Monday, July 16, 2018

Endearing and Heart-Wrenching Fiilm

Thanks to filmmaker Vohn Regensburger for this wonderful e-mail message about CAKE: A Love Story, an award-winning short film based on It Had To Be Us, the romantic memoir my husband and I wrote under the pen names of Harry and Elizabeth Lawrence. This film is now available on Amazon Prime.

A producer friend of mine and I watched your short movie, CAKE: A Love Story depicting your romantic life story and we just loved it! The story was very endearing and heart-wrenching as it unfolded.

The two lead actors, Debra Lord Cooke and Richard Vernon were marvelous playing you two and were so relatable, funny and heart-felt in their roles. I just thought all along, “Isn’t this just like love: blue sunny skies and summertime… until it isn’t!”

I felt by the end of the film I was good friends with you as a couple and had known you both forever. I believe that piece is so hard to accomplish in a film, let alone a short. I’m so glad you stayed with it and were able to get this released and shared with the world.

Please let directors Misha and Vera Zubarev know a job well-done, as well!

Labels: , , , , , ,

Friday, July 13, 2018

Grandma Knows Best

Passage, a short film expertly directed by Linda Palmer, reached me on a deep emotional level. Maybe that’s because I have a soft spot for grandmothers. I was lucky enough to have two of them, and I miss them both every day. June -- a grandmother played by Ellen Gerstein -- is at the center of Passage. When Jessie (Julia Parker) -- her homeless unemployed daughter, young granddaughter Paris (Kruiz Mauga), and their elderly cat show up at the doorstep of her trailer home, she tries to help them with advice -- and dreamcatchers.

Unfortunately, June’s daughter is skeptical of any suggestions coming from someone as eccentric as her mom. However, by spending time at the trailer and talking with June, Jessica’s attitude slowly changes. Their conversations about age and priorities are fascinating!

Jessie, June and Paris evoke empathy throughout the film. We see the love they have for each other, and we want everything to work out for them. When an unexpected event forces Jessica and June to work together to help Paris accept it, the way they handle the situation looks absolutely beautiful on screen.

Describing how Passage came to be, director/co-writer Palmer (Our Father) says, “One of my friends, Julia Parker, and I were chatting about pet stories and I shared a personal story that she mentioned would make a great short film. I let her know if she played the mom and helped me produce, I would be interested, and voila...6 months later Passage was born!”
I think that helps to explain why this film comes across as so endearing. Plus, besides wonderful performances, Passage features a sensitive story, realistic dialogue, gorgeous cinematography, and music I want to hear over and over again.

It’s no wonder Passage is already receiving recognition on the 2018 film festival circuit!  For more information about this movie, go to the IMDb website and the film’s Facebook page.

Labels: , , , , ,

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Happy Birthday, Olivia de Havilland!

Olivia de Havilland turned 102 today. This legendary actress was born in Tokyo to British parents in 1916 and has appeared in over 50 films during her illustrious career, earning five Oscar nominations and two gold statuettes for Best Actress -- one for To Each His Own (1946) and the other for The Heiress (1949).

To many moviegoers, de Havilland gave her most memorable performance as Melanie Wilkes in Gone with the Wind (1939). “As Melanie, de Havilland is the perfect picture of purity, especially shining when introducing Scarlett O’Hara to the tongue waggers at husband Ashley’s birthday party,” writes Richard Teague in his book, Reel Spirit: A Guide to Movies that Inspire, Explore and Empower. But this talented actress also galvanized attention in roles leaning more to the darker side in films like Dark Mirror (1946) where she portrayed twin sisters -- one a disturbed murderer. 

The list of directors de Havilland has worked with reads like a Filmmaking Who’s Who; it includes such famous names as John Huston, Victor Fleming, Anatole Litvak, Mitchell Leisen, Stanley Kramer and William Wyler. She co-starred with luminaries like Charles Boyer, Richard Burton, Montgomery Clift, Joseph Cotton, Bette Davis, Clark Gable, Ralph Richardson and Errol Flynn. 

Flynn appeared with de Havilland in one of my favorite adventure films, The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938). I own the video of that terrific movie and still watch it frequently. The chemistry between Flynn as Robin Hood and de Havilland as Maid Marian simply can’t be matched in terms of good-natured bantering and mutual attraction. That’s probably why these two actors were paired in seven more films. 

Happy Birthday, dear Olivia de Havilland. 

And thanks for your many terrific film performances! 

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Where the Lost Things Go


A confused elderly woman searches for items she believes have been taken by mysterious little creatures who live inside the walls of her rickety old house.

“Why would they need a tiny pair of scissors, the cardboard backing for my writing tablet, and a brown eyebrow pencil?” she mumbles.

The next morning, she smiles with surprise, for at the bottom of her disheveled bed lies a cardboard paper-doll with brown eyes just like hers.    

(I love a happy ending, don’t you?)

Labels: , ,

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Mary Shelley Biopic

Mary Shelley tells the story of a young girl in England who wrote the famous Frankenstein novel back in the 1800s. Romance, imagination, misery, feminism and love of writing combine in this intriguing biopic starring Elle Fanning, who gives the performance of her career in the title role.

This movie had a special impact on me because in a way, Mary Shelley is responsible for my obsession with films. My first memory involves being a young child hiding under a theater seat looking up at the Frankenstein monster. I was both terrified and fascinated at the same time. From that day forward, I’ve been hooked on movies.

Women authors have faced the plight,
lack of respect, and that’s not right.
MARY SHELLEY, a fine movie,
shows how sad this fact can be.

Mary’s father and husband too
felt her writing just would not do.
But she earned fame despite their gall.
Her creation surprised them all.

Mary wrote the first sci-fi book.
With Gothic themes, just take a look.
Frankenstein makes life from the dead.
His Creature lives and causes dread.

This biopic is quite a treat.
Acting and visuals? Hard to beat.
Dramatic license – what’s the fuss?
That’s all done to entertain us.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, June 01, 2018


The poem below is my response to an important question many friends ask me about poetry.

How does a poem get to be?

Here’s the way it goes for me.

Thoughts and words dance in my brain

like whirling imps defying pain

They visit me in bed at night.

So we party until the light.

That’s how a poem seduces me

to write it down for all to see.

Those sleepless nights play a big part

in my attempt to create art.


Friday, May 18, 2018

Put the Blame on Me

Has any movie actress ever sizzled on celluloid like Rita Hayworth in Gilda (1946)? I doubt it. When this “Love Goddess” of the 1940s sang “Put the Blame on Mame,” her sex appeal almost jumped off the screen. Women wanted to be her; men of all ages dreamed about her. And World War II servicemen couldn’t get enough Rita Hayworth pinups. I remember that this lovely movie star was a big favorite of mine then. However,  she was responsible for one of my most embarrassing teenage situations.

In the forties, students at my high school were expected to demonstrate school spirit every day --- which meant showing an interest in sports, especially football. Although that required an Oscar-caliber performance from me, I didn’t have to fake my enthusiasm for pep assemblies. I quickly became involved in writing skits plus choreographing and doing dance numbers for these almost weekly events. 

One of my favorites featured imitations of Al Jolson, Rita Hayworth, Mae West, Mickey Rooney, and Judy Garland. I’m sure Margie (my debate partner) and I had more fun performing this act than the students had watching it. Except for my “Put the Blame on Mame” rendition, that is.  Evoking so many laughs for impersonating Rita Hayworth didn’t sit well with me. I was going for Gilda’s sexy persona. Maybe that’s why my friends started calling me “Torchy” while giggling behind my back.         

In 1983, Lynda Carter portrayed Hayworth in a TV movie titled Rita Hayworth: The Love Goddess. Although Carter did her best to capture the essence of Hayworth’s appeal, her performance (as well as the production) failed to do justice to one of Hollywood’s most glamorous stars. Happily, because many of Hayworth’s films are shown on television and are also available on video, viewers can still enjoy her unique movie magic. 

Fortunately -- because of popular demand -- I never tried performing my Gilda impersonation again! 

Labels: , ,