CAROLE LOMBARD - My Favorite Actress

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Me and Shirley Jones Birthdays

Today is my 40th birthday and I happen to share it with one of my favorite actresses: the terrific Shirley Jones. Shirley turns 76 and is still going strong. I don't know what her plans are for her birthday but I plan to spend time with my wife and watch some of my favorite movies. So far I have chosen Bringing Up Baby and My Favorite Wife because I want to have a good time. Oh yeah TCM is airing some of Shirley's movies today as well.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Classic Movie Goddess Of The Month - Ann Sheridan Part 5

For my final post on Ann Sheridan as my featured classic movie goddess of the month, I will wrap it up with some pics that show her at her most loveliest. Enjoy.

Ann Sheridan

Ann Sheridan

The Footloose Heiress

Ann Sheridan

Review: The Blind Side (2009) is one of the best movies I've ever seen....

Based on the true story of Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy, a well to do Memphis couple,  who take in a homeless teenage African-American, Michael "Big Mike" Oher. Michael has had little formal education and few skills to help him learn. Leigh Anne soon takes charge however, as is her nature, ensuring that the young man has every opportunity to succeed. When he expresses an interest in football, she goes all out to help him, including giving the coach a few ideas on how best to use Michael's skills. They not only provide him with a loving home, but hire a tutor to help him improve his grades to the point where he would qualify for an NCAA Division I athletic scholarship. That's the storyline of this very enthralling movie. Sandra Bullock deservedly won an Oscar for Best Actress with her performance as Leigh Anne. She comes across as a tough but sincere and a very likable person. One person in the film says it's very Christian of what she's doing for Michael. I have always loved Sandra in everything she has done and she gives one of her best performances ever. Just as good is newcomer Quinton Aaron as Michael, a soft spoken kid who just happens to be giant sized. His introverted nature is the direct opposite of Leigh Anne's light up the room presence. Their scenes together are a joy to watch. Country singer Tim McGraw acquits himself nicely as Leigh Anne's husband Sean, who supports his wife in every decision she makes. Kathy Bates is also on hand as Miss Sue, the tutor who helps Michael with his grades.

The Blind Side is more of a family drama than it is a sports movie. It does feature a few training scenes and an actual football game being played, but the real draw of this film is the interaction between Michael and everyone he meets. Also pivotal is one of his high school teachers played by Kim Dickens,who convinces the other faculty to give Michael a chance to learn in their classrooms. I know much as been said about how the film may pander to audiences and comes across cliched, but I for one enjoyed every minute of this film. It was emotional, heartfelt, and kept my full attention. There are several moments of well timed humor as well. Not too many films can find humor about politics that will not offend anyone. The two jokes that are said are classic and were handled with good taste. I'm sure everyone will get a kick out of them once they hear them.

So, to wrap it up, The Blind Side was my second favorite film of 2009, right behind Star Trek. It was a surprise and was definitely Sandra's shining moment. Without a doubt, she deserved her well won Oscar. And praise for Quinton as well. His low key take on Michael came across very effectively. The Blind Side is a must see.

Audrey is going to cook something for us....

And it should be delicious, whatever it is.............

Saturday, March 27, 2010

All Good Things in April

Myrna Loy
Myrna Loy Photos
While I had a chance, I wanted to let everyone know what's coming up for the month of April. First is that the classic movie goddess will be Myrna Loy. That's right the amazing Myrna will headline my blog all next month and I promise to post as many pics and reviews of her films as possible.

I will have some spillover from The Directors blog I do with Noiree about the legendary Preston Sturges. He is spotlighted next month over there and I will probably add a few related posts on here as well.

I will finally rank my favorite modern actors and actresses. I did my favorite classic ones a few months ago, so I decided to let everyone know who I like in today's cinema.

And of course the usual good morning pics, happy birthdays, and the normal monthly stuff that I do on my blog. I hope everyone has been enjoying it so far, I know I have had tons of fun doing it. Hope everyone has a great weekend and I will see ya later.

Oh and a quick shout out to actress Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost, V). Today is her birthday. Me and her share the same year and mine is the 31st. I will be the big 40.
Elizabeth Mitchell
Elizabeth Mitchell Photos

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Selections...

As I stated earlier about wanting to hear everyone's choices of what favorite films they would like to share with everyone else, here is my list of the 5 films I chose.

HIS GIRL FRIDAY (1940) Of course this would be here, as it is my favorite film of all time. I usually watch this screwball film 2 to 3 times a year and it never fails to entertain me. Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell are just perfection together and the film manages to throw in some serious scenes amid all the wisecracks and zany characters. His Girl Friday is definitely a must see film, if you're a fan of Cary or Roz or screwball films in general. Heck, if you wanna just enjoy a terrific and funny movie, then this is for you.

THE LADY VANISHES (1938) My favorite Alfred Hitchcock film, just ahead of Shadow of a Doubt and Rear Window. The master of suspense was still fine tuning his style and this combination of mystery, suspense and comedy works extremely well. Co-stars Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave make a wonderful team with a strong supporting cast to back them up.

CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF (1958) Elizabeth Taylor sizzles as Maggie the Cat in this lush Tennessee William's melodrama. You can feel the temperature coming off the screen as Liz totally captivates all those watching her. She gets good support from Paul Newman, Burl Ives, and Jack Carson, but let's be real...Cat on a Hot Tin Roof would not be the same if it didn't have Liz in it.

THE THIN MAN (1934) Screwball meets murder in this delightful film that pairs William Powell and Myrna Loy, who act so comfortable with one another, you don't even view them as acting. Just watching them try to solve a murder and deal with assorted criminal and society types is a treat unto itself.

UNION STATION (1950) Taut little thriller with William Holden as a policeman trying to find a missing girl. Little known film that is extremely satisfying.

So there you have, the 5 films I would show to everyone to let them see how wonderful they are. Maybe this could turn into an ongoing type of thing, where I would chose a particular type of film or actor/actress and let everyone chime in with those favorites as well. But in the meantime, this is the kickoff post to get things rolling. Can't wait to hear everyone else choices. Just shoot me the email or comment and I will make a nice individual post of all those who respond.

Guest Programmers

Starting next month I would love to have everyone chime in with their choices as to what films they would present to viewers ala TCM's Guest Programmer monthly selections. TCM usually lets the person choose 4 main films and sometimes a bonus film. So let's make it 5 choices that you would show to friends, co-workers, family, anyone as to represent your favorite personal movies. And they don't have to be the the big classic well known films. They can be the smaller, lesser known films no one has heard of. Just shoot me an email at with your choices and I will post them on my blogs, adding some photos and such. And if you could, give a little description as to why you chose these particular films. I guess I need to post my choices as well. I will do that my the end of the day. Talk to everyone later.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Now Playing - Joan Crawford

In honor of Joan Crawford's birthday, here are the films I would have chosen to air on TV today. It's strange that TCM didn't play any of her films. But anyway here are the ones I would have chosen.

THE WOMEN (1939) Amidst an all star cast of women such as Norma Shearer, Paulette Goddard and Rosalind Russell...Joan positively shines the brightest. Her character Crystal Allen is beautiful, manipulative and funny. A great performance by Joan.

MILDRED PIERCE (1946) Her Oscar winning performance is a must see as she battles with the daughter from hell (Ann Blyth).

GRAND HOTEL (1932) Another all star cast which features heavyweights Greta Garbo, Lionel Barrymore, and Wallace Beery. Joan was a young and beguiling 27 when she made this picture and she more than held her own with the veterans.

and last but not least..WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? (1962) The dream pairing of Joan and Bette Davis lived up to the hype in this extremely demented and satisfying thriller. Bette may have had the showier part but Joan gave a restrained but highly effective performance.

So there you have it, my picks for Joan's birthday viewing pleasure. If TCM invited me to be their guest programmer. I would like to hear everyone else's personal choices they would have made honoring Joan.

Good Morning from Rhonda Fleming

Monday, March 22, 2010

Iconic Film Images #4 - Roman Holiday (1953)

With the engaging Audrey Hepburn and dapper Gregory Peck...

Most Anticipated Films of 2010

2010 promises to be loaded with several big blockbusters. Here is my list of films that I am eagerly awaiting.

1. Iron Man 2 - I loved the first one and I am a die hard comic book fan, so this is a no brainer. The addition of Scarlett Johannson as Black Widow definitely has me intrigued.

2. Tron: Legacy - This really wasn't on my scope until I saw the trailer a few days ago. Now December 17th (when it opens) can't get here soon enough.

3. Date Night - Steve Carrell and Tina Fey. That's what I would call a slam dunk.

4. Clash Of The Titans - Oh yeah.

5. Toy Story 3 - all I can say is it's about time.

6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 - nuff said.

7. Inception - the new film from Chris Nolan (The Dark Knight) and starring Leonardo DiCaprio promises to be a mind blowing experience.

8. Predators - hopefully this will be much better than the awful Aliens vs Predator flicks.

9. The Losers - another comic book adaption with a cast starring Zoe Saldana, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Idris Elba. Looks very interesting.

10. The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader - loved the first two film adaptions; can't wait for this one.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Lucille Ball - A Rare Dramatic Role

 From the 1938 film Beauty for the Asking, is a clip showcasing Lucille Ball in drama mode:

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Laraine Day says Good Morning....

The lovely actress Laraine Day says good morning to all in her own special way...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Great photo of Greer Garson and Teresa Wright

From the beloved film Mrs. Miniver is this wonderful picture of Greer and Teresa relaxing on the set, taking a break.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Olivia de Havilland is Government Girl (1943)

I remember watching this movie a long time ago on AMC. When AMC was good, showing classic films commercial free. I think it was around the late 80's or early 90's. And I remember laughing quite a bit. Haven't seen this film shown on TV since then. Government Girl is a rare foray by Olivia de Havilland into the genre of screwball comedies. Olivia was mainly known for her many films with Errol Flynn and several prestige women films like To Each His Own, Devotion, and of course Gone With The Wind. But here in Government Girl, she gets to let loose and be screamingly funny. Set in Washington, the film features Olivia as Elizabeth "Smoky" Allard, a take charge secretary who has to help a visiting businessman named Ed Browne (a solid Sonny Tufts) deal with the mire and muck in D.C. He's trying to set up factories that will produce the planes that will be key in winning the war in Europe and in the Pacific. Of course, he's not used to dealing with the politics of D.C. and Smoky has to show him the ropes. They must contend with government sanctions, greedy investors, and a snobbish  Washington matron (the always entertaining Agnes Moorehead). You could almost say this film borrows from Mr. Smith Goes To Washington and it does, but there are more moments in this film where screwball antics take control. Like when Smoky hitches a ride on the back of a motorcycle driven by Ed and he drives like a maniac, with Smoky screaming hysterically behind him. Another good scene is when Smoky and her best friend May (the talented Anne Shirley) pretend to get drunk to trap a spy for the feds. Only the girls do wind up getting drunk for real and put on quite a show for the bad guy. It's a very funny scene. Props to Olivia for doing a frenetic role like this because she gives it her all and is quite enjoyable. I wished she had did more films like this in her career. Since it's not available on DVD as of yet, the next time it airs on TV, check out Government Girl to have a very good time.

Iconic Film Images #3 - Suspicion (1941)

Everyone remembers this image of Cary Grant carrying the glass of milk upstairs to his wife in the Hitchcock thriller, Suspicion.

Classic Movie Goddess Of The Month - Ann Sheridan Part 4

Here are some interesting personal quotes from Ann:

I used to go to Grauman's Chinese or Pantages and sit there waiting to see my faceless body on the screen. Texas began to look awfully near and awfully good, and "Clara Lou" had a sweet sound to my ears.

I can whistle through my fingers, bulldog a steer, light a fire with two sticks, shoot a pistol with fair accuracy, set type, and teach school . . .

They nicknamed me "The Oomph Girl", and I loathe that nickname! Just being known by a nickname indicates that you're not thought of as a true actress . . . It's just crap! If you call an actress by her looks or a reaction, then that's all she'll ever be thought of as.

[on Errol Flynn] He was one of the wild characters of the world, but he had a strange, quiet side. He camouflaged himself completely. In all the years I knew him, I never really knew what lay underneath and I doubt if many people did.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Rio Bravo is my favorite western of all time....

Flixster - Share Movies
My favorite western of all time. A slam bang film which has John Wayne as Sheriff John T. Chance who has a murderer locked up in the jail and must withstand repeated attempts to free the bad guy. It's a whole posse of hired thugs and all Chance has is an old crippled deputy and another deputy Dude (played by Dean Martin) trying to stay sober. Chance eventually gets more help in the form of bad girl turned good (Angie Dickinson) and a young hotshot named Colorado (Ricky Nelson) who is quick with his mouth and his gun. This is how you make a great western. Terrific heroes, evil bad guys, rousing action, and frequent humor. All involved give solid performances especially Martin, Nelson, and Dickinson. Of course, The Duke is awesome as usual.

Flixster - Share Movies
Pat Wheeler: I told him you were one of the best.
Colorado Ryan: Well, I'll tell you what I'm a lot better at, Mr. Wheeler... that's minding my own business.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Classic Movie Goddess Of The Month - Ann Sheridan Part 3

Time for the part of classic movie goddess called The Essentials. These are the films that showcase the best work of the actress in question. These are the films that you need to see to show you the talents of the goddess of the month. This month being Ann Sheridan. So here we go...

THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER (1941) Ann co-stars with Bette Davis and Monty Woolley in this classic comedy. She is sensational as Broadway star Lorraine Sheldon who gets several juicy scenes and ends up outshining Bette. This was one of the first comedy roles Sheridan took on after playing in several gangster flicks and dramas. She showed that she had a natural flair for comedy.

THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT (1940) Classic film noir with heavyweights Humphrey Bogart, George Raft, and Ida Lupino. But it's Sheridan who steals the show as wise-cracking waitress Cassie. She is one woman who you can't fool for even a minute.

I  WAS A MALE WAR BRIDE (1949) Teaming up with Cary Grant for this frantic comedy that lets Sheridan have some fun once again. She plays Catherine Gates, an American officer who marries Grant's French officer with many complications to follow. Good stuff.

NORA PRENTISS (1947) This is Ann's Gilda. She is terrific as Nora, the nightclub singer who falls for a married man. Potent and a strong performance by Sheridan.

GEORGE WASHINGTON SLEPT HERE (1942) Another solid comedy with Ann playing wife to Jack Benny. And she more than holds her own with the wisecrack master.

KINGS ROW (1942) Loaded with several taboo subjects such as homosexuality, incest, and nymphomania with an all star cast featuring Ronald Reagan, Claude Rains, Charles Coburn, Judith Anderson and of course Ann. Ann gives one of her best performances as the feisty Randy, a good-hearted girl from the wrong side of the tracks.

So there you have, six of Ann's very best roles. I could have named a few more but I believe these films are required viewing if you are eager to watch some of Ann's best work. Other choices include Edge Of Darkness (1943), Dodge City (1939), and Torrid Zone (1940).

Friday, March 5, 2010

Iconic Film Images #1 - Marilyn Monroe

I just can't help myself.  I'm adding another feature on my blog, dedicated to the most iconic film images of classic movies. You see these pictures and you automatically recognize them from such historic and memorable films. I kick off this new feature with Marilyn Monroe from The Seven Year Itch. You can't get more iconic than that.

Classic Movie Goddess Of The Month - Ann Sheridan Part 2

Ann Sheridan
Ann Sheridan Photos
Facts and Trivia about Ann:

Birth name: Clara Lou Sheridan
Height: 5'5 1/2"
Date of birth: 21 February 1915 Denton, Texas
Date of death: 21 January 1967 Los Angeles California (cancer of the esophagus and liver)
Nickname: The "Oomph Girl"

Scott McKay (5 June 1966 - 21 January 1967) (her death)
George Brent (5 January 1942 - 5 January 1943) (divorced)
Edward Norris (16 August 1936 - 6 October 1939) (divorced)

Ann Sheridan
Ann Sheridan Photos

Appeared under her real name through 1935.
Was named Max Factor's "Girl of the Year" for 1939.
Was used as a body double (hands, legs, shoulders) while at Paramount.

Due to her being known as "The Oomph Girl" she later became the inspiration for the brand of woman's house-slippers called "Oomphies".

According to an article in The Newark Evening News, Ann kept busy during her 1941 strike from Warner Bros. by rebuilding abandoned cars at a friend's garage.       

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Spotlight on Brooke Bundy

My friend C. Parker recently posted some pics of actress Brooke Bundy and I immediately had a flashback about her. I recognized her from the countless TV series she appeared on during the 60's, 70's and 80's. Born on August 8th, 1944 in New York, Brooke never became a huge star in her own right, but she has to hold some type of record for the amount of TV work she did. I remember her vividly appearing on The Partridge Family, My Three Sons, The Mod Squad, Wonder Woman and Mission: Impossible. But those shows are just the tip of the iceberg that Brooke appeared on. She also guest starred on Gunsmoke, Mannix, The Virginian, The Rookies, The Donna Reed Show, Gidget, The Man From U.N.C.L.E, Rawhide, Ben Casey, Bonanza, The Brady Bunch, Emergency!, Cannon, Medical Center, Police Woman, and countless others. So you have seen Brooke at some point during your TV viewing lifetime. She never really made her way into feature films, other than the 1968 western Firecreek, co-starring  Hollywood veterans Jimmy Stewart and Henry Fonda. She was still appearing on TV through the 80's on shows like Fantasy Island, The Fall Guy, Simon & Simon, Trapper John, M.D. and even Star Trek: The Next Generation. Most of today's younger generation probably know her best as one of the teen's mom in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988). Brooke hasn't appeared on any series since 1991's Sons and Daughters. She's been married to Peter Helms since 1962, when she turned 18. They have one daughter named Tiffany, who tried acting herself during the 80's.

So it was a pleasant surprise when C. posted those lovely pics about a week ago of Brooke, that I promised him I would write a blog about her. So I did, and now I'm hankering to see Brooke in something..anything. I do own Firecreek, so I may watch that over the weekend. And C. I had to use some of your pics of Brooke, because pics of her are pretty scarce online. I did find one different from yours so I posted that too. Hope you like it. Brooke is currently a acting coach and manager. So to all my readers, if you never heard of Brooke or don't recall her, check her out somewhere. I believe IMDB has some videos of her several hundred TV appearances on their site.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Review: Bringing Up Baby (1938)

The screwball comedy extraordinaire with the zaniest situations and characters you will ever see. This is my second favorite film of all time; right behind that other comedy classic His Girl Friday. And when you think of screwball comedies, you can’t help but think of this film. Things start off normally as paleontologist David Huxley is preparing to marry his fiancée, Ms. Swallow. But first he must meet with Mr. Peabody, a lawyer representing Mrs. Carlton Random, who is ready to give the museum a million dollar donation for research. David meets Peabody at the golf course and it’s there where he runs into Susan (Katherine Hepburn). Susan is a scatterbrain rich girl who immediately is attracted to David. Susan's aunt also happens to be the same Mrs. Random. The more time Susan spends with David, the crazier the situations get. From chasing George, the family dog (who was Asta in the Thin Man films) around the Random home, who has buried David's rare dinosaur bone to pursuing Susan’s pet leopard named Baby to dealing with another leopard that is dangerous and has just escaped from the circus.

Then the whole cast winds up in a small town jail ran by one of the funniest constables you will ever see. Constable Slocum is played marvelously by Walter Catlett. Also on hand is Charles Ruggles as a would be suitor to Mrs. Random. May Robson is Mrs. Random. And Barry Fitzgerald is a hoot as the Irish gardener Gogarty. The entire cast is marvelous and I laugh furiously every time I watch this film. There have been rumblings on the message boards about this film being over-rated and not that good. To those people, I can only say to that is bollocks. They need to see this film again. Baby represents everything that is good about screwball comedies. Sheer and tremendous fun to be had by all those who watch it.

Favorite Quotes:
Susan Vance: Anyway, David, when they find out who we are they'll let us out.
David Huxley: When they find out who *you* are they'll pad the cell.
Mrs. Random: Well who are you?
David Huxley: I don't know. I'm not quite myself today.
Mrs. Random: Well, you look perfectly idiotic in those clothes.
David Huxley: These aren't my clothes.
Mrs. Random: Well, where are your clothes?
David Huxley: I've lost my clothes!
Mrs. Random: But why are you wearing *these* clothes?
David Huxley: Because I just went gay all of a sudden!
Mrs. Random: Now see here young man, stop this nonsense. What are you doing?
David Huxley: I'm sitting in the middle of 42nd Street waiting for a bus.
Susan Vance: Now, don't lose your temper.
David Huxley: My dear young lady, I'm not losing my temper. I'm merely trying to play some golf!
Susan Vance: You choose the funniest places; this is a parking lot.

Side notes:

Despite now being one of the most beloved classic films of all time, upon initial release Baby was a box office bust. The film earned only $1.2 million dollars. And caused the theatre chains to label Hepburn as box office poison.

No love from the Academy. Once again the Oscars dropped the ball when it came to getting things right. Baby received no major nominations for film, director, writer, or any of its stars. As I am fond of saying when it comes to some of the choices the Academy has made…are you kidding me?

This was the second pairing between Grant and Hepburn and the first of three comedy pairings they would do. Years earlier they made the very off beat film Slyvia Scarlett (1935) and it had Kate pretending to be a boy. Strange indeed but still a film worth seeing. The pair would team up for two more comedy classics, Holiday (1938) and The Philadelphia Story (1940).

Bringing Up Baby was directed by the versatile Howard Hawks who also helmed His Girl Friday. Hawks other classic films include Only Angels Have Wings, The Big Sleep, I Was A Male War Bride, Rio Bravo, and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

Grant was on the cusp on stardom and his flair for comedy was very evident in his early film roles. After Baby, Grant became the leading man of screwball comedies. His resume of certifiable comedy classics includes Holiday, The Philadelphia Story, My Favorite Wife, The Bachelor & the Bobby-Soxer, and I Was A Male War Bride. Throw in 1937’s The Awful Truth and Topper and you have the best actor in the best comedies doing his best work. He would later evolve into other types of films specifically thrillers with Alfred Hitchcock. But to me Cary Grant will always be remembered for those zany films he did so well.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

No Doughgirls with Ann tonight....very disappointed

A month or so ago I had recorded The Doughgirls on my VCR. And kept putting off to watch it until tonight. Well I went to watch it and I must have accidentally erased or recorded over it because it's not there. Very disappointed and then found that the movie isn't available on DVD. Was looking forward to watch this wartime comedy with Ann Sheridan, Jane Wyman, Eve Arden and Jack Carson. So now I will watch 42nd Street as originally planned from Monday night. It's just that I own only one other Ann Sheridan movie, Dodge City and this would have been a nice viewing experience since I am spotlighting Ann as my Classic Movie Goddess this month. And plus I've never seen The Doughgirls. Color me very disappointed.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Classic Movie Goddess Of The Month: Ann Sheridan

Who better than Ann Sheridan to kick off March for my classic movie goddess blog. She is pretty high on my favorite actress list at number 4 and I feel she was very under-rated as an actress. She may have excelled at playing the tough dames alongside the likes of Bogart, Raft, and Garfield but she also displayed a knack for light comedy in The Man Who Came To Dinner, The Doughgirls, and I Was A Male War Bride. Below is her bio that I grabbed and pasted from IMDB. For the rest of the month, I will post some pics of Ann and facts and trivia that maybe some of you didn't know about her. And of course I will list her essential films in my opinion that showcase Ann at her very best. Mind you I haven't seen all of her films, but the ones I have will be the ones I will list. And plus full length reviews of some of her films as well. Plus a side piece about her on my friend Kate Gabrielle's blog Silents and Talkies. Kate, I have no idea what that will entail either, so give me a week or two to decide what I will write about. So,on with Ann's bio and a few pics of her as well.

Clara Lou Sheridan was born February 21, 1915, in Denton, Texas, to an automobile mechanic and his homemaker wife. The youngest of five children, she grew up in a normal childhood environment. She was a self-described tomboy and was very athletic, and played on the girls basketball team for North Texas State Teacher's College, where she was planning to enter the teaching field. Her sister thought her beautiful enough to send in a picture of Ann in a bathing suit to Paramount Studios. The "Search for Beauty" contest carried, as the prize, a screen test and a bit part in a movie. She won and was signed to a contract at the age of 19. Her first film was the prize: a bit role in Wagon Wheels (1934). Performing under her real name of Clara Lou, she appeared in 12 more films that year, most designed to showcase her beauty along with other starlets that Paramount had signed. Twelve more bit parts followed in 1935. The following year, she left Paramount and signed with Warner Brothers, where more of the same followed. It wasn't until 1938 that Clara Lou, now Ann, landed a role with substance as Laury Ferguson in Angels with Dirty Faces (1938). Known as the "Oomph Girl," a nickname she detested, she became one of the most glamorous women in Hollywood. Rex Harrison said of her, "I was struck by her extraordinary magnetism and directness," and noted that he liked her "distinctive quality of earthiness that never transcends to blatant sexiness." Her beauty made her a favorite pin-up, along with Betty Grable.

She grew into a leading star who could adapt to any role. She was put into a lot of comedies, many of which were quite forgettable, but the public loved her, and critics began to take notice of her after terrific performances in Torrid Zone (1940) and as the saucy waitress who marries George Raft in They Drive by Night (1940). She was also singled out for another standout performance in Kings Row (1942) with future politician Ronald Reagan. She starred with Cary Grant in Howard Hawks screwball comedy I Was a Male War Bride (1949). As she entered the 1950s, however, her career went into a decline. She was aging -- as was sadly evident in her last film, the turgid Woman and the Hunter (1957) -- and a crop of younger actresses coming up meant her services were no longer in demand. She moved to New York and took whatever acting jobs she could find, whether on stage or TV. Most soap opera fans may remember her in "Another World" (1964), but she is best remembered by TV audiences as Henrietta Hanks in the western comedy "Pistols 'n' Petticoats" (1966). Her career was taking off again, but the success was short-lived. Ann died on January 21, 1967, in San Fernando Valley, California, of cancer. She didn't get to live out her series' first season. She was 51.

New Poll Started

Since it's Oscar season, this month poll poses the question from the glorious year of 1939. If not Gone With The Wind, what would you choose as Best Film out of the other nominees. The other 9 films that were nominated that year were The Wizard Of Oz, Wuthering Heights, Ninotchka, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, Of Mice and Men, Love Affair, Stagecoach, Dark Victory, and Goodbye, Mr. Chips. You have all month to make a selection. Enjoy and let the choosing begin.

Poll Results - Favorite Movie Pairing

A poll that I started during the holidays asked the question who was your favorite movie pairing. And it became a three team race between Astaire & Rogers, Powell & Loy, and Grant & Dunne. Coming in third was Cary Grant and Irene Dunne with 15% (8 votes). Second was WIlliam Powell and Myrna Loy with  17% (9 votes) and coming in first was the super dance team of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers with 19% (10 votes). A total of 51 votes was accumulated and I like to thank everyone who voted. Check out my new poll that I just created for the month of March about the Oscars.


Related Posts with Thumbnails