Thursday, January 28, 2016

Best Costume Awards - for the years that didn't have it


Since the Award for Best Costume was not instituted until the 1949 Academy Awards, and since I am doing a Timeline of Award-Winning Costumes for the 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon, I thought it would be fun to finally give recognition (albeit in a small way) to all of the Costume Designers whose work went, certainly not unnoticed, but un-lauded from the years 1930 up to 1948 (films from 1947). But to do this as fairly as possible, I am going to need YOUR help.

First I need everyone to spread the word. You can use one of the banners below and/or write a short blog post (preferred) to get as many people to vote as possible.

Second you can nominate some films in the comments. Below I have nominated some films but they are, of course, restricted to films I have seen. And as it's impossible to see every film from every year, I need your help for the films I haven't seen. Comments will remain open until February 12th.

On February 13th, I will create a poll for each year and give everyone a chance to vote on which films should be nominated. Voting for nominations will end February 20th. The five films with the most votes for each year will then be the official nominated films.

Voting for the Academy Award winner will be held from February 21 - 27 with the winner announced on February 28 during this years Academy Awards ceremony.


When nominating a film, keep in mind what was going on that year (mainly WWII), if the costumes progress the storyline, and what films WERE nominated that year, especially in the Best Picture and Best Art Direction categories, which you can view on the official Oscars website.

If you have written a post on any of the nominated films I would love to share the link so that those who haven't seen all of the films or are having trouble remembering the costumes can have something to look at to help them vote.

Dates to Remember:
  • Comments open for nominations open until 2/12 at midnight EST.
  • Voting for final five nominees open from 2/13 - 2/20 - Click here to vote
  • Voting for Oscar-Winning Costume for the years 1929-1947 open from 2/21 - 2/27
  • Winners Announced 2/28 at 8:30pm EST.

UPDATED - Films with Notable Costumes (Click on each year to view list of most notable films for each year) - the number at the end indicates the number of votes it received. Films crossed out were not nominated in the nomination poll.

1930 - these are the nominees
The Divorcee - Norma Shearer 5
Romance - Greta Garbo 2

1931 - these are the nominees
Mata Hari - Greta Garbo 2
Possessed - Joan Crawford & Clark Gable 4
The Smiling Lieutenant - Maurice Chevalier, Claudette Colbert, Miriam Hopkins 0
Man of the World - Carole Lombard & William Powell 1

1932 - these are the nominees
Grand Hotel - John & Lionel Barrymore, Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford 5
Letty Lynton - Joan Crawford 3
Jewel Robbery - William Powell & Kay Francis 1

1933 - these are the nominees
Queen Christina - Greta Garbo & John Gilbert 1
Dinner at Eight - Jean Harlow, John Barrymore, Wallace Beery, Marie Dressler 5
Little Women - Katharine Hepburn 1
Bombshell - Jean Harlow 1

1934 - these are the nominees
Cleopatra - Claudette Colbert 3
The Thin Man - William Powell & Myrna Loy 4
Sadie McKee - Joan Crawford & Franchot Tone 2

Captain Blood - Errol Flynn & Olivia de Havilland 6
Anna Karenina - Greta Garbo
A Midsummer Night's Dream - James Cagney, Mickey Rooney, Olivia de Havilland
China Seas - Clark Gable & Jean Harlow 1
The Littlest Rebel - Shirley Temple
Top Hat - Ginger Rogers & Fred Astaire 4
Peter Ibbetson - Gary Cooper
Naughty Marietta - Jeanette MacDonald & Nelson Eddy
Barbary Coast - Miriam Hopkins & Joel McCrea

The Great Ziegfeld - William Powell, Luise Rainer, Myrna Loy 1
My Man Godfrey - William Powell & Carole Lombard 2
Camille - Greta Garbo & Robert Taylor 5
The Jungle Princess - Dorothy Lamour & Ray Milland
Romeo and Juliet - Norma Shearer, Leslie Howard
San Francisco - Clark Gable & Jeanette MacDonald 2
The Charge of the Light Brigade - Errol Flynn & Olivia de Havilland
The Gorgeous Hussy - Joan Crawford & Robert Taylor
Rose-Marie - Jeanette MacDonald & Nelson Eddy

1937 - these are the nominees
Stella Dallas - Barbara Stanwyck 2
Fire Over England - Laurence Olivier & Vivien Leigh 1
The Prisoner of Zenda - Ronald Colman & Madeleine Carroll 2
Maytime - Jeanette MacDonald & Nelson Eddy 4

1938 - these are the nominees
The Adventures of Robin Hood - Errol Flynn & Olivia de Havilland 4
Marie Antoinette - Norma Shearer 3
Jezebel - Bette Davis & Henry Fonda 1
Suez - Tyrone Power & Loretta Young 1

1939 (we all know Gone With the Wind is going to win)
The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex - Bette Davis & Errol Flynn 0
Gone With the Wind - Clark Gable & Vivien Leigh 7
The Wizard of Oz - Judy Garland 1
The Women - Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell
The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Charles Laughton, Maureen O'Hara
Stagecoach - John Wayne & Claire Trevor
Wuthering Heights - Merle Oberon & Laurence Olivier

1940 - these are the nominees
The Sea Hawk - Errol Flynn 0
Rebecca - Joan Fontaine & Laurence Olivier 2
Kitty Foyle - Ginger Rogers & Dennis Morgan 2
Pride and Prejudice - Greer Garson & Laurence Olivier 4
New Moon - Jeanette MacDonald & Nelson Eddy 0

They Died With Their Boots On - Errol Flynn & Olivia de Havilland 0
The Lady Eve - Barbara Stanwyck & Henry Fonda 3
Ziegfeld Girl - Lana Turner, Hedy Lamarr, Judy Garland 4
How Green Was My Valley - Maureen O'Hara
That Hamilton Woman - Laurence Olivier & Vivien Leigh 0
The Little Foxes - Bette Davis, Herbert Marshall
Moon Over Miami - Don Ameche & Bette Grable
That Night in Rio - Alice Faye, Don Ameche, Carmen Miranda

1942 - these are the nominees
To Be or Not To Be - Jack Benny & Carole Lombard 0
The Palm Beach Story - Claudette Colbert & Joel McCrea 2
Now, Voyager - Bette Davis & Paul Henreid 4
Yankee Doodle Dandy - James Cagney 2
The Major and the Minor - Ginger Rogers 0

1943 - these are the nominees
The More the Merrier - Jean Arthur & Joel McCrea 1
Song of Bernadette - Jennifer Jones 1
The Gang's All Here - Alice Faye, Carmen Miranda 1
Sweet Rosie O'Grady - Bette Grable & Robert Young 1
Du Barry was a Lady - Lucille Ball, Red Skelton, Gene Kelly 5

1944 - these are the nominees
Meet Me in St. Louis - Judy Garland 5
Gaslight - Ingrid Bergman & Charles Boyer 3
The Dolly Sisters - Betty Grable, John Payne, June Haver 0

1945 - these are the nominees
Christmas in Connecticut - Barbara Stanwyck & Dennis Morgan 0
Caesar and Cleopatra - Vivien Leigh & Claude Rains 1
The Picture of Dorian Gray - Hurd Hatfield, George Sanders, Donna Reed 1
Saratoga Trunk - Gary Cooper & Ingrid Bergman 3
Thrill of a Romance - Esther Williams & Van Johnson 2

1946 - these are the nominees
The Harvey Girls - Judy Garland 2
Notorious - Ingrid Bergman & Cary Grant 2
The Postman Always Rings Twice - Lana Turner & John Garfield 3
Gilda - Rita Hayworth & Glenn Ford 3
Anna and the King of Siam - Irene Dunne & Rex Harrison 0
So Goes My Love - Myrna Loy & Don Ameche 0

1947 - these are the nominees
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty - Danny Kaye & Virginia Mayo 1
My Favorite Brunette - Bob Hope & Dorothy Lamour 1
Life with Father - William Powell & Irene Dunne 5
Green Dolphin Street - Lana Turner, Donna Reed 1

Monday, January 25, 2016

It's Time! Countdown to the Oscars

It's that time of year again where everyone who blogs about movies tends to blog about anything Oscar-related for a month. Last year I covered the 1st through 18th Academy Award Ceremonies (1928 - 1946) - you can view them here. This year I hope to cover 1947 - 1969. I will also do a Timeline of Award-Winning Fashions for the 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon and look at the William Powell Snubs for the Oscar Snubs Blogathon, in addition to other blogathons scheduled this month.


This year, Turner Classic Movies is again having a 31 Days of Oscar. This year, however, each film will be linked to the film shown before it. You can read more about it here as well as download the schedule of Oscar winning and nominated films for the month. If you have not already seen it, I highly recommend watching And the Oscar Goes To... (2014), a wonderful documentary that covers the birth of the Oscars up to the present (some parts are not suitable for children). It will air several times throughout the month, beginning February 1st at 8pm EST.

For some more resources about the Oscars, click here.

I will also be hosting a Best Costume Awards for the years they didn't have it. Read more about it here! I hope you will participate!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

'Woody' Van Dyke and the Creation of Our Favorite On-Screen Married Couple


Woody & Bill & Myrna (& Asta)

W. S. Van Dyke (Woodbridge Strong Van Dyke II), also known as 'Woody' and One-Take Woody, is remembered mainly for two things: directing The Thin Man (1934), and pairing William Powell and Myrna Loy to create the perfect on-screen couple. Ever.

He directed them in a total of six films. At the time, both Bill and Myrna had largely been stuck playing the same roles, though Bill had recently become the suave detective, Philo Vance, a far cry from the heavy or gigolo he was used to playing. Myrna had been a screen vamp for years, many times an oriental one at that. Both thought that their careers were coming to an end. But they had really just begun.

Is that you, Bill? She's a Sheik (1927).

William Powell entered the motion picture business way back in 1922, in John Barrymore's Sherlock Holmes (I've seen it and Powell's small performance is the only believable - and unlaughable - one). In 1929, with the advent of sound, he became Philo Vance, a character that was a little too stuck up for him but that the public loved.


Myrna Loy had already appeared in 47 pictures, none of them really memorable, when she was cast by the insistence of Van Dyke in Manhattan Melodrama (1934). It turned out to be the best thing that happened not only to her, but to William Powell as well.

Myra recalls her first meeting with Bill:
My first scene with Bill, a night shot on the back lot, happened before we'd even met. Woody was apparently too busy for introductions. My instructions were to run out of a building, through a crowd, and into a strange car. When Woody called "Action," I opened the car door, jumped in, and landed smack on William Powell's lap. He looked up nonchalantly: "Miss Loy, I presume?" I said, "Mr. Powell?" And that's how I met the man who would be my partner in fourteen films.

She continues:
From that very first scene, a curious thing passed between us, a feeling of rhythm, complete understanding, an instinct for how one could bring out the best in the other... Whatever caused it, though, it was magical, and Woody Van Dyke brought it to fruition in our next picture - perhaps the best remembered of my hundred and twenty-four features.
Van Dyke had "spotted a rare and charming chemistry" and was certain "they were capable of bringing a similar quality of understated warmth and affection to the screen marriage of Nick and Nora Charles.

It wasn't easy to convince MGM's studio boss, Louis B. Mayer, to cast Bill and Myrna in The Thin Man. Van Dyke, who was directing the picture, knew that Bill "projected the sophistication, charm, and wit that wanted in the role of Nick Charles." Mayer thought that he was a little too old and "too straight-laced" for the part but trusted Van Dyke's judgment, especially since Manhattan Melodrama had been so popular with audiences (including Public Enemy #1, John Dillinger, who was shot when he came out of the theater after seeing the film - he was reportedly a Myrna Loy fan).

Mayer, Loy, Powell, and Van Dyke on the set of Another Thin Man (1939).

To agree to Myrna took a little more convincing. Van Dyke had to threaten to walk out to get Mayer to relent, but there were conditions - she had to be finished in time to start Stamboul Quest in three weeks. Van Dyke shot The Thin Man in sixteen days.
Actors are bound to lose their fire if they do a scene over and over. It's that fire that brings life to the screen.
~ "One-take" Woody

"He had us going like crazy," Loy remembered. "Woody demanded extraordinary deeds and you needed the discipline to go along with it or you couldn't work with him. His pacing and spontaneity made The Thin Man."

One of Myrna's biggest  memories about the film was her entrance. "What other director," she asks, "would introduce his leading lady with a perfect three-point landing on a barroom floor - even it was the Ritz bar? I was supposed to stroll in looking very chic, loaded down with packages, and leading Asta on a leash. 'Can you fall?' Woody asked... I would have done anything for Woody, because I was devoted to him. 'You just trip yourself,' he explained, 'and then go right down.' " Loy got it in one take.

What made The Thin Man series so popular is that it showed that married life could still be fun (albeit most of us don't have to track down bad guys). Other movies usually end with the engagement or the wedding, or they involve a couple who have been married a few years and have drifted apart. They file for divorce, a third party enters the picture, and the husband or wife has to win the other back (usually just as the divorce is finalized). The Thin Man and its follow-ups, showed a married couple that was still very much in love. They had their little arguments, but they trusted each other and always made up. This is what charmed Van Dyke about the original story, the relationship between Nick and Nora rather than the mystery, and that is certainly what the film is remembered for. Considered a "B" picture, the film was nominated for an Academy Award and, though it didn't win, became a classic that will continue to charm audiences for years to come.

The Thin Man will be airing on TCM February 19th at 10pm EST.

After the Thin Man (1936) was the successful sequel and because the first one was so popular with audiences, was given a larger budget and longer shooting schedule. It was during the making of this film that Bill and Myrna checked into a hotel only to discover they had been given the same suite as Mr. and Mrs. Powell! This was not to be the last time they would be mistaken for real-life husband and wife!

The next Thin Man installment did not come until three years later. During that time William Powell had suffered the death of his fiancĂ©e, actress Jean Harlow, and had a harrowing bout with cancer for two years. Another Thin Man (1939) was Bill's first film and Van Dyke, Myrna, and the rest of the cast and crew made sure that he took it easy.

Their next collaboration was not part of the Thin Man series. I Love You Again (1940) has Powell's character faking amnesia to make his wife, Loy, fall in love with him again. Bill and Myrna joked about the title, saying they would never be free to "love anyone else ever again," as this was their ninth picture together in the past seven years.

The last time the trio worked together was in the fourth Thin Man picture, Shadow of the Thin Man (1941).

Rosalind Russell with Loy, Powell, and Van Dyke.

Sadly, Van Dyke died in 1943 at the age of 54. Two more Thin Man movies were made: The Thin Man Goes Home (1945) directed by Richard Thorpe with a screenplay by Robert Riskin (Capra films) and Song of the Thin Man (1947) directed by Edward Buzzell (the only weak film of the series).
He died quite suddenly, leaving a void as a friend and as a director. He was one of Hollywood's best, most versatile directors.
~ Myrna Loy

List of Symbiotic Collaborations:

Manhattan Melodrama (1934)
The Thin Man (1934)
After the Thin Man (1936)
Another Thin Man (1939)
I Love You Again (1940)
Shadow of the Thin Man (1941)

This post is part of the Symbiotic Collaborations Blogathon hosted by CineMaven's Essays from the Couch. Please visit her blog to see all of the other great collaborations between stars and their directors in Hollywood!

Want more Bill and Myrna? Read my post on The Kisses of Nick & Nora for Valentine's Day and my post on the William Powell Snubs for the Oscar Snubs Blogathon at the end of next month! Also, check out my exciting Costume Awards poll coming up! I need YOUR nominations NOW!
Myrna Loy: Being and Becoming. James Kotsilibas-Davis & Myrna Loy. 1987.
Gentleman: The William Powell Story. Charles Francisco. 1985.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Three Times Barbara Stanwyck was Terrified

Stanwyck, NOT terrified

Barbara Stanwyck has always seemed to be a pretty brave woman. She exudes self-confidence (especially when it comes to men), always keeps a cool head, and is definitely NOT just another pretty face - she has brains too. But even someone as self-assured and sturdy as Barbara Stanwyck can become terrified from time to time. You would be too if you experienced what she did these three times:

Terrifying Experience #1: The Two Mrs. Carrolls (1945/47)

The first time Barbara was terrified, was when she became the second Mrs. Carroll to Humphrey Bogart. His first wife had been slowly poisoned and it became soon apparent that she was being poisoned too. While many reviews of this film say that both Bogart and Stanwyck were miscast I disagree. To me Bogart was very convincing as a crazy painter and Stanwyck's performance is magnificent. I highly recommend it. It was actually filmed in 1945 but not released until 1947.

The Two Mrs. Carrolls will be airing on TCM March 21 at 8pm EST.

Terrifying Experience #2: Cry Wolf (1947)

The second time was when she married Errol Flynn's crazy brother and, when he died, went to the ancestral home that emanated queer sounds and screeches. And while Barbara wasn't completely terrified (in fact, she was quite brave under the circumstances), there were some heart-stopping moments she could have lived without. You can read my previous post on Cry Wolf here.


Terrifying Experience #3: Sorry, Wrong Number (1948)

The third time was when she overheard some men plotting the murder of a bedridden woman who just happens to be her, and can't get anyone to believe her. It took Stanwyck 12 days to films those terrifying scenes and she had to keep up that energy the entire time.


Barbara wasn't always lucky with her choice of husband and the moral here is to not get married unless absolutely sure of your husbands mental health and that of his family. Also, never drink the glass of milk your husband brings you when you are ill ;)

This post is part of the Remembering Barbara Stanwyck Blogathon hosted by In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood. Be sure to read all of the other posts about this legendary woman.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Monday, January 11, 2016

Bundle of Joy (1956): Favorite Dresses

Bundle of Joy (1956) is a remake of Bachelor Mother (1939) which starred Ginger Rogers, David Niven, and the ever delightful Charles Coburn. It's musical remake paired, for the first time, real-life married couple Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, with Adolph Menjou in Coburn's role. Personally, I like the original better than the remake, though the remake is good also - the musical numbers are a little corny (except this one):
"Lullaby in Blue"
This post is not going to be a synopsis of the movie. You can read it on the TCM website here. I just wanted to share some of the beautiful and chic costumes by Howard Shoup. I couldn't find any good color screenshots of them online so I had to take pictures of my tv (that mysterious shiny spot in the upper right corner is a window). Our first view of Debbie as she walks through the store (singing a "Good Morning" song of course):

This one was taken with the flash but I included it because you can see the detail a little better.

Without the flash. This is my favorite dress.

Matching coat to go over pink dress.

LOVE her friend's dress (Nita Talbot as Mary). It's such a gorgeous color!

I'm guessing she's holding a matching jacket.