richard burton

YMRT #24: Mia Farrow in the 1960s, Part Two: Mia and Dory by Karina Longworth

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In our last episode. we learned about Mia Farrow’s transition from Catholic school girl to wife of Frank Sinatra, and her breakout role in Rosemary’s Baby, which cost her her first marriage. This episode, while continuing the story of Mia Farrow’s life and career in the 1960s, is a little different. We’ll trace Mia’s flight to India, her time studying transcendental meditation with the Beatles, and the production of two of her most interesting movies, Secret Ceremony and John and Mary. It was whilst shooting the latter film that Mia fell in love with Andre Previn, who was married at the time to lyricist DoryPrevin — whose story will guide the second half of this episode. A schizophrenic pill addict who was afraid to fly, DoryPrevin tried, and failed, to fly to London to stop her husband from leaving her for Mia. Instead, Dory wrote a song about it — and touched off a new career as a groundbreaking autobiographical singer-songwriter.

Show notes!

Once again, special thanks are owed to Amy Nicholson of the LA Weekly and The Canon podcast, who played Mia Farrow. 

If you haven’t listened to part one of this episode, please do! All of the sources used last time were relevant this time, but this episode is heavily indebted to DoryPrevin’s two autobiographies, Midnight Baby (the super crazy, jazz poetry version of her bad childhood), and Bog-trotter (the much more lucid account of her adult life, with lyrics). Both are out of print, but if you can find them used, they’re great, particularly Bog-trotter. Also, any of Dory’s music that you can get your hands on is incredibly worthy. In addition, this episode references the following articles: 

“I’m Insane,” says DoryPrevin PEOPLE, January 17, 1977

“An interview with DoryPrevin” Croydon Municipal

“DoryPrevin, Songwriter, Is Dead at 86” New York Times, February 14, 2012

See also these two radio interviews (the BBC clip is excerpted in the episode):

Bernadette Cahill interview, 2005

DoryPrevin BBC interview

Discography:

Sun King by The Beatles

This Protector by The White Stripes

Blue Jay Way by The Beatles

Goodbye Charlie by Dory and Andre Previn, performed by Bobby Darin

Dear Prudence by The Beatles

Calabash by Co.fee

Quasi Motion by Kevin MacLeod

Back in the USSR by TheBeatles

Lady Jane by The Rolling Stones

Holy Thursday by David Axelrod

Cylinder One by Chris Zabriskie

Whole Lotta Love performed by Ike and Tina Turner

In Pompei by Joan of Arc

Bobby’s Dream by Ralph Burns

Theme From Valley of the Dolls by Dory and Andre Previn, performed by Dionne Warwick

For Better or Worse by Kai Engel

Benbient by Canton

Once Tomorrow (instrumental version) by Josh Woodward

Undercover Vampire Policeman by Chris Zabriskie

I am a Man Who Will Fight For Your Honor by Chris Zabriskie

Mary C Brown and the Hollywood Sign by DoryPrevin, performed by Kate Dimbleby and Naadia Sheriff

Exlibris by Kosta T

How’m I Gonna Get Myself Together by DoryPrevin

live recording of Mary C, Brown and the Hollywood Sign, performed by DoryPrevin

YMRT #20: LIZ <3 MONTY by Karina Longworth

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Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift were best friends and co-stars in three films. The first, A Place in the Sun, is an undisputed classic which captures both stars at the peak of their talents and physical beauty. The shoot of the second, Raintree County, was interrupted by a horrible car accident in which Clift’s face was disfigured. This episode tracks Taylor’s relationship with the troubled Clift, from their first, studio-setup date through his untimely death — the result of what some have called “Hollywood’s slowest suicide.”

Show Notes!

Almost all biographical writing on Montgomery Clift seems to be indebted to Patricia Bosworth’s 1978 doorstop Montgomery Clift, which is the source of most of the quotes in this episode. Unfortunately, the countless Elizabeth Taylor biographies are mostly redundant, and the more recent they are, the more they seem to recycle old stories without new information or insight. My current favorite book about Taylor is Furious Love, by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger, which tracks her relationship with Richard Burton, and thus was only useful for a small portion of this podcast. In researching this episode I consultedHow to Be a Movie Star by William J. Mann, Who’s Afraid of Elizabeth Taylor by Brenda Maddox, and Elizabeth Taylor: An Informal Memoir by Elizabeth Taylor, Bring in the Peacocks, or Memoirs of a Hollywood Producer by Hank Moonjean, and Who the Hell’s In It by Peter Bogdanovich.

There are pictures of Clift and Taylor on the sets of both A Place in the Sun (including the contact sheet featuring the photo at the top of this post) and Raintree County in my book, Hollywood Frame by Frame

Special thanks to Kent Kincannon, who played Montgomery Clift. 

At the end of this episode, there’s an excerpt from the Clash song “The Right Profile.” I don’t know much about the writing of the song, although I’ve read it was inspired by Bosworth’s biography, and the song essentially summarizes the book. For awhile, Julie Delpy was planning to direct a biopic about Strummer named after the song, although that looks like it has fallen apart. I’ve thought about doing an episode about Joe Strummer and/in Hollywood at some point in the future, but my sense from doing a small amount of research is that it might be a difficult subject, and that I would need to find an expert to help. Anyone know anyone?

Discography:

“American” by Lana Del Rey

“Burning Desire” by Lana Del Rey

“Au coin de la rue” by Marco Raaphorst

“I Only Have Eyes For You” performed by The Flamingos

“I Am A Man Who Will Fight For Your Honor” by Chris Zabriskie

“Dances and Dames” by Kevin MacLeod

“Out of the Skies, Under the Earth” by Chris Zabriskie

“Wonder Cycle” by Chris Zabriskie

“Off to Osaka” by Kevin MacLeod

“Dance of the Stargazer” performed by U.S. Army Blues

“Prelude No. 21” by Chris Zabriskie

“I Trust a Littler of Kittens Still Keeps The Colloseum” by Joan of Arc

“For Better or Worse” by Kai Engel

“Exlibris” by Kosta T

“Melancholy Aftersounds” by Kai Engel

“The Wrong Way” by Jahzzar

“Gymnopedie No. 2” by Eric Satie, performed by Kevin MacLeod

“The Right Profile” by The Clash