Have you ever thought of just leaving your present life and creating a whole new identity? I have to admit, in my younger years, I felt like escaping but this was when times were quite tough. I longed for something fresh but I would have told my immediate family so I guess that is not the same thing plus I love my name too much. Others have actually done this like William Desmond Taylor-Silent film director, lothario, and still unsolved murder victim and Olivia Newton John's one-time a-hole fiance. Who do you think killed Mr. Taylor, Joel? This would make a great film (unless one was already done and not in ABC TV movie style starring Charlene Tilton). There are plenty of films that have used this ploy and I will be interested what Wandering Through The Stars will choose, plus her other followers, so, without further adieu, here are my 3...
1. BEGGARS OF LIFE-1928
I would love to see this late silent film version again(came out the year of my mom's birth) starring the beguiling Louise Brooks (she had led quite the life and anyone who loves a good biography should read Barry Paris's book on her plus her own book called "Lulu in Hollywood". She was very intelligent, rebellious and an accomplished writer). She plays a hapless girl who accidentally, kills her abusive step dad before a vagabond, played by Richard Arlen, happens upon the scene. To help her out, she dresses as a boy and they go off together hopping freight trains. They meet one of the kings of the vagabonds, Wallace Beery and become friends. All hell breaks loose when her fake identity is uncovered and some baddies want more from her plus the police have not given up on the chase. This is one of her best films certainly from Hollywood and the train scene is excellent.
2. THE LADY EVE-1941
Henry Fonda plays a young man who was studying snakes in the Amazon for a year who also happens to be the heir of a brewery company. He is on a ship and so is Eve with her father and his partner. They are con artists who bilk many men out of their millions before taking off for their next mark. What she doesn't expect is to fall in love with the hapless oaf only to be spurned when he realizes the truth. Now she is pissed...er bothered...no, pissed is better, that he left her so she decides to get even and shows up at the oaf's family home as someone completely different although she wears no disguise. At first he is appalled that no one believes him but he finally just thinks it is a strange coincidence. Oh how I love a screwball comedy and Fonda never looked more handsome and Stanwyck never more stunning. A great Preston Sturges comedy.
3. THE MAJOR & THE MINOR-1942
I used this film before, I know, but, considering all the hoopla over what is right and not right, I thought this would be a perfect film that was even considered a bit ewwwww even in its day. I enjoy this Billy Wilder film( he loved to bend the rules) and find it very funny even with the underlying ickiness. Ginger Rogers is a full bodied woman who needs to get back home but when the train fare is too expensive, she devises a way to get on the train.... play a 12 yr old and get on for half fare. She does just this but when the conductor catches her smoking she dashing into a booth of one good looking teacher/soldier, Ray Milland. He thinks she is only 12 and she ends up at his dad's military academy where she is the toast of the town with all the horned up boys. The only one she can't fool is Milland's fiance's sister who is also 12 and knows she is not a youngin'. Of course it is a farce and we know that he will end up with Ginger but how will it all work. This film is very funny and Ginger Rogers plays it to the hilt as the kid. It's an excellent farce. Her mother in the film is also Ginger Roger's mother in real life and the 2 were inseparable.
So, which 3 would you choose?
If I watched and studied Beggars of Life in my college film course, I don't remember it. I do remember Louse Brookes and Wallace Beery. Some of those stunts around moving trains look mighty dangerous. As you well know, in the silent era much pain was endured and great risk taken for the sake of realism in the movie making business.
I also don't remember watching The Lady Eve, probably because I wasn't enamored of Barbara Stanwyck like I was many other actresses. However I very much enjoyed Barbara as "Julia" aboard the sinking Titanic. It was strange to see Henry (GAF View-Master pitchman) Fonda playing a meek, unwitting character in the trailer for The Lady Eve. Of course, you have the unmistakable voice and attitude of William Demarest as Muggsy, who became Uncle Charley on My Three Sons.
I also wasn't very fond of Ginger Rogers, and that explains why I never saw The Major and the Minor. You know that I did like Ray Milland, the actor you say you'd like to slap, smack and strangle for some reason. I remember and liked one of the film's other players, Diana Lynn, in her roles in the Martin & Lewis films My Friend Irma and You're Never Too Young.
I suppose the ultimate in the fake i.d. category is Superman. Follow along now, because this is rich. Superman and mild mannered reporter Clark Kent look and sound exactly the same except for the glasses and the blue & red costume. With me so far? Now get this - no one Clark works with ever puts two and two together and outs hime as the great superhero, nor do any of the good citizens of Metropolis ever recognize his disguise, only the occasional villain. It's an amazing story - yet true!!!
Enjoy the rest of your week, dear friend BB!
I love Louise Brooks even though she could be her own worst enemy. She did her own stunts when running to catch the train and no CGI. This is one of the only films that Henry Fonda was in an outright comedic role especially showing him as naive and in slapstick which he does so well. Yes, Ray....he is a good actor, but I do watch to slap him up. He always appeared to me as an arrogant sod. I could be wrong but he is not my favourite, mind you, I have seen plenty of films with him in it.Delete
Hi Birgit...haven’t seen any of these but I remember lady Eve was on of my dads favourites.....Sunday afternoon cuddled up on the sofa under my mums fur coat...no heating in our house!....just the coal fire....joyful days....keep safe and well xxxxReplyDelete
I love how this brought you back to some fond memories. You have a lovely day.Delete
Not familiar with those films.ReplyDelete
I'll go with John Woo's Face Off staring Cage and Travolta.
Great film and one I just watched the other day.Delete
Hi Birgit - yes I too don't know the films ... but I'd like to watch 'The Lady Eve' ... and can't suggest one. Take care - HilaryReplyDelete
They are good and I hope you will see The Lady Eve one day.Delete
I haven't seen any of these but the Major and the Minor sounds kind of wild.ReplyDelete
It is wild and I hope you see one of these ne day as part of your blind spot series.Delete
I haven't seen the other two but great pick with The Lady Eve.ReplyDelete
I don't know any of these. Three strikes and you're out as they say in baseball, and that's me this week with your movie picks. Hope all is well.ReplyDelete
Hey, one day you might see one of these:).Delete
I've only seen The Lady Eve - not that I can actually remember it, lol. And my years are catching up with me because off-hand, absolutely nothing pops into my head. Maybe later today...ReplyDelete
It’s hard to think up films right away. I had to think things through. I thought you might mention Some Like It Hot.Delete
How about Tootsie or Mrs. Doubtfire?Delete
LOVE your picks Birgit!!ReplyDelete
Just saw Beggars for Life this year. Louise Brooks was such a vivid presence, too bad her rather thorny temperament caused her so much trouble with the Hollywood hierarchy.
The Lady Eve is a charmer though it's not my favorite of any of the stars. Barbara does look a million in it and it certainly showed her agility with farce. Wonderful supporting cast.
The Major and the Minor is so much fun, there is no way it could be made today without an enormous hue and cry. Sad since it's spirit really is so gentle and whimsical. LOVE Diana Lynn as the sister, also love Rita Johnson's deliciously dry take on the snobby Pamela. A wonderful actress whose life was cut short by a terrible accident (or perhaps a beating depending on what story you hear)
I approached the theme from three slightly different directions.
This Side of the Law (1950)-Picked up on a vagrancy charge wanderer David Cummins (Kent Smith) is bailed out by lawyer Philip Cagle (Robert Douglas) because he bears a remarkable resemblance to multi-millionaire Malcolm Taylor. As it happens Taylor is about to be declared dead after having gone missing seven years hence, if David will assume Taylor’s identity and convince his estranged family-wife Evelyn (Viveca Lindfors), brother Calder (John Alvin) and sister-in-law Nadine (Janis Paige)-that he is truly the missing man Cagle will pay him five thousand dollars. What seems like easy money quickly spirals into a web of deception and murder.
The Man Who Never Was (1956)-During WWII as Britain mobilizes to invade Sicily, intelligence agent Ewen Montagu (Clifton Webb) conceives a diversionary scheme to lead Germany to believe the true target is Greece. Creating the false identity of Major William Martin for a young man with no family who recently died of pneumonia (giving the appearance of drowning) Montagu plants phony top secret documents on the body and arranges for it to wash ashore in Spain. While Hitler believes the information German undercover agent Patrick O’Reilly (Stephen Boyd) is skeptical. His suspicions risk exposing the deception.
The Great Imposter (1961)-Young Ferdinand Demara Jr. (Tony Curtis) quits high school to join the Army with hopes of becoming an officer but finds his lack of education stands in his way. His solution is to fake papers as an officer in the Marines but eventually his lie is detected. On the run he assumes the identity of a Trappist monk. In time though he again must flee and as the years pass Demara impersonates a sailor, prison warden, teacher and doctor as his journeys take him around the globe. This is based on a true story.
Since you asked I think Mary Miles Minter's mother, Charlotte Selby killed Taylor. I know there are many suppositions and I've read several books about it but the one that presented the best case and most compelling evidence was "A Cast of Killers" by Sidney Kirkpatrick. He based much of the book on information gathered by King Vidor and Colleen Moore that they had gathered at one time with the thought of making a film. Vidor was even able to talk to Mary Miles Minter, though the encounter was profoundly sad. She had become enormously fat and was obviously delusional.
Yes, Louise Brooks was wild and self destructive always shooting herself in the foot because of her rebel with and without a cause. I agree about The Major and The Minor and I pray it is never censored because it is a gem. I like Barbara and this is one of her best. She always was a strong woman and could rarely play innocent victims well. I have not seen any of your picks and I feel so small in my knowledge of old films when you choose films I would love to see and never had the chance. I have read about the man in your last film pick who I found quite interesting. This was the time when Tony Curtis made some good films before his ego and addictions got the better of him. The second film with Clifton Webb seems to ring a bell with me about something true happening.Delete
I too believe it was Charlotte Shelby who killed her from what I have read. I am going to look up this book you mention and see if I can get a hold of it as I would love to read this. I have seen interviews with King Vidor who always wanted to make a film but he never came out to whom he thought killed him. Poor Mary Miles Minter who’s career was done after this murder.
Needless to say, I've not even HEARD of any of these films, but I sure enjoyed your synopses (as usual).ReplyDelete
I. So glad you enjoy this. I’d love to see your artwork inspired by a movie you like.Delete
I've never heard of the silent film. The Lady Eve... I've seen this one a couple times, and it just... I get lost, somehow. I mean, I get it. But it doesn't make sense to me. I know, weird.ReplyDelete
I went through a Ginger Rogers phase, and so I've seen many of her films. Isn't there a Jerry Lewis/Dean Martin version of this story? I seem to recall one...
I love Beggars of Life and, as for The Lady Eve, I know what you mean because part 1 is only on the boat before it goes into Part 2. fonda’s Character seems pretty daft to think she was a completely different person and that no one believed him. I think you are right with Martin & Lewis but I can’t recall the film.Delete
I've seen your last pick but don't remember much of it. The other two I'm totally unfamiliar with..ReplyDelete
First one that came to my mind was Catch Me If You Can which is based on the book of the same name by Frank Abagnale who did a series of cons using fake identities. Both movie and book were great.
Another film I saw recently is The Man Who Never Was. In this one a fake identity is assigned to a corpse in an attempt to fool the Nazis. This is another story based on a real event.
A classic Chaplin comedy The Great Dictator is a funny take on switching identities.
I've seen many more but that will be my 3 offerings for today. I actually thought of some in this category!
Tossing It Out
Catch Me If You Can is. Great movie and that kid was so intelligent...Abagnale. Joel chose The Man That Never Was and I know it was based on a true story. I had read about it somewhere in my books. The Great Dictator is brilliant and I just love the names.Delete
I haven't seen any of these but The Lady Eve sounds interesting.ReplyDelete
I love The Lady Eve and watched it for a second time earlier this week. I've seen The Major and The Minor, but it's been many years. I choose: 1. Some Like It Hot--you can't miss with Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis as girls, and Marilyn Monroe was great. 2. Six Degrees of Separation--Will Smith plays Paul, who cons people by saying he is Sidney Poitier's son 3. A Stolen Life--Bette Davis plays twins Kate and Patricia. They love the same man, but Patricia marries him. When she drowns, Kate becomes Patricia.ReplyDelete
Hmm. Haven't seen any of these.ReplyDelete
Enjoy the weekend.
Be well. Stay safe.
These are all new to me but sound intriguing - thanks, Birgit!ReplyDelete
Great category! Let's see...ReplyDelete
Some Like It Hot
I haven't seen any of these- but I am intrigued! I especially want to watch the silent movie. :)ReplyDelete
Haven't seen any of these but The Major and the Minor looks funny, I also never saw any film with Ginger Rogers.ReplyDelete
Such interesting picks! The third one seems oddly familiar, but I can't recall watching any of them. 😅ReplyDelete
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