Friday, March 31, 2023


It has been rather bewildering to witness no less than two dozen low-budget action movies involving Bruce Willis being churned out over the last three years. That legacy-dimming run ends with “Assassin,” which arrives almost exactly one annum after his family announced a retirement due to diagnosis of cognitive disorder aphasia (and, later, frontotemporal dementia). Like nearly every preceding opus featuring the erstwhile global superstar in roles of prominent billing but little screentime, this rote genre exercise is little more than a time-killer, and as such a regrettable close to a significant career. Saban Films is releasing it to U.S. theaters, digital and VOD platforms on March 31.

It is … um, sometime in the near future, somewhere or other. Alexa (Nomzamo Mbatha) and Sebastian (Mustafa Shakir) are a married couple both in the U.S. Army, though they get to see each other less than they’d like between separate tours of duty. An unhappy reunion occurs when he comes home in a long-term coma. Demanding to know what happened, Alexa is told Sebastian was shot while inhabiting another body on top-secret assignment — it’s “the future of drone warfare,” snarls chief Valmora (Willis) — and now she must follow his lead to save him...

Sadly, the career of Bruce Willis has ended and ended with this film...

Sunday, March 26, 2023


 I am not sure what the year is on this print advertisement, but I would guess to be late 1950s or early 1960s. The great Buster Keaton is selling malt liquor! It is interesting what the stars would put their name to!

Wednesday, March 22, 2023


The year 1947 marked great prosperity for the States in their 2nd year of post war relaxation. Audiences were flocking back to the movies, and they were going to see Bing Crosby movies. He was the number one star again. Here are the top ten movie stars of 1947...



Friday, March 17, 2023


I remember hearing Judy Garland's Decca recording of the song "A Pretty Girl Milking Her Cow", but I never knew where the song came from. I never realized how old the song was! "A Pretty Girl Milking Her Cow" is a traditional 18th-century Irish ballad. The English version is attributed to Thomas Moore (1779–1852). Originally sung in Irish Gaelic, the song was popular through the early 20th century.

The song was sung by Jack Jones the teenage son of Anne Jones the publican of the Glenrowan Inn (Victoria, Australia) while it was under siege by the Kelly Gang. The siege was broken by the Victorian Police on the morning of Monday June 28, 1880. Jack Jones died of injuries sustained during the police assault on the hotel.

Percy Grainger recorded an English language version on wax cylinder from Joseph Leaning of Lincolnshire in 1906, which has been digitised and can be heard online. In 1907, the Austrian ethnologist Rudolf Trebitsch used the same technology to record an Irish language version in County Kerry. Some time in the early 1900s, the famous uilleann piper Patsy Touhey was recorded playing a version, which is available on the Irish Traditional Music Archive.

It enjoyed a revival when an updated swing version sung by Irish-American singer/actress Judy Garland was featured in the 1940 film Little Nellie Kelly. The updated version is true to the original musical air, and incorporated original lyrics by MGM Musical Director Roger Edens, and featured Garland singing the song to George Murphy using some of the original Gaelic lyrics in the first chorus, which was true to the traditional air, before moving into an up-tempo swing version typical of the era.

The song was released as the B-side of the more popular Garland song It's A Great Day for the Irish by Decca Records in 1940. It became a popular song for Irish-Americans during St Patrick's Day celebrations. It remained a popular number for Garland throughout her career, and most notably she sang it live in its original Irish language version in July 1951 at her Theatre Royal concerts in Dublin, Ireland. A Dublin review stated: "Remember the song she sang in "Nellie Kelly" – "The Pretty Girl Milking Her Cow." Judy is providing herself with the Irish version – "Cailin Deas Cruidte na mBo" while in Ireland". Later in 1951, she included the song in her first record-breaking appearance at New York's Palace Theatre, although this time reverting to the new version that combined both English- and Irish-language lyrics. The song is also featured on Garland at the Grove on Capitol Records, recorded live in 1958 at the Coconut Grove in Hollywood. I always thought the song was written for Judy Garland. It was not, but she made it sound like it was!

Wednesday, March 15, 2023


Here is a review from Bruce Kogan's massive amount of movie reviews on the IMDB...

Almost one hundred years later the concept of that static war of the trenches that was the Western front of World War I is almost unfathomable. After the French army stopped the German offensive at the Battle of the Marne, the French and British armies faced the Germans in a line of trenches that stretched from Belgium to Switzerland. About a quarter of France was occupied for four years in that time. The casualties ran into the millions in that stalemate that gains were only measured in meters.

It was always just one more offensive over the top charging into automatic weapon fire that would break the other guy. Just such an offensive was planned one day in 1916 against a German stronghold dubbed the ant hill.

General George MacReady, promised a promotion by his superior Adolphe Menjou, orders a beaten and tired battalion to charge the ant hill. The attack flops and MacReady looks for scapegoats. He decides after coming down from shooting 100 men to a selected three drawn by lot. The unlucky three are Joseph Turkel, Ralph Meeker, and Timothy Carey.

The commander of the three Kirk Douglas asks to serve as their counsel and he makes a good show of it at the kangaroo court martial they have. But the fix is definitely in.

Except for Spartacus, Kirk Douglas rarely plays straight up heroic types in film. Even his good guys have an edge to them, a dark side. But as Colonel Dax, Douglas is at his most heroic. He may be one dimensional here, but he's great. Especially in that last scene with Adolphe Menjou when he tells the man off in no uncertain terms, mainly because Menjou has misread Douglas's motives.

Menjou and Macready portray two different military types. The arrogant MacReady as versus the very sly Menjou. Not very admirable either of them. Menjou was not very popular at this time in Hollywood because of the blacklist. He favored it very much, his politics were of the extreme right wing. Nevertheless he was a brilliant actor and never better than in this film, one of his last.

The enlisted men are a good bunch also. They're kind of like the posse in The Oxbow Incident, just an ordinary group who become ennobled in martyrdom as they go to the firing squad for the sake of politics.

Paths of Glory is one of the best anti-war films ever made. It ranks right up there with All Quiet on the Western Front which showed the war from the German point of view. Both will be classics 200, 300, a thousand years from now...

BRUCE'S RATING: 10 out of 10
MY RATING: 9 out of 10

Saturday, March 11, 2023


As of the death of child star Robert Blake on March 9, 2023 - former actor Sidney Kibrick has become the last surviving member of the Our Gang series. Sidney most notably appeared in the Our Gang short subjects film series, over a ten-year period from 1933 and 1943.

Kibrick was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on July 2, 1928. He attended Mount Vernon Junior High. Kibrick made a brief non-dialogue appearance as an extra in the feature film Dead End, observed as one of three or so children huddled together during one of the river dock scenes. He made his uncredited film debut in Out all Night (1933), and after a few more uncredited roles was cast in 1935 in Our Gang, from 1937 to 1939, in that series he portrayed "Woim" (a vernacular pronunciation of "worm"), the sidekick of the neighborhood bully "Butch", played by Tommy Bond.

Kibrick worked as a real estate developer and architect after leaving show business in the 1940s. He kept in touch with Our Gang members at reunions, some of which he used to host. In 1991, he acknowledged that he had avoided the tragic lives that former child actors often ended up having as adults. As Sidney got older, his roles became limited. He made his last appearance on film un credited in the 1943 movie Keep 'Em Slugging.

Admittedly, Sidney stayed friends with George McFarland for years, but never liked Carl Switzer, who he refers to as being disagreeable. Sidney has looked back fondly on his time as a child actor, but knows he lucked out by having a normal adult life compared to some of his other Our Gang co-stars...

Thursday, March 9, 2023


So millions of people love the music of Connie Francis. I was one of them! My Grandparents saw the 1960s pop star in concert countless times, and I enjoyed her soulful singing which was reminisant of Judy Garland or Al Jolson. When I officially began collecting music when I was 6, Connie Francis was a part of my collection. However, that changed about eight years ago.

I have a You Tube channel that I started in 2014. I do it for fun - I do not make any money on it whatsoever. I created initially to share my favorite music with the world, and I want to connect more younger fans of this type of music together. Connie made a album in 1969 called "Connie & Clyde: Music Of The 1930s". The album was spectactular, and the crowning recording in this gem is "Brother, Can You Spare A Dime". At the time, the album was not available anywhere so I posted that recording from the album.

In about a days time, I received notification from You Tube that the agent of Connie Francis flagged my upload, and wanted it deleted from the channel. The agent went so far as to report me to You Tube to get my channel shut down, but this was my first offense, and You Tube has a three strike rule. So You Tube put me on probation for six months - which I was successful to work through. I wrote to the agent to explain that I did not make money from my channel, and I was just uploading the video to help keep the memory of Connie Francis and her contemporaies alive. My only response I got was that if I disputed the access, I would be taken to court.

As a result, I got rid of all my Connie Francis records and CDs, and I only listen to her if her voice comes on as part of a movie soundtrack. At one time she was one of my favorite songbirds, but as a result of this action, Connie as flown the coup as one of my favorites. I rarely talk about this, but I cringe when I read about her. For this reason, I dislike Connie Francis...

Wednesday, March 8, 2023


At 96, I did not think I would see a new production out of Mel Brooks. I mean he was an original writer on Sid Caesar's Your Show Of Shows, and Brooks' comedic movies like Young Frankenstein (1974) and Blazing Saddles (1975) caused a lot of my laughter growing up. However, Mel is back with History Of The World Part II! History of the World, Part II is an American sketch comedy limited series, which debuted on March 6, 2023 on Hulu. 

The series is a sequel to Mel Brooks's 1981 feature film History of the World, Part I, and is written and produced by Brooks, Wanda Sykes, Nick Kroll, Ike Barinholtz, and David Stassen. Like the earlier film, it features sketches parodying events from different periods of human history and legend.

After 40 years, there is finally a sequel to the seminal Mel Brooks film, History of the World, Part I, with each episode featuring a variety of sketches that take us through different periods of human history. The cast features a large ensemble, including a core of several regulars who are also among the series writers: 

- Mel Brooks as Narrator
- Wanda Sykes as various characters
- Nick Kroll as various characters
- Ike Barinholtz as various characters

Despite the title History of the World, Part I, there were initially no plans for a sequel to the film. The title was a play on The History of the World by Sir Walter Raleigh, which was intended to be published in several volumes but only the first was completed. However, in October 2021, Hulu and Searchlight Television announced that a sequel series titled History of the World, Part II, was in the works, with production beginning in spring 2022. Mel Brooks would produce and write the series along with Wanda Sykes, Ike Barinholtz, and Nick Kroll, who would also appear in it.

I have seen four of the episodes now, and I think it is a good follow up to Mel's 1981 movie. Like the older movie, some of the skits fall flat, but as a whole I know what I am in for when I watch a Mel Brooks production. The 30 minute episodes is a way for me to escape and have a few cheap laughs along the way. Yes there are fart jokes, but they humor is also geered for 2023 audiences. 

If you are not a Mel Brooks fan, don't see this Hulu production. However, if you grew up on Mel, then I think you will be pleasantly surprised. I'm not sure if this show warrants a part III, but it's a good reminder that Mel Brooks remains one of the most talented and funny men on the planet...


Sunday, March 5, 2023


The late Bruce Kogan returns to this blog with memories of this Rosalind Russell film that I never saw...

Based on a true story, someone had the genius over at the Brothers Warner to shell some bucks out for the services of Rosalind Russell for the lead. She really is so right for the part of Louise Randall Pierson a woman who through time and circumstance is forever reinventing herself. A little like Mame Dennis who lives to the fullest and like Molly Brown, she maybe down, but she ain't licked.

From Donald Woods she gets her four kids, but they are incompatible and divorce. She then marries Jack Carson who has ideas, but he's content to be a Vice President with his dad's flower nursery firm. Roz kick starts the ambition in him and their lives are quite the rollercoaster, but they are happy. And the kids are completely accepting of him

The image we have of Jack Carson in most of his roles is the lovable blowhard. But he had a really never appreciated talent for taking it down however many pegs necessary to achieve a great serious performances in a lot of serious roles. He and Russell work well together in Roughly Speaking.

There's a nice epic quality to Roughly Speaking. Coming out as it did at the nd of World War Ii it exudes a cheerful optimism about America and its people. The kind of stuff people wanted to hear in 1945.

It still holds up well as good entertainment...


Thursday, March 2, 2023


 A few years ago I published an article on my blog about Betty Hutton and her three daughters. Betty has been gone now for over sixteen years, and her three daughters are themselves becoming older women. However, the comments have been overwhelming to what happened to the relationship or lack of relationship Betty had with them. Everyone has an opinion on why the daughters did not go to Betty's funeral, but no one truly knows what went on being the offspring of a troubled Hollywood star but those daughters. 

Here are some of the comments I got via my blog or to my email that I wanted to share:

"I saw the Betty Hutton interview on TCM, when it first aired. Knowing first hand, from one of the countless people who tried to help her, what a delusional, self-centered egotist she could be, seeing her decades later was just more of the same. She never took any responsibility for the grief she had caused herself and others, instead, whining that the cast of ''Annie Get Your Gun'' hated her. That is just one example. There are people who have had horrible role models, but rose above the chaos and misery to become fine human beings. Betty Hutton chose to be a professional victim to the end. There are enough stories told by her peers in Hollywood to more than suggest that she cared for nobody but herself. She may have gotten away with that while she was riding high and making big money, but it caught up with her before long. Her daughter were probably trying to avoid any more heartache at her hands. And, in the end, she got precisely what she deserver." - Phil Lindholm, 10/21/2019

"This was the woman who said in an interview "My children didn't bring me happiness" when her youngest daughter was just 13 years old. Remarks like that can kill the last lingering shreds of affection a child has toward an absent and shaky parent. I just watched the interview with Robert Osborn that replayed on the movie channel last night. Hutton as an old woman was bubbly, pious, unfiltered, but seemingly lacking in self-awareness of her part in her own misfortune and estrangements. Children estranged from a parent always, always have a valid point of view, even when reconciliation is possible. Hutton came across as incapable of recognizing or acknowledging any point of view but her own." -Jaiquai, 3/19/2017

"I was neighbors with Betty in her later years in Palm Springs, and I asked her about her daughters because she did not have pictures around her place. She told me that they were part of her old life. I found that to be odd. They were part of her old life but she had pictures all around her of old stars she worked with like Howard Keel and Bing Crosby. To me it seemed like she blamed everyone else but herself. Talking about Hollywood, she blamed her co-stars. Talking about her ex husbands, she blamed them. I went out to lunch with her a few times, and it was embarrassing how she still thought she was Hollywood royalty. Once Betty realized I wasn't going to crazy over who she was, we sort of stopped talking" - Annoymous. 2/16/2023

In the 1990s, I interviewed actress Marjorie Reynolds's daughter Linda, and she gave me some interesting accounts of Betty Hutton's behavior at Paramount Studios in the 1940s. I'll have to dig those out. Sadly, there is a lot of Hollywood stories out there about stars like Betty. Betty was a great star and talented entertainer, but sadly it did not transfer to her private life.

If anyone is in touch with anyone that knew Betty Hutton, please feel free to reach out to me. I want to hear your stories!