Saturday, November 18, 2017

ANNOUNCING The Bill & Myrna New Year's Blogathon!

For the past few years, TCM has shown the Thin Man films for a New Year's marathon. To celebrate our favorite fictional married couple, The Flapper Dame and I thought it would be fun to celebrate with Bill and Myrna in another way - with a blogathon!! Therefore, we are excited to announce The Bill and Myrna New Year's Blogathon 🍸 which will take place from January 1-3, 2018.

Bill and Myrna made fourteen films together and many, many more on their own, so there are lots of fabulous movies to talk about. They also had amazing friendships and lots of personal stories that would be fun to write about, so we ask that there be no duplicates so we can cover as much of these two amazing actors lives and careers as possible. Once you've decided on a topic, let one of us know in the comments section with the name and link to your blog. Finally, grab a banner (I'm pretty excited with how they turned out) and spread the word! Oh, and free martini's for everyone!! ;)

The Guest List:

Phyllis Loves Classic Movies: TBA
The Flapper Dame: TBA
Love Letters to Old HollywoodI Love You Again (1940) & So Goes My Love (1946)
The Midnite Drive-In: The Thin Man (1934)
Movies Meet Their Match: The Great Ziegfeld (1936)
Maddy Loves Her Classic Films: Powell and Loy as an on-screen couple
Caftan Woman: After the Thin Man (1936)
Musings of a Classic Film Addict: Double Wedding (1937)
Critica Retro: Love Crazy (1940)
Hamlette's Soliloquy: The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
Charlene's (Mostly) Classic Movie Reviews: Evelyn Prentice (1934)
Blog of the Darned: Another Thin Man (1939)
Old Hollywood Films: Libeled Lady (1936)

Friday, November 17, 2017

Man's Favorite Sport? (1964)

Roger Willoughby (Rock Hudson) is happily employed as one of the world's great angling experts. Unfortunately, even his own boss doesn't know that Roger has never been fishing in his life. So when press agent Abigail Page (Paula Prentiss) arranges for Roger to participate in her resort's upcoming fishing tournament, he's thrown into a panic. At the resort, he and Abby commence a crash course to turn him into a genuine outdoorsman - only to have their plan riotously upset by a surprise visit from Roger's fiancé.
This description from the DVD case for Man's Favorite Sport? (1964) immediately called to mind two films for me: Christmas in Connecticut (1945), in which Barbara Stanwyck's character writes for a magazine pretending to be married, have a baby, live on a farm, and be an excellent cook; and Libeled Lady (1936), in which William Powell's character pretends to be an expert at fly fishing in order to become friend's with the father of Myrna Loy's character, leading to a hilarious fishing scene where Powell tries to fish and look at a manual at the same time. As I watched I was reminded of yet another film, Bringing Up Baby (1938). The "love impulse" quote, ripped back of dress (in this case a stuck zipper), and "strangely attracted" bit as well as all the bad things that happen to Roger when Abby is around are practically lifted right out of the beloved Screwball film. But it's really not that much of a surprise, seeing as both films were directed by the legendary Howard Hawks. Hawks even originally wanted Cary Grant in the lead role! Cary turned it down for Charade (1963) so he had to settle for Hudson, who was fresh off of his first two films with Doris Day.

While this film is no masterpiece, it's a fun little comedy with plenty of laugh out loud moments. The film starts with what will become a pattern for Roger (Hudson) as Prentiss's character Abby steals his parking space with her tiny car as he's about to back in. He tries to explain that she is in his space, where he parks every day, but she's not budging, telling him if he wants to park there he'll have to move her car himself. It's reminiscent of the scene in Bringing Up Baby where Katharine Hepburn drives off in Cary Grant's car. What follows is a classic tall man tries to get in small space, in this case Roger trying to release the break by sticking his top half through the sun roof. A police gets involved and he ends up with a ticket for leaving his car in the middle of the parking lot.

When Roger finally gets upstairs where he's late to a meeting, he discovers his meeting is with none other than the young lady from the parking lot. She is naturally embarrassed and he tries to control his anger and annoyance. It doesn't help matters when he hears the purpose of her visit. As the author of a best selling fishing book, she thinks Roger should enter the annual fishing tournament!

His boss is all for it, not knowing the truth about his employee (Christmas in Connecticut anyone?). Roger takes Abby and her friend out for a drink and in an odd scene in a musical museum he confesses he doesn't know the first thing about fishing. Since Abby got him into this situation, she's determined to help him get out of it. With five days before the tournament begins, they head to the lake to begin a crash course in fishing. Roger's boss sends a carload of equipment for him to try out for the store while he's there. This causes no end of troubles for Roger, culminating in some inflatable fishing pants that nearly drown him than save him - Roger can't swim of course.

Abby finally hits upon an idea she thinks will work. What if Roger breaks his arm? Well, not actually break it, just plaster it up so everyone THINKS it's broken. So, Abby plasters it up. While it's drying she discovers that another famous name in the world of fish is participating in the tournament so Roger can simply drop out! Right? Wrong. The other guy REALLY gets a broken arm and once again Roger is stuck as a contestant in the tournament.

And so it begins. Somehow Roger manages to catch a good sized fish on the first day, coming in second in the days results! Of course it's completely by accident and he gets completely soaked in the process but so far so good. He also manages to catch a large fish on the second and third days of the tournament and finds himself with a trophy for first place!

Also in the course of the tournament he loses his fiancé due to a scene taken right out of the aforementioned Bringing Up Baby. It's taken a step further with Roger's tie getting stuck in a zipper - which happened earlier with a sleeping bag and also witnessed by his fiancé - causing his engagement to be broken.


Abby has by this time fallen in love with Roger but is upset that he won the tournament purely by accident. She tells him he has to confess to being a phony, even if it means losing his job at Abercrombie and Fitch. Roger had already decided to do just that but Abby goes off into the woods by herself to be miserable.

After he is fired, Roger goes off to find Abby and they get caught in a downpour, sharing her covered sleeping bag for protection from the rain. Back at the lodge, the other fishermen convince Roger's boss that he is missing out on a huge marketing scheme, that any man can win a fishing tournament as long as he has the right equipment!

And so, Roger gets back his job and redeems himself in the eyes of Abby, who he's "strangely attracted" to despite all the trouble she has caused him. And there the movie ends, with the two of them in their sleeping bag floating in the middle of the lake.

While the film didn't do to well at the box office, due to 25 minutes being cut and the overall phony look of the studio-built sets, I greatly enjoyed the film and found myself laughing aloud at several comic moments. Hudson and Prentiss are great in their roles and the supporting cast, particularly the other fishermen, added greatly to the film.

Love this outfit Abby wears!

Here's a great clip I found on YouTube of Prentiss after a 2010 screening of the film talking about her experience working with Hudson. The first eight minutes are about Man's Favorite Sport? and then she talks about some other films from her career. You can watch the trailer for the film here.

Happy Birthday Rock!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Cinema Wedding Gowns: Until They Sail (1957)

Today's cinema wedding gown comes from a short scene in Until They Sail (1957) starring Jean Simmons and Paul Newman, with Piper Laurie as the bride. Her marriage will not be a happy one - being World War II there's basically no men left in her hometown of Christchurch, New Zealand so she marries the one guy that IS there. And while the union is a disaster - deadly in fact - the gown is a beautiful one.

The bodice has a button up front and collar with a sweetheart lining and short cuffed sleeves. It is covered with a floral applique. The veil is gathered tulle attached to a floral trimmed headband. Small pearl earrings add the perfect finishing touch. Unfortunately the costume designer is not listed on either TCM or IMDb.

Promotional photos for the film show Sandra Dee wearing a gorgeous lace dress that looks very much like a wedding gown but we do not see her character get married. I thought I'd include them as it's such a lovely gown.

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Eve Arden Blogathon is Here!!!

The Eve Arden Blogathon has finally arrived! I will update this post as entries come in so please check back throughout the weekend! I can't wait to read all the entries about this fabulous comedienne. A huge thank you to all who participated!

The Posts

The Story Enthusiast, like myself, went on an Arden kick after seeing The Voice of the Turtle (1947).

The Midnite Drive-In talks Grease-y Relationships.

Realweegiemidget Reviews relates how Arden's small role in Grease (1978) left a big impact.

Caftan Woman shares the wartime comedy The Doughgirls (1944).

Hamlette's Soliloquy wants to know what Arden's character is up to in No, No, Nanette (1940).

Hometowns to Hollywood takes a look at Arden's career and the town where she grew up.

Love Letters to Old Hollywood finds Arden perfect for her role in Cover Girl (1944).

Critica Retro looks at Arden's small role in the dazzling Ziegfeld Girl (1941).

Once Upon a Screen finds Arden to be the bright spot in Three Husbands (1950).

Keep an eye out for my next blogathon announcement!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Hollywood Auction Catalogs

This year I have discovered Auction Catalogs. Unfortunately - rather than being collected in one fabulous museum - costumes, jewelry, photos, and props from Classic Hollywood films are often owned by private collectors or consist of personal collections auctioned off by the actor or actress's family after their passing. Oftentimes the person who buys these items ends up selling them after a while and we end up with annual actions with catalogs featuring pages of fabulous items.

On Nov. 18, Julien's Auctions is having an auction consisting entirely of jewelry from the famous Joseff of Hollywood. The catalog, which you can view online, has over 400 pages of glittering jewels that once adorned the most beautiful of women and the most handsome of men. Here are a few of my favorite pages.

If you could own any of these pieces, or any of the other pieces in the catalog, which would you choose? Oh! To be fabulously wealthy at a time like this!
Update: Last night I started watching Rose-Marie (1936) and I noticed the bracelet Jeannette MacDonald wears on her left wrist appears to be the same one worn by Myrna Loy I shared above. As both films were made by MGM in 1936 and had their jewelry provided by Joseff of Hollywood I am almost certain it is the same piece.