CAROLE LOMBARD - My Favorite Actress

Monday, December 28, 2009

Classic Movie Goddess Of The Month - Grace Kelly

The classic movie goddess for the month of January is Grace Kelly. Her Hollywood career may have been shortened once she married Prince Rainier of Monaco, but her impact was still very powerful. And the tragic auto accident that ended her life prematurely at age 52, only strengthen her image and body of work to millions of fans. Here is a quick bio of Grace's life and work.

On November 12, 1929, Grace Patricia Kelly was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to wealthy parents. Her girlhood was uneventful for the most part, but one of the things she desired was to become an actress which she had decided on at an early age. After her high school graduation in 1947, Grace struck out on her own, heading to New York's bright lights to try her luck there. Grace worked some as a model and made her debut on Broadway in 1949. She also made a brief foray into the infant medium of television. Not content with the work in New York, Grace moved to Southern California for the more prestigious part of acting -- motion pictures. In 1951, she appeared in her first film entitled Fourteen Hours (1951) when she was 22. It was a small part, but a start nonetheless. The following year she landed the role of Amy Kane in High Noon (1952), a western starring Gary Cooper and Lloyd Bridges which turned out to be very popular. In 1953, Grace appeared in only one film, but it was another popular one. The film was Mogambo (1953) where Grace played Linda Nordley. The film was a jungle drama in which fellow cast members, Clark Gable and Ava Gardner turned in masterful performances. It was also one of the best films ever released by MGM. Although she got noticed with High Noon, her work with director Alfred Hitchcock, which began with Dial M for Murder (1954) made her a star. Her standout performance in Rear Window (1954) brought her to prominence. As Lisa Fremont, she was cast opposite James Stewart, who played a crippled photographer who witnesses a murder in the next apartment from his wheelchair. Grace stayed busy in 1954 appearing in five films. Grace would forever be immortalized by winning the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Georgie Elgin opposite Bing Crosby in The Country Girl (1954). In 1955, Grace once again teamed with Hitchcock in To Catch a Thief (1955) co-starring Cary Grant. In 1956, she played Tracy Lord in the musical comedy High Society (1956) which also starred Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby. The whimsical tale ended with her re-marrying her former husband, played by Crosby. The film was well received. It also turned out to be her final acting performance. Grace had recently met and married Prince Rainier of Monaco. By becoming a princess, she gave up her career. For the rest of her life, she was to remain in the news with her marriage and her three children. On September 14, 1982, Grace was killed in an automobile accident in her adoptive home country. She was just 52 years old.

So I will be honoring Grace all month long with pics, facts, personal reviews of her films, and other assorted good things. A one of a kind woman and mother and princess.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

New Blog Started

Welcome To Screwball Cinema

Welcome everyone to this new blog called Screwball Cinema. Screwball comedies are my favorite type of movies, so this blog will be dedicated solely to this fun and entertaining genre. Covering all the classics and little known screwball gems that some people might not know about. We will also discuss the actors and actresses who contributed to this genre and excelled at it. I hope this will be one of the more interesting blogs out here. Just click on the title Welcome to Screwball Cinema and the link will take you directly there.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Sister Blog To All Good Things

 While my main blog deals solely with classic films and actors, I needed another blog where I could talk about my love of sci-fi, fantasy, horror and comic books and stuff of that nature. The title is called Hero Worship. And my love of all things sci-fi and fantasy, especially Star Trek, makes that an appropriate title. Well, I had to call my blog something and I didn't want to go with some generic title like The Sci-Fi/Fantasy Page. Anyway. I hope to run into several fans and like minded people on that blog. Will cover everything from Trek, Star Wars, Buffy, Firefly, Supernatural, X-Men, sci-fi films and tv shows and comic books and more. The link to the blog is down below.

Kate Mulgrew

Merry Christmas To All From Virgina Grey

Actress Virgina Grey circa 1939

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Classic Movie Photo of the Day - Holiday Inn

Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Marjorie Reynolds, Virgina Dale in

Christmas In Connecticut is one of my favorite films....

If I had to choose one Christmas movie to watch during the holidays I would probably choose Christmas In Connecticut (1945). I know there have been countless blogs and posts written about this classic so I won't add another review of this by now familiar tale. Suffice to say, this film works because of just two little words: Barbara Stanwyck. She is positively amazing as columnist Elizabeth Lane, viewed today as the Martha Stewart of her day. Except for the fact that Ms. Lane's description of herself and her abilities is all lies. She can't cook, doesn't know a thing about decorating or antiques, and definitely does not live the family life on a farm in Connecticut as she has told all her loyal readers. Needless to say her lack of skills will be tested when her publisher puts her on the spot to cook a family Christmas dinner for a wounded returning soldier (Dennis Morgan). I simply think this is one of the best of the Christmas films from yesteryear. And when you think about it, the film really is not about Christmas per se, but it's story just happens to take place during  Christmas. That won't stop anyone from enjoying this film though. But you will find hearty laughs and a nice comfort feeling while watching this film. As I stated before Barbara Stanwyck is definitely the star of this movie and she carries it like a seasoned professional. Her comic timing, which was not used nearly enough in her stellar career, is perfection. She looks absolutely stunning and plays off her fellow co-stars with ease. Delivering some of the best lines with that sly twinkle in her eyes. One of the scenes I love is when the owner of the magazine requests that she do her sensational high pancake flip that she is famous for. Of course Elizabeth has never tossed a pancake in her life, so the look of her face as she steps up to the stove and grabs the pan to flip the pancake looks like a person marching to the electric chair. I recommend Christmas In Connecticut as a perfect movie to view with friends and family over the holiday. You won't regret it.

Screwball Wednesdays - Theodora Goes Wild (1936)

I started thinking about weekly blogs based on a specific day for a specific genre. And since Wednesday is known as hump day, where most people are trying to get through another trying week on their job, school, family, etc..what better genre than screwball comedies to get you through the day. Screwball comedies are probably my favorite type of movies. I just love the zany situations the characters find themselves in. So every Wednesday I will blog about a screwball comedy, of which there are tons of them. And to kick it off, I just watched the 1936 classic Theodora Goes Wild with a marvelous Irene Dunne.

Dunne plays small town girl Theodora Lynn, who lives with her two aunts in the quaint little town of Lynnfield. The town is small and pretty much ran by the women who likes to keep things simple and nice and decent. The women's literary club are at constant odds with the local newspaper who likes to run articles about the author Caroline Adams, who is a famous writer, known for her scandalous stories. The catch is Theodora is actually Caroline and lives a double life, keeping her family and townspeople in the dark about her other half. Theodora visits her uncle in New York, who has been written off by the family because of his own reputation. She uses that as her cover to see her publisher, who constantly tries to convince her to meet her adoring fans. Theodora holds her ground and ends up meeting Michael Grant, who is her book jacket illustrator, played by the always entertaining Melvyn Douglas. Once Theodora leaves New York to head back home, Michael follows her and makes life for her very complicated. The nosy townspeople wonder what he's doing in town and Theodora quickly puts him to work around her family's house. Of course things become harder and harder to keep secret especially when Theodora falls in love in Michael. There are a few dramatic scenes in this movie, like when Theodora goes off on the other women in town about her relationship with Michael. And a subplot involving a friend of Theodora who is run off from town because of the man she chose to marry, and eventually have a child with. But there are lots of moments of screwball hilarity that will have you busting a gut. Irene Dunne, one of my favorites, excels in these types of roles and she hits the mark again with this one. Her natural flair for comedy is most evident in her scenes with Douglas. They make quite the charming pair.

Theodora Goes Wild is one of the best screwball comedies ever made. And Dunne proves she is definitely one of the queens of comedy. I would rank her right up there with Carole Lombard and Myrna Loy. I enjoyed this film from start to finish. I loved the dog that Douglas's character picked up on the way into town and named him Jake...and the bond the two formed. I loved Theodora's two aunts, who were at first like all the other women in town, wound too tight and didn't care for any signs of questionable characters. But once they found out that their niece was the scandalous novelist, they didn't hesitate to have Theodora's back and slam anyone else for thinking bad of her. I also loved the newspaper editor who liked irking the Women's Literary Group just for the heck of it. All so many little things and other characters made this a highly entertaining movie. One I could watch over and over. Theodora Goes Wild will definitely make those Wednesdays much more bearable.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

My Top 20 Favorite Actors

I saw recently where a lot of people have been making their top 20 lists of favorite actors and actresses. So I decided to finally list my favorites. I will start with the men as most others as done as well. Here we go:

1. Cary Grant
Favorite Roles: His Girl Friday, My Favorite Wife, and Arsenic &Old Lace

2. William Holden
Favorite Roles: Sunset Boulevard, Stalag 17, Union Station

3. Jack Lemmon
Favorite Roles: Some Like It Hot, The Out-of-Towners, The Odd Couple

4. Sidney Poitier
Favorite Roles: Lilies Of The Field, Guess Who's Coming To Dinner, To Sir With Love

5. James Garner
Favorite Roles: The Great Escape, Thrill Of It All, Support Your Local Sheriff

 6. William Powell
Favorite Roles: The Thin Man series, Libeled Lady, Mister Roberts

7. Frank Sinatra
Favorite Roles: From Here To Eternity, Ocean's Eleven, Suddenly

8. James Stewart
Favorite Roles: Rear Window, Destry Rides Again, The Philadelphia Story

9. Humphrey Bogart
Favorite Roles: The Big Sleep, The Maltese Falcon, To Have and Have Not

10. Dean Martin
Favorite Roles: Rio Bravo, Some Came Running, Ocean's Eleven

11. Steve McQueen
Favorite Roles: Bullitt, The Magnificent Seven, The Getaway

12. Paul Newman
Favorite Roles: Cool Hand Luke, The Hustler, The Verdict

13. Clark Gable
Favorite Roles: It Happened One Night, Gone With The Wind, Red Dust

14. Fred Astaire
Favorite Roles: Top Hat, Easter Parade, Holiday Inn

15. James Cagney
Favorite Roles: The Roaring Twenties, Yankee Doodle Dandy, White Heat

16. Errol Flynn
Favorite Roles: Robin Hood, Dodge City, Captain Blood

17. Glenn Ford
Favorite Roles: Gilda, The Big Heat,The Courtship Of Eddie's Father

18. Tony Curtis
Favorite Roles: Some Like It Hot, Operation Petticoat

19. Melvyn Douglas
Favorite Roles: Ninotchka, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, Theodora Goes Wild

20. John Wayne
Favorite Roles: Rio Bravo, The Quiet Man, The Searchers

Happy Birthday Jane Fonda


And today TCM is showing several of her movies including:
IN THE COOL OF THE DAY (1963) with Angela Lansbury at 2:30pm
SUNDAY IN NEW YORK (1963) with Rod Taylor and Cliff Robertson at 4pm
BAREFOOT IN THE PARK (1967) with Robert Redford at 6pm

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Great Film Performances: Vivien Leigh - Gone With The Wind

A truly remarkable performance that is just uncanny. Vivien Leigh portrayal of Scarlett O'Hara in the monumental classic film Gone With The Wind is pretty much perfection. She was only 25 when she was cast in the role that nearly every actress in Hollywood auditioned for. Leigh had only appeared in 9 films, all smaller English films before the chance to play Scarlett came along. I know it's always said once you see an actor or actress in a certain part, that you couldn't imagine anyone else doing the role any better. But in this case of Leigh, I don't see how anyone else would even come close to matching the performance that Leigh does in this film. Leigh has never been better as she was when playing Scarlett. Her character really dominates the film, which is saying a lot when you have a 4 hour epic and your co-star is Clark Gable, who is no slouch himself as dashing Rhett Butler. And the supporting cast is as good as any for an epic film of this size. With Olivia de Havilland as the saintly Melanie; Leslie Howard as Ashley; and Hattie McDaniel as Mammy. But it all comes back to Leigh who is fiery, passionate, charming, and manipulative in a positively electric performance. What makes Scarlett such an intriguing character to me is the fact that she is oblivious to those around her who think of her as this scheming wench. But through all the trials and dangers she face, Scarlett is able to come through it as a hard fought survivor, which makes her a better person. Leigh deservedly won an Oscar for her stunning performance and became one of Hollywood's biggest female stars. Her career post Wind never did really skyrocket but she did win another Oscar for A Streetcar Named Desire, which was another solid performance. But I love her Scarlett O'Hara just a little bit more. TCM recently played Gone With The Wind in celebration of Wind's 70th anniversary and the movie is better than ever. Bolstered by Leigh's undeniable center of the universe performance. One of the best to grace the silver screen ever.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

TCM celebrating 70th Anniversary of Gone With The Wind tonight

TCM is playing Gone With The Wind tonight at 8pm in celebration of the film's 70th anniversary. Make plans to attend.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Classic Movie Goddess Of The Month - Marilyn Monroe Part 4

Actually I should be featuring another actress this week, but I'm still on Marilyn. What can I say, she was fabulous. And if no one objects, I will continue on with another week with Ms. Monroe. Here are some of her most famous personal quotes.

I love a natural look in pictures. I like people with a feeling one way or another - it shows an inner life. I like to see that there's something going on inside them.

My problem is that I drive myself... I'm trying to become an artist, and to be true, and sometimes I feel I'm on the verge of craziness, I'm just trying to get the truest part of myself out, and it's very hard. There are times when I think, 'All I have to be is true'. But sometimes it doesn't come out so easily. I always have this secret feeling that I'm really a fake or something, a phony.

No one ever told me I was pretty when I was a little girl. All little girls should be told they're pretty, even if they aren't.

To put it bluntly, I seem to have a whole superstructure with no foundation. But I'm working on the foundation.

Sex is a part of nature. I go along with nature.

A sex-symbol becomes a thing, I just hate being a thing. But if I'm going to be a symbol of something I'd rather have it sex than some other things we've got symbols of.

If I had observed all the rules, I'd never have gotten anywhere.

Fame is fickle, and I know it. It has it's compensations but it also has it's drawbacks, and I've experienced them both.

My illusions didn't have anything to do with being a fine actress. I knew how third rate I was. I could actually feel my lack of talent, as if it were cheap clothes I was wearing inside. But my God, how I wanted to learn, to change, to improve!

Wouldn't it be nice to be like men and get notches in your belt and sleep with most attractive men and not get emotionally involved?

When Clark Gable died, I cried for 2 days straight. I couldn't eat or sleep.

Talent is developed in privacy... but everybody is always tugging at you. They'd all like sort of a chunk at you. They'd kind of like to take pieces out of you.

"Lost Treasure" Found

Before DVDS came out, I had a quite large collection of movies on VHS. I ended up either giving most of them away or selling them through a yard sale. The rest I packed up in a box and put out in my shed. Flash forward 10 years later and I needed to see Pillow Talk for a weekly discussion with Dawn on Doris Day movies. I couldn't remember if I had Talk on VHS or not so I go look for it. I had to dig through some stuff to get to said box, but once I found it, guess what the first movie that I came across was? Yep, it was Pillow Talk. But then I started sorting through the box which had about 70 or 80 tapes in there and look at the list of movies I had in there:

Kiss Me Stupid (1964) Dean Martin, Kim Novak
The Trouble With Harry (1955) Shirley MacLaine
Saboteur (1942) Robert Cummings, Priscilla Lane
The Ghost Breakers (1942) Bob Hope, Paulette Goddard
The Chalk Garden (1964) Deborah Kerr, Hayley Mills
His Girl Friday (1940) Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell
Stage Door (1937) Katherine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers
The Snake Pit (1948) Olivia DeHavilland
All About Eve (1950) Bette Davis, Anne Baxter
The Miracle Of Morgan's Creek (1945) Betty Hutton, Eddie Bracken
Straw Dogs (1971) Dustin Hoffman, Susan George
The Night Of The Iguana (1964) Richard Burton, Deborah Kerr, Ava Gardner
Arsenic & Old Lace (1944) Cary Grant, Priscilla Lane
The Bad & The Beautiful (1952) Kirk Douglas, Lana Turner
Picnic (1955) William Holden, Kim Novak, Rosalind Russell
Libeled Lady (1936) William Powell, Spencer Tracy, Jean Harlow, Myrna Loy
Singin' In The Rain (1952) Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds
The Graduate (1967) Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft
Some Came Running (1959) Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Shirley MacLaine
Mr. and Mrs. Smith (1941) Carole Lombard, Robert Montgomery
The Avengers box set with Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg

Finding these lost movies was like Christmas morning for me. Because I haven't seen most of these films in years. So you know what I will be doing the next few weeks or so. Just wanted to share my lost find with everyone.

Happy Birthday Lee Remick

One of my favorite actresses....

Sunday, December 13, 2009

New Changes

Hey everyone, just wanted to let you know I changed my page around a little bit. Little things like the color scheme and a new, bigger picture of La Liz. And added more pics to my sidebar including Bette Davis and Tony Curtis.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Classic Movie Goddess Of The Month - Marilyn Monroe Part 3

Part 3 of my weekly blog devoted to a classic movie goddess centers on what I think are the essential films of that actress. This week being Marilyn Monroe, these films are her must see films to see her at her very best.

THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH (1955) Monroe shines as every guy's fantasy object. So much a fantasy that her name is never revealed. She is just named The Girl. Classic scene with MM in her white dress standing over a subway grate when a train passes by underneath, sending up a gust of wind that blows her dress. Heavenly.
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SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959) The classic comedy from director Billy Wilder, who also did The Seven Year Itch. Marilyn rocks it as Sugar Kane, singer of all female traveling band, that picks up Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon in girl disguise. The fireworks take place down in Miami. Hilarious fun ensues.

GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES (1953) Marilyn teams with Jane Russell as lounge singers on a transatlantic cruise, working their way to Paris, and enjoying the company of any eligible men they might meet along the way. Monroe knocks them dead as Lorelei Lee and delivers some stunning musical numbers. And believe it or not, manages to dispense some wisdom like this little quote: "Don't you know that a man being rich is like a girl being pretty? You wouldn't marry a girl just because she's pretty, but my goodness, doesn't it help? ". Classic.
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NIAGARA (1953) A change of pace for Marilyn as she plays Rose Loomis, a married woman, on vacation with her husband, who is secretly planning to kill him with the help of her lover. Marilyn is sultry, sexy, and dangerous and wows the entire audience. One of her most underrated films of all.

THE MISFITS (1961) Monroe's penultimate film is strong and emotional stuff. She plays Roslyn, a recent divorcee, who runs into some men, who are trying to rope some wild horses in the southwest. Monroe holds her own with veterans Clark Gable and Montgomery Clift. But be warned, this is definitely not the light and frothy Marilyn pics of her early career. More dark and tense. But still very good.
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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bonus Poll For The Month

I added a second poll for this month honoring Marilyn Monroe. Out of these 6 films, which do you think is Marilyn's best: Some Like It Hot, The Seven Year Itch, Niagara, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Bus Stop, and There's No Business Like Show Business.
I made my choice already.

Some Like It Hot - Running Wild

Don't Make Waves (1967) is frothy fun...60's style

This is one of those movies not too many people may know about. I saw it the other night on TCM and liked it. It's not the usual 60's style sex comedy with tons of laughs or really much deep thought. Actually it's kinda weird in certain scenes but it held my interest the entire time. Tony Curtis plays New Yorker Carlo Cofield, newly arrived in Southern California, who while stopping at the local beach, has one hell of a day. He runs into quirky artist Laura (played by Claudia Cardinale) who manages to send Carlo's car running downhill off the side of the road, crashing and burning. He loses all his belongings and once Laura finds out it was her fault, does the only sensible thing...she takes him home with her. Of course Laura has a sugar daddy...a married executive named Rod Prescott (played by Robert Webber) who takes offense to Carlo being there. Well Rod kicks Carlo out, who has to sleep on the beach overnight. The next day Carlo goes swimming in the beach and gets promptly knocked out by oncoming surfers. He is pulled from the water and given CPR by a lovely girl named Malibu, who also happens to be a sky could happen (love the name and she is played by Sharon Tate). Carlo immediately is smitten with her and puts in motion a plan to seduce her. All he is to do is avoid her boyfriend Harry, a hulk of a body-builder. In the meantime, Carlo finagles his way into Rod's office and secures a job through blackmail. If Rod doesn't agree, Carlo goes straight to his wife Diane (wonderfully played by Joanna Barnes). So Carlo is now in the business of selling pools, which is very lucrative in California. And has to deal with three beguiling women. Everyone ends up at Carlo's hillside house during a severe rainstorm and eventual mudslide. A lot happens in this movie doesn't it? Like I said it's not the greatest but it does have it's moments. And the cast is very easy on the eyes. Curtis is in tip top shape as he has several scenes sans his shirt. And he gets most of the best lines in this movie. He even has a scene with Tate jumping from a airplane doing a skydive. Well Carlo passes out because he looses his parachute and it's one of the funniest reactions you will ever see. The women all are stunning especially Cardinale. Tate looks great too, but her part is very under-demanding. Joanna Barnes delivers the best performance of the three as the much put upon wife who is smarter than everyone else in the movie except maybe for Curtis. So all in all Don't Make Waves is a diverting comedy that will pass the time quite quickly at 97 minutes. Two sidenotes, the musical score is by Vic Mizzy, who did the Green Acres TV show score. And Jim Backus shows up with his wife and they play themselves in a cool little scene as Carlo tries to sell them a pool. Backus even gets to do a Mr. Magoo impression. Like I said a lot of stuff happens in this movie.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Classic Movie Goddess Of The Month - Marilyn Monroe Part 2

Here are some of the more notable facts and bits of trivia about Ms. Monroe:

Height: 5'5 1/2"
Nickname: MM, The Blonde Bombshell

Arthur Miller (29 June 1956 - 20 January 1961) (divorced)
Joe DiMaggio (14 January 1954 - 27 October 1954) (divorced)
James Dougherty (19 June 1942 - 13 September 1946) (divorced)

Was 1947's Miss California Artichoke Queen.

Was roommates with Shelley Winters when they were both starting out in Hollywood.

Appeared on the first cover of Playboy in 1953.

Childhood photos show she was born blonde, but her hair turned "mousy" as she grew older.

During the filming of Niagara (1953), she was still under contract as a stock actor, thus, she received less salary than her make-up man. This was also the only film in which her character died. The film was reworked to highlight her after Anne Bancroft withdrew.

Fearing blemishes, she washed her face fifteen times a day.

She was suggested as a possible wife for Prince Rainier of Monaco. He later married actress Grace Kelly.

Wore glasses.

When told she was not the star in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) Marilyn was quoted "Well whatever I am, I'm still the blonde."

Named 2nd Greatest Movie Star of all time by Premier Magazine, behind #1 Cary Grant and after #3 Tom Cruise

Was named #6 Actress on The American Film Institute's 50 Greatest Screen Legends

Was good friends with Dorothy Dandridge and Ava Gardner when they were all young, struggling actresses in Hollywood.

Her personal library contained over 400 books on topics ranging from art to history, psychology, philosophy, literature, religion, poetry, and gardening. Many of the volumes, auctioned in 1999, bore her pencil notations in the margins.

Started using the name Marilyn Monroe in 1946, but did not legally change it until 1956.

The licensing of Marilyn's name and likeness, handled world-wide by Curtis Management Group, reportedly nets the Monroe estate about $2 million a year.

Often carried around the book, "The Biography of Abraham Lincoln."

Suffered from endometriosis, a condition in which tissues of the uterus lining (endometrium) leave the uterus, attach themselves to other areas of the body, and grow, causing pain, irregular bleeding, and, in severe cases, infertility.

Went to Van Nuys High School (Los Angeles) in the early 1940s but never graduated.

Batman writer/artist Bob Kane used Marilyn's likeness as a reference when he drew Vicki Vale.

The Emily Ann Faulkner/Rita Shawn character (played by Kim Stanley) in the John Cromwell film The Goddess (1958) was based on her.

On May 19, 1962 she performed for president John F. Kennedy at his 45th birthday tribute in his honor at Madison Square Garden. She sang "Happy Birthday".

Monday, December 7, 2009

Frank Capra Night on TCM - Monday, Dec 7th

Tonight on TCM, a selection of legendary director Frank Capra's films are being aired. They are: It Happened One Night, Mr. Deeds Goes To Town, You Can't Take It With You, Arsenic & Old Lace and Platinum Blonde. The festival starts at 8pm tonight.

Classic Movie Goddess Of The Week - Marilyn Monroe

Of course you can't have a blog called Classic Movie Goddess and not include the divine Ms. Monroe. It's just a given that she would make the list. The legendary star was born Norma Jean Mortensen on June 1, 1926 in Los Angeles. Prior to her birth, Marilyn's father bought a motorcycle and headed north to San Francisco, abandoning the family in Los Angeles. Marilyn grew up not knowing for sure who her father really was. Her mother, Gladys, had entered into several relationships, further confusing her daughter as to who it was who fathered her. Afterward, Gladys gave Norma Jean (Marilyn) the name of Baker, a boyfriend she had before Mortenson. Poverty was a constant companion to Gladys and Norma. Gladys, who was extremely attractive and worked for RKO Studios as a film cutter, suffered from mental illness and was in and out of mental institutions for the rest of her life, and because of that Norma Jean spent time in foster homes. When she was nine she was placed in an orphanage where she was to stay for the next two years. Upon being released from the orphanage, she went to yet another foster home. In 1942, at the age of 16, Norma Jean married 21-year-old aircraft plant worker James Dougherty. The marriage only lasted four years, and they divorced in 1946. By this time Marilyn began to model swimsuits and bleached her hair blonde. Various shots made their way into the public eye, where some were eventually seen by RKO Pictures head Howard Hughes. He offered Marilyn a screen test, but an agent suggested that 20th Century-Fox would be the better choice for her, since it was a much bigger and more prestigious studio. She was signed to a contract at $125 per week for a six-month period and that was increased by $25 per week at the end of that time when her contract was lengthened.

Her first film was in 1947 with a bit part in The Shocking Miss Pilgrim (1947). Her next production was not much better, a bit in the eminently forgettable Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay! (1948). Two of the three brief scenes she appeared wound up on the cutting room floor. Later that same year she was given a somewhat better role as Evie in Dangerous Years (1947). However, Fox declined to renew her contract, so she went back to modeling and acting school.

Columbia Pictures then picked her up to play Peggy Martin in Ladies of the Chorus (1948), where she sang two numbers. Notices from the critics were favorable for her, if not the film, but Columbia dropped her. Once again Marilyn returned to modeling. In 1949 she appeared in United Artists' Love Happy (1949). It was also that same year she posed nude for the now famous calendar shot which was later to appear in Playboy magazine in 1953 and further boost her career. She would be the first centerfold in that magazine's long and illustrious history. The next year proved to be a good year for Marilyn. She appeared in five films, but the good news was that she received very good notices for her roles in two of them, The Asphalt Jungle (1950) from MGM and All About Eve (1950) from Fox. Even though both roles were basically not much mor than bit parts, movie fans remembered her ditzy but very sexy blonde performance.

In 1951, Marilyn got a fairly sizable role in Love Nest (1951). The public was now getting to know her and liked what it saw. She had an intoxicating quality of volcanic sexuality wrapped in an aura of almost childlike innocence. In 1952, Marilyn appeared in Don't Bother to Knock (1952), in which she played a somewhat mentally unbalanced babysitter. Critics didn't particularly care for her work in this picture, but she made a much more favorable impression later in the year in Monkey Business (1952), where she was seen for the first time as a platinum blonde, a look that became her trademark. The next year she appeared in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) as Lorelei Lee. It was also the same year she began dating the baseball great Joe DiMaggio.

Marilyn was now a genuine box-office drawing card. Later, she appeared with Betty Grable, Lauren Bacall and Rory Calhoun in How to Marry a Millionaire (1953). Although her co-stars got the rave reviews, it was the sight of Marilyn that really excited the audience, especially the male members. On January 14, 1954, Marilyn wed DiMaggio, then proceeded to film There's No Business Like Show Business (1954). That was quickly followed by The Seven Year Itch (1955), which showcased her considerable comedic talent and contained what is arguably one of the most memorable moments in cinema history: Marilyn standing above a subway grating and the wind from a passing subway blowing her white dress up.

By October of 1954, Marilyn announced her divorce from DiMaggio. The union lasted only eight months. In 1955 she was suspended by Fox for not reporting for work on How to Be Very, Very Popular (1955). It was her second suspension, the first being for not reporting for the production of The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing (1955). Both roles went to others. Her work was slowing down, due to her habit of being continually late to the set, her illnesses (whether real or imagined) and generally being unwilling to cooperate with her producers, directors, and fellow actors.

In Bus Stop (1956), however, Marilyn finally showed critics that she could play a straight dramatic role. It was also the same year she married playwright, Arthur Miller (they divorced in 1960). In 1957 Marilyn flew to Britain to film The Prince and the Showgirl (1957) which proved less than impressive critically and financially. It made money, but many critics panned it for being slow-moving. After a year off in 1958, Marilyn returned to the screen the next year for the delightful comedy, Some Like It Hot (1959) with Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon. The film was an absolute smash hit, with Curtis and Lemmon pretending to be females in an all-girl band, so they can get work. This was to be Marilyn's only film for the year.

In 1960 Marilyn appeared in George Cukor's Let's Make Love (1960), with Tony Randall and Yves Montand. Again, while it made money, it was critically panned as stodgy and slow-moving. The following year Marilyn made what was to be her final film. The Misfits (1961), which also proved to be the final film for the legendary Clark Gable, who died later that year of a heart attack. The film was popular with critics and the public alike.

In 1962 Marilyn was chosen to star in Fox's Something's Got to Give (1962). Again, her absenteeism caused delay after delay in production, resulting in her being fired from the production in June of that year. It looked as though her career was finished. Studios just didn't want to take a chance on her because it would cost them thousands of dollars in delays. She was only 36.

Marilyn made only 30 films in her lifetime, but her legendary status and mysticism will remain with film history forever. So enjoy my posts about her all this week.

Photo Of The Day - The Philadelphia Story

with Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, and Jimmy of my favorite films

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A little story behind Live and Let Die (1973)

Flixster - Share Movies

I've been reading this book called Bond Girls Are Forever and it's filled with tons of pics and history of all the women who have been in a Bond film. And there are lots of stories that happened while making these films. Here is one interesting story. It involved Jane Seymour who played the tarot reading Solitaire in 1973's Live and Let Die, the first Bond outing by Roger Moore. Anyway Ms. Seymour was all of 21 years old when she landed the part and was a little nervous. During one particular scene the film-makers decided it was safe to allow Jane to take part in some very nerve-wracking stunt work. The stunt involved a double-decker bus going through a bridge and the top level coming off. Just before Jane was do it, she asked where was Roger? And they said his stunt man was going to do the scene. Who also happened to be an expert bus driver. Jane said the man even looked like Roger and thought that was cool. And then it dawned on her, waitaminute, "Where's my stunt double?" So Jane asked the stunt man did he have much experience doing this and he replied not with a double decker bus. So Jane was terrified and almost walked off the set but the producers and the press were there that day on set to see the scene. And being a newbie, she didn't want to jeopardize her career. So they did the scene and it worked out one one take, which was a good thing, since they had only bus setup for the shot. Jane says her brief look of sheer terror on her face before the bus hits the bridge isn't was for real. But she made it through and when the film wrapped and finally came out she was more than pleased with the final outcome. I thought that was a cool little story to share.

Classic Movie Goddess Of The Week - Virginia Mayo Part 3

Hi, are my picks for what I think are the essential films of Virgina Mayo to see. The films that showcase Virgina at her very best. Here we go:

THE PRINCESS AND THE PIRATE (1944) Co-starring with Bob Hope, Virgina makes a terrific foil. It's a shame they didn't make more films together. Mayo is a delight as Princess Margaret.

THE KID FROM BROOKLYN (1945) Virgina made 3 films with Danny Kaye and this is one of them. She plays Polly Pringle (great name) and with the movie being filmed in Technicolor, she never looked better.

THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946) Virgina is part of a super ensemble cast which includes Fredric March, Myrna Loy, Teresa Wright and Dana Andrews. She more than hold her own as Marie, the loose wife of Andrews, a returning soldier. One of Mayo's best roles ever.

THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY (1947) Another classic team up with Danny Kaye produces another fun movie and another good performance by Mayo.

WHITE HEAT (1949) Of course everyone remembers this film for the standout performance by James Cagney (I made it of the world!) But Mayo is really good too as his wayward wife Verna.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Currently Watching The Petrified Forest (1936) on TCM

THE PETRIFIED FOREST (1936) with Bette Davis as Gabrielle, Leslie Howard as Alan, and Humphrey Bogart as the world famous killer Duke Mantee

Top notch film with solid performances by the three leads and a gorgeous Bette Davis (whoever said she wasn't beautiful need to have their eyes examined)

Memorable Quotes from Some Like It Hot

Some of the best lines from the classic comedy Some Like It Hot:

Joe: What kind of a band is this, anyway?
Sig Poliakoff: You gotta be under twenty-five.
Jerry: We could pass for that.
Sig Poliakoff: You gotta be blonde.
Jerry: We could dye our hair.
Sig Poliakoff: And you gotta be girls.
Jerry: We could...
Joe: No, we couldn't!
Joe: What are you worried about? This job is going to last a long time.
Jerry: Well, suppose it doesn't?
Joe: Jerry, boy, why do you have to paint everything so black? Suppose you got hit by a truck. Suppose the stock market crashes. Suppose Mary Pickford divorces Douglas Fairbanks. Suppose the Dodgers leave Brooklyn!
Jerry: [Jerry notices the badge of an undercover agent at a nearby table] Joe...?
Joe: Suppose Lake Michigan overflows.
Jerry: Well, don't look now, but the whole town is underwater!
Jerry: Will you look at that! Look how she moves! It's like Jell-O on springs. Must have some sort of built-in motor or something. I tell you, it's a whole different sex!
Jerry: Now you've done it! Now you have done it!
Joe: Done what?
Jerry: You tore off one of my chests!
Joe - 'Josephine': [to Daphne] . What are you afraid of? No-one's asking you to have a baby!
Sugar: Story of my life. I always get the fuzzy end of the lollipop.
Sugar: I come from this musical family. My mother is a piano teacher and my father was a conductor.
Joe: Where did he conduct?
Sugar: On the Baltimore and Ohio.
[last lines]
Jerry: Oh, you don't understand, Osgood! Ehhhh... I'm a man.
Osgood: Well, nobody's perfect.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Classic Movie Goddess Of The Week - Virgina Mayo Part 2

Here are some facts and notes on Virgina plus some of her personal quotes on her co-stars:

Nickname: Ginny
Height: 5'5"
Spouse: Michael O'Shea (1947 - December 3, 1973 his death) 1 child

Was slightly cross-eyed and had to be carefully photographed.

Early on, using her real name of Virginia Jones, she played a straight woman in vaudeville for four years to a performing horse act. The "horse" was comprised of two men known as the Mayo Brothers; hence her stage name.

1 child - Catherine (born 1953)

Was Paul Newman's first on-screen leading lady, in the Biblical Epic The Silver Chalice (1954).

In Italy, most of her films were dubbed by Dhia Cristiani although at the beginning of her career Rosetta Calavetta, Lidia Simoneschi and Rina Morelli also occasionally lent their voice to her.

Personal Quotes

[on Jack Palance] I must say Jack Palance was a drag. We were together in "The Silver Chalice." The way he did his work was strange. He was a weird actor and I didn't like working with him at all.

[on Doris Day] I loved working with her. We used to call her Miss Sparkle Plenty because she was so vivacious.

[on James Cagney] Jimmy Cagney was the most dynamic man who ever appeared on the screen. He should have won five Oscars, he was so fabulous. He stimulated me to such an extent. I must say that I didn't have to act very much; I just had to react to him because he was so powerful.

[on Alan Ladd] And I worked with Alan Ladd, who along with Gregory Peck was my favorite leading man. He was a beautiful man, charming and gentle, and I think of all my leading men he worked best with me.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Classic Movie Goddess Of The Week - Virgina Mayo

It was good fortune that I decided for the movie goddess of the week to be Virgina Mayo. It also happens to be her birthday today and TCM is airing several of her movies for part of the day.

Born Virgina Clara Jones on November 30, 1920 in St. Louis, MO, the daughter of a newspaper reporter and his wife. The family had a rich heritage in the St. Louis area: her great-great-great-grandfather served in the American Revolution and later founded the city of East Saint Louis, Illinois, located right across the Mississippi River from its namesake. Virginia was interested in show business from an early age. Her aunt operated a dance studio and Virginia began taking lessons at the age of six. After graduating from high school in 1937, she became a member of the St. Louis Municipal Opera before she was signed to a contract by Samuel Goldwyn after being spotted by an MGM talent scout during a Broadway revue.

David O. Selznick gave her a screen test, but decided she wouldn't fit into films. Goldwyn, however, believed that her talent as an actress was there and cast her in a small role in 1943's Jack London (1943). She later had a walk-on part in Follies Girl (1943) that same year. Believing there was more to her than her obvious ravishing beauty, producers thought it was time to give her bigger and better roles. In 1944 she was cast as Princess Margaret in The Princess and the Pirate (1944), with Bob Hope and a year later appeared as Ellen Shavley in Wonder Man (1945). Her popularity increasing with every appearance, Virginia was cast in two more films in 1946, The Kid from Brooklyn (1946), with Danny Kaye, and The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), with Dana Andrews, and received good notices as Andrews' avaricious, unfaithful wife. Her roles may have been coming in slow, but with each one her popularity with audiences rose. She finally struck paydirt in 1947 with a plum assignment in the well-received The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947) as Rosalind van Hoorn. That same year she married Michael D. O'Shea and would remain with him until his death in 1973 (the union produced a daughter, Mary Catherine, in 1953). She got some of the best reviews of her career in James Cagney's return to the gangster genre, White Heat (1949), as Verna, the scheming, cheating wife of homicidal killer Cody Jarrett (Cagney). The striking beauty had still more plum roles in the 1950s. Parts in Backfire (1950), She's Working Her Way Through College (1952) and South Sea Woman (1953) all showed she was still a force to be reckoned with. As the decade ended, Virginia's career began to slow down. She had four roles in the 1960s and four more in the following decade. Her last role was as Janet Wilson in 1990's Evil Spirits (1990). She died on January 17, 2005.

So enjoy the pics and facts about Virgina all week long as she is the classic movie goddess of the week.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy 50th Anniversary to the Films of 1959

It just occurred to me that while watching Some Like It Hot, which came out in 1959, is celebrating 50 years. So I then realized how many great films came out during 1959 and was amazed. It really was a very good year and I thought about posting about some of them through-out the month of December. Just look at some of the films that came out 50 years ago:

Anatomy Of A Murder
Some Like It Hot
North By Northwest
The Diary Of Ann Frank
Imitation Of Life
Rio Bravo
Pillow Talk
A Summer Place
The Nun's Story
On The Beach
Sleeping Beauty
Suddenly, Last Summer
Operation Petticoat
Look Back In Anger
Room At The Top

Impressive list. Of course 1939 is still the dream year of all time, but 1959 deserves a special nod too. So to start it off, I will choose Some Like It Hot, since I just watched it.

Very funny comedy with everyone involved at the top of their game. Ace director Billy Wilder leads Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon through this delightful funny romp set during the Prohibition era. Curtis and Lemmon posing as women to get away from the mob, end up joining Monroe's all girl band. Complications ensue. Doesn't get much better than this. Easily one of the best comedies ever made. Curtis and Lemmon make a great team and Monroe is super as Sugar Kane the singer who stays in trouble. Also notable is George Raft as head of the mob trying to catch the two guys who are witnesses to a murder.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Classic Movie Goddess Of The Week - Lana Turner Part 3

Here is my list of what I think are Lana's best films and her best work. As TCM would call them, the essentials.

ZIEGFELD GIRL (1941) Lana gives a terrific performance that actually overshadows co-stars Judy Garland and Hedy Lamarr. Not an easy feat.

IMITATION OF LIFE (1959) The scene where she lets her housekeeper's daughter have an earful after said daughter is being disrespectful towards her mom. I was like Go Lana, tell that brat off.

THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE (1946) Woo-hoo. Lana is positively electrifying with her platinum blonde hair and always dressed in white as a wife who teams with a drifter to knock off her husband.

PEYTON PLACE (1957) Classic soaper that benefits from the presence of Ms. Turner.

THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL (1952) One of Lana's best ensemble films ever, co-starring Kirk Douglas, Gloria Grahame, and Dick Powell. Lana gives a solid performance as an actress passed over by the next hot new thing.

So those are Lana's best films in my opinion and the ones you have to watch to understand how talented she really was.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Top 5's with James Bond

The SyFy Channel is having a marathon of Bond films on Thursday and Friday. So I thought now would be a good time to write a blog about my personal favorites of the long running series broken down into different categories with my top 5 picks in each of them. So here we go:

1. Sean Connery - this was actually a close call. I grew up watching Bond when Roger Moore was playing him and recently I loved when Pierce Brosnan took over. But I had to go with Sean...he did start it after all.
2. Pierce Brosnan
3. Roger Moore
4. Daniel Craig - is off to a good start but he needs to lighten up just a bit
5. Timonty Dalton - not as bad as everyone remembers.

1. Goldeneye (1995) Brosnan's first Bond film and it's awesome. Made Bond more of an action hero to compete with the current stars of action films today, and it works.
2. Goldfinger (1964) This is the one where most people remember when the series started to really click. The cool opening scene, Connery very relaxed in the role now, a dastardly villian, the gadgets, and the unusually named Bond girl of Pussy Galore.
3. For Your Eyes Only (1981) Roger Moore toned down the jokes and played Bond with a serious edge. This is one of my all time favorites and I watched it like a million times growing up.
4. Casino Royale (2006) Bond remade with Daniel Craig taking over the role and knocks it right out of the park. Very entertaining entry.
5. From Russia With Love (1963) Rosa Klebb. Red Grant. Tatiana Romanova. The thrilling train fight and boat chase scenes. Nuff said.

1. Nobody Does It Better (Carly Simon) From The Spy Who Loved Me, so good it should be the theme song for the entire series.
2. Live and Let Die (Paul McCartney) Hell yeah. Paul rocks it like no other.
3. Diamonds Are Forever (Shirley Bassey) This woman could belt out a song with very strong vocals.
4. For Your Eyes Only (Sheena Easton) Catchy song.
5. Dance Into The Fire (Duran Duran) Probably one of the few good things about Roger Moore's last Bond film, A View To A Kill.

1. Auric Goldfinger - Goldfinger. Classic Bond villian that set the standard for others to follow.
2. Scaramanga - The Man With The Golden Gun. As played by horror vet Christopher Lee.
3. Blofeld - Appeared in several Bond films, each time by a different actor. The best to me was Donald Pleasance in 1967's You Oonly Live Twice. But Charles Gray in 1971's Diamonds Are Forever is pretty good too.
4. Max Zorin - A View To A Kill. Psychotic bad guy, played by Christopher Walken.
5. Elektra King - The World Is Not Enough. First main villian played by a female and actress Sophie Marceau is fabulous.

1. Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen) - GoldenEye. Delicious and sexy henchwoman that loves to kill and thrill.
2. Jaws (Richard Kiel) The only bad guy to play in more than one Bond film. More than a worthy enough adversary for Mr. Bond.
3. Red Grant (Robert Shaw) - From Russia With Love. The ultimate Cold War soldier who fights Bond memorably in a small train compartment.
4. Fiona Volpe (Luciana Paluzzi) - Thunderball. More woman than any man could handle even James Bond. She also has one of the best quotes in the entire series: "But of course, I forgot your ego, Mr. Bond. James Bond, the one where he has to make love to a woman, and she starts to hear heavenly choirs singing. She repents, and turns to the side of right and virtue... but not this one!"
5. Oddjob (Harold Sakata) - Goldfinger. He may be mute, but he makes quite an impression, especially on James.

1. Melina Havelock (Carole Bouquet) in For Your Eyes Only. There is just something about this beauty who had smarts and looks and was deadly with a crossbow.
2. Tracy Di Vicenzo (Diana Rigg) in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. The former Mrs. Emma Peel became Mrs. James Bond for one film. No other actress could have pulled that part off I don't think.
3. Pam Bouvier (Carey Lowell) in Licence To Kill. Carey brought a gritty new feel as a Bond girl who could handle herself in a fight, chase, or argument. Plus she could fly anything being a pilot
4. Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman)in Goldfinger. To be able to pull off this character with a name like that, Honor should have received some type of award.
5. Solitaire (Jane Seymour)in Live and Let Die. The lovely Jane was quite good in one of her first roles.

1. Goldeneye (1995) Awesome action in Russia at a weapons facility with Bond doing his thing.
2. For Your Eyes Only (1981) Riding inside a helicopter is what most people do, not James Bond..he has to dangle outside the door miles up in the air while his enemy Blofeld remote controls the copter to make it crash. Very cool.
3. Casino Royale (2006) Simple but effective introduction of Daniel Craig to the series. He makes two kills in the space of minutes. One is quite clean and efficient, the other one is quite nasty with a brawl in a men's bathroom.
4. From Russia With Love (1963) Red Grant's training exercise to dispatch Bond will throw you off because you don't realize it's just an exercise.
5. Moonraker (1979) Over the top but still exciting as Bond free falls from a plane without a parachute and also has to contend with Jaws. Classic.

1. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) Bond in the Lotus being pursued by the bad guys via cars, motorcycle, helicopter, and undersea divers. Doesn't get any better than that.
2. Quantum Of Solace (2008) Thrilling opening chase scene has Bond eluding the bad guys coming down a mountainside.
3. For Your Eyes Only (1981) Bond on skis being chased by other skiers and bikers. Cool.
4. Licence To Kill (1989) The truck chase finale has to be seen to be believed with Bond using a semi as his own personal Tonka toy.
5. Live and Let Die (1973) Probably the most exciting boat chase you will ever see.

1. Octopussy (1983) Stunning women from all around the world for this one.
2. Moonraker (1979)
3. From Russia With Love (1963)Rosa Klebb aside, there are quite the few lovelies in this one.
4. On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)Several stunning women all gather in Switzerland much to the delight of Bond.
5. Dr. No (1962) The first Bond movie features several stunning women including Ursula Andress, Eunice Gayson, and Zena Marshall

1. From Russia With Love (1963) Bond and Red Grant go at in a small train compartment. Very brutal and well done.
2. The Living Daylights (1987) One of the best fights not to feature Bond. Instead it's another British agent fighting an assassin in the kitchen.
3. Goldeneye (1995) Bond vs his onetime friend an fellow agent Alex.
4. Casino Royale (2006) Bond fights some bad guys in a fancy hotel. Very exciting.
5. The Man With The Golden Gun (1974) Not the best Bond movie but it does have a good fight scene with Bond against the baddies while trying to romance an exotic belly dancer. Only Bond could do something like that.

I believe that will wrap it up for now but as the credits all say I will return.
Oh one more category..
1. Q (Desmond Llewelyn) The weapon master. His banter with 007 is always good for a laugh.
2. M (Judi Dench) The best of all of Bond's bosses. Judi rocks.
3. Miss Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) Forever in love with James.
4. Felix Leiter (David Hedison) Bond's CIA counterpart has been played by so many different actors but Hedison is the only one who played him twice.
5. Charles Robinson (Colin Salmon)


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