Wednesday, June 13, 2018

ANNOUNCING The Third Annual Olivia de Havilland Blogathon!!!


Okay, so I know I am announcing this way late but I couldn't motivate myself to make banners and then I had a funeral to sing at, a cold, and a heat rash. But I'm all good now and happy to announce that once again Crystal of In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood and I are hosting the Third Annual Olivia de Havilland Blogathon.

RULES:

Drop us a comment letting us know which movie or topic you want (no duplicates please) and the link to your blog. It would also be great if you could display one of the banners of your blog to help advertise. That's it! Check out the roster below to see which topics have already been claimed.

Don't you just love these recent photos of our beloved Olivia?


ROSTER:

Phyllis Loves Classic Movies: That Lady (1955)
In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood: The Heiress (1949) & TBD
Realweegiemidget Reviews: Murder Is Easy (1982)
The Stop Button: My Cousin Rachel (1952)
Caftan Woman: The Proud Rebel (1958)
Movies Meet Their Match: Santa Fe Trail (1940)

Thanks for joining!!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Movies I Watched in May


This month was another light movie month. I've started watching Our Miss Brooks on Decades TV, which is five episodes a week.

* means a rewatch
  1. Blonde Venus (1932) - Marlene Dietrich, Herbert Marshall, Cary Grant, Dickie Moore
  2. Angel (1937) - Marlene Dietrich, Melvyn Douglas, Herbert Marshall 
  3. Having Wonderful Time (1938) - Ginger Rogers & Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Eve Arden, Jack Carson
  4. Four Wives (1939) - Lane sisters, Claude Rains, Eddie Albert
  5. Secret Enemies (1942) - Craig Stevens, Faye Emerson
  6. Andy Hardy Leads a Double Life (1942) - Mickey Rooney, Lewis Stone, Ann Rutherford, Esther Williams
  7. Ladies Day (1943) - Eddie Albert & Lupe Velez, Patsy Kelly
  8. Sabotage Agent (1943) - Robert Donat, Glynis Johns (also known as The Adventures of Tartu)
  9. My Reputation (1944/46) - Barbara Stanwyck & George Brent, Eve Arden
  10. Mildred Pierce (1945) - Joan Crawford, Anne Blyth, Jack Carson, Eve Arden
  11. Whiplash (1948) - Dane Clark & Alexis Smith, Zachary Scott, Eve Arden, S.Z. Sakall
  12. The Winslow Boy (1948) - Robert Donat
  13. To Please a Lady (1950) - Clark Gable & Barbara Stanwyck, Adolph Menjou 
  14. *Battle Cry (1955) - Van Heflin, James Whitmore, Aldo Ray, Nancy Olson, Tab Hunter, Dorothy Malone, Anne Francis
  15. The Inn of Sixth Happiness (1958) - Ingrid Bergman, Robert Donat
  16. Cash McCall (1960) - James Garner & Natalie Wood, Dean Jagger
  17. Murder at the Gallop (1963) - Margaret Rutherford, Flora Robson
  18. Murder Ahoy! (1964) - Margaret Rutherford
  19. *Support Your Local Sheriff (1969) - James Garner
  20. Volunteers (1985) - Tom Hanks, John Candy, Rita Wilson
Least Favorite Movie: I'm going to go the unpopular way and say Mildred Pierce. Don't get me wrong, the performances were top notch but I just didn't like the story. Veda made me angry and I like movies to leave me in a good mood. Cash McCall was kind of bland.

Favorite Movie: Sabotage Agent was really good. I'm trying to watch all of Robert Donat's movies, as he only made 19. Also Glynis Johns, a fave of mine, was absolutely amazing in it. I highly recommend it. It's on YouTube I believe.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Many Weddings of Lucy & Desi


Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were the ultimate Dynamic Duo. Married in real life, they perfectly complemented each other. Not only were they paired in the classic and groundbreaking TV show I Love Lucy, they also shared the screen in two movies (they met on the set of Too Many Girls in 1940 but don't share the screen much). And in both of those films, The Long, Long Trailer (1953) and Forever, Darling (1956), their characters were married.

Searching for wedding pictures of Lucy and Desi on the internet is not an easy task as every on-screen wedding can be, and usually is, labeled as their REAL wedding. The couple actually eloped on November 30th, 1940, just six months after they met. In 1949 they renewed their vows, which we have photos of.

For the Catholic Church service, Lucy wore a blue satin dress with a full skirt and portrait neckline, which she paired with a chic white flowered hat, ruffled gloves, and strappy peep-toed heels. Desi looked sharp in a white suit.


In season 1 of I Love Lucy, Lucy and Desi had their first on-screen wedding. In "The Marriage License," which aired on April 7, 1952, Lucy finds a misspelling on her marriage license and believes her marriage to Ricky (Arnaz) isn't legal. Lucy makes Ricky recreate his proposal and the two get married at their hotel (which indecently was the Byram River Beagle Club in Greenwich, Connecticut where Lucy and Desi had been married in 1940). You can watch the full episode here.

 

Lucy wore a full skirted dress with spaghetti straps, a lovely tulle veil attatched to a floral headpiece, multi-strand pearl choker, and satin peep-toe heels with an ankle strap.


For The Long, Long Trailer (1953) Lucy wore an exquisite lace gown designed by Helen Rose. It had a strapless bodice with a lace overlay featuring a high stand-up collar and long sleeves. A lace apron-like skirt fell over a full skirt. A flowered headpiece worn on the back of the head held the long tulle veil.

 


In Forever, Darling (1956) Lucy wore a similar dress with a more elaborate veil, this one designed by  Eloise Jenssen. The headpiece has lace and flowers that frame the face closely and the dress has a dramatic pleated skirt.


The sketch by Jenssen shows a different veil. To see more photos check out my more in-depth post.
 
Lastly, here are some wedding anniversary photos that could be mistaken for wedding photos.


This post is for the Dynamic Duos in Classic Film Blogathon hosted by Once Upon a Screen and Classic Movie Hub. Be sure to check out all of the other Dynamic Duos!


Sunday, May 6, 2018

Movies I Watched in April


I didn't watch a ton of movies this month (I've been watching Cheers) but the ones I did watch were pretty much all winners.

* means a rewatch
  1. The Telegraph Trail (1933) - John Wayne & Marceline Day, Frank McHugh
  2. Back in Circulation (1937) - Pat O'Brien & Joan Blondell
  3. *The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) - Errol Flynn & Olivia de Havilland, Alan Hale, Claude Rains, Basil Rathbone
  4. The Girl of the Golden West (1938) - Jeanette MacDonald & Nelson Eddy, Walter Pidgeon, Buddy Ebson 
  5. There Goes My Heart (1938) - Fredric March & Virginia Bruce, Patsy Kelly
  6. Wonder Man (1945) - Danny Kaye & Vera-Ellen, Virginia Mayo, S.Z. Sakall
  7. Till the End of Time (1946) - Dorothy McGuire, Robert Mitchum, Guy Madison
  8. Rachel and the Stranger (1948) - Loretta Young, William Holden, Robert Mitchum
  9. Take Me Out to the Ball Game (1949) - Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Esther Williams
  10. Force of Arms (1951) - William Holden & Nancy Olsen
  11. The Smallest Show on Earth (1957) - Peter Sellers, Margaret Rutherford
  12. The Girl Most Likely (1958) - Jane Powell, Cliff Robertson
  13. *Period of Adjustment (1962) - Jane Fonda & Jim Hutton, Anthony Franciosa (rewatched it with my brothers)
  14. Hour of the Gun (1967) - James Garner, Jason Robards, Robert Ryan
  15. *Ghost (1990) - Patrick Swayze & Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, Tony Goldwyn
  16. *The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) - Jim Caviezel, Guy Pierce, Dagmara Dominczyk, Ricahrd Harris, Luis Guzman, Henry Cavill ♥
Least Favorite Movie: None.

Favorite Movie: Hands down The Smallest Show on Earth. If you've never seen it drop everything and get your hands on a copy!! I also really enjoyed the three new-to-me Holden movies I watched as well as There Goes My Heart and Back in Circulation. So basically I loved almost all the movies I watched this month ;)

Monday, April 16, 2018

TCM Presents: Mad About Musicals!


It's that time of year again when TCM announces it's next free online class. We've had Film Noir, we've had Slapstick, we've had Hitchcock, and now we're getting Musicals! (still waiting for one on Screwball...)

Offered in collaboration with Ball State University and offered on the online platform Canvas, these classes give everyone a chance to major in MOVIE! And the great thing is it's free! And, you only have to spend as much time on it as you have available. The readings and lectures are easy to keep up with and the quizzes are just right - not to hard, not to easy. You can get as involved as you want: message boards, movies, and games all make for a fun learning experience. I know, I've taken them all :)

This years class is going to be a little different in that it is being taught by Vanessa Theme Ament instead of our beloved Richard Edwards. I'm sure she will do a fantastic job though :)

The class runs from June 3rd through July 1st and covers musicals from the 30s to the 70s. You do not need TCM for the course. Many musicals are readily available on dvd and at your local library!

Here is the course syllabus on the sign-up page:

WEEK 1: Introduction / Musicals of the 1920s & 1930s

  • The beginnings of sound technology and the first film musicals in the 1920s and 1930s: The Great Ziegfeld, Top Hat, Broadway Melody, and other films
  • Important musicals that set the standard for the decade: The Great Depression
  • The transition from Broadway to Hollywood
  • New stars in musicals, directors, editors, and other creatives that influenced the decade: Ernst Lubitsch, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and others
  • Key song numbers that typify the movie musical in the 1930s

WEEK 2: Musicals of the 1940s

  • The changing terrain of the 1940s movie musical surrounding WWII: Yankee Doodle Dandy, On the Town, Meet Me in St. Louis, and other films
  • Performers who developed during the 1940s, choreographers who direct and musicians who produce: Busby Berkeley, Ester Williams, Red Skelton, Judy Garland and others
  • Studios, stars, and stories for wartime America: the transition to nationalism
  • Pre-recording, post-sound, and location scenes
  • The emerging films of diversity: Cabin in the Sky, Showboat, and other films
  

WEEK 3: Musicals of the 1950s

  • The high times of the 1950s and the Blacklist: The Bandwagon, An American in Paris, High Society, and other films
  • The development of camera, sound, and exhibition
  • Glamour and the expanded role of design
  • The broadening of the composer, producer, and editor
  • Key figures who expand their scope: Gene Kelly, Vincente Minnelli, Elvis Presley, and others
  

WEEK 4: Conclusion / Musicals of the 1960s and 1970s

  • The disruption of the studios: independent film influences
  • Turbulence in the country and cultural challenges: Tommy, Cabaret and other films
  • Changing musical tastes, youth, and historical films: Funny Girl, 1776, My Fair Lady, and other films
  • The British Invasion: The Beatles and A Hard Day’s Night
  • Directors, stars, and producers who transitioned into the 1960s

Hope to see you all in "class"!! ;)

"The Trolley Song," Meet Me in St. Louis (1944).

The Pilgrim (1923)


The Pilgrim (1923) - written, directed, and produced by Charlie Chaplin - was Chaplin's last "short" before going into feature length films. In it, Chaplin plays an escaped convict who disguises himself as a minister and is mistaken for the new parson in a small Texas town. He is brought to the church where, in my favorite scene, he acts out the story of David and Goliath. You can watch it below:

 
After that he is brought to the house where he will stay. On his way there he is recognized by his cell mate who follows him and invites himself to tea. While there, the landlady tries to pay her next mortgage bill to the deacon, who refuses to accept the payment on the Sabbath. Chaplin's friend proceeds to steal the money and Chaplin chases after him, recovering the money and returning it to the landlady's pretty daughter. He is then recognized as a convict and arrested. On his way back to jail the sheriff lets Chaplin escape into Mexico, where he has no jurisdiction.
 
 
An interesting note from an article on TCM: "Also notable in the cast is Chaplin's brother Sydney who appears in three roles as the eloping man, the train conductor and the father of the "slapping boy." The "slapping boy" is played by three-and-a-half-year old Dean Reisner and son of The Pilgrim's assistant director Charles Reisner (who also plays the pickpocket). Dean would grow up to become a leading screenwriter in Hollywood, penning the "do you feel lucky, punk" scene for Dirty Harry (1971)."
 
 
This little film was great fun to watch. Being so short it's hard to write about, so I hope this short post will encourage you to watch the film for yourself, which is linked for you below:
 

This post is part of The Charlie Chaplin Blogathon hosted by Little Bits of Classics and Christina Wehner. Be sure to check out all of the other posts!

 
“All images from Chaplin films made from 1918 onwards, Copyright © Roy Export S.A.S. Charles Chaplin and the Little Tramp are trademarks and/or service marks of Bubbles Inc. S.A. and/or Roy Export.”

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Mystery Street (1950)


"Criminal pathologists try to crack a case with nothing but the victim's bones to go on."

This was the brief synopsis on TCM for the 1950 film Mystery Street. It sounded interesting so I added it to my list. I was also intrigued because the lead was played by Mexican actor Ricardo Montalban, who I've watched recently in a couple Esther Williams films as well as the WWII film Battleground (1949) - in which he gave a wonderful performance.


As soon as I watched it, I knew I had to write about it. Showing the procedural side of police work, the film was groundbreaking in showing how policemen use the science of forensics to solve crimes, in this case a murder in which all that is left to go on is some bones buried in the sand on the beach.

The audience already know who the bones belong to and who committed the crime, so there is no mystery involved. The excitement comes from seeing the way in which the clues are gathered and how the murderer and his victim are identified by the police. There is of course some suspense/action near the end with the death of the victims' landlady who tried to use her knowledge for monetary gain.

Trailer

The film opens with the victim, Vivian Heldon (Jan Sterling) making a phone call to the married man she is having an affair with. She demands he meet her at the Grass Skirt cafe, her place of employment in Boston. While there she meets a young man, Henry Shanway (Marshall Thompson), who's wife has just lost their baby in childbirth. Vivian offers to take the inebriated Shanway home but instead takes over his car to meet her lover Hartley on Cape Cod. When he protested to ditches him on the side of the road a few miles from a diner. At the beach, Vivian demands Hartley give her money. Instead, he shoots her while she's still on the car, then buries her body among the sand dunes.

 
Three months later, her bones are discovered. They are all that remain of Vivian. The car belonging to Shanway, which was sunk by Hartley in a nearby pond, is also found. Police Lieutenant Peter Moralas (Montalban) is put on the case. They take the bones to Dr. McAdoo (Bruce Bennett), the forensics expert at the Department of Legal Medicine at Harvard University. McAdoo explains the process of gaining clues from bones. Once the skeleton is assembled, he is able to tell the sex, age, height, and build of the victim and when she died. The bones also reveal that she was pregnant. With that information, the police are then able to look through their missing persons file and narrow down the results. The most fascinating part (which you can watch here) is when they take photos of the possible candidates and match them with the skull (these scenes reminded me of the popular show Bones, which ended it's 12 season run last year).

 
 
Once they've ided the victim, Moralas sets out to figure out who murdered her. He visits her boarding house, run by Mrs. Smerrling (Elsa Lanchester) and is shown the victims belongings that were left behind and packed away by Mrs. Smerrling. When questioned by Moralas, she does not reveal all she knows. Calling a number that Vivian had scrawled on the wall next to the telephone, she tracks down the killer and pays him a visit in order to blackmail him. While he doesn't give her any money, she steals his gun - the murder weapon - from his desk and slips it in her purse.

 

Moralas meanwhile, also visits the Grass Skirt and learns that Vivien left with a young man. They track him down and are able to confirm that the car they found in the pond was his, which he had reported was stolen from in front of the hospital. Caught in his lie, he becomes their prime suspect and is arrested. However, the discovery of the bullet that killed Vivian lodged under the car raises doubts in Moralas' mind. He continues searching and is lead to Hartley by checking Vivien's phone bill. Hartley denies knowing Vivien and watches nervously as Moralas searches his office. When the gun is not discovered, Hartley pays a visit to Mrs. Smerrling, who again tries to blackmail him. She has hidden the gun at the baggage claim at the train station and put the claim ticked in a bird cage. Hartley, getting desperate, forces her to reveal the hiding place then, when there's a knock on the door, hits her on the head with a candlestick, killing her.

 

The visitor is Shanway's wife, trying to prove her husband's innocence. Moralas shows up a few minutes later - he was going to question Mrs. Smerring again - discovers the baggage claim ticket, and hurries to the train station. He arrives just moments after Hartley convinced the baggage claim attendant to give him the bag containing the gun despite not having a ticket. He and his partner chase Hartley down and arrest him for the murder of Vivian Heldon, clearing Shanway in the process.

The film, directed by John Sturges, was filmed in Boston and had a special thanks to Harvard in the credits. The screenplay was nominated for an Academy Award. Mystery Street is the Noir Alley pick for April 14/15 on TCM. Don't miss it!

This post is part of The Good Cop, Bad Cop Blogathon hosted by Coffee, Classics, & Craziness. Please follow good police procedure and read all of the evidence ;)