Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!!!

Here is a movie clip from "Holiday Inn" to bring in the new year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Don Ameche: A Life-Long Legacy

Within the last couple of years I have turned into a huge Don Ameche fan! A few posts back I listed my top 10 favorite actors, and I really should have listed Don Ameche among the others. As I wrote in that post my list changes from time to time.

Don Ameche was born May 31, 1908, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He became a popular radio personality in the 1930's in Chicago, then quickly was offered a film contract with 20th Century Fox. His first couple of films were uncredited in 1935, but it did not take long for him to become a star.

One of his most famous roles was the title character in "The Story of Alexander Graham Bell" (1939). He also did a popular teaming with Tyrone Power and Alice Faye in "In Old Chicago" (1937) and "Alexander's Ragtime Band"(1938). Don Ameche made many other films with costars such as Betty Grable, Gene Tierney, and Claudette Colbert.

His popularity in film seemed to dim into the 1950's, he then turned to television. There, he worked of and on for many years until he was virtually forgotten. In 1983 he was offered a part along side Ralph Bellamy in "Trading Places". His career once again took off!

In 1985 he played in "Cocoon" and received the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award. He continued to work in film until his death on December 6, 1993. His last film "Corrina, Corrina" actually came out in 1994.

I watched "Cocoon" just recently and really enjoyed seeing him in his twilight years. He had such a recognizable voice that did not change with age. I have always enjoyed hearing him sing in the musicals he appeared in too! I know that I put a lot of movie clips on this blog, but I figure that since I blog about classic film and it's stars I may as well show them in action! Tonight I've included a wonderful video tribute to Don Ameche, enjoy!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Classic Film for Christmas

I thought that I would share with you the classic movie related items that I received as gifts for Christmas! I had a wonderful day with my family, but honestly I am just like a kid when it comes to opening presents in the morning.

First of all I received the book "Bette Davis: Larger than Life" by Richard Schickel & George Perry. This is a beautiful large hard cover book published my Running Press, who also published the books "Lana: The Memories, the Myths, the Movies" and "Lucy at the Movies". I wrote a post on these books a few months ago, you can read it here. I LOVE these books!!! They are perfect books as far as I'm concerned. All of them have many glorious black and white, and color pictures.
Second, I got the DVD set "TCM Spotlight: Esther Williams, Vol. 2". I bought the first Esther Williams set a while back and enjoy each of those films, so I just had to get the second one right!?! I have not seen any of the films in this collection as of yet, but plan to start any day now.

Finally, I got "The Claudette Colbert Collection". I posted of this set a while back, you can read that here. Claudette Colbert is one of my favorite actresses, and I was so excited when I first learned of this box set. I have already watched two of these films since Christmas.

Did any of you receive any classic movie related gifts? If so leave a comment, I would love to hear of them!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas. Tonight I am posting a clip from "White Christmas" (1954). This is probably the most recognizable Christmas movie clip of all time. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cary Grant Decorates a Tree

Here is a fun little clip from the movie "The Bishop's Wife"(1947). This is such a wonderful classic Christmas movie in which Cary Grant plays Dudly, an angel sent to help a bishop (David Niven) and his wife (Loretta Young). Enjoy!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Poll Results: Favorite Christmas Film?

I don't think that anyone will really be surprised at which movie won this poll. So, without any delay, the winner is "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946). I know you're probably all shocked at the result!

"It's a Wonderful Life" actually started out as a Christmas card in 1943. It was written by Phillip Van Doren Stern in 1943, and sent out to all of his friends and family. The title of this card was "The Greatest Gift".

RKO found the card and bought it for $10,000. The studio originally wanted Cary Grant to star in a film based on the story. The writers worked on three different scripts for the film, but in the end they were shelved. This left the story open for purchase for other studios.

Frank Capra saw potential for a great film and bought the rights and the three scripts for the same $10,000. He took bits and pieces from each script and started to create his own unique screenplay. He added such characters as Mr. Potter, and molded the story into the film we know today. It is said that "It's a Wonderful Life" was Capra's favorite film.

James Stewart was the first choice for the film. Can any of us really see anyone else playing George Bailey? It was his first role after serving in the Army in WWII.

"It's a Wonderful Life" is my favorite Christmas film. In this poll it won with 50% of the vote. "White Christmas" (1954) came in second with 31%. The rest of the week I am just planning to post some Christmas movie clips. I'm sorry that I haven't been posting regularly. I've been pretty busy lately, and have been sick. After Christmas I plan to start posting a bit more often. Also, please take a moment to vote on my current poll. Other than OZ, which is your favorite Judy Garland film?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sonja Henie: The Norwegian Ice Champian

I absolutely LOVE Tyrone Power, and I love watching his movies! Tyrone Power made a couple of movies with Sonja Henie. After watching these, I had to get some more of her films. Even though Tyrone Power is the reason I started watching her movies, my first Sonja Henie movie I watched a couple of months ago was Sun Valley Serenade, a non Tyrone film. You can read my review of this film here.

Sonja Henie was born April 8, 1912 in Oslo, Norway. She became the Norwegian Skating Champion at the age of 14. She won her first Olympic gold medal in 1928 when she was 15, and went on to win two more gold medals in 1932 and 1936. She also won ten World Championships!

Sonja Henie followed this success with going professional, and signed a film contract with 20th Century Fox. Her first movie was in 1937 when she made "One in a Million". She shot to stardom and made another ten movies during her Hollywood career. During this time she also starred and produced many Hollywood Ice Reviews.

Sonja Henie became an American Citizen in 1941, but eventually moved back to her home country of Norway. She continued to perform and produce until she retired in 1960. In 1961, she died of Leukemia. She and her third husband are buried overlooking the Henie-Onstad Art Center near Oslo, a museum holding a great collection of modern art owned by the couple.

Each of the Sonja Henie movies that I have seen have been delightful. They do not have a complex plot and are very predictable, but sometime these movies can be the best to watch. Each film is quite entertaining, and Sonja Henie skates throughout the films. She really was not the best actress in the world. I don't think anyone ever thought she was, but her screen presence and style of skating is so enjoyable! Below is a clip from her first film "One in a Million" (1937).

Thursday, November 26, 2009

My Favorite Silent Actor & Actress Pt. 2

The list of silent movies that I have seen is relatively short. I really enjoy watching them, especially those that were the big hits of their day. The silent stars are fascinating to watch as well. Most did very good acting on screen. They really had to use their eyes, since there was no sound to emphasize emotion with their tone of voice.

Clara Bow is my favorite silent actress. On of the reasons is because of how she used her eyes. I believe that those silent movie actors who had darker eyes looked much better on screen. Clara Bow had those dark, very emotional eyes.

She started her career when she won a contest in a movie magazine. The film that she won a part for has since been lost. After that, she escaped a horrible home life to begin her work in movies.

There were several small supporting roles, and then she played her first flapper role in "The Plastic Age" (1925). Clara Bow, the jazz age flapper was born. Stardom came when she starred in 1927's "It". She plays a shop girl intent on winning her boss, played by Antonio Moreno.

Little did she know that sound films were right around the corner. She still did very well in sound films, but her fear of the microphone drove her out of the movies. Her final film was in 1933's "Hoopla".

Clara Bow married actor Rex Bell and retired to Nevada. They had two sons, and remained together until his death in 1962. She had some personal problems and mental illness for years due to traumatic experiences in her childhood. Clara Bow died of a heart attack in her home at the age of 60 on September 26, 1965.

I have loved each of the Clara Bow movies that I have seen. She put so much energy into each role. Please watch one of her movies soon if you have not seen one. Clara Bow was fabulous! Below is a wonderful video with several clips from her most popular film "It".

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My Favorite Silent Actor & Actress Pt. 1

I recently posted my favorite actors and actresses. There were no silent actors on the list because I thought that they should have a separate post all together. Today I will tell you my favorite silent actor, and later on in the week my favorite actress.

Rudolph Valentino is my favorite silent film actor. I first saw a Valentino movie a few years ago, it was "The Eagle" (1925). I was so excited to finally see a Rudolph Valentino movie! Since then, I have seen several more. I admit he was not the greatest actor in the world, but he was wonderful to watch.

Valentino began in movies in 1918, the film was "A Society Sensation". But his first eye catching part wasn't until 1921, when he starred in "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse." It is in this movie that he debuted his famous tango. Later, he went on to star in "The Sheik", "Blood and Sand", "The Eagle", and his last film "Son of the Sheik".

It was while publicizing "Son of the Sheik" in New York, that he became ill with a perforated ulcer. Valentino died in surgery on August 23, 1926. He was 31 years old. Mourners were hysterical, and some were said to have committed suicide. His body was brought back to Hollywood where he was interred at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

Rudolph Valentino had that screen presence that attracted millions of fans. It is so wonderful to see him today, eighty plus years later! Below is a clip from "Son of the Sheik" costarring Vilma Banky. I hope you stay to watch it!

Watch for my post later this week to see who my favorite silent actress is! Do you think that you can guess who it is? Leave a comment if you would like to guess. I'd love to hear who you come up with!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Poll Results: The Best Actress for Clark Gable.

Clark Gable was (and still is) the King of Hollywood. He paired up with many of Hollywood's leading actresses including the Queen of Hollywood, Myrna Loy. I was very interested who you would choose as the best actress paired with Clark Gable. My personal favorite is Jean Harlow. They did so many wonderful films together, and played so well opposite each other. Vivien Leigh is obviously a great choice for their pairing in "Gone with the Wind". Myrna Loy and Joan Crawford were good choices too, as was Carole Lombard. I don't know how, but I forgot to add Claudette Colbert to the list, what was I thinking! So, who was voted Clark Gable's best leading lady? Vivien Leigh is the winner tonight!

Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh are such a wonderful pair in "Gone with the Wind". I don't believe that anyone could ever choose a better actor or actress to play Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara! They teamed up so well in this film.

Clark Gable was the first choice of movie fans to play Rhett Butler. So really, it made David O. Selznick's decision pretty easy. To make sure that he got Gable, Selznick gave the distribution rights over to MGM. It was a great deal for both Selznick and MGM.

The hunt for Scarlet O'Hara was movie making history. Just about every actress in Hollywood wanted that part. Down to the end it looked like maybe Paulette Goddard was going to be the one to win . But in the end, Myron Selznick (David's brother) who was an agent, brought in Vivien Leigh. The rest is history.

A beautiful couple for a wonderful movie. "Gone with the Wind" is one of my all time favorite films. Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh are two of the reasons that it's a favorite. I've been wanting to watch it again for a while, maybe I'll get a chance to this week. I hope so!

Don't forget to select your favorite Christmas movie in my current poll! The poll ends on December 20, and the results will be posted on the 21st.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Gene Tierney!

Gene Tierney is one of my favorite actresses and played in some of my favorite films. Today would have been her 89th birthday. She was born in Brooklyn, New York on November 19th 1920. IMDB says that she was born on the 20th. But books and everywhere else on the web, including her official web site, lists her birthday as the 19th. So I'll be safe and post this on the 19th too!

One of her best known films is of course "Laura", made in 1944. In this film she plays a woman murdered in her home, and Dana Andrews is the detective trying to solve the mystery.

In 1945 Gene starred in "Leave Her to Heaven". She plays Ellen Berent, a very possessive, jealous, and overbearing woman who goes to great lengths to keep her husband (Cornel Wilde) only to herself. Gene Tierney was nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award for her work in this film, but lost to Joan Crawford for "Mildred Pierce".

If you aren't already familiar with Gene Tierney, start by watching these two films. You will not be disappointed! Let's all take time today, or this week, to watch a Gene Tierney film! Here is a movie clip from "Leave Her to Heaven", enjoy!

Monday, November 16, 2009

My Top Ten Actors and Actresses

A while back I posted on my favorite dramas, comedies, and musicals. I now realize that I have not listed my favorite actors and actresses yet on my blog! So today I am listing my top ten favorite actors, and top ten favorite actresses. Along with the names of my favorites, I am adding my two favorite films of this particular actor/actress (it's so hard just to pick one). My list of favorites might change from time to time, but most of them will always be on the list. Here you go!


1. Tyrone Power

-"The Mark of Zorro" (1940)
-"Alexander's Ragtime Band" (1938)

2. Clark Gable

-"Gone with the Wind" (1939)
-"It Happened One Night" (1934)

3. Cary Grant

-"The Awful Truth" (1937)
-"The Philadelphia Story" (1940)

4. William Powell

-"The Thin Man" (1934)
-"My Man Godfrey" (1936)

5. Fred Astaire

-"Top Hat" (1935)
-"Easter Parade" (1948)

6. Errol Flynn

-"The Adventures of Robin Hood" (1938)
-"Captain Blood" (1935)

7. James Stewart

-"Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" (1939)
-"It's a Wonderful Life" (1946)

8. Claude Rains

-"Casablanca" (1942)
-"Mr. Skeffington" (1944)

9. Franchot Tone

-"Sadie McKee" (1934)
-"The Girl from Missouri" (1934)

10. James Cagney

-"Public Enemy" (1931)
-"Footlight Parade" (1933)


1. Jean Harlow

-"Libeled Lady" (1936)
-"Dinner at Eight" (1933)

2. Claudette Colbert

-"Midnight" (1939)
-"It Happened One Night" (1934)

3. Myrna Loy

-"The Thin Man" (1934)
-"Wife Vs. Secretary" (1936)

4. Norma Shearer

-"The Divorcee" (1930)
-"The Women" (1939)

5. Carole Lombard

-"No Man of Her Own" (1932)
-"My Man Godfrey" (1936)

6. Loretta Young

-"Second Honeymoon" (1937)
-"The Bishop's Wife" (1947)

7. Betty Grable

-"Mother Wore Tights" (1947)
-"Moon Over Miami" (1941)

8. Gene Tierney

-"Laura" (1944)
-"Leave Her to Heaven" (1945)

9. Bette Davis

-"Now, Voyager" (1942)
-"Jezebel" (1938)

10. Greta Garbo

-"Grand Hotel" (1932)
-"Camille" (1936)

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Very Young Linda Darnell

I watched "Day-Time Wife" this week, starring Tyrone Power and Linda Darnell. If you've seen my earlier posts, you'd know that I LOVE Tyrone Power!!!

I have seen this movie a few times before (It is in the Tyrone Power Matinee Idol Collection), but never really thought about how old Linda Darnell was at the time of its filming. I haven't seen very many Linda Darnell films, but she is very good and very beautiful in this film. The night after I watched "Day-Time Wife", I watched the A&E Linda Darnell biography. I learned that she started working in movie at 15 years of age, and was still 15 while filming "Day-Time Wife"! Wow!!! What's funny is that she plays Tyrone Power's wife of two years. Linda Darnell does not look 15 in this film, although she looks young.
It's amazing how the studios started out some actresses at such a young age. Today, 15 year-olds in movies look 15. I guess it's just how the women carried themselves back then that makes the difference. Anyway, I just thought that this was an interesting fact about Linda Darnell. I am really starting to become a great fan!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Grand Hotel's Hollywood Premier

I just had to post this video! This is the actual premier of "Grand Hotel" in 1932. I love this so much! This video is on the "Grand Hotel" DVD, and I watch it regularly. There are so many stars in this, way too many to list. How exciting it would have been to attend this and the many other premiers back then! Take a look, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! I apologize for the subtitles, I couldn't find a clip without them.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Pre-Code Hollywood Collection

Last week I watched The Pre-Code Hollywood Collection. This collection includes six pre-code films, and a short documentary called "Forbidden Film: The Production Code Era". I have been interested in this collection since it's release to DVD this past spring. I own all three of the Forbidden Hollywood collections put out by Warner Bros. I guess Universal got the hint that there is a market out there for the pre-code films, so they released their version. Each of the films in this collection were made my Paramount.

The six movie they included in this set were very entertaining. The films included are...(summaries taken from the back of the box)

The Cheat (1931) A compulsive gambler (Tallulah Bankhead) will do anything to pay off her debt - including turning to a wealthy businessman behind her husband's back.

Merrily We Go to Hell (1932) An abusive alcoholic (Fredric March) reunites with a woman from his past and drives his wife (Sylvia Sidney) to drastic measures.

Hot Saturday (1932) Scandal erupts after a young woman (Nancy Carroll) innocently spends the night with a notorious playboy (Cary Grant) and neglects to tell her fiance' (Randolph Scott).

Torch Singer (1933) After giving up her illegitimate child for adoption, a notorious nightclub singer (Claudette Colbert) attempts to find her daughter through a children's radio show.

Murder at the Vanities (1934) While sexy musical revue "The Vanities" captivates an audience on its opening night, a murder investigation takes place backstage. Included in this film is a song called "Marijuana", too funny!

Search for Beauty (1934) Olympic swimming champions (Buster Crabbe and Ida Lupino) are tricked into endorsing a racy magazine - and much worse.

I was quite disappointed with the documentary though. It wasn't very long, and there wasn't really a lot of information about the different pre-code movies. They told a brief history of the production code, but nothing very entertaining. The best bet for a good documentary is in the Forbidden Hollywood Collection Volume 2 set. "Thou Shalt Not: Sex, Sin and Censorship in Pre-Code Hollywood" was a longer film, with many movie clips.

I would have to say that this set is definitely worth buying. Pre-code movies are so much fun to watch. They were quite scandalous in their day, but nothing compared to the movies made today. I guess that I should do an overview of the Forbidden Hollywood sets one of these days too!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Which Is Your Favorite Monster? Poll Results.

Tonight we find out which movie monster was voted the best. I really wasn't sure how this poll would end, but I was quite surprised by the results. The winner is....well, it was a tie! The Invisible Man and Frankenstein tied for first place! They each got 37% of the votes, with Dracula coming in behind them with 27%. Not one person voted for The Mummy or The Wolfman.

"The Invisible Man" was made in 1933, and was directed by James Whale. It was based on the classic book of the same name by H.G. Wells. I haven't read the book yet, but I plan to in the near future. I've heard that it's wonderful! Claude Rains as the Invisible Man. I love Claude Rains! I think that he is one of the best actors ever in film. He was such a versatile actor. It is always such a treat for me to watch one of his films. In "The Invisible Man" you really hardly ever see Claude Rains, because he's invisible of course! His voice is so recognizable though, and it's great to hear it throughout the film. It's a fun movie all around. I haven't seen it for a while now, so I guess I'll have to one of these days.
"Frankenstein" was made in 1931, and was also directed by James Whale. It was based on the classic book by Mary Shelley. This book I have read, actually just a few months ago. The classic movie is not too much like the book, but great movie making just the same. Boris Karloff of course plays the monster. What can I say about Boris Karloff? Can you get anyone better than him to play the monster? Glenn Strange also played the monster after Karloff, and did a great job, as did Lon Chaney Jr. and others. I have to say though, that Boris Karloff was the best. He also played in many other classic horror films. It so amazing just to watch him act! "Frankenstein" is my favorite classic horror film, and has always been my personal favorite movie monster.

I was really surprised that Dracula did not at least tie for first. Bela Lugosi was the best and most recognizable Dracula there ever was. How could anyone forget his piercing stare! It's always so much fun for me to do these polls. I love to see what everyone's favorites are. I hope that you enjoy them too! Don't forget to cast your vote on my current poll for Clark Gable's best partner!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Rosalie (1937)

Growing up, my family owned really just a few old movies. We rented some here and there, and as I got older I started building my own collection. "Rosalie" is one of the movies that I watched over and over again as I was growing up. It's not a film that is considered a "classic" now, it's even widely forgotten. Still, there are many reasons why I love this movie!

"Rosalie" was made in 1937, and directed by W.S. Van Dyke. It stars Nelson Eddy as Dick Thorpe, a West Point cadet, and Eleanor Powell as Princess Romanikov of Romanza. This was the first starring role for Eddy after his many successes with Jeanette MacDonald. There really wasn't a better partner for for Nelson Eddy than Jeanette MacDonald, but his paring with Eleanor Powell was wonderful. They played very well opposite each other. I am very disappointed that they never made another film together. Ray Bolger co-stars in this film as Nelson Eddy's best friend. He of course is wonderful! Frank Morgan and Edna May Oliver play Powell's parents, The King and Queen of Romanza.
Princess Rosalie of Romanza (Powell) has been a student at Vassar, concealing her royal identity. She meets West Point cadet and football champion Dick Thorpe (Eddy) at a party one night, and they agree to meet again at Romanza for their festival. Dick Thorpe doesn't realize that she is a princess, and flies across the ocean to find her dancing in the festival. Soon after he learns that she's a princess and he flies back home knowing that they cannot be together. At this time there is an uprising against Rosalie's father the King of Romanza (Morgan), so the family leave the country and wait it out in the US. Rosalie and Dick reunite, he's hesitant, but eventually of course they live happily ever after.

Nelson Eddy sings "Rosalie" and "In the Still of the Night", among other shorter songs here and there. Eleanor Powell dances beautifully throughout the movie. There is one dance in particular that is wonderful! Powell dances on several large drums, eventually spinning down each one to the floor. It is a marvelous sequence that she does very well. This movie also has gorgeous art deco costumes and sets. There are enough things about this movie that makes it hard to believe it is not more popular. I know that there are many reviews out there criticizing this movie, but I disagree with each of them. "Rosalie" is a very delightful movie that deserves better treatment than it has been given. This film is not yet on DVD, but you can still find copies sometimes on Amazon or Ebay. Also, you can try your library. Please take time to find this film and watch it. I do not think that you will be disappointed one bit!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Drums Along the Mohawk (1939)

"Drums Along the Mohawk" is one movie on the long list of great films made in 1939. What a wonderful year in movie history! I recently watched this for the first time, and wondered why I had not seen it before. My dad owned the video, but I never thought that it would interest me. After a few minutes of the film, I learned how wrong I was!

This film is directed by the marvelous John Ford, and filmed in glorious Technicolor. Usually I am one who loves and argues for black and white films, but in this case, Technicolor was the right choice. The use of color in this film was beautiful. It was a special treat to see Claudette Colbert in color, which she rarely did. Costars include Edna May Oliver, Eddie Collins, and John Carradine.

Set in the Revolutionary War, a newlywed couple (Colbert & Fonda) move to Mohawk Valley to settle on a farm. Their life in Mohawk Valley starts out rough. Shortly after their move, British allied Indians come and burn down their home and farm. The couple make many friends, and experience many hardships along the way. Until the end, when the war is over, and they display their new flag with pride.

"Drums Along the Mohawk" will be one of my next DVD purchases. I can't believe that I didn't already have this wonderful film in my collection. If you would like to purchase this film, click here.
In the mean time, here's the trailer!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Technical Difficulties

I am having some trouble with my computer. Hopfully I will be back to posting Sunday or Monday. Check back soon!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Peter Lorre & Sydney Greenstreet

Here is a hilarious clip of Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet in "Hollywood Canteen". This is such a fun movie with so many stars. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Born in the Wrong Decade?

The other day I noticed that there is a online group called "I was born in the wrong decade". I have thought this for years! There have been many times that I've wondered how it would have been living in a different era.

With being an old movie fanatic, I have often wished I had lived in those decades. A while back I was really into the 1920's, and I still am to some degree. But then I have to remember, the stock market crash of '29 ended that era. Then the glamorous movies in the 1930's! I would have loved to live during that time and wear all of those fabulous close and go to the big nightspots. I would not have wanted to live during the depression though. I'm sure I would have not been idly rich during that time. The 1940's is a wonderful time too, but what about WWII? So it's really hard to determine which decade I would like to live in. I guess if I would have been rich, I would pick the 30's. I just love everything about that time.

Another thing that I consider when I'm wondering about the different era's, is that we have the technology today to enjoy the best of them all! We can just pop in a movie or CD and be transported to the roaring twenties, or the swinging forties. If you want to go further back, you can put in a film set in the Regency or Victorian age. Even though I do not really fit in this current era, I can always enjoy the many wonderful days gone by.

Do you have a favorite time that you would have liked to live? I'd love to hear your choices!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sun Valley Serenade (1941)

Last night my husband and I watched Sun Valley Serenade. This was such a delightful and entertaining movie with so many attractions including Sonja Henie, John Payne, Glenn Miller, Milton Berle, The Nicholas Bros., and Dorothy Dandridge.

Sun Valley Serenade was made in 1941. Phil Corey's (Glenn Miller) band just got a big gig in Sun Valley. Before they take off, Ted Scott (John Payne) who has agreed to take a refugee finds that he has been give not a child, but a grown up lovely woman Karen Benson (Sonja Henie). This sets up trouble when Ted, who is already seeing someone else, finds out that Karen intends to marry him. Karen follows Ted to Sun Valley, and that starts a love triangle. The plot really isn't terribly complicated, but it's a nice story. There are of course a few ice skating scenes featuring Sonja Henie that are very good.

I have to say that the highlight of this film is the Chattanooga Choo Choo sequence. The Glenn Miller Orchestra start out this part with their famous rendition. Singing along are Tex Beneke and The Moderaires. Halfway through this segment we see the wonderful Nicholas Brothers along with Dorothy Dandridge. This dance number is by far one of the best in movie history, or at least it's era's history.

Try to get a copy of this movie! You will be very happy that you did. It is not available on DVD as of yet. I had to wait until my hold was ready at our library, which took several weeks! Sun Valley Serenade will be a movie that I will be watching for to purchase.

I have added a clip of the Chattanooga Choo Choo scene for you. Enjoy!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Poll Results: Fred Astaire Vs.Gene Kelly

The results are in, and after three weeks we find out which is your favorite dancer. Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly are undoubtedly two of the greatest dancers who ever lived. But there can only be one winner of this poll. With 57% of the vote, the winner is...... Fred Astaire!!!

Fred Astaire is actually my favorite dancer too. Gene Kelly was the more artistic of the two, but Fred Astaire brought such class to dancing, and to his movies. He is most remembered in his films with Ginger Rogers. We need to remember though that he was popular on Broadway long before the Fred & Ginger teaming. Fred Astaire danced with his sister Adele for many years until she retired from dance. You can hear a clip, or download a MP3 of them singing "I'd Rather Charleston" here. He then made a wonderful film debut playing himself, in the Joan Crawford/Clark Gable classic "Dancing Lady" in 1933. His appearance in the film is very small, but his dancing was fabulous! Fred Astaire only appeared 41 films, which seems pretty small compared to other actors of his day. He only wanted his best work to be seen on film. Also, he was such a perfectionist in his dancing. Even after hours of many takes, he was never completely satisfied with his work. Fred Astaire died on June 22, 1987 from complications of pneumonia, and is now buried at Oakwood Memorial Park in Chatsworth, CA (Los Angeles County).

The poll of Astaire vs. Kelly was very close to the end. I checked on it here and there to see how it was doing. Sometimes Gene Kelly was ahead, and for a while they were tied. In the end, Fred Astaire came through on top. Take time to vote now on my current poll, "Which is your favorite movie monster?" The poll ends November 1st at 8:00 pm Pacific Standard Time.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Mont Blanc Commemorates Ingrid Bergman

Earlier this week I visited a Mont Blanc store. They have some of the most beautiful writing instruments I have ever seen! I was so pleased that they put out an Ingrid Bergman pen.

There are actually three editions to this pen, "La Donna", "L'Attrice", and "La Diva" I was able to see and hold the "La Donna" pen. It was absolutely beautiful! One side of the cap has an amethyst and the other has an Ingrid Bergman signature. The other two editions I did not see, but the pictures of them are unbelievable. They are available in fountain or ballpoint.

There is also a Greta Garbo pen that was released in 2005, and a Marlene Dietrich pen in 2007. I have the Greta Garbo pen! It too is extremely beautiful. I would love to get the Marlene Dietrich and Ingrid Bergman pens sometime. If you are interested in these, click on the links below. It is much better if you see them in person, so try to find a store near you.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Janet & Carole!!

Today would have been Janet Gaynor's 103 birthday, and Carole Lombard's 101 birthday. These are two of my favorite actresses!

Janet Gaynor was born Laura Augusta Gainor October 6, 1906 in Philadelphia, PA. She was the first woman to win the Academy Award for best actress. The ceremony was held at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood in 1928. I was lucky enough to stay there a few years ago, and was able to see the room that the first Academy Awards was held in. You can imagine how exited I was! Janet Gaynor really didn't know how important the award was at the time, since it was the first. She said that she was more excited to see Douglas Fairbanks. Janet Gaynor died in 1984, and is buried at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

Carole Lombard was born Jane Alice Peters October 6, 1908 in Fort Wayne, IN. She was one of the biggest stars of her day, the "Queen of Comedy". She was married to William Powell, and later to Clark Gable. On January 16, 1942 Miss Lombard was flying home to California from her home town of Fort Wayne after selling war bonds. The plane crashed in the Las Vegas Mountains killing everyone on board, including Carole's mother. Carole Lombard still has a great fan following today. To read more of her, visit Carla's web site

So today I want to honor these wonderful actresses. This week I plan on watching "A Star is Born"(1937), which is my favorite Janet Gaynor film. Also, "No Man of Her Own"(1932), one of my favorite Carole Lombard films. Happy birthday Janet Gaynor and Carole Lombard!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

LANA: The Memories, the Myths, the Movies

I recently read the most wonderful Lana Turner book. "LANA: The Memories, the Myths, the Movies", was written by Lana's daughter Cheryl Crane and Cindy De La Hoz.

This book has everything that I love in a classic film actress book. There are so many wonderful photos of Lana Turner. Every page has at least one! The writing was nicely done. There were many facts and memories from her daughter Cheryl. This is also one incredibly huge book! It is spread like a nice scrapbook with many different sections. I highly encourage anyone who loves Lana Turner to get a copy of this book.

Cindy De La Hoz also wrote a book on Lucille Ball entitled "Lucy at the Movies: The Complete Films of Lucille Ball". I hope to find this book soon!

If you are interested in either of these books, just click below to order a copy.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

1932 Magazine: A Fan's Queen of the Movies

I was looking through my 1932 Picture Play magazine the other day and found so many things fascinating. One of which was the "What the Fans Think" section. Here many fans wrote in about movies, actors and actresses, etc. I thought that this letter was wonderful...

"In my mind there can never be but one real queen of the movies. A queen who, starting in as an extra, worked her way up into the sweetly romantic types which so characterized her parts before the great demon, sound, came in. Then she, in her regal manner which so befits her wondrous form and beauty, changed overnight from the sweet heroine in to a blase, sophisticated woman of the world.

Even as the pictures had left their swaddling clothes and suddenly grown up, her acclaimed popularity is proved by the box-office receipts.

Now ask the patrons of any of the film palaces who he or she believes should reign as queen, and they will reply, as I do, Norma Shearer!"

Frances Ann North, Topeka, Kansas

She is absolutely right in the fact of how popular Norma Shearer was at the time. In 1932 I believe that she was queen of the movies. I think that these magazines are so much fun! I hope to add to my collection as soon as I can!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Cocoanut Grove

Earlier today my sister and I were talking of a movie short that is on the "The Gay Divorcee" DVD. It is a wonderful short called "Star Night at the Cocoanut Grove". There are many different stars is this film. I love things like this!

This got me thinking about the Cocoanut Grove. That used to be the place for old Hollywood to go. Looking through old movie magazines, you'll see many photos of the stars dining and dancing there. A while back I read up a little bit about the Cocoanut Grove.

The Cocoanut Grove was built with The Ambassador Hotel in Hollywood in 1921. As I said it was quite the hot spot for the big names in Hollywood. That would have been such a wonderful sight to see! The Cocoanut Grove along with The Ambassador Hotel continued to host the stars for decades, until in 1988 when it closed its doors for good. There were many movies filmed in the Ambassador Hotel and the Cocoanut Grove after its closing. You can see The Cocoanut Grove in "The Mask" with Jim Carey, it is the Coco Bongo nightclub.

In 2001, the Los Angeles School district bought the property holding the Hotel and the Grove. In 2006 the Ambassador Hotel was torn down to make room for three schools. They were planning to keep The Cocoanut Grove and use it for part of the school, but then in 2007 it was torn down because they didn't think that it would hold up in an earthquake.

It makes me so furious to know that so many old Hollywood landmarks have been torn down. I've been to Hollywood a few times and I love to visit all of the classic spots. I would love to have seen The Cocoanut Grove, especially in its heyday! I'm glad that there are some short films out there that capture it the way it needs to be remembered.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Gary Cooper Stamp

Many of you might be interested in the new Gary Cooper stamp. This is the 15th stamp in the Legends of Hollywood series. I wish I didn't miss most of the other stamps that they put out. Hopefully I won't miss any more! I need to make sure to stop by the post office as soon as possible to pick up a sheet. I still haven't purchased the Bette Davis one either. I'd better hurry up! To purchase online, click here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Celebrating The Wizard of OZ

Last night was the 70th anniversary Hi-Def showing of "The Wizard of Oz". I took my three year old (who is an Oz addict) with me to see this wonderful film. I was very pleased with this event!

First of all, there was an introduction by the wonderful Robert Osborne. I shouldn't have been too surprised at this, what could be better than Mr. Osborne making an entrance before the film? Following his introduction, they showed "To Oz: The Making of The Wizard of Oz". This documentary is not a new one. It actually is already in the previous DVD's, but it was still fun to see the history before we watched the movie.

Second, I could not believe the clarity and brightness of the color! The picture was so vivid. I noticed colors in this showing that I have not seen the millions of times I have watched it before. It really was like I was watching "The Wizard of Oz" for the first time again.

The only thing that I would say negative about this event, is that there was only one showing. I understand theaters have one time showings of events, but I think that "The Wizard of Oz" should have gotten another night at least.

I am so extremely happy that I was able to attend this amazing event. I hope that there will be more nights like this for other classic films. "Gone with the Wind" would be a good one too. This year is its 70th anniversary, so why not?

The Wizard of Oz (70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition) will be available to purchase on DVD and Blu-ray on September 29. There are many extras in this set, more so than any previous set. The enhanced color in this version is worth the purchase!

To pre-order, click here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Learning About Sylvia Sidney

I have known about Sylvia Sidney for a while now, but I have not yet done any reading about her. Some things that I have learned recently have really surprised me. For example, she acted in movies until 1996 in "Mars Attacks", and in television until 1998. I had no idea that this beautiful woman in the 1930's played the grandmother in "Mars Attacks"! I haven't seen that movie for several years, but I remember the character. I plan on doing a lot of research on her, so prepare to read a post later down the road on Sylvia Sidney!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Best Gangster? Poll results.

The poll results are in for your favorite gangster. The winner is.....James Cagney! He won with 60% of the votes, followed by George Raft with 40%. I have to admit James Cagney is my favorite movie gangster too.

"The Public Enemy" (1931) is Cagney's most famous gangster film. It is probably my favorite gangster film of all! It's ending is so terrible that I can't help but be shocked every time I watch it. If you have not seen this film yet, rent it this week! It's fabulous!!

James Cagney also was very good in musicals too! After watching "The Public Enemy", that might be hard to believe. We all remember him in 1942's "Yankee Doodle Dandy" playing George M. Cohan. I also enjoyed him in the wonderful Busby Berkeley film, "Footlight Parade" (1933). He was such a wonderful, versatile actor. This post is making me want to watch his movies this week. I'm sure my husband won't mind, he's one of his favorites too!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Betty Grable Collection: Where is Volume 2??

I love watching Betty Grable movies! I know they are usually very predictable, but they are so much fun, and very entertaining. I have the Betty Grable Collection Volume One, and have had it for quite a long time. So, when should we expect Volume two???? If there wasn't suppose to be a Volume 2, then why put Volume 1 on the box set? I am starting to get a little impatient. I hope that Twentieth Century Fox is busy getting ready the next set of Betty Grable films. There aren't enough of her films available right now on DVD, and I want more!! Please, please, please, more Betty Grable!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ruth Chatterton

One actress that I have been introduced to in recent years is Ruth Chatterton. Today, she is largely forgotten by the mass audience. Very few of her movies are available right now. I am very grateful for the one that are, because otherwise I would have never seen her.

I first saw Ruth Chatterton in the Forbidden Hollywood Collection Volume two. She starred in the movie "Female" along with her husband George Brent. Since then, I have only seen a few more, but they are movies that I have thoroughly enjoyed. She is best known for the film "Dodsworth". This film I have yet to see. I do have a hold on it at our library though.

Ruth Chatterton was born December 24, 1893 in New York City. She started out acting early on in school productions, then shortly after moving to a stock company. Leaving school at age 14, she pursued her dream of acting. She worked as a chorus girl, then latter getting better parts until she found herself on Broadway, quickly becoming a leading lady. Later Ruth moved to California, not to go into the movies, but to star on stage. She was discovered by the actor Emil Jannings who talked her into taking a part in his next film. At age 35, she made her film debut in "Sins of the Fathers" (1928). There she continued to be a star in movies until 1938, when she retired from film altogether. Ruth returned to the stage, and in the late 40's and into the 50's made many appearances on television. She retired from acting in 1953 and became a successful writer. Ruth's marriages include actors Ralph Forbes and George Brent. Her last husband was Barry Thomson, whom she married in 1942, and was happily married to until his death in 1960. In 1961 she suffered a brain hemorrhage and died at the age of 67.

Ruth Chatterton was a star in her day. In the old movie magazines that I have there are many things written about her, fans considered her one of the best. Though there are a few tributes to Ruth Chatterton online, there is still not one website dedicated only to her. She should not be forgotten in our modern day. Instead, we should remember and watch the wonderful films she made, and try our best to keep her memory alive.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Happy Birthday Claudette Colbert!

Today, Sunday September 13, would have been Claudette Colbert's 106 birthday. She is one of my favorite actresses of all time. This week to honor her birthday, I think that we all should watch one of her wonderful films. Maybe I'll have a marathon... who knows. Happy Birthday Claudette!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Ma and Pa Kettle: Why Not?

A couple of weeks ago I was on the Turner Classic Movies Message Boards. I visit them often, and it's rather fun to join or just read discussions on classic films. If you are ever there, my screen name is HarlowFan (big surprise). Anyways, I stumbled onto a discussion about Augusts Summer Under the Stars series. Somebody was complaining about the line-up for the month and somehow got going on which movies are classics and which are not. I am pretty broad minded about classic films, and consider any old movie a classic movie. I understand not all are "classics" in the true sense of the word, but they're all classic to me.

Eventually this discussion turned to the Ma and Pa Kettle series. Much was said against them and how they are awful movies that are not classics. Other people defended these movies, and soon it was apparent many people love this classic duo.

The characters Ma and Pa Kettle (played by Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride) were first brought to screen in the 1947 film "The Egg and I". This picture starred Claudette Colbert and Fred Macmurray. Ma and Pa Kettle were a side story in this film, but made a great impact. So much, that there were seven more Ma and Pa Kettle movies made!

So why not Ma and Pa Kettle??? These films are so much fun. The humor is wonderful and all of the zany characters are hilarious! They have brought so much joy to many people over the years, and hopefully for many more to come! I know everyone has an opinion, so if they don't like Ma and Pa, they don't have to watch them. I for one will continue to watch these wonderful films as long as I live, and any other classic movie that might not be considered a "classic". Hurray for Ma and Pa Kettle!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Piece of the Stars

There are a series of cards put out by Donruss which are devoted to classic film actors and actresses. These are the Donruss Americana cards. There are many diffrent variations of these, but you can take a look and some of them on the Donruss website, or search for them on ebay.

Donruss started issuing these collectors cards in 2007, and have offered a new collection each year since. The best way to get exactly the card you want is to go strait to ebay.

My favorite are the Hollywood Legends Materials cards. These cards have a swatch of clothing actually worn by the star on the card. Donruss is a reliable trading card company, so you can trust that they are the real thing. Also, if they weren't the real thing, Donruss would have quite a big lawsuit on their hands!

There are only so many of these cards made, and on different scales. For instance..

Hollywood Legends Materials Super Stars: 25 or less were made

Hollywood Legends Materials Golden Era: 50 or less were made

Hollywood Legends Materials Silver Screen: 100 or less were made

Hollywood Legends Materials: 350 or less were made

You can also find other variations, but the Hollywood Legends Materials are the best! In my collection there are, Jean Harlow, Carole Lombard, Mae West, Mary Pickford, and others. I love them all!!! Most are from the 2007 collection, but I also have a couple of 2008. I have not purchased any 2009. I bought them quite a while back, and recently I have noticed that the value for the ones I own has increased substantially. That makes me very happy that I bought them when I did!

I'm sure that some of you have seen these, but I really wanted to post about them because they're so fabulous!!! Just think, you can own a piece of clothing from your favorite star!