Tuesday, January 31, 2017

RIP Frederick Parslow

The Age
February 1, 2017

Parslow A.M.
14.8.1932 - 26.1.2017


Loving husband of
Joan Harris A.M. (dec.).
Doting father of
Justin Harris Parslow.

A corner stone
of Australian
show business

Love you always Dad

PARSLOW, Frederick (Frederick Henry Parslow)
Born: 8/14/1932, Buckinghamshire, England, U.K.
Died: 1/26/21017, Caulfield, Victoria, Australia

Frederick Parslow’s western – actor:
Wrangler - 1989

RIP Hal Geer

Dignity Memorial

Hal Geer, retired cartoon executive, dies at 100

Hal Geer, a retired Warner Bros. Cartoons executive and World War II combat cameraman, passed away in Simi Valley, California on Thursday, January 26. He was 100 years old.

Born Harold Eugene Geer on September 13, 1916 in Oronogo, Missouri, Mr. Geer lived through most of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. He married his sweetheart Nancy Walker in 1939 and enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1941, two weeks after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. As a combat cameraman in World War II he survived 86 missions flying over China with the Flying Tigers, sometimes doubling as a gunner on B-24 and B-25 planes while shooting images for newsreels. He received his battlefield commission as second lieutenant from the legendary General Claire Chennault, leader of the Flying Tigers.

After the war ended, the entertainment industry beckoned and Hal and Nancy Geer moved to Hollywood where Mr. Geer spent the next four decades working as a film editor, writer, director and producer for Walt Disney, Warner Bros. and independent production companies. He worked on 25 feature films, more than 500 television shows, 400 commercials and 100 short-subject films. Most of his career was spent at Warner Bros. working with his beloved cartoon characters Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote and their Looney Tunes cohorts. In 1985 Mr. Geer spearheaded a successful campaign to give Bugs Bunny his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. A year later, at age 70, he announced his retirement as vice president and executive producer of Warner Bros. Cartoons.

Six years prior to his retirement , Mr. Geer's wife Nancy had passed away in 1980. He later met and in 1983 married Carol Jones, who also worked at Warner Bros. They spent the first dozen years of their retirement seeing the world from cruise ships where Mr. Geer was on the lecture circuit.

At the age of 99, Mr. Geer wrote and published his memoirs in a book entitled The Life, Times and Tales of Hal Geer. He presented personalized copies of his book to each of the more than 60 guests who attended his 100th birthday celebration held on September 11, 2016. In his memoirs he wrote:

I don't know what the purpose of life is. We try to do the best we can while we exist. My purpose was to make the world a better place. I know I made some people happy. I want to be remembered for the things I've done: combat photographer, newsreels and historical films. I hope I also entertained people and brought some laughter into their lives.

Hal Geer is survived by his wife Carol, daughter Nancy Matthews, son Wally Geer and stepdaughter Brenda Lee Jones, grandchildren Christo Kuzmich and Jamie Jones, and great- grandchildren Matthew Jones, Savannah Jones, Whitney Kuzmich and Sylvia Kuzmich, who will all remember him for making them happy and bringing laughter into their lives.

The memorial service will be Saturday, February 11, at 10:00 am at Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Memorial Park, 5600 Lindero Canyon Road, Westlake Village, California. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Simi-Conejo Valley Chapter of the Military Association of America, P.O. Box 940482, Simi Valley, CA 93094-0482.

GEER, Hal (Harold Eugene Geer)
Born: 9/13/1916, Oronogo, Missouri, U.S.A.
Died: 1/26/2017, Simi Valley, California, U.S.A.

Hal Geer’s westerns – film editor:
Fistic Mystic – 1969
Injun Trouble - 1969

Monday, January 30, 2017

RIP Robert Ellis Miller

The Hollywood Reporter
By Stephen Galloway

Robert Ellis Miller, Director of 'Reuben, Reuben,' Dies at 89

He also helmed 'The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter' and 'Any Wednesday.' His late wife was the documentarian Pola Miller.

Robert Ellis Miller, the veteran director of films including 1968’s The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter and 1983’s Reuben, Reuben, died Friday. He was 89.

He had been living at the Motion Picture & Television Country House since the death of his wife, documentarian Pola Miller (nee Chasman), two years ago.

Miller’s film version of Heart, the 1940 Carson McCullers novel about a deaf man’s relationship with a teenage girl in 1930s Georgia, starred Alan Arkin and introduced an unknown Sondra Locke to the screen. Both received Oscar nominations for their work, and the movie was nominated for a Golden Globe in the best drama category.

“Arkin, as Singer, is extraordinary, deep and sound,” wrote Renata Adler in a New York Times review. “Walking, with his hat jammed flat on his head, among the obese, the mad, the infirm, characters with one leg, broken hip, scarred mouth, failing life, he somehow manages to convey every dimension of his character, especially intelligence.”

Dan Bronson, the writer of HBO’s The Last Innocent Man, used Heart to teach students about the grammar of motion pictures during an earlier career as an academic. “Heart is one of the films that gave me the resolve to turn my back on tenure and ride the rollercoaster of Hollywood,” he noted in an essay about the movie. “But it did more than inspire me. It moved me.”

Miller’s most warmly received film was the comedic drama Reuben, Reuben, starring Tom Conti as a debauched poet battling writer’s block. The picture was included in competition at Cannes — which Miller regarded as one of the highlights of his career — and earned Conti and writer Julius J. Epstein Oscar nominations. It too was nominated for a Golden Globe (best drama).

“Very much in the British tradition of quality,” noted critic Emanuel Levy, “Robert Ellis Miller’s Reuben, Reuben is a modest, intimate and intelligent film, featuring an Oscar-nominated turn from Tom Conti, better known for his stage work.”

A warm, good-humored man with a love of puns and an infectious enthusiasm, he was fond of describing how MCA Universal’s powerful executive Lew Wasserman would confuse him with the similar-looking director Arthur Hiller. “Miller-Hiller!” he’d bark. “Hiller-Miller!”
He spoke warmly of Bette Davis, whom he had once directed, and whose neighbor he was in Los Angeles’ famed Colonial building, doing a spot-on imitation of the intimidating star as she would listen, hawk-like, then flick her cigarette ash across the floor, either in approval or disapproval.

An astute but generous observer of the industry, Miller recalled meeting the young Steven Spielberg, who came to visit one of his sets, and remembered how gracious the twenty-something was.
Once asked to name the greatest myth about the movie business, he replied: “That the camera never lies.”
At Harvard, he was president of its Dramatic Club and a member of the Hasty Pudding Society. He entered television upon graduation, assisting other major directors including Sidney Lumet before going on to direct such shows as Naked City, Route 66, The Twilight Zone and The Rogues.

His first feature was 1967’s Any Wednesday, starring Jane Fonda and Jason Robards Jr. Other credits included Sweet November, The Buttercup Chain, The Big Truck and The Girl From Petrovka. His last film was the 1996 ABC TV movie The Angel of Pennsylvania Avenue.

Miller and his wife spent several years living in London, where Miller directed the Timothy Dalton starrer Hawks. Among the other A-list stars he directed were Goldie Hawn, Anthony Hopkins, Peter Ustinov, Cicely Tyson, Omar Sharif and James Coburn.

He received an Emmy Award nomination for 1991’s ABC drama series Alcoa Premiere and a DGA nomination for an episode of 1963’s TV series Breaking Point.

An active member of the Directors Guild of America, Miller was a lifetime trustee of its pension plan. He was also a charter founder of the Artists Rights Foundation and a member of the Motion Picture Academy.

Survivors include his sister, Judith Merwin, nieces Sara Merwin and Deborah Chasman, nephews Peter Merwin, Daniel Merwin, Clifford James and Daniel Chasman, brothers-in-law Chellis Chasman and Donald Merwin.

His funeral will take place at 12.30 p.m. on Wednesday at Sinai Chapels in Fresh Meadows, N.Y. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations go to the Motion Picture & Television Fund.       

MILLER, Robert Ellis
Born: 7/18/1932, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 1/27/2017, Woodland Hills, California, U.S.A.

Robert Ellis Miller’s westerns – director:
The Rebel (TV) – 1959
Zane Grey Theater (TV) – 1959, 1960, 1961
Wide Country (TV) - 1962
The Virginian (TV) – 1963
Ishi: The Last of His Tribe (TV) - 1978

RIP Frank Tidy

Hollywood Reporter
By Mike Barnes

The British veteran also worked on five films with director Andrew Davis, including 'Under Siege' and 'Steal Big Steal Little.'

Frank Tidy, the veteran British cinematographer who shot Ridley Scott's The Duellists and five films for director Andrew Davis, has died. He was 84.

Tidy died Friday at a nursing home in Kent, England after a battle with dementia, his son Patrick told The Hollywood Reporter.

Tidy served as Scott’s cinematographer on hundreds of commercials for RSA, the director's U.K. production company with his brother Tony Scott, starting in the 1960s. His first feature credit came on the war drama The Duellists (1977), which starred Keith Carradine, Harvey Keitel and Albert Finney.

Critics admire the film for Tidy's use of natural sources, like an open window or candlelight, to light the film.

"The artfully choreographed showdowns are staged in some of the most gorgeous settings ever committed to film," Stephen Pizzello wrote in American Cinematographer magazine after The Duellists was released on DVD. "Critic Pauline Kael praised The Duellists for its 'Gericault-like compositions,' and Tidy's lighting would earn the approval of Vermeer himself."

Scott said in his DVD commentary that he "had no concerns about how much [of the imagery] was in the shadows. Frank knew that this was what I liked … I don't mind sometimes if [the frame] goes totally dark. Frank just really knew how far to go."
Tidy received a BAFTA Film Award nomination for his work.

Tidy first collaborated with Davis on the Chuck Norris action film Code of Silence (1985) and then partnered with the American director on The Package (1989), starring Gene Hackman; Under Siege, toplined by Steven Seagal; Steal Big Steal Little (1995), starring Andy Garcia; and Keanu Reeves' Chain Reaction (1996).

Tidy also shot two films helmed by Canadian Phillip Borsos: The Lucky Star (1980) and One Magic Christmas (1985).

Tidys film résumé also includes The Mean Season (1985), Alan Alda's Sweet Liberty (1986), The Butcher's Wife (1991), Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992), Getting Away With Murder (1996) and Hoodlum (1997).

A native of Liverpool, Tidy began his career as a stop-motion cameraman for an animation studio in London. In 1965, he formed Valley Films with director Roger Woodburn and cinematographer Peter Biziou, and they worked extensively on commercials.

His son Patrick is a veteran assistant director in Hollywood who is now at work on the Kiefer Sutherland ABC drama Designated Survivor.

Survivors also include his daughter Katharine and grandchildren Sean, Ellen and Amy.

TIDY, Frank
Born: 1932, Liverpool, Merseyside, England, U.K.
Died: 1/27/2017, Kent, England, U.K.

Frank Tidy’s westerns – cinematographer, photographer:
The Grey Fox – 1982 [photography]
Wagons East – 1994 [cinematographer]
Black Fox (TV) – 1995 [director of photography]

Sunday, January 29, 2017

RIP Richard Portman

Oscar-winning sound guru Richard Portman dies at 82

Tallahassee Democrat
By Mark Hinson

Academy Award-winner and retired Florida State film school professor Richard Portman, who mixed the sound for such famed movies as “Star Wars” (1977) and “Harold and Maude” (1971), died Saturday night at his home in Betton Hills. He was 82. Portman’s death followed after a fall, a broken hip and other medical complications.

“He was an icon of his craft of motion picture sound re-recording, recognized with the highest honors of his field,” daughter Jennifer Portman wrote on her Facebook page. “He was eccentric, irreverent and real.”

The tall, lanky Portman, who preferred to wear kaftans and a long braided pony tail down his back, was, indeed, hard to miss. He was a walking contradiction: an ex-Marine with hippie tendencies who developed his own free-flowing philosophy about life but was a stickler when it came to punctuality. Anyone invited to Portman’s house for dinner knew to show up at 7 p.m. sharp, not 7:05 p.m.

“His presence is still here,” wife Jackie Portman said on Sunday morning as she stood in the living room of their home. “It’s still surreal. This is going to take some time.”

Portman was born in Los Angeles. He was the son of sound engineer Clem Portman, who worked on such classics as “King Kong” (1933), “Citizen Kane” (1941) and “It’s A Wonderful Life” (1946).

“I was never very good in school,” the younger Portman wrote in his unpublished memoir, humorously titled “They Wanted A Louder Gun.” “I felt alien and different from my school mates and did poorly. I was an idiot. I retreated deep into a dream world where I could be alone.”

After serving five years in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War, Portman came home in 1957 and could not find a job. He approached his father, who helped him get his foot in the door as a machine loader in the re-recording room at Columbia Pictures. His father told him: “Don’t ruin my reputation.”

Portman did not.

Over his long career in Hollywood, Portman worked on nearly 200 films, including “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory” (1971), “Little Big Man” (1970), “Young Frankenstein” (1974) and “Paper Moon” (1973).

“I worked with Peter Bogdanovich on 'They All Laughed' and 'Daisy Miller' - which wasn't a very good film," Portman told the Tallahassee Democrat in 2007. "I think 'Paper Moon' is his masterpiece. I thought it was better than 'The Last Picture Show.’ It ('Paper Moon') was the one of the few movies I worked on that I went back to see in the theater. I wanted to make sure they got it right. And they did."

He also developed a close working relationship with director Robert Altman and helped perfect the overlapping, multi-tracking dialogue style in such films as “Nashville” (1975) and “3 Women” (1977).

“Altman’s film family were free-spirited people who liked to have fun,” Portman wrote in “They Wanted A Louder Gun.” “Others might say they were lawless lunatics who should be in jail. I developed a kinship with them right away.”

Although Portman loved to sip a cold beer, he was serious about his job. He was nominated for 11 Academy Awards for his work on “Kotch” (1971), “The Godfather” (1972), “The Candidate” (1972), “Paper Moon,” “The Day of the Dolphin” (1973), “Young Frankenstein,” “Funny Lady” (1975), “Coal Miner’s Daughter” (1980), “On Golden Pond” (1981) and “The River” (1984). He brought home the Oscar for the Vietnam War movie “The Deer Hunter” (1978). The statue was proudly displayed on the mantel over his fireplace.

Along the way in Hollywood, Portman met a young writer-director-producer named Jack Conrad while mixing the sound on Conrad’s road movie “Country Blue” (1973), which was filmed in North Florida and South Georgia. Conrad, a Tallahassee native, told Portman about the city’s lush environment and its fabled seven hills. In the late ‘80s, Conrad helped Portman line up a one-man show of the sound-mixer’s bright, colorful, cartoon-style paintings at the LeMoyne Center for the Visual Arts. Portman took a liking to Tallahassee.

In 1995, he joined the faculty at the Florida State film school and became a beloved educator, whom the students called Dr. Zero, a name he relished. He was instrumental in creating the film school.

“I'm a teacher now and I'm happy,” Portman told the Tallahassee Democrat in 1998. “I get to be young again with my students. If nothing else, Florida State will have the only film school in the nation where directors learn sound from the start. That's never been done. When I came along, and we needed something, we just invented it ourselves. But this is soon going to be the finest film program in the country. You wait and see. Gosh, I suddenly sound like a good advertisement for the FSU film school. But it's true. You can write that down."

He was right. This year, Florida State film school graduate Barry Jenkins, who was taught by Portman, garnered eight Oscar nominations for his movie “Moonlight,” including best director and best picture.

In 1998, Portman was honored with a lifetime achievement award from the Cinema Audio Society. As part of a video tribute, lauded film editor Walter Murch told a story involving “Star Wars.” Jennifer Portman, who works as the news director for the Tallahassee Democrat, wrote about it in 2015 when another “Star Wars” film opened at the box office. It went like this:

“He (Murch) told the story about how my grandfather developed a naming convention for organizing sound reels. Before digital sound – back when the visual action and its accompanying sound were on tangible magnetic film, stored on giant metal reels – he passed along to my dad the technique of identifying parts of the working picture as ‘reel two, dialogue two.’ They shortened it when speaking aloud.”

In the the early ‘70s, when Murch was working in the dubbing room with director George Lucas on “American Graffiti” (1973), he used the Portman shorthand and said, “R2-D2.”

Lucas, who was nodding off in the dubbing room, woke up.

"What did you say?" Murch recalled Lucas saying.

Murch replied: "R2-D2."

Lucas, who was writing ‘Star Wars’ at the time, scrawled it in his notebook. Movie history was made.

A memorial for Portman is being planned during the early spring, around his birthday on April 2, potentially in Railroad Square Art Park.

“I think we’re going to show ‘Harold and Maude,’ because he loved that film so much,” Jackie Portman said. “And then if anyone wants to get up and say anything, they are welcome.”

Surely, the sound levels on the microphone will be adjusted just so.

PORTMAN, Richard
Born: 4/2/1934, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Died: 1/28/2017, Betton Hills, Florida, U.S.A.

Richard Portman’s westerns – sound man:
Little Big Man – 1970 [re-recording mixer]
The Hired Hand – 1971[sound re-recordist]
Man and Boy – 1971 [re-recording mixer]
Buck and the Preacher – 1972 [dubbing mixer]
The Cowboys – 1972 [re-recording]
The Honkers – 1972 [re-recording mixer]
Junior Bonner – 1972 [re-recording mixer]
The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean – 1972 [dubbing mixer]
Oklahoma Crude – 1973 [sound re-recordist]
The Master Gunfighter – 1975 [dubbing mixer]
Posse – 1975 [(re-recording mixer]
Buffalo Bill and the Indians or Sitting Bull’s History Lesson – 1976 [re-recording mixer]
Heaven’s Gate – 1980 [re-recording mixer]
Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann (1982) [(head sound mixer]