Monday, July 20, 2020

INSIDE DAISY CLOVER and how Robert Redford should rot in hell

Does this sound right to you -- it does not to me:

A child star's career goes on the slides as she gets older.


That is the TCM description, at HULU, of the Natalie Wood film that aired today.

That is not the movie.  I have watched that movie over a hundred times and that is not the movie.

Her career is going fine -- and I question the 'child star' because she is a teenager when she signs her contract.  Her career is going fine, it is her personal life that is a nightmare.  Her mother (Ruth Gordon) has been put away in a home, Daisy frees her and then her mother dies.  Daisy has already seen her marriage collapse and now she loses it.  The head of the studio tells her she has to complete the film she is contracted for, none of that is about her career being on the slides because it is not.

If you do not believe me, here is WIKIPEDIA:

In 1936 Santa Monica, Daisy Clover is a tomboy, living with her eccentric mother in a ramshackle trailer. Wishing to become an actress, Daisy submits a recorded song to studio owner Raymond Swan.

Swan puts her under contract for five years and makes arrangements to hide her mother away in a mental institution. Daisy meets and spends time with fellow actor Wade Lewis. Raymond fears that the romance will interrupt Daisy's job. Wade asks Daisy to marry him. She agrees and the ceremony is held at Raymond's house. During the honeymoon, Wade drives off and leaves Daisy in Arizona. When Daisy returns to California, an extremely intoxicated Melora Swan (Raymond's wife) reveals to her that she had an affair with the closet homosexual Wade. Raymond tells Daisy about Wade's orientation, as he'd informed Melora. Raymond and Daisy begin an affair.

Daisy takes her mother out of the care home and spirits her away to a house on the beach. When her mother unexpectedly dies, Daisy suffers a nervous breakdown. Unable to work, she spends her days at home under the care of a private nurse. Becoming impatient with Daisy's long recovery, Raymond tells her she must finish her contract and pending film. After Raymond and the nurse leave the house, Daisy attempts suicide, only to be foiled by constant interruptions. She ultimately decides to live and leave everything behind. Before leaving, she turns on the oven's gas which causes the house to catch fire and explode.

In California in 1936, Daisy Clover, a rebellious 15-year-old, lives with her mother whom she calls "The Dealer" because of her passion for playing solitaire. Daisy, who likes to sing, makes a recording of her voice and sends it to Hollywood studio head Raymond Swan, who gives Daisy a screen test and then a contract. Daisy's sister, Gloria, connives with her husband and Swan to have "The Dealer" committed to a sanitarium and herself appointed Daisy's guardian. At Swan's party to introduce Daisy to Hollywood, she meets screen idol Wade Lewis and then spends the night with him; and she does so again after the premiere of her film. When Daisy and Wade are summoned to Swan's office to explain their behavior, Wade announces his intention to marry Daisy. They wed, but when Daisy awakens on the first morning of their honeymoon, Wade is gone. She returns to Hollywood, where Melora, Swan's wife, tells Daisy that Wade prefers men to women. Heartbroken, Daisy takes "The Dealer" out of the sanitarium and brings her to live with her at a beachhouse, but "The Dealer" dies shortly thereafter. Daisy, working on a film, has a breakdown at the studio. She becomes a recluse at her beachhouse, refusing to speak to anyone, and makes an abortive suicide attempt. She leaves the house, the gas still on and a flame under the coffee, and the house blows up as she walks down the beach. Daisy is a has-been at 17, but she has made up her mind to fight back.

15 to 17?  Yet it is about "A child star's career goes on the slides as she gets older"?  Two years?

Natalie is excellent in the movie.  It makes me hate Robert Redford.  Because he plays Wade?  How about because he signed onto play Wade who is gay but after signing on demanded Wade is bisexual.  What a coward.  It is like in BRUBAKER where he is a prisoner and slips the guard money so he will not have to get the prison hair cut.  Why?  Because Robert Redford refused to cut his hair.

But the real reason I hate him -- and I now despise Robert Redford with a passion -- is because of C.I.

Something big happened on that front this year.  Mr. Redford finally got a little honest.

C.I. was friends with Natalie.  And when Mr. Redford was trying to go to town in the '00s on his friendship -- 'friendship' -- with Natalie, C.I. told tales out of school.  She explained that Natalie got Robert Redford hired for INSIDE DAISY CLOVER.  And he was still a nothing at the movies.  She then got him hired for her film THIS PROPERTY CONDEMNED and, when he asked her to, she got his friend Sydney Pollack hired on as director.  

In 1967, with Jane Fonda's BAREFOOT IN THE PARK, Mr. Redford finally had a hit film.  In 1972, he needed Natalie to do a cameo in his awful film THE CANDIDATE.  It is one of the reasons WARNER BROTHERS agreed to do the film.  Natalie was scaling back work at the time but, for her friend, she agreed to do the film.

So it is a few years later, as C.I. explained -- no one ever talked about this or wrote about before C.I. did -- and Natalie is ready to return to work and she picks some misfires.  She needs a hit.  Syndey Pollack and Robert Redford are about to make a romantic comedy, the female lead is a reporter.  Natalie begs her two friends for the role.  Nope.  They are going with Jane Fonda.  Okay, well BRUBAKER, it does not have a big role for a woman but how about she plays that.  Nope.  Mr. Redford wants Jane Alexander.  Okay, what about Beth in ORDINARY PEOPLE?

No, Mr. Redford tells his 'friend' Natalie, he sees Mary Tyler Moore in that role.

She got him two film roles, gave his friend a major motion picture to direct, and she did a cameo in his lousy 1972 film that would not have had financing from WARNER BROTHERS if Natalie had not done the cameo.  The studio thought the film would stiff, said it was dull, and that is when Mr. Redford declared he could get Natalie to appear in it.  At that point, Natalie, who was Queen of WARNER BROTHERS in the sixties, had not worked since 1969 (the smash hit BOB, CAROL, TED AND ALICE).  Every time he needed her, Natalie delivered.

But when she was an actress of a 'certain age,' who had returned to film after raising a family, he would not do a damn thing for her.

And C.I. told this story over and over and over.  

If you missed it, this year, Mr. Redford finally got a little honest and admitted that Natalie had asked for the role of Beth in ORDINARY PEOPLE (which Mr. Redford directed) and that he told her no.

Some friend.

When he was a stage actor desperate for a break, it was Natalie who delivered for him -- not once, but twice.  And she ever got his friend hired on as a director.  When WARNER BROTHERS was not interested in a dull, political film, he told them he could get Natalie to appear in it and that is how he got the film green lit.  He used her repeatedly.

And when she needed him?  He refused to help her.  Three films that he could have given her a role on and he refused three times.

And that bastard has the nerve to claim to be Natalie Wood's friend?

Hey, Robert Redford, how about you rot in hell and take that nasty, fake wig you wear down there with you?

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:

Monday, July 20, 2020.  Iraq's struggles with coronavirus, the media struggles with Kanye West.

Starting in the United States where a presidential election is set to take place in November.  Rapper, designer and influencer Kanye West held his first rally from South Carolina.

REUTERS seems unable/unwilling to let Kanye speak.  Why is that?  They offer a sentence here and a sentence there.  Is there a reason for that?  Does REUTERS think this passes for 'reporting'?

By contrast, THE GUARDIAN lets him speak.

THE WASHINGTON POST slams him as "woefully ignorant."  We don't link to garbage.  In his remarks, he said,  "Harriet Tubman never actually freed slaves, she just had the slaves go work for other White people."  Do I agree with his opinion?  No.  But he's entitled to his opinion and an argument can be made that he's right.  These are not new positions from Kanye.  I think it's really amazing -- and entitled -- of the White institution that is THE WASHINGTON POST to trash an African-American as uninformed when, in fact, they are informed but they express a different opinion.  We're looking at the same facts -- Kanye and the rest of us -- we're not disagreeing over facts.  We're disagreeing over outcomes and, in Kanye's opinion, Tubman's outcomes weren't as wonderful as some people feel they were.  It's amazing that the same press that attacked Malcolm X and others back in the day hasn't learned a damn thing about how their view of society is not the only view there is.

He's entitled to his view and, more to the point, his view should be heard and discussed.  Not slammed, not shut down.  Discussed.  Addressed.  CELEBRITY LIFE has already tried to shut him down.  Maybe CELEBRITY LIFE should stick to gossip -- it seems what they're best suited for.  

I see Harriet Tubman as heroic, someone who risked so much to see that others could escape slavery.  But if Kanye wants to argue that she just led them into another form of slavery, let's have that debate.  And, certainly, facts would be more on his side than mine.  Look at house ownership figures, look at poverty, look at prison figures, exactly where did the freedom land exist because I do get Kanye's point.  I don't agree with him -- that doesn't mean he's wrong -- but I do get his point. 

I would further add that Harriet couldn't change a landscape.  She worked in the reality she lived and she did what she could.  Her actions were heroic.  But, yes, I do get the point Kanye's making.

It must be so nice to be a so-called 'reporter' for an outlet that lets you sneer at someone and lie about them.  It must be so nice to say what you really think -- as ugly as it is.  I'm guessing that many people who read these attacks on Kanye will be able to do the math and grasp that if the same 'reporters' could write about them, they'd be attacking them too.  They don't just sneer at Kanye, they sneer at everyone. 

And, for the record, his crying really isn't a 'bad' thing -- no matter how hard the media tries to pimp it as such.  Nor is he crying that he was almost aborted.  He is crying about his mother.  He cries about his mother, that's nothing new.  He misses her and he still loves her.  You can try to spin that into bad if you're a cheap whore whose outlet allows you to lie but most people aren't going to be bothered that he gets sad because he misses his mother.  Why does he miss his mother?  Because she was always in his corner, she was always there for him.  That's why he's crying when he discusses her and maybe liars in the press should just stop talking and stop typing.

ELECTION CENTER looks at some of the other candidates running for president. 

INTERNATIONAL SOCIALISM interviews Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins.  Here's an excerpt:

We’re talking on a day when the U.S. set a record another 50,000 cases of the virus, and in the middle of this huge uprising for racial justice. Can you tell me how your campaign fits into all of that and what are the main issues you are running on?

The coronavirus pandemic has revealed to anyone who cares to look that the two governing parties in this country are presiding over a failed state. You know Trump gave up on COVID. He’s a loser, now he’s running around like Typhoid Mary, making his own people sick at these super-spreader rallies. And he’s losing support among his own people, he’s sinking like a rock in the polls.

But then, where the hell is Biden? I mean Biden is in commuter distance from the White House press corps. He could convene a press conference and beat the hell out of Trump for failing to set up a test, contact trace, and quarantine the infected program like every other organized society around the world has done to suppress the virus. It’s a total disaster and when you think that Joe Biden, what is he the champion of? What does he stand for? He’s basically invisible when he could also be beating Trump up on this mail-in ballot thing—it’s obvious voter suppression. How the hell are we going to have a credible election when it’s not clear that people can even get to vote?

Not just because they don’t have a mail-in ballot but because they don’t have enough polling workers to have enough polling places so people can go vote in person, which is maybe not good for public health. There’s a big vacuum, so I think that’s an opportunity for the independent left and our ticket to get a big vote and make some statements about the issues we’re talking about. The coronavirus test, trace, and quarantine program, protections for people’s income, housing, health care, jobs. [They’ve] done a little bit of those, but it’s a token.

I wonder if the Republicans aren’t trying to throw the election because they’re waiting until after the Fourth of July recess to even think about what the next relief package might be. The economy is plunging into a hole. That’s one emergency. And then with the uprising against police brutality and racism—the pandemic, that’s centuries old, of racism—is now something people of color have understood, but a lot of white people see it in living color on their TV screens, and they’re angry about it. They’re mad, they say that’s wrong. Plus, they’ve got their own grievances. A lot of them have lost their jobs, a lot of people are dying in this pandemic, the government’s not responding.

Like the rest of the world, Iraq is dealing with the cornavirus pandemic.  Yesterday, Halgurd Sherwani (KURDISTAN 24) reported that the Ministry of Health and Environment announced 23,10 new infections "bringing the total number of cases to 92,530 since the outbreak of the disease.  The ministry also reported in a statement 90 deaths due to the coronavirus and 2,036 recoveries over the past 24 hours."  Despite these large numbers, remember the CIA estimates Iraq's population to be less than 40 million (there hasn't been a census in Iraq in decades), the government is easing restrictions.  Sinan Mahmoud (THE NATIONAL) reports:

Iraqis poured into streets and commercial areas on Sunday as authorities relaxed coronavirus restrictions despite calls to reconsider the move amid surging cases and fatalities.

The decision, approved on Thursday by Iraq’s Higher Committee for Health and Public Safety, seeks to ease growing pressure on the economy and restore some sense of normality.

Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc in Iraq and shows no signs of abating despite orders to stay at home and other protective measures imposed since mid-March.

The lockdown has harmed the country’s private sector, fuelling anti-government sentiment.

The committee said easing restrictions was aimed at “revitalising the commercial activities in the country and to ease the burden on the workers". 

The Iraqi Health Minister Hassan al-Tamimi Sunday vowed to apply strict measures against the violators of the health restrictions after the health authorities decided earlier to ease some restrictions.

"Health and awareness teams from the Health Ministry will follow up the implementation of preventive measures during easing of the restrictions approved by the Higher Committee for Health and National Safety, and there will be strict measures against those who violate these decisions," al-Tamimi said in a press release.

Movie camera
Stop sign
In #Iraq protesters were seen facing off with police in #Hilla, as people demonstrated against the local government and its handling of the #coronavirus pandemic, on Sunday.
6:08 AM · Jul 20, 2020

On protests in Iraq,  Rachel Taylor Tweets:

President Barham Salih has condemned the recent attacks on protesters and journalists and urged security forces to preserve the rights of Iraqis. Violent anti-government protests have erupted in Baghdad and other cities since Tuesday #Baghdad #ViolentProtests #BarhamSalih #Iraq
2:52 AM · Jul 20, 2020

We'll close with this from Human Rights Watch:

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is preventing about 1,200 Arab families from returning home to 5 villages more than 6 years after the area was retaken from the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), Human Rights Watch said today. KRG authorities have allowed Kurdish residents in neighboring villages, in the Rabia subdistrict, west of Dohuk, to return.

“Kurdish authorities are preventing thousands of Arab villagers from returning home without any lawful reason,” said Belkis Wille, senior crisis and conflict researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The fact that the KRG has permitted neighboring Kurdish villagers to go back suggests that the Arabs are being blocked as punishment.”

From November 2019 to June 2020, Human Rights Watch interviewed a resident for each of five villages – Jidria, Mahmoudia, Qahira, Suadia, and Sufiya – where ISIS briefly took control on August 3, 2014. The Peshmerga, the KRG security forces, re-took control within days. All five residents said that the Peshmerga continue to control the area and have prevented their return. They estimated that 1,200 families have been prevented from returning to the 5 villages.

The Mahmoudia resident said that the village’s roughly 300 families, all Arab, fled the fighting between ISIS and Peshmerga forces. He said they fled first to the town of Rabia and on to Mosul, also then under ISIS control. Most returned to the area in 2016 and most to Rabia, which was under KRG control at the time. He said that at that point, the Peshmerga allowed them to farm their lands unhindered but did not allow them to move back to Mahmoudia or even visit.

On September 25, 2017, despite the opposition of the federal Iraqi government and most of the international community, the KRG held a non-binding referendum on independence in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq as well as in disputed territories under KRG de facto control, including the Rabia subdistrict. After the referendum passed, the federal Iraqi government demanded that Kurdish authorities nullify the referendum results and withdraw from parts of the so-called disputed territories.

Fighting broke out between the Peshmerga and Iraqi Security Forces in October 2017 and the Peshmerga erected a berm roughly one kilometer south of Mahmoudia. The Mahmoudia resident said he and other villagers lost access their land at that point, because the Iraqi forces took over the town of Rabia, where they were living. He and the residents of the other villages said that since then, the only way for people to cross the berm is through a checkpoint just outside of Mahmoudia.

The residents said that the Peshmerga at the checkpoint have refused to let them through on numerous occasions since October 2017, with one saying he has only been able to cross by saying he was visiting Kurdish villager friends. He said that since March 2020, the checkpoint has been closed because of Covid-19.

The Jidria resident said that when ISIS took control of the village, its 25 families, all Arab, fled first to the village of Sufiya and then to Mosul. Most residents returned to Rabia town in 2016, he said. At that time the Peshmerga allowed them to farm their lands and to visit their village, but not to move back. The residents said they had found their homes looted. After the Peshmerga erected the berm, he said, Jidria villagers have been unable to access their village or land.

The Qahira resident said that after ISIS took over the village, the 75 families, all Arab, fled to various areas within Rabia subdistrict and eventually to Mosul. He said he moved into a house in Rabia town in 2016, and in July 2017, went to the Asayish security forces’ office in the village of Waleed to register his family for return, with the sponsorship of his local chief (or mukhtar). The Asayish granted his family and 10 others the right to return in late July and to about another 13 families in August, he said.

His home, like those of the other villagers, had been looted and damaged, so he invested in repairs. On October 27, 2017, he said, clashes broke out between the Peshmerga and Iraqi forces. “We all fled the village because of shelling along the front line, about seven kilometers southwest of our village,” he said. “We went [to] Rabia town and tried to return home in November [2017], but Peshmerga forces refused to let us return.”

He said that since 2015, Kurdish villagers from Rabia sub-district had taken control of the Qahira farmers’ land, which the village chief and he have protested with Asayish officials in Dohuk since 2016. In mid-2017, the chief told him the Asayish in Dohuk had ordered the Kurdish villagers to share the profits of the annual yields with the Arab landowners. After the October 2017 clashes, he said, the chief found it impossible to enforce the order until this year, when the Kurdish farmers working his land shared their profits with him.

The Suadia resident said that the 300 families, all Arab, fled to villages in the Rabia area in August 2014. In August 2017, Peshmerga forces allowed him and other families who had remained in Rabia and Zummar sub-districts to return home and, he said, about 30 families returned. “We were in the village for two months, schools reopened, and we started farming our land,” he said. “Life went back to normal.” But in October 2017, they all fled the area because of fighting. Since then, he said the Peshmerga has not allowed any of the residents to return.

The Sufiya resident said the village has a majority Arab and minority Kurdish population. He said that in August 2014, Arab residents fled to Arab villages in the area, while Kurdish families fled to Zakho. He said that he and other Arab villagers returned in 2015 upon hearing that Kurdish families had been allowed to return home, but Peshmerga forces at the checkpoint outside of Mahmoudia did not allow the Arab families to return, and he moved to Rabia town.

He said that in August 2017, Asayish officials in Waleed village allowed him and about 24 other Arab families from Sufiya to return home. He said that he returned to find his home, and all the other homes in the village, destroyed. They fled again during the October 2017 fighting. The Peshmerga let the Kurdish families return home a few weeks later, but not the Arab families.

The Qahira resident said he had heard from his village chief that in a February 2020 meeting, the Nineveh governor, Najim al-Jubouri, and Masoud Barzani agreed that the Arab villagers from Rabia sub-district should return home. But he said that had not happened.

All five men said that as of late 2017, the Peshmerga had allowed Kurdish families from neighboring villages including Waleed, Sehala, Ayn Masik, Musa Rasha (or Shibana) and Omar Khalid to return to their homes. Human Rights Watch has visited the area and confirmed the returns.

The KRG coordinator for international advocacy, Dindar Zebari, responded on July 16 to a letter about the five villages Human Rights Watch investigated. He said that the villages in question had been mostly destroyed during the process of security forces taking the area back from ISIS in 2016 and 2017, though residents all said the area had been retaken in 2014. Zebari said local community leaders said they could not return to the area because of concerns of the presence of unnamed “armed groups” and ISIS sleeper cells, Turkish airstrikes, Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) presence, and Covid-19 movement restriction. Those Human Rights Watch interviewed, however, all said they and their families were desperate to return to their homes. Zebari said that there are ongoing initiatives between the KRG and Baghdad to improve joint security mechanisms in the area and to facilitate returns.

Human Rights Watch has documented the KRG’s preventing returns of thousands of Arabs in a similar case in Hamdaniya district.

While under international law the authorities may limit individuals’ movement in conflict areas for security reasons, any restrictions need to be in accordance with national law, well-tailored to achieving its legitimate aim, proportionate, and nondiscriminatory. Such restrictions should be focused on limiting all civilian access to particular areas during periods when strictly necessary, not restricting particular groups. Under the United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, everyone has the right to be protected against being arbitrarily displaced from their home.

“KRG authorities have no justification for preventing these Arab families from returning to their villages,” Wille said. “They have the same right as Kurdish villagers to return to their land and homes.”