Friday, October 26, 2018

Announcing the 90 Years of Jean Simmons Blogathon!

It's no secret (at least I hope not) that Jean Simmons is one of my favorite actresses. I first saw her in Until They Sail (1957) and since then I've watched every film of hers I could get my hands on. So when Virginie of The Wonderful World of Cinema asked if I would like to co-host a blogathon in Simmon's honor, I jumped at the chance!

  • First of all, if you don't like Jean Simmons (what's wrong with you?? ;), this blogathon is not for you. We want to honor Simmons, not criticize her.
  • Make sure you subscribe first. Don't expect us to add you to the roster after the blogathon has started.
  • The blogathon will run from January 29-31, 2019, coinciding with Simmons' birthday.
  • We will allow up to two duplicates in order to cover as many films/topics as possible. Also, we will allow up to two entries per person so that everyone has a chance to write about what they want. Please make sure it is new content.
  • Don't have a blog but want to participate? No problem! Contact me or Virginie and we will be happy to share your post on one of our blogs!
  • When you decided on your topic, leave a comment WITH A LINK TO YOUR BLOG and your topic of choice. 
  • Lastly, add one of these breathtakingly banners that Virginie made to your blog to help advertise!
Topics already chosen twice:

Star Trek: The Next Generation
Murder, She Wrote
Guys & Dolls
Elmer Gantry
Footsteps in the Fog
The Happy Ending


Phyllis Loves Classic Movies: She Couldn't Say No (1952) & TBA
The Wonderful World of Cinema: Personal Tribute
Wide Screen World: Star Trek: The Next Generation "The Drumhead" (1991)
Caftan Woman: Murder, She Wrote "Mirror, Mirror on the Wall" (1989)
Realweegiemidget Reviews: Dominique (1979)
Hamlette's Soliloquy: The Big Country (1958)
Taking Up Room: Elmer Gantry (1960)
Movie Rob: Footsteps in the Fog (1955) & The Happy Ending (1969)
The Midnite Drive-In: The Blue Lagoon (1949)
Maddy Loves Her Classic Films: Footsteps in the Fog (1955)
Cinema Cities: Guys and Dolls (1955)
Pop Culture Reverie: Dark Shadows (1991)
Pale Writer: Guys and Dolls (1955) & This Could Be the Night (1957)
Silver Screenings: Elmer Gantry (1960)
In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood: The Actress (1953)

The Stop Button: The Happy Ending (1969)
Critica Retro: Hilda Crane (1956)
18 Cinema Lane: Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
Film Exodus: Affair with a Stranger (1953)
Blog of the Darned: The Big Country (1958)
The Story Enthusiast: All the Way Home (1957)
Mike Takes On the Movies: Jean Simmons Posters and Lobby Cards
Silver Scenes Trio (1950) & The Egyptian (1954)

"Oh, I think this event will be a great success!"

Monday, October 22, 2018

The Girl From Jones Beach (1948)

I’m back on Long Island visiting my aunt and after spending the morning recovering from my train ride - unfortunately I didn’t meet a Cary Grant (and thankfully not a Bruno Antony) - we went for a walk at Jones Beach. I went in July to watch the sunset and I knew there was a movie that was set there but hadn’t seen it. TCM showed it in August as part of Virginia Mayo’s day for Summer Under the Stars and I made sure to watch it. The only thing I recognized was the tower.

I took screenshots of the other Jones Beach shots for later use. So I was very happy when my aunt took me back on the first day of my visit and parked in Lot 6, right nearby the East Bathhouse! Everything looked the same, though I highly doubt the actors actually went there to film. It looks like a little rear projection was involved and probably a studio replica set. But it was neat just the same. Here are the shots in the movie and my photos. Hope you enjoy!

I was not amused by Eddie Braken's character who kept telling his girlfriend he was going to commit suicide then would wait for her to come and stop him in the nick of time.

In the letter above he says he will be near the East Bathhouse. The camera actually shows the WEST Bathhouse first.

The West Bathhouse in 1948.

The West Bathhouse today!

The camera then pans to show more of the beach. Below you see the boardwalk curving away from the front of the West Bathhouse.

The little round building is an umbrella and beach chair stand! There was nothing in it when I peeked inside but they could still use it in the summer.

East Bathhouse in background.

Finally, here is the East Bathhouse. Braken spots Virginia Mayo through the binoculars.

I kind of doubt she's actually there...

Note how the sign says Circa 1929

If you go up the stairs there's an area to sit out of the wind and sun!

Mayo enters a woman's locker. I'm not sure if this is a real building that exists at Jones Beach or not. I didn't have access to my screenshots so I wasn't on the lookout for it. And even if there is one I don't know if this is it or a set.

UPDATE: This is the front of the East Bathhouse facing the highway. The building in the film looks to be a modified set based on the actual building (unless the building itself was modified shortly after this film was made but I doubt it). My photos didn't turn out very well as the sun was coming up right over it. Some of them are a little crooked too because I couldn't see the screen on my phone lol.

The trash cans are very similar...

There's a nighttime shot of a playground that is still there. I didn't take a picture of it though.

There was a little museum display next to the gift shop (closed when I went).
Hope you enjoyed this little look at historic Jones Beach!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

James Mason in "A Story of Three Loves" (1953)

The Story of Three Loves (1953) tells, as the title plainly states, the story of three loves! The thread that joins them together is that several of the characters are traveling on the same ocean liner. But even then that thread is very thin as the stories are presented in flashback, with the ships only purpose being a place for the camera to pan from one passenger to another.

The first “love” of the story is titled Jealous Love. The passenger is James Mason as famous ballet creator Charles Coudray. He is recognized by a fellow passenger who inquired as to why the creators best ballet was only shown once. Coudray does not reply and his mind drifts back to the first time he saw HER.

At an audition, where Coudray scarcely pays attention to the girls dancing with all their heart for a chance to join his company, one young ballerina (Moira Shearer) with striking red hair catches his attention. She is the best he’s seen so far but unfortunately faints after dancing only a few exquisite moments. He looks away, disappointed, and the girl is carried out.

The young ballerina's aunt, played by Agnes Moorehead, is informed that it is Paula's (Shearer) heart and she must give up dancing or she will die. It is a sad moment for someone who loves the ballet so much. However, she can still attend the ballet as a spectator and it is after a performance of one of Coudray's ballets where we find Paula next.

After the ballet is over, Paula remains behind and walks out onto the empty stage. She begins to hear the music and starts to sway and then dance gracefully around the stage. It is a lovely, slow dance full of heart and longing. Coudray witnesses the moment and comes out of the shadows to talk to her. He asks her to accompany him back to his studio and becomes annoyed when she hesitates. Here's a movie clip of the moment. She changes her mind however, after he recognizes her as the promising ballerina at the audition.

At his studio he shows her around. She admires his sketches and sculptures, his attempts to capture a moment. There's also a little diorama behind curtains of a ballet. Coudray provides Paula with a costume and music and she begins to dance. It's exquisitely beautiful and Coudray attempts to capture some of it on paper. Paula is near collapse at the end but radiantly happy at dancing again. Coudray, now in love with Paula, begs her to work with him, to be his muse. She promises to be with him always. They kiss and then she goes to change. When she doesn't return Coudray discovers that she has vanished.

At her home, Paula confesses to her aunt what she has done. Full of happiness, she begins to climb the stairs but collapses and dies. End of the first love.

To read about the other two loves click here.

I was enchanted by this story (and had to go check out The Red Shoes, which I'd never seen). Mason and particularly Shearer were perfect in their roles. The lovely costumes worn by Shearer, her graceful dancing, and the beautiful music of the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini by Rachmaninoff complement one another perfectly. I wish clips of her dance were on YouTube. I highly recommend you to seek this out. I found out the film is available on Filmstruck until Nov. 8th, if you have a subscription or want to do a free trial.

A longer version from the soundtrack can be found here.

This post is part of The James Mason Blogathon hosted by Maddy Loves Her Classic Films. Please go to her blog and check out the other posts celebrating this actor!