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Wonder

You’ll shed a tear or two—especially if you’re a parent—and they’ll be totally earned.

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Mudbound

The film invites us to observe its characters, to hear their inner voices, to see what they see and to challenge our own preconceived notions…

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Studs and Algren and Patterson, N.J.

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In 1975, Nelson Algren left Chicago, where he wrote "The Man with a Golden Arm" and "Chicago City on the Make," and to general astonishment moved to Paterson, N.J.

In this rare film from a Chicago house party in 1975, Studs grills him, "Why Paterson?"

The two old masters work together like a comedy team. This was an actual conversation, not any kind of appearance, although they're keenly aware of their audience. Algren takes wing when he describes the ideal route from Patterson to San Francisco.

I don't know who made this film. Such a record was rare in the age before video cameras. The conversation doesn't feel staged, but simply happening in somebody's living room. The two men logged countless hours together, Studs the eternal optimist, Nelson the congenital curmudgeon. The YouTube discovery came to me from Zac Thompson, by way of Studs' longtime WFMT pal Andrew Patner. When I viewed it, it had logged only 108 visits.

Studs was 63, and died in 2008. Nelson was 66, and died in 1981.'

[ 11:03p.m. 11/13: fyi, it's actually shot on video not film. if you want to see some similar quality video, a new technology at the time, check out william eggleston's black and white party films from the south called "stranded in canton". his color photography is a big influence on filmmakers like harry savides and sofia coppola.

http://www.egglestontrust.com

peter ]

Use my website, rogerebert.com.

Visit my blog, Roger Ebert's Journal.

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Street scene: Movie theater, snow, rain, promise

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This photo was sent to me by a reader, Chris Aiello. At first I processed it as an atmospheric street scene with a movie theater. Then I read the marquee. That placed it in the early 1960s, and I remembered that Jonas Mekas' "Guns of the Trees" (1961) was a film I reviewed in the early days of the ill-fated Town Underground theater in Chicago (now the Park West).

Aiello told me, "That was the St. Charles movie theater NYC. Circa 1962." And reader Irving Benig added, "East 12th in the Village ."

The "Ginsberg Hoover and Nixon" refers to Allen Ginsberg, who read his poetry on the sound track.

My first thought was that the scene in the photograph looked cold and lonely. Then I read the marquee and thought, no, that's simply how it would have looked on a winter's day. Inside it would have been warm, and the beam from the projector would have made a cone in the cigarette smoke.

When I left the theater it would have been dark and I would have looked around for a place to get a bowl of chili. I could read while eating it. I had the paperback of Norman Mailer's Advertisements for Myself in the pocket of my corduroy sports coat, under my thin khaki raincoat.

The Internet Movie Database lists only one review of the film, this one.

I went looking for a clip or a trailer of "Guns of the Trees," and there wasn't one. Adding the search term "Jonas Mekas," I found the short film below. You never know what you might find.

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The Bechtel Test

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100 Great Moments in the Movies

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Roger Ebert / April 23, 1995

For the centennial of cinema, 100 great moments from the movies:

Clark Gable in "Gone With the Wind":

"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

Buster Keaton standing perfectly still while the wall of a house falls over upon him; he is saved by being exactly placed for an open window.

Charlie Chaplin being recognized by the little blind girl in "City Lights."

The computer Hal 9000 reading lips, in "2001: a Space Odyssey."

The singing of "La Marseillaise" in "Casablanca."

Snow White kissing Dopey Bashful on the head.

John Wayne putting the reins in his mouth in "True Grit" and galloping across the mountain meadow, weapons in both hands.

Jimmy Stewart in "Vertigo," approaching Kim Novak across the room, realizing she embodies all of his obsessions - better than he knows.

The early film experiment proving that horses do sometimes have all four hoofs off the ground.

Gene Kelly singin' in the rain.

Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta discuss what they call Quarter Pounders in France, in "Pulp Fiction."

The Man in the Moon getting a cannon shell in his eye, in the Melies film "A Voyage to the Moon."

Pauline in peril, tied to the railroad tracks.

A boy running joyously to greet his returning father, in "Sounder."

Harold Lloyd hanging from a clock face in "Safety Last."

Orson Welles smiling enigmatically in the doorway in "The Third Man."

An angel looking down sadly over Berlin, in Wim Wenders' "Wings of Desire."

The Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination: Over and over again, a moment frozen in time.

A homesick North African, sadly telling a hooker that what he really wants is not sex but couscous, in Rainer Werner Fassbinder's "Fear Eats the Soul: Ali."

Wile E. Coyote, suspended in air.

Zero Mostel throwing a cup of cold coffee at the hysterical Gene Wilder in Mel Brooks' "The Producers," and Wilder screaming: "I'm still hysterical! Plus, now I'm wet!"

An old man all alone in his home, faced with the death of his wife and the indifference of his children, in Yasujiro Ozu's "Tokyo Story."

"Smoking." Robert Mitchum's response, holding up his cigarette, when Kirk Douglas offers him a smoke in "Out of the Past."

Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg wading in the fountain in "La Dolce Vita."

The moment in Akira Kurosawa's "High and Low" when a millionaire discovers that it was not his son who was kidnapped, but his chauffeur's son - and then the eyes of the two fathers meet.

The distant sight of people appearing over the horizon at the end of "Schindler's List."

R2D2 and C3PO in "Star Wars."

E.T. and friend riding their bicycle across the face of the moon.

Marlon Brando's screaming "Stella!" in "A Streetcar Named Desire."

Hannibal Lecter smiling at Clarise in "The Silence of the Lambs."

"Wait a minute! Wait a minute! You ain't heard nothin' yet!" The first words heard in the first talkie, "The Jazz Singer," said by Al Jolson.

Jack Nicholson trying to order a chicken salad sandwich in "Five Easy Pieces."

"Nobody's perfect": Joe E. Brown's last line in "Some Like It Hot," explaining to Tony Curtis why he plans to marry Jack Lemmon even though he is a man.

"Rosebud."

The shooting party in Renoir's "Rules of the Game."

The haunted eyes of Antoine Doinel, Truffaut's autobiographical hero, in the freeze frame that ends "The 400 Blows."

Jean-Paul Belmondo flipping a cigarette into his mouth in Godard's "Breathless."

The casting of the great iron bell in Andrei Tarkovsky's "Andrei Rublev."

"What have you done to its eyes?" Dialogue by Mia Farrow in "Rosemary's Baby."

Moses parting the Red Sea in "The Ten Commandments."

An old man found dead in a child's swing, his mission completed, at the end of Kurosawa's "Ikiru."

The haunted eyes of the actress Maria Falconetti in Dreyer's "The Passion of Joan of Arc."

The children watching the train pass by in Ray's "Pather Panchali."

The baby carriage bouncing down the steps in Eisenstein's "Battleship Potemkin."

"Are you lookin' at me?" Robert De Niro in "Taxi Driver."

"My father made them an offer they couldn't refuse:" Al Pacino in "The Godfather."

The mysterious body in the photographs in Antonioni's "Blow-Up."

"One word, Benjamin: plastics." From "The Graduate."

A man dying in the desert in von Stroheim's "Greed."

Eva Marie Saint clinging to Cary Grant's hand on Mt. Rushmore in "North by Northwest."

Astaire and Rogers dancing.

"There ain't no sanity clause!" Chico to Groucho in "A Night at the Opera."

"They call me Mr. Tibbs." Sidney Poitier in Norman Jewison's "In the Heat of the Night."

The sadness of the separated lovers in Jean Vigo's "L'Atalante."

The vast expanse of desert, and then tiny figures appearing, in "Lawrence of Arabia."

Jack Nicholson on the back of the motorcycle, wearing a football helmet, in "Easy Rider."

The geometrical choreography of the Busby Berkeley girls.

The peacock spreading its tail feathers in the snow, in Fellini's "Amarcord."

Robert Mitchum in "Night of the Hunter," with "LOVE" tattooed on the knuckles of one hand, and "HATE" on the other.

Joan Baez singing "Joe Hill" in "Woodstock."

Robert De Niro's transformation from sleek boxer to paunchy nightclub owner in "Raging Bull."

Bette Davis: "Fasten your seat belts; it's gonna be a bumpy night!" in "All About Eve."

"That spider is as big as a Buick!" Woody Allen in "Annie Hall."

The chariot race in "Ben-Hur."

Barbara Harris singing "It Don't Worry Me" to calm a panicked crowd in Robert Altman's "Nashville."

The game of Russian roulette in "The Deer Hunter."

Chase scenes: "The French Connection," "Bullitt," "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "Diva."

The shadow of the bottle hidden in the light fixture, in "The Lost Weekend."

"I coulda been a contender." Brando in "On the Waterfront."

George C. Scott's speech about the enemy in "Patton:" "We're going to go through him like crap through a goose."

Rocky Balboa running up the steps and pumping his hand into the air, with all of Philadelphia at his feet.

Debra Winger saying goodbye to her children in "Terms of Endearment."

The montage of the kissing scenes in "Cinema Paradiso."

The dinner guests who find they somehow cannot leave, in Bunuel's "The Exterminating Angel."

A knight plays chess with Death, in Bergman's "The Seventh Seal."

The savage zeal of the Klansmen in Griffith's "The Birth of a Nation."

The problem of the door that won't stay closed, in Jacques Tati's "Mr. Hulot's Holiday."

"I'm still big! It's the pictures that got small!" Gloria Swanson in "Sunset Boulevard."

"We're a long way from Kansas!" Judy Garland in "The Wizard of Oz."

An overhead shot beginning with an entrance hall, and ending with a closeup of a key in Ingrid Bergman's hand, in Hitchcock's "Notorious."

"There ain't much meat on her, but what's there is choice." Spencer Tracy about Katharine Hepburn in "Pat and Mike."

The day's outing of the mental patients in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."

"I always look well when I'm near death." Greta Garbo to Robert Taylor in "Camille."

"It took more than one night to change my name to Shanghai Lily." Marlene Dietrich in "Shanghai Express."

"I'm walkin' here!" Dustin Hoffman in "Midnight Cowboy."

W.C. Fields flinching as a prop man hurls handfuls of fake snow into his face in "The Fatal Glass of Beer."

"The next time you got nothin' to do, and lots of time to do it, come up and see me." Mae West in "My Little Chickadee."

"Top o' the world, Ma!" James Cagney in "White Heat."

Richard Burton exploding when Elizabeth Taylor reveals their "secret" in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"

Henry Fonda getting his hair cut in "My Darling Clementine."

"Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges. I don't have to show you any stinkin' badges!" Alfonso Bedoya to Humphrey Bogart in "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre."

"There's your dog. Your dog's dead. But there had to be something that made it move. Doesn't there?" Line from Errol Morris' "Gates of Heaven."

"Don't touch the suit!" Burt Lancaster in "Atlantic City."

Gena Rowlands arrives at John Cassavetes' house with a taxicab full of adopted animals, in "Love Streams."

"I want to live again. I want to live again. I want to live again. Please God, let me live again." Jimmy Stewart to the angel in "It's a Wonderful Life."

Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr embrace on the beach in "From Here to Eternity."

Mookie throws the trash can through the window of Sal's Pizzeria, in "Do the Right Thing."

"I love the smell of napalm in the morning," dialogue by Robert Duvall, in "Apocalypse Now."

"Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we are put in this world to rise above." Katharine Hepburn to Humphrey Bogart in "The African Queen."

"Mother of mercy. Is this the end of Rico?" Edward G. Robinson in "Little Caesar."

☑ Click to expand. Comments are open.

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My other neighborhood on Red Arrow Highway

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On Red Arrow Highway, the old road along the Eastern shore of Lake Michigan from Chicago to Detroit, the past coexists with the present. There are old-fashioned pleasures, and not everything is in a strip mall and belongs to a chain. Actual human beings own places and sell you stuff it's fun to buy. This area is known as Harbor Country.

Top to bottom: Oink's Ice Cream Parlor and Fudge Shop in New Buffalo; chef and owner Ibrahim Parlak chatting with customers at his Cafe Gulistan in Harbert; the veggie stand on Red Arrow in Sawyer; Schlipp's soda fountain in Sawyer; a car hop at Mikey's Drive In on the highway in Bridgman; Ben Franklin's Five and Ten Cent Store in Bridgman.

About five miles further away from Lake Michigan is the town of New Troy, which calls itself the Center of the World. The name comes from a general store that operated there from circa 1860 until 1976. When woodworker Terry Hanover and his wife settled there, they took over the name in 1976 for their wood shop, which is still there. Their showroom is on Red Arrow as it passes through Harbert.

Red Arrow even preserves a Shell station. Gas stations mostly all used to look like this. In the mirror is the road behind. Ahead are St. Joseph and Benton Harbor, and houses by Frank Lloyd Wright.

☑ Photos and video by Roger Ebert. You can use them but say where these good places are. All of my TwitterPages are linked under the category Pages in the right margin of this page.

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Best films 1967-2009: Siskel & Ebert & Scorsese

• • •I had no idea these were online until a reader told me. The YouTube users gradepoint and DistinguishedFlyer have uploaded these, for which I am most grateful. I've looked at my lists many times, but seeing the posters is a different experience.

Gene was in top form when we taped that 1997 show. He died February 20, 1999. There is no program online for 1998, and we may not have taped one, but I found our lists of the Best and Worsts of 1998, thanks to Richard Kiss. • • •These are my choices in 1982, 1992 and 2002 in the poll taken every ten years by Sight & Sound, the British Film Institute magazine, of hundreds of directors, writers, producers, critics, archivists and festival programmers. This is generally considered the most authoritative of the "best lists." • •

• • •The Best Films of the Year, 1967-2007. I didn't pick a "best film" on my alphabetical lists in 2008 and 2009, but because I choose "Synecdoche, New York" as the best film of the decade, that would also qualify it for 2008. • •

• • •Martin Scorsese and I choose the Best Films of the 1990s • •

• • •Siskel & Ebert choose the Best Films of 1997, Part 1 • •

• • •Part 2, Siskel & Ebert choose the Best Films of 1997 • •

• • • Amazon.com Widgets

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The enigmatic case of the oddly persistent mystery writer

• • • Harry Stephen Keeler was the most prolific Chicago novelist of all time -- and perhaps the most forgotten, although perhaps we may have forgotten an even more forgotten novelist. Not even the devoted, even fanatical, members of the Harry Stephen Keeler Society claim significant fame for him.

Yet perhaps no published author in history has produced more convoluted, bizarre plots, one of them related entirely in dialog between two men stranded on a small river island, another concealing its denouement within a Sealed Page at the end.

I came upon Keeler by way of a mysterious e-mail advising me that he had started to Tweet from beyond the grave. I went to @HarrySKeeler. There I found such masterpieces of the Tweet form as these:

• "Cube steak so good," said the idiot blankly. "Like eat fat baby with juice."

• It was like trying to think about the square root of minus zero, or something.

• There is no paternal authority in a family where a woman is running it according to precepts laid down by quack Yogis.

• "He's not called 'Habeas Corpus Gottselig' for nothing," said Bob Landell grimly.

• Socko. Sqush. Right through the back of John's coco. He gurgles on his brew--and he's dead.

• And so--my poor son's head came forth out of the unknown--and then went, again, like--like a butterfly pausing on a mulberry leaf.

• "Guggle-oo--guggle-oo!" he choked gleefully, on his own saliva.

• And comparisons--comparisons odious!--were rearing themselves like impenetrable granite ghosts lined starkly along the fence of reason.

• My forehead was so corrugated that an Eskimo's fur coat, sprinkled with nothing but Lux, could have been washed on it.

There are many more gems, all mined from Keeler's vast lifework.

The go-to man on Harry Stephen Keeler is Richard Polt, whose admirable website offers a biography of the man, insights into the 75 worldwide members of the Society, downloadable texts of some of his novels, and a vast vault of his book jackets, of which I append only a few below. There are also coffee mugs, T-shirts, clocks, and even a Henry Stephen Keeler garment for your dog (S, M, L, XL, and 2XL).

Mr. Keeler exhausted the resources of two or three English language publishers, before continuing to publish in Spanish and Portuguese. When those outlets also dried up, he continued to write anyway. As the New York Times observed:

"We are drawn to the unescapable conclusion that Mr. Keeler writes his peculiar novels merely to satisfy his own undisciplined urge for creative joy."

Keeler received the distinction in 1995 of having one of his novels republished by McSweeney's magazine. Since then, several of his novels have been reprinted by Ramble House, as you can see by the Amazon links at the bottom. • • I know of two admirable websites that may satisfy your curiosity about this author:

Richard Polt maintains an extensive site for the The Harry Stephen Keeler Society, where I found the dust jackets below.

Here is a discussion of the Keeler archives. There is a large gallery of photographs, wherein I found the photo above of Keeler and his first wife, Hazel.

Please visit the YouTube link at the bottom for a short film based on a Keeler short story. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

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• Amazon.com Widgets

• •Three scans kindly sent to me by Guy Maddin: A key to the characters in Keeler's novel "The Iron Ring" • • • • •

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Still Bill: The life and songs of Bill Withers

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• • • Singer-songwriter Bill Withers had an unusual path to musical acclaim and he was born an asthmatic stutterer who was often told "you can't do nuthin'." He did not own a guitar until he was 32 years old, the same year he started his musical career--while keeping his job fabricating toilets for Weber Aircraft, just in case. His first album, 1971's "Just as I Am", came with a hit single, "Ain't No Sunshine," which hit No. 3 on the pop charts. He followed this auspicious start with a string of hits, including "Lean on Me," "Use Me" and "Grandma's Hands." Nine Grammy nominations also rolled in during the next 15 years, with three wins.

But in 1985, Bill Withers just stopped. He did not fade entirely from public view--he was inducted into the Songwriting Hall of Fame in 2005--but there were no more albums from this prolific artist. Still Bill, an intimate and engaging portrait of this music icon, takes its name from Withers's second album, and also answers the questions about who Bill Withers is and where he has been since his music career ended. -- From the Facets announcement.

"Still Bill," a new documentary about Bill Withers, plays Feb. 12-18 at Facets Cinematheque, 1517 W. Fullerton. Here is an online concert:

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Rock Hudson's secret

By Roger Ebert / July 20, 1986

If Rock Hudson had collapsed in Los Angeles instead of in a Paris hospital, he would have died with all of his secrets still intact.

Knowing he had only weeks or months to live, Hudson and his friends planned a scenario in which he would be taken to a condo in Palm Desert, where a hospice-like environment would be created. Male nurses, sworn to secrecy, would care for him, and when he died the cause of death would be given out as a heart attack or cirrhosis of the liver.

There would have been no mention of AIDS, no revelation that Hudson was gay, none of the personal details that are now the subject of two new books and countless magazine and TV articles.That's the opinion of Sara Davidson, whose authorized biography, Rock Hudson: His Story (William Morrow & Co. Inc., $16.95), is based on interviews with Hudson during the last 27 days of his life, and revelations by his closest friends.

"A lot of people said it was so brave of Rock to admit that he had AIDS," Davidson told me. "But actually he wanted it to be hushed up. He thought of AIDS as the plague. It made him feel unclean, and he felt it would destroy the image he had carefully built up over 35 years. If he had collapsed in L.A., he would have been taken to a place like Cedars-Sinai, a hospital used to hushing up the details of movie stars' illnesses. The news would never have leaked out, just as it hasn't in the case of several other AIDS deaths of famous people.

"But he collapsed in Paris, and the officials at the American Hospital were enraged. They didn't accept AIDS cases in the hospital, and they said either he would have to announce it, or they would. When the statement was drafted, Rock"s publicist and his secretary read it to him, and all he said was, "Go ahead, it"s been hidden long enough." He was shocked at the response to the announcement: The cover of Newsweek, the 28,000 letters of support from fans, the sudden interest in AIDS research and fund-raising. I think the response gave him a lot of comfort in his last days."

In her book, Davidson creates a portrait of a man who was homosexual all of his life, yet successfully created a screen image as a romantic lead, and kept his private life secret. "He had a gentleman"s agreement with the press," she said. "They didn"t ask the obvious questions. As a result, he developed a sort of love-hate thing with the press, based on a certain contempt. When the announcement about AIDS was approved, he said, "Throw it to the dogs."

Although Davidson"s book reveals hundreds of details that Hudson preferred to keep secret over the years, it cannot, she said, answer the question of how Hudson was infected with AIDS.

"He had the disease for a long time before it was diagnosed," she said during a recent Chicago visit. "Perhaps as long as three to five years. He may have been one of the earlier cases. When he learned that he had it, he said, "Why me? I don't know anyone who has AIDS." It was thought that perhaps Marc Christian, his last lover, was the source, but Christian tested negative. Rock wrote anonymous letters to his last three sex partners, telling them they might have been exposed, but he may have had AIDS long before meeting them. There just wasn't any obvious source of AIDS around him."

In your book, I said, you write about a trip Hudson made to San Francisco, where he and a friend went sight-seeing in some of the wilder gay leather bars. Is it possible that he engaged in sexual practices common in those bars, and got AIDS that way?

"I"m not at liberty to say," she said, somewhat surprisingly.

Were there restrictions placed on what you could or couldn"t say in the book?

"Ninety-nine percent of my original manuscript is still in the book. The parts that were taken out deal primarily with Marc Christian, who is involved in legal action. Actually, I found out a lot more about Rock Hudson's sex life than I wanted to put in the book. I know what he liked, and how, and with whom, but I didn't think it was in good taste to go into all the graphic details.

"Even so, I've been attacked for going too far. Liz Smith and Marilyn Beck were on 'Good Morning America' and they said, "With friends like Sara Davidson, who needs enemies?" But the book is the result of my conversations with Rock and his closest friends, and I believe it tells the truth."

Did Hudson engage in some of the more bizarre gay sexual practices?

"No. He wasn"t into S & M, for example. He was basically a very romantic man. He was like a woman; he'd run and tell his friends when he'd found someone new that he was in love with. He always believed there was one single right person for him, Mr. Right, and he was always looking for that person, and always finding him."

And one day, a Mr. Right gave him AIDS.

"Not necessarily. One of the possibilities is that he got it through a blood transfusion in 1981, when he was in Cedars-Sinai for open-heart surgery. The hospital is right in the middle of West Hollywood, a largely gay community, and little was known in those days about the dangers of AIDS from blood transfusions. It"s as likely a theory as any."

How much time did you really spend with Hudson? How much of the book is really his own story?

"I spent the last 27 days of his life visiting his home every day. He wanted to tell his story and he told all of his friends to cooperate with me. He had his good days and his bad days. Some days he"d be feeling well enough to come downstairs, ask for food, visit with friends. His mind would be perfectly lucid. In fact, his mind was always alert and clear. The people who say he was out of his mind at the end weren"t there to make that kind of judgment. But obviously I knew I wouldn't have nearly as much time with him as I wanted, and so before I even agreed to write the book I spent time with Mark Miller, his secretary, trying to find out what was known, and who knew it, and if they would talk. I was satisfied.

"One surprising thing was that there were so few good articles written by other people about Rock. He was not a good interview. I hired a researcher to look through clippings, and our conclusion was that in 35 years he never gave a good interview to anyone, except once for an oral history project at Southern Methodist, where for some reason he opened up and talked for hours to a professor, maybe because he thought it was for posterity. In most interviews he was wooden and impersonal. And yet in person he was so lively and likable. It was said that the only way to really get him to open up was to spend hours drinking with him."

Was he an alcoholic?

"In the last 10 or 15 years of his life, he drank a lot. It wasn't easy, going from the No. 1 box office star in the world to No. 2, No. 6, and then dropping off the list altogether. The irony is that he just started to hit his stride as an actor in the 1960s, when handsome leading men like himself were on the way out. He looked at the new stars like Dustin Hoffman and called them the "Little Uglies." He hated them because they didn't have perfect faces. Rock Hudson never took a bad picture."

"His career was absolutely of first importance for him. He placed it ahead of everything. When he read the script and saw the kiss, he agonized over it, but finally he decided to go ahead. I say in the book that he gargled with every known mouthwash. Actually, if you look at the kiss, he didn't open his lips and it was sort of a chaste peck on the cheek."

But even at that point in his illness, he was still taking his career that seriously?

"He had so much denial. After he was no longer a top box office star, he never developed other avenues -- like producing, developing his own projects, things like that. He wanted to act right up until his dying breath. He appeared on those "Dynasty" episodes where he looked so thin and gaunt, and he would look at them, and say he looked like he did in his younger days. When he went to do that TV program ("Doris Day's Best Friends") with Doris Day, his life was literally hanging by a thread. He hadn't had real nourishment in two months. She was so bouncy and full of pep, so vivacious, and there was Rock, the same age, and he was in such obvious pain you could hear the bones creak. And yet they still had their old chemistry, and it was really moving, the way he touched her cheek and snuggled with her."

So many people seemed to know Rock Hudson was gay, and yet it was a secret. How about his mother? Did she know?

Davidson grinned. "There's a great story about that. His mother was a devoted bridge player. One day down in Newport Beach, she was playing bridge, and one of her partners had something on her mind, and finally blurted out, 'I heard that Rock was gay!" His mother answered, "I know. And the hardest thing is, I can't remember his boyfriends' names. Three no trump.' "

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♫ Nestor Torres and the spirit in the music

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I have seen Nestor Torres play three times at the jazz concert convened every year by Dave and Don Grusin at the Conference on World Affairs at the University of Colorado. Like all the famed professional musicians at the CWA, he plays without a fee. Then he plays on into the night out of sheer joy. He plays jazz, Latin, classical. He has performed as a soloist with many symphony orchestras. He has many albums and is in demand all over the world, but has very few professionally-produced videos. These have mostly been photographed from the audience. There is nobody else like him.

Nestor Torres and young Ricardo Chiesa at the Heineken Jazz Fest 2005

"My name is Nestor Torres"

The University of Warwick's One World Week concert

Torres live in concert

Caribbean Life's JuneFest 2006 Unplugged with Nestor Torres

Nestor Torres' biography and his web site.

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