Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Oh Boy, George!

During all our recent computer & Internet crises, we lost an actor who is quite unknown to the general public (in the U.S., at least), but who made a singular impression on me when I laid eyes on him for the first time. I wasn't able to pay him his due on the day he passed, but wanted to do a little something now.  The man in question is Götz George.
WHO?!?!  Well, Götz George was a German actor born on July 23rd, 1938 in Berlin. His parents were both actors, though his father Heinrich George was controversial in that he had initially been an active Communist, then - branded a non-desirable - switched to the Nazi party, working in their propaganda films. Ironically, he died in a Soviet concentration camp for his Nazi collaborations after he heretofore been a Communist for most of his life! The man had a burly, authoritative, almost Orson Welles-ish quality. Götz is shown below next to a sculpture of his father Heinrich.
His mother was the imposing Berta Drews, an acclaimed stage actress who essayed many character roles in films as well, even appearing in the 1979 international hit, The Tin Drum. She lived to be eighty-five, passing away in 1987

George embarked on a stage career at the early age of twelve and continued to act in plays during schooling at Berlin's University of Fine Arts. Landing his first film role in 1953 at only age fifteen, he was winning acclaim (and awards) by 1959.

It was in 1962 that he made the primary movie of that his I've ever seen, The Treasure of the Silver Lake (or, as its original title goes, Der Schatz im Silbersee.)
This was but one of many wildly-popular German-made westerns based upon books written in the 1890s by Karl May. May was an avid enthusiast of the wild west of the United States, despite never having been there. (In 1908, he and his wife spent six weeks in the northeast part of the U.S., but he never ventured to the area in which so many of his stories were set.) Elaborately filmed (those are real men on real horses galloping to a real fort in the middle picture!), they often featured hordes of extras and spectacular action sequences.

Most of these westerns featured some truly terrible voice-dubbing, but if one could get past that, they also featured entertainingly adventuresome stories and appearances by familiar performers such as Elke Sommer, Stewart Granger, Rod Cameron, Terrence Hill and, in the case of Silver Lake, Lex Barker, Herbert Lom and Karin Dor. Most of all, however, they typically featured eye-popping scenery with unique rock formations, rugged terrain and stunning waterfalls. Once seen, these colorful and lustrous settings aren't easy to forget.

Also hard to forget was the enthusiastic and athletic George, careening around the movie with aplomb. He did all his own stunts, some of which were entertaining to behold. With his fit, but stocky, frame, a husky chest, a sly grin and two piercing blue eyes, he really did make an impression.

At one point he takes a shirtless swim in Treasure Lake and let's just say that there was more than one type of treasure to be found in it on that day! He was also captured and held captive along with Ms. Dor for those into the bondage thing.  LOL  He exuded such charm throughout the entire thing that he has stayed in my mind for years after (the film is difficult to find here, though every once in a while it will pop up!)
George went on to do two more Karl May-derived westerns, Amongst Vultures (aka, Frontier Hellcat, 1964) and Winnetou and the Crossbreed (aka Half-Breed, 1966.) He also proceeded to a long, rewarding and heavily-awarded career in German movies and television.
Check out his trim waist, tight jeans and he-man looks in 1987's The Crack Connection (aka, Zabou.) The back of this video box hilariously states, "First there was 'Stallone' and then 'Schwarzenegger.' Now there is the new screen sensation 'Schimanski.'" Well.... I'm not sure about that! Maybe more of a Tom Selleck or Lee Horsley?
Also of interest is The Trio (1998), a comedy in which George portrays a gay thief whose lover and whose daughter (from a long-ago straight fling) form a trio of larcenous schemers. When the lover is injured in an accident, George and his daughter take on a new partner in crime, yet find themselves both attracted to the newcomer!
Though his hair and beard are dyed within an inch of their lives for the role, he still has those luminous blue eyes, a devilishly handsome smile and an enviable physique (at age sixty!) You can view a trailer of the quirky, at times heartwarming, film here. This was quite a year for him in that he also went full frontally nude in erotic crime drama Solo for Clarinet.

Götz George was still taking home awards for his acting as recently as 2013 and 2014, those blue eyes still sparkling. Sadly, he died of a short illness on June 19th, 2016 at age seventy-seven. His first wife of ten years (1966-1976) was an actress named Loni von Friedl and they had a daughter together. A second wife wed him in 2014, but became his widow last month.

I don't know how many of my readers will ever see The Treasure of the Silver Lake or any other movie of George's, but I wanted to give him a little shout-out because I enjoyed him and hope to see more of his output in the future. Clearly, based upon the avalanche of acclaim that he received in his homeland, there is plenty of product worth watching when the time comes.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Keeping You Post(er)ed

Big time computer troubles at the moment. My laptop is in diagnosis! So as to maintain your attention for a bit as we breathe through all this annoyance, I am keeping you posted - let's make that "postered"- with some (random as hell!) pin-ups from the French-Canadian celebrity magazine Lundi. For many years, they made a practice of offering full-page (or in some cases, centerfold) photos of stars from all walks of TV and the movies. You may be surprised to see how some of these people looked at the time their portraits appeared. As time goes by, we sometimes forget the way current stars once looked, for better or worse, though classic stars often remain captured in amber. It has to be said that many times these pictures are of questionable quality to begin with, due to either photography, printing or color. I've done my best to clean 'em up. Meanwhile, PRAY that I get my laptop back soon with all its contents.
This was probably Sly's best phase looks-wise, tan and fit, but not too huge (or craggy!)
Elizabeth is bewitchingly natural, but for some fairly heavy lashes.
This translates (roughly) to "The Heirs of the Dream." Is that what Knots Landing was called or is this another project of his?!
From a 1979 TV-movie called Women in White which, believe it or not was about a group of 1920s male college students who each love a woman who dresses in white. When she dies, they hide the body, but fifty years later they begin being picked off one at a time!
There simply was no comparison at all between Catherine and her sudden replacement Karen Cellini. They ought to have killed off Amanda in the La Mirage fire, especially since she was soon written out anyway with nary a backward glance!
I can only guess that this is from the miniseries Scruples? We all just loved Lindsay in the '70s and '80s!
"I'm Elizabeth Taylor and this is my cleavage."
Queen of the miniseries, Jane Seymour.
Again, at or near his prime as Conan the Barbarian. Fun costume!
This is an unusual shot of Miss Jackie when one is used to her hair being big and full. She did love those animal prints!
I know Morgan was on Dallas, but I scarcely remember her decked out in cowboy get-up!
Sweet Holy Mother of God...
For people of a certain generation, Johnny was the LAST WORD in late night chit-chat and entertainment.
Hmmm... the glasses. Not sure I'm feeling them.
Pierce was practically a baby on Remington Steele (okay... twenty-nine.)
Ed was on "The Hill Street Brigade" according to this. (I never watched it, or Hill St. Blues, though I did always like Mr. Marinaro.)
No matter how many times it happens, I'm always startled to see Mrs. Ingalls out of Prairie drag.
Wow, this is an early shot of J.R. Larry looks pretty young here compared to later seasons (not to mention the redux!)
I never think of fitness or working out without my mind landing on Dynasty's Pamela Bellwood.
Who can forget In Living Color's Men on Books discussing Daniel Defoe and his famed novel Robinson Crusoe, which featured his man Friday. One of the reviewers said, "If he's anything like that l'il Willem Dafoe, I'll be his Friday, Saturday AND Sunday!"
Who'd have ever dreamed that this young star on the rise would one day be the host of Match Game?!
No, Debbie was not starring in "The Dinah Shore Story..." Do you know without looking which TV series Ms. Reynolds was starring in when this snap was taken? It was very short-lived because the shows it aped (The Love Boat and Fantasy Island) were both still on the air and doing fine thankyouverymuch!
Brad Davis was such a dynamic actor and he was taken from us far too soon at age forty-one. It goes without saying how much I liked him in Midnight Express (1978), but raise your hand if you ever saw Querelle (1982)?!!
Hmmm... this red tank gives me a Wonder Girl vibe (and looks better than the get-up she wore when she played Lynda Carter's little sis on Wonder Woman.)
It took both Mae West's and Lucille Ball's lens filters to capture this portrait.
This was how murky it was before I cleaned it up enough to see who was sitting in a room that was filled with leftover 4th of July smoke bombs!
Some of us recall Mr. Curtis before he adopted one of Rip Taylor's discarded toupees and wore it around for the final chapter or two of his life. He doesn't look happy here, but he does look more real than he did with all that thick phony hair. They say age is hard on curvy sexpots, but it's no easy ride for the hot young hunks either and Tony was a very beautiful young man.
I don't know where I was when Jessica's hair was this long. Here's a gal who really came into her own with age, collecting award after award (and legions of new fans.)
This is a very elegant and flattering shot of Mr. Forsythe. What a head of hair he had (and kept!)
Tough cookie grape-meister Miss Jane Wyman of Falcon Crest.
I spent way too much time looking at this scarf and trying to figure out how she got it tied under her hair before deciding that she wrapped it around her head and then put a wig over it! Hot Stuff.
Lee Remick had really grown as an actress since her starlet days and surely would have given many further terrific performances had cancer not claimed her at only age fifty-five.
This is Michael making the transition from TV crime show star to serious moviemaker. I never think of his hair being this dark (or his skin this pale.)
Unmasked! From Beauty and the Beast. (Perlman was the beast... Ha!)
Nurse Bobbi has gone all Finola Hughes form Staying Alive in this picture!
She had her faults and foibles, but we hate to think of Ms. Gabor suffering a wide variety of ailments at age ninety-nine. (It's one thing when you're still as hearty and sharp as Olivia de Havilland, who just turned one-hundred!)
We didn't seem to see a great deal of Claudia at this stage in her life.
Yes, Susan did put in almost a dozen appearances on Dallas in 1981, but she was far more blonde and painted up (and thinner even!) than this.
Did any of us think this little guy (who started on TV in 1981) would continue on to such a successful and considerable career? I know I didn't. And I think he's even gotten more handsome with age, too.
Oh, I did a double-take at this pre-Beaches portrait of Miss Barbara. As the song goes, "There'll be some changes made..."
NO ONE could touch Farrah Fawcett as the sex symbol of the mid-'70s, but Susan Anton gave her a brief run for her money (and provided Rue McClanahan with a funny punchline or two during The Golden Girls.)
Fred is sporting an interesting shirt closer here. I guess it keeps his ascot tucked in and any gray chest hair from springing out?  LOL
When I was a child, every adult woman I knew was wild for Al Pacino. I never ever got it, but he does look pretty good here.
I don't think I'd ever seen this sultry shot of Miss Pamela.
I presume by now after looking at all of these you are close to being as dazed as Mia is in this telling portrait.  That's it for now, kids!  P.S. If you don't feel like looking it up, Debbie Reynolds' 1981 series was Aloha Paradise, cancelled after seven episodes.