperate to reach the still-neutral United States; and those who prey on them. Although Rick professes to be neutral in all matters, it is later revealed he ran guns to Ethiopia during its war with Italy and fought on the Loyalist side in the Spanish Civil War.

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Petty crook Ugarte shows up and boasts to Rick of “letters of transit” obtained by murdering two German couriers. The papers allow the bearers to travel freely around German-controlled Europe and to neutral Portugal, and are thus almost priceless to the refugees stranded in Casablanca. Ugarte plans to sell them at the club that night, and asks Rick to hold them. Before he can meet his contact, he is intercepted by the local police under the command of Captain Louis Renault, an unabashedly corrupt Vichy official. Ugarte dies in custody without revealing that he entrusted the letters to Rick.

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At this point, the reason for Rick’s bitterness—former lover Ilsa Lund—walks into his establishment. Upon spotting Rick’s friend and house pianist, Sam, Ilsa asks him to play “As Time Goes By.” Rick storms over, furious that Sam has disobeyed his order never to perform that song, and is stunned to see Ilsa. She is accompanied by her husband, Victor Laszlo, a renowned fugitive Czech Resistance leader. They need the letters to escape to America to continue his work. German Major Strasser has come to Casablanca to see that Laszlo does not succeed.

When Laszlo makes inquiries, Ferrari, a major underworld figure and Rick’s friendly business rival, divulges his suspicion that Rick has the letters. In private, Rick refuses to sell at any price, telling Laszlo to ask his wife the reason. They are interrupted when Strasser leads a group of officers in singing “Die Wacht am Rhein.” Laszlo orders the house band to play “La Marseillaise.” When the band looks to Rick, he nods his head. Laszlo starts singing, alone at first, then patriotic fervor grips the crowd and everyone joins in, drowning out the Germans. In retaliation, Strasser has Renault close the club.

Bogart and Bergman
That night, Ilsa confronts Rick in the deserted café. When he refuses to give her the letters, she threatens him with a gun, but then confesses that she still loves him. She explains that when they met and fell in love in Paris in 1940, she believed her husband had been killed attempting to escape from a concentration camp. Later, while preparing to flee with Rick from the imminent fall of the city to the German army, she learned that Laszlo was alive and in hiding. She left Rick without explanation to nurse her sick husband.

Rick’s bitterness dissolves. He agrees to help, letting her believe that she will stay with him when Laszlo leaves. When Laszlo unexpectedly shows up, having narrowly escaped a police raid on a Resistance meeting, Rick has waiter Carl spirit Ilsa away. Laszlo, aware of Rick’s love for Ilsa, tries to persuade him to use the letters to take her to safety. When the police arrest Laszlo on a minor, trumped-up charge, Rick persuades Renault to release him by promising to set him up for a much more serious crime: possession of the letters. To allay Renault’s suspicions, Rick explains that he and Ilsa will be leaving for America. When Renault tries to arrest Laszlo as arranged, Rick forces him at gunpoint to assist in their escape. At the last moment, Rick makes Ilsa board the plane to Lisbon with her husband, telling her that she would regret it if she stayed—”Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.”

Strasser, tipped off by Renault, drives up alone. Rick kills him when he tries to intervene. When policemen arrive, Renault pauses, then orders them to “round up the usual suspects.” Renault suggests to Rick that they join the Free French in Brazzaville. As they walk away into the fog, Rick says, “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

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Posted by on TueAmerica/New_York2018-06-19T09:28:25+00:00America/New_York06bAmerica/New_YorkTue, 19 Jun 2018 09:28:25 +0000 31, in 1940s, classic film star, classic movies, nostalgic

 

“Sunset Boulevard (1950) trailer”

“Sunset Boulevard (1950) trailer”

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Sunset Boulevard (stylized onscreen as SUNSET BLVD.) is a 1950 American black comedy/drama film noir[3] directed and co-written by Billy Wilder, and produced and co-written by Charles Brackett. It was named after the boulevard that runs through Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, California.

The film stars William Holden as Joe Gillis, an unsuccessful screenwriter, and Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond, a faded silent movie star who draws him into her fantasy world where she dreams of making a triumphant return to the screen, with Erich von Stroheim as Max Von Mayerling, her devoted servant. Nancy Olson, Fred Clark, Lloyd Gough and Jack Webb play supporting roles. Director Cecil B. DeMille and gossip columnist Hedda Hopper play themselves, and the film includes cameo appearances by leading silent film actors Buster Keaton, H. B. Warner and Anna Q. Nilsson.

Praised by many critics when first released, Sunset Boulevard was nominated for eleven Academy Awards (including nominations in all four acting categories) and won three. It is widely accepted as a classic, often cited as one of the greatest films of American cinema. Deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the U.S. Library of Congress in 1989, Sunset Boulevard was included in the first group of films selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. In 1998, it was ranked number twelve on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 best American films of the 20th century, and in 2007 it was 16th on their 10th Anniversary list.

Plot
At a Sunset Boulevard mansion, the body of Joe Gillis floats in the swimming pool. In a flashback, Joe relates the events leading to his death.

Six months earlier, down-on-his-luck screenwriter Joe tries selling Paramount Pictures producer Sheldrake on a story he submitted. Script reader Betty Schaefer harshly critiques it in Joe’s presence, unaware that he is the author. Later, while fleeing from repossession men seeking his car, Joe turns into the driveway of a seemingly deserted mansion. After concealing the car, he hears a woman calling him, apparently mistaking him for someone else. Ushered in by Max, her butler, Joe recognizes the woman as long-forgotten silent film star Norma Desmond. Learning he is a writer, she asks his opinion of a script she has written for a film about Salome. She plans to play the role herself in a comeback. Joe finds her script abysmal, but flatters her into hiring him as a script doctor.

Moved into Norma’s mansion at her insistence, Joe resents but gradually accepts his dependent situation. He sees that Norma refuses to face the fact that her fame has evaporated and learns the fan letters she still receives are secretly written by Max, who tells him Norma is subject to depression and has made suicide attempts.

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Norma lavishes attention on Joe and buys him expensive clothes. At her New Year’s Eve party, he discovers he is the only guest and realizes she has fallen in love with him. He tries to let her down gently, but she slaps him and retreats to her room.

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Joe visits his friend Artie Green to ask about staying at his place. At Artie’s party, he again meets Betty, who he learns is Artie’s girl. Betty thinks a scene in one of Joe’s scripts has potential, but Joe is uninterested. When Joe phones Max to have him pack his things, Max tells him Norma cut her wrists with his razor. Joe returns to Norma.

Norma has Max deliver the edited Salome script to her former director, Cecil B. DeMille, at Paramount. She starts getting calls from Paramount executive Gordon Cole, but petulantly refuses to speak to anyone except DeMille. Eventually, she has Max drive her and Joe to Paramount in her 1929 Isotta Fraschini.[4] The older studio employees warmly greet her. DeMille receives her affectionately and treats her with great respect, tactfully evading her questions about Salome. Meanwhile, Max learns that Cole merely wants to rent her unusual car for a film.

Preparing for her imagined comeback, Norma undergoes rigorous beauty treatments. Joe secretly works nights at Betty’s Paramount office, collaborating on an original screenplay. His moonlighting is found out by Max, who reveals that he was once a respected film director. He discovered Norma as a teenage girl, made her a star and was her first husband. After she divorced him, he found life without her unbearable and abandoned his career to become her servant.

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Although Betty is engaged to Artie, she and Joe fall in love. Norma discovers a manuscript with Joe’s and Betty’s names on it. She phones Betty and insinuates what sort of man Joe really is. Joe, overhearing, invites Betty to come see for herself. When she arrives, he pretends he is satisfied being a kept man, but after she tearfully leaves, he packs to return to his old Ohio newspaper job. He disregards Norma’s threat to kill herself and the gun she shows him to back it up. He bluntly tells her the public has forgotten her, there will be no comeback, and the fan letters are from Max. As Joe walks away, Norma shoots him three times. He falls into the pool.

The flashback ends. The house is filled with police and reporters. Norma, having lost touch with reality, believes the newsreel cameras are there to film Salome. Max and the police play along. Max sets up a scene for her and calls “Action!” As the cameras roll, Norma dramatically descends her grand staircase. She pauses and makes an impromptu speech about how happy she is to be making a film again, ending with: “All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.”[5]

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Cast
William Holden as Joseph C. “Joe” Gillis
Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond
Erich von Stroheim as Maximillian “Max” von Mayerling
Nancy Olson as Betty Schaefer
Fred Clark as Sheldrake, Paramount Producer
Lloyd Gough as Morino, Joe’s agent
Jack Webb as Arthur “Artie” Green
Franklyn Farnum as Undertaker
Larry J. Blake as Finance man #1
Charles Dayton as Finance man #2
As Themselves:

Cecil B. DeMille
Hedda Hopper
Buster Keaton (Bridge player)
Anna Q. Nilsson (Bridge player)
H. B. Warner (Bridge Player)
Ray Evans (Pianist at Artie’s party)
Jay Livingston (Pianist at Artie’s party)
Henry Wilcoxon as Actor (uncredited)

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Posted by on SunAmerica/New_York2018-06-17T10:42:00+00:00America/New_York06bAmerica/New_YorkSun, 17 Jun 2018 10:42:00 +0000 31, in 1940s, 1960s, classic film star, classic movies, classic television, culture, film history, nostalgic, vintage advertisement, vintage tv shows

 

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 “D.O.A. starring Edmond O’Brien (a 1950 Film Noir Drama)” 

 “D.O.A.  starring Edmond O’Brien (a 1950 Film Noir Drama)” 

D.O.A. is a 1950 American film noir directed by Rudolph Maté, considered a classic of the genre. The frantically paced plot revolves around a doomed man’s quest to find out who has poisoned him and why.[1] This film marks the debuts of Beverly Garland (as Beverly Campbell) and Laurette Luez.
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Posted by on SatAmerica/New_York2018-06-16T09:38:00+00:00America/New_York06bAmerica/New_YorkSat, 16 Jun 2018 09:38:00 +0000 31, in classic film star, classic movies, nostalgic

 

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 “The Long, Hot Summer (1/3) Movie CLIP – You Talk a Lot (1958) HD”

 “The Long, Hot Summer (1/3) Movie CLIP – You Talk a Lot (1958) HD”

A Long Hot Summer[2] (Finnish: Pitkä kuuma kesä) is a 1999 Finnish rock comedy film written and directed by Perttu Leppä. It was the most popular youth film of the 1990s in Finland.[3] The film, set in 1980, tells the story of a fictional rock band called Kalle Päätalo. Due to the film’s popularity, the band started to tour around the country.

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Posted by on MonAmerica/New_York2018-06-11T22:01:17+00:00America/New_York06bAmerica/New_YorkMon, 11 Jun 2018 22:01:17 +0000 31, in classic film star, classic movies

 

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MADAM X (trailer) 1966 – starring Lana Turner and John Forsythe

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Directed by David Lowell Rich
Produced by Ross Hunter
Written by Alexandre Bisson (play)
Jean Holloway
Starring Lana Turner
John Forsythe
Music by Frank Skinner
Cinematography Russell Metty
Edited by Milton Carruth
Release dates
November 8, 1966
Running time
100 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Madame X is a 1966 American drama film directed by David Lowell Rich and starring Lana Turner. It is based on the 1908 play Madame X by French playwright Alexandre Bisson.

Plot

A lower class woman, Holly Parker (Turner), marries into the rich Anderson family. Her husband’s mother (Constance Bennett) looks down on her and keeps a watchful eye on her activities. Due to her husband’s frequent and long trips abroad, Holly forms a relationship with a well-known playboy (Ricardo Montalbán). When her lover accidentally dies, and only her mother-in-law knows she is innocent, the latter blackmails her into disappearing into the night during a planned boat trip, leaving her husband (John Forsythe) and young son (Teddy Quinn) thinking she has died.

She then slowly sinks into depravity all over the world, only to be brought back to America under false assumptions by a “friend” (Burgess Meredith) who plans on blackmailing her family. When she realizes that the man intends to reveal who she is to her son, she shoots the man to stop him. The police arrest her and, refusing to reveal her identity, she signs a confession with the letter “X.” As fate would have it, the court assigns a defense attorney who happens to be her long-lost son (Keir Dullea).

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Posted by on MonAmerica/New_York2018-06-11T18:44:59+00:00America/New_York06bAmerica/New_YorkMon, 11 Jun 2018 18:44:59 +0000 31, in 1960s, classic film star, classic movies

 

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