Friday, January 17, 2014

Dr. King on The TONIGHT Show

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."  ~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


I wish you a most fulfilling Dr. Martin Luther King Day.  Do something for somebody.  Give a hug, take time to call and see how someone is doing.  Say "I love you."  Give time and attention to someone down and.  Help carry someone's packages.  Buy a needy friend a burger and a cup o' good coffee.  Write a check to UNICEF.  Spend time with a lonely senior citizen.  Go out and play with your kids.  Treat people with the respect and kindness you'd like to receive.  Be involved.  There are many little things you can do on Dr. King Day that can have a big impact on someone's spirit.  And yours.
I blogged earlier that my two young nephews, ages 10 and 13, absolutely loved Lee Daniels' The Butler.  They raved about it the night they got home from seeing it with their parents at the cineplex one Friday night last summer.  We were in a room together while I was watching the Golden Globes on NBC and they asked if The Butler was nominated for anything.  That made me a very proud uncle.  We talked a bit about the history they saw in the movie.  I told them that I watched Dr. King give his famous "I have a dream" speech when the historic March on Washington was a live network TV news telecast.  I was a little kid.  Their dad, my brother, was even smaller.  I remember the civil rights history my nephews saw in The Butler.  I am a product of that history and a most grateful, humble beneficiary of the 1960's civil rights movement.


My nephews are the sweet product of an interracial marriage.  When I was born, interracial marriage was against the law in some American states.  Yes.  My brother and my sister-in-law would have been in legal trouble and, truthfully, perhaps in physical danger in some places for being married in the U.S.A.  Our country needed a Civil Rights Movement so we black people could wed, vote, get a good education and have equal opportunities here in the Land of the Free.

Last summer, when audiences' hearts were moved while spending time with The Butler, America celebrated the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's March on Washington.  I'm so glad my parents urged me to watch that special news telecast with them that August day when I was a youngster.  They knew the significance and importance of Dr. King's march.

Many notables of stage, screen, music and literature attended the March on Washington to give support and witness history in the making.  Dr. King's friend, singer/actor/activist Harry Belafonte, was there in 1963.  Here he is with actors Burt Lancaster (L.) and Charlton Heston (R.).
In previous blogs, I've written about Dr. King's rare NBC nighttime appearance.  Many people today don't know about it.  I wish NBC would pull Dr. Martin Luther King's special guest appearance on the Tonight Show out of its archives and air the segments now for historical purposes.  It's still relevant.  I was high school at the time and got to stay up late so I could see it.  I talked about this show in 1991 when I was a guest host on a CNBC prime time program called Talk Live.  My guest was Belafonte friend and film producer Chiz Schultz.  Chiz's credits include 1970's The Angel Levine (starring Belafonte, Zero Mostel, Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson) and A Soldier's Story, an Oscar nominee for Best Picture of 1984 and starring Denzel Washington.

Chiz was on the Tonight Show production team when Dr. King was a guest.  Back then, Johnny Carson's late show was based at 30 Rock in New York City.  Years later, the show relocated to Los Angeles.  Carson was on vacation and his guest host for the whole week was Harry Belafonte.  This was major.  An African-American entertainer was the guest host on a network late night entertainment talk show.  This was a rare sight in 1968.  OK, let's face it:  It would be a rare sight now too.  We've never seen a black host get a late night talk show gig on NBC, CBS or ABC.  That's one reason why showing this archive footage in 2014 would be so relevant.  On CNBC, Chiz told me that Harry Belafonte had a star-studded week of guests booked.  He wanted to book Dr. King.  NBC brass was nervous and opposed his wish to book Dr. King.  Executives saw Dr. King, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, as a political radical and they did not want to loss sponsors.  Belafonte held firm.  He booked Dr. King.  Not one single sponsor was lost.

This marked Dr. Martin Luther King's first and only appearance on a network late night entertainment talk show.  Harry Belafonte booked him.  Harry Belafonte was the guest host.

This was February 1968.  Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated in April 1968.  NBC has something very special in its Tonight Show archives.  Is the network aware of that?  NBC could air it during Black History Month on the Today Show.  Have Mr. Belafonte in studio as a guest.  There's an idea.

Wish me luck.  I'm taking the message of Dr. King's quote up top to heart.  I'm on the road for a week, with a new and rejuvenated spirit, determined to get work again.  I've got a lot more faith in things now than I did three years ago.  I'll be starting over, in a way, with this job search.  I'm taking a big chance, a giant step, on this trip.  But I feel positive.  And I've got enough to take in a new movie or two in my spare time. I'll let you know how they were when I get back.  Take care.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Oscars 2014: The Butler Hustled Out

Hollywood Prom Night.  The Academy Awards.  The Gay Superbowl.  Whatever you want to call it, the Hollywood Gold Rush is now underway because the Oscar nominations were announced early this morning.  As expected, Meryl Streep got her annual Oscar nomination.  It's now a Hollywood law that she gets nominated whether she made a movie or not.  A big surprise that I heard mentioned on network morning news shows and Los Angeles radio stations was that Lee Daniels' The Butler did not get a single Oscar nomination.  It was such a hot movie last summer with critics and moviegoers.  My two young nephews, ages 10 and 13, enthusiastically told me it was one of the best movies they saw last year.  That made me proud.  The movie and the butler's civil rights experiences brought a few tears to my eyes.  But no Oscar nominations for movie director Lee Daniels nor for The Butler stars, Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey.

You never can predict how the Oscar nominations and the Oscar awards will go. Oprah knows that.  Remember when she had Leonardo DiCaprio on her daytime show to promote The Aviator?  She'd just seen him in it and she made a prediction for his biopic performance as Howard Hughes.  Oprah stood up and with gusto declared, "Go get your Oscar, Leo!  Go get your Oscar, Leo!"  Then a movie called Ray came out.  Instead of Leo getting it, Foxx got the Best Actor Oscar for playing the late Ray Charles.

Three black actors are in the Oscar race -- two for 12 Years a Slave and one for Captain Phillips. Three black people up for Academy Awards.  That's three more black people than I saw in place as guest entertainment contributors discussing the nominations this morning on Today, CBS This Morning and Good Morning America.  With all the talk of 12 Years a Slave and The Butler, not one African-American movie journalist/film critic was present to talk about two top films focused on the African-American experience.  It was like a repeat of last year when two top Oscar contenders were Beasts of the Southern Wild and Django Unchained.  No nominations for The Butler.  Ten nominations for American Hustle.  Nine Oscar nominations for Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave.
The Steve McQueen film brought the British filmmaker a nomination for Best Director.  It's a nominee for Best Picture.
12 Years a Slave also earned nominations for Best Actor (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Best Supporting Actor (Michael "12 Inches a Slaveowner" Fassbender) and Best Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyong'o).
Did you see Fassbender as the New York City sex addict in Shame?  Woof!  He was a revelation.  Emotionally and physically naked.  His replica of Peter O'Toole as Lawrence of Arabia is the only reason to sit through the lame sci-fi adventure, Prometheus.

In my August 2013 blog piece, "Bobby Cannavale in BLUE JASMINE," I wrote that I felt Sally Hawkins was ripe for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination as Jasmine's sister.  I am thrilled the Academy felt the same way.

This should be Hawkins second Oscar nomination.  Her first should have come for the 2008 British film, Happy-Go-Lucky.  Rent that movie and see what I mean.  She's brilliant as the steely, working class optimist who changes how people move through their lives a bit.  Cate Blanchett, as dozens of movie critics predicted, got a Best Actress nomination for Blue Jasmine.  Actresses have great luck performing Woody Allen material.  Diane Keaton, Dianne Wiest, Mira Sorvino and Penelope Cruz all won their Oscars for Woody Allen films.  Judy Davis, Maureen Stapleton and Geraldine Page got Oscar nominations for a Woody Allen film.

Ironically, an actress who has given several excellent performances in Woody Allen classics has never been nominated at all in her long movie career.  Mia Farrow was never nominated for her shining and versatile work in The Purple Rose of Cairo, Radio Days, Alice, Broadway Danny Rose or Hannah and Her Sisters.  I would've mentioned that if I was on one of today's network morning shows.  Look at Farrow's stunning dramatic work in Roman Polanski's 1968 modern-day horror story, Rosemary's Baby.  Follow that with her Judy Holliday-ish comedy turn as the dumb blonde in Radio Days.
Mia Farrow and Robert Redford starred in the 1974 remake of The Great Gatsby.
Bruce Dern co-starred as the husband to Farrow's Daisy Buchanan.  Baz Luhrmann's opulent remake was Leonardo DiCaprio's other big moneyman movie of 2013.  Leo as The Great Gatsby didn't do nearly as well with American critics and moviegoers as The Wolf of Wall Street.   Scorcese's Wall Street drama puts DiCaprio in the Best Actor Oscar race opposite another veteran of The Great Gatsby -- Bruce Dern, nominated for Nebraska.

On ABC, CBS and NBC, the entertainment contributors talked about today's Oscar "snubs."  Oprah Winfrey and Forest Whitaker didn't get nominated.  Tom Hanks didn't get nominated.  Robert Reford didn't get nominated.  That's true.  But... at least each one got nominated in the past.  Oprah was nominated for The Color Purple.  Forest won Best Actor for The Last King of Scotland.  Tom Hanks won a historic two consecutive Oscars for Best Actor.  Robert Reford won Best Director for Ordinary People, Best Picture of 1980.  Oprah Winfrey was bestowed an honorary Oscar for her humanitarian work.

As I've blogged before... Edward G. Robinson, Joel McCrea, Donald Sutherland, Richard Gere, Dennis Quaid, France's Jean-Louis Trintignant (A Man and A Woman, Z, The Conformist, Amour) actress/director/screenwriter Ida Lupino and Mia Farrow do not have one single Oscar nomination to their credits after decades of solid work.  The fact that Andy Griffith never got a nomination, especially in the Best Actor category for A Face in the Crowd, leaves me mystified.  He gave one of the most blistering, most memorable performances in a 1950s American film.  He burned up the screen as the power hungry, influential, two-faced national TV star in that classic drama years before he gained great fame as a beloved TV sitcom character.  If you've never seen that 1957 movie, rent the DVD as soon as you can.  Andy Griffith was one talented Broadway, film and TV actor.
  
 THOSE are snubs.  No one on the morning shows mentioned the Forest Whitaker was snubbed in two categories.  He's not up for Best Actor.  He's not up for Best Picture.  He produced the critically acclaimed indie movie Fruitvale Station.  Whitaker's production was one of the best films I saw last year.  It was hailed at the Cannes Film Festival.  I'd have loved to see new actor, Michael B. Jordan, get a nomination today for his remarkable performance as the young family man in Northern California who should not have died the way he did while innocently on his way to a San Francisco New Year's Eve party.

Here's a question:  Through the 1930s up to 1945, there were 10 nominees for Best Picture.  Then it went down to 5.  A few years ago, it went back up to 10.  However, now that we can have 10 nominees, we've been getting 9.  We got 9 today.  Why aren't we getting a movie like The Butler, Fruitvale Station or All Is Lost as the 10th nominated film? Many entertainment reporters this morning were surprised that Robert Redford did not get a Best Actor Oscar nomination for All Is Lost.  That movie got terrific reviews.  Redford hit the high seas in All Is Lost.  Hanks did the same as Captain Phillips.  Neither got nominated.  Just like in some lovemaking, "the little man in the boat" was overlooked.

If you want some laughs this weekend, I've got a DVD double feature tip for you.  Steve Coogan got two Oscar nominations today.  His production, Philomena, is up for Best Picture.  He's up for Best Adapted Screenplay.  He wrote Judi Dench to a Best Actress Oscar nomination as Philomena.  See Coogan as the clueless 1980s actor whose Hollywood career went only as far as the lead role in a national commercial for a herpes medication.  This loser is now teaching high school drama in Arizona. He writes and directs plays that get panned by the school newspaper's teen drama critic.  Even the teacher's wife thinks he's a loser.  The students think he's a dork.
Things change when his wife leaves and, in his depressed state, he writes a musical sequel to Hamlet that turns Jesus into a hipster.  Hamlet 2 goes beyond Glee -- especially when the town conservatives are enraged that the students are performing a number called "Rock Me, Sexy Jesus."


But the loser reinvents himself and wins the support of his students.

Amy Poehler, Catherine Keener and a very funny Elisabeth Shue co-star.  Shue plays herself as an actress whose career fell so flat after her Oscar nomination that she had to take a job as a nurse in Arizona.  Shue was a Best Actress nominee for 1995's Leaving Las Vegas.  I've been a fan of British comic actor Steve Coogan for quite some time.  2008's Hamlet 2 shows him at his quirky, irreverent best.

Kinky Boots, a fun British comedy, was turned into one of the biggest musical comedy hits now playing on Broadway.  It was a top Tony winner.  Did you know that Best Actor nominee, Chiwetel Ejiofor, originated the role of the wise drag queen performer who helps a poor town get back on its feet financially ... with the help of high heels?


I'm also thrilled that the U.S. is getting to see the gifts of this fabulous actor.  You get lots of smiles seeing him playing a man who was only a slave to fashion in the movie that inspired a big Broadway musical comedy hit.

In closing, here's how unpredictable Oscar nominations are.  Bad Grandpa, from the people who gave us MTV's Jackass, got one Oscar nomination.  The Butler got nothing.

That's Hollywood.  The Oscars are handed out Sunday, March 2nd, on ABC.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Oscar Talk & Black History 2014

The Oscar nominations will be announced very early Hollywood time this Thursday, January 16th.  Black history will be made with the announcements of those actors and others in the running for Hollywood gold.  The current president of the Academy is Cheryl Boone Isaacs, an African-American woman.  Her late brother was one of the most influential Hollywood executives, a marketing whiz who helped such films as Star Wars, Chariots of Fire and Thelma & Louise find world-wide audiences and Oscar nominations.  Did you ever attend a midnight screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show?  Ashley Boone came up with the idea of midnight screenings for that musical comedy satire that turned the initial box office dud into a cult favorite. He was one of the most important movie studio executives in Hollywood in the 1970s.  Cheryl Boone Isaacs was extremely gracious and attentive to me in my VH1 years of the late 80s.  At the time, she was a top woman on the Paramount lot when I had my VH1 talk show.  I look forward to seeing her on TV Thursday morning.

The Oscars:  Will 12 Years A Slave get Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor nominations?
Will playing the hard-drinking wife of The Butler bring Oprah Winfrey get her second Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nomination?
If Forest Whitaker does not get a Best Actor nomination for playing The Butler, will he get a producer nomination if the excellent Fruitvale Station is nominated for Best Picture?
It's been a while since 2-time Best Actor Oscar winner Tom Hanks has been in the running for Hollywood gold again.
Will he be nominated for either being Captain Phillips or for Saving Mr. Banks?

And will Meryl Streep get her annual Oscar nomination?  It now seems to be a Hollywood law that she gets nominated whether she's released a movie the previous year or not.

OK.  Yes, I am once again gonna go "diversity issue" on you.

During red carpet coverage preceding the Golden Globes, a CNN reporter interviewed 12 Years a Slave director, Steve McQueen, and said that last year was a great year for black films.  So...since the black experience was in major films last year...will we see black film reviewers and entertainment journalists in the mix discussing the Oscar nominations after they're revealed Thursday morning?  Or will we see mostly Angloids on NBC, CBS and ABC trying to pronounce the name Chiwetel Ejiofor, actor from 12 Years A Slave?   Will they know that Ejiofor originated the role of the drag queen in Kinky Boots, the feel-good British movie turned into one of biggest musical comedy hits now on Broadway?

On Oscar nomination day last year, there wasn't one black film reviewer as a guest on Today, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning or even in the critics panel discussing the nominations that night on PBS' The Charlie Rose Show.  And two of the top Oscar contenders were Django Unchained and Beasts of the Southern Wild.

Believe me, there are black film critics available in America who can expertly handle talk about Oscar nominations.  The segment producers of the network morning news programs and syndicated entertainment news shows just need to do some homework and find them -- and add them to the overall arts discussion.

I had a live local cable show in the late 1990s back in New York City.  When I hosted film talk panels, I purposely made sure they were black, Latino, white, male, female, gay, straight.  In order words, mixed and diverse.  Like movie audiences in my world.

When I got to review films on CNN, USA Network and for ABC News on Lifetime TV, I felt blessed.  And grateful.  A lot of minorities don't get that chance.  Think about this:  Andy Cohen on Bravo can find black housewives to get catty about each other on TV and swivel their heads like they've got Slinkys for neckbones.  But how many times on TV have you seen a black female film critic review the new Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks  movies?

This coming Thursday,  I hope to see some refreshing diversity on the network morning shows during the Oscar talk.  Let's see which guest entertainment contributors get invited.

History could be made Thursday morning.  Amy Adams has four Oscar nominations to her credit.  Marisa Tomei has three.  If Oprah gets an Oscar nomination for The Butler, she will make Hollywood history.  She was a nominee for The Color Purple.  No black actress has three or more nominations to her credit.  Whoopi Goldberg (The Color Purple, Ghost) and Viola Davis (Doubt, The Help) have two each.  Let's see if Oprah joins them with her work as the butler's complicated but devoted wife.
For your DVD or Blu-Ray viewing pleasure, Lee Daniels' The Butler is available Jan. 14th.







Monday, January 13, 2014

On Capra's LOST HORIZON

In a March 2012 blog piece, I wrote about Frank Capra's wonderful embrace of racial diversity in It's A Wonderful Life.  There were more black folks in Bedford Falls than we saw as regular TV cast members on Friends, Seinfeld or Sex and the City -- shows about life in modern-day Manhattan.

Frank Capra embraced sexual diversity in an earlier classic.  Just like his It's A Wonderful Life, you have to be sharp enough to catch it within his literature of film.  I fell in love with this under-appreciated 1937 Hollywood film during my college years.  My film journalism professor made me see it in a whole new light when he showed me that literature.  The film is Lost Horizon and stars Ronald Colman in one of his best performances of that decade.  He's perfect for the part of Robert Conway, the British diplomat and heroic humanitarian.  Conway adds light to the world.  When we first see him, there is darkness and chaos.  He's doing what he can to get people on a flight to safety out of a war-torn Asian location.  He wants to help not only the visiting white people, but also the poor Asians who have to live in that strife. With all the turbulence there is in the world, Conway will find peace, order, love ... and he will be introduced to his destiny after his plane is hijacked to the mysterious and safe Shangri-La.  Once there, Conway doesn't want to leave.  It's an uncharted utopia, pristine and peaceful.  When he's forced to leave, because of his unselfish commitment to family, he looks back on the place he loves.  The place is also the home of the woman he loves.  Colman gives us one of my favorite close-ups ever given in a classic Hollywood film.  You can feel what's in his heart.
Here's what I mean about "literature of film."  Conway is a good man, a privileged man determined to help others.  He grapples with questions in his own mind -- questions about his purpose in life.  He's framed by or near light, illumination.  We see that at the open as he leads people during the dangerous military take-over in China.

We see that light in Shangri-La when he embraces the culture of the Tibetan community and proceeds to learn its people and history.  He spends much time in its library.  He wears the kind of comfortable clothing the natives do.  He's adapted to his location and is now a respected visitor in it.  The lovely and pure Sondra has won his heart.
Capra's light motif for Robert Conway is very significant in his meetings with the High Lama, the spiritual leader of Shangri-La.  The light is his destiny.
     


Robert Conway's brother, George, was also on the plane to Shangri-La.  The brothers are quite different.  George refuses to adapt to Shangri-La.  To him, an Asian life is not as important as the life of a civilized white man.  He's the one who wants to leave and brides a few men to help him get out of the place and, eventually, back to England.  George is violent, selfish and bigoted.  Notice that he never changes from "civilized" attire to the comfortable Tibetan clothing like his fellow travelers did,.  He refuses to embrace another culture.  Notice that Capra frames George against closed doors and closed windows.  George is a major pain in the ass and a bully.

And here is where we get the tension that can come from a benevolent sense of family commitment -- like in It's a Wonderful Life when George Bailey wants to leave Bedford Falls instead of staying and helping folks like forgetful Uncle Billy who screws up with the bank money.  Robert will accompany his irresponsible, narrow-minded, needy and culturally conservative brother on the expedition back to civilization.  But the expedition rope in the snowy mountain terrain will be like an umbilical cord that Robert will need cut so he can be free to live his own authentic life.

OK.  About the gay element.  In the James Hilton novel, Lost Horizon, there's a rather bovine missionary woman out to bring Asians over to her way of Christian worship.  In Capra's romantic adaptation, the missionary woman is gone.  That character basically becomes Alexander P. Lovett.  Edward Everett Horton plays the paleontologist.  When you had Edward Everett Horton as the never-married, fluttery fussbudget in a 1930s movie...that was the gay male character.  A visual clue in those Hollywood days was the bow tie. Horton didn't always play this kind of unmarried character, but he was a master at it.  He had hit movies and a hit 1960s sitcom (F Troop) in his credits.
Thomas Mitchell (It's A Wonderful Life's Uncle Billy) plays a fellow traveler fleeing China on the flight.  Henry is a self-made, rough 'n' tumble kind of guy who got in some trouble on Wall Street.  He's the down-to-earth straight guy who nicknames Lovett "Lovey."  Across from them is the unsentimental, hard-boiled hooker who seems to be stricken with consumption.  Gloria is coughing a lot in flight.  The three fellow travelers are definitely strangers.  We see that from the way Capra has them placed in the frame.  Lovett is probably the kind of man who knows he's the social outsider because of sexual orientation and keeps to himself.  This makes him more of an outsider.  He's probably protecting himself from rejection by not joining in.  Mitchell's character, Henry, would not bully Lovett.  He was a Wall Street swindler but, in Shangri-La, there is redemption and rejuvenation.  There's opportunity to make positive changes.  Three three strangers become friends in Shangri-La as they gradually drop the masks of their Anglo society selves (their inauthentic lives) and grow anew within the Garden of Eden-like Shangri-La.  The way they were placed on the plane when we meet them, each one seemed to be at the corner of a triangle.  There's a closer symmetry to them in Shangri-La.
They're in line behind Conway as they learn about this new society.  As time goes by, the three form a unit.  I found that fascinating.  The Wall Street cheat really liked Lovey.  That's his friend. The hooker's health has healed and the ice has thawed from her heart.  No more harsh cosmetics and platinum blonde hair dye.  She's at peace with herself.  We know that romantic feelings will develop between the changed woman and the changed moneyman.  He's now contributing to a society by bringing positive and helpful changes to the villagers.  Henry has no need for money.  He volunteers his services.  His friendship with Lovey flourishes.  That's a miracle in itself.  Mr. Lovett was one of many who lost money to  Henry's Wall Street swindle.  Shangri-La has changed people.  Lovett is no longer a grumpy, suspicious fussbudget.  He's happy.  He likes being called "Lovey."  Children are fond of him.  He has a new life, friendship and security.
The three former strangers are now a trio.  Henry made Lovey comfortable enough to be at ease and to join in.  When you think about it,  not only have the three formed their own Chosen Family but we have Straight Guy/Gay Guy bonding and friendship.
Could a straight man who wanted to make amends for some shady financial business go back to America, having an ex-hooker as his newfound love and a gay male teacher as his best friend without some sort of mean gossip?  That kind of diversity can bloom and thrive in the Shangri-La.

Look at that trio in Capra's Lost Horizon with that sort of Chosen Family attitude.  It's quite fresh for a 1937 Hollywood film.  It would still be fresh 50 years later, when you think about it.  Straight male/gay male friendships are rarely explored in mainstream Hollywood films, yet they exist.  Except for my late partner in the early 1990s, all of my previous roommates in my Milwaukee and New York years were the coolest straight male friends you could ever hope to have.  The 1991 indie comedy, Queens Logic, has a most refreshing and believable look at straight male/gay male bonding.  We meet a group of friends in New York.  One is about to get married.  One of the fellows, played by John Malkovich, is a working class, regular guy who just happens to be gay.  He's not the kind of fashion-conscious/body-conscious, festive and fabulous, trendy gay man you saw on TV's Sex and the City or Will & Grace.  He works in the fish market.  His straight buddies love, support, protect and tease him.  They want him to meet someone who's also just a sweet regular guy and can fit in with these working class friends.  I could totally relate to Malkovich's character.  (Queens Logic co-stars Kevin Bacon, Joe Mantegna, Jamie Lee Curtis, Linda Fiorentino and Megan Mullally right before she hit big on TV's Will & Grace).

Capra embraced racial diversity very cleverly in It's A Wonderful Life.  He brought the social classes together with equal seating on a bus trip in It Happened One Night.  I see a definite regard for sexual diversity in Lost Horizon.  

Catholic Guilt over BOOGIE NIGHTS

Praised by movie critics and graced with Oscar nominations, it's the film that could've been also known as TERMS OF ENDOWMENT.  Form...