Thursday, December 30, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks: TV Edition-Holiday

 


New Year’s is around the corner and WTF will it bring? I hate resolutions too, so I never make any but I do hope to reply to the comments all of you make. I love reading them and seeing which movies you choose. I want to see some movies I have been meaning to see for a long time and want to see more Linda Darnell films. I so appreciate all your kind, kind words this past year as well as your movie choices, I have marked down so many that I will be 159 yrs old before seeing them all. Joel alone gives me one every week. This one isn’t a since it is the last Thursday of the month and it’s about holidays. Wandering through the Shelves creates a great list every year and I hope to see one come up very soon. Here are my 3...

1.  BOB HOPE SPECIALS FROM 1950 to 1996


Bob Hope is an institution even if he has been gone since 2003 because he entertained the troops since WW2 all the way until 1990 during Desert Shield. He was away with the servicemen during Christmas than being home. I grew up watching his Christmas specials with many famous stars. The jokes could be a bit stale and the specials a bit camp but I love them and wish we had these types of variety shows back. 

2. BING CROSBY CHRISTMAS SPECIALS- 1950s to 1977


This special, from 1977, came on after Bing Crosby died having been filmed in the late summer. This scene, with David Bowie, has now become a classic and rightly so. Bing didn't want Mr. Bowie to appear in his makeup so David is toned down and Bowie didn't think anything much about this but it is great to gave these 2 together. I enjoyed Bob Hope's specials a bit better but they are both timeless.

3. PERRY COMO CHRISTMAS SPECIALS FROM 1974-1994


Perry Como was known as a very relaxed entertainer but also known for his Christmas specials where he travelled to a different country each year..Hawaii, England, the Holy Land, French- Canada and Austria. He did other Christmas shows but I always liked these ones. 

Which ones can you recall?

Thank you again for all you have done for me this past year. It will never be forgotten.

Bonus...


Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Happy New Year..Thank Goodness

 


I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas as I did. It was so very nice and I just felt so happy despite the earlier months. All I can say is I hope that this year will be better especially Covid wise. I thought I would showcase Kaspar the disaster this time. I hope you like these New Year songs.


1. HAPPY NEW YEAR BY ABBA-1980

I’m so glad I can fit ABBA in this with a perfect song to ring in the year. This comes from their album “Souper Trouper” and I think it’s just a nice one to choose. 


2. LET’S START THE NEW YEAR RIGHT SUNG BY BING CROSBY-1942

This song is from the film, Holiday Inn written for the film by Irving Berlin and it just works so well. There are many songs that are great from this film including the famous “White Christmas” but this song is a good one for this time.

3. AULD LANG SYNE SUNG BY ACTORS FROM "IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE-1946 



This is an old folk Scots tune with lyrics written by Robert Burns and has been  SUNG in many films, theaters, parties etc. . I think it was mostly played by Guy Lombardo and his orchestra. My dad loved this Canadian.

Any songs you wish to share for the new year? I do wish you all a great new year and this Covid will pass.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks- Holiday Party

 


I’m sorry for not visiting many of you but it’s Christmas time and I have been wrapping and baking up a storm. I plan to visit you, Shady, Cathy and the rest of you. I am writing this really quite late so it will be short but sweet. The theme, from Wandering Through The Shelves, is about Holiday Parties and here it goes...


1.  ITS A WONDERFUL LIFE-1946


It’s my favourite film due to the beauty behind the basic plot about a ordinary man with great dreams but gives them up for love and to help the people of his small town. I have talked about this film every year and will continue this tradition. This was the first film after Jimmy Stewart came back from the war and he was suffering from battle fatigue, now known as PTSD,  as they called it back in the day. He was wondering about his acting and his role in life and Lionel Barrymore, who played ole' man Potter, talked with him and helped him see how important his career is and how much he has helped the average Joe. I'm glad Stewart opened up to Barrymore about his feelings. This film is played every year on TV and I am glad for that. The party, at the end, shows all the characters and makes me cry each time. Mind you, there is the grad party and the wedding gathering when his brother comes home with the wife which are Calvo good party moments.

2. MIRACLE ON 34TH ST.-1947

Another gem of a film with the best Santa, played by Edmund Gwenn, coming to NYC and being hired to play Santa in the Macy's Thanksgiving parade since the other Santa is drunk. The head of the Dept is played by the great Maureen O' Hara in a female role as one of the execs which is pretty cool to show this back then. She does not believe in anything and makes sure her daughter feels the same way. Santa is hired for Macy's and he tries to help the daughter believe while a good looking lawyer works on mommy. I love the party when a doctor gets his new x-ray machine and is overcome with emotion. 

3. WHITE CHRISTMAS-1954

I almost went with Holiday Inn which is perfect this week since this musical goes through all the holidays but I have talked about this one often, so I went with this other Bing Crosby hit with the title based on the famous song made famous in Holiday Inn. Crosby and Danny Kaye are famous entertainers who help out a sister act get out of a messy situation and they all end up at an Inn owned by their former commanding officer. That officer is hard up since there has been no snow which means no patrons. The duo, with the gals' help, decide to put on a show to help out their former officer. The big gala at the end brings tears which is typical from me. It is a musical but it's also funny mainly due to Kaye. The "Sisters" take was done once and Bing is really laughing because of Danny Kaye's antics.

Which Holiday party movies would you pick?

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

My favourite Christmas music

 


I can’t believe Christmas Eve is this Friday but it is and it will be a wonderful time.. I am going to showcase a few songs I love...I love a lot of them but I wanted to show some I have not talked about before, or at least may have mentioned it only once.

1. O BAMBINO SUNG BY Harry Simone Chorale-1965

I have always loved this song especially this composition done by this  famous Chorale who even appeared on The Ed Sullivan show.. it’s an Italian song, written by Pietro Yon, in 1917. I just always loved listening to this since I was a little kid.

2. A LA NANITA NANA ARRANGED BY NORMAN LUBOFF-1963

I could not find this particular song in this arrangement except from the full album. Yup, I grew up with this and I loved how this lady sings it but couldn’t find out who the singer is. If you can find out, I’d love it. You can listen to the whole album which is a treat but this song is about 33:47 minutes in.  It’s a Spanish Carol by Jose Ramon Gomis in 1904 that many Spanish people now play it as a folk song but I always think of it as a Christmas song.

3. STILL, STILL, STILL SUNG BY IVAN REBROFF 1970


By now you know I love this Mad German who thinks himself more Russian. He has an amazing 5 octave range not 4 which, I think, I mentioned last week. He has such control over his voice not like many, in North America, who scream it.  This carol is Austrian , near Salzburg, from 1865.

4. WALKING IN THE AIR FROM ANDRE RIEU-2014 ALBUM


You know I had to pick something from my mom's boyfriend..as she called him. This song is one of my hubby's favorites and mine too. It actually comes from an animated film from 1982 called " The Snowman" and was written by Howard Blake. I now want to see this special. 

Any favourites you have?

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks-New To The City

 


Wandering Through The Stars has chosen a good one this week, always does, and this one is about being new to the city. I chose one that I love and 2 that are ok but not my favs. Let's get to it...

1. ON THE TOWN-1949


I love this comedic musical about 3 sailors on a 24 hour leave being let loose on New York City. Gene Kelly and Jules Munshin can't wait to meet a couple of dames whereas innocent(HA!) boy, Frank Sinatra, wants to see the sights of NYC. They head to the subway and Gene meets and instantly falls for Miss. Turnstiles, played by Vera-, please eat a sandwich, Ellen. The 3 dudes try to find her and meet up with a taxi driver, played by Betty Garrett, who has the hots for Frankie. The 4 end up at the Natural History Museum and meet up with an anthropologist who can tap dance like no tomorrow, played by the great Ann Miller. Now the 5 of them go looking for Vera and Gene finally finds her (yeah, in NYC...in just one day), hi-jinks ensues with a cab gone AWOL, damage at the museum and Frankie scared to make out (really??) with the amourous cabbie. This is so much fun with an excellent plot plus the songs and dancing are superb. The scene stealer is Alice Pearce, who played the original Mrs. Kravitz on Bewitched, as the roommate to Betty Garrett. 

2. HOME ALONE 2: LOST IN NEW YORK-1992


OK, I think we can all agree Kevin's mom will never win mother of the year award for losing her kid, not once, but twice. Never mind that she will try and get back to him but WTF? OK, Kevin's family plus his aunt and uncle and their brood(I think it is his Aunt and Uncle. I haven't seen this in a few years) decide to go to Miami for Christmas. After being humiliated by his asswipe brother during the school play, the family is disappointed in Kevin (I don't get it either). Nasty words are said and Badda-Bing, Badda-Boom, the next day everyone is rushing to get to the airport. Of course, Kevin ends up on the wrong plane and winds up in NYC. He is happy about it because he is in a cold place with plenty of Christmas and he has the credit cards! He sets himself up in a swanky hotel undermining the staff, with the head played by Tim Curry who is priceless in this movie. The family are stuck in a rainy, ugly motel room as mommie dearest is trying to find her way to her missing son. Now, back in the big city, Kevin is having fun going to a great Christmas store and meeting a scary pigeon lady but he runs into the 2 dumbnuts from the first movie. They are planning to knock off the toy store but also want to knock off Kevin. The film is predictable but it has its moments especially with Tim Curry and the bumbling crooks (Joe Pesci & Daniel Stern). It is a fun Christmas movie but hardly my favourite especially since I secretly wish they would catch up with Kevin and win. I know, I am bad.

3. ELF-2003


What can I say, It's stupid in an elf outfit who creates major destruction, destroys the family Christmas tree, eats disgusting things, acts like a moron who still gets the girl and is beloved by all. I don't mind Will Farrell and this movie has some funny moments, but I can go a few years before watching it again. I have seen it more than once but, where I must watch It's A Wonderful Life, Going My Way, Miracle on 34th Street (the original), A Christmas Carol plus the classic cartoons every year, I can wait with this one. It's all about Will's elf finding out he is not an elf but a regular human (I guess he couldn't figure that one out when he was so much bigger than everyone else and couldn't fit through the doors and sit on the chairs up at Santa's village) and must go and live with his real dad. Kicking this guy out of Santa's village, making him walk thousands of miles to NYC and live in a place scary to him doesn't seem mean of Santa at all, does it? Elf finds dad, meets his half brother, meets a beautiful gal and saves the Christmas spirit that NYC lacks. I guess that is ok. 

Which films would you choose? My list is not a total Christmas theme but a New York one :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Frohliche Weihnachten or just Merry Christmas

 


This is dedicated to my mom’s family since she brought Christmas, the true meaning, to us- family, love, hope and cherished traditions that only the Krauts..oops, Germans know how to celebrate. Sorry but, it’s true. When my mom was little,  her sister, and 2 brothers were always in the Christmas Nativity story. Tante Ilse was the oldest followed by Uncle Harry, Uncle Kurt and then my mom.  My mom and Tante Ilse were angels, Uncle Kurt was a shepherd and Uncle Harry was one of the 3 kings.  They all had to sing songs and they sang very well, unlike me who could never hold a note which is why I, probably, ended up as a fern in the school Christmas play..yes, a fern. So my mom et al ended up all having  a favourite song which I will showcase here today. I grew up with these songs so they are very familiar to me but probably new to  you.

1. KLING, GLOCKCHEN, KLINGALINGALING- 19TH CENTURY

My mom actually said Tante Ilse liked most and didn’t favour a song, but Tante Ilse mentioned this song the last time I saw her(2009). It means,"Ring, little Bell" based on a folk song from the 19th century. It may be written by Karl Enslin or Benedikt Widmann. I think it is pretty and this is from an album from 1957...I think. It was my mom's first Christmas album she bought when she came to Canada and I still have it. I should look and see if I can find the date. 

2. TOCHTER, ZION FREUE DICH BY HANDEL 1747.

Uncle Harry loved this one and sang this song as he walked down to see the Nativity. He belted it out and was noticeable even though he was really a small fry. This song translates to " daughter of Zion, Rejoice". Lyrics were written around 1820. This piece is from 2015 an Advent Concert which is when this song is usually played.

3. LEISE RESELT DER SCHNEE- 1895 MAYBE BY EDUARD EBEL



I wish I could have met my Uncle Kurt, whom my mom was so close to, as he was quite fun loving. He sang this song as a shepherd and loved this gentle song. It means, " Softly, Falls the Snow." Freddy was a popular German singer and he sang this off his Christmas album from 1964. Uncle Harry loved this album because it was about a navy man away from home at Christmas. I couldn't find the Album cover through the blog youtube so I hope this is the same.

4. STILLE NACHT, HEILIGE NACHT- 1818 BY FRANZ GRUBER WITH LYRICS BY JOSEPH MOHR

This song has always been my mom’s favorite especially when the church bells were played before and after. She loved Ivan Rebroff who thought of himself as a Russian but he was German. He had an amazing 4 octave vocal range and I love his album which is from 1970.

I hope you liked this and what were your parents' favourite Christmas song or your brother's or your sister's?


Thursday, December 9, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks: Rags to Riches

 


I’m gone to Toronto today and will make sure to take it easy but will be going to the Picasso exhibit and will do some Christmas shopping. So, today it’s all about Rags to Riches which we all wish would happen to us. My hubby buys the lotto hoping for even a million...cracks me up. Most people who win at Lotto, blow it in 5 years and that is the truth, sad but true. This week, over at Wandering  Through The Shelves, it’s about striking it rich in one form or another. I will wonder what everyone will choose, here are my 3...

1. MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN- 1936

Frank Capra is just great to showcase the every man who is loved, then vilified before being loved once again. Even though some critics, who get no sex, call it Capra-Corn, most recognize how great most of his films are and I love many of his films. This stars Gary Cooper as a Tuba playing Joe who gets 10 million as an inheritance from his Uncle. He moves to the city into a very large home and wonders what to do. Enter Jean Arthur as a jaded reporter tasked to see if this guy is for real . She plays him like a deck of cards and so do the lawyers etc.. who want the money. He just wants to help the people who are hanging on by a thread because of the Great Depression and the Dustbowl. It is such a nice film worth a few looks. I am a rare gal who is not a huge fan of Cooper but I like him in this. Jean Arthur is always a treat. The character actors often make Capra's films rise above the norm. 

2. MRS. PARKINGTON-1944

Greer Garson and Walter Pisgeon made many films together with their most famous being Mrs. Miniver, but I like this one better. Mrs. Miniver just seems too saintly. The pairing of these 2 stars was so popular that many thought they were together in real life. This movie starts off in a mining town with Greer's character as the daughter of an innkeeper, her mom, and she makes the beds etc... the owner of the mine, played by Pudgeon, stays at this Inn and likes the gal but he is facing the harsh reality that the people in the town don't like him. When there is a mining disaster and her mom is killed, he decides to marry the lass and brings her to his huge home. She must now get used to giving the orders instead of being on the receiving end. She meets a former flame of his who helps her by showing the ropes. This tale of marriage and heartbreak is told in flashback as she is dealing with her very self-obsessed kids and grandkids. It's a good movie made better by Agnes Moorehead as the former flame.

3. THE SOUND OF MUSIC- 1965

We all know the story of a novice nun, who doesn't follow the rules and is sent to the Baron Von Trapp household to govern his 7 kids. She is dirt poor and, when meeting them, does wear the worst outfit anyone can wear. She teaches the kids to sing and brings life and love back into his home. He is slow to come around and brings a Baroness back from Vienna to meet the kids and have a big party. This all happens before the Nazis take power. Now, aside from a song that mentions snow and Christmas, it is not a Christmas movie since it takes place in summer, has Nazis and no other reference to Christmas. It is a nice family film with brilliant singing by Julie Andrews and wonderful locals in and around Salzburg. 

So...which films would you choose?

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Happy Anniversary

 


My parents, Ruth and Frank, were married on December 8, 1962. It was a small ceremony and, since my dad was Catholic, she was told by the priest that she could not wear white since she was married before so she chose a light blue dress. Against many obstacles, her idiot first husband not granting a divorce(until he met someone else), illness and my father's relatives who didn't like my mom and made it known by one giving $3.00 as a wedding gift, they started on their marital journey.

Like many marriages, there were arguments with my dad knowing how to get my mom's goat and she throwing her slipper at him (it had a hard sole) but their love shone through. When I was perusing the many photos I have, I was surprised at how many pictures I have of them having fun, smiling at each other and even a kissing shot! Their love for one another shone through.

The picture above is from their wedding and the one below. The last photo is one from the 1980s where they are just happy to be together. They were only together for 26 years before brain cancer got the better of my dad, but my mom was married only to him. She said, "Why do people think I need a man. I had the best, I don't need anyone else....besides I darned enough socks!"



Since it is Christmas and they both loved watching Bonanza (so do I), I have the Bonanza Christmas album here for you to enjoy. I hope you listen to the whole thing because it is part singing, part story telling, but full of family, friends and love. We would play this album (I still have it) only when it got closer to Christmas. The Cartwrights may not be the best of singers but that doesn't matter because it just adds to the family effect. I love the line that Ben Cartwright says after successfully avoiding an ardent woman looking for marriage.."That was a close one Little Joe, remind me to give your brother a medal."


Hope you liked it:)


Love you both and miss you always.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks: Oscar Edition-Best Foreign Film

 


December 1st and I am thinking Christmas is 4 months away not 3 weeks. I am decorating but taking it easy. If you read my previous post, you will know I got great news and I don't have cancer. I figured I didn't, but was glad to hear it none the less. Now, Wandering Through The Shelves has Best Foreign Film for the theme this week and I am wondering how many have seen some foreign films. Well...off we go.

1. 8 1/2-1963 (ITALY)


This is a true classic and worthy of its fame as a great film even if it is not one of my favourites. I get the reasons for its fame from the great acting to the cinematography but the Avant-Garde film needs several viewing from me to understand it. Frederico Fellini created this work based on his own life and he ended up loving this film he created.  I love Marcello Mastroianni and he is great here as a director having "director's block". He is making a film but can't seem to get it together and between the film people coming after him plus his wife and mistress, he can't seem to get it together. In between this, he sees his perfect female star in his head but then brought to life when he actually sees her. Anyway, I should see this film again and see if I like it better than the first time. 

2. CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN TIGER-2000(TAIWAN)


Taiwan got the Oscar but it was an International co-production between Taiwan, China, The U.S. and  Hong Kong. It was filmed all over China and the locales are stunning, even the desert locale. This film takes on a mystical role but it is also a love story between the 2 young loves who are passionate and the older couple who share a deep love but they prevent themselves from taking the passionate route for reasons you find out in the film. The stunt work was done by the actors and there was no CGI except to get rid of the wires holding the actors up (for example, when they fight in the trees). A warrior wishes to retire and he asks the woman he loves, also a warrior to bring his sword to their benefactor. When back at the benefatcor's place, she meets the young Jen who is unhappy in her life. The sword is stolen and off goes the female warrior to reclaim it. There is a lot more to this poetic film directed by Ang Lee. I am not giving the film justice from my written words so please have a look at the film and see if you are not transfixed.

3. THE LIVES OF OTHERS-2006 (GERMANY)


I came across this film one evening and was transfixed by how intelligently written and directed it was. It takes place in the 1980s, when there was still an East Germany run by the Communist regime. At that time, everyone was watching everyone else and fear of being sent to the Gulag was very real. The "hero" of the film is a famous writer who holds opposing views to the Communist regime. The Staazi (secret police) can't take him away as it would cause an international incident. They decide to bug his place and see if they can't get something concrete on him. The hero is having a relationship with a well known actress and the secret police listen to everything. The head of this police starts listening more and more and develops a close bond with this couple even though they have never met. It gets to the point where this police man wants to help them and not have them disappear. I hope you get to see this well acted film that truly brings out what it was like in East Germany when the Communists were in power. Just so you know, my great Aunt still lived in Wittenberg (a mile south of Berlin) and she had to request the government for a fridge. She had to prove that a 70+ year old lady with bad legs needed a fridge. It took 7 years of bureaucratic crap for her to finally be approved to have one. 

So...know any foreign films? Let me know. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

First of Advent was this past Sunday so....

 


I have very good news...no cancer! I saw my Dr. last Friday and I got that great news plus she said I am healing well. I am still happy it is out because, apparently, I had numerous cysts (small) on my ovaries and uterus as well as numerous fibroid tumours (also small) plus my uterus was a little inflamed..reason? Who knows, but this is all history now and I have reason to celebrate. I did put, what you see in the picture, up on Sunday but did it in stages and I could feel the pain, although not like it was, so I stopped. I make sure to stop for quite a while before continuing and I am not doing as much as I would do normally in a day.

I thank my mom for bringing Christmas to me, my brother and especially my dad, who said that many times. Her German traditions, carried through from her mom and her mom before her, etc.. just fills me with Gemutlichkeit (say that 10 times fast). I can't think of a good English word that fits because it would encompass more than just cosy, warm, family, heartfelt...all those words plus. In fact, many of my friends love coming to my home because they feel so Christmassy and that makes me happy. 

That being said, I am starting Christmas music, but slowly here and hope you enjoy it.

1. I BELIEVE IN FATHER CHRISTMAS BY EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER-1975


I first heard this just a few years ago on a rock station and immediately fell in love with it. I missed who did the song and heard it again making sure to mark it down. It is not so much a warm and fuzzy one because they were just upset by the commercialism that was taking hold during the holiday season (What about now!?). I just spoke to my friend V.J. who hates Christmas....I make sure to drag him into the Christmas store in Niagara On The Lake every time we go there. When I hear him talk, it is almost always about how commercial Christmas is and I can't argue with him how horrible it is. It used to be, here in Canada, that the Christmas ads and stuff would not show up until after Remembrance Day (Nov. 11th) but now Christmas competes with Halloween which is just disgusting. We even hear about this in the film "Miracle on 34th St" (the original and best version) and "Santa Claus is Coming To Town" (at the end of the show). Christmas is a state of mind and we have to avoid the malls and the negativity and enjoy what we can bring into our hearts. By the way, V.J. even loved my decorations and said I have done it very tastefully. He has bought a poinsettia too!

2. A CHRISTMAS SONG BY JETHRO TULL-1968


Yes, I do like some of Jethro Tull's songs and this is one of them. Once again, it is about what people forget..it's not about stuff or stuffing your faces but about helping people in need and remembering that it is not in what we get but in what we give. Gosh I sound so corny and just blecchy. Even I may want to throw up in my mouth a little...no, I don't want to do that as it brings back memories of my fun days from the 80s and 90s (a little less in the 90s).

3. IN THE QUIET OF CHRISTMAS MORNING BY THE MOODY BLUES-2003


I love the Moody Blues and yet, I had no idea they came out with a Christmas album but I was going through a separation that year so I will blame it on that. I want to thank Cathy over at her blog, Curious as a Cathy to have the album on her playlist. If you want to check it out, just head on over to her blog. I really love the way the Moody Blues took Bach's famous piece and made it their own in this Christmas song. Too bad that Ray Thomas had to leave the group due to illness but they still sound great. 

Here is a bonus...

4. BLUE CHRISTMAS SUNG BY PORKY PIG-1985


When I first heard this I fell over from laughing so hard. I found out it was done by Denny Baumlee who had to call this Seymour Swine and the Squeelers because of laws but we all know it is good ole Porky. It really does sound like it is done at some party. I hope you get a kick out of it. 

What Christmas songs come into your head, Rock N' Roll wise? 

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Girl's Week 2021

 


The final post for this adventure into Gals and the movies hosted by Dell on Movies. You can write about any gal whether she is/was an actress, director, producer, writer etc... I stuck with actresses and here is another great film by another great actress.

HEAVEN KNOWS, MR. ALLISON-1957 WITH DEBORAH KERR (SEPT. 30, 1921-OCT. 16, 2007)


I first saw this film when I was, maybe 10 years old, and loved it right from that time. I re-watched it only 2 years ago and I still love it. I love her in so many films that it was a close call between this one, "Black Narcissus", "The King and I " and "The Innocents" but I went for a sentimental favourite. The film takes place on a small island during the war when a marine and a nun are left stranded on the island. He is rough inside and outside the edges and she is pristine, ladylike, wary and, well, a nun. They are learning about each other when the Japanese land onto the island and they must hide out. During this time, they get closer and develop a fondness for one another until he gets drunk and states how much he loves her. Let's just say she lets him down by stating is married to God (ughh) and believes in this. When he frightens her making her run out into the rain, she becomes quite ill. Sober and repentant (he is a gentleman always, just so you know), he knows he must try to secure medicine to help her.  You can tell the stars got on famously with one another and have a great rapport from watching this film and the others they made together (4 if you count the TV movie, "Reunion At Fairborough"). Once again, Kerr can shine as a woman even behind the nun just like she did in "Black Narcissus". She can show a coolness with emotion, love even when she hates and strength even when afraid. It is an excellent film as I have said about all the movies I talked about this past week. She was nominated for an Oscar for this film-her 4th.

When making this film, Robert Mitchum believed what Deborah Kerr showed on screen-High-bred and patrician, but that was proven wrong. When John Huston (the director) kept telling her to row faster, she broke the oar in half and yelled back to him, "Is that F&$%# fast enough for you?" Mitchum, who was wading in the water, took in a lot of water from laughing so much. From that moment on, they became great friends.

She has, also, never won an Oscar even though she was nominated 6 times which is a bloody shame since she is a much better actress than Meryl ( Oooh, she picked her nose, let's give her an Oscar) Streep. Kerr did receive an Honorary Oscar and got the longest standing ovation that anyone got when they received that specific award.

She was born in Glasgow, Scotland and is known for her delicate beauty with green eyes and red hair plus her fine way of diction and walking (courtesy of her Aunt who helped her get into film). This belied a steely strength that she brought to many film roles. 

She did start with Ballet training and was wanting to go professional but was drawn to acting and made it big pretty quickly in Britain. 

She had a younger brother, Ted Trimmer, who died in 2004 at 78, because of road rage! Apparently, he went out to mail a letter and where he parked his car, the defendant got out of his car and punched him out. When Ted fell to the ground he hit his head which caused his death. The man was found and sentenced. It could have been about Ted's car slightly clipping the defendant's car or taking the parking spot the defendant thought he should have had. 

She worked with Marni Nixon, on 2 occasions, most famously on "The King & I". Marni Nixon was the singing "non-star" to the stars and is only recently becoming known for her contribution to film. Anyway, they became friends while working on the above stated film and enjoyed their rapport with one another. 

She was married twice. The first husband couldn't take her stardom and financial success. The second lasted until she died, from Parkinson's and he died 5 weeks later, from cancer. 

She had affairs with Michael Powell (famous for his pairing with Emeric Pressburger who were producers, directors and writers for their films), Stewart Granger and Burt Lancaster. Powell and Granger stated they had an affair with her in their autobiographies but it seemed well known that she did carry on an affair with Burt Lancaster while they made "From Here To Eternity". 

She was the patron of the National Society of Clean Air and Environmental Protection on Britain from 1992 until her death. 

Other Films:

MAJOR BARBARA (1941)

THE DAY WILL DAWN (1942)

THE LIFE & DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP (1943)

BLACK NARCISSUS (1947)

THE HUCKSTERS (1947)

EDWARD, MY SON (1949)-her first Oscar Nomination

KING SOLOMON'S MINES (1950)

QUO VADIS (1951)

FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953)- The famous scene where she and Burt Lancaster make out on the beach comes from this film. Often parodied. 2nd Nomination.

THE PROUD AND THE PROFANE (1956)

THE KING & I (1956)- 3rd Nomination

TEA & SYMPATHY (1956)

AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER (1957)-remake of "Love Affair" and remade, again, as "Sleepless in Seattle"

SEPARATE TABLES (1958)- 5th Nomination

THE SUNDOWNERS (1960)- 6th nomination

THE GRASS IS GREENER (1960)

THE INNOCENTS (1961)

THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA (1964)

PRUDENCE & THE PILL (1968)



Saturday, November 27, 2021

Girl's Week 2021

 


Whew, I have not posted this much in eons, maybe when dinosaurs roamed the earth before they perished by smoking cigarettes (Don't believe me? Look up the Gary Larson Far side Cartoon). Anyway, Dell on Movies has a great week, almost ending which features gals on, in or behind film. So, without further adieu, here is my next film with a stellar gal.

PENNY SERENADE-1941 WITH IRENE DUNNE (DEC. 20, 1898-SEPT. 4, 1990


Irene Dunne is looking around her home knowing her marriage has ended with Cary Grant. She looks at the turntable and decides to play some records that remind her of happier times. We flash back to when they first met, marry and find out she is pregnant(when they are living in Japan) before an earthquake hits leading to a miscarriage and her inability to have kids (really, is that such a loss?? I know mothers out there hate me). A little while later, she considers adoption which Cary is not happy about but is soon convinced when they meet the little girl who captures his heart. They are awarded the baby but have no clue how to even change a diaper (quite a funny scene). You wonder how did this amazing family break apart? I am usually not one for melodrama hi-jinks or romance like what is on the Women's Network (It's Christmas romances over there) but this film is raised way above the bar by the acting chops of Grant and Irene Dunne. Both excelled in drama and comedy and it shows in this film that left me with a few tears. I find this film seems to have more maturity than others from the time period but I also believe it was due to showcasing Dunne in one of her best roles. Once again, I have to see more pictures from this amazing lady.

Irene Dunne was a triple threat-excellent in drama, comedy and musicals because of her great operatic soprano voice (even though the Met didn't hire her due to her youth and what they felt was a thin voice). Ms. Dunne was known as the First Lady of Hollywood and, I think much better than Meryl (scratches her ass so give her an Oscar) Streep. Irene Dunne was nominated 5 times but never won an Oscar nor did she ever get an Honorary Oscar..stumps me.

She was known for her poise and graciousness, always friendly and approachable to everyone on the set. She was also known for her stylish and well-dressed manner often dressed by Jean-Louis.

She met her husband, a dentist, and they married in 1927 and stayed happily married until he passed away in 1965. The tabloids and Gossip Columnists of the day (Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons) would try and dig up something but to no avail. 

When she was making "A Guy Named Joe", Spencer Tracy tried every way to have his way with Miss. Dunne who would have none of that. Yeah, he was already involved with Katherine Hepburn and, no, he never divorced his wife.

She was an avid Republican who campaigned for Eisenhower, Nixon and Reagan. She did state she  never liked "Extremism in any case" which is why she disliked Goldwater. "The extreme Rights do as much harm as the extreme Lefts."

She always strove for submissive women to become more independent and to have their own voice (yeas, even in the 1950s).

She became a board member for Technicolour in 1965-the first woman ever elected to the board of directors.

Her last film was in 1952 and, afterwards, she did TV spots until 1962 but she was very active in many charities. She donated $10,000 in 1976 to restore the town fountain of Madison, Indiana where she grew up. She donated her time, money and efforts to the Sister Kenny Foundation, American Cancer Foundation, American Red Cross, She established the African-American school in Los Angeles and  gave much to St. John's Hospital where they presented a bust of Irene Dunne for all she did for them. She also helped UNICEF & the World Health Organisation. 

Eisenhower made her a delegate to the United nations where she advocated for World Peace as well as refugee-relief programs. She asked the delegation for 21 million to help the Palestinian refugees.

Other Films

CIMARRON (1931)-First Oscar Nomination

BACK STREET (1932)

SHOWBOAT (1935)

THEODORA GOES WILD (1936)-2nd Nomination

THE AWFUL TRUTH (1937)- 3rd Nomination

LOVE AFFAIR (1939)- 4th Nomination remade twice-An Affair to Remember & Sleepless in Seattle

MY FAVOURITE WIFE (1940)

A GUY NAMED JOE (1943)

THE WHITE CLIFF OF DOVER (1944)

ANNA & THE KING OF SIAM (1946)- remade as The King & I

LIFE WITH FATHER (1947)

I REMEMBER MAMA (1948)- 5th Nomination


Friday, November 26, 2021

Girl Week 2021

 


This whole, full week (ends Sunday) is all about the gals who were important in film whether they are actresses, directors, writers, etc... Dell on Movies is the originator and host of this blogfest and I hope you check out more who are participating. Here is my next entry...

GASLIGHT-1944 WITH INGRID BERGMAN (AUG. 29, 1915- AUG. 29, 1982)



Ingrid Bergman won the Oscar for this role as a woman who feels she is losing her sanity. Her husband, The "man with the bedroom eyes", Charles Boyer is becoming less and less patient with her when she describes the gaslit lamps in the home grow dim at a certain time in the evening and that she hears someone in the attic even though it has been boarded up for years. She meets a young man, played by Joseph Cotton, who seems genuinely interested in her but is he real? The young maid, played to slut like quality by Angela Lansbury just adds to Ingrid's horrible life. We find out that she was swept up off her feet by the charming and dashing Boyer (never trust charm as we must purposely use it. It is not inwardly innate...think of all the sales people out there) becoming husband and wife and moving into her late Aunt's home but soon things started to change for her. Ingrid could play the quivering, fearful woman and a young, naive but sure of herself gal all in one film. I am unsure who else could have played this character as I could never see Betty Davis, Katherine Hepburn or Joan Crawford in the role as they would have eaten Boyer for breakfast and then dug out the remains with a toothpick from their teeth. Bergman brings it and more, to me anyway. Bergman actually went to a mental institution and studied one woman, in particular,  taking her mannerisms for her role. Gaslighting is now meant as a form of abuse which many people have experienced or seen others go through this abusive treatment. I bet it happens more than we think.

Ingrid Bergman lost both her parents by the time she was 13 years old. Her mom, who was German, died when Ingrid was about 2 1/2 yrs old and her beloved father when she was 13. She was sent to live with an Aunt and Uncle and would live in Sweden but summer in Germany. The loss of both parents might be why she often fell head of heels in love with many of her co-stars.

She was first married to Petter Lindstrom and had a daughter, Pia but, while married had many affairs like Spencer Tracy, Gregory Peck (Hell, I'd be tempted!..tempted!), Gary Cooper and Robert Capa who was a famous Life Photographer and landed on D-Day with the troops risking his life to take some very famous pictures. Actually, Hitchcock, who also was smitten with her (many male stars were) used her Affair with Capa as the romantic basis for "Rear Window."

When she came over from Sweden to star in the Hollywood version of "Intermezzo", the studio and David O'Selznick wanted to change her hair, her eyebrows and cap her teeth. She told them where to go and would be on the next boat home but, thankfully, they relented. At that time many actresses dyed their hair, plucked all their brows into arched ones and the teeth would all get done (just like now). They could do nothing about her height which was 5' 10" so most of her male co-stars had to stand on boxes and she had to wear flats or go barefoot. One she was happy that she did not have to do this with was Gary Cooper. 

She won 3 Oscars and is matched by Frances McDormand and Meryl (raise and eyebrow and win an Oscar) Streep and surpassed by Katherine Hepburn who won 4. Ingrid also won a Tony and 2 Emmy's.

Ingrid spoke 5 languages fluently-Swedish, German, English, French and Italian. When films were dubbed, she did her own. She always wanted to be an actress which her father indulged her in often taking many photos of her. She is beloved around the world and often chosen as one of the best actresses ever (I found out there is a German magazine that ranked her #1 and Sean Connery #1 for men. The name..."Funk Uhr"..hahahaaa Say that 10 times fast.).

When she started out in films, she got a contract to make 4 German films. Not taking the political climate seriously, naive/dumb, whatever you want to call it, she made 1 film, "The Four Companions" but while filming she realized the true climate and that you had to be a member of the Nazi Party if you wanted to get ahead. She left and did not return feeling guilty all her life for not taking the political climate more seriously. 

By the late 40s, after appearing as a nun in one film and Joan of Arc in another, with her wholesome looks, most Americans thought of her as almost saintly. Ingrid saw the film "Rome, Open City" directed by Roberto Rossellini, she was so moved by the film that she wrote a fan letter to the director who wrote back inviting her to Italy. Whoops! They started an affair resulting in a pregnancy which spread like wildfire all over the world. Her native country of Sweden denounced her and the States were so revolted by her indecency that she was denounced in the Senate, by an idiot, as a "powerful influence for evil." She did not return to the states, being in self-exile, until 1956 when she won her 2nd Oscar for "Anastasia." Unfortunately, her husband would not allow her to see her daughter Pia even though Ingrid would often be gone for film shoots and other occasions. Pia never blamed her mother and helped her in later years when she became ill with cancer. 

Ingrid had her son(named after daddy) with Roberto and twin daughters, Isotta and Isabella Rossellini who is, herself, an accomplished actress and former model.

There are a few things named after Ingrid Bergman including a Ferrari, a rose and a song, written by Woody Guthrie who was a big fan. If you want to listen to it, here it is



Other Films:

Intermezzo (1936)-Swedish film that made her famous

En Kvinnas Ansikte (1938)- "A Woman's Face" remade in 1941 with Joan Crawford.

Intermezzo: A Love Story (1939) - Brought her here to Hollywood

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (1941)

Casablanca (1942)

For Whom The Bell Tolls (1943)

Spellbound (1945)

The Bells of St. Mary's (1945)

Notorious (1946)

Arch of Triumph (1948)

Joan of Arc (1948)

Stromboli (1950)

Anastasia (1956)

Indiscreet (1958)

Cactus Flower (1969)- Goldie Hawn won an Oscar in this film

Murder on The Orient Express (1974)- won her 3rd Oscar

Autumn Sonata (1978)

A Woman Called Golda (1982)-TV movie. Won Emmy posthumously. Excellent movie about Golda Meir which I wish to watch again through adult eyes.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Girl's Week 2021

 


Dell on Movies has a great blog adventure going on this week. It is all about women and film and can be actresses, directors, costumers etc... It is a lot of fun learning about films out there with women as the main focus. Here is my next film...

HIGH SIERRA-1941 CO-STARRING IDA LUPINO (FEB. 4, 1918-AUG. 3, 1995)


This is a landmark film for Humphrey Bogart and John Huston who co-wrote the screenplay because Bogart usually played the heavy in most films or a second lead and Huston was finally able to direct a picture (turned out to be The Maltese Falcon). Not to be outdone is Ida Lupino who was riding high from her previous picture so was billed above Bogart (much to Bogie's chagrin). Bogart is asked by his former "boss' to do a final robbery which goes bad and sends him on the lam with the police and media in hot pursuit. He meets Marie (Lupino) and hooks up with her but shucks her aside because he doesn't want her to get hurt. He meets another gal, who has a club foot, and pays for her surgery, only to be discarded by this lass. Marie is true blue to the end with Roy Earle (Bogie) finally learning this. Bogart became a huge star with this film because he made the criminal sympathetic and Ida Lupino is strong and almost steals the scenes from Bogie (again, much to his chagrin) because she can convey so much with the time she has on the big screen. This is a classic film and one I will see again. To be honest, I wish I have seen more films with Ida Lupino because she always grabbed my attention. She did not get on well with Bogart who was often sarcastic with her on set and she refused to work with him again. 

Ida is not only known for her acting, in film and TV but she was a leading director, writer and producer. She directed many films in the late 40s and early 50s that were social causes especially about women dealing with such taboo subjects as rape and bigomy. Later, she directed many TV shows including one of my favourite episodes from "The Twilight Zone" called "The Masks"


This episode takes place during Mardi Gras where the selfish family of an elderly man come to see him hoping the old man will die so they can get a hold of his wealth. I recall seeing this when I was young and being enthralled with  the story. I watched it last year, again, and still had the same feeling. It is well acted but also well directed by Ida Lupino and this episode is considered one of Twilight Zone's best.

Ida Lupino comes from a Theatre/acting dynasty well known in England where she was born and raised. Her mom, Connie O'Shea, was an actress and famous tap dancer and her dad was Stanley Lupino, a major music hall sensation. Her uncle was famous and many other in the Lupino clan from the past were very famous. Many famous people from George Bernard Shaw to Noel Coward would frequent their home. Their home was always open to guests even when they served cocktails at 3 in the morning.

Ida contracted polio in 1934 but fully recovered. She made sure to always donate money to polio research. The film, "Never Fear" (1949) is loosely based on her life with polio. During the time she was convalescing, she wrote short stories, children's books and composed music. One of them, "Aladdin's Suite" was performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. She credits getting polio for having her find the impetus for intellectual pursuits rather than relying on her physical beauty. 

She also suffered with alopecia, this is a condition where all your hair falls out....everywhere. She felt it was due to dying her hair (not everywhere, she wasn't Jean Harlow) and using the old ways to style her hair that made it fall out. This occurred in the late 1930s so, afterwards, she had to rely on wigs (obviously).

She often fought with Warner Bros (she had to stand in line) for better roles since she kept getting roles that Bette Davis turned down. She called herself "the poor man's Bette Davis." She was often placed on suspension by the studio (many were)

With her second husband, Collier Young, they started a production company and she started to direct films and write or co-write them as well. 

The film called "Not Wanted" is directed by Ida even though you see Elmer Clifton as the director. Just before filming was to start, he suffered a heart attack so she stepped in and directed the picture. She asked for no screen credit so as not to take it away from Clifton but she was not part of the Directors Guild of America which also may have played a part. 

She began an affair with Howard Duff (an actor) before divorcing Young and her daughter, Bridget, was born 6 months later. As my dad used to say, "The first baby comes any time, the second one takes 9 months." This union lasted until 1984 when they officially divorced but they were well known for their legendary fights. Many reporters (before Paparazzi was coined-thank you Fellini) would follow them around to get juicy bits. One time, Ida Lupino and David Niven, came to, I think The Coconut Grove, for dinner. About 15 min. later Howard Duff was escorting David Niven's wife into the restaurant. When they saw each other, Duff bellowed to Niven to stand up and come to him. Niven did and after looking at each other, they gave each other a kiss on the lips and started dancing together! The reporters were quite disappointed but the Duffs and Nivens had a ball and proceeded to dine together. 

Later in life, Howard Duff left Ida in the early 70s and her only child, Bridget, would not speak with her (no idea why). She did act in tv shows but no longer directed. She became reclusive and an alcoholic. Thankfully, she did meet someone who helped her get her bills sorted out as well as her mansion and her daughter came back near the end of Ida's life. 

I have to see more of her films one day both as an actress and as a director.

Films she acted in:

Peter Ibbetson (1935)

The Adventures of Shelock Holmes (1939)

They Drive By Night (1940)- her break-out role

The Sea Wolf (1941)

Out Of The Fog (1941)

The Hard Way (1943)

Beware, My Lovely (1952)

The Bigamist (1953)-She directed this one too.

Women's Prison (1955)

As Director:

Not Wanted (1949) not credited as director. Co-wrote screenplay. Producer

Never Fear (1950) - wrote the screenplay too. Also Producer

Outrage (1950) - wrote screenplay

Hard, Fast & Beautiful (1951)

The Hitch-Hiker (1953) - wrote screen play. This is a must see for me-First woman director to film a Noir picture

The Bigamist (1953) - She also starred in this.

I also love that she directed 3 Gilligan Island episodes (I think she was not fond of this type of directing) with 2 as my favourites-"Wrongway Feldman" starring Hans Conried as a famous but lost pilot who keeps going the wrong way. The other is "The Producer" starring Phil Silvers as an egomaniac film director giving the castaways the need to put on a musical Hamlet. 

Thursday Movie Picks: TV Edition- Mysteries

 


Every day is a bit better and Friday I see my Doctor to get my results from the biopsy and to see how I am doing. You can look at my next post which is all about Girl's Week too...if you want :) Wandering Through The Shelves picked a biggie this week because it's all about TV mystery shows and I narrowed it down to not choosing cop or PI shows. I know my mom loved all of these shows. I hope she brings this back next year. Also, are you just as gob-smacked (Love that word) as me that it is the end of November!? OK, here are my 4 picks because, I lied and chose one cop show.

1. QUINCY, M. E. -1976-1983


Jack Klugman stars as a Forensic Pathologist (medical examiner) who must look at all the dead bodies brought into his lab. He talks to the cops, often at odds with him, that it is not an accident or suicide but possible murder. The inept cops bellow as Quincy goes to crime scenes, talks to suspects etc.. you know, doing their job and he is not doing his but all is ok because he has trusty Kato..oops...I mean, Sam Fujiyama (played by the wonderful Robert Ito), to hold down the fort as he goes looking for more clues. This is actually a fun show well acted by the cast and is a precursor to all the CSI shows that came on much, much later. 

2. MURDER, SHE WROTE-1984-1996


Tell me, if you saw Angela Lansbury coming towards you would you run in the other direction? She played Jessica Fletcher for 12 seasons (and a few TV movies afterwards) as a mystery writer for a penchant in solving real crimes. That little town of Cabot Cove is the murder capital of the world since anywhere Jessica goes a murder is sure to follow. She could always deduce who the killer was by finding the right details and having an excellent memory. Many detectives and cops would, initially, be bothered by her meddling ways (no relation to Scooby-Doo) but they would always ask her for help near the end or, at least, be willing to listen. This was such an excellent show that it was still in top form when it got abruptly cancelled angering Angela Lansbury, quite rightly, for the network wanting to go more youthful. Actually, Angela Lansbury helped many old actors and actresses by giving them parts on her show when they could not find work including many people who worked behind the scenes. James Coburn, after he got Rheumatoid Arthritis and could not find work, after he "got better" (he went totally naturalpathic and stated it helped more than any drugs the doctors gave him). Angela gave him a part in one of her shows and this revitalized his career where he won an Oscar later on. He never forgot what she did for him as well as many others. Angela is still working at 96 years old.

3. MATLOCK-1986-1995


My mom loved this show because she loved courtroom dramas. I actually think this show was somewhat based on the short-lived, but acclaimed, Jimmy Stewart TV Show called Hawkins. Andy Griffith, without an Opie anywhere, plays Ben Matlock an expensive defence attorney who loves hot dogs and wears the same old suit. He is ably supported by his daughter (in the first season) and a PI who works for Matlock. He is hired, sometimes he gets the money, often he works for pro-bono or a much less rate, for a person falsely accused of murder. He sets about getting the evidence needed to help find reasonable doubt with the jury. It usually ends up that he secures the real killer while he is cross examining the culprit. If only it would be this easy. This is an enjoyable show with Griffith clearly the star shining as the folksy country lawyer. Later on, Don Knotts shows up and becomes a semi regular which is fun because those 2 worked so well together from the Andy Griffth Show to this one.

OK...Here I broke my rule and am showcasing a cop show that I love...

4. UNFORGOTTEN-2015-PRESENT


This is an amazing British TV show starring Nicola Walker as the head detective who gets called in for "bodies" that get turned up. Her right hand man is played by Sanjeev Bhaskar, a wonderful actor who knows, instinctively, what his boss needs. Her team start investigating by first trying to find out who the person was. We also meet the 3 or 4 suspects as they go about their daily lives. There are only about 6 episodes, per season, which sucks because I always want more! You find out the lives of each suspect and they are well rounded people with lives but are haunted by their past and all are, somehow, connected. You also learn about the head detective, her son and her dad plus the growing strain the job has on her. Let me tell you, it leaves you riveted and the third season still gives me chills.

Which TV mystery come to your mind? 

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Girl Week 2021

 


I have a double whammy today with this post and my music post but this happens few and far between. Dell on Movies has a great blog week showcasing women and film. You can choose an actress, director, producer, writer etc... who have been great with a film. Here is my next choice...


THE THIN MAN-1934 WITH MYRNA LOY (AUG. 2, 1905-DEC. 14, 1993)

The Thin Man was almost the start ( They made one film prior to this one)of a beautiful relationship (on screen) with William Powell. They made 14 pictures together and 5 as Nick and Nora Charles, the sleuthing married couple where he married a gal with money and she married a man who is an expert sleuth and she is no slouch either. He also loves his drinks and she can match him even if she ends up on the floor. To make everything perfect, they own a great dog, named Asta (actually, Skippy was his real name), who often stole many scenes and became a star himself.

This film, that started it all, has Nick and Nora trying to figure out what happened to Nick's old client from his P.I. days. Soon bodies start piling up just like the drinks and who can blame them because a good stiff drink is often what is needed. Woody, "One Take" S. Dyke was the director who felt the first take was often the best so the actors had to keep on their toes with him and this helped the speed of this film. This film finally broke Myrna out of her typecast roles as some Oriental or Eurasion vamp. Myrna and William bantered back and forth just like a regular couple and they played their roles to the hilt. Myrna was excellent as an heiress who can match any man while wearing something beautiful. This film is worth a look for sure.

She was voted the Queen of Hollywood alongside Clark Gable who was voted The King. 

She was often cast as vampish Orientals or Eurasian natives because of her eyes and high cheekbones but her ancestry is English, Scottish and Swedish.

She was later always considered the quintessential lady/wife in her films(post Vamp) matched 14 times with William Powell, 5 of them were Thin Man films.

She was married 4 times and rumoured to have had an affair with Spencer Tracy (who didn't?) in the mid 30s. Poor gal didn't have much luck with men..one of her husbands was the founder of Hertz rent-a-car. 

Gangster John Dillinger, a big fan of Myrna Loy, came out of hiding to see "Manhattan Melodrama" (1934) and was shot to death outside the theatre in Chicago by the police.

She modeled for the figure "Inspiration" for the Fountain of Education at Venice High School in Los Angeles. Over the years, the elements and much vandalism resulted in a fence being erected and the actual sculpture being removed and a duplicate bronze one installed. I don't know what they did with the original.

She served tirelessly for the Red Cross during World War 2 and was a member at large for the U. S. Commission  to UNESCO. She openly spoke against Hitler (this was frowned upon by the studio as they never wanted their stars to be political for fear of losing money) which resulted in her films being banned from Germany and ended up on Hitler's black list. I bet she considered that an honour. She was an avid democrat speaking for FDR and, later, JFK and was an open spokesperson for Civil Rights. She really hated how African Americans were treated and shown in the cinemas. "Why does every black person in the movies have to play a servant? How about a black person walking up the steps of a courthouse carrying a briefcase?"

Other notable films..

THE MASK OF FU MANCHU (1932)- played a really nasty vamp who gets her sexual thrills from torturing poor men.

WIFE VS. SECRETARY (1936)

LIBELLED LADY (1936)

THE GREAT ZIEGFELD (1936)- She played Billie Burke who played Glinda in "The Wizard of Oz."

AFTER THE THIN MAN (1936)

THE RAINS CAME (1939)

THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946) - This was her favourite film

MR. BLANDINGS BUILDS HIS DREAM HOME (1948)

CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN (1950)

THE END (1978)

SUMMER SOLSTICE (1978)- Her last film role with Henry Fonda, also his last, even though it is a TV film.

Let's be Musical

 


Here is my cutie, Wallace, sleeping away with his tongue out. I had to post this because he always seems to diss my brother. My brother has tried, all these years, to have Wallace come to him but...nope, my mentally challenged dog still has a roadblock when it comes to my brother. Why am I mentioning my brother? Well, he is a dynamo when it comes to most music and has an extensive record, yes, record collection. He  has a true love of blues but also classic Rock, Jazz etc... He is not into Classical and Broadway/Musical pieces like me but he has an appreciation for them.  I asked him which 3 songs truly resonated with him when he was a teen and he gave me his 3...

1. STILL RAINING, STILL DREAMING BY JIMI HENDRIX-1968


Back, many moons ago, when my brother got his driver's license, I could ride with him to our high school (which I hated-that school was horrible for all the bullying). He would drive, I think it was his 1976 Astre (which I later inherited) to Welland, pick up his friend, before we headed to that school. All this ABBA loving gal remembered was listening to Jimi Hendrix whether it be Foxy Lady, Joe or his version of the National Anthem. I tried to think up songs from musicals, ABBA, ELO or classical but Jimi drowned it out. I have to say, I now have a deep appreciation for Hendrix and his music and enjoy listening to some of his songs. My brother said this is a song that deeply resonated with him. 

2. IN THE HALL OF THE CRIMSON KING BY KING CRIMSON-1969


This is one song and album that I loved listening to from the get go because you can hear the influence of classical plus it sounds dream like, not unlike the Moody Blues..to me that is. My brother mentioned this song first to me which was surprising because I thought it would be Jimi. I remember him showing the album cover to my parents and my mom giving the shocked "Aghh" sound. He also showed the album to our Uncle Harry and Tante Marlene who were snobs, living in the Ann Arbor Hills and only loving Classical. I just recall my Aunt looking at the album giving  "Mmms" alot but don't recall much else. I wondered why he showed this to them since I knew they would not like it at all, shock value I am guessing. Their loss.

3. HOW COULD SHE LEAVE ME BY THE SON SEALS BLUES BAND-1973


I never heard of this song but my brother did, of course, and early making quite a mark on him. Now the words and music resonate even more since we all have lived a lifetime. 


I hope my brother reads this and can add to what I have written because i know he can add so much more. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Girl Week 2021

 


The whole week, I will be discussing movies where gals hold the fort in one form or another. Dell on Movies is hosting this blogfest and I am going to enjoy this plus it is getting me up and sitting at the actual computer which is good to do. I promise when I feel the burn, I will have a rest. Who will I showcase today and which film?

NOTHING SACRED-1937 STARRING CAROLE LOMBARD (OCT. 6, 1908-JAN. 16. 1942)


The great Carole Lombard starred in her only technicolour film as a woman who thinks she is dying from Radium poisoning. She is given money etc, from the townsfolk but she finds out the doctor made a boo-boo and she is perfectly healthy. She just wants to go to New York City so bad and the money would get her there. Enter Frederic March as a reporter trying to recoup his name by taking her to the Big Apple for free. She willingly obliges..um...not telling him that she is perfectly healthy. Let's just say things get out of hand and we can go from there. Lombard played this part of a not so nice person with a charm that makes you root for her. This is not an easy feat since she is ripping off many people, maybe not of their cash but of their empathy. It is a gem of a film and one of the first dark comedies, to be honest, but an excellent one.

Carole Lombard may not be that well known today but she was a huge star, married to the King of Hollywood, Clark Gable before she died, tragically, in a plane crash. She was selling War Bonds and her mom was with her when Carole wanted to get home faster so she could see her husband. Her mom and Gable's press agent were fearful of flying so they flipped a coin..and Lombard won. If not for the coin toss, they may have taken that train. Gable was beyond devastated and men had to hold him back from going up the mountain to see her. He quickly joined the war(after one more film) and was a gunner in 5 combat missions. I do believe he truly never recovered from her death but he did keep on living.

Carole was married once before to William Powell, another major star, divorcing just shy of 2 years. The nice thing is they remained friends for the rest of her life. Carole was known to be a great friend, not just with actors, but with everyone on set from the cameramen to the grips. She was involved and was going to marry Russ Columbo when he died(accidental shooting) in 1934. His siblings and Carole decided to keep the news from his mom who was in the hospital recovering from a serious heart attack. Writing letters, as if he were on the road and replaying old radio bits of him, they kept this up until the mom died in 1944, 2 years after Carole died. 

In the late 20s, her boyfriend at the time, was driving his car when he lost control and she was badly injured. The windshield shattered and scarred her face requiring more than one surgery. Later, knowing lighting and how to wear make up well, she could hide the scar. She could dress to the nines but go out hunting with the boys later. A well rounded dame! 

Carole was known to have a foul mouth (I knew I loved her) and could swear like a sailor often surprising her co-stars but, as Jimmy Stewart would say, she did it with such nonchalance that it seemed perfectly normal and she was still a lady (I am paraphrasing).

Carole also loved to laugh and loved practical jokes. When making this film, "Nothing Sacred", she knew what a huge womanizer Frederic March was (he would be out on his ear today) even though he was married (never stops these boys). He was trying to get to second base with Carole who was quite prepared to stop him in his tracks and did because when he felt the dildo she strapped on, he freaked out and ran out of the room and never bothered her again. Another instance, which I talked about in a previous post, was when she overheard Hitchcock saying that actors are like cattle. When he came to the set the next day he was greeted with cows! 

A great lady who left us too soon.

Other movies she made:

No Man Of Her Own (1932)-only film she starred in with Clark Gable

Bolero (1934)

Twentieth Century (1934)

My Man Godfrey (1936)- stars with ex William Powell

Made For Each Other (1939)

To Be Or Not To Be (1942)

Monday, November 22, 2021

Girl Week 2021

 


I am going to attempt to write each day for a full week about Ladies... films that starred women, directed, written, anything where women were prominent in the making of the film. This Girl Week is hosted by Dell On Movies, another mad movie nut whom you should take a look at because he has seen some fun films especially the bad ass gals from the 60s and 70s like Pamela Grier.  Here is my first  entry...

WAY DOWN EAST-1920-STARRING LILLIAN GISH(OCT. 14, 1893-FEB. 27, 1993)


The great Lillian Gish stars in a melodrama, directed by D.W. Griffith, about an innocent, naive woman who is duped by an a-hole into believing they get married. He knocks her up before revealing it was all a sham and leaving her to deal with the townsfolk and her family. She has the baby but, the baby dies and, disgraced, she leaves town and ends up at the steps of a lovely family with a very nice young man, played by Richard Barthelmess. The climatic scene took place in a real blizzard where the cameraman, Billy Bitzer, made a small fire under his camera so it would not freeze. Lillian's face was frozen from the winds and, when she ended up on the ice flow, she decided to have her hair and hand in the frigid waters. Afterward, part of her hair literally broke off and her hand suffered nerve damage and gave her pain for the rest of her life. 

Lillian was one of the first actresses to be known by name (the first was Florence Lawrence) starting in 1912. She became a stock actress with D. W. Griffith working in his films for many years and spoke highly of him until her dying day. She believed the Silent Cinema was the best form since everyone around the world could enjoy the films and not be hindered by the language barrier. She was also  strong in her belief to not enter World War 2 since she saw the horrors of World War 1 first hand.  

Lillian and her sister, Dorothy, opened their home to young actresses who came to Hollywood hoping for a career, and made sure they were taken care of. The home is now an exclusive hotel (I think the hotel built on from pictures I looked at). Lillian fell out of favour in the mid to late 20s, so she returned to the stage and received many accolades before returning to film in the mid 40s. 

She looked quite waif-like but was made of sturdy stock surviving the flu from 1918 (50 million died), going above and beyond in her films, if she thought it would give a greater effect. She learned French, German and Italian when she lived, for a time, in Europe. Showed John Huston and Burt Lancaster up, who were going to teach her how to shoot, when she shot more accurately and faster then them because she was taught how to shoot by the western outlaw Al J. Jennings. 

In 1976, the Bowling Green State University named their Theatre and Film Department after Lillian and Dorothy Gish(she was an actress as well) and Lillian attended. Over the years, they received memorabilia and photos to be displayed plus they received donations from her friends and associates to enlarge it. Unfortunately, in 2019, the Black Student Union called to have her name taken off because of her involvement in the horrible film, "The Birth Of A Nation." Her name was taken off of it which is a shame. Over 50 famous people from Helen Mirren, James Earl Jones to Martin Scorsese signed a petition to have her name reinstated. I would have signed this as well. Gish's other worthy films of notes:

Broken Blossoms-1919 (also quite racist but take it for the times)

Orphans Of The Storm-1921 (stars her sister, Dorothy, as well)

The White Sister-1923

The Scarlet Letter-1926

La Boheme-1926

The Wind-1928

Duel In The Sun-1946

The Night Of The Hunter-1955

The Whales of August-1987

I abhor that film (The Birth Of A Nation) from the moment I saw it and do believe her reverence for Griffith is rose coloured to say the least, but her acting and what she gave to the world should never be diminished. The memorabilia did show pictures from this film but I think it should still be shown, but have it put in place by African American scholars, film makers etc who can shed the horrors of what this film did to resurrect the evil and vile KKK. I love this actress but I don't agree with everything she stated and I hate censorship. One must learn from history so it has a tougher time to repeat itself. Just a thought...

By the way, the early times of Cinema up until the later 1920s, had a huge amount of women in front and behind the camera. Check out Alice Guy, a director (great documentary I watched called "Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blanche" narrated by Jodie Foster. Lois Weber(starred, directed and wrote her films), Lotte Reiniger an animator who developed the multi-planed camera that Disney took and further developed it for his works. Writers were plenty like Anita Loos, Frances Marion, June Mathis and even a producer, African-American, named Maria P. Williams-an amazing lady!

Sorry for the lengthy post:)


 


Thursday, November 18, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks- Book Adaptations

 


Wandering Through The Shelves has chosen book adaptations as the theme this week and it is another big one because Hollywood loves to make movies from books. Almost every time, the book is better and people are disappointed when they see the film. I always say, watch the movie first then you won’t be as disappointed:). Anyhoo, here are my 3...

1. THE GRAPES OF WRATH- 1940


If you haven’t seen the film you probably have seen the clip of Henry Fonda saying “He’ll be there” and is considered one of his finest performances where James Stewart, who won the Oscar that year, voted for his best friend rather than himself. The book is written by John Steinbeck about the Great Depression and how many farmers had to leave their home to look for work because of the Depression and the Dust Bowl that hit many states. We follow this family with the heart of it ruled by Ma, played by Jane Darwell. Her eldest, Henry Fonda, just got out of prison, and helps his family get to California and works for a pittance on the fruit farms. This movie is actually quite good as is the book but neither are uplifting but one should see this at least once.

2. DR. JEKYLL & MR. HYDE-1941

There are many versions of this story with even the fun flick, “Dr. Jekyll & Sister Hyde” being part of this, but this film, that stars Spencer Tracy in the lead, is not considered a great rendition. The more famous one is the earlier version starring Frederic March, back in 1932,  but I still have to see this version. This story, written byRobert Louis Stevenson, never had a “barmaid”( think  prostitute) or a fiancĂ©  but it doesn’t distract one from the  film version and I always had a soft spot for this film. Ingrid Bergman and Lana Turner switched roles because Bergman was getting sick of  playing goody two shoes so she got the slutty barmaid and Turner was the wholesome( HA!)  fiancĂ©. I thought Tracy was ok if a bit hammy but I really liked Bergman who still played the slut in a wholesome way.

3. GREEN MANSIONS- 1959

Audrey Hepburn played the lead role of Rima the forest girl in the jungles of the Amazon who heals a young man, played, sadly, by Anthony Perkins, from a snakebite. He learns  how a tribe wants to kill her but she is gentle, naive and one with nature. The film has its flaws, like Perkins and it does not compare to the book, written by William Henry Hudson, which has a fairy tale allure that is very hard to show in a film. You may have seen pics of Hepburn with a fawn in her home because the fawn was used in the movie and her director/husband wanted the animal to be comfortable with her. See the movie first, then read the book otherwise you will be disappointed like I was.


Which films would you pick?