"Shane" by George Stevens

Shane cinemagraph by Miriam Figueras

Heroes disappearing into the sunset, the desperate cry of a boy; those are some of the iconic references that connect us immediately to Shane (1953, George Stevens). A film that, right from its premiere, deeply bonded with its audience resulting in long-lasting affection and admiration through generations of movie lovers. This Good versus Evil fable –dividing homesteaders and cattlemen–, is dramatically seen through the eyes of a little boy. An underlying message, an important reflection on the use of firearms is fostered and echoed just as the thundering gunshots during the final showdown. Its subtle magnetism is breathtaking and inscrutable. Guided by Alan Ladd's immortal character, we will cross the valley of Jackson Hole to analyze this masterpiece and the work of George Stevens.

"I like a man who watches things going around. It means he'll make his mark someday."
— Shane (Alan Ladd) 

6 Lesser-Known Facts About Alan Ladd

Alan Ladd

Alan Ladd was an actor of Hollywood's Golden Era who, perhaps small in stature, became a star of colossal proportions. Few characters in movie history have a more powerful impact on audiences than that of SHANE (1953, George Stevens), as they continue to yell Shane, come back! Time has somehow dimmed the extent of the spectrum of a legend that would be more present had it not been for his premature passing and the fact that his life emphasizes the contradictions of era that was not at all as easy and magic as we tend to perceive.

The prevailing contrast of his calmed and unaffected expression with the force coming from his voice and glance, was his performing trademark. His eyes often revealed that deep down inside of him there was an eruption persistently restrained. Film noir benefited enormously from that quality. With performances like the one in THIS GUN FOR HIRE (1942, Frank Tuttle), Ladd defined a series of characters that would transform the genre and immediately connect with spectators. His legacy in film history is undeniable and influenced future generations. In this post we will review some of those lesser known facts about Alan Ladd that will capture the importance and trail of enchantment that Ladd achieved onscreen and that definitely set him aside as an exceptional actor.

"Cruise of the Zaca", a precious documentary directed and narrated by Errol Flynn

Errol Flynn sailing – Cine Gratia Cinema

“Like a bird with great wings, the movement of a sailing ship is the poetry of motion.” 
– Errol Flynn

"Cruise of the Zaca" (1952, Errol Flynn) is a short documentary directed, starring and narrated by the actor who immortalized Robin Hood. Buried under a whole load of bonus material that accompanies an Errol Flynn classic, we find this little treasure coming from the Caribbean Sea. In association with the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, the actor used his schooner, the Zaca, and financed a series of scientific expeditions intended for marine research. It's a "thoughtful little film"(1) that reveals his deep love for sailing, his "inherited" interest in biology and his genuine adventurous nature. Surrounded by family and friends, Errol opened up the doors to his own paradise. Do not miss out on the opportunity for a fantastic journey aboard the Zaca. Prepare to be amazed.

The Great Orson Welles

The Great Orson Welles

George Orson Welles was born on May 6th, 1915 and died on October 10th, 1985, with a typewriter on his lap. He was writing a new script. A film director, producer, actor, scriptwriter, author of essays, plays, stories and even newspaper columnist, he was a prolific and versatile artist and, above all, a great illusionist with a magic conception of the show, so much different from others.

His last appearance was a few days before his death, on the television series Moonlighting (1985-89, Glenn Gordon Caron). The 4th episode of the 2nd season, The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice, opens with an introduction from Orson Welles. This episode pays tribute to the classic noir films of the 1940s.

On the occasion of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of his birth, we want this post to be a small tribute to a magnificent artist, who never ceased to amaze us.

A Gothic Approach to "Rope"

Alfred Hitchcock's universe offers more than a three dimensional spectacle to many viewers, myself included. As a true magician, his extensive knowledge on human perception leads us to the intended illusion. The more we watch a movie, the more we are able to glimpse different facets calling our attention, as elements of a larger and fascinating framework. At least, that is what happened to me, as I enjoyed "Rope" (1948), for the zillionth time. A traditional English ghost story, which also features an old chest, is referenced in the film. That allusion prompted me to write a post on a Gothic perspective, in order to embroil ourselves in one of Hitchcock's most notable literary influences.

BOOK REVIEW: "The Bear That Wasn't" by Frank Tashlin

One of my last year's "happiest discoveries", was Frank Tashlin's career as an animator, cartoonist and author. It has been an incredibly rewarding experience to stumble upon this publication, just like Vincent Price's extraordinary cookbook in my previous post. The Bear That Wasn’t (1946)(1) is a critical and satirical fable that discusses the loss of identity in the midst of a booming economy and a challenging society that is based on the use of labels. It is a great book for children but for adults as well. A delightful yet gritty story that will leave an indelible mark.

Once upon a time, that wasn't...

BOOK REVIEW: "A Treasury of Great Recipes", a magnificent culinary legacy by Vincent Price

 A Treasury of Great Recipes, gif, Cine Gratia Cinema

Little did I imagine that reading a food blog, I would discover such literary jewell: an original cookbook written by legendary actor Vincent Price. A Treasury of Great Recipes is a thorough compendium of the most exquisite recipes, carefully curated from his many trips around the world. Along with his second wife, costume designer Mary Grant, he visited some of the finest restaurants of the time. Now, this book is, by no means, just another exotic and sophisticated recipe book. We are talking about Vincent Price here. To be honest, this publication holds extraordinary value, not only from the gastronomic point of view but also as a testimony of a genuine philosophy of life. A mouth-watering trip back in time through the lives and times of Mr. and Mrs. Price. I can't think of a better way to treat yourself, than to try a few of these wonderful recipes à la Vincent Price. Fasten your seat belts, it's gonna be a yummy night!