Thursday, December 31, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
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
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
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
"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
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
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
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
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
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
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
-"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
-"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
-"Leave Her to Heaven" (1945)
9. Bette Davis
-"Now, Voyager" (1942)
10. Greta Garbo
-"Grand Hotel" (1932)
Friday, November 13, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Sunday, November 1, 2009
"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.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
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.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
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
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Today would have been Janet Gaynor's 103 birthday, and Carole Lombard's 101 birthday. These are two of my favorite actresses!
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
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!