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).