Saturday, January 26, 2013

On L.A. CONFIDENTIAL

I really dig this movie.  Although he didn't do the screenplay adaptation of his best-selling novel, writer James Ellroy told me on live TV that he digs it too.  L.A. Confidential is one of the best Hollywood movies of 1997.  Not all in sunny California is what it seems.  There are duplicates.  There's duplicity.  L. A. is full of secrets and cops are out after the truth.


I watched this 1950s crime story/murder mystery again.

You know the what biggest mystery of L.A. Confidential is?  How Kim Basinger was the only person in that entire cast to get an Academy Award nomination.

That still baffles me.

Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Danny DeVito at their best.   "...and the Oscar goes to...Kim Basinger."  That's Hollywood.

Here's a weekend DVD double feature tip for you:  Watch Lana Turner in the 1952 classic, The Bad and the Beautiful, directed by Vincente Minnelli.  This Hollywood-on-Hollywood tale spotlights an ambitious movie producer who is both the worst and best thing that could happen in the lives of three celebrities.  Kirk Douglas plays the producer.  If Lana Turner had ever been nominated for an Oscar during her years at MGM, it should've been for this performance as a co-dependent drunk who cleans up and becomes a star.  Like Liza Minnelli, Georgia's the daughter of a late show biz legend.

Follow that excellent Minnelli film with Curtis Hanson's L.A. Confidential.  The scene with cops and Lana Turner in a Hollywood nightspot will be even more festive.
Spacey's cop character, show biz-loving Jack Vincennes, walks by a movie theater showing Lana's new film, The Bad and the Beautiful, before he comes face-to-face with more corruption in this noir-ish thriller.  One more thing:  Before he became a network TV series star as The Mentalist, actor Simon Baker had a short role in L. A. Confidential.  Back then,  the new Australian import was billed as Simon Baker Denny.  He played a young and naive Hollywood hopeful questioned by Officer Jack Vincennes.

In this movie, didn't Simon Baker look a lot like 1940s/50s heartthrob Guy Madison?
Madison made his film debut as a sailor in Since You Went Away (1944).  The Best Picture Oscar nominee would be his first film with screen star Shirley Temple.
Guy Madison briefly dated director Vincente Minnelli's future wife and Liza Minnelli's mother, actress/singer Judy Garland, when he was in uniform.
The beefcake actor really shot to stardom as the hero in popular 1950s TV westerns.  Here he is showing Judy Garland his gun.

Notice the resemblance when you see Simon Baker give one of the several fine performances in L.A. Confidential.  Enjoy the double feature.





2 comments:

  1. I love L.A. CONFIDENTIAL. I own the movie and let me say that it would have been my pick to win the Best Picture Oscar of 1997 over TITANIC, had I voted. By the way, you mentioned a couple of "Hollywood on Hollywood" movies with L.A. CONFIDENTIAL & THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL. Another one I liked was 1995's GET SHORTY, based on the Elmore Leonard novel. It starred John Travolta in a terrific role as a mobster who gets caught up in the movie business. Very funny and entertaining comedy.

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  2. GET SHORTY .. with a then-unknown James Gandolfini in a supporting role.

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