Show posts and discussion about NitrateVille's classic movie podcast
NitrateVille Radio Episode 25: Richard Barrios on the 50 Best Musicals • Scott Eyman on Hank and Jim: The Fifty-Year Friendship of Henry Fonda and James Stewart
Two more interviews from Cinevent in Columbus, Ohio, with the authors of books about classic Hollywood. (64:29)
(1:42) Richard Barrios wrote two of the best books on the history and meaning of the musical—2009's A Song in the Dark: The Birth of the Musical Film and 2014's Dangerous Rhythm: Why Movie Musicals Matter, as well as a key book on sexuality in the golden age of moviemaking, Screened Out: Playing Gay in Hollywood from Edison to Stonewall.
But when TCM approached him about doing a pop book on the 50 best musicals, he couldn't resist, and the result is Turner Classic Movies: Must-See Musicals: 50 Show-Stopping Movies We Can't Forget. We talk about the 50 best—and a few of the worst.
(26:47) You never know how real famous Hollywood friendships are—but the real friendship of Henry Fonda and Jimmy Stewart lasted from their days as roommates performing in a tiny artistic theater (where their fellow aspiring players included Margaret Sullavan, Joshua Logan and others) throughout their long careers in Hollywood and their detour into service in World War II. Biographer Scott Eyman tells this story in the biography Hank and Jim: The Fifty-Year Friendship of Henry Fonda and James Stewart.
Eyman is one of the most celebrated biographers of classic era Hollywood figures, with books on John Wayne, John Ford, Cecil B. DeMille, Ernst Lubitsch, Louis B. Mayer, the changeover to sound and more; you can see them at his Amazon page.
You can see the clip from On Our Merry Way used in the podcast here. The setup is that Stewart and Fonda are broke musicians planning a scam with a fake contest in which the mayor's son (none other than Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer) is guaranteed to win. Then along comes Dorothy Lamour... a contestant sure to blow everyone else off the stage and wreck their plan.
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“I'm in favor of plagiarism. If we are to create a new Renaissance, the government should encourage plagiarism. When convinced that someone is a true plagiarist, we should immediately award them the Legion of Honor.” —Jean Renoir
Another great episode! Eyman is right; I can't think of another book that directly discusses a longtime friendship, only love entanglements.