Monday, April 24, 2017

FEUD and a Female Impersonator

The TV critic on FRESH AIR, the weekday National Public Radio show, predicted Emmy nominations for Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon in FEUD.  That was the FX series about Joan Crawford and Bette Davis.  FEUD was a Ryan Murphy creation.  I agree with FRESH AIR.  Lange and Sarandon deserve Emmy nominations.  Heaven bless Jessica Lange.  Her performance as Crawford was so powerful and so human that folks may now think of the late Hollywood star in a kind way that overlooks Faye Dunaway's kabuki-like monster in MOMMIE DEAREST.  Lange was great and touching, especially in last night's finale.
 I grew up in Los Angeles.  When I was a kid, it was a "factory" town with two big factories -- Lockheed and Hollywood, the dream factory.  I grew up reading Hollywood reports and stories and seeing film-related news and shows on TV.  I started my professional broadcast career right out of college when Bette Davis was still working and when Jessica Lange made her screen debut.  I'm lucky.  I became an entertainment reporter.  I interviewed both women.  I'm a veteran in the radio and TV industry.

When I was watching Ryan Murphy's FEUD, I felt that young viewers would take what he'd written as totally factual.  I was thinking "Well, that bit of business is more from the feud Bette had with Miriam Hopkins or Susan Hayward.  Not a feud with Joan" or "Would studio head Jack Warner really have said 'I want you out there sucking c**k' to Joan in her AARP years?"  In FEUD, Jack L. Warner severely orders Crawford to get out and promote 1962's WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?  It did become a box office hit, one that brought 2-Oscar winner Bette Davis the last of her Best Actress Oscar nominations.  Joan wasn't nominated.
SPOILER ALERT:  I will refer to last night's finale.  The late Charles Pierce was a hugely popular female impersonator who was famous for his hysterically funny Bette Davis imitation.  I saw Pierce onstage once and he killed.  If you saw last night's finale, remember the comment Bette Davis gave to the Associated Press reporter who asked for a comment on the death of Joan Crawford?  I doubt seriously Bette Davis said that.  If I recall correctly, Charles Pierce said that onstage dressed as Bette in ALL ABOUT EVE and got a tremendous laugh in his bit about dealing with Joan Crawford.  If Bette Davis had really said that to an AP reporter, her quote would have made big entertainment news.  I think Ryan Murphy had Susan Sarandon quoting female impersonator Charles Pierce:  "I was taught to say only good things about the dead. Joan Crawford is dead. (Puff cigarette) Good."

Also, in the montage showing Bette's career in a decline and doing stuff like The Dean Martin Roasts?  Well, she did do that show, but Bette was still booking work -- and she did some excellent TV movie acting that brought her Emmy nominations.  She did a 1979 mother/daughter drama with Gena Rowlands, a 1980 race drama called WHITE MAMA about an poor older white woman living in a low income black neighborhood.  One young black man keeps her from being evicted.  Davis was terrific in the creepy TV mini-series THE DARK SECRET OF HARVEST HOME based on a Thomas Tryon occult thriller.  Tryon also wrote THE OTHER.  Davis played an aging flight instructor in 1980's SKYWARD directed by Ron Howard.  I felt she was really strong in 1983's RIGHT OF WAY.  She and James Stewart played an elderly married couple determined to retain their independence and have control over their own lives and, perhaps even, their own deaths.  At the time period in which Ryan Murphy showed Bette Davis as a guest getting ribbed on a Dean Martin Roast, Bette Davis was honored in a highly-promoted CBS prime time special.  It was the AFI Achievement Award show honoring ...Bette Davis.  Back then, the annual AFI Salutes on CBS were big deals and must-see TV.  They were highly promoted the way the Kennedy Center Honors and the Grammys telecasts are today.  This 1977 Bette Davis AFI tribute was an all-star, prestigious gala and a top network special.  If you're a TCM viewer, you learned that Olivia de Havilland was at the A-table to honor Bette and her date was the late, great Robert Osborne before his TCM host years.

Did you know that Bette Davis had hoped to be in a hit Broadway musical?  She had done the film version of THE CORN IS GREEN in the 1940s at Warner Brothers.  She was repeating the teacher role in 1974's MISS MOFFAT.  Morgan was a black youth in the musical version. The late Nell Carter was also in the cast.  Film historian/author and totally cool dude Ed Sikov has the info on this theatrical misfire.  MISS MOFFAT closed after two weeks of tryouts in Philadelphia.
Katharine Hepburn had success with her Broadway musical, COCO (based on life of designer Coco Chanel), and Lauren Bacall reinvented and recharged her career starring in the Broadway musical APPLAUSE, a musical version of ALL ABOUT EVE with Bacall as Margo.  Hepburn and Bacall got Tony nominations for their musical performances on Broadway.

When I met Bette Davis, she was in Milwaukee.  That's where I started my radio/TV career and she'd come to town on a promotional tour for her 1978 film, DEATH ON THE NILE.  She loved making the movie. She hated being on location.  Joan Crawford did not work on TV as frequently as Davis did but she did provide a few laughs with Lucille Ball as a 1968 guest on THE LUCY SHOW and, a year before 1970's TROG, she starred in one of the best and most memorable episodes of NBC's Rod Serling anthology series, NIGHT GALLERY.  She played the richest woman in the country -- a blind and mean woman -- in a 1969 episode called "Eyes."  The ruthless woman pays a man for his eyes.  The episode was directed by a newcomer in his early 20s named --- Steven Spielberg.


Also, from what I've read in biographies, there were friends/co-workers like Myrna Loy who did keep in touch with Joan during her later years in New York City. Last night's finale implied the Loy did not keep in touch.
About that FEUD moment when a hungover Joan wanted to be awakened in the pre-dawn hours to hear the announcement of the Oscar nominations.  The Oscar nominations didn't come out early back then like they do now.  Oscar nominations were announced in the late morning or early afternoon.

I interviewed Jessica Lange before she got the first of her six Oscar nominations.  She now owns one Oscar for Best Supporting Actress (TOOTSIE) and one for Best Actress (BLUE SKY).
She's also a Tony and an Emmy winner.  When she made her big screen debut in the flop 1976 remake of KING KONG, male critics dismissed her as another gorgeous model who had delusions of becoming an actress.  When she she was nominated for 1982's TOOTSIE, she made Oscar history.  She was also in the Best Actress category for FRANCES released the same year. I often wonder if any of those male critics apologized for dismissing her as untalented.  Lange broke my heart in last night's finale. Wow, she was good.  They were all good.

The lead actresses and supporting cast members FEUD elevated the material and gave truth to the real-life characters -- more so than Ryan Murphy did with some of his business in the scripts. 






Sunday, April 23, 2017

Getting VERTIGO Again

Live action. Animation. Long meaningful scenes with no dialogue.  Erotic obsession.  I wish I was describing my love life of the last few years, but I'm not.  I watched the Alfred Hitchcock classic, VERTIGO, again recently.  My brother gave me a DVD of it for Christmas.  In a way, this movie is a look at what happens when really good beauty makeovers go bad.  James Stewart is the psychologically handicapped police detective in San Francisco who falls in love with a cool mysterious blonde played by Kim Novak.
If you've seen it, you know what I'm talking about here.  This movie is secrets, mysteries, passion, recreation and repair.  When I watched it recently, Hitchcock hooked me in again.  VERTIGO had my full attention.  I didn't play it while I multi-tasked.  I let social media go.  I didn't check my phone for text messages.  I didn't make calls.  I did, however, notice something that I'd never noticed before in all the times I've seen it.  You know that VERTIGO has a strong floral motif running through the story.  When the cop first sees the blonde, they're in a posh restaurant.  A floral display decorates the scene.
 There's a flower in the shot with her as she gracefully exits the restaurant.
When the detective follows her to a deluxe San Francisco department store, he sees her purchase a colorful bouquet.  She seems to be at the center of vibrant, colorful flowers.
The flowers become of her identity and allure.  They flowers are come to be a symbol of the eroticism in the detective's attraction to her.  Notice that the floral motif even carries over to a bedspread in a key scene.
What I had not noticed before in the composition of scenes was that the floral motif starts earlier in the drama.  It starts with the brainy "gal pal" played by Barbara Bel Geddes.  She and the cop are friends and have been for some time.  There was a brief romantic union in the relationship.  However, he's come to describe her personality as "motherly."  She, we can see, still has romantic feelings for him.  But he will never have the passionate feelings for her that he develops for the elegant, mysterious, beautiful blonde.  Notice the flowers in Midge's apartment.  They're all pale, like the top half of her wardrobe.
Midge's flowers reflect the state of their relationship.  They are friends.  Buddies.  In his mind, almost like relatives.  In a way, Scottie (James Stewart) has gotten used to her and she sorts of blends into the San Francisco background.  She doesn't stand out to him romantically the way the alluring Madeleine (Kim Novak) does.
The flowers in 1958's VERTIGO.  What a brilliant bit of detail that adds to the overall psychological complexity of this mystery/love story.  It just goes to show you that you can discover new things about classic you've seen several times already -- if you're paying full attention, that is.






Saturday, April 22, 2017

DOLLY Dissed on WNYC?

Bette Midler got rave reviews from coast to coast.  THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, THE NEW YORK TIMES and THE WASHINGTON POST are just three of the outlets that had high praise for Bette Midler's performance in the Broadway revival of HELLO, DOLLY!  In THE NEW YORK TIMES review, we read "Bette Midler provides a dazzling lesson in star power."  THE WASHINGTON POST:  "HELLO, DOLLY! and Bette Midler are a perfect match."  THE LOS ANGELES TIMES:  "Bette Midler and HELLO, DOLLY!...Broadway heaven."
Then I heard the short WNYC review this morning during a local news break from the national NPR broadcast of Saturday's WEEKEND EDITION.  The theater review segments are about 2-minutes long and done by one critic.  Today, the critic called Midler's performance "subdued' and said that she's at her best when does shows in which we see her shimmy and shake onstage.  I am a longtime Midler fan.  I saw her in concert before she made THE ROSE (1979) and in concert since then.  I saw Carol Channing in HELLO, DOLLY! twice during her successful revival in the 1970s.  In fact, I interviewed her.  I was new in my first full-time professional broadcast after graduation.  The tour played a few days in Milwaukee.  Press was given seats for the opening night performance.  There was a press conference that we were invited to attend.  Channing granted me an exclusive backstage interview on another day, our interview aired and made a strong impression on my radio boss.
In some TV, film and stage performances, Carol Channing made have played the ditzy blonde.  In real life, I found her to be as ditzy as General Patton.  She not only promoted her show, she promoted others shows and urged people to embrace the arts. Without criticizing big-budgeted movie version expanded, altered and tailored to suit the talents of Barbra Streisand, Channing detailed the heart of HELLO, DOLLY! to me and why it worked.  One of its qualities was that it kept the emotional intimacy and humanity of its source material.  It's a musical based on Thorton Wilder's hit play, THE MATCHMAKER.  Yes, the same Thornton Wilder who gave us OUR TOWN.  When I saw Channing in the show a second time, it was a great "Aha!" moment.  I realized every bit of what she'd told me coupled with an understanding of why audiences must've had loved it so much.  The show was a hit.  The title tune was on pop charts recorded by several singing stars.  Jazz great Louis Armstrong had a big pop hit with "Hello, Dolly!" which is why he was worked into the 1969 film version.
HELLO, DOLLY! is a Broadway musical comedy classic.  The score by Jerry Herman is great.  The songs have gone on to become standards.  The story tells us to embrace life, help others, and not to cut off from life after deep heartbreak.  Dolly is widow who was in a wonderful marriage.  She may not show it but she's lonely.  She's middle-aged.  She longs to find a new life and a new love...."Before the Parade Passes By."  HELLO, DOLLY! presents optimism, generosity of spirit and good will for people in our lives.  It's not a show that promotes building walls to keep people out.

The WNYC reviewer did not give me the impression that she'd ever seen THE MATCHMAKER onstage or rented the 1950s Paramount Pictures version starring Shirley Booth, Shirley MacLaine, Anthony Perkins and Robert Morse.  Nor did I get the impression she'd ever seen a previous stage production of HELLO, DOLLY!

In 1964, no wonder audiences cheered at "Before the Parade Passes By" and "Hello, Dolly!," two of the most life-affirming, uplifting Broadway show tunes ever written in the 1960s. This was on Broadway the year after America was paralyzed with intense, sudden grief after the 1963 assassination of President of John F. Kennedy.  Our national emotional wounds were still fresh a year after he was killed.  President Kennedy and his wife, Jackie, were champions of the fine arts.  They invited cultural events and artists into the White House.  They attended Broadway shows.   A joyful musical comedy like HELLO, DOLLY! starring Carol Channing helped America heal in 1964 after those dark days in November 1963.  The country needed Dolly.

That's why Bette Midler didn't shimmy and shake.  She's an actress playing a character, a character in the early 1900s.  She's not in concert as The Divine Miss M.  She's a veteran entertainer over the retirement age who, according to other reviews, is giving a powerhouse star quality performance in one of the most treasured Broadway musical roles for women over 40/50.  HELLO, DOLLY! is not Midler in one of her glitzy Vegas productions.
I pray I can see Bette Midler in this revival.  I think we can all expect to see her get a Tony Award for it.  Tell that to WNYC's theater critic.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Great Reviews for Richard Gere

He's come a long way since AMERICAN GIGOLO.  His new movie is called NORMAN.  This week on NPR, a film critic used the word "magnificent" to describe the performance Richard Gere gives in his new movie.  In THE WRAP, the reviewer wrote "Richard Gere gives a tour-de-force performance" and added "...NORMAN is above all a showcase for Gere's substantial talents."  A.O. Scott of THE NEW YORK TIMES wrote that Gere "...has never been better."  Kenneth Turan of THE LOS ANGELES TIMES called his performance "exceptional" and his role "impeccably played."  I've been a Richard Gere fan for a long time and I am thrilled to read that high praise for his new performance.  Reviews like that could lead to an Oscar nomination.  Richard Gere is one of those veteran actors who has done good work for years and years, but has never been an Oscar nominee.  He's in a group with other screen veterans such as Donald Sutherland, Mia Farrow, Dennis Quaid and Malcolm McDowell.  Maybe this will be the year for Gere to make a major impression on the Academy.
The full title of his new film is NORMAN:  THE MODERATE RISE AND TRAGIC FALL OF A NEW YORK FIXER.  It's an R-rated indie film.
 Take a look at this trailer for the film that has Gere as a Manhattan schemer.
I first noticed Richard Gere when he played the street hustler wearing a jock strap as he does push-ups in LOOKING FOR MR. GOODBAR.  Diane Keaton was excellent as the cynical single woman in the city who takes him home for a one-night stand.  After that role he really hit big in 1980's AMERICAN GIGOLO.  It was sort of his PRETTY WOMAN, only it was a drama.  He was the handsome, upscale rent-boy who serviced lonely ladies in expensive neighborhoods.  Young male moviegoers wanted to dress like Richard Gere in AMERICAN GIGOLO.  Even the equipment his character used to exercise while upside down became trendy for a short time.  Gere was Hollywood's hottest new guy on the cinema block.


1982's AN OFFICER AND GENTLEMAN was a big hit for him.  1990's PRETTY WOMAN is now considered to be a classic, by some.  Julia Roberts played the happy hooker who finds true love.  The seediness of her profession was removed so this could basically be a Cinderella-like comedy.  This is when I really started to like Gere.  I watched his early dramas and felt he was a good actor, but there was something cold about him.  It may sound odd, but I think the silver in his hair as he matured warmed him up.  That and his personal spiritual growth.  He proved to have a nice touch with comedy and, you have to admit, he had wonderful chemistry with Julia Roberts.
I thought for sure that he'd get a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for 2002's CHICAGO.  He was terrific in that musical comedy as the shady lawyer, Billy Flynn.  He sang and danced!  But no nomination.

Gere has his share of hits, clunkers and his share of good movies that died at the box office.  He did a couple of films after CHICAGO that I felt deserved more attention than they got.  You might want to check them out, if you're a Gere fan.  Both are based on true stories.  He played Clifford Irving, a man who pulled a huge scam on the New York City publishing world.  His name was in the headlines as the man who claimed he helped the extremely reclusive, extremely famous multi-millionaire Howard Hughes write his autobiography.  Every top book publishing shop in town wanted the rights to that book.  Only...Irving's story wasn't true.  I really dig Gere's energetic work in this film.
Click onto this link to see a trailer for the 2006 Richard Gere movie called THE HOAX:  https://youtu.be/ULOppLFx7pY.

In 2007, Gere was seen in another movie that flatlined at the box office but I liked it a lot.  Like THE HOAX, it boasted a fine performance by Gere.  This journalism thriller is based on a true story and a real-life war.  Richard Gere, Terrence Howard and Jesse Eisenberg starred in THE HUNTING PARTY.  Now that we're so deep into the world of the 24-hour news cycle on cable TV and our president is a former reality TV show host who had no prior political experience, maybe this film would be more appreciated now than it was in 2007.
Gere plays the American TV journalist in war-torn Bosnia who gets into a big argument with the network anchor.  On the air.  Because of losing his temper with the newsroom star, the field reporter's career takes a hit.  He schemes to get a big enough story that will help him make a comeback as a credible journalist.  He gets the idea to hunt war criminals.  Dangerous war criminals.
Click onto this link and watch the trailer for THE HUNTING PARTY starring Richard Gere, Terrence Howard and Jesse Eisenberg:  https://youtu.be/3OYtXuAhu2E.

Check them out if you have a chance.

NORMAN is on my "Movies To See" list.  Good for Gere on getting those great reviews.











Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Get F. Gary Gray on TODAY

A black man made film history with the biggest global opening of all time for a movie.  Bigger than STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS.  African American director F. Gary Gray had a colossal box office success over the weekend.  His action-packed car chase sequel, THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS, made $100.2 million at the domestic box office driving it to the #1 spot.  Reportedly, its international box office take was $432.3 million, a debut record.  You know that the executives at Universal are shouting with joy this week at that financial news.  According to Universal, this was the highest-grossing opening for an African American director ever. Bravo, F. Gary Gray!
When is the TODAY Show going to give director F. Gary Gray some well-deserved spotlight love? Now that networks are attached to movie studios, we've come to expect the network morning shows to plug product being released by the parent company.  Look at ABC with Disney as its parent company.  GOOD MORNING AMERICA constantly plugs Disney product.  NBC is attached to Universal.  Universal had a major box office hit with STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON.

If you read my posts on a regular basis, you know how irritated I was as an African American viewer that TODAY seemed to kick STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON to the curb.  We saw Amy Schumer and other actors from Universal's comedy, TRAINWRECK on TODAY.  We saw Al Roker do weather segments with the yellow characters from Universal's animated MINIONS.  We saw taped interviews with the stars of Universal's JURASSIC WORLD.  But Universal's STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON pretty much just got a brief mention of how it did over the weekend at the box office.  We didn't meet the actors or the director.  It got nowhere near the promotion that TRAINWRECK and MINIONS did.

This really pissed me off racially. First of all, STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON is a Universal release.  Why did TODAY seem to ignore a product of its own company, a product that was a biopic about black talent that became internationally famous for its rap music?  Also, you see clips of Matt Lauer in STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON reading the NBC news headlines in the biopic.  I wrote a post about this NBC and STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON oversight that you can read in my January 2016 section.

One of the things that sent me to a theater to see STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON was the number of white males 40 years of age and older who raved about the movie.  Most had seen it with their sons.  They all praised the director.  So did noted national film critics.  Not only did STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON get rave reviews, it was Number One at the box office for three consecutive weekends.  THREE.  This was huge for a black filmmaker.  STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON was also a hit overseas in Great Britain and Germany.  I was knocked out by it.  The story of the controversial 1980s rap group N.W.A. is an excellent piece of work.  I saw it and saw it again the following weekend.  If I was an entertainment reporter on TODAY, I would have pushed to do an interview of director F. Gary Gray.  I'm surprised former high-profile MTV host Carson Daly didn't push for that.  Daly is now a member of the TODAY on-air family and he's the host on THE VOICE.  Before Gray started making movies, he was a music video director and a top winner at the 1995 MTV Music Video Awards.  STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON should've been a Best Picture of 2015 Oscar contender.  F. Gary Gray didn't get nominated but was worthy of a Best Director Oscar nomination.

Paul Giamatti should've been a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee for his performance as the N.W.A. show biz manager.

I believe that STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON getting only one Oscar nomination (for screenplay) was an element that gave fuel to the "Oscars So White" issue about Hollywood's need to step up its game in the areas of diversity and inclusion.

African American director F. Gary Gray has made some more enormous money for Universal.  In the category of black filmmakers, he's made history.  It's time for him to be a guest on NBC/Universal's TODAY Show.
Some of Gray's favorite classic films are Fellini's LA DOLCE VITA, CASABLANCA, SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS and ON THE WATERFRONT.  Maybe he'd be interested in being a guest programmer one night on Turner Classic Movies.

THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS stars Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson and Charlize Theron.  All the installments in the franchise have embraced diversity and inclusion which made them popular with moviegoers.
Once again, F. Gary Gray's fast car action movie crossed the finish line with $532.5 million at the worldwide box office over the weekend.  Dig it.  I'd book him as a guest on TODAY.



Monday, April 17, 2017

THE ROSE and NORMA RAE on Broadway

I've written before that folks who only think of Bette Mider as the funny lady in DOWN AND OUT IN BEVERLY HILLS and BEACHES and as the singer who warbled "Wind Beneath My Wings" in a music video that we played plenty on VH1 back in the day really need to see her galvanizing performance as a hot rock star on the brink of burning out in THE ROSE.  Ever since its release, it's been written that the character was based on Janis Joplin.  But I read an interview in which Midler said she used more Jim Morrison of The Doors to create her character.  Bette Midler had scored big on the record charts, in concert dates and in fabulous appearances on network variety shows.  She was of the 1970s, a vocalist who could belt 'em like an Old School diva and a bawdy, lovable comedienne who could have you in stitches with her, as she called it, "tit and wit."  But even we hardcore Midler fans were not fully prepared for the dramatic grit she gave us as THE ROSE.  She was raw and revealing and every inch a rock star whose joys and pains came out in her music.  They came out with such heartbreaking intensity that the rock star will become a rock legend.
The dramatic power of the brassy, funny redhead we'd seen onstage, heard on hit records and watched break up Johnny Carson with laughter on The TONIGHT Show with her songs and stories was a total surprise.


Bette Midler was in the Best Actress Oscar nominee category for her electric and memorable dramatic film debut in 1979's THE ROSE.  This performance still holds up.  And her rendition of "Stay With Me"...Lord have mercy!  Her character, Rose, is a High Priestess of Pain doing that number. Liquor and drugs cannot numb her heartache.
Yes, Bette was in the Best Actress Oscar category -- and so was Sally Field for NORMA RAE.  After warm, charming work on two ABC sitcoms -- GIDGET and THE FLYING NUN -- Sally Field had become a joke in Hollywood.  She dug her heels in, studied hard and astonished critics with her lead performance as a young schizophrenic in the 1976 TV mini-series SYBIL.  Playing that young woman with multiple personalities was a difficult and highly sought-after role.  Initially some critics scoffed at the casting choice of Sally Field as Sybil -- until it aired.  It was a hit with critics and in the ratings.  Field still had to prove herself in Hollywood.  Jane Fonda, Jill Clayburgh and Tuesday Weld were three of the actresses who turned down the role of NORMA RAE.  Sally Field took the role and won just about every entertainment prize short of a BET Soul Train Music Award for playing NORMA RAE.  She also won the Oscar.

When AMERICAN IDOL hit TV, we really got to see that we were in an era in which young people wanted to get on the red carpet as soon as possible.  In an interview on West Coast NPR station, veteran actor Bruce Dern mentioned that young talent today should takes risks and be more interested in doing the work than going to the parties.  Instant fame and success are fine...but what you also should want is durability.  You want a career that lasts.

I was in New York City this month for a few days of physically and emotionally draining non-show biz work.  When I was done, I took a walk over to the theater district.  Bette Midler is one of the hottest tickets in town.  Her revival of HELLO, DOLLY! is in previews and will soon have its official opening night this week.  I took this photo.
Right up the block on the same street from Bette's show at the Shubert, Sally Field stars as the clinging mother in a revival of the Tennessee Williams drama, THE GLASS MENAGERIE, at the Belasco Theatre on West 44th Street.

THE ROSE and NORMA RAE.  The stars of those two 1979 films were contenders in the Best Actress Oscar race.  Today, there are stars in Broadway shows on the same street.  Now THAT'S durability, the result of hard work...and extraordinary talent.

I'd love to see both Broadway shows.