Vera June Miles
(Born August 23, 1929)
Vera Miles was lucky enough to survive Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960), but she had to be the one to discover Mrs. Bates.
Vera shot scenes as John Wayne’s wife in The Green Berets (1968), but they were cut by Warner Bros. I’ve never even seen a still from one of her scenes. Wayne made it up to her by casting her as his better half in The Hellfighters (1968).
Alfred Hitchcock certainly knew a thing or two about birds. Here’s hoping yours comes out as nice as Hitch’s did back in 1956.
This Thanksgiving, enjoy your meal, enjoy your family and friends, and enjoy a good movie (or a favorite bad one).
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Screenplay by Jo Swerling, from a story by John Steinbeck
Starring Tallulah Bankhead, William Bendix, Walter Slezak, Mary Anderson, John Hodiak, Henry Hull, Heather Angel, Hume Cronyn, Canada Lee
They say constraints can greatly influence creativity. (Working advertising, I hear all it all time.) You can see evidence of this idea in movies that overcome obstacles ranging from limited budgets and schedules (the Randolph Scott/Budd Boetticher Westerns) to a mechanical shark that doesn’t work (Jaws).
No one understood this better than Alfred Hitchcock, who seemed to choose projects because of the challenges they’d toss at him. Lifeboat (1944) might be the ultimate example of this, an entire picture on a lifeboat.
Lifeboat puts a handful of people in a lifeboat after their ship’s torpedoed by a Nazi submarine. That’s it. The movie never leaves the boat. What’s more, once the titles are out of the way, there’s not even a score.
Of course, this being Hitchcock, it all comes together perfectly. It helps that his cast turns in one flawless performance after another. Tallulah Bankhead makes a huge impression here, but everybody else is just as good.
Kino Lorber has announced an upcoming Blu-Ray of Lifeboat to set sail sometime in 2017. I can’t wait.
Rodney Sturt “Rod” Taylor
(11 January 1930 – 7 January 2015)
Hated to see that Rod Taylor passed away. It’s baffling to me that he never became a big-time movie star. It certainly wasn’t because of a lack of good movies: The Time Machine (1960), The Birds (1963, below), The Glass-Bottom Boat (1966) and on and on. There’s a bunch of ’em.
One that I only discovered last year, Dark Of The Sun (1968, above), is just astonishing. It’s available from Warner Archive, and I’d put it near the top of the list of 60s action films.