Category Archives: The Wit and Wisdom of Hollywood

The Political Wisdom of Preston Sturges

Tweet Preston Sturges wrote and directed The Great McGinty, 1940, a political satire that, seen today, is astonishingly accurate in its depiction of big city politics and the corruption and self-interest of politicians who claim to serve the interests of “the little people.” Though the film is carefully non-partisan, depicting all politicians as crooked, one […]

Also posted in Hollywood, Movies, Obama Watch, Preston Sturges | Tagged , , | 15 Responses

The Wisdom of Hollywood Screenwriters

Tweet From where do we draw wisdom? First and foremost, Seraphic Secret relies on Torah, on the lessons of 3,000 years of Jewish history and the common sense advice of my wife Karen. And then there are the movies, a moral landscape of immeasurable power where searing images and razor-sharp dialogue deliver lessons in human […]

Also posted in Hollywood, Screenwriting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Responses

Not the Girl Next Door

Tweet A great deal has been written about the Hollywood glamour machine that flourished between the mid 1920’s and the late 30’s. But perhaps the most articulate—if somewhat caustic—meditation on Hollywood and glamour was made by Joan Crawford, a woman who worked harder at the business of stardom than most any other star of Hollywood’s […]

Also posted in Hollywood | Tagged , | 7 Responses

Ava Gardner Critiques Screen Test

Tweet Ava Gardner in The Killers, 1946, her first starring role. “After my screen test, the director clapped his hands gleefully and yelled: “She can’t talk! She can’t act! She’s sensational!” —Ava Gardner Here’s a clip from The Killers. At about the three minute mark, Ava sinks her hooks into Burt Lancaster. And at the […]

Posted in The Wit and Wisdom of Hollywood | 3 Responses

Act of G-d Hollywood Style

Tweet Phyllis Haver After graduating high school in Los Angeles, Phyllis Haver (January 6, 1899 – November 19, 1960) born Phyllis O’Haver, earned a living as a silent movie theater pianist. On a whim, Haver auditoned at the Mack Sennet studios and was cast as one of the original bathing beauties. During the early 20’s, […]

Posted in The Wit and Wisdom of Hollywood | 9 Responses

Ava Gardner Reflects on Ava Gardner

Tweet Ava Gardner in The Killers, 1946. This might be my favorite quote from a Hollywood star: “Deep down, I’m pretty superficial.” Born to a poor cotton and tobacco farmer in North Carolina, Ava Gardner (1922-1990) was the youngest of seven children. She didn’t wear shoes until she was about 13 years-old. She regularly attended […]

Posted in The Wit and Wisdom of Hollywood | 14 Responses

Everything I Know About Screenwriting

Tweet Movies are just like real life—except the boring parts are deleted. So too with dialogue. The best movie dialogue is spare, laced with subtext, and comes at an unusual angle that rolls over the audience like a smooth wave. Jean Harlow in Beast of the City, 1932. In Beast of the City, 1932, Jean […]

Posted in The Wit and Wisdom of Hollywood | 16 Responses

A Woman’s Career

Tweet Anne Baxter, Bette Davis, Marilyn Monroe and George Sanders in All About Eve. One of the most well observed and cynical movies about actors and acting is Joseph Mankiewicz’s All About Eve, 1950. Bette Davis plays Margo Channing, an aging Broadway star whose personal life and career are jeopardized by the treacherous Eve Harrington, […]

Posted in The Wit and Wisdom of Hollywood | 7 Responses

Ginger Rogers is Not Looking at You

Tweet Who says tinsel town is a sinkhole of shallow narcissists? In our never ending attempt to paint an accurate portrait of this thing called Hollywood, Seraphic Secret unveils The Wit and Wisdom of Hollywood, a new feature. “When two people love each other, they don’t look at each other, they look in the same […]

Posted in The Wit and Wisdom of Hollywood | 8 Responses
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  • Annual Ariel Avrech
    Memorial Lectures

    Young Israel of Century City
    Eleventh: June 8, 2014
    Michael Medved: "Shifting Alliances: Why Liberals No Longer Reliably Support Israel — And Conservatives Do." Blog Post | Audio (mp3 97MB)
    Tenth: June 9, 2013
    David Horowitz: "The War Against Judaism on the University Campus." Blog Post | Audio (mp3 16MB)
    Ninth: June 3, 2012
    Joel B. Pollak: "The Mainstream Media's Betrayal of Israel." Blog Post | Audio (mp3 15MB)
    Eighth: June 5, 2011
    Yossi Klein Halevi: "What is Expected of a Survivor People: Lessons My Father Taught Me." Blog Post | Audio (mp3 18MB)
    Seventh: June 13, 2010
    Dennis Prager: "Happiness is a Mitzvah, Not an Emotion." Blog Post | Audio (mp3 80MB)
    Sixth: June 21, 2009
    Rabbi Steven Pruzansky: "Conformity in Jewish Life: Vice, Virtue or Affectation?" Blog Post | Audio (mp3 64MB)
    Fifth: June 15, 2008
    Rabbi Dr. Gil S. Perl: "What Was the Rosh Yeshiva Reading: Intellectual Openness in 19th Century Lithuania." Blog Post | Audio (mp3 70MB)
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