50 stiffs in 2010: tony curtis, 50 fantastic films: sweet smell of success
September 30, 2010, 3:46 pm
Filed under: 50 fantastic films, 50 stiffs in 2010

tony curtis, actor. born: new york city (1925 – 2010)

tony curtis, probably not appreciate by most critics as the fine actor he could often be, died today. while best known and loved for his appearance with marilyn monroe and jack lemmon in the great and acerbic director billy wilder’s comic “some like it hot”, the real highlight of his carreer came earlier, in 1957, when he played sidney falco to burt lancaster’s j.j. hunsecker in the great film noir flick “sweet smell of success”.

sweet smell of success (1957), director: alexander mackendrick, born: boston (1912 -1993)

we don’t have time to do justice to curtis’ best film but “sweet smell of success” is a hell of a good watch. it is about a gossip columnist (lancaster), based on the real and evil walter winchell, and a press agent (curtis). the film was not a success due to several reasons: one, curtis was playing against his usual pretty boy persona, and two, theaters were nervous about showing a film that so thinly disguised lancaster, who was obviously playing the powerful newsman winchell. it was a hell of a good film noir, and although both the film and curtis were not recognized for the effort upon release, it has since be re-evaluated and considered one of america’s great, although not overly well known movies. it is out on dvd, and the steller criterion collection is rumored to soon be releasing it in a restored bluray edition. check tony curtis out at his best. lancaster is no slouch in “sweet smell” either, but then he is one of america’s truly great actors. and to put it mildly, he is devastating here. rent it from netflicks tonight!


50 pictomat videos: jackson
September 28, 2010, 5:11 pm
Filed under: 50 pictomat videos


promises, promises, yah, we know. pictomat has been up to a ton ‘a tricks. music videos seem to have september written all over them, ‘cuz we just can’t quit despite all of our promises.

this is the old billy edd wheeler and jerry leiber tune, “jackson”. it has been around the block, and is one of those lucky songs that actually has two definitive versions. there is johnny cash and june carter’s take, and then the slick nancy sinatra and lee hazelwood production – both fine in their different ways. we took yet another tip from dylan and did it with a real “basement tape” sound and sounds straight outta the ozarks.

you’ll have to keep visiting and see when this little journey ends. we say each night, “that’s it!” then we find a really interesting instrumental track and can’t help ourself. by morning it is ready to post.

50 pictomat videos: valerie
September 27, 2010, 7:37 pm
Filed under: 50 pictomat videos

“valerie”, the last in a series of “the music video” project from pictomat

really, this truly is pictomat’s last music video for quite sometime. it just that a polymath such as we are,┬áprevents us from easily ending a series such as this, even though we have plenty of other stuff in the galleys.

however, our good friend, and frequent visitor to this site has long requested that pictomat smile. this video has more smile than you will see from us for a good quarter of a century. L, our friend, has also lent pictomat a skateboard so that we can use it to track earl at his level with a camera, so that his planned movie “a day in earl’s life” can give us all a little view from his perspective. we only have to hope he takes this job. we are not sure that he works for scale.

“valerie” is a british hit, and collaboration between amy winehouse and her producer ronson. the original version is a ska song written and performed by the zutons. the winehouse/ronson version is from 2007, the original zuton single came out in 2006. all of this release info pertains to the u.k. charts, where both hit the top ten. needless to say, stateside lives in a different world ruled by the warbley voices. these song are not played in this sorry country, a sorry land with no sense of musical taste or history, other than, shudder, what american idol spews out. its ugly spillover drifts to almost all american recording … we were going to say “artists”, but we can’t force ourselves to use that word, and we will spare you any profanity today.

here is for you L, a smiling video. we aim to please and beside, you lent us your son’s skateboard without telling him.

50 pictomat videos: back to roots
September 26, 2010, 1:11 pm
Filed under: 50 pictomat videos

the last pictomat music video (for now)

this little music video project is ending for now. we are waiting for some equipment to film “a day in the life of earl”. he seems to bring traffic to this site, or at least he thinks he does. but looking back on our last three videos, we decided we liked the simple, fresh sound of the holland/dozier/holland’s “bernadette”, our first attempt.

so like dylan, after the fame became too much and overcame him, he crashed a motorcycle, retired to woodstock, new york, and came back with his underproduced back to basics album “john wesley harding”. it is never a bad idea to use a dylan trick. we stepped into the studio and layed down a quick, heartfelt track written by amy winehouse.

50 pictomat videos: sympathy for pictomat
September 25, 2010, 12:01 pm
Filed under: 50 pictomat videos

symathy for pictomat

it turns out that the “heroes” single was, in fact, a double sided hit! what luck, even for you, dear readers. a mannered reading of a jagger/richards song. spin it now.

50 pictomat videos: heroes
September 24, 2010, 11:17 pm
Filed under: 50 pictomat videos

pictomat’s follow-up music video

the reviews of pictomat’s first music video, the holland/dozier/holland classic “bernadette” were fantastic across the cold atlantic – shot straight to the top-o-the-charts. not true in the u.s. somehow america’s real talent is usually unrecognized in its native land. why did josephine baker and jimi hendrix have go to paris and london? just another nutty fluke in this country’s attitude and respect for culture.

fear not, pictomat never gets lets itself get down over luke warm receptions. take a look at this entire site. no one reads it, except for a faithful few. a good friend made a comment that it is good thing pictomat has his pension bucks streaming in every month. despite comments such as that we forge on in the face of adversity. got a follow-up single, available only here at pictomat: “heroes”, the gem written by mr. david bowie. that raspy voice, get used to it – that is the savoring in the mix!

pictomat knows bowie wrote this song when he lived in a divided berlin before the wall fell, but we have always thought it could just as easily be read as a kind of gay national anthem. listen to the words, and ponder that.

the posts will be back shortly. our summer trip to the southwest and los angeles was great. now we can settle back in to things here at pictomat. expect to see a big brouhaha about “the dumbing down of american discourse caused by facebook”. can’t wait, huh?

50 self portraits
September 22, 2010, 8:56 pm
Filed under: 50 self portraits

september 22, 2010