Archives for May 2010

An Appreciation of Lena Horne (1917-2010)

Still taken from the internet - Wikimedia

What first comes to mind when I think of Lena Horne I think of her singing primarily, but the song is not is not “Stormy Weather.” but rather a Sanka jingle from the 1980’s.

The second thing that comes to mind when I think of Ms. Horne is the 5th grade. As part of Black History Month, our teacher had each of us do a project – we had to pick a famous African American and create a presentation to give in front of the class. The twist was that we had to deliver the presentation in the form of a biography in the first person. In other words we had to take on the persona of our selected historical figure and tell our classmates about our lives – costumes included. I of course chose Lena Horne.

In doing research about her life and work, I discovered that she was a trailblazer in terms of her contribution to the music and film and film industry. Her career definitely paved the way first, for performers such as Dorothy Dandridge in the 1950’s, and many of our contemporary artists (the list is too numerous to name here). I also realized that her work extended beyond mere entertainment.

As an adult I learned to appreciate her in a way that my eleven year old mind could not possibly fathom. She was a principled woman who, in some aspects of her life and career could have probably taken an easier route. But instead she stood her ground in spite of the consequences. Obviously in the outpouring of reflections of appreciation that came with her passing she was admired for who she was and her impact is not forgotten.

In closing, here is a sample recording (from iTunes) which I have had on my iPod for some time; she originally sang it in the film, Till the Clouds Roll By. It is from the musical Showboat. It would be the only time she would be able to sing the song of the character Julie; several years later, Ms. Horne lobbied to play Julie in the remake of Showboat but lost out on the role to Ava Gardner, who was dubbed in the final cut of the film.

TCM Programming Alert 5/21: A 4-Picture Tribute to Lena Horne

Lena Horne Remembered On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame

As I am working on the finishing touches to my own personal tribute to the late Lena Horne, I direct your attention to TCM’s 4-movie tribute scheduled for Friday May 21st.

The films featured will be:
The Duke is Tops
Cabin in the Sky
Panama Hattie
Swing Fever

Great Girlfriend Flicks

The upcoming release of SATC 2 (Sex and the City 2, for the uninitiated) got and the countless girlfriend outings its release are sure to inspire, got me thinking about some fun, funny and sometimes sad movies which would make for a fantastic movie night. So here, in no particular order, is my “Flirty Dozen” (plus a few others). Please excuse a few repeats from previous posts:

  • Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001) – Just saw this again last night (for the 1000th time) and still cannot get enough of it! Actually the inspiration for this blog post.
  • Muriel’s Wedding (1994)See previous blog post for my feelings about this Aussie gem!
  • Love Actually (2003) Is love actually all around? Who knows? Still a cute movie.
  • Sense and Sensibility (1995) – Part of the “Year of Austen” – 1995; great Thompson script and film that helped launch Winslet’s A-List career.
  • Love Jones (1997) – I love this movie because post-watching it definitely sends your mind/heart a flutter.
  • Sleeping with the Enemy (1991) – the end is the best part!
  • Notorious (1946) – Bergman, Grant …. Hitchcock. Easily one of my all-time favorites
  • Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1962) – HUGE camp element
  • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) – the eye candy which is Paul Newman
  • Thelma and Louise (1991) – ladies on the run
  • Notting Hill (1999) – several of my favorite elements thrown together – romantic comedy, Hugh Grant, Julia Roberts and London
  • The Philadelphia Story (1940) – classic romp sure to please!
  • The Women (1939) – the claws are out and they are painted JUNGLE RED
  • A Room With a View (1985) – no matter what “best” list I come up with I feel like I need to add this film
  • Brief Encounter (1945) – Of course very chaste by today’s standards, but still a fine weepie

Now it is your turn; what are some of your favorite GIRLS’ NIGHT IN movie suggestions? If I take you up on your recommendation, there may be a prize in it for you 🙂

Friends watching a sad movie