Saturday, March 26, 2022

Bette's Hats & Reviews: Bureau of Missing Persons (1933) + short

Bette's final film of 1933 was Bureau of Missing Persons with Pat O'Brien and Glenda Farrell. The only mention she makes of it in her autobiography, The Lonely Life, is that making that film made her realize why movie stars elected to go on suspension. She wears two hats.

Bette Davis does well.
~ The New York Times

They are still trying to make a sexy star out of Bette Davis when your reviewer is still pretty certain that she would be a whole lot better off if they let her be the sweet girl that she probably is.
~ The New Movie Magazine, Oct. 1933

Bette also appeared in a short titled Just Around the Corner, advertising General Electric household appliances! You can watch that gem below. 

She wears one hat in the short at 8:05. It's really too blurry to screenshot.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Pick My Movie Tag 2: Five Least Favorite Hitchcock Films

I was tagged by The Flapper Dame to write a post on my five least favorite Alfred Hitchcock films for The Pick My Movie Tag 2. The rules are as follows:

  • Nominate one or more people to review the film or films of your choice. Or you can request they review something from a certain year, genre, or star. Everyone can review the same thing, or you can request each person cover something different. As long as it’s something they haven’t written about yet, you’re good.
  • Nominees are allowed to request a different pick for whatever reason no more than five times. Stuff happens. We all know it.
  • Nominees must thank the person who nominated them and provide a link their blog.
  • Nominees may nominate others to keep the tag going. Picking the person who nominated them is allowed, or they can nominate someone else. Maybe both.
  • All participants need to include these rules in their post, whether they’re nominees or picking nominees.
  • All participants should use the “Pick My Movie” banner or something similar in their posts.
  • Have fun!

At first I thought I wouldn’t be able to come up with that number, but I looked through the films I’ve seen and five was the exact number. Now, I still have several films I haven’t seen. I started Under Capricorn once but it wasn’t grabbing me, and I have no desire to watch his final films, Family Plot and Frenzy. And of course I haven’t seen most of his British films (that includes a The Lady Vanishes - I know). However, here is what I was able to come up with (SPOILERS are marked):


Ok, before you start, I only watched this once probably over a decade ago. I need to rewatch it. At the time though, I really wasn't a fan of Jimmy Stewart, especially when he gets those crazy eyes. I have a thing about close-ups of eyes in movies. I also thought he was too old for Kim Novak (same goes for Grace Kelly in Rear Window). The whole psychedelic sequence was not to my liking either. Being younger, I probably missed a lot of underlying meanings and signs that I would get nowadays. Anyway, this is the first film that pops into my head when asked about my least favorite Hitchcock film.


SPOILERS: It really disturbed me when Walter Slezak (I think it was him?) let Canada Lee fall overboard while everyone was sleeping just because he was black. And William Bendix losing his leg also bothered me.


I watched about 15 minutes but did not like it so I stopped. I will probably never watch it all the way through. It was just too morbid.

I couldn't get on board with Sylvia Sidney being married to Oscar Homolka. And SPOILER, her brother getting blown up at the end was pretty gruesome, even though they didn't show it.


I don't really remember anything about this movie except that it was boring and I didn't like it. Was probably just creeped out by Charles Laughton.

What can I say? Those are my choices and I'm sticking to them!

Thanks to Emily for tagging me! And now I tag Hamlette's Soliloquy to write about her Favorite Movie that was FILMED in Europe!

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Cinema Wedding Gowns: Casanova Brown (1944)

This month's Cinema Wedding gown is worn by Anita Louise in Casanova Brown (1944). The costumes were by Muriel King. 

A look at the full gown. It is fitted through the hips and appears to have panels (mainly in the back) to give it a fuller look and a very short train. It's difficult to tell how long the veil is, as it goes behind a piece of furniture. It is either chapel or cathedral length. 

It appears to be a satiny brocade fabric.

A closer look at the neckline and sleeves. It had a medieval look to it. 
I love how the tulle frames her face.

A look at the shiny floral crown.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Bette's Hats & Reviews: Ex-Lady (1933)

Glamourous Bette

After playing a good part in The Working Man (1933), Bette was unhappy - yet again - with her next role. "Darryl Zanuck decided it was time to give me the glamour-star treatment," she wrote in her autobiography, The Lonely Life. "It was a great mistake. I wasn't the type to be glamorized in the usual way. In an ecstasy of poor taste and a burst of misspent energy, I was made over and cast as the star of a piece of junk called Ex-Lady, which was supposed to be provocative and provoked anyone of sensibility to nausea. As an avant-garde artist, my lover was Gene Raymond whom I discarded au fin for the marvelously corrupt Monroe Owsley. One disgusted critic announced that Warner Brothers could have saved a fortune by photographing the whole picture in one bed. The final scene dollied in on our feet, soles upward - for which I was grateful - and happily entwined. They may have even had The End written on them. I can't remember [The shot described does not appear at the end of the film. I skipped through the movie so it's possible it was shown elsewhere in the picture]. It is a part of my career that my conscious tastefully avoids. I only recall that from the daily shooting to the billboards, falsely picturing me half-naked, my shame was only exceeded by my fury" (138). 

The offending image and the photos it was based on.

Hat 1

Love this promotional photo that shows the costume with the puffed sleeve coat off.

Miss Davis’ costume choices seem all awry for her personality, including one high-necked affair that’s dangerously reminiscent of the giraffe women in the Ringling-B&B circus. This ‘un will set back Miss Davis.  And just as she was coming along.


Hat 2

"Ex-Lady" may undo some of the nice things that have been done for Bette Davis in her last few pictures.

~ The New Movie Magazine, April 1933

Hat 3

Bette Davis, a young actress who has shown intelligence in the roles assumed to her in the films, has had the misfortune to be cast in the principal role of “Ex-Lady,” now on view at the Strand. What that somewhat sinister event meant to her employers was that Miss Davis, having shown herself to be possessed of the proper talent and pictorial allure, now became a star in her own right. What it meant to her embarrassed admirers at the Strand on Thursday night was that Miss Davis had to spend an uncomfortable amount of her time en deshabille in boudoir scenes engaged in repartee and in behavior which were sometimes timidly suggestive, then depressingly näive and mostly downright foolish.


Hat 4

Bette's costumes received a little spread in the movie magazine (I did not spot the plaid outfit in the film).

This lobby card shows the costume in all the wrong colors - as lobby cards generally do, even for color films - but it shows the details of the costume nice and clear.


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.

Monday, March 7, 2022

Remembering Caftan Woman

It was with great sadness that I learned of the death of Patricia Nolan-Hall aka Paddy aka Caftan Woman today. If you are part of the Classic Movie community on Twitter or have an old movie blog, you know who she is. If you follow her on Twitter, you probably know that she was on dialysis until last summer, when she received a kidney transplant. Unfortunately she very quickly began to have complications. She wasn't able to be on Twitter as much, but she still wrote blog posts when she could, her last being only a few days ago.

She was always kind and encouraging to me, leaving comments on my posts when I posted regularly, when I hardly posted, and when I started posting again regularly last year. She always joined my blogathons and recommended the best movies. When I watched one of her "one for {insert month} on TCM" suggestions I ALWAYS enjoyed it. She will be greatly missed.

In her honor, I thought I'd list a few of the movies she introduced me too and the link to her post:

Merrily We Live (1938)

Heaven Only Knows (1947) 

I responded to this one on Twitter:

The Late George Apley (1947)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I know there were many more, but these are the ones I remember most. 

Rest in peace, Caftan Woman. You will be greatly missed, but I know you are having a swell time getting to meet all of your favorite stars ;)

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Royal Film Performance Series: To Catch a Thief (1955)

For the first time in several years, the choice of film - To Catch a Thief (1955) - for the 10th Annual Royal Film Performance was, aside from being an American film, non-controversial and a welcome change for the Royals. An unsigned memo about the event read, "Lieutenant Colonel Charteris, an Assistant Private Secretary to the Queen said that Her Majesty had enjoyed the film (as I did myself) and was happy with the revised arrangement .  .  . She had particularly welcomed the elimination of the stage show and the fact that, for her, the whole occasion had lasted for no more than 2 hours 40 minutes" (source). If you recall, the previous year's choice of Beau Brummell had so disgusted everyone that the Queen reportedly threatened to cancel the Royal Film Performance altogether. 

The Canberra Times, 9/21/55

Even though it was an American film, To Catch a Thief was not without ties to England. Both its director (Alfred Hitchcock) and leading man (Cary Grant) had been born in England. The leading lady was Grace Kelly, who would marry into the Monagasque Royal Family the following year. However, only Hitchcock attended the royal event on October 31, 1955.

Click here to see a copy of the commentary
The broadcast was originally 25 minutes long, with clips from the film and an interview with Hitchcock.

This 48 second video shows Norman Hartnell in attendance, who designed many gowns for the Queen, including her wedding and coronation gowns.

Another video of the stars. You can see Katy Jurado at 0:41, but her name is not mentioned. At 1:42 you see Rossano Brazzi bowing to the Queen.

Held at the Odeon Theatre, stars in attendance included Ava Gardner, Rossano Brazzi, Diana Dors, Gina Lollobrigida, Katy Jurado, Anna Neagle, and Jack Hawkins. Some of the star's attire were deemed inappropriate to be worn in front of the Royals.

You would imagine that such and occasion would get a fair amount of press. However, a more shocking royal event overshadowed everything. 

If you know anything about Princess Margaret, it is that she fell in love with her father's equerry, Peter Townsend. They wanted to marry but, as he was divorced, this would cause a big problem, as the Queen was the head of the church which did not recognize divorce. Margaret was told to wait until she was of age that she didn't need the Queen's permission to marry but, when the time came, Margaret gave him up rather than lose her royal status. She released a statement on Oct. 31, the same day as the Royal Variety Performance, that read:

I would like it to be known that I have decided not to marry Group Captain Peter Townsend. I have been aware that, subject to my renouncing my rights of succession, it might have been possible for me to contract a civil marriage. But mindful of the Church’s teaching that Christian marriage is indissoluble, and conscious of my duty to the Commonwealth, I have resolved to put these considerations before any others.

This of course became the Big Royal Story. Several articles commented on the fact that Margaret, understandably, did not attend the performance that evening. The Queen Mother was also absent.

The Canberra Times, 11/2/55

Looking at the Queen, you'd never know that this event took place on the same day.

The caption reads: "Film stars from five countries were presented to the Queen at the 
Royal Command film show last week. But the Queen, magnificently gowned, stole the show."