Category Archives: Old Hollywood

Moguls and Starlets: 100 Years of Hollywood’s Corrosive, Systemic Sexism

From the earliest days of Hollywood, women were stage managed and manipulated by older men in powerful positions. And it’s clear that, although Harvey Weinstein has been outed, little has changed

In the Hollywood dream factory, trauma surfaces as light entertainment. In 2013, introducing the list of best supporting actress nominees at a pre-Oscars event, comedian Seth MacFarlane quipped: “Congratulations, you five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.” What was chilling about this was not just that MacFarlane followed it up at the Oscars with a stream of “edgy” jokes, including the line that nine-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis had “16 years before she’s too old for Clooney” and the nauseating We Saw Your Boobs song. What is really disturbing is that everyone – even people who had no idea of what has now emerged about Weinstein’s behaviour – got the joke. The idea that female stars and aspiring stars are required to accept the attentions, at the very least, of older male studio executives and producers, is as old as the Hollywood hills.

Why are those of us who don’t attend breakfast meetings in Beverly Hills familiar with the phrase “the casting couch”? Why is there even a euphemism for this extreme form of sexual harassment? The power imbalance between female stars and older male executives is so well broadcast that it features in Hollywood films and awards ceremonies, as a plot device or as a joke, and nobody takes the trouble to hide it.

In this weighted system, historic horror stories abound of executives taking advantage of starlets. Shirley Temple recalled that Arthur Freed, a producer at MGM, exposed himself to her when she was 12 years old. Louis B Mayer insisted that his protege Judy Garland sit on his lap – she was one of a number of “juvenile stars” at the MGM studio, whose punishing schedule, she said, required amphetamines to get through the day, and sleeping pills to rest at night. Ginger Rogers said that Harry Cohn, the head of Columbia, chased her around a desk making passes. Marilyn Monroe compared Hollywood to an “overcrowded brothel”. Joan Collins, who was warned about “wolves” by Monroe, says she missed out on the lead in Cleopatra because she refused to be “nice” to the head of 20th Century Fox, Buddy Adler, who also reportedly harassed a 19-year-old Rita Moreno.

Once upon a time, before the US film industry moved to California, there were no stars, and studios could be democratic startup outfits where cast and crew mucked in together. The familiar faces that appeared on nickelodeon screens were known only by their studio’s brand: The Vitagraph Girl, The Biograph Girl. But in 1909, Carl Laemmle, head of the Independent Moving Pictures (IMP) studio, who later founded Universal Pictures, wanted a real star, and decided he had to kill one first.

Having hired Florence Lawrence from Biograph, he spread a false story to the papers that she had died in a streetcar collision. After the public expressed their dismay at never seeing their beloved “Biograph Girl” again, Laemmle put adverts in the papers declaiming, “We nail a lie”, dismissing Lawrence’s death as what we would now call fake news, and announcing her appearance, under her own name, in forthcoming IMP movies. Lawrence’s very existence had been stage managed and manipulated by the studio boss. It heralded the start of a new power relationship between producers and their female stars.

Where Lawrence led, many others followed. As the film business settled in a Californian orange grove, thousands of young American women made their way to Hollywood hoping to become stars. Once inside the film colony, they were more likely to end up as waitresses or sex workers than get a screen test – the numbers weren’t on their side. Actor Louise Brooks wrote that screen tests and movie contracts were handed out not to wide-eyed hopefuls at the studio gates, but, via the casting couch, to women at intimate parties who gave sexual favours to influential men. She described seeing a dancer enter a hotel room with Lord Beaverbrook and “a few days later she told me that she had a contract at MGM”.

It was a corrupt system fraught with dangers, which were becoming visible to the public. One of the biggest scandals in Hollywood history occurred in 1921 when actor Virginia Rappe died a few days after a party in a San Francisco hotel room. The cause of death was her ruptured bladder, and the comedian Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle was accused of raping her at the party – the implication being that his excess weight caused her bladder to burst. Arbuckle was eventually cleared. He hadn’t raped Rappe, and the damage to her internal organs had been caused elsewhere, by venereal disease or backstreet abortions or both. Despite his exoneration, Arbuckle was scapegoated for the crime and blacklisted from Hollywood, so as not to remind people of the scandal.

However, the public had now glimpsed the sordid side of the film business – the scandal concentrated the full glare of the world’s attention on Hollywood’s young, desperate and sometimes tragic starlets. The industry’s solution was Will Hays, who, in 1922, was appointed president of the newly formed Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America. Hays is now best known for his notorious film censorship “production code”, but his methods for scouring the business clean went beyond what appeared on-screen. He found a new, larger home for the Girls’ Studio Club, for instance, a chaperoned dormitory-cum-sorority house for young women starting out in Hollywood. It had been founded in 1916 by a group of Hollywood women, but this 1926 incarnation (which stayed open until 1975) benefited from the donations of studios and film stars, and aimed to replace the image of the preyed-on “extra girl” with the smart and well-mannered “studio girl”. That is to say, making over the potential victims of the problem rather than addressing the root cause.

In much the same way, stars such as Gloria Swanson and Clara Bow were faced with morality clauses in their contracts. Sign, and your personal life becomes the property of the studio you work for. Don’t sign and you are looking for a new job.

As fast as Hays, and other “uplifters” of Hollywood, could work, the power of the studios, and their executives, was perversely growing. Cinema had become a vastly lucrative business, but it was star names, not studio brands that sold tickets. In the 1920s, as Brooks describes it, when the producers realised that female stars were a threat to their dominance, they waged “a concerted war on the star system”, abusing the power they had to make or break an actor’s career. Female writers and producers such as Frances Marion and June Mathis, who had held senior positions in the silent-era industry, were squeezed out by the 30s, and soon the business was being run by a group of male executives, many of whom obsessively controlled the films they produced and the women who starred in them.

It was standard form for starlets to be made over by studio bosses, with their name, appearance and ethnic identity altered. Margarita Cansino became Rita Hayworth with the help of a dye-job and electrolysis to raise her hairline. Lucille LeSueur became Joan Crawford after an MGM publicity man said her last name reminded him of a sewer. Inauspiciously, Louis B Mayer named Hedy Lamarr after tragic silent star Barbara La Marr who had died young after struggling with drug addiction. Given a new name and image, a morality clause to conform to, and publicity stunts including staged romances with studio stablemates, the star’s persona began and ended with the inventions of the front office. The star was a creation of the executive’s imagination, and his corporate asset, to be discarded as soon as she was tagged “box-office poison”.

Early in the Golden Age of Hollywood, in 1937, two events underlined how tyrannically moguls would exercise authority over starlets. One was the release of A Star is Born. This Technicolor romantic drama featured Janet Gaynor as a Hollywood hopeful who becomes a big star after a chance encounter at a party where she is waitressing. Rustic Esther Blodgett is remodelled as chic Vicki Lester by studio exec Oliver Niles (Adolphe Menjou) and mentored by her new lover Norman Maine (Fredric March), an alcoholic actor on the slide. Despite the story’s darker moments, it is a relatively palatable presentation of the star-and-studio system. (It is also perennially popular and has been remade three times, with Judy Garland and James Mason in 1954, and with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson in 1976. The latest remake features Stefani Germanotta (Lady Gaga) with Bradley Cooper, and will be released next year.)

Also in 1937, behind very closed doors, 20-year-old dancer Patricia Douglas took a job hostessing at a Hollywood party. To be strictly accurate, the party was in Culver City, but it was the climax of MGM’s annual sales convention, and was hosted by comedy producer Hal Roach at his “Rancho Roachero”. The party was trailed to the delegates as: “a stag affair, out in the wild and woolly west where ‘men are men’.” Douglas didn’t know it was a party. After answering a casting call, she was bussed out to the desert location with more than 120 other young women, in skimpy western outfits. It only became clear that they were to be hostesses at a studio party rather than extras on a film when they arrived at the banquet hall, and 300 sales delegates burst in. The women danced and the men eyed them up, in between eating and drinking their way through MGM’s largesse. The party soon became as wild as promised, and David Ross, a 36-year-old sales executive, had Douglas in his sights. He found another man to help him force booze down her throat, then he dragged her to a car outside and raped her. “I’m going to destroy you,” he told her during the assault.

When Douglas pressed charges, Ross’s threat took on a new meaning. Fearing another shock on the level of the Rappe/Arbuckle scandal, MGM, and its thuggish fixer Eddie Mannix, mobilised against Douglas, destroying her character and seeing to it that the studio was not named in the news reports. Douglas’s crime report disappeared and party attendees testified that Douglas had been drinking. Mannix joked: “We had her killed.”

While cinemagoers were basking in the story of how a paternal Hollywood studio had transformed Esther the hopeful into Vicki the star, MGM was using its influence to shatter a young woman’s life. Douglas’s story was belatedly uncovered by film historian David Stenn and featured in the 2007 documentary Girl 27. Last year, the Coen Brothers released Hail, Caesar!, a lighthearted musical comedy about Mannix, which substantially sanitised his work covering up this and many more studio scandals.

The hit movie and the sidestepped scandal of 1937 demonstrate how efficiently Hollywood studios could weave myths out of its own banal production-line processes and how much clout they wielded in the world of law enforcement, medicine, courts and the news media. Effectively, the Hollywood myth becomes more powerful than the truth. If rumours about what happened to Douglas got out, it only served to keep other women in line, or at least in fear for their careers.

After the studio system fell into decline in the 50s, there were still mighty producers pulling the strings on Hollywood sets, but directors assumed more importance than before, and some played up to the old system. Directors of Hollywood films are still overwhelmingly male: 96% of the directors of last year’s top grossing films were men.

Woody Allen, who has been the subject of serious sexual allegations (all denied) in his private life, capped his 1966 directorial debut What’s Up, Tiger Lily? with a casting couch gag, in which he poses as an old-school sleazy executive exercising his petty power over a wannabe. Playboy playmate China Lee performs a gratuitous striptease over the film’s end credits. Allen, reclining on a sofa, jokes: “I had promised to put her in the movie … somewhere!”

Another revered director, Alfred Hitchcock, was well known for having a “type”. “Blondes make the best victims,” he said. “They’re like virgin snow that shows up the bloody footprints.” The blond star of The Birds and Marnie, Tippi Hedren, wrote in her memoir that Hitchcock truly victimised her: throwing himself on top of her and groping her, then punishing her on set for resisting his advances.

Maria Schneider who starred alongside Marlon Brando in 1972’s Last Tango in Paris, has described feeling “humiliated and ‘a little raped’” by director Bernardo Bertolucci’s handling of a key scene. The director has admitted that he and Brando kept Schneider in the dark about the use of butter in “that scene”: “I wanted her reaction as a girl, not as an actress. I wanted her to react humiliated.” Molly Ringwald has written in the New Yorker about several incidents of sexual harassment and abuse in her career, including a “married film director” assaulting her on set. Reese Witherspoon revealed in a recent speech that she was assaulted by a director when she was 16, and that after the incident agents and producers “made me feel that silence was a condition of my employment”.

More recently, since the Weinstein allegations have gathered pace, the Icelandic musician Björk wrote that when she worked with a “Danish director” her “humiliation and role as a lesser sexually harassed being was the norm … it is a universal thing that a director can touch and harass his actresses at will and the institution of film allows it.” Many assumed she was referring to Lars von Trier, who directed Dancer in the Dark, the only feature film in which she has starred. Von Trier has denied her allegations.

The model of the mogul and the starlet makes Hollywood production a fundamentally sexist system, and it skews what appears on screen, too; most obviously, it helps explain why Hollywood films are so enamoured of May-to-December affairs, in which young women are helplessly drawn to much older men. As Lillian Gish once said of an actor 15 years older than her: “Lionel Barrymore first played my grandfather, later my father, and finally, he played my husband. If he’d lived, I’m sure I would have played his mother. That’s the way it is in Hollywood.”

There have always been egregious examples of age-gap romances on the big screen, most notoriously, in Allen’s films, and recent analyses of Hollywood films have found that female leads are still consistently younger than their male love interests. A machine-learning study by Google.org and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media also found that in the 100 highest-grossing live-action films of 2014 and 2015, men appeared on screen for twice as long as women and spoke for twice as long. If the dynamic of older men and younger, submissive women that greases the wheels of Hollywood production offices repeats itself on screen, it is not an accident, but the desires of the producers and directors who create these films played out on the biggest stage of all: Hollywood cinema, the world’s most effective propaganda machine. Who is Hollywood trying to kid? The 52% female cinema audience, or executives who stalk starlets in their bathrobes, while threatening to demolish their careers?

Original article: One Hundred Years of Sexual Predation in Hollywood


Hollywood’s track record on racism, ageism, and outright political partisanship is every bit as black and foul as their track record on the sexual predation of men, woman, and children.

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The Expectations of Fools

Wonder Woman Poster 2

Wonder Woman, with its pure moral core, true heroism, and non-victim female lead, only “exceeded the expectations” of perpetually sexist, infinitely immoral, hero-trashing Far Left Hollywood…

Not the rest of America. You know, “fly over country” where 300 million Human Beings live.

On the very best subject we see this divide clearly: Conservatives focus on resurrection, Liberals on crucifixion. We side with the Apostles, they with the Pharisees. We expect courage and sacrifice, while they deny courage as an accident and only strive to satisfy their lusts. We adore heroes, but they flog them and hang them on trees. To the Right, heroism is a virtue everyone should seek, but to the Left (and those who will be left) it is a neurosis suffered only by a tortured few.

Tells you what they think of heroes.

Wonder Woman is the very script I prefer and produce. This is a movie after my own heart and soul.

Like Captain America, Wonder Woman embraces the heroic instead of trying to psychologically deconstruct or shame it (Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad).

Congratulations to director Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot for this most welcomed breath of fresh air.

Wonder Woman exceeded all expectations this weekend, delivering an impressive $100 million opening, the largest opening for a female-directed feature, vastly out-performing the previous record holder Fifty Shades of Grey, which debuted with $85.1 million back in 2015. Meanwhile, Fox’s release of the DreamWorks Animation feature Captain Underpants came up a little short of Mojo’s forecast while mildly outperforming the studio’s modest expectations. Overall, the weekend dramatically outperformed the post-holiday weekend from 2016 by a massive 38% as the top twelve delivered a combined $176 million.

At the top, Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot in the title role, went into the weekend boasting the best reviews out of the four films that have been released in the DC Extended Universe so far and the critical opinion definitely aided the film’s awareness as the buzz only continued to grow throughout the week. Following an impressive $38.76 million Friday that buzz was no longer due to critics as audiences gave the film an “A” CinemaScore, pushing the film over $100 million for its opening weekend, the first female directed feature to achieve such an opening. And as far as female-led comic book adaptations are concerned, it’s by far the largest opening as the second closest is Paramount’s Ghost in the Shell, which debuted with $18.6 million earlier this year.

In fact, Wonder Woman delivered the 16th largest opening weekend for a comic book adaptation all-time. It’s the sixth largest opening among that group if you don’t count sequels and, based on estimates, the sixth largest June opening all-time. Looking ahead, given the strong word of mouth, it would be no shock to see it deliver $300 million domestically or at least very close to that figure.

Beyond the CinemaScore, the film played to an audience that was 52% female vs. 48% male, 14% of the audience was under the age of 18 and 47% was over the age of 35.

Internationally, the performance was equally strong, as Wonder Woman brought in an estimated $122.5 million from 55 markets, which includes a $38 million debut in China, bettering the openings for the likes of Man of Steel, Thor, The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy. Additional openings include the UK ($7.5m), Mexico ($8.4m), South Korea ($8.5m), Brazil ($8.3m), Australia ($4.9m), Russia ($4.8m) and Indonesia ($4.7m). Still to come are openings in France next week, Germany on June 15, Spain on June 23 and the film opens in Japan in August.

In second, Fox’s release of DreamWorks Animation’s Captain Underpants delivered a bit of a ho-hum opening with an estimated $23.5 million. While enough for a second place finish it’s one of the smallest opening weekends for a DreamWorks Animated title, in fact it ranks 26th among 35 total films. Fortunately, the studio made the film for a fraction of what it cost to make previous DWA titles, such as Rise of the Guardians, which was made for $145 million and only opened to $23.7 million before just barely topping $103.4 million domestically. So, should Captain Underpants holdover well things might not look so dissatisfying, but with Cars 3 and Despicable Me 3 just around the corner it’s going to need to hustle.

Captain Underpants received a “B+” CinemaScore from opening day audiences and played to an overall audience that was 54% male vs. 46% female, of which 65% where under the age of 25 and of the younger audience, 60% were boys and 91% of the audience ranged from the ages of 7-12.

Internationally, Captain Underpants debuted in just eight markets where it brought in an estimated $740k led by a nearly $300k debut in Portugal.

Moving along, Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales appears to be sinking fast domestically as it dropped 65.7% in its second weekend, bringing in an estimated $21.6 million. The film’s domestic cume now stands at $114.6 million. Internationally things look a bit brighter as it brought in another $73.8 million pushing its global cume over $500 million after 12 days in global release with the film still yet to open in Japan.

Disney also claimed the fourth spot this weekend with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which delivered an estimated $9.7 million as its domestic cume now climbs over $355 million. Internationally it added another $4.4 million as its global gross now stands at $816.6 million, making it the fifth highest grossing worldwide release among the films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Rounding out the top five is Paramount’s Baywatch, which dipped 54.1% in its second weekend for a domestic cume of $41.7 million. The film did roll-out to 31 international markets this weekend where it brought in $23.8 million including openings in the UK ($5.8m), Germany ($3.9m), Australia ($2.7m), Russia ($1.8m), India ($1.6m), Italy ($729k) and Hong Kong ($701k). The film’s global cume now stands over $67 million with openings in Brazil, Mexico, Spain and France coming in the next few weeks.

Elsewhere, in moderate release Lionsgate released Pantelion’s 3 Idiotas into 349 theaters where it grossed an estimated $600k and Cohen Media’s release of Churchill starring Brian Cox opened with $426k from 215 theaters.

In limited release CBS Films’ Dean brought in an estimated $60,366 from 15 theaters ($4,024 PTA); IFC’s Band Aid brought in an estimated $31,500 from three theaters ($10,500 PTA); China Lion released Beautiful Accident into 15 theaters where it grossed an estimated $25,000 ($1,667 PTA); A24’s The Exception debuted in just two locations with an estimated $23,337 ($11,669 PTA); Vitagraph’s Letters from Baghdad debuted with $18,250 from two locations ($9,125 PTA); Samuel Goldwyn’s Past Life brought in an estimated $16,215 from four locations ($4,054 PTA); and finally, Matson’s Radio Dreams opened in one location with an estimated $2,053.

Next weekend Universal will kick off their Dark Universe with The Mummy starring Tom Cruise and Sofia Boutella in 4,000 theaters while Bleecker Street releases Megan Leavey starring Rooney Mara; A24 will debut the horror feature It Comes at Night; and Fox Searchlight will release My Cousin Rachel into ~500 theaters.

You can check out all of this weekend’s estimated results right here and we’ll be updating our charts with weekend actuals on Monday afternoon.

From Box Office Mojo: Wonder Woman Box Office Numbers

Sir Roger Moore

Moore Obituary

Roger Moore, the handsome English actor who appeared in seven films as James Bond — the most of any Bond actor — and as Simon Templar on “The Saint” TV series, has died in Switzerland after a short battle with cancer. He was 89.

His family issued an announcement on Twitter: “It is with the heaviest of hearts, we must share the awful news that our father, Sir Roger Moore, passed away today. We are all devastated.”

Moore appeared in more official Bond pics than his friend Sean Connery over a longer period of time, and while Connery’s fans were fiercely loyal, polls showed that many others favored Moore’s lighter, more humorous take on 007.

In 1972, Moore was asked to join Her Majesty’s Secret Service. He took on the mantle of 007 for 1973’s “Live and Let Die,” which would lead to six more turns as England’s top spy. In addition to reviving the franchise at the B.O. after waning prospects at the end of Connery’s run, the new James Bond relied on more humor in stories that cranked up the camp.

Moore as Bond began to shake off the Connery comparisons and pick up speed after 1977’s “The Spy Who Loved Me” launched the series into super-blockbuster status, raking in $185.4 million worldwide. Next up, the outer space-traveling “Moonraker” (1979) cumed $202 million and 1981’s “For Your Eyes Only” took $194 million.

His next roles were in “Octopussy” (1983) and 1985’s “A View to a Kill,” in which he surrendered his license to kill.

The young actor came to the U.S. in 1953. MGM signed him to a contract and he received supporting work on several pictures. He played a tennis pro in 1954’s “The Last Time I Saw Paris,” with Elizabeth Taylor. The role was one of several in the ’50s that hinged on his tall, athletic good looks. He would often play royalty or military characters.

Moore had his first taste of smallscreen stardom from 1956-58 as the lead, Sir Winfred, in ITV’s “Ivanhoe.” While still drawing film roles, he would continue to star in TV programs, following “Ivanhoe” with short-lived ABC Western “The Alaskans” and replacing James Garner in “Maverick” in 1960-61 (Moore played British cousin Beau Maverick). By the time he arrived on “Maverick,” its popularity was waning, but Moore won over the cast and crew with his good humor and charm, on-set qualities for which the actor would be known throughout his career.

In 1962, Moore began playing one of the roles that would define his celebrity, dashing thief Simon Templar, who would steal from rich villains each week on “The Saint.” The show ran 118 episodes, transitioning from B&W to color and finally wrapping in 1969. The British skein initially ran in syndication in the States but was part of NBC’s primetime schedule from 1967-69.

Stories would feature exotic locales, beautiful women and plenty of action, elements shared with the bigscreen tales about a certain British spy of the era. Ironically, it was the “Saint” contract that prevented Moore from competing for the role of 007 when Sean Connery was cast in 1962’s “Dr. No.”

Moore returned to the big screen with a pair of forgettable thrillers in ’69 and ’70. Despite having sworn off TV, he was subsequently lured back for “The Persuaders.” The show, which featured Moore and Tony Curtis as millionaire playboy crime-fighters, ran only one season; it was successful in Europe but failed in its run on ABC in the U.S.

During his 13 years as 007, Moore landed feature roles in other action films, but none that would compete with the Bond franchise. Movies from that period include 1978’s “The Wild Geese,” with Richard Burton and Richard Harris, and 1980’s “ffolkes” with James Mason and David Hedison, who played CIA agent Felix Leiter in “Live and Let Die.”

The actor took great fun in skewering his slick image offscreen and on-, including appearances in “Cannonball Run” and TV’s “The Muppet Show,” in which he struck out with Miss Piggy; in the 2002 comedy “Boat Trip,” he played a flamboyant homosexual with some Bond-like elements, and in 2004 he lent his voice to animated short “The Fly Who Loved Me.”

He also occasionally appeared both on the big and small screen. He appeared in the Spice Girls feature “Spice World,” provided a voice for “The Saint” feature in 1997, appeared in an episode of “Alias” in 2003 and had a role in the 2013 telepic version of “The Saint” starring Eliza Dushku.

Moore did quite a bit of voice work in the 2000s in pics including “Here Comes Peter Cottontail,” “Agent Crush,” “Gnomes and Trolls: The Forest Trial,” “De vilde svaner” and 2010’s “Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore,” whose title was an allusion to Bond girl Pussy Galore of “Goldfinger”; his “Cats and Dogs” character was Tab Lazenby.

He became a UNICEF goodwill ambassador in 1991 and had been an active advocate for children’s causes. In 1999, he was honored by the British government with the title Commander of the British Empire.

Moore was born in Stockwell, South London. Despite health problems, Moore excelled at school and took an early interest in art and drawing. His grammar school education was interrupted by the start of WWII; he and his mother spent most of the war in Amersham, 25 miles outside of London.

In 1943, Moore decided to leave school and pursue work in animation at Publicity Pictures Prods., where he was a junior trainee in cartooning. But mishandling of some celluloid brought a swift conclusion to that career path.

Moore began his long acting career during the summer of 1944, when a friend recommended that he seek work as an extra on the film “Caesar and Cleopatra,” which brought Moore a walk-on role and the attention of co-director Brian Desmond Hurst, who was impressed with the looks of the tall, thin young man and secured him extra parts in two subsequent pics. With the support of Hurst, Moore auditioned for and was admitted to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.

In 1945, Moore was called up for national service and, after basic training, was recommended for the Intelligence Corps. “The only reason they commissioned me was I looked good in a uniform,” Moore joked of his military career.

The actor’s autobiography, “My Word Is My Bond,” was published in 2008; his other books include memoir “One Lucky Bastard” and “Bond on Bond.” In recent years he toured with a popular one-man show, “An Evening With Roger Moore.”

Moore was married to skater Doorn Van Steyn, singer Dorothy Squires, Italian actress Luisa Mattioli and finally to Danish-Swedish multimillionaire Kristina “Kiki” Tholstrup. He is survived by Tholstrup; a daughter, actress Deborah Moore; and two sons, Geoffrey Moore, an actor, and Christian Moore, a film producer.

From Variety: Roger Moore

Sir Roger Moore (1927-2017)

Shaken Not Stirred

Roger Moore passed away today.

After Captain Kirk, which I saw a child in Star Trek reruns in the early 70’s, Roger Moore’s James Bond was my first cinema hero. By that I mean, the first hero I actually saw in the theaters. The great classics with Charlton Heston where long passed, showing up every Easter and Christmas, but James Bond was a hero I saw along with everyone else.

Devilishly handsome, suave, supremely confident, Moore’s turn as Bond was, for me, iconic as Sean Connery had stepped away from the role by the time I was born.

To this day, my favorite James Bond movie in the entire Bond catalog remains The Man with the Golden Gun. It is also my favorite Roger Moore movie.

Roger Moore will always be the definitive James Bond to me.

Like the song says…

Nobody does it better!

Major Movie Studios Face Lean 2017

Movie studios should prepare themselves for “another round of punishment” this year with “several big-budget bombs and disappointing performances from mid-budget pictures,” Cowen and Co. analyst Doug Creutz warns this morning in his annual analysis of film industry trends.

Although last year’s domestic box office improved 2.2%, the long-time critic of Hollywood’s business models says that when adjusted for inflation 2016 was “the fourth worst year at the domestic box office since 2000.”

What’s more, operating profits dropped by 14.6% in 2016 to $4.18 billion, and Disney accounted for 60.5% of the total. Four studios –Universal/DreamWorks Animation, Lionsgate, Sony, and Paramount — declined more than 40%, with Sony and Paramount ending the calendar year in the red.

And 2017 will be “at least as difficult,” he says. Some 30 releases, one more than in 2016, will have budgets of more than $100 million, including 20 that are either sequels or “part of ongoing meta-franchises such as Marvel.”

The problem? Non-Disney blockbusters generated an average of $128 million at domestic box offices in 2016, down from $176 million in 2015 and $162 million in 2014.

“Overcrowding, and the outsized dominance of Disney, very clearly significantly suppressed big-budget movie performance across the rest of the industry,” Creutz says.

On top of that, the international box office for the 100 top grossing U.S. films dropped 1.7% last year to $15.1 billion.

Although sales in China continue to grow, Western Europe and other “mature film markets” appear to be oversaturated with blockbusters. As a result, he says, “Hollywood can no longer count on international markets to be a growth driver.”

At some point studios will adjust by veering away from action, animation, and young adult-skewing franchises. But by then, he says, “we worry that attempts to re-diversify into other genres may fall on deaf ears.”

Looking at individual studios, Creutz predicts that Disney will be safe this year with “more than its share of outsized hits” including Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and Beauty and the Beast.

Warner Bros.”will be largely successful” with DC films Wonder Woman and Justice League and high-profile releases including King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, and Dunkirk. But the analyst warns that the studio “may not reach the heights of last year” which included Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad.

Fox is “in a bit of a tough spot with summer sequels Alien:Covenant and War for the Planet of the Apes competing with “larger competitors with potentially broader audience appeal.”

Paramount will probably face “continued losses” but not as bad as last year, Creutz says. Its summer release Transformers: The Last Knight “is looking pretty long-in-the-tooth.”

The analyst says he’s “cautious” about Lionsgate in light of “increasing concentration of success in the market, and the squeezing of box office out of counterprogramming genres.” The release this month of Power Rangers “remains a key event as the company seeks to prove it can create new hit franchises.”

Original article: Hollywood Lean in 2017