16 Fascinating Facts About Marlon Brando

Roger Cormier and Mental_Floss present 16 Fascinating Facts About Marlon Brando.  Here are three of my favorites…

5. HE BROKE HIS NOSE DURING A PERFORMANCE OF STREETCAR WHEN HE WAS BOXING WITH SOMEONE BACKSTAGE.
To alleviate the boredom of playing Kowalski on stage for, at that time, over one year, Brando started to fight with one of the stagehands, who was an amateur boxer. The stagehand took it easy on Brando until the actor insisted he fight for real. The stagehand then popped him in the nose, and blackened his eyes. Having just been punched in the face, and with his nose bleeding, Brando stepped back on to the stage. His co-star, Jessica Tandy, hid her surprise at his appearance by ad-libbing the line “You bloody fool” and playing it off as if Stanley had just been in a street fight.

After the performance, Brando walked to the nearest hospital to get himself fixed up. Irene Selznick, the show’s producer, told Brando to get his nose reset. She was glad he did not to listen to her. “I honestly think that broken nose made his fortune,” she said. “It gave him sex appeal. He was too beautiful before.”

 

7. BRANDO INITIALLY TURNED DOWN ON THE WATERFRONT, AND DIDN’T CARE FOR HIS PERFORMANCE IN IT.
After Brando returned the unread script—twice—Frank Sinatra was cast as Terry Malloy. While costumes were being fitted for the crooner to star, Brando changed his mind after producer Sam Spiegel convinced the actor to put his politics aside and re-team with his A Streetcar Named Desire director Elia Kazan, who had testified as a witness before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1952.

When Brando first saw the movie, he was “so depressed” by his performance that he left the screening room without saying a word. Brando won his first (of two) Best Actor Oscars for the role.

 

9. BRANDO AND SINATRA FEUDED DURING GUYS AND DOLLS.
Still upset over having the role of Terry Malloy taken away from him, Sinatra held a grudge, and repeatedly referred to Brando as “Mumbles.” Sinatra also declared that he didn’t go for Brando and “that Method crap.”

The two ended up starring in Guys and Dolls (1955) together, with Sinatra as Nathan Detroit and Brando as Sky Masterson. To get back at Sinatra for his adamant dislike of rehearsing, Brando purposely screwed up at the end of scenes to necessitate a retake. In one scene, Brando reportedly messed up nine times in a row because Sinatra had to eat a piece of cheesecake every time. After the ninth mistake, Sinatra threw his plate to the ground, jammed his fork on the table, and screamed at the director, “These ****** New York actors! How much cheesecake do you think I can eat?”

Twilight Zone: “In His Image” [Season 4, Episode 1] / Z-View

Twilight Zone: “In His Image[Season 4, Episode 1]
Original Air Date: January 1, 1963

Director: Perry Lafferty

Writer: Charles Beaumont

Starring: George Grizzard, Gail Kobe and Katherine Squire.

The Overview: Beware of Spoilers…

Jessica is in love with a man with a mysterious past that gets uncontrollable urges to kill.

10 Hush-Hush Facts About “L.A. Confidential”

Mathew Jackson and Mental Floss present 10 Hush-Hush Facts About L.A. Confidential.  Here are three of my favorites…

1. THE SCRIPTING PROCESS WAS TOUGH.
Writer-director Curtis Hanson had been a longtime James Ellroy fan when he finally read L.A. Confidential, and the characters in that particular Ellroy novel really spoke to him, so he began working on a script. Meanwhile, Brian Helgeland—originally contracted to write an unproduced Viking film for Warner Bros.—was also a huge Ellroy fan, and lobbied hard for the studio to give him the scripting job. When he learned that Hanson already had it, the two met, and bonded over their mutual admiration of Ellroy’s prose. Their passion for the material was clear, but it took two years to get the script done, with a number of obstacles.

“He would turn down other jobs; I would be doing drafts for free,” Helgeland said. “Whenever there was a day when I didn’t want to get up anymore, Curtis tipped the bed and rolled me out on the floor.”

 

3. JAMES ELLROY DIDN’T THINK THE BOOK COULD BE ADAPTED.
Though Wolper was intrigued by the idea of telling the story onscreen, Ellroy and his agent laughed at the thought. The author felt his massive book would never fit on any screen.

“It was big, it was bad, it was bereft of sympathetic characters,” Ellroy said. “It was unconstrainable, uncontainable, and unadaptable.”

 

10. ELLROY APPROVED OF THE MOVIE.
To adapt L.A. Confidential for the screen, Hanson and Helgeland condensed Ellroy’s original novel, boiling the story down to a three-person narrative and ditching other subplots so they could get to the heart of the three cops at the center of the movie. Ellroy, in the end, was pleased with their choices.

 

“They preserved the basic integrity of the book and its main theme, which is that everything in Los Angeles during this era of boosterism and yahooism was two-sided and two-faced and put out for cosmetic purposes,” Ellroy said. “The script is very much about the [characters’] evolution as men and their lives of duress. Brian and Curtis took a work of fiction that had eight plotlines, reduced those to three, and retained the dramatic force of three men working out their destiny. I’ve long held that hard-boiled crime fiction is the history of bad white men doing bad things in the name of authority. They stated that case plain.”

15 Big Facts About “Sanford and Son”

Roger Cormier and Mental Floss present 15 Big Facts About Sanford and Son.  Here are three of my favorites…

5. FOXX WORE MAKEUP TO LOOK OLDER.
Foxx, who was nicknamed “Chicago Red” because of his hair color, was only 49 years old when the series began; Fred Sanford was 65. He complained that a lot of people assumed he was Fred’s age.

8. FOXX BASED THE HEART ATTACKS ON HIS MOTHER.
“Fred Sanford is Mary Sanford, who is my mother, but you can reverse personalities into male or female,” Foxx told Sammy Davis Jr. on Sammy and Company. “My mother would do the same thing … she would have heart attacks when I was a kid, I remember. When she wanted something done she could hardly breathe—she had emphysema, she had cancer, she had lumbago, she had whooping cough.”

9. LAWANDA PAGE WOULD HAVE BEEN FIRED IF IT WASN’T FOR FOXX.
LaWanda Page was the only actress Foxx wanted to play Fred’s sister-in-law, Esther. Page was too nervous to give an audition producers liked, but Foxx insisted. “They were going to let me go,” Page told Jet magazine in 1977, “but Redd said, ‘No, you ain’t gonna let her go. That’s LaWanda and I know she can do it! Just give me some time with her.'”

24 Things We Learned from Ben Affleck’s “Gone, Baby, Gone” Commentary

Rob Hunter and Film School Rejects present 24 Things We Learned from Ben Affleck’s Gone, Baby, Gone Commentary.   Here are three of my favorites…

7. Affleck worried about a shot of Jerry Springer on Helene McCready’s (Amy Ryan) TV thinking it might be too cliched, but “literally one in every two houses that I went into had Springer on while we were scouting in the afternoon.”

8. The extra with the hole in his throat was in the bar when they arrived for shooting so Affleck just asked him to stay. The man moving quickly behind him is actually Affleck who was passing by unaware they were grabbng the shot. Stockard wonders if this is Affleck’s stab at a Hitchcock cameo, but the director denies it.

3. One of the changes they made from the novel was adjusting the private eyes’ ages from being in their 40s to being in their 30s, “but that presented its own challenges,” says Stockard.

Twilight Zone: “The Dummy” [Season 3, Episode 33] / Z-View

Twilight Zone: “The Dummy[Season 3, Episode 33]
Original Air Date: May 4, 1962

Director: Abner Biberman

Writer: Rod Serling based on a story by Lee Polk

Starring: Cliff Robertson, Frank Sutton and George Murdock.


The Overview: Beware of Spoilers…

Jerry Etherson is a very good ventriloquist.  The only thing holding him back from the big time is his dummy… who is very evil and very alive.

13 Monumental Facts About “North by Northwest”

Eric D. Snider and Mental Floss present 13 Monumental Facts About North by Northwest.  Here are three of my favorites…

3. JAMES STEWART WANTED TO PLAY THE LEAD.
Stewart had been in four Hitchcock movies at this point, and he wanted North by Northwest to be the fifth. But while Hitch loved him, he didn’t think he was right for the glibly debonair Roger Thornhill. He wanted Cary Grant for the part. Not wanting to hurt Stewart’s feelings, Hitchcock waited until Stewart was committed to another film (Bell, Book and Candle) before casting the role.

4. CARY GRANT HAD NO IDEA WHAT WAS GOING ON.
The star found the screenplay baffling, and midway through filming told Hitchcock, “It’s a terrible script. We’ve already done a third of the picture and I still can’t make head or tail of it!” Hitchcock knew this confusion would only help the film—after all, Grant’s character had no idea what was going on, either. Grant thought the film would be a flop right up until its premiere, where it was rapturously received.

5. PART OF IT WAS SHOT SECRETLY.
You wouldn’t expect Hitchcock to have to sneak around, but even the Master of Suspense was no match for the United Nations, which did not allow filming at its New York headquarters, not even in the plaza outside. So to get the shot where Grant walks into the building, Hitchcock hid a camera in a nondescript truck and filmed in secret from across the street.

32 Things We Learned from Zack Snyder’s “Dawn of the Dead” Commentary

Rob Hunter and Film School Rejects present 32 Things We Learned from Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead Commentary.  Here are three of my favorites…

13. Snyder cameos during the opening credits montage as a soldier with a machine gun on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

19. The original’s Tom Savini, Ken Foree, and Scott H. Reiniger all cameo here as a sheriff, a preacher, and a general, respectively.

 

29. Someone after a test screening questioned Snyder as to why/how the zombies pause at the bottom of the stairs at 1:32:25, and it put him on the spot when they asked if the zombies could even do that. He replied, “in real life, no, but in film where you dramatize…”

116 Amazing Facts for People Who Like Amazing Facts

Alvin Ward and Mental_Floss present 116 Amazing Facts for People Who Like Amazing Facts.  Here are three of my favorites…

50. Roger Ebert and Oprah Winfrey went on a couple dates in the mid-1980s. It was Roger who convinced her to syndicate her talk show.

62. Dolly Parton once entered a Dolly Parton look-a-like contest—and lost.

74. Herbert Hoover was Stanford’s football team manager. At the first Stanford-Cal game in 1892, he forgot to bring the ball.

15 Fun Facts About the Indiana Jones Movies

Sean Hutchinson, Michael Arbeiter and Mental Floss present 15 Fun Facts About the Indiana Jones Movies.  Here are three of my favorites…

1. ONE DOG INSPIRED BOTH INDIANA JONES AND CHEWBACCA.
While developing the film with Spielberg and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, Lucas named the main character “Indiana Smith.” But Spielberg protested that it was too similar to the 1966 Steve McQueen western Nevada Smith and requested a change. The three agreed that the last name should be as universal and nondescript as “Smith,” so Lucas threw out “Jones” as a possibility. Indiana came from Lucas’ dog, an Alaskan malamute named Indiana. The big, hairy pup was also the inspiration for Chewbacca from Star Wars.

14. SEAN CONNERY SAID NO TO A CAMEO IN THE CRYSTAL SKULL.
As tempting as it may have been for Sean Connery to re-team with Ford on The Crystal Skull, the happily retired former James Bond turned down the part.

15. THE CRYSTAL SKULL INSPIRED AN ALTERNATIVE PHRASE TO “JUMP THE SHARK.”
Ever since Henry Winkler attempted to sail over a shark in a late-season episode of Happy Days, the phrase “jump the shark” has been used to describe the point where a television series goes off the rails in its ridiculousness. The Crystal Skull spawned an alternative phrasefor that, known as “nuking the fridge.” And Spielberg seemed surprisingly pleased about it.

“What people really jumped at was Indy climbing into a refrigerator and getting blown into the sky by an atom-bomb blast,” Spielberg told CNN. “Blame me. Don’t blame George. That was my silly idea. People stopped saying ‘jump the shark.’ They now say, ‘nuked the fridge.’ I’m proud of that. I’m glad I was able to bring that into popular culture.”

Was the Biggest Batman the Best?

So how big is Batman, really?  That, of course, depends on which Batman you’re talking about.

The comic book Batman was supposed to be about 6’2″ and 210 pounds.  Adam West came closest to that version at 6’2″ and 200 pounds.  All of the other actors who played the Dark Knight, except for Ben Affleck, were smaller.

So does size matter?  Who made the best Batman?

You can check out a larger version of the chart here.

Source: Bleeding Cool.

15 Surprising Facts About “Splash”

Roger Cormier and Mental Floss present 15 Surprising Facts About Splash. Here are three of my favorites…

2. RON HOWARD TURNED DOWN BIG DIRECTORIAL ASSIGNMENTS TO DO IT.
Ron Howard said no to directing Mr. Mom (1983) and Footloose (1984) to stay attached to Splash.

4. JOHN TRAVOLTA, CHEVY CHASE, BILL MURRAY, AND DUDLEY MOORE TURNED DOWN PLAYING ALLEN.
It was Louisa Velis, Howard’s longtime assistant, who suggested that Howard let Hanks audition. Steve Guttenberg also auditioned. He found out he didn’t get the part at the same time he heard he was getting screen tested for Police Academy (1984). Michael Keaton remembered being offered the role of Allen’s brother, Freddie—a part that eventually went to John Candy .


5. DIANE LANE TURNED DOWN PLAYING MADISON.

She said no to appear in Streets of Fire (1984) and The Cotton Club (1984).

13 Things You May Not Know About Bonnie and Clyde

Vintage Everyday presents 13 Things You May Not Know About Bonnie and Clyde. Here are three of my favorites…

3. Bonnie was an honor student and a poet.
During her school days, Bonnie excelled at creative writing and penning verses. While she was imprisoned in 1932 after a failed hardware store burglary, she penned a collection of 10 odes that she entitled “Poetry from Life’s Other Side,” which included “The Story of Suicide Sal,” a poem about an innocent country girl lured by her boyfriend into a life a crime. Two weeks before her death, Bonnie gave a prescient poem to her mother entitled “The Trail’s End” that finished with the verse:

“Some day they’ll go down together;
And they’ll bury them side by side,
To a few it’ll be grief—
To the law a relief—
But it’s death for Bonnie and Clyde.”

 

1. Bonnie died wearing a wedding ring—but it wasn’t Clyde’s.
Six days before turning 16, Bonnie married high school classmate Roy Thornton. The marriage disintegrated within months, and Bonnie never again saw her husband after he was imprisoned for robbery in 1929. Soon after, Bonnie met Clyde, and although the pair fell in love, she never divorced Thornton. On the day Bonnie and Clyde were killed in 1934, she was still wearing Thornton’s wedding ring and had a tattoo on the inside of her right thigh with two interconnected hearts labeled “Bonnie” and “Roy.”

9. Bonnie and Clyde remained close to their families, even on the run.
In fact, it was their predictable pattern of stopping to visit family that aided the team of Texas Rangers and deputies who ambushed and killed them.

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