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!