erik lundegaard

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Sunday June 08, 2014

All Men Want to Be John Wayne But John Wayne Wanted to Be Fred Astaire

Again, from Scott Eyman's John Wayne: The Life and Legend:

Wayne told [his would-be biographer Wayne] Warga that he always wanted to be Fred Astaire, and he demonstrated by launching into “Putting on the Ritz.” He danced, remembered the writer, “with all the grace of a freight elevator.”

John Wayne and Fred Astaire

Posted at 03:39 PM on Jun 08, 2014 in category Books
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Thursday June 05, 2014

A Message from John Wayne to Bill O'Reilly

From Scott Eyman's John Wayne: The Life and Legend:

“If you had an opinion about something, he wanted you to state it,” said the character actor Ed Faulkner, who made six pictures with him. “He did not like yes-men. Even if he disagreed with you, he’d want to hear your argument. And he might say ‘I don’t agree with you,’ but he would always let you say your piece."

Cf. this. Or this. Or this. Or this. Or this

Bill O'Reilly

Posted at 02:21 PM on Jun 05, 2014 in category Books
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Wednesday June 04, 2014

Why America Will Lose the War

I thought of this scene from Joseph Heller's novel “Catch-22” while watching the Swedish dark comedy “The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared” at SIFF on Sunday night. The discussion is between an old Italian man in a brothel in Rome, and Nately, a romantic, patriotic American:

“America,” he said, “will lose the war. And Italy will win it.”

“America is the stongest and most prosperous nation on earth,” Nately informed him with lofty fervor and dignity. “And the American fighting man is second to none.”

“Exactly,” agreed the old man pleasantly, with a hint of taunting amusement. “Italy, on the other hand, is one of the least properous nations on earth. And the Italian fighting man is probably second to all. And that's exactly why my country is doing so well in this war while your country is doing so poorly.”

“I'm sorry I laughed at you. But Italy was occupied by the Germans and is now being occupied by us. You don't call that doing very well, do you?”

“But of course I do,” exclaimed the old man cheerfully. “The Germans are being driven out, and we're still here. In a few years, you will be gone, too, and we will still be here. You see, Italy is really a very poor and weak country, and that's what makes us so strong. Italian soldiers are not dying anymore. But American and German soldiers are. I call that doing extremely well. Yes, I'm quite certain Italy will survive this war and still be in existence long after your own country has been destroyed.”

Review up later.

Nately at the old Italian man in Catch-22

Nately (Art Garfunkel) and the old Italian man in Mike Nichols' movie version. Sidenote: Garfunkel's casting and filming in Mexico led Paul Simon to pen “The Only Living Boy in New York.”

Posted at 02:00 PM on Jun 04, 2014 in category Books
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Wednesday May 21, 2014

Ward Bond: Oaf, Loudmouth, Anti-Semite

Ward Bond doesn't come off too well in Scott Eyman's biography “John Wayne: The Life and Legend.” He was a member of the Ford-Wayne alchoholic Irishmen club, but I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about his association with the right-wing Motion Picture Alliance and the Hollywood blacklist. Eyman writes:

Ward Bond was extremely busy; always in demand as a character actor, he now began to function as a self-appointed Inspector Javert, checking out the anticommunist bona fides of various actors, writers and directors.

In 1947, Anthony Quinn came hat-in-hand to Bond. Film parts were falling through for him because he was a member of the Actor's Lab, which the MPA considered a communist organization. “You a commie, Tony, a red?” Bond asked as he sat on the toilet. Right: the toilet. Prefiguring LBJ. Quinn denied it. He said he was true blue. Bond gave him a pass. 

Nunnally Johnson, the screenwriter for John Ford's “The Grapes of Wrath,” referred to the MPA as “that Duke Wayne-Ward Bond outfit,” adding:

So many outrageous things went on that made me ashamed of the whole industry ... think of John Huston having to go and debase himself to an oaf like Ward Bond ...

Actor James Lydon piles on:

Duke was just a private citizen and he kept his beliefs private. Now, Ward Bond was a thickheaded loudmouth ... He was the one screaming all sorts of things that nobody else cared about. 

It gets worse. John Ford owned eight acres in Receda, which became a rehabiliation center for both veterans of Ford's movie and veterans of U.S. wars. Syd Kronenthal was the supervisor—he was also hired to help Marlon Brando play a paraplegic in his first film role—and he remembers the Ford team getting drunk all the time:

They were all very right-wing, and when they got loaded they'd start spewing anti-Semitic remarks. The worst of them was Victor McLaglen, and Ward Bond was anti-Semitic as hell. They either didn't know I was Jewish or they forgot.

And I'm only up to page 200.

Ernie and Bert in "It's a Wonderful Life"

Ward Bond as Bert the cop in “It's a Wonderful Life,” a movie the Motion Picture Alliance would condemn for its negative portrayal of bankers and businessmen. 

Posted at 05:59 AM on May 21, 2014 in category Books
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Thursday April 24, 2014

Should Wayne LaPierre Clean Up After Mass Shootings? An Excerpt from Stephen King's 'Guns'

“One only wishes Wayne LaPierre and his NRA board of directors could be drafted to some of these scenes, where they would be required to put on booties and rubber gloves and help clean up the blood, the brains, and the chunks of intestine still containing the poor wads of half-digested food that were some innocent bystander’s last meal ...

”Seung-Hui Cho, the Virginia Tech shooter, carried a Glock 19 with a mag capacity of fifteen rounds. He had nineteen clips for it. In addition, he carried a Walther P22 with a ten-shot mag. In all, he was carrying four hundred rounds of ammo. He killed thirty-two students and wounded seventeen more before killing himself.

“Dylan Klebold, one of the Columbine shooters, carried an Intratec DC9M machine-pistol, more commonly called a Tec-9. With an extended box-type magazine, the Tec-9 can fire up to fifty rounds without reloading. Harris and Klebold killed thirteen and wounded twenty-one.

”Like Seung-Hui Cho, Jared Loughner carried a Glock 19. He killed six, including a child of 9, and wounded fourteen. According to one witness to the event that seriously wounded Congressman Gabby Giffords, Loughner was able to fire so fast that the killing was over before many of the horrified onlookers realized what was happening and opened their mouths to scream.

“James Holmes, who killed twelve and wounded fifty-eight in an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater, was carrying an M-16 rifle (thirty-round capacity) and a .40 caliber Glock, with a clip that can hold up to seventeen rounds.

”In addition to the Glock 10 Adam Lanza used to kill himself, he carried a Bushmaster AR-15, a light, easily handled, pistol-gripped semiautomatic rifle that can fire thirty rounds in under a minute. In his war against the first grade, Lanza fired multiple thirty-round clips.

“As for the Glock: it was pried from his cold dead hands.”

-- from “Guns: A Kindle Single,” by Stephen King. It's a short read, and the first half is so-so (I don't buy his argument on how America doesn't have a violent culture), but the second half makes up for it. Plus it's only 99 cents anytime.

Guns, a Kindle Single, by Stephen King

Posted at 02:50 PM on Apr 24, 2014 in category Books
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