Friday, November 26, 2010

HOLIDAY MOVIES--some favorites

For me, it usually starts around Thanksgiving, with an annual screening of Planes, Trains and Automobiles, the wonderful 1987 comedy starring Steve Martin and John Candy, directed by John Hughes. It never fails to bring a lump to the throat. Candy's performance as Del is one of his best.

Neal (Steve Martin) flashes back to Del (John Candy).

Then, depending on the mood and the hour, as we move inevitably toward Christmas Day itself, other favorites for the holidays are screened.

Christmas morning with Nora (Myrna Loy)and Nick (William Powell) Charles.

There's the marvelous and matchless matching of William Powell and Myrna Loy in The Thin Man. This 1934 comedy-murder mystery set during the Christmas season in New York never fails to amuse as the chemistry of Powell and Loy always seems fresh and new, no matter how many times I've seen it. Loy's Nora Charles will forever be the ideal partner in my heart...

And the holiday perennials: Miracle on 34th Street from 1947, with Edmund Gwenn's gentle and loving performance. His turn as Kris Kringle has a strength that few Santas have ever had on film. Ever.

Natalie Wood and Edmund Gwenn.

Listening to the rich narration by Boris Karloff in the 1966 animated television adaptation of Dr. Seuss's How The Grinch Stole Christmas is a must for me. It just wouldn't be Christmas without hearing Boris happily announce,"... and he found the strength of ten Grinches, plus two!" And who can forget Thurl Ravenscroft rendition of the song!?

Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss), Boris Karloff, and Chuck Jones.

For pure comedy and fantasy in a season rich in the stuff, there's always Laurel and Hardy in Babes in Toyland, also known as March of the Wooden Soldiers. My favorite comedy team.

And it wouldn't be complete without Alastair Sim's performance-for-the-ages as Scrooge in the 1951 film of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

"Christmas Day! Then I haven't missed it!"

What are your favorites?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


May each and every one of you make it home safely, or spend some time with someone you love.

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
-- President John F. Kennedy

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Boris Karloff reading An Actor's Notebook. Err--the script for The Mummy.
Remembering Boris Karloff November 23, 1887- February 2, 1969.

Monday, November 22, 2010


"PRICE AS PROSPERO" (2010) by Mark Redfield. Acrylic on canvas. (18x24)

This cartoon of Vincent Price as Prince Prospero, from the Roger Corman film The Masque of the Red Death, was commissioned by super-Poe fan Tanja Pawluczkowycz-O'Dell several months ago. I was able to deliver it to her personally at the Night of a 100 Poes film event at Westminster Hall, in Baltimore recently.

That's Tanja, in the picture above with a hatchet in her head, dressed as the wife of the killer in Poe's The Black Cat. My beard isn't for the costume contest that was held that night, but for an upcoming film based on a story by Lovecraft. More on that in the future as events unfold...

The Masque of the Red Death
is one of the most opulent of the AIP-Corman Poe adaptations. Filmed in England in 1963, and released in 1964, it stars Vincent Price, Hazel Court, Jane Asher and co-stars the wonderful British character actors Patrick Magee, Nigel Green, and Robert Brown.

I'm looking forward to writing more about Vincent Price, this film, and many others through-out 2011, for the Price Centennial.

Image and text © Mark Redfield 2010.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Currently shooting in Prague, here's a behind-the-scenes shot of John Cusack as E. A. Poe.

Cusack joins the ranks of some fine actors who have played the poet, including Jeffrey Combs and Henry Hull. The film The Raven is scheduled for release in 2011.

I assume John is wearing comfortable walking shoes, because, well, Baltimore is a walking-around kind of town.

-Mark Redfield, November, 2010


Kevin Brownlow's speech to the Academy this November. His books and documentaries have opened windows, doors and worlds to me; his work continues to inspire and remain "must have" works in my library, valuable pieces that I re-visit often.

If you don't know Brownlow's work, I strongly suggest you start with his book THE PARADE'S GONE BY. Then look at his series HOLLYWOOD, and the documentaries UNKNOWN CHAPLIN and
BUSTER KEATON: A HARD ACT TO FOLLOW (with the late David Gill). And then go from there. To Chaney, Lloyd and so much more.

Wonderful contributions; well deserved recognition of his work by the Academy. Hopefully others are being inspired by him to continue on. Listen to his speech to the Academy in November, 2010 HERE.

-Mark Redfield, November, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Screen Actors Guild Reaches Tentative Agreements for Successor Contracts to the Basic Cable Live Action, Basic Cable Animation and TV Animation Contracts

Screen Actors Guild today announced that tentative agreements were reached on Wednesday, November 10, on new, three-year contracts covering basic cable live action, basic cable animation and television animation productions.

The current contracts expire on June 30, 2011, and the new three-year agreement will be effective from July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2014.

The provisions of the new agreements are similar to those achieved Nov. 7, on successor agreements to the Screen Actors Guild Codified Basic Agreement for theatrical motion picture and television production.

Highlights of the new, tentative agreements include:

• The term of each agreement is three years, commencing July 1, 2011

• Wage increases of 6% over the terms of the agreements with 2% in each of the three years, effective July 1, 2011, 2012 and 2013

• A 10% increase in the current rate of employer contributions paid to the Screen Actors Guild Pension & Health Plans bringing the total contribution rate to 16.5% effective July 1, 2011

Details of the new agreements will be submitted for approval to the National Board of Screen Actors Guild.

Formal negotiations on these contracts began on Monday, Nov. 8 at AMPTP headquarters in Los Angeles.

More info HERE.

GREAT NEWS FOR LON CHANEY FANS! Warner Home Video releases six Chaney titles on DVD!

Warner Home Video is releasing six great Lon Chaney films on DVD. The titles in the set are:

THE UNHOLY THREE (1925--silent version)
MR. WU (1927)
MOCKERY (1927)
THE UNHOLY THREE (1930--"Talkie" re-make)

I know what I want for Christmas! Check out the link to Amazon.

Better still: order them from Warner Bros. direct! They're cheaper!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


In the modern computer generated film world, it's good to see actors like Tom Cruise do their own stunts and follow in the footsteps of, say, Douglas Fairbanks.

In this fan-made clip, Cruise is rappelling off a skyscraper, about 124 stories from the ground, in Dubai for a scene filmed by a helicopter for Mission Impossible 4, directed by the wonderful Brad Bird (The Iron Giant-1999, The Incredibles--2004, Ratatouille--2007).

Nice to still see the "real thing" in the "reel thing" now and again.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA Reach Tentative Agreement
with AMPTP on New Television and Feature Film Contracts

Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA, AFL-CIO) have reached a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) on successor agreements to the Producers-Screen Actors Guild Codified Basic Agreement for feature motion pictures, scripted network primetime television and pay television programs, Exhibit A of the AFTRA National Code of Fair Practice for Network Television Broadcasting (covering scripted network primetime and pay television programs), and The CW Supplement.

The new three-year agreement is subject to approval by the Joint National Board of Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA, and ratification by the unions’ memberships. The current contracts expire on June 30, 2011, and the new three-year agreement will be effective from July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2014.

Highlights of the new tentative agreement include:

  • The term of the agreement is 3 years commencing July 1, 2011

  • A 6% wage increase over the term of the agreement with 2% in each of the three years, effective July 1, 2011, 2012 and 2013

  • A 10% increase in the current rate of employer contributions paid to the Screen Actors Guild Pension & Health Plans and AFTRA Health & Retirement Funds, bringing the total contribution rate to 16.5% effective July 1, 2011. This represents the largest dollar value increase to the plans, under these contracts, since the plans were founded and is the largest percentage increase to the plans in more than two decades

  • Two additional background positions in theatrical and one additional background position in television in the Western Zones

  • An expansion of major role provisions to apply to new pay television series commencing in their second season

  • Expanded union coverage over made for new media productions

  • Increases in the area of money and schedule breaks

  • Improved contract language to increase equal employment opportunities for union performers

The unions also agreed to modifications in the travel provisions of the contracts.

Screen Actors Guild President Ken Howard, said, “Strengthening the Pension and Health Plans was our top priority in these negotiations – making such a significant gain in that area was a vital achievement. Increased wages across the contract and the expansion of the major role premium into pay television will not only put more money in performers’ pockets, but will provide yet another boost to our P&H funds. I’m grateful to have worked closely with AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon and want to give special thanks to SAG Chief Negotiator David White and his bargaining team. All the staff and members of this joint committee, from both unions, deserve praise for their focus and dedication. We had to make some difficult decisions, but working together, we’ve reached a deal that will protect our essential pension and health benefits for years to come.”

AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon said, “I am extremely pleased we met our goal of increasing contributions to our retirement and pension plans, and that we successfully completed this negotiation now to protect the needs of performers early in the process. I applaud AFTRA Chief Negotiator Kim Roberts Hedgpeth, and I thank Screen Actors Guild Co-Chair President Howard for his strong and supportive leadership. Our joint negotiating committee worked together seamlessly and in solidarity, and I am very proud of their work.”

Details of the new agreement will be submitted for approval to the Joint National Board of Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA. Upon approval, the pact will be sent out for joint ratification by the unions’ memberships.

Representatives of the following organizations attended one or more of the negotiating sessions as observers: Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA), Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW), Directors Guild of America (DGA), International Brotherhood of Teamsters,(IBT), American Federation of Musicians (AFM), and International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE).

Formal negotiations between the 26-member Joint Screen Actors Guild-AFTRA Negotiating Committee and the AMPTP began on Monday, Sept. 27, in Los Angeles. Talks were preceded by months of joint wages and working conditions meetings held this past summer.

Friday, November 5, 2010


Actor Tony Tsendeas as Sigmund Freud. November, 2010. Make-up by Mark Redfield.

Tsendeas is an old friend and wonderful actor. He was asked to play Freud in a program at the Baltimore Symphony in November 2010 called "Analyze This: Mahler and Freud", and he asked me to help with his make-up.Tsendeas as Freud in rehearsal at the BSO, November 4th, 2010.

From the program description: Inspired by the BSO’s hit CSI: Beethoven program in 2008, this program reenacts the little known meeting in 1910 between Gustav Mahler (Richard Pilcher) and famous psychiatrist Dr. Sigmund Freud (Tony Tsendeas), where the two grappled with tensions and conflict that affected Mahler’s entire musical output and later led to marital discord. Join Maestra Marin Alsop and “Dr. Freud” on the couch as they psychoanalyze the essence of Mahler’s relationship with his wife Alma, his music and his crippling fear of death.

"Analyze This: Mahler and Freud" was written and directed by Didi Balle.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010



NIGHT OF A 100 POES—a frightening evening of Poe on film and COSTUME CONTEST!

WHEN: SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 20ST, 2010. 7PM (Doors open to the public at 6PM)

WHERE: Bring your body—and your best Poe face!-- to Westminster Hall. 519 E. Fayette Street. Baltimore, Maryland 21201

Regretfully the ghastly catacombs beneath Westminster Hall will not be available due to the fear factor.

ADMISSION: FREE and open to the public! But reserve your tickets now, as seating is limited and only for the living! Reserve your tickets at


For more info please visit: and for reserving your free tickets please visit:


THE TELL-TALE HEART (short film) Directed by Travis Mays and Narrated by Tony Tsendeas!

Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff in THE BLACK CAT (1934). Also starring David Manners and Julie Bishop. A strange, weird tale loosely based on Poe’s diabolical short story The Black Cat! Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer!

Vincent Price in THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH (1964). Also starring Hazel Court and Jane Asher. Based on Poe’s Masque of the Red Death and Hop Frog! A Roger Corman Poe shocker!

POE COSTUMECONTEST! Come dressed as Edgar Allan Poe! Go the whole nine yards or just paint on a mustache (Groucho-size mustaches will be disqualified! So don’t paint ‘em on too thick!) and win a prize! Professional Poe Impersonators and E.A. Poe himself (should he attend) not eligible! Or come as your favorite character from a Poe story or poem!

Our panel of judges will scan the crowd through-out the evening, and at the end of the night will award prizes to the best of the following categories:

1. Best Male Poe (Grand Prize and 1 runner up)

2. Best Female Poe (we know it’s a drag but be creative!) (Grand Prize and 1 runner up)

3. Best Character from a Poe story or poem (Grand Prize and 1 runner up)

Panel Discussion: POE ON FILM with Chris Kaltenbach (film critic, The Baltimore Sun), Gregory William Mank (“Golden Age Horror” historian and author), Tony Tsendeas (actor, “The Poe Show”). Moderated by Mark Redfield (actor and filmmaker, “The Death of Poe”). Stay after MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH for a lively discussion about Poe and the cinema. With 100 years of Poe inspired movies, we’ll have plenty to talk about! Bring your questions! After the panel discussion, we’ll give the costume contest prizes to the lucky winners!

FREE POPCORN! Refreshments also available for purchase.

FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. But reserve your ticket NOW as space is limited. Reserve your tickets at:

ALSO: Do your Poe holiday shopping early! Vendors will be present featuring Poe-related gift items, perfect for the holidays, from t-shirts to DVD’s to Gregory William Manks’s new book “Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff”, signed by the author himself!


6PM --PREVIEWS OF POE: We’ve assembled trailers (or “previews of coming attractions”) of some of the many films inspired by Edgar Allan Poe. From the Universal Studios adaptations that starred Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff, to the Roger Corman “Poe-Cycle” produced by American International Pictures and from films from all over the world, including works from filmmakers Frederico Fellini, Dario Argento and many more. How many have you seen?

7PM--THE TELL TALE HEART. USA. Color. 10 minutes. Directed by Travis Mays. Narrated by Tony Tsendeas.

THE BLACK CAT (1934). Starring Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, David Manners and Julie Bishop. Screenplay by Edgar G. Ulmer and Peter Ruric . Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer. USA. Black and White. 65 minutes. Universal Pictures biggest boxoffice hit of 1934! Karloff and Lugosi are a perfect match in this battle between a beastly black magician (Karloff) and a sympathetic shrink (Lugosi).


THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH (1964). Starring Vincent Price, Hazel Court. Screenplay by Charle Beaumont and R. Wright Campbell. Directed by Roger Corman. USA. Color. 85 minutes. Price proves he is The Master of Mayhem as Prince Prospero in this great entry in the Corman/AIP “Poe cycle” of films from the 1960s. Roger Corman received an honorary Oscar in 2010 for his prolific body of work.

PANEL DISCUSSION: “POE ON FILM”. Stay and join us in a lively discussion moderated by actor and filmmaker Mark Redfield (“The Death of Poe”, “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”). Our panelists include Chris Kaltenbach (film critic for the Baltimore Sun), Gregory William Mank (film historian and author of the recently published “Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff: The Expanded Story of a Haunting Collaboration”) and Tony Tsendeas (actor, director and Poe interpreter, currently touring his one-man show “The Poe Show”). Please note that all panelists are confirmed, but appearance at the event remains subject to last minute professional commitments beyond our control.