Jump to content


This site uses cookies. By using this site, you agree to accept cookies, unless you've opted out. (US government web page with instructions to opt out: http://www.usa.gov/optout-instructions.shtml)

Edward Norton on Ronald Reagan


  • Please log in to reply
17 replies to this topic

#1 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 25,753 posts

Posted 22 April 2003 - 02:47 PM

This caught my eye recently. The actor Edward Norton was interviewed by the Telegraph (4/19):

http://www.telegraph...requestid=54733


and he made the observation:


"As an actor," he says, "I know in my gut, watching him, what a low-quality mind he has. Because I've been doing this since I was five years old, I know when a person is saying words that aren't their own - and it's as apparent as it could possibly be to me that he's a mouthpiece, and not even a good mouthpiece. Reagan was a B-movie actor, but at least he had the ability to touch certain emotional notes."



I must say that this is the sort of thing that gives actors who speak out about politics a bad name, but that's not why I post it. I'm not an admirer of former President Reagan, but in the interests of historical accuracy I would like to point out, because this error is frequently made, that he was NOT a "B-movie actor" (in the sense that, say, Ann Sothern was a B movie actress). He had star status at Warner Brothers. True, he wasn't Errol Flynn, but he was A-list, and not bad, either.


As for Norton's (an actor I like, although he's maybe a tad overrated) "ferocious intelligence," that's not the impression I got from his performance in "Red Dragon." :)

#2 Calliope

Calliope

    Gold Circle

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 805 posts

Posted 22 April 2003 - 03:22 PM

I think his "intelligence" is attributed to his degree from Yale.

I have to admit, I always considered Reagan B-rated, simply b/c I couldn't tell you any of his movies, and did he headline?

#3 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 25,753 posts

Posted 22 April 2003 - 03:54 PM

He didn't make any classic movies with the arguable exception of Kings Row, but he did qualify as a star and did receive star billing, Calliope. (It's unlikely without his subsequent career as a politician that he would be widely known today, but that's also true of other actors of brighter stellar status than Reagan.) There's a difference between being a second rank star and being known as a B-movie actor. Eventually Reagan did decline into some features that could be defined as Bs, but it's still not the same.

It may seem like nitpicking, and I suppose it is, but what can I say.

#4 Alexandra

Alexandra

    Board Founder

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,271 posts

Posted 22 April 2003 - 05:06 PM

To quote the late Senator Moynihan from a different context, "Terminological exactitude, gentlemen! Terminological exactitude!" :)

I think Reagan is now remembered by the young only for "Bedtime for Bonzo" (which would be a B movie?) and not the others.

This raised the question to me, what is a B movie today? Is there such an animal?

#5 Mel Johnson

Mel Johnson

    Diamonds Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,311 posts

Posted 22 April 2003 - 05:37 PM

With the death of the Double Feature, I don't think that there is a real B-movie anymore. "Ronald Reagan stars in "Hellcats of the Navy" (the A-feature) and Dinah Shore stars in "Aaron Slick from Punkin Crick"(the B-feature) with newsreel and added short subjects.

#6 Alexandra

Alexandra

    Board Founder

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,271 posts

Posted 22 April 2003 - 05:54 PM

Thank you, Mel! I didn't realize that was the origin of the "B movie." I thought it was an analytical hierarchy (like "A list"), not a question of billing.

As a historical note, slightly before Reagan's day (i.e., in the 19-teens) my aunt told me that going to "the pictures" cost 25 cents. This included 5 cents for the streetcar to go, and another 5 to come home; 5 cents for that double bill with the newsreel and short subjects; 5 cents for candy in the movie (bought from a vending machine attached to the back of the seat in front of you), and 5 cents for an ice cream soda on the way home.

#7 Hans

Hans

    Sapphire Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,104 posts

Posted 22 April 2003 - 08:08 PM

Considering that Nutcracker was the B feature on a bill with Iolanthe, does that make it a B-ballet? Remember to take into account that it was choreographed by Ivanov, not Petipa. Is Dell'Erte then a B-ballerina? It seems as if they thought she was, back then.

#8 carbro

carbro

    Late Board Registrar

  • Rest in Peace
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,361 posts

Posted 22 April 2003 - 10:54 PM

Originally posted by Alexandra
As a historical note, slightly before Reagan's day (i.e., in the 19-teens) my aunt told me that going to "the pictures" cost 25 cents.

More recently, it cost less to see ballet than to see a film. During The Balanchine Era (and some have said at Balanchine's insistence), 4th Ring tickets were approximately the same price as movie admission, standing room a bit less. I remember paying $2.50 for an evening -- many evenings -- with City Ballet.

Now at City, even with Fourth Ring Society membership, we pay a few bucks more than the going rate for movies, and at ABT? Fuggedaboudit! And then there are those houses with no standing room . . . :)

#9 Calliope

Calliope

    Gold Circle

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 805 posts

Posted 23 April 2003 - 02:05 AM

There still are B movies today. A few years ago, I think the Independent would have qualified, but they've now gotten their own category.
Roger Corman comes to mind as a B movie director. Example, several years ago he did a film version of the comic "The Fantastic Four" very campy movie, never got released in the theater, but has a huge cult following.

I am guilty of only knowing Reagan for "Bedtime for Bonzo" :)

#10 Mel Johnson

Mel Johnson

    Diamonds Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,311 posts

Posted 23 April 2003 - 02:59 AM

Usually, the B-movie was a Western or a hillbilly comedy (see above example) and very frequently, it was made by Republic Films.

Now, what was the leading event on the night of the Iolanthe/Nutcracker double bill is open to dispute, depending on your taste. If you liked opera, the ballet was a short subject. If you were a balletomane, then the opera was a curtain raiser for the ballet! And I'll bet that there were those who left after the opera, and the "second act" audience snuck in!

#11 GWTW

GWTW

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 533 posts

Posted 23 April 2003 - 08:18 AM

What is "Bedtime for Bonzo"??:cool:
I thought that post-modernism and a certain type of referencing B-movies (I'm thinking of movies like Ed Wood and Pulp Fiction) erased most of the differences between A-movies and B-movies.
Also, I haven't seen The Dreamcatcher but in Israel a short Matrix movie is being shown before the main feature. Maybe double billing is making a comeback?:eek:

#12 Calliope

Calliope

    Gold Circle

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 805 posts

Posted 23 April 2003 - 09:06 AM

I always thought my mother made up the phrase "Bedtime for Bonzo" to get me to go to sleep.
then again, I thought Reagan had something to do with "Star Wars" and Luke Skywalker when I was a kid :eek:

#13 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 25,753 posts

Posted 23 April 2003 - 09:48 AM

The major studios also produced their own Bs; for example, MGM's Tarzan and Maisie movies were Bs. (Independent movies were and are often small and made on a shoestring, but that's not quite the same.) It's true that B movies in that sense are no more, but as Calliope notes, they're still being produced, although not as a standard line of studio product.


In any case, I thought the point worth clarifying, and I thank the board for its indulgence. (The I-Know-It-All flair of Norton's comments annoyed me sufficiently that I actually felt roused to defend two of my least favorite chief executives. :cool:)

#14 atm711

atm711

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,430 posts

Posted 23 April 2003 - 10:37 AM

As an admirer of Reagan 'on-screen' but not 'off screen', he was always seen as the 'good-guy' in his movies. However, he got his best reviews in a movie called "The Hasty Heart" in which he played the anti-hero. He was often quoted as saying he did not like the movie.

#15 Ed Waffle

Ed Waffle

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 493 posts

Posted 04 May 2003 - 05:39 PM

The "B" movie--generally shot and edited more quickly than the "A" features, starring contract players who may or may not become stars, often of an easily recongnizable genre, like western or ganster and shipped to distributors and exhibitors as the second part of double feature--no longer exists.

Some of the B movie functions have been taken by DTV--direct to video--although they are often of the horror or soft-core porn variety.


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):