The Cinephiles’s Corner looks at skullduggery on trains, hearts and flowers on the Seine, glam in the U.K, and heartbreak in L.A.

It’s time for another look at (relatively) recent Blu-Rays and DVDs aimed at the hardcore movie lover  — though more casual viewers looking for something beyond Hollywood’s latest mass-market offerings are certainly allowed to kibitz at the Corner as well. Today’s selections are from Hollywood, off-Hollywood, England, and France and were made mostly in the 1930s or the 1970s, though we will be looking at one from 1998 — only yesterday!

And so we begin…(after the flip, that is.)

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RIP Robert Culp

He had his biggest success on television with Bill Cosby on  “I Spy,” historic in its way as the first inter-racial buddy adventure program on TV or, for that matter, in any medium and the tongue-in-cheek superhero comedy, “The Greatest American Hero.” Nevertheless, Mr. Culp, who died unexpectedly today from a fall at age 79, also made a notable mark on films.

Costarring with his colleague and friend Cosby, he directed an attempt to translate their TV fame into movies with 1972’s “Hickey and Boggs.”  The film, which was written by a young Walter Hill, tried to go in vastly different, far grittier and grimmer direction than the TV show and failed at the box office. Recently, however, it’s been rediscovered by some cinephiles and crime film fans.

Still, a few year before that Culp appeared in one of the real cultural break-out movies of the 1960s, “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice.” For better or worse, it helped popularized, or perhaps merely capitalized, on the idea of “swinging” and “free love” among the older, married set. I haven’t seen this one either and I have no excuse other than somewhat mixed-feelings about most of writer-director Paul Mazursky’s other movies. However, in her heartfelt farewell to Culp, Cinematical’s Monika Bartyzel was kind enough to provide the lengthy, terrific clip below. This scene with Natalie Wood really shows Culp’s way with both serious and light material as he experiences a pretty broad swath of emotions in a scene that starts out as something close to straight drama and gradually eases into some pretty delightful comedy. Now, I want to see this.

  

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A Chat with Darryl Bell of “Househusbands of Hollywood”

It feels a little disingenuous for me to talking up a series which I can’t even watch in my area (Cox Communications in Hampton Roads, VA, has yet to pick up Fox Reality), but as someone who works at home and has a 4-year-old daughter, I respect the concept of “Househusbands of Hollywood” enough to do at least a little bit of promotion for it. I’ve already detailed the TCA panel about the show, but when the opportunity to sit down with one of the cast members – Darryl Bell, late of “A Different World” – became available, I couldn’t resist. In addition to his time spent on the “Cosby Show” spin-off, Bell has worked with Spike Lee and done time on a rather infamous sci-fi sitcom, but he’s still very much a working actor. He’s also the significant other of former “Cosby” kid Tempestt Bledsoe, a relationship which led him to this reality-show endeavor…and led me to my first question.

Bullz-Eye: First off, you two seem to be almost a ringer on the show. You’re not even husband and wife yet!

Darryl Bell: That is a good way to put it, Will. We are the ringers. That’s probably caused the most frequently asked questions, like, “You guys are the only couple who is not married, you’re the only ones without kids, so what are you doing here in a show called ‘Househusbands’?” The short answer to that has been Marilyn Wilson. Marilyn’s a good friend, produced Temp’s talk show. Marilyn and I have been out, pitched shows’ and tried to sell other things. We’ve worked together in that capacity. It was her assurances that we’re trying to do something that’s fun and not trying to ambush anyone or be mean spirited. “Come be a part of this, because we think you guys are hilarious.” Apparently, the more that I have even talked to other friends, they are, like, “Oh, we’ve been saying for years that you guys should have your own reality series, because you are just funny.” It just happened to come in this format. I don’t know that we would have agreed to have done this for anyone else. So, there you go.

BE: It makes it a little hard for me to ask, “Is it weird being a ‘Househusband’?”

DB: And I don’t know what that means for me, anyway, only from the standpoint that people ask me that because I’m on this show. But in terms of work-wise, it’s just like…even in the series, when Tempest was coming back from on location, shooting the film, I was going on location to shoot this show for TV One. That’s really the nature of our relationship. You know, it’s rare that we’ll both be doing something at the same time, but we’re always in this cyclical gig that is being a working actor in Hollywood. That’s just how our lives have operated. I was just saying in another interview, when Brad is off shooting a movie, Angelina isn’t always shooting one. She’s somewhere with the kids. Or when Angelina’s shooting and Brad is somewhere…? That’s just the way it works.

BE: So what kind of husbandly responsibilities do you have? I mean, do you chip in, doing the dishes or whatever when she’s not there?

DB: I mean, I can’t really call it husbandly duties. Our house is not a pigsty, but I can say that some of that is attributed to the housekeeper. You know what I mean? That helps out a lot. I can only say that when I think of that…when anything breaks, like most men, it’s, like, “Darryl, come fix it,” you know? I get that. But as a regular responsibility, that’s not me.

BE: Is there anything you do that would typically be considered a gender-specific thing, something that one would normally expect a wife to do?

DB: For us, no. For us, I guess that’s what has been so good: we have talked about not having an ego about anything. She likes to cook, so she has cooked for me, but I’ve cooked for her, you know? So from a relationship standpoint of view, I can’t say that…we don’t have any specifically defined roles, other than, as many men will find the case, she wanted pets and yet somehow they are my responsibility. You know how that works out.

BE: Hey, I feed our cat.

DB: Exactly, exactly. And what man asks for a cat? That’s just not the way it works. I want a Neapolitan Mastiff, but the reason I don’t have one is because she wanted a cat.

BE: Sure, that seems fair.

DB: That’s a whole different relationship kind of issue, you know what I mean? It’s not specific to the show, but that’s how it worked out.

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The Cos honored with Mark Twain Prize

Since 1998, The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor has honored our nation’s comedians who have made a significant impact in the comedy industry. Using the term “industry” my sound like a bit of a downer, but ever since the vaudeville era, America has always adored their comedians and given them a platform to express their talents. In chronological order, the recipients have included Richard Pryor, Carl Reiner, Jonathan Winters, Whoopie Goldberg, Bob Newhart, Lily Tomlin, Lorne Michaels, Steve Martin, Neil Simon, Billy Crystal, and Geroge Carlin.

Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Phylicia Rashad, Malcolm Jamal-Warner, Willie Nelson, and a host of others will honor the 72 year-old comedian on October 26th. PBS will then air the special on November 4th.

Although Bill Cosby has acted on tad nutty in public appearances over the past couple years, he is undoubtedly one of the funniest people I’ve ever witnessed. I watched The Bill Cosby Show growing up and later got his albums …Is a Very Funny Fellow, I Started Out as a Child, Why Is There Air?, and Wonderfulness. His comedy primarily consisted of storytelling as opposed to using one-liners. It was always clean and silly, but it often contained a strong moral message he hoped Americans would take to heart. His influence is easily apparent in comedians like Jerry Seinfeld and Billy Crystal who can be observant and hilarious without being dirty.

  

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