CAROLE LOMBARD - My Favorite Actress

Friday, July 30, 2010

A Good Friday from Grace Kelly

Here's a lovely pic of the fabulous Grace Kelly to start everyone's weekend on a good note...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Stars and Umbrellas Part 2

Yesterday I posted several pics of Audrey Hepburn with umbrellas. Today I've posted more stars with umbrellas. In this batch of pictures, we have Marilyn Monroe, Gene Tierney, Errol Flynn and Joan Blondell. Enjoy. And thanks to my friend Millie over at GAOH for posting these wonderful pics.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Audrey Hepburn and Umbrellas

Just a few pics of the wonderful Audrey Hepburn, posing with umbrellas..

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fun Summer Movies - National Lampoon's ANIMAL HOUSE (1978)

Summer Release Date: 28 July 1978 Starring Tim Matheson, John Belushi, Donald Sutherland, John Vernon, Peter Riegert, Mary Louise Weller, Karen Allen, Stephen Furst, Kevin Bacon, Tom Hulce, Mark Metcalf, Martha Smith, James Daughton.

Now I was too young to see this when it first hit theaters during the summer of 1978, but I did catch it on HBO years later and loved it from the opening scene. Set in 1962 at the fictional college university of Faber, Animal House focuses on the notorious wild fraternity Delta. It is during pledge week that we meet two incoming freshmen played by Tom Hulce and Stephen Furst, who first get turned away by a snooty rival fraternity before being accepted by Delta. The roll call of Delta goes like this: Delta President Hoover (James Widdoes); Otter (Tim Matheson); Boone (Peter Riegert); D-Day (Bruce McGill) and Bluto (John Belushi). The freshmen Hulce and Furst are eventually given the call names Pinto and Flounder respectively.

Delta must continually avoid the wrath of Dean Wormer (played by John Vernon) who has been threatening to kick them off campus for years and with the help of fraternity rival leader Greg and his co-horts, he is close to doing just that. The laughs come frequently and are plenty. Matheson is perfectly cast as the charming ladies man Otter, while Riegert make a great wing man for him as Boone. That is when he's not dealing with his on and off again girlfriend Katy (played by the very young and wide eyed Karen Allen of Raiders of the Lost Ark). She is a standout in this otherwise male dominated film. I mean you do have the beguiling Mandy Pepperidge, Otter's ex girlfriend (played by Mary Louise Weller) and her friend Babs (played by Martha Smith). And let's not forget a small role by Verna Bloom who plays Mrs. Dean Wormer, who is seduced by Otter. Belushi is Bluto. Period. His scene in the cafeteria where he is just scarfing down food has to be seen to be believed.

Animal House is a riot from start to finish. Throw in the musical appearance by Otis Day and the Knights, who bust out the energetic Shout at the Delta frat party and then later on with a slow jam at a nightclub. The Deltas trial. The toga party. The parade climax that turns into an out of control melee. All add up to a classic movie. The entire cast appears to be having a grand old time. And Animal House leaves it's mark in the history of funny movies as one of the best ever made.


With a budget of only $3 million, Animal House became one of the biggest hits of all time with over $150 million in box office sales.

The movie was set to be filmed at the University of Missouri until the president of the school read the script and refused permission. It was filmed at and around the University of Oregon in Eugene instead.

The bass player in the band Otis Day and the Knights is then-unknown bluesman Robert Cray. Cray was instrumental in getting the musicians together that appeared as the band.
Film debut of Kevin Bacon.

Meat Loaf was the second choice for Bluto in case John Belushi dropped out of his role.

Premiere voted this movie as one of "The 50 Greatest Comedies Of All Time" in 2006.

Karen Allen's first movie.

Harold Ramis (I)', who co-wrote the film, based some of the pranks on his college experiences at Washington University in St. Louis, specifically when Otter and Boone are hitting golf balls at the ROTC.
Even thought the actors are portraying college students, most of them were in their mid to late twenties.
Hulce was 24, Belushi was 28, Matheson and Riegert were both 30, Weller was 31, McGill was 26 as was Allen.

All Good Things In August

As the summer hits the hottest month for most, I hope to keep things exciting here on my blog. I've decided for my classic movie goddess in August will be Rosalind Russell, who stars in my favorite movie of all time, His Girl Friday. I will be posting about her all month long. My guest blogger for the month will be Laura, from Laura's Miscellaneous Musings, which is one of my favorite blog sites I hang out. I mean Laura gives out so much information and great posts it is a joy to read. It's better to read her posts than to read the actual TCM guide. She is that thorough. Also I plan to spotlight William Holden, which I was going to do back in July, but never got to it. And the usual scatterings of favorite lists and photos and such. August should be a very good month here at All Good Things.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Debbie Reynolds - Classic Movie Goddess For July: The Essential Debbie Films

Hello everyone. As July is winding down, now is the part where I get to talk about the Classic Movie Goddess of the month essential films. These are the films that you should watch that showcases the actress at her very best. Well in my humble opinion. This month Debbie Reynolds was the CMG and here are my favorite films of hers and what I think make must see viewing to shows Debbie at her best.

SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (1952) Without a doubt, the film that put Debbie on the map. As aspiring actress Kathy Selden, Debbie who was all of 21 years old, is terrific. And she more than holds her own with Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor in the film's many magical music moments. For her, the dance number Good Morning is just sensational.

SUSAN SLEPT HERE (1954) As by poll of favorite Debbie films can attest, Susan Slept Here is one of her best films. Reynolds as  teenage delinquent Susan Beaurgard (great name) who is foisted on the well-meaning Dick Powell, a writer, at Christmas. He wants inspiration for his writing, she wants a sugar daddy. Comic hi-jinks ensue. Debbie is delightfully spunky and funny in this one.

THE CATERED AFFAIR (1956) A change of pace role for diva Bette Davis, as she plays mother to Debbie's character Jane, who is about to get married. But as her family is so poor, trouble arises when the wedding costs become huge. This might be more of a film to watch for Bette Davis nuanced performance but Debbie is no slouch herself and does a commendable job with the legendary Davis.

TAMMY AND THE BACHELOR (1957) Unsophisticated young woman Tammy Tyree, who is from the Mississippi swamps falls in love with an unconventional southern gentlemen played by Leslie Nielsen. She nurses him back to health after a plane crash and tries to win over his family at their planatation.

THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN (1964) The role for which Debbie received her only Oscar nomination as would be socialite Molly Brown who became a real life heroine during the sinking of the Titanic. Debbie goes all out in a terrific performance including a show stopping song of  I Ain't Down Yet.

THE RAT RACE (1960) Solid romantic comedy about an aspiring musician (Tony Curtis) who arrives in New York seeking fame and fortune. He meets dancer Peggy Brown (Reynolds) and watch out for the fireworks. For this film Reynolds got to act and look very sexy in several scenes. She will remind you of say Liz Taylor's performance in Butterfield 8.

THE GAZEBO (1959) A latter day screwball comedy involving blackmail, a corpse, gangsters, and a gazebo. Perfect chemistry between co-stars Glenn Ford and Debbie Reynolds.

Other notable films include The Tender Trap, The Pleasure Of His Company with Fred Astaire, Bundle of Joy, I Love Melvin and so many more.

Happy Birthday Sandra Bullock

Almost missed mentioning today is Sandra Bullock's birthday. She is by far my most favorite actress working in film today. Sandra was born in 1964 in Arlington,Virgina. And has starred is some of the best films in current cinema. The Proposal, The Blind Side, Speed, While You Were Sleeping, Miss Congeniality, A Time To Kill, Hope Floats, and so on. I hope she had a memorable birthday, considering all what she has been through in the last 8 months.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Lady Vanishes (1938) - My Favorite Hitchcock film

My favorite Hitchcock film of all time. It mixes comedy with suspense extremely well. Set in the Swiss Alps, a bunch of tourists meet at a village the night before boarding a train the next morning. A young girl named Iris (the excellent Margaret Lockwood) meets a young student named Gilbert (wonderful performance by Michael Redgrave). Of course they meet cute and can't stand each other. The next day on the train the lovable old Mrs. Froy (Dame May Whitty) vanishes and the chase is on to find her. You have to pay attention to the details in this one because things are not what they seem. An excellent film from Hollywood's golden past. One minute you're laughing, then you're on the edge of your seat. In my opinion, this is Hitch's best work. Just ahead of Shadow of a Doubt.

Gilbert: Come on, sit down, take it easy. What's the trouble?
Iris Henderson: If you must know, something fell on my head.
Gilbert: When, infancy?

Gilbert: Can I help?
Iris Henderson: Only by going away.
Gilbert: No, no, no, no. My father always taught me, never desert a lady in trouble. He even carried that as far as marrying Mother.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Be My Guest: Tracy Part 4

And here is the final part to my series with guest blogger Tracy. She gave some wonderful answers wouldn't everyone agree.

I would say the perfect way to view a classic would be on the big screen. I'm hoping to go to see some Chaplin movies at the Film Forum in NYC later this summer. Otherwise, I'm corny. I like the lights off and I have popcorn and coke as snacks. It's also cool to watch with another classic film fan because each tends to notice something interesting and it's fun to share the insights with another lover of the classics.
I would have to say I love the films of the 1930's best. The way the art form developed in that decade was amazing to me. For instance, sound was a new feature at the start of the1930's, yet we have a stunning technicolor epic like The Adventures of Robin Hood by 1938. The following year 1939, Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz would be made and forever guarantee that beautiful epics were a reality. But to me the 1930's Hollywood showed a wonderful ability to make short, well paced movies. I adore One Way Passage starring William Powell & Kay Francis. It's about 1 hour and 10 minutes in length but it tells the story of two star crossed lovers beautifully. The Thin Man is another great example of a quick paced movie. In 90 minutes, William Powell & Myrna Loy created the perfect on screen couple of all time (in my opinion) and the movie never dragged at all. If you consider the achievements made in the 1930's, it does show Hollywood ingenuity at its best. King Kong still impresses me today -- I'll take it over computer generated images anyday. Not to mention, 1939 was the greatest year in American film. Dark Victory, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Love Affair, The Women, Goodbye Mr. Chips, The Private Lives of Elizabeth & Essex, Ninotchka, Stagecoach, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Wuthering Heights, Gunga Din, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Of Mice and Men, just to name a few!

I love your answers Tracy. That is an awesome way to watch movies...I'm with you on that.

Be My Guest: Tracy Part 3

Here is the third part to my guest of the month Tracy's terrific Q&A session. I was glad she was able to do it and enjoyed reading her responses.

My favorite current stars would be Johnny Depp for the male actor and Meryl Streep for female actor. Depp has been so daring and willing to stretch himself I feel his filmography is the best in his generation. I thought his portrayal of Ed Wood was a masterpiece and his collaborations with Tim Burton have been great. One of these days The Academy will catch up and award him a much deserved Oscar!

Streep has done SO much -- drama, period pieces, comedy, and even a musical! Like my all time favorite actress Bette Davis, she is willing to expand the definition of "leading lady." Morgan Freeman would have to be another favorite of mine. His performances in Driving Miss Daisy and Shawshank Redemption are two of the best by any actor in the 1990's -- hard to believe neither role yielded an Oscar! I also admire Kathy Bates -- here's a woman who played sociopath Annie Wilkes in Misery and then played Adam Sandler's campy mom in Waterboy! That's range!

My favorite movie quote is from Sunset Blvd. I love it when Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond responds to William Holden's comment that she used to be a big star. "I am BIG, it's the pictures that got small!"

If I could be any movie character, I would chose either Charlotte Vale (Bette Davis) from Now, Voyager or Jennie (Jennifer Jones) from Portrait of Jennie. Charlotte is a that rare character who ultimately comes to understand herself and more importantly accept who she is. Charlotte discovers that she is the only person who can bring happiness to her life and she is proactive in making her life what she wants it to be by the movie's end. It is not a perfect life, and that's why it rings true -- it is the best life she can create given all of the elements of her life. Jennie on the other hand is an ethereal character who is not of this world. Rather she lived a life, and somehow returned to her "world" during a different time period. It during her returns to her former haunts that she meets and inspires artist Eben Adams (Joseph Cotten). Jennie and Eben are soulmates and the thought of "death" separating them, at times, saddens the viewer. However, since Jennie is so timeless and has gracefully accepted her earthly fate, we discover the Eben and Jennie's love is eternal. Jennie was beautifully and sensitively portrayed by Jones, so Jennie is that one perfect being that we all aspire to be. Jennie realizes the we are all part of some universe that continues beyond our mortal existence and that the love other carry for us keeps us immortal. Maybe it's corny, but what an exquisite character to be!

Awesome answers Tracy. And thanks for being my guest this month.

Debbie Reynolds imitations on Dean Martin Show

Happy Birthday Norman Jewison (1926-present)

The legendary director turns 84 today and while not directing as much, is still alive and in good health as far as I know. His list of credits include Moonstruck (for which he won an Oscar for Best Director), A Soldier's Story (1984), In The Heat Of The Night (1967), The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), The Cincinnati Kid (1965), Send Me No Flowers (1964) and The Thrill Of It All (1963). His last major directing effort was Denzel Washington's 1999 boxing film The Hurricane. That's an impressive list for an extremely talented director.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Happy Birthday Natalie Wood

(1938-1981) Natalie would have been 72 if not for that accidental drowning back in 1981. She is one of my favorite actresses. My personal favorite films of hers include The Searchers, Sex and The Single Girl, The Great Race and Inside Daisy Clover.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Debbie Reynolds - Classic Movie Goddess For July

Here are some personal quotes by Debbie over the years:

Singin' In The Rain (1952) and childbirth were the two hardest things I ever had to do in my life.
I stopped making movies because I don't like taking my clothes off. Maybe it's realism but, in my opinion, it's utter filth.

When asked what her favorite movie is: I think one of my favorite films is Dark Victory (1939) with Bette Davis.  Why? She was so wonderful in that film. And... maybe I just want a good cry once in a while without having to go through a divorce.

Daddy had got us rooms in a motel until he could find us a house. There were not a lot of places available for a young family on our budget. Daddy went around to dozens of places. Nobody wanted kids. Finally, he found one in the hills south of Glendale. As usual, the landlady asked if he had kids. "Yep,' he replied. 'A boy and a girl.' 'Well, whatta you going to do about them?' she wanted to know, implying that she didn't allow children. 'I'm gonna take'em out and drown them in the Los Angeles River, and come back tomorrow.' That was my father - ask a silly question and just wait. She must have had the same sense of humor: we moved in the next day.

Friday, July 16, 2010

INCEPTION is Amazing....

The new movie Inception from director Chris Nolan (The Dark Knight, Memento) opened today in theaters and I just saw it with some friends and it was amazing. It's the type of film where a review won't do it any justice. The story deals with dreams and the people that specialize in stealing information from people while they are dreaming. Leonardo DiCaprio is Dom Cobb, an extractor who is the best there is and has a team that takes on these high risk jobs. He is also a very conflicted man with a haunted past that eventually catches up to him. And the whole film has him trying to complete this one last job so he can get back to his old life. I think it's best if you go in cold to watch Inception. You don't want to know too much about it and then once it unfolds you will be just glued to your seat. The complex nature of the story really can't be described in words. So I will just use some adjectives to describe what I'm feeling after watching this movie. Like they do in the commercials. Brilliant! Mind-bending! Terrific performances! Best Film Of The Summer! Leo deserves an Oscar after this! Marion Cotillard is unbelievable! Sensational visual effects! Jaw dropping action sequences! A blast of pure genius from Nolan! I will say that the chase sequence involving a train through a downtown city is just awesome. There are several more engaging scenes that will remind you that there are some creative people still lurking in Hollywood. Inception is a major accomplishment and I truly believe that I won't see a better film for the rest of the year. That's not hyperbole, just a fact. It's already running through my head all the twists and turns and conundrums. I can't wait to see it again. As great as Nolan's Dark Knight was, I enjoyed Inception even more. That's saying a lot coming from a die hard comic and Batman fan.So after one viewing I give Inception an....

Happy Birthday Ginger Rogers

A Happy Birthday to the wonderful and talented Ginger Rogers (1911-1995) who would have been 99 years old today. Ginger was an all around entertainer: she could sing, dance, do dramas, comedies, anything and everything.

Happy Birthday Barbara Stanwyck


Happy Birthday to Barbara Stanwyck. TCM is honoring her with a slew of her films today including The Strange Love Of Martha Ivers, The Two Mrs. Carrolls, Cry Wolf and others. Happy Birthday Miss B.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fun Summer Movies: STAR WARS - A NEW HOPE (1977)

Summer Release Date: 25 May 1977. Starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Alec Guiness, Peter Cushing, David Prowse, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, James Earl Jones. Written and Directed by George Lucas.

The summertime blockbuster which, along with Jaws (1975) set the standard for all blockbusters that would follow. I did not see Star Wars upon it's initial release, but thanks to it's popularity I was able to see a few years later when it was released. And it was an awesome movie going experience. I had never seen anything like it before and was totally blown away. George Lucas crafted his best film ever and the entire cast was terrific. Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker was terrific and it was great seeing him progress from rebellious teen to full Jedi knight by the time Return of the Jedi came along 6 years later. Harrison Ford was iconic as Han Solo, kind of stole the movie from Hamill in this one. And just a few years later Ford would create another classic movie character, Indiana Jones. Carrie Fisher was spunky as Princess Leia, and she too would evolve as the series progressed. It was cool seeing screen legend Alec Guiness in a film like this and he was perfect. Also nice seeing horror/sci-fi legend Peter Cushing as well. Rounding out the cast was Mayhew as Chewbacca, Daniels as C3PO and Prowse as the imposing Darth Vader, with that cool deep voice of James Earl Jones supplying the vocals.

Star Wars was a phenomenon that set box office records and made science fiction films cool again. The lines at theaters for this film and all the other films in the Star Wars series were massive. Soon people would be showing up in Jedi robes and Stormtroopers outfits. Star Wars just became an out of this world thing. I know I have seen A New Hope at least 50 times and it never gets old. Actually the second film, The Empire Strikes Back is my favorite of the series, but Hope is the most fun. Escapes, laser shoot-outs, space battles, humor, cool visual effects, great heroes and villians all combine to make this a winning fun summer movie. The original trilogy is way better than the newer sequels because of the fun factor. The new ones, while awesome to look at can't recapture that same magic. A New Hope is the definitive summer extravaganza.


Was originally scheduled for a Christmas 1976 release, but was pushed back five months as post-production (especially special effects) took longer than expected. Studio executives were concerned that the new 25th May 1977 release date would put the film's box office chances at risk as Smokey and the Bandit (1977) would come out that same week. However, by the end of its initial theatrical run in the U.S., Star Wars (1977) had grossed over twice as much as Smokey and the Bandit (1977).

The movie opened in May 1977 and by November had dethroned Jaws (1975) as the all-time box-office champ. It then was beaten by E.T. (1982), but was back on top when it was re-released in 1997. It held that position until Titanic (1997).

The first film to make over $300,000,000 million.

The lightsaber sound effect is a combination of the hum of an idling 35mm movie projector and the feedback generated by passing a stripped microphone cable by a television.

Mark Hamill held his breath for so long during the trash compactor scene that he broke a blood vessel in his face. Subsequent shots are from one side only.

Chewbacca's "voice" is a combination of several animals including bears, badgers, walrus and camels.

Stunt doubles were not used for the scene in which Luke and Leia swing to safety. Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill performed that stunt themselves, shooting it in just one take.

Harrison Ford deliberately didn't learn his lines for the intercom conversation in the cell block, so it would sound spontaneous.

Most of the crowd watching the heroes receive their medallions are cardboard cutouts.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fun Summer Movies: BIG (1988)

Summer Release Date: 3 June 1988. Starring Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins, Robert Loggia, Mercedes Ruehl, John Heard, David Moscow, Jared Rushton, Jon Lovitz. Directed by Penny Marshall. Written by Gary Ross and Anne Spielberg.

Big was Tom Hanks first major summer hit. He had already scored some spring time hits with Bachelor Party and Splash (both 1984). But Big really put him on the map and it was no looking back after that. And what a wonderful and fun summer movie it is. The premise has 12 year Josh Baskin who wishes to be big at a fairground machine. He actually wanted to be taller but lo and behold the next morning he wakes up as a fully grown man (Hanks) even though he still is a 12 year on the inside. After a funny and tense stand-off with his mom (Ruehl) who chases him out the house with a very large kitchen knife. "What did you do with my son?" she asks. Hanks replies "I am your son, mom" And she promptly chases him through the house. It's a very funny scene and Josh tries to find the machine that he made the wish on but the carnival has already moved on. So Josh grabs his best friend Billy and they make way for New York to find the machine. Along the way Josh gets a job at a toy company (which is a dream job for a 12 year old) thanks to his play on the giant sized piano in the store with the toy company owner MacMillian (played by Robert Loggia), which is one of the most fun scenes in movie history. Josh also has to deal with the romantic advances of his new co-worker Susan (in Elizabeth Perkins best film role to date). Their scenes together are just heavenly. Things wrap up quite nicely and you leave a great feeling after watching this movie. One of Tom Hanks best movies and one fun summer movie.


Hanks was the first choice to play Josh Baskin but was unavailable due to scheduling conflicts with the films Dragnet (1987) and Punchline (1988). Robert De Niro was then offered the lead role, and was rejected because his salary demand ($6 million) was too high. Tom Hanks then became available and accepted the lead role for $2 million. David Moscow was originally cast not as young Josh, but as Billy, since he didn't look like Robert De Niro. When Tom Hanks was given the role, David Moscow was recast as young Josh.

One of five body-swap movies all released around the same time. The others were 18 Again! (1988), Vice Versa (1988), Like Father Like Son (1987) and Dream a Little Dream (1989).
Penny Marshall became the first female director to ever direct a movie that grossed more than $100 million at the box office with this movie.
The musical version of "Big" opened at the Shubert Theater on April 28, 1996, ran for 193 performances and was nominated for the 1996 Tony Awards for the Best Original Book and Score.
According to actor Robert Loggia, on the day they filmed the famous keyboard scene at F.A.O. Schwartz, he and Tom Hanks noticed that doubles dressed like them were on hand just in case the two could not do the dance moves correctly. It became their goal to do the entire keyboard number without the aid of the doubles. They succeeded.

Ranked #10 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Fantasy" in June 2008.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Happy Birthday Harrison Ford

The man who brought Han Solo and Indiana Jones to life turns 68 today. Happy Birthday Harrison Ford.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Fun Summer Movies: JURASSIC PARK (1993)

Summer Release Date: 11 June 1993. Starring Sam O'Neill, Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dern, Richard Attenborough, Samuel L. Jackson, Wayne Knight, Joseph Mazzello, Ariana Richards, B.D. Wong. Directed by Steven Spielberg. Written by Michael Crichton (based on his book).

The summer movie season got a big jolt of excitement in 1993 when Steven Spielberg delivered one of his biggest films ever. Jurassic Park showcased truly amazing visual effects than no one had seen up to that point. The too real looking dinosaurs left movie goers in utter disbelief. I remember seeing Jurassic Park when it first came out and everyone in the theater was screaming and cheering and having a great time. I won't go into details of the movie's plot because it has been done enough. But I will say that this is one of the best fun summer movies ever. With relentless action, well timed humor, narrow escapes, chases and just pure excitement, nobody does it better than Spielberg. Case in the point, the scene where the power to the park is disabled and the T-Rex gets loose and attacks the kids in the jeep. Spielberg ratches up the tension to an unbelievable pitch and you don't know if the kids are going to make it or not. That scene shows the T-Rex creation in all it's glory and it's a sight to behold.

Other notable scenes include the attack by the velociraptors and the grand appearance of the gentle Brachiosaurus. The entire cast is solid including Sam O'Neill as the paleontologist Alan Grant who becomes the hero because nobody else knows more about dinosaurs than him. Jeff Goldblum supplies most of the humor as theorist Ian Malcolm, who is just aching to tell everyone "I told ya so". Laura Dern is very good too as Ellie Sattler, a colleague of Grant's. And legendary director Richard Attenborough is on hand as the park's creator John Hammond. Also look for brief appearances by Samuel L. Jackson as a lab tech and Wayne Knight (Newman from Seinfeld) as an unscrupulous technician.

Jurassic Park was followed by two more sequels which were ok, but it's this one by far is the best.

Notable facts:

Harrison Ford turned down the lead role.

The first film to use DTS digital surround sound.

The raptors in the kitchen scene was filmed on Joseph Mazzello's birthday. Due to a misunderstanding, Joseph ran into one of the raptors on one of the takes and was injured.

Briefly held the box office record until it was beaten by Titanic four years later. JP is currently ranked 15th on the all time box office chart with $357 million dollars in North America.

Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) dresses entirely in black in both this film and its sequel. In the book, he tells Ellie Sattler that he only ever dresses in black and gray, so that he never has to waste time thinking about what to wear. Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) gives the same reason for his monotonous fashion sense in The Fly (1986).

It was while supervising post-production on this film that George Lucas decided that technology was good enough to begin work on the Star Wars prequels. Appropriately, Samuel L. Jackson was able to appear in those films as well.

Steven Spielberg was in the very early stages of pre-production for the film "ER" (based on a Michael Crichton novel), when he heard about the "Jurassic Park" book. He subsequently dumped what he was doing to make the film. Afterwards, he returned to "ER" and helped develop it into a hit TV series ("ER" (1994)).

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Be My Guest - Tracy (Gilby 37) Part 2

Here is the second part to my be my guest series with this month's guest blogger Tracy (Gilby 37). Tracy writes the terrific blog: as well as What We're Watching on TV which I contribute to as well.

My first classic movie experience is hard to pinpoint. You see I grew up in a house with a father who was a HUGE fan of classic films. My mom also watched old movies and to this day she loves classic TV (try prying her away from Hawaii Five-O or Mannix DVDs when she's watching them!) Dad was a big lover of Bette Davis so my earliest memories are of Bette -- in particular, The Private Lives of Elizabeth & Essex always sticks out in my mind as one of the first great "old" movies I saw and loved. Ironically, my mom says it was one of the movies she remembers watching while pregnant with me! [So maybe that was my first experience] I was also very lucky because every Sunday my mom took me to the matinee -- often it was a Disney re-release. As you can see, it is not surprising I have a love of classic movies. I have happy memories of watching The Wizard of Oz every year with my parents -- it was an event in the age before DVRs and DVDs. I also remember the first time Gone With The Wind was shown on TV. It was on NBC over two nights -- needless to say that was what we were watching in the Gilbert household in November of 1976. My fondest memory of sharing a classic with my siblings was watching The Poseidon Adventure every year on TV. To this day, my brother Donn will dare people not to cry when Shelley Winters sacrifices herself for the good of the group.Granted, The Poseidon Adventure may not be a classic to everyone, but I love this All Star Disaster film which to me was one of the most perfectly cast ensembles of all time.
I can't pick just one favorite movie. I have a favorite "feel good" movie, a favorite "chick" flick, and a favorite "Hollywood at its best." My favorite feel good movie is The Trouble with Angels starring Rosalind Russell and Hayley Mills. This film was a wonderful coming of age movie as well as great comedy. I also loved the way Ida Lupino directed the film -- she managed to give equal time to her established star and the rising star. Lupino was highly underrated and watching the sensitive way she handled the stars and material indicates how skillful she was. My favorite chick flick is Now, Voyager. To me, it is Bette Davis' great moment as tender character. Charlotte Vale was not the typical role Davis played. However, her poignant depiction of a spinster tranformed by friendship and love remains my favorite portrayal. In lesser hands, the final line of the film could have been laughable -- that God Bette delivered "Oh, Jerry, let's don't ask for the moon. We have the stars."

Finally, to me, Casablanca represents the ideal Hollywood classic. It is a movie that is wonderfully cast and stands the test of time. Is a romance? Yes -- but more importantly it is a story of truth. Each of the main characters discovers his/her own truth during the course of the film. Rick realizes he and Ilsa are not destined to live "happily ever after." Ilsa recognizes her genuine love for Rick but necessity to remain with Victor. Victor is not naive, I honestly believe he understands Rick's sacrifce and love for Ilsa. Last, but not least, Captain Renault discovers he can not be a stooge in the Vichy regime and goes off with Rick at the film's end. For me, the casting was outstanding, everyone fit his/her role to a tee. In addition, I still get a little teary eyed when La Marseillaise is sung by the patrons in Rick's Cafe. Rick allows Victor Laslo to lead the band and Laslo's courage inspires his fellow patrons to sing along and drown out the German officers who are singing their anthem. They don't make movies like that anymore.

I loved all your responses Tracy. The Wizard of Oz and Gone With The Wind were yearly favorites as my house too growing up. You're the second guest of mine to have chosen Bette Davis as their favorite actor/actresses. And I loved your reasoning behind Casablanca. Good stuff Tracy.


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