Sep 30, 2009

Classic Links

A nice long list of classic films on Hulu (some titles are time-limited, so get to watching!)—
Out of the Past

Gorgeous old Hollywood costume ideas—
Silents and Talkies

A former Hollywood pin-up steps back into the public eye (wow, this lady does not look like she’s in her 80s)—
Herald Tribune

You know, the woman gets way too much exposure, but I am still very fond of Audrey Hepburn, and these are some nice galleries—
Old Hollywood Glamour

Gary Marshall and Richard Gere remaking Capra (I don’t think anything could surprise me now--even if they remake Casablanca—the horror!)—
Cinema Blend

Ingmar Bergman’s possessions auctioned off—
The Guardian

Sep 29, 2009

Classic Links

This Lizabeth Scott quote is over a year old, but it cracks me up, so I’m dragging it out to celebrate her 87th birthday today —

Perry Mason before Raymond Burr—
She Blogged By Night

April 6, 1932 in Hollywood--
Hollywood Heyday

Dick Powell and Jane Greer in Station West (1948)—
Thrilling Days of Yesteryear

1930s bloopers—

Wouldn’t it be creepy if most of your clients were deceased?—
Yahoo News

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TV Tuesday: Marilyn Monroe for Coke

I don't know how they got away with the double entendre in this playfully sexy 1953 Coke commercial with Marilyn Monroe and Jack Paar. It's actually a clip from Love Nest (1951), edited into the ad.

New Releases

Warner Home Video: The Wizard Of Oz (70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition) (Will any of us ever want to hear of this movie after all the exposure it has gotten this year? I think yes, eventually.)

Redemption USA: James Dean: The First American Teenager (As a teen, I recorded this fascinating made-for-TV documentary when it was re-broadcast on public television. I was obsessed with it! If you love Dean, it is a must see.)

Synapse Films: This company is releasing a ton of Mexican horror movies from the fifties, sixties and seventies. I’m intrigued.

Sep 28, 2009

Classic Links

Take a look at these beautiful Art Deco sets.—
Cinema Style

Interesting review of the book My Judy Garland Life--
Out of the Past

I love this gallery of actress pics—

Bardot urges Loren to give up fur—

A great Joan Crawford collectible find—

I just posted this link because the Rogers and Astaire pic at the top is gorgeous!—
New York Times

Sep 27, 2009

Sep 26, 2009

Classic Links

I wonder how helpful this site will be for us classic movie fans?—

A review of the Wizard of Oz theater showing—
Silver Screen Stars

A great review with a clip and pics: New York Nights (1929)—
All Talking! All Singing! All Dancing!

Favorite opening scenes—
Riku Writes

Gable looks so vulnerable in this pic—
Old Hollywood Glamour

Sep 24, 2009

Classic Links

An interview with Sarah Karloff, daughter of Boris Karloff—
News Blaze

Buried Treasures: The Well (1951)—
Thrilling Days of Yesteryear

A Kim Novak double feature—
Silents and Talkies

The 100 greatest movies of the 20th century?—

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Sep 23, 2009

Classic Links

Harry Carey Jr. talks about his movies--great interview--
Monsters and Critics

A great gallery of shots from My Man Godfrey (1936)—
The Kitty Packard Pictorial

A review of the Paul Newman DVD collection—
LA Times

Rifftrax spoofs Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) live—

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Four With Margaret Sullavan

Margaret Sullavan never cared much for Hollywood. She was more prolific on the Broadway stage, where she originated the lead roles in Sabrina and Stage Door. Even her marriages to Hollywood players: actor Henry Fonda, director William Wyler and agent Leland Hayward, didn’t last (her fourth marriage to businessman Kenneth Wagg was her most long-lived). Nevertheless, Sullavan made her mark on Hollywood. Her low, throaty voice belied her often passionate nature and that conflict contributed much to her onscreen charisma.

There are many gems among the few movies Margaret Sullavan made before she abandoned tinsel town. Here are some of my favorites:

The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
As dueling shop employees (and secret pen pals), Sullavan and Jimmy Stewart are one of the best-matched movie couples. They switch smoothly from fast paced exchanges of insults, to quiet talks so intimate that you feel you are intruding. Sullavan was a perfect Lubitsch heroine: resourceful, clever, and knowing and yet vulnerable.

The Shopworn Angel (1938)
Though the first movie Sullavan made with Stewart isn’t as rich as Shop, their pairing is just as perfect. Sullavan is a brash showgirl who must come to terms with her growing affection for a naïve soldier (Stewart) who is hopelessly in love with her. It is Sullavan’s wildest role; her shouting matches with her maid are among the funniest scenes, but she balances her flashes of temper with a delicate, and sometimes heartbreaking, tenderness.

Three Comrades (1938)
Sullavan won an Oscar nomination for her role as a doomed woman who charms three soldiers at the end of World War I. She lends a simple poignancy to her role which helps restrain the melodrama in this tearjerking drama. It is easy to see why three friends would agree to share her, if that was what it took to be near her.

The Good Fairy (1935)
My favorite Sullavan movie is this fairy-tale-like comedy about an orphan whose encounter with a wealthy suitor leads her to give a total stranger an opportunity worth a fortune. In her funniest and happiest role she faces the complexities of the adult world by strictly following the thoroughly uncomplicated moral teachings of the orphanage. It’s a twist on the coming-of-age tale where the heroine stays the same and everyone else around her changes. Sullavan maintains the orphan’s sense of innocence and wonder, despite all the dark things she learns about the world outside the orphanage walls.

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top, middle,bottom

Sep 22, 2009

Classic Links

Happy (early) birthday Brigitte Bardot (fascinating article about her free-spirited ways)—
The Guardian

Audio slideshow: Bardot at 75—
The Guardian

Would you be sad if video rental stores vanished?—

John Wayne: liking the actor while loathing the man—
Riku Writes

Gallery: Terence Morgan—
She Blogged By Night

Jean Harlow’s gorgeous suite in Dinner at Eight and the Hollywood design known as “Big White Set” (BWS)—
Cinema Style

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Classic New Releases

Warner Home Video: The Paul Newman Tribute Collection 17-disc set includes The Long, Hot Summer, Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys!, From the Terrace, Exodus, The Hustler (Collector's Edition), Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man, What a Way to Go!, Hombre, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Special Edition), The Towering Inferno (Special Edition), Buffalo Bill and the Indians, Or Sitting Bull's History Lesson, Quintet, and The Verdict (Collector's Edition).

VCI Entertainment: British Cinema Comedy Collection: Down Among the Z Men (1952), Love in Pawn (1953), Those People Next Door (1953), No Smoking (1955), Where There's a Will (1955), Not So Dusty (1956)

And lots of great new titles from Warner Archives:
Crossroads (1942) - William Powell, Hedy Lamarr, Claire Trevor, Basil Rathbone
Dogville Collection - All 9 Dogville Shorts
Experiment Perilous (1944) - Hedy Lamarr, George Brent, Paul Lukas, Albert Dekker
The Heavenly Body (1944) - William Powell, Hedy Lamarr, James Craig
Ice Palace (1960) - Richard Burton, Robert Ryan, Martha Hyer, Jim Backus, Carolyn Jones
I Take This Woman (1940) - Spencer Tracy, Hedy Lamarr, Laraine Day
Killer McCoy (1947) - Mickey Rooney, Brian Donlevy, Ann Blyth, James Dunn
The Search (1948) - Montgomery Clift, Aline MacMahon, Wendell Corey, Ivan Jandl

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Sep 20, 2009

Classic Links

Remembering Gary Cooper in The Virginian (the pic is of Coop in High Noon)--
The Washington Times

A review: The Wicked Lady (1945)—
Silents and Talkies

The top movies of 1929-1930—
A Mythical Monkey Writes About the Movies

Joan Crawford on The Lucy Show--
Joan Crawford Deluxe Suite

Elizabeth Taylor raises HIV funds with fashion—

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Quote of the Week

A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something.

-Frank Capra

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Sep 18, 2009

Four with Ricardo Montalban

It is appropriate that Ricardo Montalban will always be best known as elegant Mr. Rourke from Fantasy Island and as the sophisticated gentleman he portrayed in a series of Chrysler commercials. These two upbeat, confident personas showcase the best elements of his charisma. However, there is much more to Montalban. He was a versatile actor, comfortable performing in anything from dark film noir to colorful musicals. Montalban is one of many great actors we have lost this year. I wanted to celebrate him on this day, when he will be honored with a special tribute at the Alma awards.

Here are four movies that demonstrate Montalban’s ability to charm in any genre:

Mystery Street (1950)
This clever, low-key noir was the first to star a Latino lead. Montalban plays a small town policeman who attempts to solve the mystery of a dead party girl. The detailed forensics scenes could have become tedious, but with his jaunty, intelligent manner Montalban brings life to this procedural.

Border Incident (1949)
Montalban is riveting in this dark, tense drama set in the Southern California farmlands. He plays a Mexican agent collaborating with his American counterparts in a high-risk undercover operation in order to expose the exploitation of illegal workers. There are moments in this movie that are so brutal that they retain their shock value today. Montalban’s brave and decent character elevates the sordid proceedings.

On an Island with You (1948) and Neptune’s Daughter (1949)
In his two Esther Williams musicals, Montalban is a suave, romantic delight. Richard Thorpe, the dour director for both productions, was perpetually irritated by his cheerful costars. It didn’t help that Williams and Montalban were also morning people. This exuberance shows up on the screen. In Island Montalban has his somber moments, but he also gets a chance to show off his elegant dance style with Cyd Charisse. He is more consistently upbeat in Neptune’s Daughter, where he debuts Baby It’s Cold Outside in a playful scene with Williams.

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Sep 17, 2009

Classic Links

Elizabeth Taylor’s enduring love for Richard Burton (I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the truth)—
The Daily Mail

I love these pictures—especially the one of Carole Lombard and Clark Gable eating watermelon. Too cute.—

The Singer Not the Song (1961)(Dirk Bogarde looks smashing in his black hat and leather pants)—
Silents and Talkies

Favorite opening scenes—
Riku Writes

Marilyn Monroe: more than a sex icon—
The Maine Campus

Big hat, no cred: Viva Zapata!--
The Guardian

I’m intrigued by this new movie clip search site—

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Sep 16, 2009

Before Esther Williams, There Was Annette Kellerman

While impatiently awaiting the release of volume two of the Esther Williams collection, I’ve been admiring the work of the first swimming star of the silver screen: Annette Kellerman. The Australian swimmer appeared in over twenty silent shorts, both as herself and in dramatic roles. Her movies were not as big a sensation as Williams’, but they were definitely more sensational: she is purported to be the first actress to appear nude in a major motion picture, in the 1916 silent, Daughter of the Gods.

However, movies are a small part of Kellerman’s rich legacy. A childhood cripple, she built up the strength to walk again by swimming. She kept training, and as a teenager she was a competitive swimmer. In 1905, she became famous for her three attempts to cross the English Channel, which, while unsuccessful, nevertheless brought her great admiration. She created another stir in on a Boston beach 1907 when, in a bathing suit that revealed more than the typical dress and bloomers combination of the day, she was arrested for public indecency. She contended that the billowy suits were dangerous and created this form-fitting, but less revealing wetsuit-type design as a compromise:

She eventually sold the suits, which would become the first modern women’s swimwear.

Though Esther Williams is often credited with creating the sport of synchronized swimming, Kellerman was equally, if not more influential. Her innovative water ballets, performed in a glass tank at the New York Hippodrome Theater, were enormously popular and helped to define performance swimming.

Kellerman visited Esther Williams at MGM when she was filming her life story, Million Dollar Mermaid (1952). In her autobiography, Williams wrote that Kellerman had been disappointed that an Australian had not been cast in the role. Williams reminded her that she was the only swimming movie star in Hollywood, let alone at MGM—a fact which Kellerman grudgingly accepted. In the end, Hollywood did recognize its first swimming star; Kellerman has a star on the Walk of Fame.

Here are a few clips of Annette Kellerman’s Hollywood films. The first is from Neptune’s Daughter (1914) (also the name of a 1949 Esther Williams movie, though the plot is entirely different):

This brief clip is from Annette Kellerman Performing Water Ballet (1925)

Here’s a lovely underwater scene from Venus of the South Seas (1924) (note the similarity to some of Esther Williams’ famous moves):

I never thought I'd write it on this blog, but this next shot is NSFW! Here's a link to a nude still from Kellerman's groundbreaking appearance in Daughter of the Gods

And here's another great page with more Kellerman shots.

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Sep 15, 2009

Classic Links

Ten melos the siren would watch instead of Mad Men--
Self-Styled Siren

Vintage Jean Harlow paper dolls (this is a cool blog!)—
Mostly Paper Dolls

Now there’s talk of Robert Downy Jr. playing the lead in the Harvey. I love RDJ, but please, can we just not do this?—

TV Tuesday: Lauren Bacall Commercials

In honor of Lauren Bacall's 85th birthday tomorrow, I've decided to offer a glimpse of her career as a celebrity spokesperson.

I wish I had a better clip of this ad for High Point coffee. Bacall says her lines with such relish (its deCAFFeinated). She's hilarious, but also quite convincing:

Another great High Point coffee ad. (Beware, the clip has snarky comments added.)

New Releases

Grapevine Video: Ladies of the German Cinema—Sappho and Backstairs (both 1921)

Kino: Gaumont Treasures, 1897-1913, a three-disc set with over 60 short films made by Alice Guy-Blache, Louis Feuillade, and Leonce Perret, including The Fisherman at the Stream (1897), The Birth, The Life, And the Death of Christ (1906), The Roman Orgy (1911), The Heart and the Money (1912), the feature The Child of Paris (1913)

Criterion Collection: Essential Art House, Volume 4:
The 39 Steps, Throne of Blood, The Tales of Hoffman, Le Jour Se Levé, Gervaise, Mayerling

Sep 14, 2009

Monday Serenade: Bob Fosse, Debbie Reynolds and Co.

The explosively talented Bob Fosse dances and Barbara Ruick sings to You Can't Do Wrong Doin' Right in this high-energy number from The Affairs of Dobie Gillis (1953). Debbie Reynolds and Bobby Van join in mid-song.

Sep 13, 2009

Classic Links

1959: the best movie year ever?—
Seattle Times

New Book—Brown Sugar: Over 100 Years of Black Superstars, by Donald Bogle—

A conversation with the essential Robert Osborne—
Canyon News

I love this pic: Art Deco cheesecake—

Movie watching efficiency (I wish I had a solution to this problem myself)—
Out of the Past

A musical interlude: Marlene Dietrich in The Blue Angel--
A Mythical Monkey Writes About The Movies

Camp film wish list—
Bunnybun's Classic Movie Blog

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Quote of the Week

I think your whole life shows in your face and you should be proud of that.
-Lauren Bacall

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Sep 11, 2009

Classic Links

Lauren Bacall to receive honorary Oscar—
The Guardian

The death of classic DVDs will be the death of me—

Review: The Servant (1963)—
Silents and Talkies

Looking at how film comedy lasts--or doesn’t—
SF Gate

Book opens door to Errol Flynn’s dark side—
Palm Beach Pulse

Sep 10, 2009

Classic Links

Fashion icons—
Silents and Talkies

Excerpts from Army Archerd’s classic columns—

When entertainment journalism was a respectable position—
Media Bistro

Joan Blondell gets a permanent—ouch!—
Flapper Days

Mae West, Colette, Caron, Cukor—
Mae West

Sep 9, 2009

Classic Links

R.I.P. Army Archerd—

TCM’s favorite fashion trend-setting films—

Bette Davis is such a glamour puss in this photo—
My Vintage Vogue

A new animated movie based on an unproduced Jacques Tati script—

Book Review--Hollywood Dreams Made Real: Irving Thalberg and the Rise of MGM

With his previous photo tributes to Hollywood, Mark Vieira has proven to be expert at combining style with substance. His books have the look of coffee table fluff: oversized, glossy and full of delicious photographs, but his impeccably-researched text has always been capable of standing on its own. Fortunately, Hollywood Dreams Made Real follows this pattern.

Though the name Irving Thalberg is well-known among classic movie fans, he is often not given his due for the enormous effect he had in the early days of Universal, MGM and the film industry as a whole. With authorship as effective as any director, his drive, and an obsession with great storytelling, gave birth to such classics as Ben-Hur (1925) Grand Hotel (1932) and Mutiny on the Bounty (1935).

Vieira tells Thalberg’s story year-by-year, from the start of his movie career, to his early death at age thirty-seven. He explores both his personal and professional life, from his battle with childhood illness to his power struggles with studio executives. His research reveals an ambitious, passionate man whose frail body could not handle his drive, but who nevertheless played a unique role in building an industry.

With gorgeous photos, some never published, of actors including Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford and Greta Garbo and never revealed information from Shearer’s unpublished memoir notes, Hollywood Dreams Made Real provides a fresh perspective on one of Hollywood’s greatest success stories.

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Sep 8, 2009

Classic Links

Netflix to stream The Wizard of Oz for free online—

Lauren Bacall knows how to whistle, but she doesn’t Tweet—

James Cagney in a western: Tribute to a Bad Man (1956)—
Movie Classices

Clark Gable’s grandson stabbed—

Elia Kazan was born 100 years ago—
Greek Reporter

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TV Tuesday: Vincent Price on the Muppet Show

This one minute clip from a 1976 episode of The Muppet Show showcases the three things I like best about Vincent Price: a distinctive voice, elegant manners and a fantastic sense of humor. Who knew that Kermit the Frog and Price would make such a fabulous comedy team?

Classic New Releases


Criterion Collection: The Human Condition (1959)

Universal Horror, Classic Archives Collection:"The Black Cat" (1941), "Horror Island" (1941), "Man Made Monster" (1941), "Night Monster" (1942), "Captive Wild Woman" (1943)


Warner Archives: Sea Hawk (1924), Old San Francisco (1927), The Divine Lady (1929), The First Auto (1927), The Better ‘Ole (1926), When a Man Loves (1927), Beau Brummel (1924), Reducing (1931), Politics (1931), Let Us Be Gay (1930), Min and Bill (1930)

Sep 7, 2009

Classic Links

Phil French’s screen legends: Joan Fontaine—
The Guardian

Elissa Landi (bio and lots of great photos)—
Allure blog

Coming in October--How to Be a Movie Star: Elizabeth Taylor--

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Sep 6, 2009

Quote of the Week

Every actor has a natural animosity towards every other actor, present or absent, living or dead.

-Louise Brooks

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Sep 5, 2009

Classic Links

The new Gary Cooper Stamp!—

Breakfast at Tiffany’s: when Audrey Hepburn won Marilyn Monroe’s role—
The Guardian

I can’t wait for volume 2 of the Esther Williams Collection—

Eying Bette Davis’ Condo—
The Boston Herald

Classic Beauty—
Punctuated Life

I love these pics of Gene Tierney and Oleg Cassini—
The Fashion Spot

Lovely Ella Raines—
Flapper Days

The Duke’s ten best westerns—

Sep 4, 2009

Classic Links

How to relax like. . .Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor—
The Telegraph

My birthday week tribute to the dancing of Mitzi Gaynor (happy b-day Ms. Gaynor!)—
Shall We Dance

Flapper Flicks: Misbehaving Husbands--
Flapper Flicks

The city by the bay: an ideal backdrop for films—
Riku Writes

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Sep 3, 2009

Classic Links

Hollywood Couples: Norma Shearer and Irving Thalberg—
A Mythical Monkey Writes About the Movies

50 films that very nearly had different casts (Yul Brynner and Sophia Loren in North by Northwest? Wow!)—
Den of Geek

Gorgeous photos and Vivien Leigh memories—
The Dreamstress

Joan Crawford: misunderstood maven of the movies—
Kimmy Style

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Sep 2, 2009

Great Movie Apartments

I was watching Deception (1946) the other night, and while Bette Davis, Paul Henreid and Claude Rains all gave mesmerizing performances, I often found my attention wandering to Davis’ stunning top floor studio apartment. Enormous windows from floor to ceiling, lush, but tasteful decoration and a grand piano perched in the middle of the room. It isn’t impossible to see why Davis gave into temptation and accepted some pampering.

It got me to thinking about how many movie apartments are absurdly beautiful. And it isn’t necessarily the rich who get the best digs; part of the fun of the movies is that, occasionally, a hard-working dame or a regular fellow can luck into a fantastic view or a remarkably spacious floor plan. Here are some of my favorite movie apartments:

How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)
Sure the glamorous tenants of this spacious penthouse are forced to sell the furniture to cover expenses, but they can’t sell the elegant balcony. Betty Grable, Lauren Bacall and Marilyn Monroe make do by stretching out in the lounge chairs and sipping champagne.

Auntie Mame (1958)
My favorite part of eccentric Auntie Mame’s (Rosalind Russell) apartment is the dramatic staircase, perfectly suited for sweeping entrances. This alone would have been enough for me to include it on the list, but I can’t ignore Mame’s singular décor. For years, the only things I remembered from my first childhood viewing of this movie were her flamboyant decorations and those crazy couches that could move up and down with the touch of a lever.

Roman Holiday (1953)
Newsman Gregory Peck’s tiny studio seems to be a crowded dump at first glance, but once the curtains are opened, everything changes. One of the best moments in the movie is when Audrey Hepburn steps out on the rooftop patio and takes in a jaw dropping panorama of Rome.

Top Hat (1935)
While Ginger Rogers’ Art Deco nest is technically a hotel room, I had to include it on the list, because it is the epitome of 1930s art deco style. While mere mortals would be terrified to do anything in this gorgeous room for fear of mussing the pristine all-white interior, Rogers is completely oblivious to the glamour around her. She’s too busy dealing with her tap dancing neighbor upstairs.

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Sep 1, 2009

Classic Links

I love this 1940 article from Time about Hollywood—

The Good, The Bad, The Racist (wonderful post--brilliantly expressed)—
Riku Writes

Vanity Fair’s Depression-era movie classics photo shoot (These are always interesting—if a bit icky. There’s nothing as potent as the original stars.)—

TV Tuesday: The Talk Show Generation Gap

One of the things that made the sixties and seventies a golden age for television talk shows was the often awkward, but always interesting interaction among the cross-generational guests. Several big names from the studio age were still alive and available for a chat, and they often found themselves face-to-face with the young actors and musicians of the day. These meetings never fail to be at least a bit awkward as two generations attempt to understand each other, but it is endearing how kind and even curious about each other they could be. Here are a couple of my favorite cross-generational meetings.

James Brown and Alfred Hitchcock

Though he doesn’t get the name of the movie right, it is obvious that Psycho (1960) made a memorable impression on James Brown. While sharing the stage with Hitch on The Mike Douglas Show, he can’t help asking a question about the famous shower scene. Hitch firmly, though also with good humor, refuses to answer in public, but promises an abashed Brown to answer his question in private:

Janis Joplin and Gloria Swanson

Though their conversation is civil, the tension between Joplin and Swanson is palpable in this brief clip from a 1970 episode of The Dick Cavett Show. The glamorously-dressed Swanson seems unsure what to make of Joplin with her wild hair and hippy threads, though it must be said that they are well-matched in outlandishness:

Have you seen any other great cross-generational meetings on old talk shows? I’d love to see them if you have. I’m still working on getting my comments functional, but my e-mail and Twitter work!

Classic New Releases

I'm always searching for new releases that I'd like to see, so I thought I might as well start sharing the information with all of you. Here are some titles coming out today:

TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: Murder Mysteries (The Maltese Falcon / The Big Sleep / Dial M for Murder / The Postman Always Rings Twice)

TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: Science Fiction (2001 A Space Odyssey / Soylent Green / Forbidden Planet / The Time Machine)

TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: Horror (House of Wax 1953 / The Haunting 1963 / Freaks / Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 1941)

Sony Pictures: They Came to Cordura (1959)

MGM/UA: Some Like it Hot (1959) (50th Anniversary Edition)