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 Posted:   Apr 6, 2014 - 8:00 PM   
 By:   Bond1965   (Member)

TMZ is reporting the Mickey Rooney has passed away at age 93.


Also in Variety:


 Posted:   Apr 6, 2014 - 8:27 PM   
 By:   zooba   (Member)

Hope Judy was waiting for him on the other side of the Rainbow!

 Posted:   Apr 6, 2014 - 9:59 PM   
 By:   arthur grant   (Member)

Horribly sad news.

What a talent! Anyone see him in The Playhouse 90 show The Comedian? I've never seen such a powerhouse performance! Or how about his noirs like Drive a Crooked Road or Quicksand? What about Requiem for a Heavyweight or The Bold and the Brave? He could do it all and did from Babes in Arms to Baby Face Nelson...from 'Killer' Mears (in The Last Mile) to Killer McCoy....What about in real life? He was so full of energy, an activist for the rights of the elderly and a terrific guest at the TCM 2012 Classic Film Festival.

I'm gonna cry.

 Posted:   Apr 6, 2014 - 10:13 PM   
 By:   Essankay   (Member)

I dig his crime films from the 40s & 50s the most, but he could certainly do it all - singing, dancing, comedy, drama. When I saw him and Ann Miller in Sugar Babies at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood back in the early 80s I was knocked out - they had the energy of 20-year-olds! It seemed like he would last forever. Sad to hear of his passing.

RIP Mickey Rooney.

 Posted:   Apr 7, 2014 - 1:52 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

One of the last remnants of a bygone era is gone himself. A true legend. But 93 is certainly good innings -- and that he was able to work up to a ripe old age.

 Posted:   Apr 7, 2014 - 2:06 AM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

I worked with Rooney once, about 25 years ago.

He was very difficult and hard to control even then,
but his energy and fire, even at that time when he
was around the age of 70, was boundless, and I had
great, great respect for him.

His life story, once you knew it and understood it,
was very reflective of the way in which he interacted
with you on a personal basis. His legendary sexual
energy, his capacity for hard work, and his dedication
---at least momentarily---to the project at hand,
explain a lot about the channeling of these elements
into his best performances.

Although in more recent decades, Rooney went
out-of-style with audiences, perhaps more by the
projection of his personality traits in interviews
than in actual performances, he remained a very
hardworking and exciting performer---when he
wanted to be.

There are many today who've found his looks and
demeanor to be very off-putting, and there cer-
tainly was a crassness and nastiness that sometimes
pervaded his interactions with the public or fellow
industry workers. But he was an 8-decade "survivor"
in a very unforgiving and difficult business and I'm
sure his experiences over the years tinged everything
that happened daily in his life.

Over the years, I met or worked with many of the
people who knew or worked with him in the MGM
days of the 30s and 40s. Whenever Rooney's name
came up in conversation, inevitably these actors,
directors, or crew members would include words
like "brilliant", "genius", "exciting", and "multi-talented"
when talking about him.

It was evitable that this day would come when Rooney
was no longer with us, and I hope that those who are
"on the fence" about his talents will really take a look
at many of the earlier Rooney performances to see what
he was capable of. Among my many favorites are THE
right through the noirs of the 50s and THE BRIDGES AT TOKO-
vision projects like BILL and REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT,
and so many more. The ANDY HARDY films are legendary,
and when you manage to see all of them---particularly in
chronological order---you can begin to understand the
delightful character that he has built in them, one by one.

Mickey Rooney was a unique and great talent and should
be remembered by everyone who loves old films from
Hollywood's Golden Age.

For myself, I thought he was a wonderful and exciting
performer and I remain thrilled that in my lifetime I was
able to share a small work moment with him.

RIP, Mickey Rooney.

 Posted:   Apr 7, 2014 - 3:00 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Nice remembrance, Manderley.

Mickey Rooney appeared in more than 125 feature films in his career, so no complete retrospective of his films will be attempted by me. Instead I'll reprise a few earlier write-ups that focused on some of his lesser-known films.

1956's THE BOLD AND THE BRAVE told the story of two fresh American recruits, played by Wendall Corey and Mickey Rooney, who find themselves on the European front during World War II. They are under the command of Sgt. Ewald "Preacher" Wollaston, played by Don Taylor. The working title of the film was “Battle Hell,” which gives some idea of its themes. The film opens with the following written foreword: “Italy 1944. The battle is big…but some things are even bigger…sometimes the battle inside a man makes the war seem small by comparison…This battle began at the bivouac area with the fresh troops awaiting their baptism of fire…”

THE BOLD AND THE BRAVE was originally slated to be distributed by Filmakers Releasing Organization, but they ended up only providing partial financing for the production after RKO took over the distribution. Filmakers Releasing Organization released five films in the 1953-55 period, including Ida Lupino’s THE BIGAMIST and Don Seigel’s PRIVATE HELL 36. THE BOLD AND THE BRAVE was the last film with which they were involved.

The film’s screenplay was by Robert Lewin. The character of “Preacher” was based on a real-life soldier Lewin knew during the Italian campaign of World War II. B-movie director Lewis R. Foster, who had been directing since 1928, helmed the film. The score was by Herschel Burke Gilbert, with orchestrations by Joseph Mullendore and Walter Sheets. Filming took place from late May to early June 1955 at Kling Studio, with location scenes filmed near Chatsworth, CA.

Although it was reported that Mickey Rooney had agreed to forgo his usual star billing in order to qualify for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination, he received above-the-title billing on-screen, second only to Wendell Corey. Rooney was indeed nominated as Best Supporting Actor, and his performance was uniformly lauded by critics. In addition, Robert Lewin received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Rooney performed additional work on the picture, co-writing the film’s title song with actor-songwriter Ross Bagdasarian, and reportedly directing a crap game scene.

THE BOLD AND THE BRAVE was released on 18 April 1956. The film received generally good notices from the critics. The Pittsburgh Press called the picture “happily different from the general run of war films” and praised Pennsylvania-native Don Taylor’s performance as his “finest acting job to date.” The critic for the Spokane Spokesman-Review, in addition to praising the actors, noted that the “battle photography is particularly good.” But it was Ronald B. Rogers of the Village Voice who was most effusive. Rogers said that the film was “highlighted by a monumental crap game which surely ranks as one of the single most memorable scenes of recent years.” “Mickey Rooney gives a virtuoso performance” he said, in “a war film of some stature.” Rogers went on to praise Robert Lewin’s screenplay which “approaches in directness and poignancy THE BIG PARADE or ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT as a penetrating study of men’s reactions before and under first baptism of fire.” That thought was echoed in the following quotation which appears at the picture’s conclusion: “’Bravery is courage in action. It produces the deed which sets the hero above the coward.’ Omar N. Bradley, General of the Army.”

RKO holds the copyright on the film, so there’s no apparent legal reason why it wouldn't be available to Warners. A PAL DVD has been released in the UK.

 Posted:   Apr 7, 2014 - 3:19 AM   
 By:   Joe E.   (Member)

Thanks for your thoughts, manderley. I'll try to make a point of seeking out some of those Rooney films you cited.

 Posted:   Apr 7, 2014 - 3:29 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

Thanks for your thoughts, manderley. I'll try to make a point of seeking out some of those Rooney films you cited.

Make sure you see THE HUMAN COMEDY. One of the very best Rooney performances:

 Posted:   Apr 7, 2014 - 3:59 AM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

Who could forget Mr. Yunioshi ("Breakfast at Tiffany's"):

(Yelling) Miss Go-witewey...I caw the pow-ice......(silence falls).....ah, that's-a more better"!!

 Posted:   Apr 7, 2014 - 5:13 AM   
 By:   vinylscrubber   (Member)

I have always wondered why THE BOLD AND THE BRAVE has never shown up on Turner Classics as it IS an RKO release. Nobody seems to run this one anymore. The last time I remember seeing it on TV was in the early to mid '60's on local TV in Chicago.

I remember it for the great crap game sequence, the genuine pathos of Rooney's death scene, and a pretty decent score by Herschel Burke Gilbert.

 Posted:   Apr 7, 2014 - 6:16 AM   
 By:   Grecchus   (Member)

I remember him in The Bridges At Toko-Ri best, for some reason. Maybe it was the green tophat and scarf. I never really understood what it was supposed to signify, other than putting on a face of sheer bravado at everything. RIP.

 Posted:   Apr 7, 2014 - 6:57 AM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

The Black Stallion just got it's BluRay release. RIP.

 Posted:   Apr 7, 2014 - 10:15 AM   
 By:   Mr. Jack   (Member)

Jiminy Jillikers!

 Posted:   Apr 7, 2014 - 11:23 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

BABY FACE NELSON was an original screenplay, based upon the life of the 1930s robber Lester M. Gillis. In addition to Mickey Rooney in the title role, the film co-starred Carolyn Jones and Sir Cedric Hardwicke. Leo Gordon appeared in the role of John Dillinger. The film was directed by Don Seigel, who even in 1957 was no stranger to tough crime films, having previously directed RIOT IN CELL BLOCK 11 (1954) and CRIME IN THE STREETS (1956).

A written and spoken foreword to the film states: "A tribute to the FBI. Under J. Edgar Hoover, its director for thirty-five years, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been forged into America's most formidable weapon against all crimes. To these special agents, living and killed in the line of duty, to these men who sacrifice themselves to help smash the citadels of crime, we respectfully dedicate this motion picture!" Before the opening credits, voice-over narration describes the 1930s era and the criminals it produced.

The film had a lengthy genesis. Producer Al Zimbalist and Herb Golden co-wrote the original story for BABY FACE NELSON way back in 1950. Long-time producer-director Jack Bernhard had purchased that story and planned personally to adapt it into a screenplay and direct it as an "exploitation special." But apparently, that plan fell through. Then, in 1953, Zimbalist and Jack Rabin signed a two-picture deal with Carl Dudley, the second film of which was scheduled to be BABY FACE NELSON. At that time, the producers planned to shoot the picture in Vistarama and were hoping to cast Frank Sinatra as the lead. However, neither Golden, Rabin nor Dudley are credited in the final film, and Golden's contribution to the screenplay, if any, is unknown.

Although the film's onscreen writing credits read: "Screenplay by Irving Shulman and Daniel Mainwaring, story by Irving Shulman," a 23 June 1958 advertisement placed by the production company in the Hollywood Reporter reads: "Through no fault of The Writers Guild of America, West, the writing credits on BABY FACE NELSON are incorrect and we wish to correct them now: Screenplay by Daniel Mainwaring, story by Robert Adler." Van Alexander scored the film. A 29-minute soundtrack LP was issued on the Jubilee label:

Although, as noted by many reviewers, the basic facts of the film represent the life of ruthless 1930s gangster "Baby Face" Nelson, the majority of the picture is fictionalized. As shown in the film, the diminutive Nelson was born Lester M. Gillis in 1908, served time in Joliet for robbery and later escaped prison guards while being returned to jail. He then joined John Dillinger's gang, robbed many banks and in 1934 died of gunshot wounds inflicted by the FBI agents chasing him.

Although the onscreen credits list the production company as Fryman-ZS Productions, the copyright claimant is listed as F-ZS Productions. Fryman Productions was Mickey Rooney’s production company. The filming of BABY FACE NELSON took place from late July to 19 August 1957. The film was released by United Artists in November 1957. After the film's release, it was attacked by California Representative H. Allen Smith, who claimed that it contributed to juvenile delinquency. Despite the fact that the film was dedicated to him, J. Edgar Hoover also denounced the film as glorifying crime, and called for studios to practice more restraint. In a 14 February 1958 Hollywood Reporter article, Zimbalist and Red Doff, president of Fryman Productions, countered that Allen's attack was a mere ploy for attention during his re-election campaign, and pointed out that Los Angeles FBI chief John J. Malone served as a consultant throughout the film's production.

BABY FACE NELSON was not well-received by the critics at the time. Bosley Crowther of the New York Times called it “a thoroughly standard, pointless and even old-fashioned gangster picture . . . erratically directed by Don Seigel.” But even Crowther conceded that the cast was good, citing “Sir Cedric Hardwicke's professional portrait of a seedy, lecherous and alcoholic physician who consorts with criminals. Add, in all fairness, telling bits contributed by Leo Gordon (as John Dillinger, no less), Ted De Corsia and Anthony Caruso.” But neither the critics nor the controversy over the film’s themes hurt its performance at the boxoffice. Reportedly, the film cost $168,000 to produce and grossed $7 million. The film’s reputation has grown in recent years. In June 1996, J. Hoberman of the Village Voice called BABY FACE NELSON "a decade ahead of its time," pointing to its "absurdist violence and perverse love angle" as a precursor to 1967’s BONNIE AND CLYDE.

I'm fairly certain that I saw the film on late-night television in the 1960s, but BABY FACE NELSON has never been issued on any video format. The film was owned by producer Al Zimbalist, and United Artists had retained distribution rights to it for only 10 years after its original release. In 1969, following the expiration of that distribution deal, Zimbalist talked about remaking the film under his newly formed production-distribution company, American Artists Associates, and hinted that it would star Dustin Hoffman. That film was never made. In May 1971, Zimbalist was in discussions with UA about reissuing the film but nothing came of that either. Zimbalist died in 1975, and the rights to BABY FACE NELSON presumably became part of his estate. But his son, Donald R. Zimbalist, a frequent collaborator, died in 2004.

The film has been posted to YouTube:

 Posted:   Apr 7, 2014 - 2:02 PM   
 By:   Gary S.   (Member)

I saw Mickey Rooney in at least 2 shows back in the 1970s. He played Captain Andy in Showboat, played the Robert Morse part in Sugar (costarring Ken Berry and Elaine Joyce). I'm fairly certain that I saw him in a touring company of George M. I enjoyed him in everything from his early movies to what had to be two of his last gigs in Night at the Museum and The Muppets. It does appear that he did film scenes for the upcoming Night in the Museum 3. Looking forward to see that. He will be missed.

 Posted:   Apr 7, 2014 - 2:19 PM   
 By:   Mr. Marshall   (Member)

THE BLACK STALLION earns him my eternal affection

 Posted:   Apr 7, 2014 - 4:06 PM   
 By:   Mark R. Y.   (Member)

R.I.P. Mickey - aka Dingy Bell. The cast of "It's a MMMM World" shrinks ever further, alas.

And definitely about time I start exploring more of his MGM musicals with Judy.

 Posted:   Apr 7, 2014 - 4:54 PM   
 By:   filmusicnow   (Member)

I have always wondered why THE BOLD AND THE BRAVE has never shown up on Turner Classics as it IS an RKO release. Nobody seems to run this one anymore. The last time I remember seeing it on TV was in the early to mid '60's on local TV in Chicago.

I remember it for the great crap game sequence, the genuine pathos of Rooney's death scene, and a pretty decent score by Herschel Burke Gilbert.

The score by Gilbert nearly got an Oscar nomination.

 Posted:   Apr 7, 2014 - 4:57 PM   
 By:   filmusicnow   (Member)

And there's what I consider an underrated film, "24 Hours To Kill", which was filmed in Lebanon, and costarred Lex Barker. This film was on poor quality public domain D.V.D.s, and finally got a D.V.D.-R. release from the Warner Archive Collection. Rooney's great in this film, and I love "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World"! R.I.P. Mickey, you were one of a kind.

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