Saturday, July 27, 2019

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood's Death Ripple

In a year filled with several significant 50th anniversaries ~ of the Moon Landing, of the Woodstock music festival, of the Beatles' last performance, of the battle of Hamburger Hill in Vietnam, of the Stonewall riots in New York City ~ another one is the series of killings carried out by the Manson Family on August 8-9, 1969.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (stylized Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood) is a 2019 comedy-drama film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, which involves, of sorts, the timeline and people of the Manson Family killings in Los Angeles 1969.

These were the days of hippies and Hollywood stars and rock stars. Sometimes they overlapped. Especially in 1969.

Jack Nicholson, Dennis Hopper, and Michelle Phillips.

Leading up to the film opening, the release date was changed from August 9, 2019 to July 26, 2019. The August date, of course, would had been the 50th anniversary of the actual Tate murders (which began with the invasion of the residence on the 8th but occurred on the 9th).

July 26th is the birthday of Mick Jagger, Stanley Kubrick, Aldous Huxley and Carl Jung. July 26th is the birthday of actors Helen Mirren, Sandra Bullock, Olivia Williams, and Kate Beckinsale.

Before the movie was released, some characters involved in the film passed away.

Charles Manson and Damon Herriman

Charles Manson died on November 19, 2017, from cardiac arrest resulting from respiratory failure and colon cancer.

Burt Reynolds and George Spahn. Spahn died September 22, 1974, at 85.

Bruce Dern and Burt Reynolds
Burton Leon Reynolds Jr. was born February 11, 1936, in Lansing, Michigan. Reynolds died of a heart attack at the Jupiter Medical Center in Jupiter, Florida, on September 6, 2018, at the age of 82. In May 2018, he joined the cast for Quentin Tarantino's film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood as George Spahn (an eighty year old blind man who rented out his ranch to Charles Manson), but he died before shooting his scenes, and was later replaced by Bruce Dern. Reynolds' body was cremated at the Gold Coast Crematory in Florida.

Luke Perry (born October 11, 1966), who played Scott Lancer (read "Wayne Maunder") in the Tarantino film, died. Perry had a massive stroke at his home in Sherman Oaks, California, on February 27, 2019. Five days later on March 4, he died of complications from it. He was 52 years old. (See the CNN obit here.)

Wayne Maunder, the star of 1960s TV Westerns who inspired the Luke Perry character in Quentin Tarantino’s film, died of cardiovascular disease November 11, 2018, in Battleboro, Vt., a Vermont Department of Health spokesperson confirmed to Variety. He was 80.

The 1960s-1970s real-life actor Wayne Maunder lived next door to Sharon Tate

Maunder was born December 19, 1937, in New Brunswick, Canada, and was raised in Bangor, Maine. Following high school, he had stretches in the U.S. Navy and tryouts for baseball teams like the Milwaukee Braves and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Later, Maunder caught the acting bug and studied under Stella Adler in New York City.

In Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, the relationship between actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double/best friend Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) is directly modeled on the friendship between Burt Reynolds and stuntman-turned-director Hal Needham, both of whom are now deceased.

Quentin Tarantino has called this film his "love letter to Hollywood," the old Hollywood, the glory days, the star systems that giveth and taketh away.

There are stars, stories of stars, and fictions of stars in this film. It is a motion picture of actors, acting and not acting, growing old, and hippies. How many of these faces will die, sooner than later?

Steve McQueen, Bruce Lee, and Fumio Demura.

Auburn, Maine, native Breanna Wing, Edward Little High School graduate of 2007, where she played field hockey, lacrosse and acted in the drama club, plays the hitchhiker Cheyenne who Sharon Tate (Maggie Robbie) picks up in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.
movie Manson Family hippies
the real Manson Family

Tate Killers: Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, and Patricia Krenwinkel.

Sharon Tate and Nancy Kwan training with Bruce Lee.

Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski

Sharon Tate and the other targets of the Manson family -- Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger, and Wojciech Frykowski -- depicted here are obviously all real people, as were Manson himself and his followers Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, and Patricia Krenwinkel, and Linda Kasabian, the latter of whom became a cooperating witness at trial but is shown in the movie as fleeing before the crimes begin. (Ditto Dakota Fanning as Manson follower Squeaky Fromme.) Obviously, the fates of all the aforementioned people differ greatly in real life than what transpired in the film.
Unless you’re brand new to the planet Earth, yes, Bruce Lee was a real guy, the greatest martial artist-star of his time (arguably, of all time). Lee is depicted in the film, by Mike Moh, during his time starring as Kato on The Green Hornet. And, yes, he really did train Sharon Tate in karate when she was co-starring in the Dean Martin spy spoof The Wrecking Crew.
Homeland’s Damian Lewis plays Steve McQueen in one scene set at the Playboy Mansion. McQueen, like Rick Dalton, began as the star of a TV western about a bounty hunter — Wanted: Dead or Alive —before he became a movie star and pop culture icon thanks to films like The Magnificent Seven, Bullitt, and The Great Escape, which Rick fantasizes about starring in instead of McQueen at one point.
Timothy Olyphant and the late Luke Perry also play real people in the movie. Yes, Lancer was a real TV series and the actors they play — James Stacey and Wayne Maunder — were real. The last shot we see of Olyphant in the film, driving off on his motorcycle, is also a harbinger of the tragic fate that lay in store for Stacey (he lost two limbs and his girlfriend was killed in a motorcycle accident when they were hit by a drunk driver).
Also real? The TV series The FBI that Rick films a guest spot on as the bad guy of the week.
The Mamas and Papas’ Michelle Phillips and Mama Cass pop up during the Playboy Mansion scene.
With his silver mane and oversized glasses, Al Pacino's Marvin Schwarzs appears to be patterned after legendary Hollywood talent agent Lew Wasserman. Source.

Quentin Tarantino celebrates Hollywood with the people and the music, in many ways like Peyton Reed  did with the technicolor of Hollywood in Down With Love.

Tarantino did his homework. I thoroughly enjoyed Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. But I do predict, in addition to those connected to the film who are deceased, a few more people will soon die in the wake of this film. There is a feeling with this movie of a "death ripple."

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