Thursday, December 29, 2022

Who Will Be My Most Watched Star For 2022??

Who will be my most watched movie star of 2022 and how many movies will I have watched? Leave your guess in the comments. Hint: it DOESN’T start with Robert ;)

Here’s who had the top spot for the past few years (I didn’t track who had the most in 2016 & 2015 when I started my stats, but for 2016 it was probably Olivia de Havilland). 

2021 - Robert Young with 16 (Elvis Presley in second with 15)
2020 - Robert Taylor with 20 (Elvis Presley in second with 13)
2019 - Eleanor Parker with 11
2018 - Robert Ryan with 16
2017 - Clark Gable & Chris Pine tying with 14 each

What movie star did YOU watch the most movies of this past year? 

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Movies I Watched in November

I’ll Be Seeing You (1944)

This month was a pretty good month. Aside from these movies, I also watched season 5 of The Crown (only episode I really objected to was ep. 6). My brother bought the new Planes, Trains and Automobiles release with a disc of never-before-seen deleted and extended scenes that were recently discovered among John Hughes things - some adult/crude humor but very funny. I also started watching season 3 of Leave it to Beaver. I’ve probably seen most of them but so far I’ve only watched the first two seasons in order (you may remember this post of June’s season 1 dresses. I’ve spotted a few of them in season 3 too).

  1. Lady of the Tropics (1939) - Robert Taylor & Hedy Lamarr
  2. I’ll Be Seeing You (1944) - Ginger Rogers & Joseph Cotten
  3. *Miracle on 34th Street (1947) - Edmund Gwenn, Maureen O’Hara & John Payne, Natalie Wood
  4. On Our Merry Way (1948) - Burgess Meredith, Paulette Goddard, James Stewart, Henry Fonda, Dorothy Lamour, Fred MacMurrey, William Demerest
  5. *Battle Cry (1955) - Tab Hunter, Aldo Ray & Nancy Olson
  6. Fate is the Hunter (1964) - Glenn Ford, Suzanne Pleshette, Rod Taylor, Nancy Kwan, Dorothy Malone, Jane Russell
  7. Freebie and the Bean (1974) - James Caan, Alan Arkin, Valerie Harper, Loretta Swit 
  8. Silkwood (1983) - Meryl Streep, Kurt Russell, Cher
  9. Suspect (1987) - Cher, Dennis Quaid, Liam Neeson, John Mahoney
  10. *Funny Farm (1988) - Chevy Chase
  11. Rush Hour (1998) - Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker
  12. The Christmas Chronicles (2018) - Kurt Russell, Darby
  13. The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two (2020) - Kurt Russell & Goldie Hawn
Least Favorite Film: Definitely The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two. It had none of the charm, humor, and originality of the first one. I wish the elves had been like the ones in Elf, instead of gremlin-like. There were some parts of Freebie and the Bean that I didn’t care for, though I liked the buddy chemistry between Caan and Arkin. They could have had a good buddy cop tv show. 

Kurt Russell sings an Elvis Christmas song in the first film. 
He still has the moves from when he played Elvis in the 1979 TV movie!

Favorite Movie: Aside from Silkwood (which I shouldn’t have watched before bed) and my least favorite movie listed above, I really enjoyed all of them! I’ve been wanting to see I’ll be Seeing You for a long time based on the image below. It wasn’t what I expected but I really enjoyed it. I’m not always a fan of how Ginger Roger acts but she was very good in this one and Joseph Cotten was excellent (sadly he doesn’t mention the film in his autobiography). On Our Merry Way can only be described as quirky. If you ever get a chance to watch it, do. Suspect was really good (except for the first 7 minutes with a suicide, murder, and upsetting robbery/assault). I’ve seen parts of the Rush Hour movies so I knew I’d enjoy it. They don’t make funny movies like that anymore..

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Movies I Watched in October

I finished watching all of M*A*S*H. I had stopped after Winchester replaced Frank but my brother told me to give him a chance and I'm glad I did. They are definitely more drama than comedy as opposed to the first five seasons, but I was sad when I got to the end. As you can see, the result is I didn't watch a ton of movies. 

A sad thing that happened this month is that the WatchTCM app is no longer supported on my 2016 iPad. Now if I want to take a screenshot of a costume I'll have to do so on my laptop, which is a lot more time consuming than just pressing two buttons at the same time :( However, there are only 4 movies showing on TCM in November that I want to watch so I will probably watch more old movies on YouTube and Tubi.

  1. Good Girls Go to Paris (1939) - Joan Blondell & Melvyn Douglas 
  2. So Ends Our Night (1941) - Fredric March, Glenn Ford, Margaret Sullivan, Frances Dee
  3. Twice Blessed (1945) - Lyn & Lee Wilde, Preston Foster, Gail Patrick, Marshall Thompson
  4. Sylvia and the Phantom/Sylvie et le Fantรดm(1946 - French) - Jacques Tati, Odette Joyeux
  5. The Company She Keeps (1951) - Lizabeth Scott, Jane Greer, Dennis O’Keefe 
  6. The Tall Men (1955) - Clark Gable & Jane Russell, Robert Ryan
  7. Cowboy (1958) - Glenn Ford, Jack Lemmon, Brian Donlevy, Dick York
  8. *Clambake (1967) - Elvis Presley & Shelley Fabares, Bill Bixby, Gary Merrill 
  9. Deepwater Horizon (2016) - Mark Wahlburg, Kurt Russell, Kate Hudson, John Malkovich
Irving Thalburg: The Prince of Hollywood (2005) 

Least Favorite Film: Cowboy had some cruel scenes and was a little more down than I thought it would be. Still a good movie though. Twice Blessed was a movie I’ve been wanting to see for a long time with its “Parent Trap” storyline. I’m not a fan of Preston Foster though so I didn’t enjoy it as much as I'd hoped. 

Favorite Movie: Sylvia and the Phantom was a nice non-scary ghost movie for October. The score was lovely. It was fun seeing famous femme fatale's Scott and Greer in a The Company She Keeps together. There aren't enough old movies with two women leads that aren't "women's pictures." I really liked Glenn Ford's performance in So Ends Our Night

Fun fact: I was watching The Tall Men (which has a score by Victor Young) and at the 25:45 mark (on YT) I suddenly recognized about 15 seconds of part of the Shane soundtrack (also Young)!

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Movies I Watched in September

The Trouble with Harry (1955), The perfect autumn film.

Didn’t get a lot of movies watched this month with the death of Queen Elizabeth (if you follow me on Twitter you know I mostly post Royal family stuff) and going on a mini vacation to the North Carolina Outer Banks (the weather was perfect) - naturally on the same weekend. I also went on a day trip to a large outdoor flea market, where I bought several Elvis movies for $2 each, including his first two movies (VHS). 

  1. Mad About Music (1938) - Deanna Durbin, Herbert Marshall, Gail Patrick, Arthur Treacher, William Frawley, Marcia Mae Jones, Helen Parrish
  2. *Road to Singapore (1940) - Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour, Charles Coburn, Anthony Quinn 
  3. For the Love of Mary (1948) - Deanna Durbin, Edmond O’Brien, Don Taylor, Jeffrey Lynn
  4. Tokyo Joe (1949) - Humphrey Bogart 
  5. *Hondo (1953) - John Wayne & Geraldine Page, Ward Bond, James Arness 
  6. *The Trouble with Harry (1955) - Shirley MacLaine, John Forsythe, Edmund Gwenn, Mildred Natwick, Jerry Mathers
  7. Wild in the Country (1961) - Elvis Presley, Hope Lange, Tuesday Weld, Millie Perkins, John Ireland
  8. Operation Crossbow (1965) - Sophia Loren, George Peppard, John Mills
  9. What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? (1966) - James Coburn, Aldo Ray
  10. The Hot Rock (1972) - Robert Redford, George Segal
  11. Nights at Rodanthe (2008) - Diane Lane & Richard Gere, Christopher Meloni, Viola Davis, James Franco
Least Favorite Film: Well, I didn’t like the end of Nights at Rodanthe (which I watched because I was going to be driving through there on the way to Avon for a few days - I saw the Rodanthe Inn from the road as we drove through!).

Favorite Movie: Of course I liked Wild in the Country (listen to my favorite song from the film below). I didn’t remember much of Honda but I liked it much better this time around. 

Friday, September 2, 2022

Movies I Watched in August

River's End (1940)

This month I started watching M*A*S*H again (I had stopped after Frank left). So far I've watched season 6-8. They are definitely more serious in tone. I also started The Persuaders (1971-1972), starring Tony Curtis and Roger Moore. I liked the first couple of episodes enough to buy the complete series on dvd ($10 on Amazon for 24 episodes). 

* indicates a rewatch
  1. A Lady of Chance (1928) - Norma Shearer 
  2. Cynara (1932) - Ronald Colman & Kay Francis
  3. My Dear Miss Aldrich (1937) - Edna May Oliver, Maureen O’Sullivan & Walter Pidgeon, Rita Johnson
  4. The Drum (1938) - Sabu, Roger Livesy, Raymond Massey
  5. River’s End (1940) - Dennis Morgan, George Tobias
  6. Meet the Stewarts (1942) - William Holden & Frances Dee
  7. In Which We Serve (1942) - Noel Coward, John Mills, Celia Johnson, Richard Attenborough 
  8. Dear Ruth (1947) - William Holden & Joan Caufield, Edward Arnold
  9. *Every Girl Should Be Married (1948) - Cary Grant & Betsy Drake, Franchot Tone
  10. Little Women (1949) - June Allyson, Janet Leigh, Elizabeth Taylor, Margaret O’Brien, Peter Lawford, Mary Astor, C. Aubrey Smith, Rossano Brazzi 
  11. Barricade (1950) - Dane Clark, Raymond Massey, Ruth Roman
  12. *Shane (1953) - Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, Van Heflin, Brandon de Wilde
  13. Dunkirk (1958) - John Mills, Richard Attenborough 
  14. *Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982) - Steve Martin + archive footage of old Hollywood stars 
  15. Captain Ron (1992) - Kurt Russell, Martin Short
  16. Little Women (1994) - Winona Ryder, Susan Sarandon, Christian Bale, Kirsten Dunst, Mary Wickes
  17. We Are Marshall (2006) - Matthew McConahay
  18. *The King’s Speech (2010) - Colin Firth
  19. *The Tourist (2010) - Angelina Jolie & Johnny Depp
  20. Elvis (2022) - Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, Olivia Delange (in theaters)
Least Favorite Film: Cynara. No one likes a girl who steals another woman’s husband than gets hysterical when he goes back to her.

Favorite Movie: Meet the Stewarts was really cute and funny. I also really enjoyed the 1994 Little Women. I've never really been a huge fan of the book (when I first read it I saw that one of the girls died and didn't finish it). I really liked Christian Bale as Laurie. In most adaptations the character of Laurie is forgettable, or too... for lack of a better word, feminine - maybe it's because his name is similar to mine (Laura). Anyway, Bale did a great job and I think this adaptation is my favorite, followed by the 1978 TV mini-series, which had a great cast. Captain Ron was pretty funny. 

I thought Elvis (2022) would be added to HBO Max in early August and, since I hadn't gotten around to going to see it in theaters yet (I like early weekday showings when there's not a lot of people - even pre-covid I preferred it that way), I had decided to wait. Then they pushed the date and, since it stayed in theaters so long, I finally had a chance to go. I'm glad I saw it on the big screen. Not going to lie, the first hour dragged a little but once we got to the '68 Special it was really good. That was my favorite part of the movie, partly because it was more like a regular biopic, had more actual Elvis songs than the first hour, and had less of Colonel Tom Parker. Austin Butler, who I thought he was a horrible choice when he was cast (despite having never seen him act), was absolutely incredible. He had the moves and voice down to a T. He even managed to catch that twinkle in his eyes that Elvis had. I really do hope he is nominated for an Oscar and wins. He seems like a pretty humble guy in his interviews too and seems to genuinely love Elvis. I hope that one day an extended cut is released. I sobbed at the end of the movie and had trouble holding it together the entire drive home (20 min - while listening to an Elvis cd). The end was perfect (I usually stay until the credits finish but it moved on to a rap song so I hot footed it out of there). The film was added to HBO Max today. 

Saturday, August 13, 2022

The Mad About Ladd Tag!

Waaaaayyyy back in June, Hamlette's Soliloquy tagged me to take part in the Mad About Ladd Tag. Here are the rules:

Of course I have to start with a picture of Ladd in character
 as Shane, as that is the movie that made me a fan.

I know smoking is bad for you, but those Old Hollywood 
stars sure looked cool and classy when they lit up.

Ladd made several noir films, and this shot is super cool. You can't get this effect with color folks!

On the other end of the spectrum, here's a sweet photo of Ladd with his daughter Alana.

I'm going to one up the gif to a video of Ladd saying my name. This is from the movie Guns of the Timberland (1960) and he pronounces my name, Laura, EXACTLY the way I like it pronounced. People from the north and west tend to pronounce it "lore-ah," which I don't like. 

And lastly... I always struggle with the tag part so since I'm already two months late I'm going to skip it ;)

BONUS: some Alan Ladd recipes I came across while picking out my four photos.

Monday, August 1, 2022

Movies I Watched in July

Isn't this floating card table in Maisie was a Lady (1941) amazing?

This month was much better movie-wise. I even started back up watching White Collar! Also I FINALLY watched both The Lady Vanishes and Brief Encounter! Loved both of them! If you like Brief Encounter you should watch Falling in Love (1984). It's not a remake but it's very similar. I've never been a fan of Meryl Streep but I really liked her in this one. She actually reminded me of my cousin's teenage daughter. I watched it on Kanopy.

I also finally posted another Recycled Costume Roundup!

  1. New Morals for Old (1932) - Robert Young, Myrna Loy 
  2. The Lady Vanishes (1938) - Margaret Lockwood & Michael Redgrave, Dame May Whitty
  3. The Four Feathers (1939) - Ralph Richardson, C. Aubrey Smith
  4. That Hamilton Woman (1941) - Vivian Leigh & Laurence Olivier, Gladys Cooper
  5. My Life with Caroline  (1941) - Ronald Colman & Anna Lee, Charles Winninger, Reginald Gardiner, Gilbert Roland
  6. Maisie was a Lady (1941) - Ann Sothern, Lew Ayers, Maureen O’Sullivan, C. Aubrey Smith
  7. Brief Encounter (1945) - Celia Johnson & Trevor Howard
  8. Lady Luck (1946) - Robert Young & Barbara Hale, Frank Morgan
  9. *The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) - Fredric March & Myrna Loy, Dana Andrews & Teresa Wright, Harold Russell & Cathy O'Donnell, Virginia Mayo
  10. Sword in the Desert (1949) - Dana Andrews, Marta Toren, Jeff Chandler
  11. Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950) - Dana Andrews & Gene Tierney, Karl Malden, Gary Merrill
  12. Walk Softly, Stranger (1950) - Joseph Cotten & Alida Valli
  13. *Westward the Women (1952) - Robert Taylor & Denise Darcel, Hope Emerson
  14. *River of No Return (1954) - Robert Mitchum & Marilyn Monroe 
  15. Elephant Walk (1954) - Elizabeth Taylor, Dana Andrews, Peter Finch
  16. The Sharkfighters (1956) - Victor Mature 
  17. *Gidget (1959) - Sandra Dee & James Darren, Cliff Robertson 
  18. The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959) - Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee
  19. Number One (1969) - Charlton Heston, Bruce Dern
  20. Falling in Love (1984) - Robert De Niro & Meryl Streep
  21. Tough Guys (1986) - Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Eli Wallach, Alexis Smith
  22. The Fugitive  (1993) - Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones 
  23. When in Rome (2010) - Kristen Bell & Josh Duhamel, Danny DeVito 
  24. *Safe Haven (2013) - Julianne Hough & Josh Duhamel 
  25. Bravetown (2015) - Lucas Till, Josh Duhamel, Laura Dern
  26. *The Lost Husband (2020) - Leslie Bibb & Josh Duhamel 
Least Favorite Film: The Sharkfighters wasn't very good. Some of Number One was good but then some was like ??

Favorite Movie: Tough Guys was really funny. Eli Wallach was hilarious, especially the part where he picks up the walker. Also Brief Encounter and Falling in Love.

Favorite Quote
A dream is alright. It's an island everybody can sail to. But you can't stay on it or make a life on it.
~ Alida Valli in Walk Softly, Stranger (1950)

I hope I spot this gown from Maisie was a Lady (1941) in another movie someday! 
It looks like it has a sparkly crescent moon on the front. And love the back too!

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Recycled Costume Roundup - July

Long time no see!! Spotted several recycled costumes this month so I finally sat down and put together a post. 

The Movies! channel had a commercial for Ida Lupino movies they were airing this month and I instantly recognized this unique gown from The Man I Love (1946) as one I had saved on pinterest on another actress.

Here it is seen in a publicity photo on Alexis Smith. I wonder if she wore it in a movie? She was five inches taller than Lupino so if she did it may not have been shown full length. 


First up, I was skipping through The Merry Andrew (1958) to take screenshots of a wedding gown and, in doing so, happened to spot two Esther Williams costumes!

This swim cover-up cape from Bathing Beauty (1944) is one of my favorite film costumes, so I instantly recognized it on a rack of circus costumes!

The bright pink and black and white striped costume looks familiar too...

In the wedding gown scene, I spotted this red sparkly bathing costume from Million Dollar Mermaid (1952) on an extra. 


Whenever I watch an RKO movie I keep an extra sharp eye out for recycled costumes, so when I watched Maisie was a Lady (1941) I was rewarded with five!

First was this extra in a very short scene wearing one of Jeanette MacDonald's gowns from Sweethearts (1938). I was actually surprised I spotted this one!

In the same scene, I recognized this gown as being the same worn by Joan Crawford in Susan and God (1940). As I was looking on pinterest for a picture of it to share on Twitter, I was reminded of other costumes in the movie, which I then also spotted in Maisie was a Lady

They both appeared in a breakfast scene. There was another dress of Crawford's:

And one worn by Rita Hayworth:

The last one was a set of matching gowns worn originally in Broadway Melody of 1938 (1937), which I shared in my very first Recycled Costume Roundup (a year ago!). I updated that post (scroll almost to the bottom of the post).

I hope you enjoyed this post! Have you spotted any recycled costumes this month?

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Movies I Watched in June

We passed a Good Humor ice cream truck. Jack Carson starred 
in a movie called The Good Humor Man (1950)

Didn’t get to watch very many movies this month. I went to Long Island for a week for a family event and, before I left, had to get ahead in my work (I work from home verifying patient insurance for a dentist office. I don’t get any vacation time yet but had planned this before I was hired) so I was working like crazy and preparing for my trip. 

Anyway, my trip was amazing. I got to go back to Old Westbury Gardens and take a better photo on the steps where Cary Grant walks up in North By Northwest (1959) - I wasn’t happy with the way my photo came out last time so I never ended up sharing it here, I will try to finish that post soon. On the way home we stopped at Gettysburg, where my 4x great grandfather fought (on the Union side). I brought a photograph of him with me and took a picture with it by the memorial to his regiment. We also went to a little museum in the town that had some uniforms of Audie Murphy’s as well as one of Marilyn Monroe’s bras... I also popped into the library to use the restroom and ended up buying a bag of books (including a biography of Mary Wickes) in the book sale room... did I mention the car was already packed very tight? Lol.

Lock of Monroe's hair

Here's what I watched this month (* means a rewatch):

  1. The Bride Walks Out (1936) - Barbara Stanwyck & Gene Raymond, Robert Young
  2. Bridal Suite (1939) - Robert Young & Annabella, Billie Burke, Walter Connelly
  3. The Guilty (1947) - Bonita Granville
  4. *Tonight’s the Night (1954) - David Niven & Yvonne De Carlo, Barry Fitzgerald 
  5. Secret of the Incas (1954) - Charlton Heston, Robert Young, Thomas Mitchell, Glenda Ferrell
  6. Drum Beat (1954) - Alan Ladd, Charles Bronson, Audrey Dalton
  7. *Jailhouse Rock (1958) - Elvis Presley 
  8. Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959) - James Mason, Arlene Dahl, Pat Boone, Diane Baker
  9. Romancing the Stone (1984) - Kathleen Turner & Michael Douglas, Danny DeVito 
  10. Spaceman (2016) - Josh Duhamel 
Least Favorite Film: Gene Raymond’s character was annoying in The Bride Walks Out. The Guilty was ok, but it’s not going on a list of favorite Noirs. 

Favorite Movie: Romancing the Stone was fun! I also enjoyed Journey to the Center of the Earth.

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Movies I Watched in May

Cary Grant in Destination Tokyo (1944)

Pretty great movie month! Not much on TCM that I wanted to watch so most are from elsewhere. If you haven't checked out Tubi, well, you need to. Lots of great movies! If you ever want to know where I found one of the movies I watched just leave a comment. I dog-sat for my cousin again so I was able to watch some things on her Disney+ (there's not enough on there that I'm interested in for me to subscribe. If they ever put all the episodes of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color though...).

* indicates a rewatch

  1. The Devil to Pay! (1931) - Ronald Colman & Loretta Young, Myrna Loy 
  2. Young Dr. Kildare (1938) - Lew Ayers, Lionel Barrymore 
  3. *Gentleman Jim (1942) - Errol Flynn & Alexis Smith, Jack Carson, Alan Hale
  4. *Destination Tokyo (1944) - Cary Grant, John Garfield, Dane Clark, Alan Hale, Robert Hutton, Faye Emerson
  5. My Name is Julia Ross (1945) - Nina Foch, Dame May Whitty 
  6. The Sea Chase (1955) - John Wayne & Lana Turner, James Arness, Tab Hunter
  7. *Nightfall (1956) - Aldo Ray & Anne Bancroft, Brian Keith
  8. The Killer is Loose (1956) - Joseph Cotten & Rhonda Fleming, Wendell Corey
  9. *King Creole (1958) - Elvis Presley & Dolores Hart, Walter Matthau, Carolyn Jones, Vic Morrow
  10. *Swiss Family Robinson (1960) - John Mills & Dorothy McGuire, James MacArthur, Tommy Kirk, Kevin Corcoran, Janet Munro
  11. Follow That Dream (1961) - Elvis Presley, Arthur O’Connell
  12. *Come Fly with Me (1963) - Dolores Hart & Karl Boehm, Lois Nettleton & Karl Malden, Pamela Tiffin & Hugh O'Brian
  13. The Moon-Spinners (1964) - Hayley Mills & Peter McEnery, Eli Wallach, Pola Negri, Joan Greenwood
  14. Paris When it Sizzles (1964) - Audrey Hepburn & William Holden
  15. The Russians Are Coming The Russians Are Coming (1966) - Carl Reiner & Eva Marie Saint, Brian Keith, Alan Arkin, Jonathan Winters
  16. Mosby's Marauders (1967) - Kurt Russell, James MacArthur, Nick Adams
  17. The Hindenburg (1975) - George C. Scott, Anne Bancroft, Burgess Meredith 
  18. Oscar (1991) - Sylvester Stallone, Marisa Tomei, Kirk Douglas, Don Ameche, Yvonne DeCarlo
  19. The Lost City (2022) - Sandra Bullock & Channing Tatum, Daniel Radcliffe, Brad Pitt
  20. Downton Abbey: A New Era (2022) - Dame Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery, Hugh Bonneville, etc. 
Audrey: More Than an Icon (2020)
Adventure Thru the Walt Disney Archives (2020)

Least Favorite Film: Didn't have any.

Favorite Movie: Oscar was hilarious. I always thought the trailer for Paris When it Sizzles looked stupid but I was pleasantly surprised to find it very funny! Holden looked a little rough but it's definitely a movie I'll watch again. If you're a fan of Downton Abbey, the new movie was perfect. I laughed, I sobbed... they need to just start the series up again already!! Also really enjoyed The Russians Are Coming The Russians Are Coming.

Favorite Line: "Like, bonjour, baby." - Tony Curtis in Paris When it Sizzles (1964).

Can't stop singing this.

Monday, May 16, 2022

National Classic Movie Day: Four Favorite Noirs Blogathon

UPDATE: This was my 500th blog post!

The National Classic Movie Day Blogathon hosted by the Classic Film & TV Cafe every year is one of the highlights of every blogger's calendar. This year the topic is Four Favorite Film Noirs

Not long after the very first National Classic Movie Day Blogathon, I wrote a post on my top 5 Film Noirs. A month later I lengthened it to ten (#6 and 8 would no longer have any chance of being on that list). However, at the time, I had hardly seen any, as it wasn't particularly my favorite genre - some of them were a little too violent or dark for my taste. As I got older though I discovered that they were actually really good. Like, REALLY GOOD. Becoming a Robert Ryan fan also helped ;) Anyway, without further ado, here are four of my favorite Noirs.


I loved Act of Violence (1948) so much I rewatched it again a month later and took over 300 screenshots (you can see them here on my blog Facebook page - don't go all the way to the end if you haven't seen the movie). On the surface, war hero Frank Enley (Van Heflin) has a great life. He has a beautiful young wife (Janet Leigh) an adorable baby, and is well respected by his community. But when a mysterious man with a limp begins to stalk him, Enley's life quickly unravels and his dark secret is exposed. He confesses to his wife that during his time in a POW camp he became an informer in exchange for food. The man who is following him (Robert Ryan), was his friend Joe, who suffered torture because of Heflin's actions. Joe is out for revenge, intent on killing Enley and punishing him for his actions. Enley tries to run from Joe and even hires a hit man, with the help of a woman he meets in a bar (Mary Astor). Of course, being a Noir, the viewer already knows that Enley is doomed to his fate.

The deft cinematography of David Surtees is a visual depiction of Enley's worsening nightmare. It "shimmers with sunlight" at the beginning of the film and gradual descends into something "straight out of a Freudian nightmare"(Film Noir FAQ, David J. Hogan, p. 343). This is also aided by on-location shooting. The director, Fred Zinnemann, had "learned the value of authentic locations, and this new picture gave him and Surtees a chance to photograph the real LA, where Enley flees and descends into the criminal underworld." This "sense of realism extended to the actors as well. 'No makeup of any kind was used on any member of the cast,' wrote Surtees. 'We tried to maintain on the screen a high standard of skin texture.' This technique heightened the hard set of Ryan's face, with its lined brow and sneering mouth" (The Lives of Robert Ryan, J.R. Jones, p.84-85).


Nightfall (1956) is what I call a "snowy noir." There's something about black and white cinematography and snow that I just love. Also, this film stars Aldo Ray (anybody else think he has a sexy voice? lol). Vanning (Ray) is a commercial artist who has been wrongly accused of murdering his friend while on a hunting trip in Wyoming. Not only that, but he's also accused of robbing a bank. Following from town to town is an insurance investigator for the bank and the two real bad guys, the pistol whipping, trigger happy Red and John (Brian Keith), the brains of the outfit. Vanning meets a model, Marie Gardner (Anne Bancroft), at the bar one night and let's his guard down a little. As they exit he is intercepted by John and Red, who intimate that Marie was helping them. He manages to  escape and heads to Marie's apartment to confront her but she assures him of her innocence. He tells her his story and then the two of them take the bus to Wyoming to try and find the money that can clear his name. The movie climaxes with an epic shootout/fight involving a snowplow. You can watch it on YouTube. It was directed by Jacques Tourneur(who directed another favorite of mine, Cat People) with cinematography by Burnett Guffey. 

Love this shot of Brian Keith.


In Phantom Lady (1944), a man is accused of murdering his wife. The only person who could provide him with an alibi is a "phantom lady" with an unusual hat. His secretary, Kansas (Ella Raines), sets out to clear his name. I was blown away when I first saw this movie and Raines became an instant favorite. Rather than me try and describe it, please just do yourself a favor and watch it. 

My favorite shot from the film.

Elwood Bredell was selected as cinematographer. He was advised by director Robert Siodmak to "study Rembrandt's paintings as an example of how dark shadows could attract the eye of the viewer toward a certain portion of the composition." There is a "contrast between the bright, well-organized business world inhabited by Carol and her boss and the city's distorted, menacing underworld, as Carol slides even further down the rabbit hole," and a "nightmarish atmosphere through highly stylized moments, rich textures, and claustrophobic settings... Siodmak favored low-key lighting, which would lend itself to sharply contrasting shadows and large areas of black" (Phantom Lady: Hollywood Producer Joan Harrison, The Forgotten Woman Behind Hitchcock, Christina Lane, p. 147-148). 


Nobody Lives Forever (1946) stars one of my favorite actors, the ever-troubled John Garfield. It is unusual in that much of the film takes place in the sunlight instead of the typical Noir darkness and on the beach instead of the city streets. Even then, the dark scenes are shrouded in mist instead of bathed in garish neon lights.

I'm going to cheat a little here and link up a post I wrote on the film several years ago. There are lots of great screenshots on the post.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Movies I Watched in April

Out of the Past (1947). The lighting of this scene is breathtaking. You can't get this in color films.

Had some pretty good rewatches this month. When I first watched Out of the Past (1947) I didn't know any of the actresses and kept getting them confused (I also watched it over the course of two days which didn't help). And when I first watched The Horizontal Lieutenant (1962) I was expecting more Where the Boys Are (1960). Also noticed the exterior of the house in Invitation (1952) was also used in Executive Suite (1954).

Invitation (1952). There's a pond and bridge off to the right.

William Holden's house in Executive Suite (1954). The interior was modern, whereas in Invitation it was New England country style. The exterior worked with both!

Movies with an * indicate a rewatch:

  1. Edge of the World (1937) - Niall MacGinnis & Belle Chrystall, Finlay Currie
  2. *The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939) - Errol Flynn & Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Vincent Price
  3. *Out of the Past (1947) - Robert Mitchum & Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas, Rhonda Fleming, Virginia Huston, Dickie Moore
  4. My Dear Secretary (1948) - Kirk Douglas & Laraine Day, Keenan Wynn, Rudy Vallee
  5. *Invitation (1952) - Dorothy McGuire & Van Johnson, Ruth Roman
  6. *Roman Holiday (1953) - Audrey Hepburn & Gregory Peck, Eddie Albert
  7. Man with the Gun (1955) - Robert Mitchum & Jan Sterling, Angie Dickenson
  8. *The Ten Commandments (1956) - Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter, John Derek, Yvonne De Carlo, Debra Paget, Edward G. Robinson, Vincent Price, Nina Foch, Martha Scott, etc. 
  9. It Happened in Naples (1960) - Clark Gable & Sophia Loren 
  10. *The Horizontal Lieutenant (1962) - Jim Hutton & Paula Prentiss 
  11. Fools’ Parade (1971) - James Stewart, George Kennedy, Strother Martin, Kurt Russell, Anne Baxter
  12. Charley and the Angel (1973) - Fred MacMurray, Harry Morgan, Cloris Leachman, Kurt Russell 
  13. The Final Countdown (1980) - Kirk Douglas, Martin Sheen, Katherine Ross
  14. Why Would I Lie? (1980) - Gabriel Macht (as Gabriel Swann)
  15. Executive Decision (1996) - Kurt Russell, Halle Berry
  16. Breakdown (1997) - Kurt Russell, Kathleen Quinlan
  17. Life as We Know It (2010) - Josh Duhamel & Katherine Heigl
  18. Fire on Fire (2012) - Josh Duhamel, Rosario Dawson, Bruce Willis 
  19. Lost in the Sun (2016) - Josh Duhamel 
  20. The Lost Husband (2020) - Leslie Bibb & Josh Duhamel, Nora Dunn
Churchill and the Movie Mogul (2019)
Elvis in the Raw (2015) - uncut interview footage

Least Favorite Film: Something about Charley and the Angel just fell flat. Breakdown and Fire on Fire were a little too disturbing/violent.

Favorite Movie: You could take any still frame from Edge of the World and turn it into an art print. My Dear Secretary was very funny, especially Keenan Wynn. I watched Fools' Parade for Kurt Russell but it was actually really good! James Stewart had a great scene on the train involving his character's glass eye. You can watch it for free on Tubi right now. It has never been released on dvd or VHS so now's your chance!! It's also on 

Errol Flynn is ridiculously handsome in The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939).

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Recycled Costumes from "The Fallen Sparrow" (1943)

This month we have a special feature on recycled costumes originally worn by Maureen O'Hara in The Fallen Sparrow (1943) - apologies for the lack of recycled costume posts lately. I started a new job where I'm on the computer all day so the last thing I want to do in my free time is stare at a computer...

These stunning outfits were created by Edward Stevenson, head designer for RKO.

Worn by the hotel proprietress in The Falcon in Mexico (1944).

Worn by Jean Brooks in The Falcon in Hollywood (1944).

Worn by Jean Brooks (center) in Two O'Clock Courage (1945) and 
for a publicity portrait of Anne Jeffreys. I absolutely love this gown!

Worn by Laraine Day in Bride by Mistake (1944), a remake of The Richest Girl in the World (1934). 

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Bette's Hats & Reviews: The Big Shakedown (1934)

Bette's first film of 1934 was The Big Shakedown. She only references it sarcastically in her autobiography, The Lonely Life: "They needed me desperately for such historic milestones as The Big Shakedown and The Man with the Black Hat."

The first hat is only on the screen long enough for the Justice of the Peace to say "By the power vested in me, I now pronounce you man and wife. That'll be $2." You can see a better shot of the hat here.

Bette Davis has little to do but look attractive as an ingenue, the wife of the chemist (Charles Farrell).

~ Picturegoer Weekly, March 3, 1934

The only advantage Bette Davis enjoys is that she is not on much and so does not bore as often. 

~ Variety

Farrell and Miss Davis are not at their best.

~ Film Daily

I wonder if this photo is from a scene cut from the film? It says it's from The Big Shakedown.