Monday, December 28, 2015

Directors of Christmas Movies


We watch them every year but aside from Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life (and probably Michael Curtiz's White Chirstmas and Ernst Lubitsch's The Shop Around the Corner), you may not notice or recognize the director of your favorite Christmas films. In this post I am going to tell you who directed each of the most famous Christmas films and what other major films they directed. *This is not a complete list of Christmas films, just some of the better known or my personal favorites.

As I already mentioned, Capra and Curtiz need no introduction, but did you know the director of Christmas in Connecticut (1945) was Peter Godfrey? I certainly didn't recognize his name. I looked him up and discovered he was London born and directed two other great Stanwyck films (which I will be looking at for the Barbara Stanwyck Blogathon later this month) The Two Mrs. Carrolls (1947)and Cry Wolf (1947).

George Seaton directed the much loved Miracle on 34th Street (1947) but did you know he also directed The Country Girl (1954)? He also directed 36 Hours (1964), a James Garner film I discovered this year.

The director of The Bishop's Wife (1947) was Henry Koster, born in Berlin. He directed many well-known films, including The Inspector General (1949), Harvey (1950), and The Robe (1953), to name a few.

Holiday Affair (1949) is one of the lesser known holiday films starring Robert Mitchum and Janet Leigh. It was directed by Don Hartman. He only directed five films total, but was the writer of many popular films, including quite a few for Bob Hope.

Remember the Night (1940), another Stanwyck film, was written by Preston Sturges but directed by Mitchell Leisen. His 50 credits include a couple Lombard films, Midnight (1939), and many other romantic comedies.

Bachelor Mother (1939) was directed by Garson Kanin, who directed My Favorite Wife (1940) and who wrote the Tracy/Hepburn films Adam's Rib (1949) and Pat and Mike (1952).

Lastly, Holiday Inn (1942), which introduced perhaps the most popular Christmas song of all time, "White Christmas," was directed by Mark Sandrich, who has 76 credits beginning in 1926 and ending in 1946 (his death). His name will be familiar to all who love the Astaire/Rogers films.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Movie Stars Singing Christmas Carols

Judy Garland singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."
And "The Birthday of a King."
Cary Grant "singing" "Christmas Lullaby."
Rosemary Clooney singing "Suzy Snowflake"
Bing Crosby singing "Marshmallow World."
Dean Martin singing "Baby it's Cold Outside."
Frank Sinatra & Nat King Cole singing "The Christmas Song."
Nat King Cole & Danny Kaye singing "Jingle Bells" (White Christmas special features).

Friday, December 18, 2015

Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas: A Book Review

Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas by Alonso Duralde not only lists just about every movie connected with Christmas, but also informs the reader which ones are worth viewing and which ones aren't.

The book is divided into 9 chapters and covers films from the dawn of sound up to the present (published in 2010). There is also an appendix that lists even more films not individually covered, with asterisks by the best ones (as a film in general, not as a Christmas movie). Here are the chapters:

1. With the Kids Jingle-Belling: Christmas Movies for Kids
2. Nestled All Snug in Their Beds: Christmas Movies for Grown Ups
3.  Like a Bowlful of Jelly: Christmas Comedies
4. A Blue, Blue, Blue Christmas: Holiday Tearjerkers
5. Putting the Heist Back in Christmas: Crime and Action Extravaganzas
6. There'll Be Scary Ghost Stories: Holiday Horror
7. Scrooge-a-Palooza: 'A Christmas Carol' on Film
8. The Worst Christmas (Movies) Ever: Lumps of Coal in Your Cinema Stocking
9. Just Like the Ones I Used to Know: Christmas Classics

Each of the films covered in the chapters lists the rating, running time, writers and director, primary actors, and studio along with a brief description and fun facts (did you know that that's the real Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in Miracle on 34th Street and that Edmund Gwenn really played Santa for it? Also, in the part with the little Dutch girl, she tells Santa that she doesn't want anything for Christmas as being adopted by her new mother is gift enough). Animated films are also included. After the Appendix is an Index of Names, so that you can easily find a holiday film with your favorite actors, and an Index of Titles.

This is a great resource and would make a great gift for the film buff in your family, whether they like new films or old.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Frank Sinatra & Lauren Bacall: A Rocky Relationship

Today is the 100 birthday of the famous crooner, Frank Sinatra. In honor of this special day, Movie Classics and The Vintage Cameo are hosting the Sinatra Centennial Blogathon. Click here to read all of the other posts on this legendary man.

Known as "The Voice" and "Ol' Blue Eyes," Sinatra is famous for his songs, especially around this time of year, and for his films (From Here to Eternity, Guys and Dolls, The Man with the Golden Arm, High Society, Ocean's 11, Robin and the 7 Hoods). He is also known for his many relationships.

We all know about his turbulant marriages to Ava Gardner and Mia Farrow(!). Married four times total, he also had many affairs during and between marriages. One of his most well know was with friend and fellow Rat Pack member, Lauren Bacall (married to Humphrey Bogart 1945-1957).

Frank Sinatra: His Wives and Lovers in Pictures

Their relationship began in 1957, shortly after Sinatra's divorce from Ava Gardner and Bogie's death. It was doomed from the start, as both were known for their strong personalities.

In her autobiography, Bacall describes the affair as "volcanic" and "combustible."

"I can't remember how it all began - there must have always been a special feeling alive between Frank and me from earlier days. Certainly he was then in his vocal peak, and was wildly attractive, electrifying. And Frank had always carried with him not only an aura of excitement, but the feeling that behind that swinging façade lies a lonely, restless man, one who wants a wife and a home but simultaneously wants freedom and a string of 'broads'."

Frank invited Bacall to a prize fight - the middleweight championship between Sugar Ray Robinson and Gene Fullmer - and when they left "there were photographers waiting and the resulting pictures ended up in newspapers around the world. It was my first public outing in Hollywood - the first time Frank and I were linked, even tentatively, in a romantic way. I remember telling a friend I couldn't understand why the press cared so much. My friend looked at me unbelievingly. 'Don't be a fool - you and Frank can't go anywhere without causing a commotion. Individually you make news, but together it's insane.' The next eight months were to prove him right."

After Bogie's death, Sinatra was the "only unattached man I knew, and I was glad he was around." They soon became a steady pair, acting as host and hostess of each others parties. However, from the beginning there were those who knew it wouldn't last. Franks mood swings  threw Bacall off; she never knew where she stood with him, didn't know how to play the 'love game.'
Always when we entered a room the feeling was: Are they okay tonight? You could almost hear a sigh of relief when we were both smiling and relaxed.

Rejections led to insecurities and when two people are insecure it is not a good thing. "Had he been sure of himself and his own life then, it might have worked. But he wasn't."
On March 11, 1958, Frank met up with Bacall in New York, where she was promoting one of her films. He was contrite for his erratic behavior, saying he had felt trapped but could now face it and asked her to marry him. She said yes and Frank began planning how he wanted the ceremony.
Two days later, while Frank was in Miami on a singing engagement, the announcement was spread across the front page of the papers. Frank blamed Bacall (though later he acknowledged - in a roundabout way that he knew it wasn't her fault) and didn't see her again for six years.
"As I look at it all now, it doesn't seem possible it happened as it did. I see that under no circumstances could it ever have worked. I expected more from him than anyone has any right to expect of another human being - loaded him with more responsibilities. No one could have remained upright in that circumstance. We used one another in some crazy way. Actually, Frank did me a great favor - he saved me from the disaster our marriage would have been."
"Anyway, it turned out to be a tragedy with a happy ending. Now, after a slow start, we are back on some sort of friendly basis. We don't live the same kind of life or think the same kind of thoughts anymore, but I'll always have a special feeling for him - the good times we had were awfully good."

You can read more excerpts from Bacall's autobiography  here.

From Frank's point of view, he too was getting over someone he loved. Bogie had been the love of Bacall's life and Ava of Frank. Sinatra: Behind the Legend by J. Randy Taraborrelli, tells the story from Frank's side.

"He tried to convince himself that he now wanted to be with Lauren Bacall, that Ava Gardner no longer mattered to him. And think of the sweet revenge against Ava that would be exacted if he were to end up married to another exquisite, even younger star, and so soon after their divorce."

"You might as well try to analyze electricity," one writer said when asked why Frank acted the way he did. He simply dropped out of Bacall's life without any explanation.

Frank's mother offered her own explanation (which is insightful in itself as to his relationship with his mother and therefore all women): "The two of them, they're wounded, one worse than the other. They don't need to be together. What kind of marriage is that? It's based on tears: his for Ava, hers for Bogie. And not only that, that woman is going to run his life. And no one runs my son's life. But me."

A few other interesting facts (IMDb):

Briefly lost the ability to sing after his vocal cords hemorrhaged in 1953. When his voice returned it had an extra dimension which many fans believed made his singing better than before.

Although the song Sinatra is most identified with is his hit "My Way", he originally didn't want to record it because he thought the song was "self-serving and indulgent.". His persona became so associated with it however, that he ended every concert with it.

In 1966 he was given a song to record, and after reading it over once, he despised it. The song was "Strangers in the Night", which turned out to be one of his biggest hits. Even after its success, he still hated the song and took every opportunity to deride it.

At his funeral, friends and family members placed items in his coffin that had personal references. These are reported to include ten dimes, several Tootsie Roll candies, a pack of Black Jack chewing gum, a roll of wild cherry Life Savers candy, a ring engraved with the word "Dream", a mini bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey, a pack of Camel cigarettes and a Zippo cigarette lighter.

In 1963 his son, Frank Sinatra Jr., was kidnapped. The kidnappers told Frank Sr. to call them from pay phones. During one call he ran out of coins, and briefly feared that it had cost him his son (the kidnappers gave him another chance). He paid the $250,000 ransom, Frank Jr. was returned, and the kidnappers were eventually caught. However, as a result of the payphone scare, Sinatra swore never to be caught without dimes again, and carried a roll of dimes with him constantly until his death.


Bacall, Lauren. By Myself and Then Some. 2005. Pages 308-324.
Taraborrelli, J. Randy. Sinatra: Behind the Legend. 1997. Pages 206-209.


Bewitched with Classic TV - My New Blog

Just wanted to let everyone know that I have started another blog devoted to classic television - Bewitched with Classic TV. This month I will be looking at all of the outfits worn by Elizabeth Montgomery in season 3 of Bewitched. If you're wondering why I started with season 3, you'll have to "pop in" and visit the blog ;)

Monday, December 7, 2015

My Favorite Brunette (1947)

"You mean DOOM Syndrome is a real thing?"

What film from the golden age of Hollywood do you show to a person who has only seen new movies? What if they say they don't like black and white? How do you get them to see that the oldies are not only good, buy better than the films of today? It is these questions that the Try It, You'll Like It! Blogathon hosted by Sister Celluloid and Movies Silently are answering.

The film I chose is My Favorite Brunette (1947) starring Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour, Peter Lorre, and Lon Chaney Jr. Why did I choose this film? It has a little bit of something for everyone: likeable characters, an interesting plot, suspense, comedy. There's good guys and bad guys, mysterious people, creepy houses, and a range of locations from the city (San Francisco and Washington D.C.), the shore, and the country.

The film starts in jail. Ronnie Jackson (Bob Hope) has been arrested for a crime he didn't commit and is telling his story to the newspapers before he heads off to the chair. We then go back in time, to when everything began.

You see, I wanted to be a detective too. It only took brains,
courage, and a gun... and I had the gun.

Jackson is a baby photographer. Next door to his office is a private detective (brief appearance by of Alan Ladd as the detective). Sam McCloud asks Jackson to watch his office for him while he is gone. Just moments after he leaves, and while Jackson is pretending he is a detective, a beautiful woman rushes in (Lamour). She introduces herself as Carlotta Montay. She keeps shushing him and hurriedly whispers part of her story to him before hurrying out in fear. She tells him to meet her at an abandoned mansion, where she is staying (it still exists on Carmel-by-the-Sea's famous 17 Mile Drive). When Jackson arrives there he is immediately thrown into a mystery of deception and intrigue. Unsure of who is on his side and who isn't, he bumbles his way through danger, ending with his arrest for murder. Will he be cleared before the death sentence can be fulfilled? You can read the full plot synopsis here.

I found this movie at Dollar Tree many years ago (it's in the public domain) and it became an instant favorite with me and my brothers. The reason I chose this film is that is has an element of suspense that is present in most modern films. Generally, people who don't like old films say it is because they are slow and boring. My Favorite Brunette is very fast paced and really keeps you on your toes. Plus, you can never go wrong with Bob Hope's zaniness. You can watch the entire film below.

Be sure to read all of the other great posts of must-watch movies here!

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Criterion Blogathon: Rebecca (1940)

Rebecca (1940) was Alfred Hitchcock's first film made in America, after he and his family migrated from England at the start of WWII. While many claim his films from the 1960s are unsurpassed, it is his films from the 40s and early 50s that are my personal favorites.

Rebecca gripped me from the opening shot to the very end. The story famously begins with the voice of Joan Fontaine (who is only known as the second Mrs. de Winter throughout the film) telling the story of Rebecca. It begins with the now well known line "I dreamed I went to Manderley again," and the equally well known shot going through the overgrown gate and up the path with the camera's gaze finally resting on the shadowy, burnt structure of what was once the imposing MANDERLEY.

Manderley is the ancestral home of Maxim de Winter (Laurence Olivier). Rebecca, who gives her name as the title of the film and is an unseen force throughout, was his first wife and Manderley had been their home. Rebecca however, drowned one day during a storm. Everyone says that Mr. de Winter was inconsolable, as they had been a model couple, envied by all. Therefore, when he falls in love with the naïve, shy, and awkward girl companion of American tourist Mrs. Van Hopper (Florence Bates), those who know him have great difficulty in accepting her, as Rebecca is irreplaceable to them. When Mr. de Winter arrives with his new bride, she is met with a coldness that seems impossible to break. Not only do the people not accept her, but Manderley doesn't accept her. Everywhere there are signs of Rebecca, her bedroom which is kept exactly the way it was when she died, the monogrammed desk supplies in the office, the mysterious boathouse that she is not allowed to go in to. Manderley is so much a part of the film that it too becomes a character. You can almost feel the house breathing, pushing this newcomer, this intruder out of its rooms. It is inexplicably tied up with Rebecca and cannot be separated from her. It is as if when Rebecca died she became Manderley (the only other house I can think of that feels like a character is Downton Abbey).

Not only is the house against her but it's housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, portrayed with an intense and chilling creepiness by Judith Anderson, is also against her, doing everything she can to make her miserable, constantly reminding her that she is NOT the mistress of the house, nor is she a fit wife and companion for Mr. de Winter. Mrs. Danvers love for Rebecca and her hatred for Fontaine comes out in these exchanges:

Mrs. Danvers: You wouldn't think she'd been gone so long, would you? Sometimes, when I walk along the corridor, I fancy I hear her just behind me. That quick light step, I couldn't mistake it anywhere. It's not only in this room, it's in all the rooms in the house. I can almost hear it now. [Looks at Fontaine] Do you think the dead come back and watch the living? Sometimes, I wonder if she doesn't come back here to Manderley, to watch you and Mr. de Winter together. 

Mrs. Danvers: [as Fontaine runs into the room] I watched you go down just as I watched her a year ago. Even in the same dress you couldn't compare.

Fontaine: You knew it! You knew that she wore it, and yet you deliberately suggested I wear it. Why do you hate me? What have I done to you that you should ever hate me so?

Mrs. Danvers: You tried to take her place. You let him marry you. I've seen his face - his eyes. They're the same as those first weeks after she died. I used to listen to him, walking up and down, up and down, all night long, night after night, thinking of her, suffering torture because he lost her!

Fontaine: [turning away in shame and shock] I don't want to know, I don't want to know!

Mrs. Danvers: [moving towards her] You thought you could be Mrs. de Winter, live in her house, walk in her steps, take the things that were hers! But she's too strong for you. You can't fight her - no one ever got the better of her. Never, never. She was beaten in the end, but it wasn't a man, it wasn't a woman. It was the sea!

Fontaine: [collapsing in tears on the bed] Oh, stop it! Stop it! Oh, stop it!

Mrs. Danvers: [opening the shutters] You're overwrought, madam. I've opened a window for you. A little air will do you good. Why don't you go? Why don't you leave Manderley? He doesn't need you... he's got his memories. He doesn't love you, he wants to be alone again with her. You've nothing to stay for. You've nothing to live for really, have you? [Softly, almost hypnotically] Look down there. It's easy, isn't it? Why don't you? Why don't you? Go on. Go on. Don't be afraid...

While at first it seems that she is completely losing it, as the true story of Rebecca unfolds, Fontaine's character becomes more sure of herself, culminating in the moment when she tells Mrs. Danvers, "I am Mrs. de Winter now." This is completed when Manderley is burned to the ground, freeing the couple from the ghost of Rebecca once and for all (I don't want to go into too much detail and spoil the film for those who haven't yet seen it).

Creepy Mrs. Danvers

The film is unique in that the character that is never seen dominates it and the character that is doesn't even have a name. While the viewer is getting to know Fontaine's character as she is getting to know herself, you feel like you already know Rebecca, even if the other characters in the film have been fooled by her.

Full movie

The film won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Fontaine was nominated as Best Actress but lost to Ginger Rogers for her role in Kitty Foyle. The following year she won an Oscar for Suspicion, her second film with Hitchcock. Many believe that it was really for Rebecca that she won. The film also won Best black and white Cinematography and was nominated for Best Actor (Olivier), Best Supporting Actress (Judith Anderson), Best Director (Hitchcock lost to John Ford for The Grapes of Wrath), and Best Screenplay, Art Direction, Editing, Special Effects, and Original Score (Franz Waxman). And if Rebecca had been a real person she would have won an award as well.

Manderley in all it's Gothic glory.
This post is part of the Criterion Blogathon hosted by Criterion Blues, Speakeasy, and Silver Screenings. Click here to see the full breakdown for the week and be sure to read the other posts (not all 200 of course).

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Charles Coburn: The Scene Stealer

 Charles Coburn has become one of my favorite character actors ever since I saw him in The More the Merrier. He is definitely a scene stealer in that movie and won his first Oscar for his role as a business executive playing matchmaker to Jean Arthur and Joel McCrea. If you haven't seen the film yet I highly suggest you order a copy immediately.

Charles Coburn is a scene stealer in most of the films I've seen him in. He is also one of the few character actors to receive star billing in some of his films. He appeared in 70 films and was in numerous television shows, as well as continuing in theatre, which he began in 1901 at the age of 24. He did not get into movies however, until after the death of his wife, Ivah Wills (who appeared in many plays with him and with whom he had six children) in 1937 (he had appeared in two films before that but did not sign a contract until after her death). For a man who didn't start making films until he was 60 and who worked until his death in 1961 at the age of 86, his filmography is very impressive. Read a brief biography of him here.

Known for wearing a monocle (which corrected an eye deficiency - "No point having two window panes where one will do"), and being a well spoken Southern gentlemen, he was usually cast as a man of wealth and importance, whether it be as Judge, Doctor, Captain, Lord, General, Colonel, Professor, Sir, Chancellor, Inspector, Mayor, or Father. He also played the gruff but kindly uncles, fathers, and grandfathers. In Movie Stars of the '40s: A Complete Reference Guide for the Film Historian or Trivia Buff, he is described as one "who could be delightfully droll, devilishly sly, or downright dangerous."

He always seems as though the part were made for him, as though he were there and not even thinking of acting - which of course demands the best and only true thinking about acting.
~ Otis Ferguson, Critic

What's My Line

And now to highlight some of my favorite of his film appearances:

In Bachelor Mother (1939), Coburn plays the father of David Niven, who is friends with an unwed mother (Ginger Rogers) that works at his store. The truth is though that the baby isn't actually hers. She had witnessed the baby being left on the doorstep of an orphanage and, going over to it and picking it up, was caught holding it when the people working at the orphanage opened the door. No one will believe her story of course, leaving her stuck with the baby. When Charles Coburn finds out about it, he thinks it is his grandson, and is so happy that he finally has an heir that he won't listen to anyone's story that contradicts the one he wants to believe. Coburn's scenes with the baby are wonderful and sprinkled with great lines like, "I don't care who the father is, I'm the grandfather!" and "Is there something I can do?" (Rogers), "You've done it!" (Coburn holding baby). There's a great scene near the end where both Niven and Rogers get someone to pretend he is the father of the child, and not Niven. The problem is they both bring him to see Coburn at the same time. Coburn merely smiles in contentment, believing even more that the child is his grandson. You can read more about the film here.

Bachelor Mother will be airing on TCM December 24 at 10:30am EST.

The Lady Eve (1941) finds Coburn as a cardsharp father to Barbara Stanwyck. Their target: Henry Fonda. Stanwyck really dominates this picture but Coburn has some memorable lines. You can read more about the film here. Also, watch the TCM The Essentials Intro here.

Don't be vulgar, Jean. Let us be crooked, but never common.
Ah, there you are. Well, it certainly took you long
enough to come back in the same outfit.

The Devil and Miss Jones (1941) has another great performance by Coburn. From TCM: "John P. Merrick, the world's richest man, goes undercover when employees organize for better wages and working conditions at a department store which he owns. Posing as a lowly shoe clerk, he is befriended by fellow clerk Mary (Jean Arthur) and her boyfriend Joe (Robert Cummings), a labor organizer who has just been fired. He also finds a romantic interest in Elizabeth (Spring Byington), a middle-aged employee in the same department. Although initially his goal is to root out the employees behind the unrest at work, his new friends and his firsthand experience as a worker mistreated by management precipitate a change of heart." Coburn does a magnificent job making the "crusty millionaire J. P. Merrick lovable without resorting to excessive sentimentality [and] is a mark of his skill as a comic actor." Coburn received his first Oscar nomination in the Best Supporting Actor category. The film also has the great character actors Edmund Gwenn and S.Z. Sakall among its cast. You can read more about the film here.

Watch the film here!

George Washington Slept Here (1942) stars Jack Benny and Ann Sheridan as a husband and wife who have just purchased a somewhat ramshackle home (the house from Arsenic and Old Lace) that, as the title states, was one of the many places where George Washington slept during the Revolutionary War. Coburn plays Sheridan's rich Uncle Stanley, comes to visit them in their new home. When they ask him for money towards fixing up the house, he confesses that he isn't actually rich and just pretended to be so that his relatives would be nice to him! You can read more about the film here and here.

The More the Merrier (1943) is, as mentioned above, Coburn's best role, hence the Oscar. My favorite moment in the film is when he and McCrea are going back to their apartment, which they share with Arthur due to the housing shortage in Washington DC, after sunbathing on the roof. Coburn pretends to shoot some kids with a machine gun, and they pretend to  die by falling off the wall they are sitting on. It looks so natural, as if it were unscripted. You can't help but think that Coburn would make an awesome grandpa.

Another great scene is when Coburn gets locked out of the apartment. He climbs out of the hall window of the apartment house and raps on the bathroom window, scaring Jean Arthur to death. You can read more about the film here.

In Heaven Can Wait (1943), Coburn plays the grandfather of Don Ameche, a spoiled rich kid turned skirt chaser. Coburn realizes that his grandson is very much like him and helps him steal his cousin Albert's fiancée (Gene Tierney) and, when the marriage gets a little shaky, to win back his wife. You can read more about the film here.
Albert, I'm struggling successfully against the gout, I'm waging a terrific battle with my liver, and I'm holding my own against asthma, but I doubt if I have strength enough to survive your jokes. You're a successful lawyer. Let it go at that.
Heaven Can Wait will be airing on TCM December 12 at 10pm EST. You can also watch it here.

Princess O'Rourke (1943) is about a princess (Olivia de Havilland) visiting America and falling in love with an airline pilot (Robert Cummings). Coburn is her uncle who is trying to help her find a husband that she can produce a male heir. When he discovers that she has fallen in love with a commoner, he begins to find out all he can about this young man. When he discovers that Cummings comes from a family of nine boys, and his father "one of eleven," he calls the king and gets permission for de Havilland and Cummings to marry. The best scene is when Coburn talks to de Havilland about the possibility of her marrying an American (he hasn't told her yet that he knows about Cummings and has already received the king's approval). You can read more about the film here.
"One of nine boys. Extraordinary. His father one of eleven!"

Has Anybody Seen My Gal (1952) has Rock Hudson and Piper Laurie top-billed but the film definitely belongs to Coburn. He has decided that when he dies he wants to leave his fortune to the daughter and grandchildren of the woman he almost married in his youth. He moves in with the family and has the check delivered anonymously to see how they react. He is a delight to watch the entire film. Where else can you see Coburn dance like this?!

You can watch the film here (look for a brief appearance by James Dean around the 30 min. mark)!

In Trouble Along the Way (1953) Coburn is Father Burke, the head of a financially failing, all-male university. He decides to hire John Wayne, a once famous coach with a problem of his own, to build up the football team and therefore increase enrollment. Due to script differences between Wayne and the director, the film did not do well at the box office. Coburn's performance however, as the ever optimistic priest makes the film worth watching. The film also stars Donna Reed as a social worker and Sherry Jackson (Make Room For Daddy) as Wayne's daughter.

In Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), starring Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell, Coburn plays Sir Francis "Piggy" Beekman, a role completely different from Father Burke. He owns a diamond mine, and Lorelei (Monroe) just loves diamonds. They are caught alone in a cabin together by the detective Lorelei's fiancée hired to keep an eye on her. You can read more about it here and here.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes will be airing on TCM December 21 at 8pm EST.

Charles Coburn films on YouTube (click on title):

Made For Each Other (1939) - Carole Lombard & James Stewart

Three Faces West (1940) - John Wayne

The Devil and Miss Jones (1941) - Jean Arthur & Robert Cummings

Heaven Can Wait (1943) - Don Ameche & Gene Tierney

Colonel Effingham's Raid (1946) - Charles Coburn (lead role) & Joan Bennett. "As the star of Colonel Effingham's Raid he [Coburn] got to display more range than usual, grandly expounding in the scenes in which he celebrates his military heritage but also showing a more vulnerable side when he thinks he's lost the battle." You can read about it here.

Green Grass of Wyoming (1948) - Peggy Cummins, Coburn is second billed

Impact (1949) - Brian Donlevy & Ella Raines

Has Anybody Seen My Gal (1952) - Rock Hudson & Piper Laurie

This post is part of the annual What a Character! Blogathon hosted by Once Upon a Screen, Outspoken & Freckled, and Paula's Cinema Club. The Blogathon has been moved to next weekend but I am posting mine early. Be sure and check out the other entries celebrating these great actors and actresses without whom movies could not be made.