Tuesday, August 04, 2015

A Birthday Salute to John Huston

John Huston was born August 5, 1906 in Nevada, Mo.  Son of Walter Huston, father of Angelica Huston and a highly successful writer, director and character actor, the man was simply impressive.  He wrote and directed so many classics, Maltese Falcon (1941), Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1938), Key Largo (1938), and The Man Who Would be King (1975) to name a few.  As an actor, he gave superb performances in Chinatown (1974) and The Wind and the Lion (1975).

 My personal favorite John Huston role is as the narrator in Cannery Row (1982).  What a wonderful voice he had.  He makes the movie for me.  The critics of the time did not much care for Cannery, they criticized the sets, made much of budget overruns and personnel problems on the set.  (Hey, you hire Debra Winger and Nick Nolte and you're surprised there are fireworks?!) 

 It is a delightful movie with a good story, great characters and a beautifully written narration given full life by Mr. Huston.  There is no way you can watch this movie and not fall in love with Mack (M. Emmet Walsh) and the boys, including Hazel, performed wonderfully by Frank McRae.  Or cheer on Doc (Nick Nolte) and Suzy (Debra Winger) as they dance to Bob Cosby and the Bobcats' recording of Big Noise from Winnetka.  

                Frank McRae and M. Emmet Walsh in Cannery Row

  And, it is John Huston that performs one of the greatest opening lines:  "Cannery Row has never been like anywhere else.  For one thing, its people are different.  When the town died off, most of them failed to notice."

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