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!