Friday, October 1, 2010

Sweet Smell of Success, Tony Curtis R.I.P.

Hollywood actor Tony Curtis has passed away. I mention this because of at least two connections I feel in common with the actor. First, has to do with the book turned film, Sweet Smell of Success. Second, the guy liked to paint. I strongly connect with people who make a living doing something else, but feel a need or desire to get into the studio with pigments and brushes and large empty surfaces.

Curtis' role in Sweet Smell of Success as conscienceless sleazeball press agent Sidney Falco in the service of J.J. Hunsecker (played by Burt Lancaster), the most powerful newspaper columnist in New York, is a must see film for people playing the public relations game. Both the book and film do a superb job of showing how playing ugly games with peoples' lives turns the cynical manipulators into ugly creatures themselves. This dark film sizzles with great lines. And Curtis, whose cynical motives are completely transparent to the viewer, can't see himself as he really is. Being in public relations myself, reminds me from time to time of the importance of integrity in this field.

Tony Curtis is also remembered for an early role with Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe in which to two guys dress in drag, a not uncommon Hollywood theme (a la Tootsie, Mrs. Doubtfire) that creates opportunities for quirky comedic outcomes. Anecdotally, it is said that Ms. Monroe was perpetually late getting to the set for each shot and Curtis really disliked her. Once, when we was asked what it was like to kiss Marilyn Monroe, he said, "It was like kissing Hitler."

But it's his paintings which I find especially interesting. The red fox above, called Diablo, will be on display at the Goldenstein Gallery in Sedona, AZ, in about a week. While in Sedona last year we visited a number of art galleries. The Goldenstein Gallery had some paintings which made an impression on me. It was also an environment where I felt my work would feel at home, which is not always the case. If nothing else, it shows how small the world is because Tony Curtis' paintings will be "at home" there October 7-11. Unfortunately, though it was planned for him to be there at the reception, he will have to attend in spirit only.

Click here to see more of Curtis' work. Be sure to stop and smell the flowers.


Adee said...

when an artist passes away, some bit of him starts living in his works.

till the time he was living, he was this other self, roaming around the streets of this world, but now that he is dead, his works take an inner glow, as if they hold some bits of his soul... shining from behind the canvas and the frame, in a soft, translucent glow.

ENNYMAN said...

Maybe this is what makes artists' works more valuable after they die.

Adee said...