Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Duo Double Feature Blogathon Day 3!

Yesterday's blogathon entries can be found over on The Flapper Dame's blog. The entries for Day 1 can be found here.

The Posts

Sat In Your Lap starts off the day with the two films starring duo Cary Grant and Jean Arthur: Only Angels Have Wings and Talk of the Town (two posts).

My wonderful co-host, The Flapper Dame takes a look at the lovely friendship between duo Natalie Wood and Robert Redford.

Thoughts All Sorts takes on a double dose of handsome with Paul Newman and Robert Redford.

Pure Entertainment Preservation Society examines the special magic of duo James Cagney and Doris Day.

Moon in Gemini reviews two films that were made close together but are complete opposites starring duo James Stewart and Kim Novak.

Dbmoviesblog takes a look at opposites attracting in duo Julia Roberts and Richard Gere.

Check back in the next couple of days for the rest of the posts (including mine)!

I want to thank Emily for asking me to co-host this unique blogathon with her! I also want to thank all the participants. Without you there is no blogathon!

I watched Titanic for the very first time this week.

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Duo Double Feature Blogathon Day 1!

It's Day 1 of The Duo Double Feature Blogathon hosted by myself and The Flapper Dame! I can't wait to read all of the wonderful posts on the film pairs that only made two films together.


Words Seem Out of Place discusses two completely different films that showcase duo Michelle Pfeiffer and Al Pacino.

Maddy Loves Her Classic Films and she also loves the two films starring duo William Holden and Audrey Hepburn!

Realweegiemidget Reviews explores the magical chemistry between duo Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor.

Caftan Woman discussed the long-in-coming pairing of duo Susan Hayward and Tyrone Power.

Taking Up Room has a good time with the twinkling duo Don Ameche and Betty Grable.

Film Noir Archive brings us Noir's hottest duo, Robert Mitchum and Jane Russell.

The Flapper Dame is hosting Day 2 so head
over there to check out more great duos!
Day 3 can be found here!

Friday, September 15, 2017

ANNOUNCING The Eve Arden Blogathon!

Eve Arden is the best friend everyone wants. With her quick wit and sarcastic wise-cracking humor, she always has something to say. I've recently watched several films of Arden's, whether she's a supporting player or one of the main characters, and decided to hold a little blogathon in her honor.

The two-day event will take place on Nov. 11 and 12 (the anniversary of her death). If you want to participate, leave a comment below with your choice and a link to your blog and grab a banner to display. Eve Arden has a lengthy filmography covering both movies and television and even radio so I'm allowing only two posts on the same topic. Feel free to write about something other than her onscreen work if you wish, as those sorts of posts are always fun.

As you can see below, I've chosen to write about Arden's Miss Brooks character, focusing mainly on the film. If you want to write a more in depth post about the radio or television series or a specific episode that is perfectly fine.


Phyllis Loves Classic Movies: Arden's "Miss Brook's" character from radio to television to the film

The Story Enthusiast: The Voice of the Turtle (1947)

Caftan Woman: The Doughgirls (1944)

Hamlette's Soliloquy: No, No Nanette (1940)

In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood: Mildred Pierce (1945)

Realweedgiemidget Reviews: Grease (1978)

Love Letters to Old Hollywood: Cover Girl (1944)

The Midnite Drive-In: Grease (1978) & Grease 2 (1982)

Critica Retro: Ziegfeld Girl (1941)

Friday, September 1, 2017

Movies I Watched in August

Well August was certainly a busy month for me movie wise! There were so many great movies airing for TCM's Summer Under the Stars. I was most excited for the days devoted to Eleanor Parker and Dennis Morgan. I also was able to get even more acquainted with Greer Garson and watch my first real Esther Williams swimming movie (I'd only seen The Hoodlum Saint and Easy to Wed) on Ricardo Montalban day. What days were you the most excited for/watched the most movies on? Did one of the features stars become a new favorite?

Not listed below as I didn't watch the entire movie but I also watched the first 30 or so minutes of the (definitely!) French film La Ronde (1950) for the segment with Simone Simon.
  1. Today We Live (1933) - Joan Crawford, Gary Cooper, Franchot Tone, Robert Young
  2. The Unguarded Hour (1936) - Franchot Tone & Loretta Young, Roland Young, Lewis Stone
  3. The Sisters (1938) - Bette Davis & Errol Flynn
  4. The Mad Miss Manton (1938) - Barbara Stanwyck & Henry Fonda
  5. Remember? (1939) - Robert Taylor & Greer Garson, Lew Ayres, Billie Burke
  6. Wings for the Eagle (1942) - Dennis Morgan, Ann Sheridan, Jack Carson
  7. What a Woman! (1943) - Rosalind Russell & Brian Aherne
  8. The Desert Song (1943) - Dennis Morgan
  9. *The Very Thought of You (1944) - Dennis Morgan & Eleanor Parker, Dane Clark & Faye Emerson
  10. Shine on Harvest Moon (1944) - Dennis Morgan & Ann Sheridan, Jack Carson
  11. Cover Girl (1944) - Rita Hayworth & Gene Kelly, Eve Arden
  12. The Locket (1946) - Larraine Day, Brian Aherne, Robert Mitchum
  13. The Late George Apley (1947) - Ronald Colman
  14. On an Island with You (1948) - Esther Williams, Ricardo Montalban, Peter Lawford, Jimmy Durante
  15. Three Husbands (1950) - Eve Arden
  16. The Law and the Lady (1951) - Greer Garson, Fernando Lamas, Marjorie Main
  17. Niagara (1953) - Marilyn Monroe & Joseph Cotten, Jean Peters
  18. Jeopardy (1953) - Barbara Stanwyck & Ralph Meeker
  19. Her Twelve Men (1954) - Greer Garson & Robert Ryan, Tim Considine
  20. Valley of the Kings (1954) - Robert Taylor & Eleanor Parker
  21. Many Rivers to Cross (1955) - Robert Taylor & Eleanor Parker
  22. *Lilies of the Field (1963) - Sidney Poitier
  23. Shenandoah (1965) - James Stewart, Doug McClure, Patrick Wayne, Katharine Ross, Glenn Corbett
  24. Do Not Disturb (1965) - Doris Day & Rod Taylor
  25. The Liquidator (1966) - Rod Taylor & Jill St. John
  26. The Undefeated (1969) - John Wayne, Rock Hudson
  27. Mrs. Brown (1997) - Judi Dench, Billy Connolly
  28. Allied (2016) - Brad Pitt & Marion Cotillard, Jared Harris
  29. Moana (2016) - Auli'i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson
Least Favorite: Today We Live should have been called "Today We Die." Also, what was up with Joan holding a roach?!? Gross!!! Many Rivers to Cross was somewhat painful to watch because Taylor and Parker are putting on backwoods accents... (I loved the Victor McLaglen and James Arness storylines though so worth a watch). Three Husbands wasn't very good either, despite a story and screenplay by Vera Caspery, you know, the one who wrote the novel Laura?

Favorite Movie of the Month: Niagara was all kinds of amazing. Valley of the Kings was pretty exciting too, even with the clich├ęs.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Her Twelve Men (1954)

Image from TCM

Today is Greer Garson day on TCM's Summer Under the Stars. Garson is one of the actresses I've been wanting to get to know better for some time so I was excited to see that she was getting a whole day of films this month. I watched two of them this morning (and am recording another three). One of the films I watched this morning was Her Twelve Men (1954) co-starring Robert Ryan of Film Noir fame. One of the reasons I wanted to watch it is because in it Garson plays a teacher. As someone with a degree in Educational Studies who has been doing part-time teaching for three years it sounded like something I would enjoy, and I did!

The film begins with Miss Stewart (Garson) on a plane to the prestigious all boys boarding school The Oaks, where she will be the first female teacher. A recent widow, she has to find something to do with her life and having previously enjoyed teaching for a short time after college is returning to that field. Upon arrival she is met with disapproval by fellow teacher Joe Hargrave (Robert Ryan), who thinks a woman teacher has no place there. Miss Stewart, or as the boys refer to her "Sir," goes through the usual boyish pranks (frog in the bed, etc.) but learns quickly from these experiences how to handle the boys in a way they will grow to respect her and, over the course of the school year, proves Hargrave wrong  and wins the hearts of her lonely boys she is put in charge of.

There were many touching scenes in the film as Garson handles homesickness and heartache, making "Her Twelve Men" feel loved and special when they don't receive the attention they need from their parents. One boy's parents are too busy running around Europe to write their son so she writes him letters pretending they are from his parents. It definitely tugs at the heart strings.

David Stollery, Richard Haydn, and Garson

Partway during the semester a new boy is dropped off at the school (Tim Considine). Richard Jr. is the son of a busy oil man whose wife died shortly after his birth. Richard has a chip on his shoulder, scoffing at everything in the school and getting all the boys in his class in trouble when he sets off the sprinklers in the dorm. The rest of the boys freeze him out and Richard falls out of the bedroom window and fractures his leg as a result. Garson accompanies him back to his house while his leg heals. Richard gets to know his father better as a result and Garson gets a hint of a marriage proposal (prompting a rather funny conversation where the headmaster, played by Richard Haydn, suggests that Garson might soon be sending her sons to the school, even though Garson was nearly 50 at the time of filming).

Considine being introduced to the other boys (he's from Texas).

Tim Considine is best known for being one of the original Mouseketeers with Annette Funicello, starring in Disney's Spin and Marty series (with David Stollery who plays Jeff in Her Twelve Men) and the Hardy Boys serials with Tommy Kirk as well as other Disney films. But he is probably best known as the oldest son in the popular and long running My Three Sons starring Fred MacMurray and William Frawley. Considine also appeared in another film with Garson, Sunrise at Campobello (1960). In it Garson plays Eleanor Roosevelt and Considine her son. The film chronicles FDR's life from when he contracts polio up to his running for President of the United States.

Another familiar television face is a young James Arness as the gym teacher. His part is rather small, simply as another love interest to show Garson's effect on the staff.

Greer Garson played hostess at her lovely Bel Air home to the twelve youngsters who played with her the  film “Her Twelve Men.” From left to right are George Folsey, Peter Votiren, Dale Hartleben and Tim Marxer. 2/5/1954
This was Garson's final film for MGM. She did a few more movies, including one for Disney, as well as several television appearances as a guest star or made-for-tv movies. Robert Ryan was only a third of the way through his career. The film was not well received by critics or its audience but I enjoyed it. If you missed Her Twelve Men (1954) this morning or don't have access to TCM, you can watch the entire film (in two parts) here.

This post is part of the annual month-long 2017 TCM Summer Under the Stars Blogathon hosted by Journeys in Classic Films.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Cinema Wedding Gowns: My Cousin Rachel (1953)

Last month My Cousin Rachel starring Rachel Weisz premiered in theaters. While I'm normally against remakes, when it's based on a book rather than a remake of an original movie script - especially a period piece - I'm fine with it. In such cases the films can be vastly different, especially when one was made during the days of the Hays Code and no CGI. I have not seen Weisz's version yet, but I thought it would be fun to take a look at Olivia de Havilland's version of Rachel for this month's first Cinema Wedding Gown.
The wedding scene occurs in a delirious dream of Richard Burton's while he is extremely ill. The enigmatic Rachel (de Havilland) cares for him during this time and when he gets better he insists that they are married and she insists it was a dream. Either way, de Havilland is absolutely gorgeous in her wedding gown, which can be seen in the promotional photos below. Displayed proximately is a family necklace, which is one of the reasons Rachel is not trusted. Is the family fortune all she wants (she's the widow of Burton's brother)?

I wanted to take screenshots of the scene but it's not on youtube and the movie isn't being shown on TCM anytime soon. Below is an image that shows (almost) the full-length dress as well as the sketch by costumer Dorothy Jeakins.

The gown is made of heavy cream satin, off the shoulders, and with flared three quarter length sleeves. There is lace appliqued on the front of the bodice, which has panels and is pointed in the front where it is attached to a full gathered skirt that just touches the floor. A floor length piece of exquisite lace is pinned to the back of her head. The sketch shows a different veil perched on the crown of the head with a piece over the face. You will notice the necklace is also different.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Never Let Me Go (1953)

I was thirty-two then, not an ideal age to be taking up so strenuous an activity as ballet.

So wrote Gene Tierney in her autobiography Self-Portrait on her experience playing a Russian ballerina in the film Never Let Me Go (1953) starring Clark Gable.
The film tells the story  of an American news correspondent, Philip Sutherland (Gable), stationed in Moscow who falls in love with and marries Marya Lamarkina (Tierney), a ballerina. When they try to leave Russia they are separated as Gable is forced to board a plane and Tierney is held back. Gable must then figure out how to get his wife out of Russia. He and his friend (Richard Haydn), whose wife is also being held in Russia, plan a bold sea rendezvous off the coast.
For a more in-depth summery and analysis of the film, check out Critica Retro's post!
When Tierney's character Marya is first introduced, she is one of the ballerina's in the background of a performance of Swan Lake. After she is kept in Russia and must wait for her husband to come back for her, she becomes a Prima Ballerina. Near the end of the film, Gable, in disguise as a Russian General, swims ashore and attends the theatre where his wife dances the lead in Swan Lake. You can view the scene below (in two parts because there's a scene with Gable pretending to be a doctor in the middle. Sorry for the poor quality - I recorded it with my camera off the tv). Real life Russian ballerina Natalie Leslie doubled for Tierney in the long shots.
To get ready for her role, Tierney began instruction with dance master Anton Dolin, practicing two hours a day for six weeks "just to master enough technique to get on my toes and do the few steps that would be required of me." The work was hard and Tierney soon had blistered and achy feet. Gable "was patient and considerate. One weekend he flew to Paris and came back with some salve he assured me would relieve the pain in my feet. The ointment helped." Even though the work was exhausting and painful, it gave Tierney a special love of ballet for the rest of her life.
The movie was filmed at the British MGM Studios in Hertfordshire, England and on location in Cornwall, where Gable stays to devise his plan to rescue Tierney. Outdoor locations of Russia had to be faked, as the Cold War was really gearing up. As many scenes took place at night, and with the use of some stock and newsreel footage, this was fairly easily accomplished.
Both Gable and Tierney were a little depressed at the time of filming. Gable, who had recently divorced fourth wife Lady Sylvia Ashley, still greatly missed the love of his life Carole Lombard (third wife) who had tragically died over a decade before in a plane crash while on her way home from a successful bond selling tour of the US. Tierney, suffering from mental illness, didn't socialize much with her co-star, despite her mother's urging to pursue a relationship with Gable. The two did go out to eat at a pub in Cornwall once, as was customary between a leading man and his leading lady. Gable mostly talked about Carole as Tierney sympathetically listened. "For all his he-man, no-undershirt screen image, I saw him as sweet and gentle, a hard crust with a soft center. I thought that quality was what came across on the screen and made him adored by so many."
After filming completed, Gable went to Africa to film Mogambo while Tierney remained in London for a while before going to Paris, where she met Rita Hayworth's ex-husband Prince Aly Khan. They began an intense relationship before parting the following year.
Never Let Me Go did not fare well at the box-office, despite getting good reviews:
It is cheering to have the reassurance that Clark Gable is one fellow, at least, who can still make the Soviet Union tough guys look like absolute monkeys—and does. In his latest Metro adventure, "Never Let Me Go," which was launched in a wide-screen enlargement at the Capitol yesterday, good old Clark does again what he accomplished back in 1940 in "Comrade X": he kidnaps a beautiful Russian lady right out from under the late Joe Stalin's nose. And, what's more, he does it with the coolness of a big boy taking candy away from kids.
Anyone who knows adventure fiction and what to expect from such a film will not be at all disappointed in the brand of whoop-de-do we have here. For the writing is brash and eventful, the texture of the production is fairly real and the performances by all the actors are in the appropriate make-believe style. To be sure, the whole film is romantic and just this side of ridiculous farce in an area that isn't quite that funny. But, after all, it's good old Clark's affair, you know.

Romance, daring, intrigue–that’s Clark Gable’s meat. That’s Never Let Me Go–the adventures of an American newspaperman in Russia who falls in love with a ballerina (Gene Tierney), marries her, and is forced to leave the country alone. His English friend, Richard Haydn, has also married a Russian and must also leave her behind. Gable lights on a fantastic idea. Why not sneak the girls right out of Russia? He decided to buy a fishing boat, sail it from England to a beach resort near the town where Gene is performing. At night the beach is crowded with bathers. No one would notice if two of those bathers swam out beyond the breakers to a rowboat, were taken by that rowboat to the fishing vessel, and freedom. Haydn’s skeptical, but what–besides his life–does he have to lose? Gable has a fiend, a radio broadcaster in Russia, whom he contacts and together they devise a code enabling Gable to make rendezvous plans with their wives. Everything works–up to a point. But there’s a run-in with a Russian patrol boat, and after that there’s Gable masquerading as a Russian Army officer, and after that there’s a chase right into the ocean. After that–well, see for yourself. 
I greatly enjoyed this film. Tierney made a lovely ballerina, as can be seen in all the promotional photos below (click to enlarge) and the story was exciting, especially near the end where you wonder how they will get away with only minutes left to go on the film. And even though Gable is obviously older than Tierney - he was 54 and she was 32 - it somehow works.
TCM isn't showing this film anytime soon, but is available on DVD. I hope everyone gets a chance to watch it.


This post is part of En Pointe: The Ballet Blogathon hosted by Christina Wehner and Love Letters to Old Hollywood. Dance on over to their blogs to check out all of the other posts!

Self-Portrait. Gene Tierney with Mickey Herskowitz. Wyden Books. 1979.

Clark Gable: A Biography. Warren G. Harris. Harmony Books, NY. 2002.