Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A 95 minute Car Commercial....

...and that's exactly what Pamela Tiffin's  1964 film The Lively Set was, a :95 minute commercial for Chrysler's Turbine car. It has since become a cult film among car enthusiasts.
It does boast a catchy soundtrack penned by Pamela's State Fair co-star Bobby Darin.

This was Pamela's second outing with James Darren, the first being United Artists' For Those Who Think Young which was another long commercial for Pepsi-Cola.

The Lively Set's story is slight as it involves Darren's character of Casey developing the turbine powered vehicle, being hired by a wealthy playboy (Peter Mann) to drive it in a race. Pamela is merely window dressing as Eadie, Darren's love interest.

It's all standard teen drive in fare from the mid-60's and in my opinion a waste of Pamela Tiffin's talents.

The supporting cast includes Joanie Maxwell, Doug McClure, Marilyn Maxwell, Carole Wells and a pre-Mission: Impossible Greg Morris as a highway patrol officer.

As always Pamela looks fetching throughout the entire picture and she and Darren make quite a sexy couple..just wish they were both cast together in better movies.

Special Alert: Just watch how many times Pamela's hair-do changes from scene to scene...

Special Drinking game: Every time Pamela's character says "Casey" take a swig of your favorite alcoholic'll be drunk before the :95 minutes are up...I promise!

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Pleasure Seekers: Last airing this year on FMC ~ December 28th, 2011

This coming Wednesday marks the last scheduled airing for Pamela's 1964 film, The Pleasure Seekers on the Fox Movie Channel. If you do not know Fox Movie Channel is making some modifications to their schedule.

Beginning in January they will be airing newer films from the Fox film library with limited commercials under the banner FX Movie Channel. This new format will air every day from 3 pm until 3 am. Their older films will continue to air from 3 am until 3 pm. I don't know if the older films will have limited commercial breaks as well. 

It seems to me that Fox Movie Channel is slowly going the AMC route. The only classic, commercial free cable network to stand now is TCM. 

With all of these changes I don't really know if FMC plans on continuing to air The Pleasure Seekers, but they have been more than generous in it's airings of the film for the past 3 years, airing it commercial free and in it's original aspect ratio giving many like myself a chance to preserve it as Fox themeslves has yet to see fit to release it in any home video format here in the U.S.

If you haven't done so already rev up those DVR's for the film's December 28th airing on FMC at 11:30 am.

Straziami Ma Di Baci Saziami

In 1968 Pamela Tiffin starred in what would arguably become one of her most popular and well known Italian films. A film that is considered by many a comedy classic in Italian cinema, Straziami Ma Di Baci Saziami casts Pamela opposite Ugo Tognazzi and Nino Manfredi as "Marisa" a young factory worker from the Italian countryside who starts an affair with "Marino"(Nino Manfredi), a humble barber, much to the chagrin of her parents who oppose the union.

When the small village she hails from gets wind of the affair "Marina" takes off for Rome. In Rome she accepts a job as the assistant to "Umberto" (Ugo Tognazzi), a deaf mute tailor. "Umberto" falls for "Marisa" and proposes to her. She hesitantly accepts his proposal of marriage. Meanwhile "Marino"distraught over his breakup with "Marina" attempts to commit suicide and is hospitalized.

He slowly overcomes his depression and luck is on his side when he wins the lottery. He soon decides to leave for Rome to find "Marisa". He finds her and they rekindle their romance, however "Marisa" is now married to "Umberto" and can't leave him out of obligation.

They both decide the only way they will only be together is too kill "Umberto"...with unexpected results.

I will not spoil the plot twist in this one as it is both funny and ironic.

Here in it's entirety is Pamela Tiffin, Nino Manfredi and Ugo Tognazzi in Dino Risi's Straziami Ma Di Baci Saziami. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pamela Tiffin Movie Music: Summer and Smoke

Kritzerland Records, an online music label specializing in film scores and theater cast albums have made an expanded edition of Elmer Bernstein's score for Pamela Tiffin's motion picture debut, Summer and Smoke it's 100th release.

This special edition is limited to a pressing of 1,500 and once it's gone...well, it's gone. It truly is one of Elmer Bernstein's most beautiful and classic scores and well worth the $19.98 suggested retail price.

All the tracks are the original full length versions as heard in the film taken directly from the source masters, provided directly by Paramount Pictures.

This is a fine addition in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the film. This year also saw the DVD debut of the film in a wonderful re-master released thru Olive films.

Full CD release details can be found here.

Full DVD details can be found here.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Pleasure Seekers: Susie visits El Prado Museum

Carol Lynley, Ann-Margret and Pamela Tiffin are The Pleasure Seekers

In this delightful clip featuring Pamela from the 1964 film, The Pleasure Seekers her character of "Susie" goes to the Museo del Prado in Madrid to study art and is promptly picked up by philandering playboy Emilio Lacayo (Tony Franciosa).

Coffee, Tea or Me?

The first :15 minutes of Pamela's 1964 film Come Fly With Me introduces us to three Polar Atlantic Airline stewardesses: money hungry Donna Stuart (Dolores Hart), no nonsense good-hearted Hilda "Bergie" Bergstrom and naive fish-out-of-water Carol Brewster (Pamela Tiffin).

It Might As Well Be Spring...

Here is Pamela performing to voice ghost Anita Gordon's vocal track, the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic It Might As Well Be Spring from the 1962 version of State Fair:

The Viking Who Came From The South

Original poster artwork for the 1971 sex comedy, Il Vichingo Venuto Dal Sud
In the Italian sex comedy, Il Vichingo Venuto Dal Sud, Lando Buzzanca plays Rosario a shoe salesman whose life is between a rock and a hard place when he discovers his family's outrage if he has sex before marriage or runs the risk of getting killed if he carries on affairs with married women by their jealous husbands.

To avoid these situations he jumps at a job opportunity and moves to Copenhagen where everything in life is more liberated and carefree.

While there he gets a taste of the huge variety of sexual opportunities available to him. He eventually meets and falls in love with Karen (Pamela Tiffin) and marries her.

It is only when he takes her back to Italy to meet his parents that he finds out that Karen is a porn star!

Here is a clip form Pamela's 1971 Italian film, Il Vichingo Venuto Dal Sud:

Final Moments : Summer and Smoke

Pamela Tiffin had the great fortune to co-star with some extremely gifted and talented actors and guided by some of Hollywood's most respected directors. In her feature film debut Pamela shared screen time with the legendary Miss Geraldine Page.

In the haunting final moments of Tennessee Williams' Summer and Smoke, Page brilliantly displays why she is considered by many to be one of the greatest actresses of the 20th century.

Here are Geraldine Page, Laurence Harvey and Pamela Tiffin in the final moments of Tennessee Williams' Summer and Smoke:

Hallelujah, Baby!

Based on the novel by William Gulick, John Sturges' The Hallelujah Trail is the whacky western spoof that tells the tale of Col. Thaddeus Gearheart (Burt Lancaster) who has to get a cargo of forty wagons of whiskey to awaiting Denver miners all the while intercepting a group of temperance marchers led by Cora Templeton Massingale (Lee Remick), the free Denver militia, guided by visionary "Oracle" Jones (Donald Pleasance) and an entire Sioux Indian nation who have their own ideas of what to do with all that liquor...if they get their hands on it.

The film was a no holds barred all star comedy event with the obligatory climactic, zany chase sequence.  The chase sequence is impressive and makes the most of the Ultra Panavision 70 cinematography of Robert Surtees.

Pamela Tiffin and Lee Remick on the set of John Sturges' The Hallelujah Trail.

Burt Lancaster, Lee Remick and Pamela Tiffin in a scene from John Sturges' The Hallelujah Trail

Unfortunately stuntman Bill Williams was killed during the filming of this chase sequence when he failed to jump clear off a wagon that was headed over a cliff.

Martin Landau and Donald Pleasance scene steal every chance they get in their respective roles of "Oracle" Jones and Chief Walks-Stooped-Over.

Jim Hutton co-stars with the beautiful Pamela Tiffin in John Sturges' western spoof, The Hallelujah Trail.

Pamela unfortunately is stuck in another one of her ingenue roles, playing Burt Lancaster's feisty daughter "Louise" and does the best with a part that mostly amounts to attractive window dressing. She looks beautiful throughout, which goes without saying and she must have been a sight to behold on the ginormous Cinerama screen this film was shown on during it's initial premiere engagements.

Robert McGinnis' original poster artwork for John Sturges' The Hallelujah Trail

Lancaster in one of his few comedic turns comes off well, Remick is a delight and Hutton is reliable as Tiffin's romantic interest but the film's jokes often fall flat and at a 167 minute running time is way too long and drawn out.

Pamela Tiffin and Jim Hutton in a scene from John Sturges' The Hallelujah Trail
The cinematography is impressive as is Elmer Bernstein's winning score that is highlighted by a highly infectious chorale theme song that plays along with the beautifully illustrated opening titles designed by Robert McGinnis.

The cast of John Sturges' The Hallelujah Trail.

Pamela Tiffin's opening credit title from John Sturges' The Hallelujah Trail designed by legendary illustrator Robert McGinnis.
The Hallelujah Trail may not be the best Western spoof out there, that distinction goes to Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles, but the film is blessed with a talented cast that make the best of the material it is given.

After the release of The Hallelujah Trail, Pamela had only one more major Hollywood release, Harper before she ultimately left for Italy.

Pamela, Edmondo, Echo and Aurora...

In 1974 Pamela Tiffin retired from acting and married Roman philosopher Edmondo Danon, son of Italian movie producer Marcello Danon. They have two daughters Echo Angelica Danon a part time actress, photographer, singer and co-founder of the music collective So Does The Fire and Aurora Hillego Danon, a designer.

The eldest of Pamela Tiffin's two daughters, Echo Danon (right) has dabbled in acting, music and photography.

Aurora Danon, here pictured at a New York function is the youngest of Pamela Tiffin's two daughters.

Edmondo is the president of the Hesperia Institute for Medieval and Renaissance Studies in New York City.

In thinking about his children’s dual nationality and the fact that they would grow up in the United States and consider themselves Americans, Danon began to imagine that the best possible way for them and other young people to learn about Italian culture would be to study it on the spot with teachers from first-rank U.S. colleges and universities. He finally brought his dream into the waking world in 1994. The Hesperia Institute’s goal is to expose every summer about 15 U.S. undergraduates to Italian art and literature of the 14th through the 16th centuries, and to do that intensively, with none of the usual distractions caused by trudging from city to city.

Echo Danon had a role in the French/Italian drama Defense D'aimer (Love Forbidden), was a station programmer for East Village Radio, sings in the music collective So Does The Fire and dabbles in photography.

Aurora along with sister Echo had a bit role in James Toback's Black and White. She has worked on several films as a graphics designer and costume assistant and is a regular of the New York City social scene.

Former Wife, Future Wife and Dinner at Eight

Writer Gail Sheehy was Clay Felker's third wife. The two met in 1967 while Felker was editor over at the New York Herald Tribune.

At the time of Felker's passing, Sheehy wrote about the time she first met Felker. He was yelling at someone on the phone trying to get tickets to the Broadway play, Dinner at Eight starring then-wife Pamela Tiffin for Senator Jacob Javitz.

Playbill for the 1967 Broadway revival of Dinner at Eight.  Pamela's co-stars included Walter Pidgeon and her One, Two, Three cast mate Arlene Francis.

GAIL SHEEHY, writer, married to Clay Felker. 

The first time I laid eyes on Clay, he was yelling on the phone. Something unusual. I dared to walk down the back stairs at the Herald Tribune Women’s Department, which was a flamingo-pink ghetto. But I had a story idea. And the only way to do it was to go and talk to Clay. So I was quite terrified. But then when I heard him and saw him, he was very big. And he had a huge voice, which just, you know, sliced right through me. And he was yelling at somebody about tickets to Dinner at Eight for Senator Javits and his wife. He was just like a creature from another planet to me. But totally intriguing. It wasn’t like, you know, I fell madly in love with him. I was just magnetized by him and scared of him.

A City Built of Clay

Clay Felker in 1967.

From 1961 to 1969 Pamela Tiffin was married to newspaper/magazine editor Clay Felker.  Clay Felker is legendary for being the founder of New York magazine.

Clay Felker and Pamela Tiffin at a movie premiere. New York City.1964

The linked article written by Tom Wolfe paints a portrait of Felker at a time when he was coming up, married to Pamela Tiffin and finally against many obstacles over came them to create one of the most influential magazines in not only the city, but the country.

The very first issue of New York magazine published April 8, 1968.

Clay Felker passed away on July 1, 2008 at the age of 80 from throat cancer.  His legacy will forever live between the covers of the magazine he helped create.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Our State Fair is a great State Fair...

The original advertising art for Fox' 1962 remake of Rodgers and Hammerstein's State Fair.

In late 1961 Pamela Tiffin began filming her first motion picture under her contract with 20th Century-Fox, their 3rd remake of Philip Stong's novel, State Fair.

Fox ingenue Pamela Tiffin was given the prize role of "Margy Frake", a role previously played by former Fox ingenues Janet Gaynor and Jeanne Crain in the 1933 and 1945 film versions respectively.

The original black and white 1933 version of the story was a non-musical and conceived as a vehicle for Fox' box office star, Janet Gaynor. Co-starring with Gaynor as her father "Abel" was legendary entertainer Will Rogers. The film was a huge success for Fox, so much so that in 1945 they decided to give the story another go 'round this time as a colorful big screen musical.

For the 1945 version they tapped Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, fresh off their success with Oklahoma! another home spun tale based on the novel Green Grow The Lilacs.

"It's A Grand Night For Singing" for star crossed lovers Margy Frake (Pamela Tiffin) and Jerry Dundee (Bobby Darin) in Fox' 1962 version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's State Fair.

This was to be Rodgers and Hammerstein's first and only original musical for Hollywood and they went on to create a score that would be filled with the soon-to-be classics, "It's A Grand Night for Singing", "Isn't It Kinda Fun?" and the Oscar winning, "It Might As Well Be Spring".

Fox cast their leading ingenue of the day, the lovely Jeanne Crain as the love lorn "Margy". Co-starring alongside Crain were big band crooner Dick Haymes as her brother "Wayne" Broadway star Vivian Blaine as state fair entertainer "Emily" and Dana Andrews as "Pat", the object of her affections with Fay Bainter and Charles Winninger as her parents "Abel" and "Melissa"

The cast is led by Pat Boone as "Wayne Frake", Ann-Margret as "Emily Porter", Pamela Tiffin as "Margy Frake" and Bobby Darin as "Jerry Dundee".

The film was a huge success for Fox and in 1962 they decided it was time for another remake and readied a second musical version of the classic story. This time they cast a quartet of young and talented leads to headline it.

Pamela won the coveted lead role of "Margy Frake" and succeeds in displaying the warmth and naivete that is required of the role. She lip sync's the classic "It Might As Well Be Spring" to Anita Gordon's vocal track in much the same way Jeanne Crain lip synced to Louanne Hogan's in the original 1945 film.

"It Might As Well Be Spring": Pamela Tiffin as "Margy Frake" in Rodgers and Hammerstein's State Fair.

Singers Pat Boone and Bobby Darin were cast as her race car driving brother "Wayne" and her much more worldly suitor "Jerry", a television reporter covering the state fair. Fellow Fox contract player Ann-Margret, in only her second screen appearance was given the role of "Emily Porter", a performer at the fair who dances and sings up a storm while carrying on an ill-fated romance with "Wayne".

The parents in this updated version of the story which moved the setting from Iowa to Texas were legendary Fox star Alice Faye as Frake matriarch "Melissa" and Tom Ewell as dad "Abel".

Love in bloom: A kiss and an embrace is shared between Bobby Darin (Jerry Dundee) and Pamela Tiffin  (Margy Frake) in Rodgers and Hammerstein's State Fair.

Oscar Hammerstein II passed away before production on the film began and along with the updated storyline Fox wanted new songs to implement the ones already existing in the score, so Richard Rodgers provided the music and lyrics to 5 new songs, "It's The Little Things In Texas", "Never Say No To A Man", "Willing and Eager", "This Isn't Heaven" and "More Than Just A Friend".

Pamela Tiffin poses in front of "Big Tex" the official mascot of the 1961 Texas State Fair during filming.

The film was shot in 35mm CinemaScope and made the most of capturing the grandeur of the Texas state fair as well as the state's picturesque landscape. It's original musical numbers were re-arranged, expanded and in some instances assigned to characters other than the ones who sang them in the original version.

Directed by Jose Ferrer, this 1962 version of State Fair ultimately dwarfed the simple home spun tale of a family's adventure at the annual state fair and didn't go well with audiences or critics. The film was not a financial box office success and it's generally the original 1945 musical version of the story that is held in much higher regard.

The original motion picture soundtrack recording from the film.

The film's highlights for me remain Pamela Tiffin's sensitive portrayal of farm girl "Margy", the original Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein songs that add sparkle to the proceedings and a very entertaining musical rendering of "Isn't It Kinda Fun?" led by Ann-Margret that gives the viewer a taste of the incredible talents she possessed.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Cose Di Cosa Nostra

In this 1971 Italian film Pamela dons a black wig to play "Carmela Lococo" the wife of a man who unwittingly gets involved in a mafia gang war. Legendary actor/director Vittorio De Sica is mob boss "Don Michele".

The film has been re-titled for U.S. distribution as either "Godfather of Crime" or "Gang War"

Here it is in it's entirety:

Susie arrives in Spain

In this scene from 1964's The Pleasure Seekers, Pamela's character of "Susie Higgins" arrives in Madrid from New York and is greeted by her friend "Maggie" played by Carol Lynley

Marvee!: 50 Years of One, Two, Three

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Pamela Tiffin's motion picture debut. The film that introduced her to motion picture audiences was the Paramount Pictures release, Summer and Smoke, but it was her second film, Billy Wilder's cold war satire, One, Two, Three that garnered her attention and impressed critics with not only her beauty but also her talent as brazen, scatterbrained Southern heiress "Scarlett Hazeltine" who while in West Germany being chaperoned by her dad's most trusted employee, "C.R.MacNamara" (James Cagney) runs off and marries a young communist from East Berlin (Hors Buchholz) setting off a series of highly comic situations.

Coming on the heels of Billy Wilder's Some Like it Hot and The Apartment, One, Two, Three is a cinematic comic masterpiece in it's own right one filled with performances from a top notch cast under the direction of one of cinema's most gifted writer/directors.

In 1984 Pamela was coaxed out of retirement to co-host alongside co-star Horst Buchholz the One, Two, Three segment for AFI's tribute to Billy Wilder.

In the following scene "Scarlett" suprises "MacNamara" with the fact that she has just married a radical communist from East Berlin named "Otto Ludwig Piffl".

Mexican Breakfast

Mexican Breakfast is the title of the song composed by Johnny Mandel that Pamela shimmies and shakes to atop a diving board in the 1966 crime caper Harper co-starring Paul Newman, Janet Leigh, Robert Wagner, Julie Harris, Lauren Bacall, Arthur Hill and Shelley Winters.

Many feel this scene cemented Pamela's status as a 60's icon, and I agree as it is fondly remembered today. Her roles in One, Two Three and this film were career defining and her best. Her role as bitchy Miranda Sampson was a definite departure from the other roles she had done up until then and should have led to much bigger and better things, but after this and a Broadway debut in Dinner at Eight, Pamela who was at this point extremely unhappy in her marriage decided to leave the United States and move to Italy leaving behind her once promising Hollywood acting career.

The Fly Girls

With the great success of the AMC produced television series MAD MEN the early swinging 60's   are back in vogue. As the saying goes, "Everything old is new again." Clothing retailer Banana Republic created a limited edition MAD MEN clothing line for men and women. For the last couple of years Michael Buble has been topping the charts with his brand of smooth swinging' vocals that are clearly inspired by Frank (Sinatra), Dean (Martin) and Sammy (Davis, Jr.).

In the wake of all of this two television series premiered in September clearly riding the wave of the trend, NBC's The Playboy Club (which suffered a quick cancellation) and ABC's Pan Am.

I'm hooked on Pan Am as it perfectly captures the sights, sounds, style and mores of that long by gone era and it bears more than a passing resemblance to one of my favorite Pamela Tiffin films, Come Fly With Me.

Come Fly With Me, based on Bernard Glemser's 1960 novel Girl On A Wing (re-published as The Fly Girls) is the story of three airline stewardesses who live a high flying, jet set lifestyle looking for love in the friendly skies. The film was released by MGM in 1963 and stars Dolores Hart, in her last feature film role playing against type as the sarcastic, gold digging "Donna Stuart" who falls for a man (Karl Boehm) who at first seems to be a rich millionaire . Lois Nettleton plays "Hilda 'Bergie' Bergstrom" the level headed of the three who garners the attention of a lonely businessman played by Karl Malden and Pamela is delightful comic relief as the slightly ditzy "Carol Brewster" who falls for and straightens out philandering playboy Hugh O'Brian.

Pamela, Dolores and Lois play very nicely off and compliment each other. It's a very light- hearted, romantic comedy that doesn't take itself too seriously and whose main goal is to entertain and on that level it succeeds. It's easy to get lost in all the beautiful on location cinematography as well as the beauty of the three leads. It's the perfect lazy Sunday movie and a classic among the "three (or four) girls on the make" films that also include, Three Coins In The Fountain, The Best of Everything, Where The Boys Are, How To Marry A Millionaire and Pamela's 1964 outing The Pleasure Seekers.

The classic Sammy Cahn-James Van Heusen penned hit, Come Fly With Me, first popularized by Ol' Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra is sung over the opening titles by teen heart-throb Frankie Avalon. The theme was released as a promotion only single and has to my knowledge never been re-released on any of Avalon's hit anthologies.

The film has never been released on any home video format, but there is a strong chance it may make it onto Warner Bros. Warner Archive Collection series of MOD films as the rights are currently owned by them. It does however air from time to time on Turner Classic Movies.