CAROLE LOMBARD - My Favorite Actress

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Here's To A Bewitching Halloween For Everyone...

Elizabeth Montgomery as Samantha and Agnes Moorehead as her mother Endora, from the classic TV series Bewitched.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Irene Dunne & Greer Garson Just Hanging Out

My good friend Renata was gracious enough to allow me to use this wonderful picture of the two women hanging out together. I love pics like these when stars are just being like regular people. And when two stars who rarely worked together can be seen with each other having a good time is awesome.

Classic Horror Films - Day 27 (WAIT UNTIL DARK - 1967)

Alan Arkin & Audrey Hepburn in Wait Until Dark
A blind woman (Audrey Hepburn in one of my favorite performances of hers), stranded alone in her apartment, is menaced by a pair of henchmen who believe that some drugs have been planted there. A solid supporting cast that includes Alan Arkin, Richard Crenna, and Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. And Hepburn is fantastic as Suzy Hendrix, the woman who becomes involved in a cat and mouse game with the bad guys. One of the best suspense thrillers made during the 60's.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Best Years Of Our Lives or Since You Went Away?

It's time for another comparison between two similar films. It was fun comparing Breakfast at Tiffany's and Butterfield 8 a while back, that I thought I would do it again. This time I am comparing two films about families dealing with the affects of World War Two. Now while The Best Years of Our Lives focuses on soldiers returning home after the war, Since You Went Away is actually set during the war and deals with the family while their loved ones are away fighting.
Jones, Walker an Cotten
First is Since You Went Away (1944), the mammoth film which clocks in at just under 3 hours, and stars Claudette Colbert as family matriach Anne Hilton, who copes with family life while her husband Tim is away during World War Two. She has two daughters, Jane (Jennifer Jones) and Bridget (Shirley Temple) that she watches after. Anne takes in a lodger to help make ends meet during wartime rationing and shortages. The lodger is Colonel Smollett, played by Monty Woolley. The colonel also happens to have a son named William (Robert Walker) who falls in love with Jane. Joseph Cotten appears as a friend of the family that secretly loves Anne. Rounding out the cast are Agnes Moorehead, Hattie MacDaniel, Keenan Wynn, and Guy Madison. Since You Went Away is top notch melodrama with solid performances, especially by Colbert and Woolley. But do not overlook Jennifer Jones in a truly emotional performance as the eldest daughter Jane. Look for her scene at the train station when she says good-bye to William before he goes off to war. If you don't get a little misty eye during that scene, then there is something wrong. Wonderfully directed by John Cromwell, backed by a powerful Max Steiner music score, Since You Went Away is one heck of a movie. A bit long, but never boring. It really couldn't been done any better.

Now as good as Since You Went Away is, The Best Years Of Our Lives (1946) is even better. This is one of my favorite films of all time, sitting right there nestled in my top 10. The story in this film centers on three returning WW Two veterans after the war has ended. Frederic March is Al Stephenson, who returns to his loving wife Milly (a magnificent performance by Myrna Loy), his two children Peggy (a terrific Teresa Wright) and Rob (Michael Hall). Al returns to an influential banking position, but finds it hard to reconcile his loyalties to ex-servicemen with new commercial realities. He has several scenes where he copes by drinking heavily. Dana Andrews is Fred Derry, an ordinary working man who finds it difficult to hold down a job or pick up the threads of his marriage with Virginia Mayo. He ends up falling for Peggy, and Peggy lets her mom know that she doesn't mind busting up the marriage to be with Fred. I was like, heck yeah, go for it Peggy. That's when I fell in love with Teresa Wright at that exact moment. And the last soldier is Homer Parrish (played by real life amputee Harold Russell) who unsure that his fiancée's (Cathy O'Donnell) feelings are still those of love and not those of pity. Each of these three men face a different crisis in their lives and try to cope and come through it emotionally sound. This movie is awesome. I can't find any faults with it. From the top notch cast to the expert direction by William Wyler to the epic music score by Hugo Friedhofer and the gorgeous cinematography by Gregg Toland. The Best Years of Our Lives is one of the best films ever made and if I had to choose between this and Since You Went Away, well I gotta go with Best Years. But both films are great.You can enjoy both of them. I'm curious to see what everyone else thinks though.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Amanda's awesome survey...

I saw where Amanda started a survey on her wonderful blog, A Noodle In A Haystack. I love taking surveys so I decided to post my answers to her survey here on my blog. She will be compiling all the responses from everyone who takes it and let all of us know the results shortly. In the meantime, I encourage everyone to take the survey, it's fun and you get to learn a lot about your fellow bloggers. Click on the link to Amanda's page for the survey below:

1. What is your favorite movie starring William Powell and Myrna Loy, excluding all of The Thin Man films?

LOVE CRAZY (1941) is hilarious and my favorite of their non-Thin Man films.

2. Name a screen team that appeared in only one film together but are still noteworthy for how well they complimented each other. Cary Grant and Carole Lombard in IN NAME ONLY (1939)

3. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers' best film together? I'm going to go with SWING TIME (1936).

4. Your favorite actor named "Robert"? Robert Montgomery

5. An actor/actress who, when you see one of their movies, you always wish that someone else was in his/her role? Gary Cooper.

6. An actor/actress that someone close to you really loves that you can't stand or vice versa? I love Leo DiCaprio but my best friend can't stand him.

7. An actor/actress that you both agree on completely? Me and my wife both love Sandra Bullock

8. Complete this sentence: Virginia O'Brien is to Ethel Merman as...Judy Garland is to Ann-Margret.

9. What is your favorite film starring Ray Milland? Without a doubt, DIAL M FOR MURDER (1954), where he plays the guy with the perfect plan to perfection.

10. You had to have seen this one coming: what is your favorite movie of the 1960s? THE ODD COUPLE (1968)

11. An actor/actress that you would take out of one film and put into a different movie that was released the same year? I would love to have seen Carole Lombard in My Favorite Wife (1940), even though Irene Dunne did an amazing job. Carole could have passed on that same year's Vigil in The Night.

12. Who was your favorite of Robert Montgomery's leading ladies? Carole Lombard

13. You think it would have been a disaster if what movie starred the actor/actress who was originally asked to star in it? Sammy Davis Jr wouldn't have fit in THE DEFIANT ONES (glad Sydney Poitier got the role).

14. An actor/actress who you will watch in any or almost any movie? Cary Grant

15. Your favorite Leslie Howard film and role? THE PETRIFIED FOREST (1936)

16. You have been asked to host a marathon of four Barbara Stanwyck films. Which ones do you choose?
Let's see, first I would start off with a little comedy with THE LADY EVE (1941), then DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944), then GOLDEN BOY (1939) and finally CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT (1945) which is my favorite Barb film.

17. What is, in your mind, the nearest to perfect comedy you have ever seen? Why? HIS GIRL FRIDAY (1940) To me everything just clicks in that movie from all the rapid fire dialogue to the wonderful chemistry between Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell. I really can't put into words why I think this is the perfect comedy but for me this is it. I can watch Friday over and over and never get tired of it. Not too many films can say that.

18. You will brook no criticism of what film? CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF (1958)

19. Who is your favorite Irish actress? Maureen O'Hara

20. Your favorite 1940s movie starring Ginger Rogers? PRIMROSE PATH (1940)

21. Do you enjoy silent movies? The few that I have seen...YES!

22. What is your favorite Bette Davis film? ALL ABOUT EVE (1950) I love that movie and Bette is sensational as Margo Channing.

23. Your favorite onscreen Hollywood couple? Close call between Cary Grant/Irene Dunne and Myrna Loy/William Powell but I will go with Loy and Powell.

24. This one is for the girls, but, of course, the guys are welcome to answer, too: who is your favorite Hollywood costume designer? Edith Head is about the only one I know.

25. To even things out a bit, here's something the boys will enjoy: what is your favorite tough action film?

26. You are currently gaining a greater appreciation for which actor(s)/actress(es)? Esther Williams

27. Franchot Tone: yes or no? no

28. Which actors and/or actresses do you think are underrated? Gail Patrick, Dorothy Malone, Teresa Wright.

29. Which actors and/or actresses do you think are overrated? Katherine Hepburn, just a touch.

30. Favorite actor? Cary Grant

31. Favorite actress? Carole Lombard

32. Of those listed, who is the coolest: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Steve McQueen, or Patrick Stewart? Steve McQueen

33. What is your favorite movie from each of these genres:

Comedy:                                HIS GIRL FRIDAY (1940)

Swashbuckler:                      THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938)

Film noir:                             THE BIG SLEEP (1946)

Musical:                              EASTER PARADE (1948)

Holiday:                             CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT (1945)

Hitchcock:                         THE LADY VANISHES (1938)

Iconic Film Images #7 - (The Big Sleep)

Bogie and Bacall from The Big Sleep (1946)...pure movie magic.

Tea For Two (1950) with Doris Day

Thanks to my friend Dawn for reminding me that the Doris Day movie, Tea For Two airs today on TCM at 2 pm. I have never seen this movie before and have been wanting to ever since I met Dawn and starting posting on her wonderful Doris Day page. The timing couldn't have been better as I just recently watched the Bob Hope film, Nothing But The Truth, in which Hope makes a bet he can tell the truth for 24 hours. Well the plot of Tea For Two centers on Doris betting her uncle that she can say no to everything for 48 hours. That's very ambitious of Doris and I can't wait to see it today. I will post a review once I see it. Just wanted everyone to know that it was on today and if you're a Doris Day fan to check it out.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Happy One Year Anniversary to All Good Things

The Best Years of Our Lives
I can't believe it's already been a year since I started blogging. And I can't believe that I almost didn't remember today was the 1 year anniversary. And considering my love of movies, I can't believe I never blogged before last year. Well, I'm making up for lost time now as I recently hit 385 posts. I also have met a lot of friends and fellow bloggers. A few that have turned into real good friends such as Dawn of Noir & Chick Flicks. I actually contribute to several of her wonderful blogs such as Doris Day, Esther Williams, and Singing and Dancing Through Time. We make quite the team. Also there is Tracy aka Gilby37, who I met on What We're Watching on TV. She's been a great friend as well. And Kori of Blonde Episodes, who told me I was one of her few male followers of her blog. And Kori was my first to be my guest on my blog when I started that ongoing series. Other friends include KC, Tom, Sarah, Paul, Laura, Anastasia, Irene and countless more. It's a joy to share with this wonderful blogging community. I look forward to each new day because there are always some great blogs to read. So happy one year anniversary to All Good Things. And I hope to be blogging for many more years to come. The photo above from the film The Best Years of Our Lives fits this occasion perfectly.

Happy Birthday Constance Bennett (1904 - 1965)

Constance Bennett

The oldest of the three Bennett girls: Constance, Joan and Barbara. Constance starred in several screwball comedies such as Merrily We Live, Topper, and Ladies in Love. In the 1940s she made fewer films, working in radio and theatre; shrewd in business, she invested wisely and started businesses marketing women's wear and cosmetics. Loving conflict, she feuded with the press and enjoyed lawsuits. Her last marriage, to a U.S. Air Force colonel, was happy and gave her a key role coordinating shows flown to Europe for occupying troops (1946-48) and the Berlin Airlift (1948-49), winning her military honors. Still young-looking, she died suddenly at age 60 shortly after completing the last of her 57 films.

Bio by Rod Crawford

Happy Birthday Catherine Deneuve (1943 - present)

Catherine Deneuve

Catherine Deneuve was born in 1943, in Paris, France. Her parents were actors. She made her movie debut in 1957, when she was a teenager and continued with small parts in minor films, until Roger Vadi... read morem gave her a meatier part in Vice et la vertu, Le (1963). But her breakthrough came with the excellent musical Parapluies de Cherbourg, Les (1964) in which she gave an unforgettable performance as a romantic middle-class girl who falls in love with a young soldier but gets imprisoned in a loveless marriage with another man; the director was the gifted Jacques Demy who also cast Deneuve in the less successful Demoiselles de Rochefort, Les (1967). She then played a schizophrenic killer in Roman Polanski's Repulsion (1965) and a married woman who works as a part-time prostitute every afternoon in Luis Buñuel's masterpiece Belle de jour (1967). She also worked with Buñuel in Tristana (1970) and gave a great performance for François Truffaut in Sirène du Mississipi, La (1969), a kind of apotheosis of her "frigid femme fatale" persona. In the 1970s, she didn't find parts of that caliber, but her magnificent work in Truffaut's Dernier métro, Le (1980) as a stage actress in Nazi-occupied Paris revived her career. She was also very good in the recent epic drama Indochine (1992) for which she earned her first Academy Award Nominaton (Best Actress). Although the elegant and always radiant Deneuve has never appeared on stage, she is universally hailed as one of the "grandes dames" of French cinema, joining a list that includes such illustrious talents as Simone Signoret, Jeanne Moreau, Isabelle Huppert, and the younger Juliette Binoche.

Classic Horror Films - Day 21 (DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE - 1941)

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Dr. Jekyll allows his dark side to run wild when he drinks a potion that turns him into the evil Mr. Hyde. Pretty good film version and the only one I can go by since I haven't seen the 1931 version with Fredric March and Miriam Hopkins. Tracy is quite good as Jekyll/Hyde. Lana Turner is very pretty to look at and Ingrid Bergman is a  joy to watch in a departure role for her as the barmaid Ivy.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

All Good Things in November

After seeking out new friends and bloggers to be my guest in November, I realized that I could do myself so people would find out more things about me. Most everyone knows my favorite actress is Carole Lombard and my favorite actor is Cary Grant. And my all time favorite film is His Girl Friday. But there is a lot more stuff I could tell you about myself. So next month I will be the featured guest on my own blog. Kinda weird, but still ok I guess. I think everyone will get a kick out of it. It will also allow me to tweak the questions a little bit, either expand on the ones listed or add some new ones. The featured classic movie goddess of the month will be Ginger Rogers. And I will cross over my posts of her with Dawn over at Singing and Dancing Back In Time. I will continue my new series Box Office Attractions which focuses on classic stars and their box office popularity. And also my If It's Tuesday, Then It Must Be Grace Kelly series, which started out as a whim but has grown into something special. Plus the usual reviews and photos and anything else I can think of. I hope everyone can visit All Good Things in November a few times or at least once. I think you will enjoy it.

Classic Horror Films - Day 20 (FRENZY - 1972)


A serial killer is murdering London women with a necktie. The police have a suspect... but he's the wrong man. The always reliable theme of an innocent man accused of something evil has been a trademark in Hitchcock's films. But never with this much graphic violence and sexual situations. Frenzy was Hitch's next to last film and while not anywhere good as his classics, it's still an intense thriller.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Classic Horror Films - Day 19 (THE SEVENTH VICTIM - 1943)

Jacqueline and Mary

A young woman (Kim Hunter) in search of her missing sister (Jacqueline Brooks) uncovers a Satanic cult in New York's Greenwich Village, and finds that they may have something to do with her sibling's random disappearance. Very atmospheric and intriguing thriller from producer Val Lewton, who also helmed Cat People and I Walked With A Zombie.

If It's Tuesday, Then It Must Be Grace Kelly - Life With Hitchcock

Here are some pics of Grace on her films she made with Alfred Hitchcock: Rear Window, Dial M For Murder, and To Catch A Thief.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Just thought I post the classic movie goddess schedule for 2011 while I was thinking about it.
And the remaining two stars for the rest of this year.

CAROLE LOMBARD - MARCH (My girl...can't believe I'm just showcasing her now)

Box Office Attractions - ESTHER WILLIAMS

I recently started a new series called Box Office Attractions that focuses on one star at a time and show when they were at their most successful in their careers. I did Doris Day last week and now it's Esther Williams. I know these two posts will make my friend and co-blogger Dawn very happy.

Esther Williams had a superlative record at the box office. She wasn't America's Mermaid for nothing. Most of her films were huge hits. And from 1945 to 1950, she yielded at least one top 20 hit each year. Here's the breakdown below:

THRILL OF A ROMANCE (1945) Film rank that year: (8) Box office earnings: $4.3 million

EASY TO WED (1946) Film rank that year: (15) Box office earnings: $4.0 million

THIS TIME FOR KEEPS (1947) Film rank that year: (16) Box office earnings: $3.6 million

FIESTA (1947) Film rank that year: (20) Box office earnings: $3.5 million

ON AN ISLAND WITH YOU (1948) Film rank that year: (18) Box office earnings: $3.2 million

NEPTUNE'S DAUGHTER (1949) Film rank that year: (10) Box office earnings: $3.5 million

TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME (1949) Film rank that year: (11) Box office earnings: $3.4 million

DUCHESS OF IDAH0 (1950) Film rank that year: (19) Box office earnings: $2.6 million

And while she didn't place anymore films in the top 20 after 1950, Esther still had several more successful films including Skirts Ahoy! (1952), Million Dollar Mermaid (1952), and Dangerous When Wet (1953).

All figures supplied by Box Office Report at

Happy Birthday Miriam Hopkins (1902 - 1972)

Happy Birthday to Miriam Hopkins (1902 - 1972). She hails from my home state of Georgia. My favorite Miriam films are These Three (1936), Woman Chases Man (1937), Becky Sharp (1935) and Old Acquaintance (1943) with Bette Davis.

Classic Horror Films - Day 18 (SISTERS - 1973)

Danielle Breton (Margot Kidder), a beautiful young model, meets an attractive young advertising rep on a Manhattan game show and he escorts her to her home to Staten Island. The next day, her neighbor Grace Collier (Jennifer Salt), a local reporter, witnesses a bloodbath of violence in Danielle's apartment - and can't get anyone to believe her. With the help of a private detective, Grace attempts to solve the mystery. I saw  this film years ago and remembering it being very good. Great performances by the two lead women - Kidder and Salt. One of the first films directed by thriller/suspense expert Brian DePalma. Does have a cool twist ending too.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Happy Birthday Rita Hayworth (1918-1987)

Margarita Carmen Cansino was born in New York on October 17, 1918 into a family of dancers. Her father, Eduardo was a dancer as was his father before him. He immigrated from Spain in 1913. Rita's mother met Eduardo in 1916 and were married the following year. Rita, herself, was trained as a dancer in order to follow in her family's footsteps.

At age 12, mature-looking Rita joined her father's stage act as a dancer, in which she was spotted three years later by Fox studio head Winfield R. Sheehan, leading to her first studio contract and film debut at age 16 in Dante's Inferno (1935). Fox dropped her after five small roles, but expert, exploitative promotion by first husband Edward Judson soon brought Rita a new contract at Columbia Pictures, where studio head Harry Cohn changed her name to Hayworth and approved raising her hairline by electrolysis. After 13 mainly minor roles, Columbia lent her to Warner Bros. for her first big success, The Strawberry Blonde (1941); her splendid dancing with Fred Astaire in You'll Never Get Rich (1941) made her a star. Later film roles included her biggest hit Gilda in 1946 with Glenn Ford. Other films include Cover Girl (1944) with Gene Kelly; The Lady From Shanghai (1948); Miss Sadie Thompson (1953); and Pal Joey (1957) with Frank Sinatra.

Happy Halloween from Janet Leigh

Here's a photo to put you in the mood for Halloween..

Classic Horror Films - Day 17 (INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS - 1956)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

A small-town doctor (Kevin McCarthy) learns that the population of his community is being replaced by emotionless alien duplicates. A perfect blend of sci-fi and horror make this on of the best thrillers to come out during the 50's.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Wonderful New Blog by my new friend, Film Fanatic

Just wanted to let everyone know about this new blog called Une Cinephile, written by Film Fanatic. I've read a couple of her posts and they're awesome. One is about the original King Kong and then there are two more posts on Gloria Swanson's movies, Tonight or Never and Sadie Thompson. Everyone of my friends and followers need to check this new blog out, you won't regret it. The link is below:

Classic Horror Films - Day 16 (SUSPIRIA - 1973)


A young American woman (Jessica Harper) who enrolls in a fancy ballet academy in Germany, gradually comes to realize that the staff of the school are actually a coven of witches bent on chaos and destruction. Bizarre but still effective thriller which features a cast of Joan Bennett (yes, Joan from classic films back in the day) and Alida Valli. Not your typical horror movie for sure.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Classic Horror Films - Day 15 (DON"T LOOK NOW - 1973)

Don't Look Now

A couple who is devastated by the death of their daughter, travel to Venice where they see her spirit a funeral gondola. Intriguing psychological thriller with top notch performances by Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland as the parents.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Classic Horror Films - Day 14 (HUSH...HUSH, SWEET CHARLOTTE - 1964)

'Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte'

After her betrothed died from multiple ax wounds 40 years ago, everyone in town thought Charlotte Hollis (Bette Davis) was guilty. But with no evidence to convict her, she walked. Since that time, holed up in a crumbling Southern mansion with her devoted servant (Agnes Moorehead), Charlotte's been a recluse. But when an ambitious cousin (Olivia de Havilland) comes along to get her hands on the plantation, Charlotte has to defend herself.

Bette Davis and Olivia de Havilland

Excellent gothic drama that is the perfect follow-up to Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? In some ways, Charlotte is even better. Davis gives a nuanced and more subtle performance than in Jane, and she is backed by a more solid supporting cast. Co-stars Olivia de Havilland, Joseph Cotten, Agnes Moorehead, Mary Astor, and Victor Buono compliment Bette extremely well. It's cool seeing Olivia in such a different role too as a woman of questionable scruples. Watch this with Baby Jane and you have the perfect double bill. Director Robert Aldrich helmed both films. Good stuff.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Box Office Attractions - DORIS DAY

My buddy Tom over at Motion Picture Gems, which by the way is an awesome blog, has frequent posts about the box office rankings of classic movie stars. They are very fun and informative to read. I am starting a new series called Box Office Attractions which will focus on different stars and their box office rankings over their careers. And my first star is Doris Day.

Doris was one of the biggest film stars at one time. From the late 40's through the mid 50's she had a top 20 hit film every other year. But she hit her peak from 1959 - 1964. She had at least one top 20 film every year during that period, some years she had two. Here is the list of her hit films from that period:

PILLOW TALK (1959) Film rank that year: (7) Box office earnings: $7.7 million

PLEASE DON'T EAT THE DAISIES (1960) Film rank that year: (10) Box office earnings: $5.4 million

MIDNIGHT LACE (1960) Film rank that year: (19) Box office earning:s $3.5 million

LOVER COME BACK (1961) Film rank that year: (8) Box office earnings: $7.6 million

THAT TOUCH OF MINK (1962) Film rank that year: (5) Box office earnings: $7.9 million

MOVE OVER, DARLING (1963) Film rank that year: (11) Box office earnings: $6.0 million

THE THRILL OF IT ALL (1963) Film rank that year: (13) Box office earnings: $5.3 million

SEND ME NO FLOWERS (1964) Film rank that year: (19) Box office earnings: $4.1 million

Now that is impressive, no matter who it is. Doris Day was one of the top female stars in film of all time. And yes, she had major male co-stars usually paired with her, but she was as much part of these films successes as were Cary Grant, Rock Hudson, James Garner and the others. So I tip my hat to the lovely and extremely talented Ms. Day for being so successful and starring in such well loved films.
Box office numbers found at

Classic Horror Films - Day 13 (WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE - 1962)

'If I wasn't in this chair...!'

In a decaying Hollywood mansion, Jane Hudson, a former child star, and her sister Blanche, a movie queen forced into retirement after a crippling accident, live in virtual isolation. The long awaited pairing between rivals Bette Davis and Joan Crawford does not disappoint. While Bette has the showier part as Jane, Joan is quite good in her subdued performance as the long suffering Blanche. A classic film with two film legends. Just sit back and enjoy the fireworks.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

If It's Tuesday, Then It Must Be Grace Kelly

Here are some pics of the lovely Grace Kelly just because....

Classic Horror Films - Day 12 (CAT PEOPLE - 1942)

Cat People

Irena Dubrovna (Simone Simon) is a young, Serbian artist living in New York City. When she meets American Oliver Reed (Kent Smith), she falls in love and gets married. But their union hits the rocks when she becomes consumed with the belief that she is the victim of a curse. According to Irena, the curse will make her turn into a deadly panther the minute she becomes emotionally aroused. In an effort to fix their problems, Oliver seeks psychiatric counseling for his beautiful and tormented young bride. But talking about her problems may only make them worse. The first of several interesting horror films by producer Val Lewton, who also did I Walked with a Zombie, The Leopard Man, and The Seventh Victim. The restraint and emphasis on psychological tension rather than physical violence would go on to influence later horror directors. Simon makes quite the impact as Irena and this film gets more across by being subtle than the 1982 remake with Natassja Kinski, which laid on the sex and gore very thick.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Classic Horror Films - Day 11 (VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED - 1960)

The Sinister Children

Something is terribly wrong in the tiny village of Midwich. After an unseen force invades a quiet coastal town, ten women mysteriously find themselves pregnant. Local physician Dr. Alan Chaffee and government scientist Dr. Susan Verner join forces when the women simultaneously give birth... and the reign of horror begins. All born with platinum-white hair, fierce intellect and steely, cobalt eyes, the emotionless offspring display eerie psychic abilities and remarkable powers which they use with deadly consequences, unleashing a storm of terror. George Sanders and Barbara Shelley headline the cast and are solid, as are all of the young child actors, who are genuinely creepy and terrifying. There was a remake in 1995 by John Carpenter and starring Christopher Reeve which was not too bad, but the original is the one to watch.

Iconic Film Images #6 - (It's A Wonderful Life)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

My Top 20 Favorite Hitchcock Films

Here is my top 20 list of favorite Alfred Hitchcock films.


20.) FRENZY (1972) A serial killer is on the loose in London and the police think they have the right man, but he's not. The theme of mistaken identity has also been used by Hitch since his early days, but never this graphic. This was Hitch's next to last film.

19.) MARNIE (1964) Tippi Hedren is excellent as Marnie, a habitual thief with some serious pyschological problems. Sean Connery tries to help her.

Doris Day

18.) THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (1956) Having never seen Hitch's original version, I have to go by this one and it's a good thriller with James Stewart and Doris Day a perfect couple caught in international intrigue.

Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine

17.) SUSPICION (1941) Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine as a married couple who Joan suspects Cary of being dangerous and trying to kill her.

16. ) NOTORIOUS (1946) Hitch assembled a star studded cast of Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, and Claude Rains in this solid tale of spies and Nazis

Robert Cummings and Priscilla Lane

15.) SABOTEUR (1942) Robert Cummings goes on the run after being accused of starting a fire that kills his best friend. Priscilla Lane joins in as a girl who helps him stop the real bad guys.

14.) LIFEBOAT (1944) Several survivors of a torpedoed ship find themselves in the same boat with one of the men who sunk it. Claustrophobia doesn't begin to cover what these survivors will go through. Tallulah Bankhead is top notch as Connie Porter, one of the survivors.


13.) VERTIGO (1958) Some regard this as Hitch's masterpiece but not me. I mean it's a good movie with a stellar performance by James Stewart as the slightly unhinged Scottie Ferguson but it's not my favorite Hitch film.

39 Steps pic 1.jpg

12.) THE 39 STEPS (1935) A man in London tries to help a counterespionage agent. But when the agent is killed and he stands accused, he must go on the run to both save himself and also stop a spy ring trying to steal top secret information. Good performances by Robert Donat and Madeline Carroll.

Joan Fontaine and Judith Anderson

11.) REBECCA (1940) Hitch's first American film is a great one. Suspenseful to the very end.

Grace Kelly and Cary Grant

10.) TO CATCH A THIEF (1955) Cary Grant. Grace Kelly. The Riviera. What's not to love?

Farley Granger and Robert Walker

9.) STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (1951) Solid thriller involving a psychotic socialite confronts a pro tennis star with a theory on how two complete strangers can get away with murder...a theory that he plans to implement. Robert Walker gives his best performance as the psycho with the plan.

The Birds

8.) THE BIRDS (1963) When the birds in the air go amok, look out.

Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint

7.) NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959) By far my favorite pairing between Cary Grant and Hitch for this super smooth adventure yarn that predates James Bond by a few years. Eva Marie Saint is positively stunning.

Anthony Dawson and Grace Kelly

6.) DIAL 'M' FOR MURDER (1954) Another team up between Hitch and Grace Kelly delivers once again.

Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery

5.) MR. AND MRS. SMITH (1941) A screwball farce from Hitch? Turns out to be one of his best films ever. Having Carole Lombard star in it certainly helps.

Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh

4.) PSYCHO (1960) All the slasher films of today and horror icons like Freddy Krueger and Michael Meyers owe a big thanks to Hitch for this immensely creepy and suspenseful thriller with a star defining performance by Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates. Often imitated but never equalled.

Rear Window

3.) REAR WINDOW (1954) My favorite Grace Kelly film with Hitch is a wonderful film. Gorgeous color, crackling dialogue and great performances by Kelly, Jimmy Stewart and Thelma Ritter.

2.) SHADOW OF A DOUBT (1943) A look at life in a small town turns dark when a visiting family member named Uncle Charlie comes a calling. Turns out he has a deadly secret. Joseph Cotten is awesome as Uncle Charlie and Teresa Wright is just as good as his niece Charlie.

Margaret Lockwood, Michael Redgrave and Paul Lukas
1.) THE LADY VANISHES (1938) And my favorite Hitchcock movie of all time, The Lady Vanishes is a perfect mix of comedy, suspense, and action.



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