CAROLE LOMBARD - My Favorite Actress

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

New Poll started: Natalie Wood

In honor of Natalie Wood being my Classic Movie Goddess of the month, she is the topic of my new poll. The question is what period of Natalie's career do you enjoy the most? As a child actor, a teen-ager or as an adult. Natalie was one of the few performers who started out as a child actress and was able to carry on as a teen-ager and into adulthood without missing a beat. More than likely she would still be making movies now if it weren't for her tragic and accidental death. So take a moment to vote on the poll as it will be up all month long.

And I will list a few of her films from each period to give you an idea.

The Miracle of 34th Street
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
Father Was A Fullback
Dear Brat

Rebel Without A Cause
The Searchers
The Burning Hills

Westside Story
Inside Daisy Clover
This Property Is Condemned

Monday, August 30, 2010

Why Sandra Bullock is awesome...

I loved Sandra ever since she did the television series based on the Melanie Griffith/Harrison Ford 1988 movie, Working Girl. Yeah, over 20 years ago. She just had that lovable presence in all her films that you just like being around her. Just look at my lead off picture of her and Betty White. You can't tell me it wouldn't be fun hanging out with Sandy. And Betty too for that matter. Even when she plays a not so nice character like she did in Crash a few years ago, you still sympathize with her. And after her banner year in 2009 with The Proposal and The Blind Side, her career has never been better. Her personal life has suffered thanks to her ex-husband piece of crap Jesse James, but she is better off with out him.
Sandra is by far, my most favorite modern actress, ahead of Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow and Reese Witherspoon. And like I stated earlier, I didn't just start like Sandy recently. Even before the Working Girl series (which lasted a short 12 episodes) I remember seeing her in The Six Million Dollar Man/Bionic Woman reunion TV movie as Kate, a young woman with bionic abilities. She was cute and perky and I paid more attention to her than Lee Majors and Lindsay Wagner. It was cool seeing this fresh faced new actress on the scene. Her stint on Working Girl may not have lasted long but it did show that she had some potential comedic skills.
 Her first film that I recall seeing her in was the comedy Love Potion No. 9 which had playing a grad research student who along with her lab partner stumble across this love potion that makes both of them attractive to everyone else. Once again Sandra got to show her improving comedic abilities. She would make several more films such as the intense thriller The Vanishing with Kiefer Sutherland and Jeff Bridges; When The Party's Over, and The Thing Called Love with the late River Phoenix.
 But she got her first taste of stardom with 1993's sci-fi action film Demolition Man, starring Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes. As police officer Lenina Huxley, Sandy didn't let the boys have all the fun as she got to fight, shoot guns, and drive really fast. This film would set her up for the film that would really put her on the map, Speed, which is one of my all time favorite films. This movie is so cool as it makes Keanu Reeves an action star, Dennis Hopper doing his very best bad guy thing, and Sandy driving the runaway bus while also providing the film's best lines. After Speed became one of the biggest hits during the summer of 1994, Sandy became a genuine movie star. 

The films during the period of 1995 - 2002 would make Sandy one of the biggest actresses in the world with films such as A Time To Kill, While You Were Sleeping, Hope Floats, Practical Magic, Two Week Notice, and Miss Congeniality. Her career cooled off a bit after that but she came back strong with Crash, giving one of her best dramatic performances ever. Even as an unsympathetic wife, you still felt for her and wished her well. I will skip over her years with James and move on to what would be a banner year for her in 2009. With the summer romantic comedy smash The Proposal (which is funny as hell) and the winter release The Blind Side (which I think is her best film performance). She was her first Oscar as Best Actress for The Blind Side. Some say it was given as a consolation prize for all the turmoil that she was facing in her personal life. I don't think so. I thought she gave a terrific performance and deserved the Oscar more than anyone else that year.

I think the reason why a lot of people love Sandra Bullock is because she is so easy going and regular. We can all relate to her. She seems like that person who you would love to just be with. She's beautiful, funny, and has an amazing and friendly personality. I think she has been through a lot over the last year but will come out a better and stronger person from it. I believe she will continue to deliver more great performances in great films in the coming years. Her next film will be a family drama, co-starring none other than Tom Hanks. Color me excited for that one. And I think I will start doing regular posts of her on my blog. Reviews of her films, posting pics and whatever else that catches my fancy. So I hope that most of my followers are fans of Sandra because she will become a regular topic here on All Good Things.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

All Good Things In September

Well, the summer is about over and time for the fall to begin. I love the fall, with the cooler weather and the leaves changing color, it's just a great time of the year. In September, the Classic Movie Goddess will be Natalie Wood, whose career was cut tragically short when she accidentally fell overboard on her yacht and drowned back in 1981. I will be posting reviews, facts and photos of her all month long. My guest blogger will be Sarah from And... Scene. She graciously accepted my invitation to be interviewed about her favorites. My new monthly series which I started in August about comparing two similar movies got a lot of response from followers, so I will be doing it again. Last month I did Breakfast at Tiffany's and Butterfield 8. In September the two movies will be My Favorite Wife (1940) with Cary Grant and Irene Dunne against Move Over Darling (1963) with Doris Day and James Garner. I also will start a new poll, most likely involving Natalie Wood. So swing by every now and then to check out All Good Things in September.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Summer Under The Stars - Lee Remick August 26th on TCM

Another of my favorites, Lee Remick gets her day on TCM with several note-worthy films. They include The Wheeler Dealers, A Face In The Crowd, Telefon, Days Of Wine and Roses, Experiment in Terror and Anatomy of a Murder.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Summer Under The Stars - Elizabeth Taylor August 23rd on TCM

One of my favorite actresses gets her day on TCM's Summer Under The Stars today. It's weird too because I just did a post comparing Liz's Butterfield 8 to Audrey Hepburn's Breakfast at Tiffany's. And TCM has Butterfield 8 on the schedule for 6pm. How cool is that? Other Liz films to be shown include Lassie Come Home, National Velvet, A Place In The Sun, Father of the Bride and Raintree Country among others. So check out Liz today for one of her films.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

From Here To Eternity (1953)

Top notch film with a super cast. It takes place at Pearl Harbor, a few weeks before the attack by the Japanese. Montgomery Clift who plays Private Prewitt, arrives at the base and immediately draws the ire of the commander, who wants him to be on the boxing team. Clift refuses and his life at the barracks becomes a living hell. A truly emotional and epic film with a cast that features Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed, and Frank Sinatra. All give Oscar caliber performances especially Reed as a floozie who Clift falls for. And Sinatra is perfect as Private Maggio. A must see.

Karen: "If you're looking for the captain...he ain't here"
Sgt. Warden: "And if I ain't looking for the captain?"
Karen: "Then he still ain't here"

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Top 25 Favorite Cary Grant Films Part 2 (#1 - 12)

As promised here is my completed list of my favorite Cary Grant films, who is my favorite actor of all time. Picking up at no 12.

12.) I WAS A MALE WAR BRIDE (1949) Terrific comedy by Howard Hawks and co-starring Ann Sheridan. Cary plays Captain Henri Rochard, a French officer assigned to work with Lieut. Catherine Gates (Sheridan). Through a wacky series of misadventures, they fall in love and marry. When the war ends, Capt. Rochard tries to return to America with the other female war brides. Of course things are not that easy and Henri must resort to dressing in drag to get home. A very funny movie.

11.) IN NAME ONLY (1939) What do you get when you pair my favorite actor with my favorite actress? A heavenly film that's what. This is the only film these two did and it's a great one. One of the best tear jerkers of all time. Grant is in a loveless marriage (with the terrific Kay Francis) and falls in love with widow Julie (Lombard). Expect to do some crying when watching this one.

10.) NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959) The best film Cary and Hitchcock did. This is basically a dry run for the James Bond films that would follow a few years later. Cary plays advertising exec Roger Thornhill, who is mistaken for a spy. And then framed for a murder he didn't commit, has to go on the run. Thrilling action, beautiful locations, dastardly villians, a suave Grant, and the gorgeous Eva Marie Saint all add up to one of the best films ever made.

9.) PENNY SERENADE (1941) Very emotional drama with Grant teaming up with Irene Dunne (who I believed was his best co-star) as parents try to adopt a child and all the things they have to go through. Heart-wrenching stuff.

8.) MR. BLANDINGS BUILDS HIS DREAM HOUSE (1948) And now begins the screwball run of Cary films as my top 8 films are all comedies starting with this one. He and Myrna Loy play a married couple who are fed up with the city and move out to the country and buy this ramshackle of a house. The situations they have to deal with while trying to fix the place up are hysterical.

7.) THE BACHELOR & THE BOBBY-SOXER (1947) Another team up with Myrna Loy and it's even better than Mr. Blandings. Cary is perfect as a playboy who runs afoul of Judge Turner (Loy) and must date her younger sister (Shirley Temple) or face jail. It's a complicated story but it's funny as can be. Grant is in top form for this one.

6.) THE AWFUL TRUTH (1937) The first pairing of Cary and Irene is an absolute delight. They play a married couple who are getting a divorce and comic mishaps occur along the way. Classic screwball comedy at it's best.

5.) THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (1940) How's this for star power: Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, and Jimmy Stewart. Cary plays CK Dexter haven, the ex-husband to Kate's Tracy Lord. Well Tracy is planning on re-marrying much to the dismay of CK and a reporter (Stewart). A sophisticated comedy with three legends giving great performances.

4.) ARSENIC & OLD LACE (1944) Wicked black comedy with Cary as writer Mortimer Brewster who returns home to visit his two kind aunts and realize they are murdering elderly men who come a calling. Mortimer also has to deal with a visiting brother who has just escaped from prison (Raymond Massey) and his sidekick (Peter Lorre). And wonderfully directed by Frank Capra.

3.) MY FAVORITE WIFE (1940) This movie is hilarious. And I give all the credit to Irene Dunne in this one. She plays Ellen, a woman who was shipwrecked on a deserted island and declared dead. Well Nick, her husband (Grant) decides to move on with his life and re-marries. Lo and behold when Ellen returns home. Cary is good as usual but Irene is simply amazing. She makes the movie.

2.) BRINGING UP BABY (1938) The classic film with Grant, Katherine Hepburn, Skippy the dog (Asta from the Thin Man movies), a pet leopard named Baby, an escaped dangerous leopard, and an inept town sheriff all combine for a riot of a movie. And you won't be able to get that song out of your head, "I can't give you anything but love, Baby!".

1.) HIS GIRL FRIDAY (1940) No need to go into detail here. Not only is this my favorite Cary Grant movie, but it's my favorite movie, period. Grant as newspaper editor Walter Burns is terrific and Rosalind Russell is just as good as Hildy Johnson, his ace reporter and ex-wife. This has to be the fastest talking movie ever made. The wisecracks fly by every few seconds and you rarely have time to catch your breath. I watch it a few times every year.

So there you have my favorite Cary Grant films. I can't believe I never had done this before and I've been blogging for almost a year now. Since I've done Cary, I will have to do one for Carole Lombard now. I will try to do hers very soon.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Breakfast At Tiffany's or Butterfield 8?

There's nothing better than when people discuss a topic and each have their own distinct views that are complete opposite of one another. And, no I'm not talking politics. I'm talking about movies. Don't get me wrong, I love it when I talk to friends and co-workers and chat buddies and we love the same movies and actors. But if everyone agreed on everything all the time, the world would be a very boring place. Anyway I've recently been blogging about Audrey Hepburn a lot and while I love many of her films, Breakfast at Tiffany's is not high on that list. But I do love Butterfield 8, starring Liz Taylor. And since these are somewhat similar movies, I decided to do a post on comparing them.
First is Breakfast at Tiffany's. Audrey Hepburn is wonderful as Holly Golightly, the call girl who falls for George Peppard's Paul Varjak, who is a kept man to rich socialite Mrs. Failenson (Patricia Neal). Audrey was on a roll during this period of her career, coming off such hit films like Funny Face, Roman Holiday, and Love In The Afternoon. And she is amazing here and looks gorgeous, wearing some of the best outfits you will ever see a woman wear in film. Despite strong performances by the leads, I could never get into this film. I mean it is a well made film, and very nice to look at, but it never clicks for me. Maybe it's because I have seen it only one full time. And bits and pieces of it a few other times. And it's been at least 15 years since I've last seen it. So in fairness, it would probably be a good idea for me to watch it again so I can make a proper judgment. So Tiffany fans cut me some slack until I see it again.
Now Butterfield 8 is one film I did enjoy immensely. The fabulous Liz Taylor, who is one of my favorite actresses of all time, plays Manhattan model/call girl Gloria Wandrous (is that a great name or what?)
engages in an illicit affair with married socialite Weston Liggett (played by Laurence Harvey). Their affair soon runs out of steam when Gloria, under the mistaken impression that he'll never divorce his wife Emily (a solid Dina Merrill) and marry her, decides to begin a new life in Boston. This is pure 60's soap opera trash, but it's good trash. Liz never looked better, especially when strutting around in negligees or skimpy clothes. And Liz while winning an Oscar for Best Actress, sometimes goes over the top, but it still works. I don't know why I like this film more than Tiffany's but I just do. Probably because I like Liz a little more than Audrey and I've seen Butterfield 8 at least three times. It's the type of film, you can't believe you're still watching after an hour or so, not because it's so good, but because it's just good trashy, melodramatic fun. And I will give Tiffany's the edge in being the better made film, and maybe because my expectations are so low for Butterfield 8, but give me Liz all day long. But I guess the best thing you could do is watch a double bill of both these films and make the decision which do you prefer the most. Or just say that you like them both. I'll let everyone know once I watch Tiffany's again. But this was a fun post for me to write and I may to more posts comparing similar movies.

Notes: Butterfield 8 premiered November 1960 while Breakfast At Tiffany's debuted nearly a year later in October. It's ironic about the similarities between these two films: both cost around $2.5 million to make and both earned roughly the same amount of $15 million. So they were both hits and both had leading ladies that carried each respective film.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My Top 25 Favorite Cary Grant Films Part 1 (#13 - 25)

I've done lists on a lot of things because I love making lists. You know ranking your favorite such and such. So I can't believe I have never ranked my favorite Cary Grant films since he is my favorite actor of all time. Well I'm making up for that right now with this top 25 list (I had to make the cut somewhere) of my personal favorite Cary Grant films.

25.) MR. LUCKY (1943) Cary is gambler Joe Adams, who assumes the identity of a dead gangster in order to avoid the draft. He schemes to use a war relief charity to get his gambling operation up and going. That is until he meets Dorothy Bryant (played by Laraine Day) who is one of the administrators of said war relief charity. This is a breezy light comedy/drama that shows Cary in a different light i.e. a criminal. But Cary also gets to have several comedic moments. One of his lesser known efforts but still a very good one.

24.) CHARADE (1964) A very Hitchcockian mystery/thriller with Grant as Peter Joshua, a mysterious man who helps Audrey Hepburn find her recently deceased husband's missing money. Of course, everything is not what it seems in this delightful movie which mixes action, mystery, romance and comedy perfectly. Grant and Hepburn make a wonderful team.

23.) NONE BUT THE LONELY HEART (1944) Cary gets to strut a Cockney accent as no good son Ernie Mott, who returns home to care for his ailing mother (the great Ethel Barrymore). Cary gets to show some dramatic range in this effective drama. Co-starring Jane Wyatt and June Duprez.

22.) SUSPICION (1941) The first pairing between Grant and Alfred Hitchcock is a solid thriller. Here he plays smooth gambler Johnny Aysgarth who meets and romances shy Lina (played by Joan Fontaine). Well after they are married, Lina begins to suspect that Johnny is not all who he seems to be. A good start to Grant and Hitchcock's partnership that would only get better.

21.) MONKEY BUSINESS (1952) For my money, I always thought Grant was best when working with director Howard Hawks. No offense Hitch, but let the films that Grant and Hawks did together speak for themselves: His Girl Friday, Bringing Up Baby, Only Angels Have Wings, I Was A Male War Bride and this entertaining comedy which had Grant and Ginger Rogers as a married couple who thanks to Grant's fountain of youth pill, start acting like kids. Look for Marilyn Monroe as Grant's secretary. Good fun. The scene where Grant dresses up like an Indian and gets all the local neighborhood gets to capture his rival is hilarious.

20.) NOTORIOUS (1946) The second pairing between Grant and Hitch is an entertaining thriller with starpower between Grant as a government agent and Ingrid Bergman as a woman he recruits for a dangerous mission. Slick, grand Hollywood movie magic.

19.) OPERATION PETTICOAT (1959) This is one of those check your brain at the door kind of movies. But it's all good fun as Grant and Tony Curtis have the only pink submarine during World War 2, and also have 5 young attractive nurses on board. Good clean fun.

18.) HOLIDAY (1938) Cary is free thinker Johnny Case who is about to marry the very rich Julie, but ends up falling for her black sheep sister Linda (played by Katherine Hepburn). Not your pure screwball comedy, but it does have some screwball moments. But this film mainly works as a light comedy with several doses of drama.

17.) TO CATCH A THIEF (1955) Pure Hollywood glitz as Grant plays suave ex-cat burglar John Robie on the French Riveria. A rash of thefts prompt the local police to believe Robie is back up to his old tricks. So Robie works to clear his name while also romancing the gorgeous Frances Stevens (played by Grace Kelly). This was the third team-up between Grant and Hitch and it proved to be very successful.

16.) ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS (1939) Grant is Geoff Carter, a pilot who runs a small airline company in South America, is up to his neck dealing with dangerous flying conditions, a stranded showgirl(Jean Arthur) and an ex flame (Rita Hayworth) who turns up with a new husband and rival pilot. Heroics and drama take center stage in this exciting film directed by Howard Hawks.

15.) TOPPER (1937) Manic screwball farce with Grant and Constance Bennett as fun loving couple George and Marion Kerby who after dying in a car crash, return as ghosts. They take it upon themselves to lighten up the life of their stuffy banker Cosmo Topper (played by Roland Young). Entertaining fantasy/comedy, that was followed by two sequels but without the services of Cary.

14.) GUNGA DIN (1939) In this rip roaring action thriller, three British soldiers and a native must stop a Thuggee cult in India. Grant is Cutter while Douglas Fairbanks Jr and Victor McLaglen play his buddies. And Sam Jaffe is memorable as Gunga Din. Exciting adventure yarn directed by George Stevens.

13.) FATHER GOOSE (1964) Grant is perfect as a crochety beachcomber during WW2 who spots enemy planes for his government on his own little island. His party is crashed when a French schoolteacher (Leslie Caron) arrives on the run from the Japanese with her pupils in tow. Good old fashioned fun and one of Cary's best latter day films.

So that's my first part to my favorite Cary Grant films of all time. Check back in a few days when I post the second part.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Rosalind Russell - Classic Movie Goddess August 2010

Here are some personal quotes by Roz:

Acting is standing up naked and turning around very slowly.

Success is a public affair. Failure is a private funeral.

At MGM there was a first wave of top stars, and a second wave to replace them in case they got difficult. I was second in line of defence, behind Myrna Loy.
Flops are part of a life's menu and I've never been a girl to miss out on any of the courses.

In all those types of films I wore a tan suit, a grey suit, a beige suit and then a negligee for the seventh reel near the end when I would admit to my best friend on the telephone that what I really wanted was to become a little housewife.

Taste. You cannot buy such a rare and wonderful thing. You can't send away for it in a catalogue. And I'm afraid it's becoming obsolete.

Taking joy in life is a woman's best cosmetic.

Being given good material is like being assigned to bake a cake and having the batter made for you

Be My Guest - Laura (Part 3)

Here is my final part to my chat with guest of the month Laura from her wonderful blog Laura's Miscellaneous Musings.

Monty: Any current stars catch your fancy, if so who are they?
Laura: I like Julia Roberts a great deal and will usually try out her movies. She's always interesting and seems to do a good job selecting her projects. I also like that she has produced quality children's movies with the American Girl series.
Monty: I like Julia as well Laura

Monty: What is your favorite movie quote?
Laura: I've been pondering my favorite film quote and finding it hard to pull a quote out of the air, but the first thing that came to mind is "Get it done, Johnny Reb!" from RIO GRANDE (1950), which we tend to say at our house when we're telling our kids to get a move on doing their chores. :)
Monty: I'm imagining you saying that your kids and I'm smiling.

Monty: If you could be any movie character, who would it be and why?
Laura: Another hard question...I'd probably want to be Esther Smith in MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, so I could live in that beautiful house!
Monty: Cool. You can never wrong with Judy.

I like to thank Laura for being my guest this month as I
enjoyed her wonderful answers and entertaining stories.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Strange and Wonderful Film Career of Julie Andrews

Just recently posted about Mary Poppins and thought I would write something about Julie Andrews. Julie had a dream start to her film career. Her very first film was Mary Poppins in 1964. She was perfect, handling the role with the right touch of light comedy and some drama. She even did her own singing. She was awarded with an Oscar for Best Actress. Not too many people have won Best Actor/Actress with their very first film role. I don't know the number but it's got to be a very short list. Her next film was the comedy/drama The Americanization of Emily, which further cemented her rising film career. As great a start was her career, it could have been even better had she snagged the leading role in the film version of My Fair Lady. Studio executives didn't want to trust their big budget musical on a stage actress, even though Julie was wonderful in the stage version. She even starred with Rex Harrison, who wanted her badly to be in the film version with him. Audrey Hepburn ended up getting the role, but Julie won the Oscar that year so it still turned out pretty good for her.

But nobody could predict the blockbuster that would follow...The Sound Of Music,with Julie playing Maria Von Trapp. Her performance was amazing and somehow she didn't win an Oscar. I'm guessing the Academy was like there was no way they were going to give Julie a second \award for only her third film role. Music ended up making over $160 million in America alone, which was a huge amount in 1964 dollars. Julie decided to mix things up after that with a role in Alfred Hitchcock's Torn Curtain, which is ok but not one of his best films. Then she did a few more musicals such as Thoroughly Modern Millie, Star, and Darling Lili. And that may be the reason her career took such a downturn.

Musicals were on their way out during the late 60's because audiences tastes were shifting but studios were still cranking them out with Julie as the lead like no other star of the decade, save for Barbara Steistrand, who eventually wised up and started making big studio films like The Way We Were. Anwyay back to Julie, she married comedy director Blake Edwards and he tapped her unused comedic talents. First up was 10, the Dudley Moore comedy that introduced the world to Bo Derek. Julie was good in this film, but let's face it the main attraction was Bo. So for Edwards next film S.O.B., Julie ended up baring her breasts for this film that poked fun at Hollywood. It was a misfire. But the husband and wife team returned with Victor/Victoria which was a marvelous film, bubt once again another box-office miss.

Julie was struggling at this time, and didn't bounce back until the double hit of the film series The Princess Diaries and Shrek during the decade of 2000. 5 films that generated tons of cash and put Julie back in the good graces of movie lovers once again.Take away this year's earlier film Tooth Fairy, Julie rebounded with this summer's Despicable Me. So it has been a long and strange career for Julie, at over 50 years in the business, with ups and downs. But through it all she is still here and back doing good film work.


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