‘Whitey’ documentary asks how Boston’s most famous mob boss got away with so much murder and mayhem

Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger/2014/CNN Films/107 min.

Whitey posterTrue-crime aficionado and award-winning documentary director Joe Berlinger says he’s always felt he had a civic duty to point out flaws in the criminal justice system. His latest film, “Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger,” looks at the reign of Boston’s most notorious and nefarious mob criminal and probes his ties with federal law-enforcement agencies. In telling Bulger’s sordid yet riveting story, Berlinger makes a case that there was widespread corruption at the FBI and the Department of Justice.

During his decades-long career, James “Whitey” Bulger, 84, became world famous. His irresistible narrative has spawned a cottage industry of books and films, says Berlinger. Johnny Depp is playing Bulger in the upcoming film “Black Mass” and in 2006’s “The Departed,Jack Nicholson portrayed a character that was partially based on Bulger.

When Bulger went to trial in June 2013 (after being arrested in June 2011 in Santa Monica), Berlinger says he saw an opportunity, as a filmmaker, to separate the man from the myth. “You have a guy who ruled Boston’s criminal underworld for 25 years and wasn’t even stopped for a traffic ticket. Finally the Massachusetts State Police said enough was enough and started forcing an investigation. … The FBI tips off Bulger and he goes on the lam for 16 years. Frankly, I thought he would never be caught.”

For his lifetime of crime, Bulger is serving two consecutive life terms plus five years at a facility in Tucson, Ariz. He was found to have been involved in 11 murders.

In the moral code of the Irish mafia, however, there was a worse offense than taking a life and that was to be a “rat” or an informant to law enforcement. In Berlinger’s film, we meet insiders on both sides of the law, many of whom speculate on whether Bulger committed the gangster’s ultimate betrayal. Berlinger’s take? “I think Bulger was never officially an informant in the truest sense of the word, but there was a relationship there where he was passing some information. The truth was in the middle.”

The film argues, sometimes eloquently and other times a bit heavy-handedly, that government corruption paved the way for the gruesome work of a vicious criminal, often showing us survivors who were left to pick up the pieces in the wake of brutal violence.

As for isolating the man from the myth, there was one interview subject rich with dramatic irony who does not appear in the film. Whitey Bulger is the brother of former President of the Massachusetts Senate, Billy Bulger. Unfortunately, Billy is not on camera.

But who knows? Maybe Johnny Depp will give him a cameo.

“Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger” opens Friday in New York and July 11 in LA.

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Film Noir File: Famous Screen Detectives Day and ‘Born to Kill’ showcases tough guy supreme Lawrence Tierney

By Film Noir Blonde and Mike Wilmington

The Film Noir File is FNB’s guide to classic film noir, neo-noir and pre-noir on Turner Classic Movies (TCM). All movies below are from the schedule of TCM, which broadcasts them uncut and uninterrupted. The times are Eastern Standard and (Pacific Standard).

Claire Trevor meets her match in Lawrence Tierney. The two star in "Born to Kill."

Claire Trevor meets her match in Lawrence Tierney. The two star in “Born to Kill.”


Pick of the Week:

Born to Kill” (1947, Robert Wise). 11 p.m. (8 p.m.). Wed., June 25.

Most men are turnips.

So says soigné and sassy femme fatale Helen Brent (Claire Trevor) in RKO’s “Born to Kill” from 1947, directed by Robert Wise.

Most men, perhaps, but not the homme fatale she falls for. No, strapping tough-guy Sam Wild (Lawrence Tierney) isn’t a turnip. What’s the word I’m looking for? Parsnip? Potato? I know: Psycho! And in Helen he finds his ideal match.

Read the full review in FNB, posted Nov. 7, 2012. Link coming asap!

Friday, June 20

Famous Screen Detectives Day: A day with some legendary hard-boiled (or not) film and literary sleuths, including Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade and Nick and Nora Charles and Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe.

6 a.m. (3 a.m.): “The Thin Man” (1934, W. S. (“One Shot Woody”) Van Dyke). With William Powell, Myrna Loy, Maureen O’Sullivan, Porter Hall and Asta. Reviewed in FNB July 28, 2012.

7:45 a.m. (4:45 a.m.): “The Maltese Falcon” (1941, John Huston). With Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Sidney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, Ward Bond and Elisha Cook, Jr. Reviewed in FNB on March 11, 2014.

9:30 a.m. (6:30 a.m.): “The Big Sleep” (1946, Howard Hawks, 1946). With Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Dorothy Malone and Elisha Cook, Jr.). Reviewed in FNB on May 15, 2014.

11:30 a.m. (8:30 a.m.): “Laura” (1944, Otto Preminger). With Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb, Vincent Price and Judith Anderson. Reviewed in FNB on April 18, 2014.

1 p.m. (10 a.m.): “Murder, My Sweet” (1944, Edward Dmytryk). With Dick Powell, Claire Trevor, Anne Shirley and Mike Mazurki. Reviewed in FNB on Feb. 15, 2012,

2:45 p.m. (11:45 a.m.): “Harper” (1966, Jack Smight). With Paul Newman, Janet Leigh, Lauren Bacall, Julie Harris, Shelley Winters, Robert Wagner and Arthur Hill. Reviewed in FNB on Dec. 4, 2012.

Saturday, June 21

1:45 p.m. (10:45 a.m.): “Ocean’s Eleven” (1960, Lewis Milestone). With Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford and Angie Dickinson. Reviewed in FNB on May 1, 2013.

4 p.m. (1 p.m.): “Bullitt” (1968, Peter Yates). With Steve McQueen, Jacqueline Bisset, Robert Duvall and Robert Vaughn. Reviewed in FNB on Oct. 27, 2012.

6 p.m. (3 p.m.): “Key Largo” (1948, John Huston). With Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Edward G. Robinson, Lionel Barrymore and Claire Trevor. Reviewed in FNB on Aug. 10, 2012.

12 a.m. (9 p.m.): “Blowup” (1966, Michelangelo Antonioni). A high-living London star photographer in the Swinging ’60s (David Hemmings) photographs a halcyon scene in a beautiful park and then discovers that he may have accidentally recorded a murder happening before his (and our) eyes. One of the great international art films of the ’60s, and a great neo-noir. The scene where Hemmings deconstructs and reassembles the murder scene in his dark room and lab is a masterpiece of editing and suspense. With Vanessa Redgrave, Sarah Miles, Jane Birkin and The Yardbirds. Based on a short story by Julio Cortazar. Music by jazzman Herbie Hancock.

Sunday, June 22

2 p.m. (11 a.m.): “The Wrong Man” (1956, Alfred Hitchcock). With Henry Fonda, Vera Miles, Anthony Quayle and Harold J. Stone. Reviewed in FNB on Nov. 17, 2012.

Monday, June 23

The Seventh Victim poster
10:45 a.m. (7:45 a.m.): “The Seventh Victim” (1943, Mark Robson). A persistent young woman (Kim Hunter) searches for her missing sister in a New York City that may literally have gone to the Devil. One of the best of the classic Val Lewton RKO low-budget horror movies. With Tom Conway and Jean Brooks.

Tuesday, June 24

1:15 a.m. (10:15 p.m.): “No Orchids for Miss Blandish” (1948, St. John Legh Clowes). With Jack La Rue and Linden Travers. Reviewed in FNB on Oct. 6, 2012.

Wednesday, June 25

Lawrence Tierney Night

One of the toughest of the film noir tough guys – as hard-boiled and rough-edged off-screen as he was on-screen – was that inimitable hard-ass hooligan Lawrence Tierney. Tierney, who had a glare that could stop a truck and a hand made for an uppercut or a gat, mostly operated in Poverty Row shows and B-movies, occasionally slipping into a glossier A-film like Duke Wayne’s “Back to Bataan,” in a supporting role.

Born to Kill poster
Tierney’s masterpiece, and a movie in which he genuinely puts your nerves in the shredder and your blood on ice is this column’s Pick of the Week, “Born to Kill” (see above) in which he plays a killer’s killer. If you think you may have seen him, but you haven’t caught any of the movies listed below, you may be recalling his inspired turn as the tough old guy running the show in Quentin Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs.”

(By the way, he was not related to Gene Tierney.)

Lawrence Tierney Night starts at 8 p.m. EST (5 p.m. PST ) with his most famous role in “Dillinger” (1945, Max Nosseck), and continues (all times EST) with “Badman’s Territory” (9:15 p.m.), “Born to Kill” (11 p.m.), “The Hoodlum” (12:45 a.m.), “Step By Step” (2 a.m.), “Back to Bataan” (3:15 a.m.) and the 1946 version of “San Quentin” (5 a.m.).

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Power suits, stylin’ pumps: Working girls’ wardrobes on display

I have a retro kitchen magnet that declares: “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you do your hair.” And how you wear your clothes.

The Best of Everything posterFor proof, just look at “The Best of Everything” (1959, Jean Negulesco), which screens at 3 p.m. Saturday at Hollywood’s Egyptian Theatre. In this slick and sexy melodrama, based on a Rona Jaffe novel, Joan Crawford holds court in a New York City publishing house. She’s dressed to the nines in every scene, natch. Her perfectly appointed co-stars are Hope Lange, Diane Baker and Suzy Parker (and look out for a young Robert Evans).

At 2 p.m., there will be an illustrated talk called “Working Women’s Fashion,” which organizers describe as follows:  From Rosie the Riveter to Mary Tyler Moore, explore how working women have influenced fashion from the 1940s to the 1970s. Using period images from myvintagevogue.com and a runway show of vintage examples from clevervintageclothing.com, clothing historian Dave Temple will discuss how working women changed the fashion landscape forever.

A fashion show will follow the talk. Additionally, there will be a clothing sale in the Egyptian’s courtyard from noon to 6 p.m.

Now put it in your planner and don’t be late!

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The Film Noir File: Ida Lupino Day, Dassin’s prison noir

By Film Noir Blonde and Mike Wilmington

The Noir File is FNB’s guide to classic film noir, neo-noir and pre-noir from the schedule of Turner Classic Movies (TCM). The times are Eastern Standard and (Pacific Standard).

Ida Lupino was one of the few female moviemakers of the studio-era heyday.

Actress and director Ida Lupino was one of the few female moviemakers of the studio-era heyday.

No one could play a moll or a tough dame on screen like Ida Lupino – even though in life, she was a sophisticated British émigré from a notable theatrical family. (Her father was the famous stage and screen star Lupino Lane.)

She could look just right with a cigarette in her mouth and a highball in her hand, and she could trade quips with the best and toughest of them, including Humphrey Bogart, Robert Ryan, John Garfield, and her wry one-time husband Howard Duff.

She’s also a landmark lady in film history as one of the few female moviemakers of the studio-era heyday. In the early ’50s, Ida co-produced and directed a string of taut B noirs (“Outrage,” “The Bigamist,” “The Hitch-Hiker” and others) that were models of nervy, economical and socially probing American movie making.

Lupino tackled tough, ambitious subjects (rape, bigamy, crime) and handled them with lean expertise. Later in her career, she directed on television, where she was a mainstay helmer on the offbeat Western series “Have Gun, Will Travel” with Richard Boone.

We’ll always remember her, though, as a reigning queen of film noir.

Movies to be shown today (June 12) are: “They Drive By Night,” “High Sierra,” “The Hard Way,” “Outrage” “Beware, My Lovely,” “On Dangerous Ground” and “The Hitch-Hiker.”

The divine Burt Lancaster in "Brute Force."

The divine Burt Lancaster in “Brute Force.”

Friday, June 13

2 p.m. (11 a.m.): “The Woman on Pier 13” (1949, Robert Stevenson). With Robert Ryan, Laraine Day, John Agar and Thomas Gomez. Reviewed in FNB on April 9, 2013.

3:15 p.m. (12:15 p.m.): “Dementia 13” (1963, Francis Coppola). Stylish but tawdry little Roger Corman-produced cheapie about a murder rampage in an isolated mansion. With William Campbell (JFK mistress Judy Exner’s ex-hubby), Luana Anders and Patrick Magee.

Sunday, June 15

2 a.m. (11 p.m.): “Purple Noon” (1960, Rene Clement). With Alain Delon, Maurice Ronet and Marie Floret. (In French, with subtitles.) Reviewed in FNB on Feb. 5, 2013.

Brute Force movie poster colorTuesday, June 17

12:15 a.m. (9:15 p.m.): “Witness for the Prosecution” (1957, Billy Wilder). With Charles Laughton, Marlene Dietrich, Tyrone Power and Elsa Lanchester. Reviewed in FNB on Aug. 9, 2012.

Wednesday, June 18

6:45 a.m. (3:45 a.m.): “Brute Force” (1947, Jules Dassin). With Burt Lancaster, Hume Cronyn, Yvonne De Carlo, Charles Bickford and Jeff Corey. Reviewed in FNB on Aug. 15, 2013.

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With thanks and sadness, let’s raise a glass to Kate

I think of my spiritual ancestors as Joan Crawford, Barbara Stanwyck, Gloria Grahame, Lauren Bacall, Joan Bennett and Bette Davis. Their hard-won independence, their juicy scandals and their irrepressible willful streaks on and off screen laid the groundwork for all of us femmes fatales to call the shots, own our dramas and embrace the concept of high maintenance. Put simply: to be a bitch.

Kate's, at the corner of Wilshire and Doheny, opened in 1987.

Kate’s, at the corner of Wilshire and Doheny, opened in 1987.

That said, there are many other vixens, vamps and troublemakers who, though far less famous, are equally inspirational. One of these role models by extension, as it were, was Kate Mantilini, the namesake of a terrific Beverly Hills restaurant that is closing its doors on June 14, after 27 years in business.

Owner Marilyn Lewis says a recent rent increase prompted her decision.

Kate Mantilini was a feisty woman of the 1940s and the mistress of Marilyn Lewis’ uncle. (Marilyn and her late husband Harry Lewis were also the founders of the enormously popular Hamburger Hamlet chain. Harry died last June; he was 93.)

Says Marilyn Lewis: “My mother wouldn’t let me speak to her, nobody would allow us to mention her name, but she was a very strong woman and I wanted to name my restaurant after her.”

Actors, writers and execs gathered at the famous Beverly Hills restaurant.

Actors, writers and industry execs gathered at the famous Beverly Hills restaurant.

Of Irish and Italian descent, the unconventional Kate reportedly liked to do things her way and one of the things she really liked to do was to run businesses. The restaurant’s boxing mural is a nod to the fact that Kate worked in the male-dominated field of fight promotion.

The first time I went to the famous spot was for a late-night supper after seeing a Murnau double-bill at Lacma’s Bing Theater. I was visiting from Chicago and my friend Mickey Cottrell, a veteran film publicist and top-notch performer, suggested to the little group that had gathered that we nosh there. “Let’s head to Kate’s,” he said, as if Kate were a friend who had missed the movie but invited us to her place afterward.

Kate’s hasn’t changed much since it opened in 1987. Outside, by night, a blazing red neon sign pierces the inky blackness of Wilshire Boulevard. The building sits on the northwest corner of Wilshire and Doheny. Kate’s is walking distance from the Academy; the Weinstein Company is across the street.

Michael Mann shot a scene of "Heat" here.

Michael Mann shot a scene of “Heat” here.

Inside, the long, narrow room pulses with talk and laughter; fleet servers fly by, their crisp white aprons flash against the muted gray and cream walls. Glasses, plates and silverware clink and chime.

“I’m definitely moving here,” I thought to myself as we walked in that night, now long-ago. “This is so much cooler than Chicago.”

Mickey had a regular booth he liked; he suggested I order the sand dabs. Delightful. Our party was delightful too. Boisterous, funny, quick to argue fine points about films.

The kind and generous writer/producer/filmmaker Myron Meisel picked up the tab. Critic Michael Wilmington pointed out that the character actor Wallace Shawn was sitting in another booth.

Kate’s has always been popular with industry folk; celebs like Billy Wilder and Mel Brooks were regulars. Writers too, such as Susan Orlean and Tere Tereba, stopped by. Michael Mann, a master of filming Los Angeles by night, chose Kate’s for the scene in “Heat” (1995) when Al Pacino and Robert De Niro talk about their lives as cop and criminal.

Heat posterHarry Lewis was in the entertainment business before he and his wife became restaurateurs. As a contract player with Warner Bros. in the ’40s; Harry had a part in the film-noir classics “Key Largo” starring Humphrey Bogart and Edward G. Robinson as well as in “Gun Crazy” with John Dall and Peggy Cummins.

My friends and I may have been the last ones out that night and I’ve been back many times since. (I moved to Los Angeles in November of 2007.) I celebrated birthdays there, met girlfriends for drinks, marked triumphs big and small, stopped by for a slice of lemon ice-box pie and a cup of coffee after seeing a film at the Wilshire screening room.

It’s tough to think that after next Saturday I won’t be able to go to Kate’s anymore. I was a fan of the food (in particular the Cannes Film Festival salad and the split-pea soup) and the building and the vibe. By vibe I mean a sort of magic that’s absent from lots of trendy new restaurants.

Dessert is a must! Shown: the candy bar ice cream pie.

Dessert is a must! Shown: the candy bar ice cream pie.

You felt when you went to Kate’s that you were truly “in” – you might rub shoulders with Hollywood power brokers – but more importantly you were in for really good food and a really good time. Every time you went.

The Beverly Hills Cultural Heritage Commission is considering the property for landmark status to protect the building in the event that new owners decide to remodel. The land parcel (9101, 9107 and 9111 Wilshire Blvd.) features the work of architects Pereira and Luckman, Maxwell Starkman and Thom Mayne.

I hope that happens. But in the meantime, I’m going to raise a glass to Kate – who liked a good fight – and to the strong women she inspired – who doubtless have healthy appetites and never skip dessert.

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Film Noir File: Beautiful young Brando blazes in ‘Waterfront’

The Noir File is FNB’s guide to classic film noir, neo-noir and pre-noir from the schedule of Turner Classic Movies (TCM), which broadcasts them uncut and uninterrupted. The times are Eastern Standard and (Pacific Standard).

PICK OF THE WEEK

On the Waterfront
(1954, Elia Kazan). 8 p.m. (5 p.m.), Saturday, June 7.

Elia Kazan’s socially conscious film noir masterpiece “On the Waterfront” is a touchstone of the American cinema, one of those movies you never forget. This powerhouse social drama, a film loaded with heart, brains and guts, pulls you into the crime-ravaged docks of New York City in the 1950s.

Karl Malden, as the crusading priest, talks with Brando's ex-pug, Terry Malloy.

Karl Malden, as the crusading priest, talks with Brando’s ex-pug, Terry Malloy.

Shot in New Jersey and based on actual events, adapted by writer Budd Schulberg from a series of articles by Malcolm Johnson, the movie portrays an exploited band of longshoremen battling for their rights on a dock run by a corrupt union, gangsters and killers. Kazan, Schulberg and a wonderful ensemble give this story a stinging realism few other films of the ’50s can match.

In “Waterfront,” we get a ringside seat at a battle between good and evil, crime and the law. Pitted against the brutal, crooked union-boss, Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb), is an idealistic, courageous priest, Father Barry (Karl Malden), and a washed-up, but eventually heroic ex-boxer, Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando).

Eva Marie Saint and Brando, gorgeously framed by cinematographer Boris Kaufman.

Eva Marie Saint and Brando, gorgeously framed by cinematographer Boris Kaufman.

Among the movie’s other indelible characters: Rod Steiger as Charlie, Terry Malloy’s fancy-dressing mouthpiece-for-the-mob brother, and Eva Marie Saint, in her Oscar-winning movie debut as Edie Doyle, whose brother was murdered by Johnny Friendly’s thugs, and with whom Terry falls in love.

“On the Waterfront” is a knockout on all levels. It has great direction (Kazan), a great tough script (Schulberg), great black-and-white photography (Boris Kaufman), great naturalistic art direction (Richard Day), a great score (Leonard Bernstein), and, most of all, that perfect ensemble cast, with the extraordinary Brando at his youthful peak.

Brando makes every one of his scenes come alive, breathe and bleed, especially when Terry cries out to his brother Charlie (Steiger): “You don’t understand! I coulda had class! I coulda been a contender! I coulda been somebody! Instead of a bum, which is what I am.”

We’ll always remember that electrifying confession of failure and pain in the back of that cab, coming from the young brilliant actor playing the gentle-hearted, beaten-down ex-pug. He moves us so deeply because he was more than a contender; he was the champ. He had more than class; he had genius. He was more than somebody. He was Brando.

You can watch “On the Waterfront” on TCM of course. But if you’re lucky enough to be in Los Angeles this weekend, you can see the film on the big screen at 7:30 p.m., Friday, June 6, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Appearing on stage at that showing, to discuss the movie, will be one of its eight Oscar-winners, Eva Marie Saint.

Thursday, June 5

10 p.m. (7 p.m.): “The Tarnished Angels” (1957, Douglas Sirk).

Dorothy Malone stars as a restless wife; Rock Hudson plays a roving reporter.

Dorothy Malone stars as a restless wife; Rock Hudson plays a roving reporter.

The setting: New Orleans at Mardi Gras. The source: William Faulkner’s novel “Pylon.” Scripted by George Zuckerman, who also penned Sirk’s “Written on the Wind” (1956).

The stars (who also played in “Wind”): Robert Stack and Dorothy Malone are a married couple; Rock Hudson is Burke Devlin, a drunken newspaper reporter at the Times-Picayune, who becomes enamored of them both.

With compassion and high style, “Tarnished Angels” focuses on life’s fringes and the ironies of heroism. Brilliantly shot by Irving Glassberg (who also shot Sirk’s “Captain Lightfoot”), it’s one of the best-looking black-and-white/widescreen movies of its era, a dark gem of noir style.

The one flaw is Hudson’s mostly un-drunk Devlin. But it’s not his fault; Hudson began the movie playing Devlin as soused, but Universal, fearful of harm to their big star’s image, ordered him to play it sober.

The film is a classic anyway. It was Sirk’s favorite of the films he directed and Faulkner preferred it to all the other movies made from his work, even the acknowledged 1949 classic “Intruder in the Dust.” Faulkner, no stranger to booze himself, even liked Hudson’s cold-sober Devlin.

Saturday, June 7

8 p.m. (5 p.m.): “On the Waterfront” (1954, Elia Kazan). See Pick of the Week.

10 p.m. (7 p.m.): “Rumble on the Docks” (1956, Fred F. Sears). A poor man’s mash-up of “On the Waterfront” and “Crime in the Streets,“ with rebel rocker James Darren (“Gidget”), Laurie Carroll and Robert Blake.

11:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m.): “The Mob” (1951, Robert Parrish). Broderick Crawford is an undercover cop, playing a bad guy to infiltrate a poisonous waterfront mob. The Mob includes Richard Kiley, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson and Neville Brand. Lesser known, but a good noir.

Sunday, June 8

Notorious movie poster6 p.m. (3 p.m.): “Notorious” (1946, Alfred Hitchcock). With Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains and Louis Calhern. Reviewed in FNB on Feb. 12, 2013 and Feb. 20, 2012.

Tuesday June 10

8 p.m. (5 p.m.): “The Woman in the Window” (1944, Fritz Lang). With Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, Raymond Massey and Dan Duryea. Reviewed in FNB on Nov. 24, 2011.

10 p.m. (7. P.m.): “Scarlet Street” (1945, Fritz Lang). With Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett and Dan Duryea. Reviewed in FNB on Nov. 24, 2011.

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Eva Marie Saint to appear at 60th anniversary screening of ‘On the Waterfront’

Marlon Brando and Eva Marie Saint both won Oscars for their work.

Marlon Brando and Eva Marie Saint both won Oscars for their work.

Think of “On the Waterfront” (1954, Elia Kazan) and, most times, Marlon Brando springs to mind, with his famous line: “I coulda been a contender.”

But don’t forget that behind the great Brando was a great blonde: Eva Marie Saint, who won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her work. Her award was one eight wins for the film: Picture, Director, Editing, Actor, Writing (Story and Screenplay), B&W Art Direction/Set Decoration, B&W Cinematography.

With its expressionistic black and white visuals, and its story of crime in the lower depths of New York City, “On the Waterfront” more than qualifies as film noir.

On Friday, June 6, the Academy and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Lacma) is presenting a special screening in honor of the film’s 60th birthday at the museum’s Bing Theater. Eva Marie Saint will make an appearance. We at FNB are looking forward to hearing about her memories of making the flick.

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Film noir genius Fritz Lang’s work honored at the Aero

Fritz Lang was said to be tough on actors. You vere expecting othervise?

Fritz Lang was said to be tough on actors. You vere expecting othervise?

“In my opinion, there were only two directors in Hollywood who made films without regard to box-office success: Erich Von Stroheim and myself.”

So said Vienna-born noir master Fritz Lang (1890-1976). Lang came to Tinseltown in the mid-1930s after training as a painter, making landmark movies (“Metropolis” and “M”), and turning down an offer from Joseph Goebbels to head the German film studio UFA. In sunny California, the purveyor of angst and gloom snagged a contract with MGM.

For the next two decades, Lang, who was often difficult and demanding, directed many films with A-list stars for various studios, but never earned the acclaim he deserved. His career fizzled and he headed to Germany in the late 1950s to direct his final three movies, none of which resurrected his professional standing.

His work, however, was championed by Cahiers du cinéma critics and is highly regarded today. You can indulge in your own little Lang-fest starting Thursday when the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica starts Master of Darkness: The Testaments of Fritz Lang with “Scarlet Street” and “Hangmen Also Die!”

This delightfully dark series is must-see viewing for fans of film noir!

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BioElixia helps you banish the dry-skin blues

BioElixia products contain natural ingredients that do the trick.

BioElixia products contain natural ingredients that do the trick.

Summer’s here, and thankfully my arms and legs are toned and tan. Exercise takes care of the toning and, living in LA, it’s easy to get color on my arms.

But a few weeks ago I made a dreadful self-diagnosis: I had severe Casperitis from the thighs down, Casper being the friendly white ghost. And some major dry skin – my calves and ankles were parched.

Some self-tanner was in order and it did the trick. Before I slather that on, I know (from botching the job in the past and ending up with random orange streaks) that it’s key to prime the area before using color.

My secret weapon this season was BioElixia BodyShaper Exfoliating Body Polish and Radiance Body Cleanser.

The polish uses microcrystals and a patented formula to prime the skin. Both products contain natural ingredients such as sweet almond, aloe vera, Vitamin E, fruit acid and Hyadisine.

Both are free of parabens, formaldehydes, sulphates, phthalates, paraffins, and artificial colors and dyes.

For me, it worked best to shave first, use the BioElixia duo and slather on loads of moisturizer. Sure enough, my fake tan was nearly flawless and Casper is back in the closet where he belongs.

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Remembering Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn was born June 1, 1926, Los Angeles.

Marilyn was born June 1, 1926, Los Angeles.

Happy birthday, Marilyn Monroe! She would have been 88 today.

Read more about her and see more photos here.

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