WEIRDLAND: Ray Milland & co-stars video, Lost Golden Age

Monday, September 15, 2014

Ray Milland & co-stars video, Lost Golden Age

Ray Milland & co-stars video, featuring stills and pictures of: Claudette Colbert, Jean Arthur, Doris Dowling, Jane Wyman, Audrey Totter, Jean Peters, Constance Moore, Lana Turner, Rita Johnson, Paulette Goddard, Anna Neagle, Ellen Drew, Elsa Lanchester, Olympe Bradna, Ann Todd, Dorothy Lamour, Marjorie Reynolds, Maureen O'Sullivan, Jan Sterling, Veronica Lake, Frances Farmer, Ginger Rogers, Patricia Roc, Ruth Hussey, Gail Russell, Joan Fontaine, Teresa Wright, Loretta Young, Barbara Stanwyck, Grace Kelly, Hedy Lamarr, Barbara Britton, Florence Marley, Charles Laughton, Heather Angel, Steffi Sidney, Barbara Read, Rita Gam, Marlene Dietrich, Mary Beth Hughes, Gene Tierney, Susan Hayward, Patricia Morrison, John Hodiak, Sally Eilers, Wendy Barrie, Maureen O'Hara, Isa Miranda, Sonja Henie, Olivia De Havilland, Margaret Hayes, Ray Milland's wife Muriel Webb, etc. Soundtrack: "Lost Weekend" by Wall of Voodoo, "Lady Midnight" by Leonard Cohen, "You're the Reason" & "My Memories of You" by Hank Snow, "Ooh-Wee Baby" by Jeff Barry and "I'm gonna love you too" by Buddy Holly.

Another Billy Wilder masterpiece: The Lost Weekend tells the story of a writer whose creative output is stalled by a raging alcoholism that threatens to destroy him. The plot is straightforward, well structured, and well attuned to the narrative of degradation that it presents. Yet it is the way the film represents addiction and bipolarity that provides the real genius. Dialogue serves the purpose of the narrative in expressing the glorious highs of an alcohol-induced inebriation, comparing the artificiality of language with the unreal, transient experience of being drunk. Yet while it lasts we are absorbed into the flows and rhythms of some quite stunning monologues.

Birnam pours out his soul like a waster-Hamlet, justifying his excessive alcohol consumption with reference to a lost golden age of history, using the universal to present the particular, and drawing everyone into his own tortured world. The power of the spoken word momentarily moves us from a shabby New York bar to a hallucinogenic montage that ties together the most radiant examples of the genius reachable through alcohol consumption. Source:

In a 50-year film career, movie star Ray Milland made more than 150 films, including Dial M For Murder and an Oscar-winning performance in The Lost Weekend - but he said he wouldn't take his wife around the corner to see any of them. And when he died in 1986 the modest man's ashes were scattered quietly in the Pacific, with no funeral or memorial service. As a youth he went to live with his Aunt Luisa near Cardiff and was schooled at King's College before going to work as a clerk with his family's Tiger Bay shipping firm. Not long afterwards he decided to join the Army, and was enticed into the King's Household Guard because a friend had written from London that: "This is the best job in the Army. We get out with the best girls; we get the best of everything".

Three times British Army rifle champion, Milland had no problem standing off camera and shooting a hand mirror out of actress Lya de Putti's hand. By now he'd caught the acting bug - he bought himself out of the Army and changed his name to Ray Milland, after Neath's Mill Lands where he used to play as a boy. An MGM film executive spotted his potential, and in 1930 he was off to America. One time he accidentally punched out Clark Gable's dental bridge during a rehearsal, then made it all the worse by treading on it. He became good friends with John Wayne after appearing together in Cecil B De Mille's Reap The Wild Wind - but their friendship turned sour in Mexico in 1941 when Wayne stole Milland's mistress, Esperanza Bauer.

Of course Milland had a wife at the time - he'd met and married tall blonde Muriel Webber in California in 1931. She gave him a son, David Daniel, and despite several separations the pair stayed together for the rest of his life. Milland always talked dismissively of the films he made, and over the years became increasingly disillusioned with the business. In his memoirs he describes the film capital as "this glittering pastiche, this Circus Maximus, this lubricious slave market". He once said: "I was under contract to Paramount for 23 years and you signed off a film on Friday night and signed on for the next one on Monday. I can't get excited about acting. So much of a film is dependent on other people."

"Weeks before the studio started shooting The Lost Weekend," he told Leader Magazine in March 1946, "I studied drunks in dozens of bars. It got so that I could tell an alcoholic from a drunk, a dipso from a sot. I watched the way alcoholics walked and talked, the way they screwed up their faces, hunched their shoulders, bent their heads. At the library, I studied alcohol and its effects on the human body. I asked doctors why men were driven to drink, how many different types of hangovers there were. I tried to get the feel of an alcoholic's wife. When I got my Oscar for The Lost Weekend my wife had to nudge me out of my seat at the ceremony.

I couldn't believe they were calling my name. Ingrid Bergman was handing them out that year. You are supposed to accept the Oscar with the left hand and shake hands with the right. I did it the other way round and then as I turned to come off walked right into a pillar." Towards the end of his life he told a relative that although he'd visited practically every country in the world, his happiest memories were of South Wales. Then in 1981 his son committed suicide with a shotgun to the head - and Milland was nearly destroyed. After that he visited his old Welsh haunts more and more often, every March making an annual pilgrimage to Pontypool to coincide with the anniversary of Daniel's death. -Jennie Bibbings for Wales On Sunday (2001)

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