Thursday, September 30, 2021

Recycled Costume Roundup - September

This month I'm highlighting costumes worn by the same actress in two separate movies. One of the things I share on my blog Facebook page is screenshots of Eve Arden's costumes. A few months ago I shared her costumes in Tea For Two (1950). Then,  a couple weeks ago, I was skipping through The Lady Takes a Sailor (1949) to take screenshots of her outfits (I'd already seen the movie twice previously) and recognized the pajamas she wore. I revisited my FB album and was reminded of all the outfits she wore. As I continued to watch the movie, I noticed two more! That's three costumes that showed up on Eve Arden in two films.


The next two are costumes I've spotted previously, both worn by Patricia Neal. She makes a cameo as herself in It's a Great Feeling (1949) wearing her costume from The Fountainhead (1949). 

The gown also had a matching, fur-lined cloak!

This next one is a wedding gown recycle. I will do a full post on it for my Cinema Wedding Gowns series sometime in the future. Here is Neal in Bright Leaf (1950) and Raton Pass (1951) wearing the same exact gown and veil. The scene is pretty short in Bright Leaf so they probably thought no one would notice.

Lastly, make sure you check out last month's post again. I found a third recycle of Olivia de Havilland's It's Love I'm After gown!

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Bette's Hats and Reviews: So Big! (1932)

After her success in The Man Who Played God, Bette Davis was quickly cast is So Big! starring Barbara Stanwyck. She was also cast in The Rich Are Always with Us starring Ruth Chatterton and, for one week, ended up filming both movies at the same time - with Chatterton during the day and Stanwyck at night. It was also her first time working with George Brent (he had a bit part at the end of the Stanwyck movie and was also cast in the Chatterton film - but more about that in the next Bette's Hats and Reviews). 

The NY Times claimed that "Bette unusually competent."

Bette Davis makes a comparatively short role stand out so brilliantly you want to see her again and Warners' "New Gable," George Brent, makes his screen bow.

~ Movie Mirror, May 1932

Davis, Bette. The Lonely Life: An Autobiography. G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1962.
Ringgold, Gene. Bette Davis: Her Films and Career. Citadel Press. 1966, 1985.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Cinema Wedding Gowns: H.M. Pulham, Esq. (1941)

This month's wedding gown comes from H.M. Pulham, Esq. (1941) starring Robert Young, Hedy Lamarr, and Ruth Hussey. The film has several flashbacks, one being the wedding between Young and Hussey. Being that the PRESENT is probably 1941, we have another historically incorrect gown, as the wedding would have taken place in the late 20s and this is decidedly 40s. 

This is all we get to see of the silk gown. It has a wrap-front bodice and what looks to be long sleeves. The shoulders are padded. Hussey wears a strand of graduated pearls and carries a bouquet of roses, orange blossoms, and baby's breath (?)

The veil is gathered tulle attached to a pointed wire tiara covered in wax flowers. I like how we get to see the back of the frame. 

White kid gloves. Isn't it neat how the ring finger can come off without removing the entire glove? Notice that the groom is also wearing gloves. 

One of the guests is wearing Judy Garland's dress from Strike Up the Band (1940). I only noticed this because I have a four-cd set of Judy's (Mickey & Judy) with this picture on the front. Notice the ruffle on the sleeves has been tucked under. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Sunshine Blogger Award

Hamlette's Soliloquy was kind enough to nominate me for a sunshine blogger award recently so, without putting it off, here are the rules and the answers to her interesting questions :)

  1. List the rules
  2. Display the Official Logo in the post
  3. Thank the person who nominated you (thanks Rachel!)
  4. Link their blog
  5. Answer their questions
  6. Nominate up to 11 bloggers
  7. Ask them 11 questions
Here are my answers to Hamlette's questions:

1. What was your favorite movie when you were 10 years old? I loved The Wizard of Oz when I was little. My dad would call me whenever it came on TV.

2. What's your favorite movie now? I usually say White Christmas (1954) or - for a non-Christmas movie - Rio Grande (1950). If I'm talking to someone who doesn't know old movies, I say Rocky (1976). I have two Rocky t-shirts. 

3. What would be your dream cast for an adaptation of your favorite book? My favorite book has been Enemy Brothers by Constance Savory ever since I read it as a teen, but I have trouble imagining the characters as actors. Also, I would never want it made into a movie because Hollywood would ruin it lol. I took a long time to watch the Narnia movies because I didn't want to mess up the pictures in my head. I usually want to cast Henry Cavill as the love interest though. 

4. What's your favorite movie soundtrack? White Christmas (1954). Favorite song from the soundtrack (of which I had to make my own as there's no official version) is "The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing."

5. Do you have a favorite movie-watching snack? I typically eat a snack of some sort while watching the next episode of whatever TV show I'm currently watching but if we have ice cream in the house I'll have that. Lately it's been Lance White Cheddar crackers though because I'm getting hungry from starting my movie too late. Unfortunately it's too hard to eat cereal (hard to hear plus you have to keep adding more cereal or milk and a table is needed). 

6. Who is your favorite person to watch movies with? I watch most of them by myself so I can cry if I need to but otherwise my brothers. Nothing worse than trying to wipe away tears streaming down your face without anyone noticing!

Me (far right) and my siblings watching a movie in the 90s.

7. Is there a hairstyle in a movie that you've always wished you could pull off? Since I don't have thick luxurious hair I'm envious of most of them. I wish I could pull off Audrey Hepburn's Roman Holiday do.

8. What movie animal would you like as a pet? The puppy in The Three Lives of Thomasina (1963). It's so tiny and cute!

9. What movie house would you like to stay in on vacation? Probably the Christmas in Connecticut (1945) house. Then I would know what color everything was!

10. What's the oldest movie you've watched? The earliest one on my list that is over 45 minutes (my personal minimum running time requirement to be added to my movie list) is The Pilgrim (1923) by Charlie Chaplin. The first one over an hour long is Too Many Kisses (1925) starring Richard Dix and William Powell (it beats Chaplin's The Gold Rush (1925) - which was also the first silent movie I saw a part of - by a few months). 

11. What's the newest movie you've watched? Jungle Cruise (2021). It was such a fun film! Emily Blunt is my favorite current actress.

Instead of nominating anyone, I'm just going to ask some questions and whoever wants to answer them can do so, either on their blog (send me your link if you do!) or in the comments below.

Here are my questions:
  1. Did you watch more movies or less movies than normal last year?
  2. Latest movie star obsession:
  3. A black and white movie you wish was in color, or vice versa: 
  4. What is something else you are interested in (aside from old movies)?
  5. Something you’ve seen in an old movie you’ve always wanted to do or try:
  6. A fellow classic movie fan says that your favorite genre is their least favorite. What movie would you suggest to ease them in?
  7. What is YOUR least favorite film genre?
  8. Who would you cast as Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys in a TV series (any decade)? 
  9. Have you ever gone out of your way while on vacation to see a movie location or movie star grave? If you do this often, what was the first one?
  10. Have you ever purchased an item because it was exact or similar to a movie prop?
  11. First TV show you remember watching?
I nominate YOU!

Saturday, September 11, 2021

The Ghost Goes West (1935)

If you've been following my blog for several years you might have noticed that I've only participated in one blogathon since 2018 (the National Classic Movie Day 2021 blogathon). When Gill of RealWeegieMidget Reviews invited me to participate in her No True Scotsman Blogathon, and wanting to rewatch The Ghost Goes West (1935), I felt it was the perfect opportunity to get back into blogathons. After a very long time of only posting a list of what I watched every month, I have finally gotten back into blogging with several series - some old and some new - and I have to say I am having a lot of fun. I missed blogging and I'm happy to be back (speaking of back... mine started hurting really bad due to a chain of events I'll spare you the details of and I wasn't able to sit down and type, which is why this post is late). That being said, let's talk Robert Donat and Scottish accents by actors who aren't Scottish!!

If you’ve never seen a Robert Donat film, or only know him from Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939), this is a wonderful film with which to begin your Donat journey, especially if you enjoy laughing.

The film opens in Scotland in the 18th Century with the McLaggans paying a visit to "The Glourie," who pronounces that he "will no die" until he sees his son Murdoch go off to fight in the war against the English. Old McLaggan and his five sons, who have a feud with the Glourie's, state that they are going off to war, where there will not be anyone on the battlefield with the hated name of Glourie. When Glourie informs them that they WILL see his son fighting on the front lines, he is met with laughter and learns that his son is in a field playing with women. After the McLaggans insult the Glourie name, Glourie declares that any Glourie can lick fifty McLaggans! which causes the McLaggans to storm off. 

Our first glimpse of Murdoch is him in the field playing forfeit with the ladies. The riddle they must answer is this: "What's the difference betwixt a thistle in the heather and a kiss in the dark? If you can't tell me by the time I've spelled 'killiecrankie' you must pay the forfeit." The forfeit is of course a kiss and they are never able to answer by the time he has spelled out the word. He is interrupted by a servant who tells him his father wants him to go to the battle. With a "Fare thee well lassies, I'll be back soon!" he is outfitted with a sword and shield and rides off to the battle.  

Once at the battle, Murdoch gets distracted by a pretty maid. The McLaggans find him and chase him. Murdoch hides behind a keg of gunpowder, which blows up after being hit by a cannonball. All that is left of Murdoch is his feathered cap. 

Up in the clouds, he hears the voice of his father, who died as his son had ridden out of sight, "You will be an Earth-bound ghost, doomed to haunt the dark halls of Glourie Castle." The only way Murdoch can be admitted into heaven is "When you twist the nose of one of our enemies and make him kneel before you and admit that one Glourie can thrash fifty McLaggan." Indeed, every night at midnight, the ghost of Murdoch appears and scares the inhabitants.

The present day finds the castle in disrepair and Murdoch's descendent Donald hiding from his creditors. Peggy Martin (Jean Parker), the daughter of an American grocery store chain owner, sees the for sale sign and stops to knock. When no one answers, she goes in. When it is realized she is interested in purchasing the castle, Donald comes out of hiding and shows her around, with the creditors following behind. Peggy knows her father (Eugene Pallette) will be interested and promises to bring her parents to dinner that evening. 

The creditors, who want the sale to go through so they can be paid, agree to act as servers for the evening, and add the cost of the dinner to Donald's bill. Everyone pitches in to get the castle ready, and Donald dons a traditional kilt to add to the atmosphere. 

At dinner, the subject of the ghost is brought up. Donald, who has set the clocks ahead, promises that there is no truth to the stories. When midnight rolls around, nothing happens and the Martin's leave. Peggy notices from her car clock that it is only eleven and returns, insisting on staying until midnight to see for herself if the ghost will walk. She is invited to stay the night.

While getting ready for bed, Peggy hears a noise and goes out onto the roof to investigate. There she sees the ghost, but, given his resemblance to his descendent, thinks it's Donald playing the ghost. In the moonlight, "Donald" asks her the riddle but she runs off when he tries to kiss her. 

The next morning, Peggy tells the real Donald she likes people who do crazy things - like pretending to be ghosts - and asks him what the answer to the riddle was. Realizing she saw the ghost and not wanting to disrupt the sell of the castle, he plays along and tells her that he can't tell her because there's more to the game. She pays the forfeit but he still won't tell her.

The sale of the castle is then completed and we see it being dismantled piece by piece to be shipped by boat to Florida. 

The first night on board, there is a costume ball. The ghost awakens and finds himself in a strange place. At first he is unhappy at the situation but he soon discovers all the pretty girls on board!

Meanwhile, Peggy is getting a bit frustrated by Donald's lack of romance. She feels a chill (the ghost comes up behind her deck chair) and Donald leaves to get her a blanket. A moment later she hears that familiar riddle, "What's the difference betwixt a thistle in the heather and a kiss in the dark?" She interrupts him saying she is ready to pay the forfeit and closes her eyes to wait for her kiss. Instead, Donald returns with her blanket. Peggy leaves in a huff and becomes more upset when she hears "Donald" repeat the riddle to another woman. 

Mr. Martin comes upon the ghost talking to Donald and is unnerved at first, but becomes delighted at the advertisement possibilities. "All America will soon know that a ghost has crossed the Atlantic to advertise the superior quality of Martin's Fine Foods!" 

The ghost is met in New York with a ticker tape parade and his own car to ride down the main street.

The castle is reassembled in Florida and modern conveniences added (there are radios hidden everywhere - suits of armor, barrels, etc. Donald is not very pleased with these additions and begins to wish he had never sold his ancestral home. "Kind of cute, eh, Donald?" Mr. Martin asks him. "I'm afraid I don't fully understand the meaning if the word 'cute.'" Donald replies.

At the grand opening of the castle, Mr. Martin has invited many guests to see the ghost (who hadn't made an appearance in America yet after witnessing a shootout in the warehouse where the castle was stored) for themselves, including his skeptical rival in the grocery chain business, Bigelow. Donald is dressed as the ghost as backup, in cast the ghost does not appear. However, when the moment comes for him to make his entrance, he can't go through with it. He enters the dining room in his normal kilt. Mr. Martin's evening seems doomed to be unsuccessful until Bigelow begins making cracks against the Glourie family and reveals... he's descended from the McLaggans!!

With a rushing wind, the ghost enters the room through a window and chases Bigelow from the room. Finally, cowering, he utters the fateful words that will release the ghost from his earthly chains, that "one Glourie can thrash fifty McLaggans!"

With a wave, the ghost of Murdoch Glourie goes to join his father in heaven. Peggy now also knows the truth and her and Donald kiss with the castle searchlights playing across the night sky behind them. 

Donat’s Scottish accent mainly consists of rolling r’s and several Scottish phrases such as “Bonnie lass” thrown in for good measure. As his descendant he speaks in his normal British accent. 

The film was directed by Rene Clair for Alexander Korda. It was based on the short story "Sir Tristam Goes West" by Eric Keown. It was interesting to learn that it was originally intended for Charles Laughton (his wife Elsa Lanchester appears briefly in the final dinner party scene), then Laurence Olivier as the story became more romantic. Laughton would later star in The Canterville Ghost (1944), which I watched last month and which very much reminded me of this film. I'm very glad they went with Donat for this one. 

Embed from Getty Images

The film was successful and it's premiere attended by Queen Mary! King George V died the following month.

I hope you enjoyed this post and that you get to watch The Ghost Goes West soon. Please make sure to check out all of the other "bonnie' posts in the blogathon by visiting Gill's blog!

Bette's Hats and Reviews: Special Feature!

Today, instead of the next movie in Bette Davis' filmography, I'm sharing two articles from Movie Magazines in which she is featured wearing - you guessed it - hats!

The first if from the July 1932 issue of Movie Mirror, entitled "High Hats!"

High in Fashion's Favor, 
We Mean, Six Little Hats 
Which Make Ideal 
Headgear for a Smart 

The next article is from the January 1933 issue of The New Movie Magazine, entitled "Hat Tips: From the winter selections of Hollywood actresses."

I hope you liked this Special Feature! Let me know in the comments if you were unable to read the captions.