Monday, January 31, 2022

Recycled Costumes: Marie Antoinette (1938) - Part 1

This series will look at the sumptuous costumes designed by Adrain for the epic Norma Shearer film Marie Antoinette (1938) and the films in which they were recycled. I thought about going "in order" but decided to just choose them at random. 

This month's costume is a green velvet and gold lace gown worn by Shearer in the scene where the mob storms the palace. 

The gown in full.

A closer look at the bodice.

Detail of the gold lace sleeves. Note the green tulle inserted between the layers.

Detail of the design on the skirt

So far I have spotted the gown in two other films: on the left in Two Sisters From Boston (1946) and on the right in The Black Castle (1952).

UPDATE: It looks like it also appears in Monsieur Beaucaire (1946) starring Bob Hope. I have not watched the movie yet but will update with screenshots when I get the chance to watch a clear copy. Sadly, it is also in black and white.

Photos of costume in color are from here. Post will be updated if I spot the gown in more films.

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Bette's Hats & Reviews: 20,000 Years in Sing Sing (1932)

Isn't this a cute photo?

Bette's final film of 1932, 20,000 Years in Sing Sing, was released on Christmas Eve (If I hadn't of had a slightly different schedule last month, I could have posted this in the same day!). She was excited for the opportunity to work with Spencer Tracy: 

I was in seventh heaven. He was one of my few actor idols... I was good as the moll and my notices made that clear (The Lonely Life, 135).

Probably one of the most hideous ensembles in the history of cinema. I don't even know what's going on here lol.

Also a very unusual hat, barely hanging on to one side of Bette's head and the other side obscured with a  huge bow.

Bette Davis does well as Fay.
~ The New York Times
Bette Davis is the convict’s moll who does him dirt in one breath and shoots to kill for him in another. She’s not particularly impressive here.
Bette Davis is touchingly wistful as his girl outside.
~ Larry Reid for Movie Classic Magazine, 1933

Two more looks at the texture of the hat.


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.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

"Cloaked," Alan Ladd, and "Shane" (1953)

Rachel Kovaciny of Hamlette's Soliloquy is one of my favorite bloggers. We have a lot in common when it comes to our movie tastes - we're both big fans of John Wayne and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015). She has written three books and is working on a fourth - Western re-tellings of fairy tales. I've been wanting to read her first book, Cloaked, ever since I read the excerpt on Amazon. And I would have ordered it long ago except there was some suspicious activity a few years ago on my account and I have been too nervous to add my card information. Also, I don't like Amazon. But anyway... So this year I put it on my Christmas list! Well, I read it a couple days ago and absolutely loved it!! Cloaked is based on Little Red Riding Hood, which is a story everybody knows, but Rachel has written a story so interesting and unique that you forget that you kind of know what's going to happen.

But why am I writing about this on a Classic Movie blog? Because one of the characters, Hauer, is "played by" Alan Ladd, which, if you've ever visited Rachel's blog you know he's her favorite actor. Just look at her current blog header. Now, I've never particularly liked or disliked Ladd, but reading Cloaked has finally made me a fan. It was easy to imagine him in the role, as well as the other actors she cast (she has a Pinterest mood board with her character choices). Another character, Old Joe, is "played by" Walter Brennan. I could hear the voices of the characters in my head as I read (I had a little trouble with Felicity Jones as Mary Rose and Michael Fassbender as Mr. Linden as I've only seen them in one movie each, so their voices aren't familiar to me). My "teenage heart" especially loved the dance scene and Deputy Christopher Small "played by" Armie Hammer (I know there's a lot of controversy about him right now, but a man is innocent until proven guilty - if you like him but don't know what I'm talking about, don't look it up). I also loved Judi Dench as "Grandmother," Jubilee. In short, I loved the book and am looking forward to reading her second book which I've actually had for a while, Dancing & Donuts (The Twelve Dancing Princesses).

After I read the book finally watched Shane (1953) for the first time (the only thing I knew about it was that they said "Shane" a lot because my dad would say "Shane! Shane!" anytime he saw it on TV). I really enjoyed it. The mountain scenery was stunning and I loved the sweeping score by Victor Young (who also did Rio Grande, my all-time favorite score). It was interesting seeing Ben Johnson as a "bad guy." I wasn't too impressed with Bradon De Wilde's acting at the beginning of the movie but he got better as the movie went along. It's definitely a movie I will watch again. I would love to see the Grand Tetons on the big screen!

I thought it would be fun to dress up my American Girl "Samantha" doll as Mary Rose. She is wearing her "brown traveling dress" (handmade by me several years ago), Felicity's red cloak, and Josefina's moccasins. P.S. It's really hard to carry a doll out the front door without the neighbors seeing lol.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Cinema Wedding Gowns: Rob Roy the Highland Rogue (1953)

This month's Royal Film Performance post was on the Walt Disney film, Rob Roy the Highland Rogue (1953). In it, Glynis Johns wears a lovely wedding dress. I thought it would be fun to feature it today.

Set in 18th century Scotland, the dress features a silhouette similar to Colonial/Revolutionary War style gowns, with the 3/4 sleeves edged in ruffles and the low neckline. 

It is made of heavy ivory satin and ends just above the ankles.

The skirt is flat in front and pleated on the sides and back.

The waist is tight and seems to have some sort of belt. Notice the way the ruffles on the sleeve are attached.

The neckline is just barely off the shoulders and features an interesting wrap-like design, withplisse fabric attached behind and covering the bust. It makes a soft "V" shaped neckline. A tartan (probably her family's clan, as it is different from the MacGregor tartan) is attached at the right shoulder with a brooch and falling behind her is then caught up over her left arm.

A closer look at the sleeves, double heart brooch, white shoes and stockings, and what looks like a veil. In a promotional photo she is wearing a wreath of ivy in her hair.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Bette's Hats & Reviews: Three on a Match (1932)

Bette's twelfth picture - and eighth of 1932 - was, according to her autobiography, a “dull 'B' picture called Three on a Match. My school friend Joan Blondell, Ann Dvorak and I were the unlucky trio, and Mervyn Leroy was my next unsympathetic director. He kept talking of what a great dramatic star Joan was to become and I was glad for her; but his pointed references and indifference to me hardly encouraged me in my daily work ... I had daydreams about the Director with Vision who would see what I knew I had” (The Lonely Life, 135-136).

That's not quite how Leroy remembered it, at least, that's not what he told The New Movie Magazine (June 1933):

Joan is a swell girl to direct [...] You ought to see her garden [...] Joan does all the work herself. Bette is a peach too. She isn't the actress Joan is; not yet. She'll take a lot of directing. But she can take it. That kind usually goes a long way. And what a figure! Did you notice those beach scenes? (see the end of the post)

Miss Davis' role is but that of an added starter and superfluous other than to fully interpret the picture's title. The three girls lighting cigarettes from one match indicates that one of them must go. [...] Studio apparently realized a weakness as evidenced by the inclusion of Miss Davis, who has nothing to do. 

~ Variety 

Bette Davis was ravishing in appearance, but had very little to do.
~ Hollywood Filmograph

I love Bette's bathing suit in the film. You can see a few more screenshots on my blog Facebook page (including some great hats on the other girls).


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. 
The New Movie Magazine, June 1933.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Royal Film Performance Series: Rob Roy the Highland Rogue (1953)

For the 8th Annual Royal Film Performance, a live-action Walt Disney picture was chosen. You can't go wrong with Walt Disney, right? Well... you can if the movie portrays the British suppressing the Scottish Highlanders and forcing them to obey unjust laws and pay double taxes with the intent of taking away their land in the future and stripping the name away of the clan MacGregor. And that's exactly what happens in Disney's Rob Roy the Highland Rogue, starring Richard Todd in the title role. 

The only sympathetic figure on the side of the British is a Highlander himself, the Duke of Argyll (James Robertson Justice), a kinsman of Rob Roy's mother from the Campbell clan. and the King, George I, is not even English but German, needing an interpreter. Not to mention he looks like this...

Reading about the Highland Rogue's latest exploits.

In the last moments of the film however, the King pardons Rob Roy - after he comes to the London court to give himself up and prevent further fighting - leading Rob Roy to praise the King as a great ruler.

Rob Roy (Richard Todd) and his wife, Helen Mary (Glynis Johns)

The Royal Film Performance took place at the Leicester Square Odean Theatre on Oct. 26, 1953 (less than a month later, the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip would leave on a six-month tour of the Commonwealth, not returning to England until May 1954). There were 19 stars in attendance, among them several from the cast of the film, including Richard Todd, Glynis Johns, James Robertson Justice, and Finlay Currie (Justice and Currie both in kilts); other British stars such as Jack Hawkins, Kay Kendell, Kenneth More, Alec Guiness, and Moira Shearer; and eight from Hollywood, including Gary Cooper (who was spending time abroad for tax reasons), Jeanne Crain, Dennis O'Keefe, and studio head Adolph Zukor. 

Video Footage of the Stars and Royals

This second video is virtually the same with slightly extended views of the starts arriving

source                                                                     source
Finlay Currie in a kilt and Jeanne Crain in a gown of oyster white satin taffeta with an encrusted bodice of seed pearls and diamentes.

The queen and Princess Margaret arriving. Caption reads: "Her Majesty wor a tiered, crinoline-type evening dress of lavender organza, tied with a big bow in the back. She wore a diamond tiara, a diamond and emerald necklace, and a diamond bracelet. Princess Margaret also wore a tiered dress and a diamond necklace."

More on Margarets' gown: "Dressed in a shimmering white cascade frock, Princess Margaret was outstanding among the brilliantly dressed women who attended last week's Royal performance."

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find as many articles about the event or any movie star memories. I did find a copy of the program for sale on Ebay that lists the features the order of the short features and stage show:
  • Metropolitan Police Central Band and Trumpeters
  • "THE FIGUREHEAD" - a Halas and Batchelor Cartoon
  • "BEAR COUNTRY" - a Walt Disney True-Life Adventure
  • "SAFETY SPIN" - a Mr. Magoo Cartoon by U.P.A. 
Here is an article that compares the real Rob Roy with his screen counterpart:

Lastly, you can watch the full movie here

An article about the history of the Royal Film Performance, using a sketch of an image from the 1953 event, appeared in an issue of The Girls Annual (images from Etsy and Ebay).

It's too much to type up. It basically differentiates between the Royal Film Performance and a Royal Premiere (the difference being the RFP is for the Cinematograph Trade Benevolent Fund) and talks about some other films seen by the Royal family as well as their interest in filming the places they visit.

Friday, January 7, 2022

2021 Movie Stats

In the year 2021 I watched 262 new-to-me movies and 74 movies that were rewatches for a total of 336.

New to me: 262 (216 pre-1970, 45 post-1970)
Rewatches: 74 (51 pre-1970, 23 post-1970)
Total: 336 (267 pre-1970, 68 post-1970)

Where I watched them: 

TCM: 232 (38 rewatches)
Library (DVD & Apps): 7 (2 rewatches)
Personal DVD: 38 (27 rewatches)
YouTube & OK: 10 (1 rewatch)
Paid Streaming Services: 31 (2 rewatches) 
TV & Free Streaming Services: 12 (2 rewatches)
Theater: 0

          Other: 6

Here are my top ten five movie discoveries:

1/29 Woman Chases Man (1937) - Miriam Hopkins & Joel McCrea (I own on DVD)
Anne of Windy Poplars (1940) - Anne Shirley (downloaded off YT - not on DVD)
8/17 Roughshod (1949) - Robert Sterling & Gloria Grahame, Claude Jarman Jr. (brother bought on DVD - hard to find)
12/11 Midnight Run (1988) - Robert De Niro & (brother bought on DVD)
8/8 Jungle Cruise (2021) - Emily Blunt & Dwayne Johnson (got on blu-ray for Christmas)

Classics I finally watched: 

          The Gay Divorcee (1934) - Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers

          Destry Rides Again (1939) - Marlene Dietrich & James Stewart

          The Mark of Zorro (1940) - Tyrone Power & Linda Darnell

          The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943) - Roger Livesy & Deborah Kerr, Anton Walbrook

Leave Her to Heaven (1945) - Gene Tierney & Corel Wilde, Jeanne Crain 

          Late Spring (1949-Japan) - Setsuka Hara
Born Yesterday (1950) - Judy Holliday & William Holden
          Marty (1955) - Ernest Borgnine

Witness for the Prosecution (1957) - Charles Laughton, Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich 

          The Mummy (1959) - Christopher Lee

          The Magnificent Seven (1960) - Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charlson Bronson
The Misfits (1961) - Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Montgomery Clift
West Side Story (1961) - Natalie Wood & Richard Beymer, Rita Moreno
Dr. No (1962) - Sean Connery
Dear Heart (1964) - Glenn Ford & Geraldine

          Goldfinger (1965) - Sean Connery

          Battle of the Bulge (1965) - Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, Robert Ryan

          In the Heat of the Night (1967) - Sidney Poitier

          Murder on the Orient Express (1974) - everybody lol
The Towering Inferno (1974) - Paul Newman, Steve McQueen
All the President's Men (1976) - Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman

          Anne of Green Gables (1985) - Megan Followes

          Pretty Woman (1990) - Richard Gere & Julia Roberts


Number of movies per decade:

1910s: 0 (0 rewatches)
1920s: 3 (0 rewatches)
1930s: 69 (16 rewatches)
1940s: 103 (21 rewatches)
1950s: 45 (6 rewatches)
1960s: 47 (8 rewatches)
1970s: 7 (0 rewatches)
1980s: 13 (5 rewatches)
1990s: 20 (6 rewatches)
2000s: 17 (7 rewatches)
2010s: 7 (5 rewatches)
2020s: 4 (0 rewatches)

Number of movies per month:

January: 45 (10 rewatches)
February: 31 (6 rewatches)
March: 22 (5 rewatch)
April: 25 (6 rewatches)
May: 16 (5 rewatches)
June: 17 (4 rewatches)
July: 36 (6 rewatches)
August: 32 (9 rewatches) 
September: 20 (1 rewatch)
October: 29 (3 rewatches)
November: 28 (5 rewatches)
December: 35 (12 rewatches)

Number of Foreign Language Films: 10

Most Watched (Leading) Movie Stars:

Robert Young - 16 films
Elvis Presley - 15 films
Lucille Ball (TCM SOTM) - 12 films

Robert Taylor, Ingrid Bergman (TCM SOTM), Tom Conway (The Falcon series) - 8 films

William Powell (all rewatches), James Stewart, Barbara Stanwyck, Jeanette MacDonald - 7 films

Jack Carson, Eve Arden - 6 films

Joan Crawford, Lew Ayres, Nelson Eddy, Miriam Hopkins, Maureen O'Hara, Ruth Hussey, Sydney Greenstreet, Steve McQueen, Robert Redford, Denzel Washington, Julia Roberts - 5 films

Stars I discovered/grew to love/admire: Robert Sterling and Steve McQueen

*To see last year's stats, click here.

Did you keep track of the movies you watched in 2021? Was there a star or movie you discovered that you can't live without now? Let me know in the comments! Also, no matter how hard I try there are always discrepancies in my numbers... It NEVER adds up perfectly!