Saturday, September 24, 2016

Cinema Wedding Gowns: I Married a Witch (1942)

I Married a Witch (1942) is a delightful film preceding the extremely popular Bewitched television series of the 1960s and early 70s. Starring Veronica Lake and Fredric March, it is about a witch who returns to life in order to fulfill an ancient curse on the descendant of a witch burner. The curse is that all male descendants will marry the wrong girl. Jennifer (Lake) takes on bodily form in order to make Wallace Wooley (March) fall in love with her on the eve of his wedding to Estelle Masterson (Susan Hayward). Hayward wears an exquisite wedding gown in this movie and it is the second gown in this series.

If Estelle doesn't exactly look happy at her wedding, it is because things keep happening to make them start over. First there's a hurricane, caused when Jennifer shows up at the Masterson home. Then Wally hears a gunshot and rushes back upstairs thinking Jennifer has killed herself. Finally Estelle goes upstairs to see what in the world is going and finds Jennifer and Wally kissing, this ending any chance of nuptials that day, and probably the future.


The costumes for this film were designed by Edith Head. I could not find any pictures of her original sketches to include. This dress is another vision in lace with a plunging illusion neckline, gathered bust-line, and full hooped skirt with tiers. The veil features large stand-up scallops around the face as well as scallops down the sides and bottom.


Here are some screenshots from the movie:

Looking happy for a brief moment

Wondering why the groom is running down the aisle.

The back of the veil.

The skirt in motion.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

And Yet Another Liebster

The amazing Western-loving Hamlette nominated me last week for another Liebster award (this makes 4 for me). Since I did one not too long ago, I'm not going to tag anyone so feel free to answer my 11 questions in the comments or on your own blog :)

Here's my answers to Hamlette's awesome questions:

1.  Is there a movie that has really yummy-looking food in it that you'd love to eat?

I can't think of one off the top of my head but I always want gelato when I watch Roman Holiday (warning: It's illegal to eat it on the Spanish Steps. Depressing I know).

2.  What era do most of your favorite movies take place in?
Well, going from my Five Movies on an Island list, the 1950s. The decade on my movie list that is the longest is the 1940s.

3.  What two actors/actresses have you always hoped would make a movie together, but didn't/haven't yet?

I'm pretty sure I've thought of some before but I can't think of them now so I'll go with Cary Grant and Olivia de Havilland! Or how about a 1930s comedy with Olivia and Carole Lombard! Their combined beauty and comedic talent would break the screen!!

4.  If money and time and supplies (and crafting ability) were not considerations, what movie character would you love to cosplay or dress up like for Halloween?
I would love to dress up as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz (I already have the most important part: the shoes. I also have a stuffed animal Toto) but I would look terrible in that outfit.

I also want to dress up as Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday but I would rather wear it in Rome.

5.  Have you ever cosplayed or dressed up like a movie or TV character for Halloween?
I once dressed up as Daphne from Scooby Doo for a Sadie Hawkins dance that was around Halloween at my college. (Nervous because this is the first photo of myself I've put on any of my blogs...)

6.  What movie would your friends/family be surprised to learn you truly enjoyed?

Probably quite a few haha. My brothers are the only ones who really know what movies I enjoy. I think my friends and extended family know I like old movies but maybe not just how MUCH! They might be surprised on some of the movies containing crude humor - mostly 80s and 90s - or some action films.

7.  What's one book you hope no one ever makes into a film?

50 Shades of Grey. Oh wait... they already did :/

8.  Do you know the Wilhelm Scream when you hear it?

I have no idea what that is...

9.  When a character onscreen has to hold their breath, to you try to hold your breath to match theirs?

I don't think so. I have tried to hold out a musical note for a long time (ex: Judy Garland in several songs and "Ain't No Sunshine" sung by Bill Withers).

10.  What upcoming movies (or TV series) are you excited about?

I really want to see The Light Between Oceans starring Alicia Vikander and her real-life boyfriend Michael Fassbender. It just came out but only in select theaters (none close enough to me) so I will have to wait until it comes out on dvd.

I also can't wait for the WWII film The Exception (also known as The Kaiser's Last Kiss) starring Christopher Plummer, Lily James, and Jai Courtney. I may feel differently when I see the trailer, whenever it comes out because I really have no idea what it's about...


11.  What are some of your favorite movie-oriented blogs?  (Or just blogs that post movie reviews sometimes.)

My favorite blogs are The Blonde at the Film (love all her screenshots) and Back to Golden Days. I always learn so much from reading their reviews. Another fun one that is more 1930s actress-oriented is Curious Pip. She makes amazing dolls as well as awesome sketches of Myrna Loy, Jean Harlow, and several other screen favorites. You should definitely check it out. And of course Hamlette's Soliloquey ;) I've listed several others on my Classic Movie Sites Page/tab.

My 11 questions:

1. Favorite British Movie Star (other than Cary Grant):
2. Favorite Classic Movie gif:
3. Have you signed up for the Hub Club? If not, use this link so I'll get points ;)
4. Favorite movie geared for teens/young adults (ex. Gidget, beach party films, Divergent, etc.):
5. Favorite supporting character in Gone With the Wind (you can't pick Scarlet, Rhett, Melanie, or Ashley):
6. Favorite Classic Courtroom movie:
7. Favorite book that was made into a movie:
8. Favorite song sung by a movie star (Judy, Bing, Deanna, etc.):
9. Favorite movie filmed on location (other than US):
10. Favorite classic movie hat:
11. Favorite blogathon so far this year (*Olivia* cough, cough):

Friday, September 16, 2016

And Then There Were None (1945)

Ten people are invited to an isolated island, only to find that an unseen person is killing them one by one. Could one of them be the killer?

That is the premise of one of my favorite mystery stories by the Queen on Crime, the great Agatha Christie. Originally written in 1939, the book, a best seller with over 100 million copies sold, has been made into a movie more times than any of Christie's other novels and has appeared as a television production even more, attesting to the popularity of the story through the decades. You can read more about the book and it's adaptations here.

The Island "prison."

The story was first adapted for the stage, with a alternate ending. This ending is the one mostly used in the film adaptations, the first of which was And Then There were None (1945) starring Barry Fitzgerald, Walter Huston, Roland Young, C. Aubrey Smith, Richard Haydn, and Judith Anderson. The young couple and romantic interest in the film is played by Louis Hayward and June Duprez. Like the book, the story takes place on an island (changed to the Alps in the 1965 film titled Ten Little Indians). A group of strangers are invited there by a Mr. U. N. Own (get it - "unknown"), of which none of them has ever actually met. They arrive by boat and are informed that it will be back to pick them up in a few days. The guests are met by two servants, husband and wife, whom they learn have just been hired and also do not know their mysterious host. Everyone is settled in their rooms and have dinner, where they begin to get to know one another. After dinner, a record begins to play. A voice identifies itself as their host and proceeds to tell them why they are there. It seems that everyone has a shady past, whether it was murder or some other sort of crime. The guests are indignant and attempt to tell their stories to clear their names of their supposed crime.

Judith Anderson, the perfect person to put in the middle of a Christie story.

It is then that things begin to get interesting. Prince Nikita Skarloff (Mischa Auer - the protégé from My Man Godfrey) begins drunkenly playing the piano and suddenly collapses, poisoned. Someone notices that one of the Indian statuettes they had only just been admiring on the dining room table has been smashed. They also realize that there is a statue for each of them, totaling ten. Vera Claythorne (Duprez) suddenly recalls a rhyme about "Ten Little Indians," in which the first choked to death. At first everyone thinks there is a killer hiding in the house but suspicion quickly turns to each other as one by one each person meets a terrible fate until finally there are only two people left alive.  Which one of them is the killer? Will he or she kill the other and then hang himself, as the poem says? You'll have to watch the movie or read the book to find out!

Here is the rhyme (the word Indians has since been replaced with Soldier Boys):

Ten little Indian boys went out to dine;
One choked his little self and then there were Nine.
Nine little Indian boys sat up very late;
One overslept himself and then there were Eight.
Eight little Indian boys traveling in Devon;
One said he'd stay there and then there were Seven.
Seven little Indian boys chopping up sticks;
One chopped himself in halves and then there were Six.
Six little Indian boys playing with a hive;
A bumblebee stung one and then there were Five.
Five little Indian boys going in for law;
One got into Chancery and then there were Four.
Four little Indian boys going out to sea;
A red herring swallowed one and then there were Three.
Three little Indian boys walking in the Zoo;
A big bear hugged one and then there were Two.
Two little Indian boys were out in the sun;
One got all frizzled up and then there was one.
One little Indian boy left all alone;
He went out and hanged himself and then there were none
Released on Halloween of 1945, the film was highly successful. Unfortunately it has fallen into the public domain so copies of the film are extremely poor.
Although I really like this movie, I highly recommend reading the book first, as it is superbly written and with a truly thrilling climax. You can watch the movie in its entirety below:
This post is part of The Agatha Christie Blogathon hosted by Christina Wehner and Little Bits of Classics. Be sure to read all of the other suspense-filled posts!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Cinema Wedding Gowns: Light in the Piazza (1962)

Since I ran out of book sources for my Behind the Dress series (without shelling out $40), I've decided to start a new series showing some of the gorgeous wedding gowns that have been featured in films, whether is was shown for a long scene in the movie or just a fleeting glance.

Since weddings generally take place on Saturdays, this series will appear on the second and fourth Saturday of every month.

Our first wedding dress is from Light in the Piazza (1962) and is worn by Yvette Mimieux. George Hamilton is the groom (a last minute replacement for James Darren), the mother of the bride is Olivia de Havilland, and the father of the groom is Italian actor Rossano Brazzi.

This gown is the epitome of style and glamour (two of my favorite words when talking about clothes). While the dress has a 1950s cocktail dress vibe, the veil/headpiece is definitely 1960s. The lace is exquisite.

Dolly Smith was the Wardrobe Mistress for this film. Olivia's wardrobe was by Dior. I don't know who actually designed this stunning gown.

My 250th post!!!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Dorothy McGuire Marathon

Recently I've become interested in the movies of Dorothy McGuire. It started last month with my post on The Spiral Staircase (1945) for the Barrymore Trilogy Blogathon. Then, after seeing it listed many times on the TCM schedule but never watching or recording it, I watched The Enchanted Cottage (1945) last week. The next day I watched McGuire's first film Claudia (1943) on YouTube and yesterday I watched Mister 880 (1950). I enjoyed all of them, especially McGuire's performance in them.

Of course I have seen her in films before. Like most people I've seen The Swiss Family Robinson (Disney - 1960), although my eye was mainly on Fritz at the time, and I've seen Summer Magic (Disney - 1963)a couple times, and probably a little of Old Yeller (1957 - I have never watched the whole thing though and don't intend to), but in all of them she's just the kind yet concerned mother (plus I was a teen). I also watched Three Coins in the Fountain (1954) last year. Her performance was very good but she was too young for the role - in which she is interested in Clifton Webb whom she is the secretary of.


The Enchanted Cottage (1945) was, as the title suggests, enchanting. McGuire is a plain girl who marries a man (Robert Young) who's face was badly disfigured in a plane accident as a matter of convenience - this is WWII. In the enchanted cottage however, they see each other as beautiful and fall in love. My only complaint is that McGuire wasn't "plain" enough for the role. Her character truly thinks she is ugly and I've definitely seen worse! All she needs to do is style her hair, do a little eyebrow trimming, and put on some makeup and a stylish dress! Another thing that bothered me is that it is implied that one cannot be happy unless they and their spouse is attractive. Also starring in the film are Mildred Natwick, who owns the cottage, and Herbert Marshall in a superb performance as a blind musician.


Claudia (1943) is a more unusual film. McGuire and Young (in their first of four films together), are newlyweds living out in the country. McGuire - "Claudia" - is always running around, going through windows instead of doors, letting another man kiss her to see how she liked it, and admits to being attached to her mother (luckily Mother and Young get along well, no "in-law" animosity). Halfway through the film we discover the mother is ill (I'm guessing cancer but they never say what she has) and is going to die soon. She tries to hide it from Claudia but she overhears - one of Claudia's faults is eavesdropping on the phone extension. The movie basically ends with everyone accepting Mother's impending death and going on as if everything is okay. The movie was a hit, however, and McGuire and Young reprised their roles in the sequel Claudia and David was made in 1946. Unfortunately it's not on YouTube (their last film together was the 1978 TV mini-series Little Woman). 

Mister 880 (1950) is a wonderful gem of a film, and I fear little known except to fans of McGuire and Burt Lancaster, who co-stars. Lancaster works for the Secret Service. He is called in to work on a counterfeiting case that has been baffling the Service for 10 years. When McGuire passes a fake bill, Lancaster begins trailing her. He then manages to get a date with her to investigate further. She finds out who he is and plays with him a little, leaving suspicious materials around her apartment. He's not too mad at her  - they're going pretty steady by now. It helps that he's got some good leads on "880" (the file number of the counterfeiter). Edmund Gwenn is McGuire's delightful neighbor. This is a must-watch.

I am definitely going to be watching more of McGuire's films in the near future. I've been wanting to watch Gentlemen's Agreement (1947) for John Garfield for some time now and I want to get A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945) from my library and any other films of hers they have.

Have you watched many of McGuire's films?
Has she caught your attention in a certain one?
What are some of your favorites?

Monday, September 5, 2016

Announcing the Cary Grant Blogathon!

I've noticed this past year that a lot of actresses have been given attention in the blogathon circle. Since January we have honored Loretta Young, Barbara Stanwyck, Dorothy Lamour, Bette Davis, Audrey Hepburn, Katharine Hepburn, Olivia de Havilland, Joan Crawford, Margaret Lockwood, Ingrid Bergman, and later this year Grace Kelly and Agnes Moorehead. The only men we have honored have been the two Barrymore brothers (along with their sister Ethel), and directors Mel Brooks and Alfred Hitchcock.

In June of this year we had the 50th Anniversary of Cary Grant's final film Walk Don't Run (1966) but unfortunately I didn't realize it until the day had passed. I also missed his birthday. Therefore I have decided to hold a blogthon honoring one of the Classiest Actors that has ever lived on the 30th anniversary of his death, November 29. Since Thanksgiving is the 24th, I've decided to hold it in the middle of the week instead of the weekend, running from Tuesday November 29th to Thursday December 1st.

Here are the rules:

1. Since Cary Grant made over 70 films, I ask for no duplicates. There are plenty of favorites to go around.

2. Once you have picked your topic (anything Cary Grant related) leave a comment here with the name of your blog and the link (especially if clicking on your name just brings me to your Google+ profile). Please also include the year your movie was released, if applicable. If you have trouble commenting you can also contact me on my fb page or via Twitter (@Solidmoonlight).

3. Choose one of the banners to display on your blog and help spread the word! Use #CaryGrantBlogathon on Twitter!



Phyllis Loves Classic Movies - Once Upon a Honeymoon (1942) & Gunga Din (1939)
The Flapper Dame - Only Angels Have Wings (1939)
B Noir Detour - Notorious (1946)
The Wonderful World of Cinema - Topper (1937)
Wolffian Classic Movies Digest - His Girl Friday (1940)
Finding Franchot - Every Girl Should Be Married (1948)
Critica Retro - Hot Saturday (1932)
Once Upon a Screen - North by Northwest (1959)
Caftan Woman - The Talk of the Town (1942)
Back to Golden Days - The Awful Truth (1937)
Wide Screen World - Penny Serenade (1941)
Cinematic Scribblings - Charade (1963)
Moon in Gemini - Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
Classic Movie Hub - My Favorite Wife (1940)
Love Letters to Old Hollywood - The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947)
In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood - Bringing Up Baby (1938) & Cary Grant's Relationship with Katharine Hepburn
Hamlette's Soliloquy - Father Goose (1964)
The Film Noir Archive - Suspicion (1941)
Old Hollywood Films - Holiday (1938)
Anna, Look! - Houseboat (1958)
Christina Wehner - The Toast of New York (1937)
Realweegiemidget ReviewsAn Affair to Remember (1957)
Vienna's Classic Hollywood - Mr. Lucky (1943)
Speakeasy - Crisis (1950)
Sleepwalking in Hollywood - Monkey Business (1952)
Musings of A Classic Film Addict - That Touch of Mink (1962)
The Midnite Drive-In - She Done Him Wrong (1933)
Cinema Crossroads - The Bishop's Wife (1947)
Little Bits of Classics - Indiscreet (1958)
Whimsically Classic - To Catch a Thief (1955)