Archive for George Raft

George’s Hidden Talent

Posted in FILM, literature with tags , , , , , , on October 3, 2017 by dcairns

George Raft has a bath in NIGHT AFTER NIGHT.

Highly recommend the late Eddie Fowlie’s autobiography, David Lean’s Dedicated Maniac: Memoirs of a Film Specialist. It lives up to the title. Here’s one of the  milder anecdotes from the set of the 1951 Italian-shot B picture I’LL GET YOU FOR THIS, starring George Raft.

“George Raft had been a discrete presence for much of the shoot but one incident more than made up for it. One evening during a lull in filming a few of us, including Raft, got together for a few drinks and some banter. As the night wore on the laughter got louder and the boasts about sexual exploits more improbable, until George suddenly stood up and said, “I’m going to show you guys how I got to be a success,” whereupon he undid his trouser buttons and laid his ample member on the table. He was quite right — it was obvious why he had been a success. It also put a swift end to some of the unlikely claims which had peppered the conversation up to that point, most notably from the Italian bright sparks who shut up altogether upon witnessing George’s hidden talent.”

This surprised me because I’d heard the exact same story told about Burt Lancaster on the set of LOCAL HERO, the punchline being “And THAT’S how you survive in Hollywood,” the story passed down from one Scottish crew member to another until it reached me. So possibly it was a repurposed George Raft anecdote given a Scottish slant by overzealous nationalists. Or possibly both incidents really happened, independently, both Burt and George having the same impressive physical attributes and exhibitionist tendencies. Or just possibly, Eddie Fowlie told the story to Burt on the set of THE CRIMSON PIRATE, which happened to be his very next film. And Burt filed the story away for reenactment thirty years later, the meaty slap of dick on tabletop echoing through cinema history…

Advertisements

The Moves

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , on September 20, 2017 by dcairns

Fiona was feeling low, so we put on SOME LIKE IT HOT, and by the end, she was feeling pretty good.

I’m glad I haven’t been asked to write professionally about this one, as it strikes me as hard to say anything that’s both new and useful about this particular masterpiece of comedy. It doesn’t seem to be exhaustible as a viewing experience though — if you watch it with a friend, each of you will probably only remember half the funny lines, so there will still be a lot of laughter. And, as with a good Preston Sturges, if you’ve “used up” the best jokes by overexposure to them, you’ll start to find even the spaces in between funny.

This time Fiona was particularly enjoying the character’s movements, which I can only suggest in still images.

 

I gained a fresh appreciation of Pat O’Brien’s contribution. Fiona tells me George Raft LOVED sending himself up. But why couldn’t they get Edward G. Robinson? They even cast his “Hollywood bad boy” son, Junior. You’d think that would have helped…

Ready to Rumba

Posted in Dance, FILM with tags , , , on September 22, 2013 by dcairns

Thanks to regular Shadowplayer La Faustin for sending me George Raft, Lewis Yablonsky’s as-told-to bio of the Hollywood tough guy/hoofer. An unusually frank account — Raft admits his mob connection but tries to minimise/contextualise them, while being quite open about his days as a gigolo in New York “tea rooms” alongside Valentino.

He also manages to make ballroom dancing sound macho and dangerous — on stage, he would dance so fast he risked injury — if a foot accidentally hit a footlight it would be so painful he wouldn’t be able to continue, so he numbed his feet by replacing the shoelaces with wire, cutting off his circulation. In this manner, he was able to break a toe without feeling it.

George also recounts being set upon by a jealous lady during his dance hall days — she stabbed him through the chest with a long hat pin, missing his heart by inches. George drew a surprising lesson from this: “Up to then I never knew I was handsome. I felt I was the black sheep and the ugliest kid in my family. But I realized then that women could really go for me.”

georgeraft