Apr. 15, 2013 at 3:08pmSaturday Night Cinema

Join the conversation with host Shaun, Jackie and Ryan!  Share your opinions, observations, or questions about the movies on Saturday Night Cinema and they'll do the same.

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  • Comments (13)
I love Saturday Night Cinema!
Left by Ryan Sutherland | Apr. 26, 2013 at 12:26pm
Always excited to talk shop!
Left by Ryan Tucker | May. 1, 2013 at 11:01am
Just a quick word about the passing of a legend, Ray Harryhausen. A leader in cinematic innovation with his forced perspective and brilliant stop motion, Ray was an inspiration to many special effects artists of today. Do yourself a favor and watch Clash of the Titans (1981) tonight!
Left by Ryan Tucker | May. 8, 2013 at 4:14pm
At last, the blog is up!

Looking forward to hearing from SNC fans, and having a place to exchange comments with co-hosts Jackie and Ryan. (Great shout out on Ray Harryhausen, Ryan!)

We don't have an FAQ, but since the new three-host format started several people have asked me the following questions, so I'll assume others might be interested in knowing the answers, too. Here goes:

Q. Do we choose the movies for the show?
A. Nope. Available shows are provided by KSPS, based on availabilty for viewing at particular times of the year by the audience in our viewing area. KSPS usually asks one of us to do a film, and we can accept or decline hosting a particular film if it conflicts with our schedules, or if we just don't have much to say about (or simply don't like) the movie. We call "dibs" on movies from time to time, when we see one we like. I did that, for example, on "Call Northside 777" which was an important film to me personally because it dealt with newspapering, a business in which I spent most of my career.

Q. Do you write your own intros?
A. You bet! We all do. We have to condense as much as possible into about three-and-half minutes, and we each have different approaches for doing that. Your feedback helps us learn more about what you'd like to hear ab out in those few minutes we have before each movie. Of course, now that we have the blog, we can add additional material or answer any other questions you might have. The blog also lets you add your own thoughts and enlighten us about things we may have missed.

Q. Why isn't SNC on every Saturday night?
A. The simple answer is "pledge breaks." KSPS is funded by viewer donations (so please give), which means it has to offer special, one-time, blockbuster programming during its periodic fund drives. During those times, SNC goes on hiatus. There's also a summer break period, which means we'll go off air in June, but return in late Summer.

Q. What can we look forward to in the coming weeks?
A. Obviously, the answer to this question changes as time goes by, but my last show of the spring will be "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" in June. In the fall, one of the highlights will be a James Dean Festival, in which each of us will do one of the three James Dean films on three consecutive weekends. The matching of host to movie on those should make for some interesting commentary.

Q. Don't you usually wear glasses?
A. Yes, but the combined glare off the lenses, combined with the glare off my balding head create difficulties for the cameras in the taping room.

Q. So you guys tape the introductions?
A. Yes. It helps us keep within our alloted time, and it provides flexibility in our scheduling. That's really important since we all have non-KSPS day jobs.

Q. What's your favorite movie?
A. Well, there's not just one, but I'm a big fan of "Bridge on the River Kwai," "Lawrence of Arabia," "The Third Man," and, no surprise, "Citizen Kane." I like Westerns and smart horror films, so you'd expect to find shows like "High Noon," "The Magnificent Seven," "The Searchers" both "True Grit"s and all Clint Eastwood westerns among my favorites. You might be surprised to find them joined by "Suspiria," "Zombie" and the original "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." (I seriously doubt we'll be doing "Suspiria" or "Zombie" on SNC, but "Invasion" might be a candidate at some point. Among movies currently in theater, "42" is incredibly good!

If you've got questions for us or the station regarding the show, please send them our way. We won't be monitoring 24/7 (not me, anyway), but will try to keep up. My future posts shorter, especially as we start hearing from you.

Thanks to Bob Lawrence and Ryan Alexander at KSPS for getting this blog up. -- Shaun

Left by Shaun Higgins | May. 10, 2013 at 5:06pm
Any chance you guys will be doing more recent movies?
Left by colleen striegel | May. 16, 2013 at 6:14pm
Hi Colleen,
We will have two upcoming movies that came out in 1986 and one from 1980. I'm not sure that classifies as recent considering I was only five years old in '86. They're good ones though!

Left by Ryan Tucker | May. 17, 2013 at 4:11pm
Hey guys! Wanted to stop by and say hello! I am sooo excited to be a part of the Saturday Night Cinema Crew! I currently hold the afternoon show as well on 92.9ZZU! I love love love scary movies and thrillers! The next movie I will be hosting is Dead Ringer, with thee fabulous Bette Davis. Writing the intro for this movie was extremely fun...and I must say, this movie has been my favorite one to write for to date! :D I loved all the twists and turns in this film, and Bette Davis did an amazing job doing double duty as twins in this film!! :) I am a BIG believer in Karma, and I literally said out loud in my house"ohhh isn't that ironic" lol.... as the film went on with it's .."I didn't see that one coming" ending..haha! You can check out Dead Ringer, June 22nd on Saturday Night Cinema!
Left by Jackie Brown | May. 22, 2013 at 3:31pm
Looking forward to watching "Dead Ringer" Saturday, Jackie! Looks like the end of June is Bette Davis time on SNC. I'm back on June 29th with Davis in the prototype for all "psycho-biddy" movies, "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane." In addition to Davis and Joan Crawford, Davis' daughter--now an evangelist in Virginia--plays the girl next door. Anyway, after the 29th, SNC will be on summer hiatus, but we'll return before the leaves start falling. Our new season begins with a great slate of classics, including consecutive Saturday night broadcasts of James Dean in "East of Eden," "Rebel Without a Cause," and "Giant"--it will be one big, free, James Dean Film Festival here on KSPS.
Left by Shaun Higgins | Jun. 21, 2013 at 1:19pm
Here are some additional notes on movies I’ll be hosting in the coming weeks. We are also posting video posts, and, as always, I’ll have introductory comments, on air, immediately prior to each show.
I hoping you’ll join me for the upcoming (Nov. 23) Saturday Night Cinema broadcast of one Hollywood’s most, entertaining, enduring and influential movies. We’re talking about the original 1937 prototype “A Star is Born” starring Academy-Award winners Janet Gaynor and Frederic March, supported by Adolph Menjou and a young Andy Devine. It’s a great film, written by a dream team of writers and Hollywood insiders, but unlike its Hollywood and Bollywood remakes, this is not a musical. I’ll have more to tell you about “Star” in my on-air introduction and in a follow-up blog posting, but for now here’s a bit of film trivia for you.
Frederic March, who plays Norman Maine, a silent film star destroyed by talkies and speakeasies, was born Frederick Bickel (some say, Bik-ell), before changing his name to a variant of his given name and his mother’s maiden name, which was Marcher. March was into numerology and considered his lucky number to be 12—so when choosing a theatrical name, he dropped an “e” and a “k” from his first name and the “e" and a "k” from his mother’s maiden name and Frederick Marcher Bickel became “Fredric March” a name with 12 letters.
Regardless of the name he chose or how he chose to spell, he became one of the all-time great performers of both stage and screen. Don’t miss him in an Academy-Award nominated performance: Saturday, at 8, on KSPS.
In late December and early January Ryan Tucker and I will be hosting the Saturday Night Cinema, three-movie, James Dean Film Festival. For three consecutive Saturdays, Ryan and I will be bringing you the films that earned James Dean two posthumous Academy Award nominations and sealed his place in Hollywood history. We’ll start with Dean’s first big film “East of Eden” then follow with “Rebel Without a Cause” and wrap up with the epic Southwestern, “Giant.”
In “East of Eden” we see the Dean legend born. . .and it was a tough birth: His director, Elia Kazan, didn’t like him and thought he had no technique; Raymond Massey, the distinguished actor who plays his father in “Eden” detested Dean and considered him, at best, unpredictable and unprofessional. Co-star Julie Harris seems to have, figuratively, nursed him through the film, but even she had trouble getting him to loosen up in his tender and modest love scenes with her. “Doctor” Kazan eventually prescribed Chianti—yes, the wine--as an effective loosener. . .and, as you’ll see, it worked.
One of my favorite bits in this movie is the extended Carnival scene between Dean and Harris. In my favorite part of that scene, Harris is stands alone near the midway, awaiting her boyfriend (Dean’s onscreen brother). While waiting, she is hit on by a uniformed World War I vet, just home from the war. Instead of the brother, Dean shows up and rescues Harris from the vet’s advances. The vet proceeds to chastise Dean for leaving his date alone as prey for two-legged wolves like him. Dean’s smart-alecky, acquiescence to the soldier’s remarks— his insincere, gratuitous “thank you for your service” dismissiveness—captures in a few seconds the attitude of a generation of discontent for whom Dean became an instant icon.
By the way, this is a great time to re-watch “East of Eden.” In the near future, you’ll be able to see a promising remake starring new-generation stars, including Jennifer Lawrence. They’ll be worth comparing, I’d think.
“Giant” will wrap up our James Dean Film Festival. It’s a big, big movie that covers three generations, 930 square miles of Texas ranch land and nearly three and a half hours of broadcast time,, every minute of which justifies the Best Director Award George Stevens received in 1956. “Giant” received nine other Oscar nominations and was a huge box-office winner for Warner Brothers.
This was James Dean’s final movie. He literally drove from the set to his death in an automobile accident on a California highway.
In his role as Jet Rink, Dean established that he could transcend the stereotypical “angry young man” he portrayed in his previous films “East of Eden” and “Rebel without a Cause.” His top-billed co-stars, Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson, also stretched to new heights in the film, gracefully aging from their 20s to their 60s during the course of the film. “Giant” also offered audiences early glimpses of Sal Mineo in the role of a young and doomed soldier; the beautiful and spunky Carroll Baker; and a young Dennis Hopper. The film also provided a popular vehicle for the extraordinary talents of Mercedes McCambridge.
Not only does “Giant” examine the rise of 20th Century Texas, but also the social issues that began coming to the fore of American history in the late 1950s.
You’ll learn some less well-known buzz about “Giant” in my on-air introduction and in an upcoming video intro on KSPS’ Saturday Night Cinema page.
Thanks for watching Saturday Night Cinema! And, please, let us hear from you regarding our films, our intros and things you’d like us to consider.

Left by Shaun Higgins | Nov. 18, 2013 at 11:34pm
Love your introductions, however for Giant I missed your introduction and went back to try to find it and searched for over an hour and it was just not there. It was earlier but watched the movie and then looked forward to going back but it was gone. I know you've kept introductions available for previous films for Saturday Night Cinema and wonder how, where or if I can find it for Giant? Thank you very much.
Left by Jill Springer Forrest | Jan. 12, 2014 at 12:26am
Greetings from a loyal fan of KSPS in Alberta, Canada.

I am desperately trying to find the name of the painting/artist for a specific piece of art in the movie Dr. Zhivago (1965).

The painting in question is of birch trees. It’s in the film’s background during the opening credits. The camera slowly zooms in on the painting until it nearly fills the screen.

I have searched for nearly a year on Google using every phrase imaginable with no luck. I am hoping you may be able to assist me in identifying this painting.

Thank you in advance for any help you can provide. Dana Banagar

Left by Dana Banagar | Feb. 6, 2014 at 1:05am
Responding to Jill Springer Forrest--
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you, and many thanks for the kind words. We don't archive the tapes of our introductions, but I do keep text copies of the on-air intros and our video blogs.
Here's the text of my "Giant" intro:

"Tonight we conclude our SNC James Dean Film Festival with “Giant”—an epic directed by George Stevens and based on Edna Ferber’s massive, multi-generational novel that tackles gender bias, ethnic discrimination, and the economic transformation an oil boom brought to Texas and America from the 1920s to the 1950s.
For his efforts, Stevens was awarded the 1957 Academy Award for Best Director, and saw his movie nominated for nine other Academy Awards. Mercedes McCambridge was nominated for her portrayal of the strong-willed, jealous, raspy-voiced and ranch manager Luz Benedict. Rock Hudson and James Dean were nominated for Best Actor. It was the second posthumous nomination for Dean—the only actor in Oscar history to be so nominated.
"Among other notable aspects of “Giant”:
--It was the debut film for 24-year-old actress Carroll Baker, who plays the daughter of the protagonists, Bick and Leslie Benedict, and who would go on to play blonde bombshells in movies like Baby Doll and Harlow.
--Because of the large number of young actors in the film, Stevens had to use makeup to age-up the actors beyond their years. In most movies, established actors were de-aged, but in “Giant” that was impossible. Dean, for example, was still in his mid-20s—both in life and when we first meet him in the movie. Since he had to be aged-up, everyone else was, too.
--This was the second movie in which Dean appeared with Sal Mineo, following Mineo’s debut in “Rebel Without a Cause.”
--“Giant” was the biggest money maker in Warner Brothers' history up to the time of its release in 1956. It cost about $5 million to make back then and grossed some $35 million at the box office. (If made today, the cost would be about $44.7 million and the gross just over $300 million).
You’ll find more about “Giant” in my blog and video posts at ksps.org, but here’s the dish on the last days of James Dean’s life and career.
"Dean’s contract called for him to stay near the set and refrain from hazardous activities—particularly, automobile racing—while the film was in production. So, when he did his final scene: a famous scene in which he gets drunk at a dinner in his character’s honor. . .and winds up speaking incoherently to an empty room. . .he took off, hopped into his new Porsche Spider and a date with death on a highway near Paso Robles, California. Director Stevens was so displeased with some of those speech scenes that he tried to call Dean back to the set. When Stevens heard Dean was dead, he called in actor Nick Adams (best known for his TV role as “The Rebel”) to voice over a few of the last lines in Dean’s screen career.
"Before we go to Texas, a few words about next week’s Saturday Night Cinema. It’s a good one! Join host Jackie Brown for the ground-breaking and unsurpassed screen musical West Side Story. That’s next Saturday, right here on Saturday Night Cinema. Eight o’clock on KSPS.
"And, now, let’s head to The Reata and watch the big-as-all-Texas epic, “Giant.”

My video commentary on this fill was a little nerdy (in part because it was originally written for this text blog, rather than the video post (THAT text appears in a previous post above). Anyway, here's the text of the video post:
"Shaun Higgins here, with some more notes on “Giant.” Some viewers know that in addition to hosting movies on KSPS, I earn a living doing comparative geography and economics. In the case of “Giant” one line of work informs another. That’s because “Giant” is loaded with numbers that invite examination.
For example, when Bick Benedict’s soon-to-be-in-laws in Maryland push for details about the size of his ranch, the Reata, Bick eventually reveals that it encompasses 595,000 acres. Clearly that’s a lot of land, but I wanted to be able to visualize just how much. So I did the math and found some places of similar size. Turns out that The Reata measures a whopping 930 square miles or 2,710 square kilometers. That means it has almost as much land mass as the state of Rhode Island. It’s more than half the size of Spokane County, and is about 30% larger than the Hawaiian island of Maui. We don’t know The Reata’s shape, but if it were a square, it would have sides of about 30.5 miles and a perimeter of 122 miles. By the way, here’s a blooper to note: Liz Taylor’s character, Leslie, says at one point that the ranch is 595,000 square miles in area. Now THAT would be impossible: 595,000 square miles would be about twice the size of all of Texas!
Texas is a big state and a state of big money. Here’s a note on “Giant’s” money: At one point, Taylor’s character, now Bic’s wife, is chatting with an older couple of modest demeanor who note how lucky they were to have found oil on their small ranch. Taylor asks how much oil their wells pump and the man says, “oh, about a million.” “A million barrels?” she asks. “Dollars,” she’s told. “A million dollars a year?” she asks. “A month,” the oilman replies without a note of bragging. Again, let’s do the math: $1 million dollars a month at that time—early 1929—means that couples wells were producing 854,700 barrels of oil a month, priced at about $1.17 a barrel. As I’m preparing this blog, West Texas crude oil is now selling at about $100 dollars a barrel. So, if that couple’s wells were producing at the same rate today they would be pumping oil worth a BILLION-plus a year in today’s currency.
"By the way, we this movie starts in the late 1920s, even though it doesn’t say so. Cars, however, can often help us date time-periods within movies, and The Movie Cars Database is a great online resource for doing this. In “Giant” you’ll find some great cars, even if the timeline they suggest for the film doesn’t always quite make sense. If you use cars to date the film scenes, then the opening scene can’t take place prior to late 1923. That’s because Bick Benedict is picked up by his future father-in-law who is driving a 1924 Cadillac. It seems only a matter of months before Bick and Leslie are married, but if so, either Leslie’s father had own his car for a few years, or Bick and Leslie had had a very long honeymoon. When Bick brings his wife home to Texas, they are picked up at the train station and driven to The Reata in a brand-spanking new 1929-30 Duesenberg Model J. (The date of this car helped me determine the price of a barrel of oil at that time, and determine the present- day value of that modest couple’s “little” ranch). That Duesenberg presents another timing issue: If the Benedicts started expanding their family almost immediately, it means that Luz II (Carroll Baker) could be only 11 or 12 years old when she hears the news of Pearl Harbor while spooning in her boyfriend’s car. Clearly, she’s older than that (and clearly much older than she could possibly be when she starts flirting around with James Dean a bit later in the film).
"Among other great cars in “Giant”, are the ranch vehicles driven by Dean: We see him behind the wheel of a beat up 1926 Ford Model T, and a somewhat worn (check out the leather on the seats) 1921 Rolls-Royce “Silver Ghost” That beat-up old truck Dean is driving when he announces his oil strike is a 1920 5-ton Garford (a truck made by what would later become the Superior Coach Company). Once he strikes oil, of course, he can afford any car he wants—and he does! You’ll see him speeding down a Texas highway and pull up in front of the Seven Club in an extraordinarily rare yellow 1933 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A. Finding one of those today is tough. . .and, since they sell for $1 to $1.5 million, you might want to find a little ranch with an oil well first!
"I hope you enjoyed “Giant” and will be with us next time on Saturday Night Cinema. Meantime, keep blogging and watch our video posts on ksps.org.--Shaun

Left by Shaun Higgins | Mar. 2, 2014 at 10:07am
To Dana Banagar:
Great question! My first reaction was "must be an Isaak Levitan" but, of course, it's not. His stuff is Impressionist while the painting in the film has more contemporary, almost neo-Realist lines. It is likely, however, that Levitan's landscapes informed a work-to-spec by a member of the film's art crew. One search I did (and you've probably seen this) turned up speculation (see AllExperts.com) that the piece was likely done on glass by a matte painter other other crew member, in which case the most likely candidates are Julian Martin (he's Spanish, so there should be accent marks over the "a" in Julian and the "i" in Martin--but blog fonts don't let me do that); and Gerald Larn. Neither, by the way, is listed in the screen credits, but they are mentioned in production credits on IMdB.com, which also has also provides very brief biographies. Hope this helps.
Thanks for watching Saturday Night Cinema!
Shaun Higgins
Left by Shaun Higgins | Mar. 2, 2014 at 10:51am

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