Feb 28, 2011

Classic Links

For your Academy Awards hangover: Bette Davis and the Oscar-- Sunset Gun

Deanna Durbin goes to the Oscars-- The Amazing Deanna Durbin

There’s a clip here of Durbin and Fredric March performing The Good Fairy on the radio--after a darn good review of the 1935 movie with Margaret Sullavan— Java's Journey

All about Zeppo Marx-- A Mythical Monkey Writes About the Movies

Feb 27, 2011

Quote of the Week

She didn't want to be famous. She wanted to be happy.

-Clark Gable, on Jean Harlow

Image Source

Feb 25, 2011

Classic Links

Here’s an interesting list of books about the Oscars— The Guardian

This is a nice montage of all the best actress Oscar winners— Olivia and Joan: Sisters of the Silver Screen

I like this handy chart that breaks down all the major instant streaming services— /Film

Hang in there Liz!— IMDB

The fascinating and tragic Jeanne Eagels— The Big Parade

Leslie Caron in The L-Shaped Room (1962)-- Classic Film Boy

When Dalí met Disney-- The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of

Ever heard of Segundo de Chomón, a.k.a. "the Spanish Méliès”?-- A Mythical Monkey Writes About the Movies

Feb 24, 2011

Marilyn Monroe, Jane Russell and the Kessler Twins

Have you ever heard of the Kessler Twins? They’re a German triple-threat sister act, beloved in Europe, and particularly Germany and Italy. The sisters enjoyed the peak of their fame in the fifties and sixties, though they are still adored in Europe today.

In this Scopitone video the Kessler Twins do a stylish strut-dance as they lip sync to Quando Quando:

Every time I see the beginning of that routine, it makes me think of Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe in the opening number from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953). The way the sisters move together, with their hands pressed flirtatiously to their upper bodies, and the stillness of their heads as they go through their dance is so similar. Did Jane and Marilyn influence them?

Feb 23, 2011

Classic Links

The final tally for the film noir blogathon and a thank you from Eddie Muller of the Film Noir Foundation--
Ferdy on Films
Self-Styled Siren

Laura provides a helpful classic movie fan’s perspective on the titles available on the new Amazon streaming service-- Laura's Miscellaneous Musings

Groucho Marx makes comedy out of tangling with Warner Bros-- Cinematical

It looks like there’s a possibility of a three-DVD set with several versions of Orson Welles’ Othello being released-- Wellesnet

Feb 21, 2011

Classic Links

It’s the last day of the film noir blogathon. Have you made your donation? Check out the wealth of posts here. Amazing stuff.-- Self-Styled Siren

A great gallery of mostly lesser-known Saul Bass posters. It actually inspired me to put a couple of titles in my queue-- The Guardian

Mickey Rooney accuses his stepson of elder abuse—yikes-- About.com

Joan Fontaine discusses her feud with sister Olivia deHavilland in a 1979 interview-- Olivia and Joan: Sisters of the Silver Screen

Feb 20, 2011

Quote of the Week

Gary kisses the way Charles Boyer looks like he kisses. . .Well! It was like holding a hand grenade and not being able to let go of it. I was breathless.

-Laraine Day (about Gary Cooper)

Image Source

Feb 18, 2011

Classic Links

Check out the latest contributions to the For the Love of Film (Noir) blog-a-thon— Self-Styled Siren

Debbie Reynolds decides to sell her magnificent collection of movie costumes. I’ll bet that was a good investment-- IMDB

Cary Grant’s Palm Springs estate is on the market for only $3 million. Deal!-- Popeater

There were twelve hours of audio from the Truffaut/Hitchcock interviews online until the files stopped downloading. It looks like you still can’t get access, but I’m putting this link up just in case something changes— /Film

More about the Criterion Collection’s big deal with Hulu-- Criterion Cast

I thought this was amusing: two bloggers posted thoughtful reviews of Errol Flynn’s autobiography My Wicked, Wicked Ways the same day. It was interesting to compare the reviews—

Via Margutta 51
Movietone News

Check out some early episodes of Ebert and Siskel online. That is some mustache Mr. Siskel-- /Film

The Nazis dabbled in 3D?-- The Guardian

For the Love of Film (Noir) Blogathon--Moonrise (1948): Rural Noir

This review is being posted in support of the For the Love of Film (Noir) blogathon taking place this week. The event will be raising money to assist the Film Noir Foundation and Paramount Pictures in funding UCLA's restoration of The Sound of Fury(1950), featuring Lloyd Bridges. Please consider contributing to this worthy cause and saving a piece of history.

Any amount will make a difference! For more information about the blog-a-thon, and to read the insane number of fascinating posts contributed by passionate film bloggers check out the Self-Styled Siren or Ferdy on Films.

Click here to make a donation. Thank you for your support!

Sometimes murder is like love. It takes two to commit it: the man who hates and the man who is hated.

Director Frank Borzage’s Moonrise (1948) unfolds amid the swamps of a rural Virginia town, but it has the clockwork of a gritty city noir. This is primarily due to Dane Clark, in his role as Danny Hawkins, an angry young man who wears his noirish guilt like an itchy sweater, twitching and straining to avoid an unhappy fate. You could place him unchanged on a city street and his part of the story would still be plausible.

But we are in the rural south, where Danny has been haunted and taunted his whole life over the hanging of his father for murder. The cruelest of the bullies is entitled rich kid Jerry Sykes (Lloyd Bridges), son of the town banker. Nothing changes when they reach adulthood, and one evening in the swamps behind a dance hall, the two men fight over dreamy-eyed Gilly Johnson (Gail Russell).

The fight gets ugly, and Jerry makes an insulting gesture that he has been repeating since the death of Danny’s father. It causes Danny’s tormented past to flash before his eyes. When Jerry asks his breathless rival if he has “had enough” he has no idea what he has unleashed. Danny kills him with a rock, in self-defense, but there is angry passion behind the gesture, and he is horrified by his actions.

Danny races through the night in a storm of guilt and horror, making everyone a victim of his turmoil, including his friend, the gentle, mentally-impaired deaf-mute Billy Scripture (Harry Morgan) and the baffled and frightened Gilly. His whirling rage ends in a rain-soaked car wreck, from which he pulls a limp Gilly with shame and regret.

Danny is an orphan, and his guardian aunt (Selena Royle) does not know what to make of him. She twists her hands around her knitting as she tries to speak of her faith in her nephew, but she appears fearful that he has what she seems to see as his father’s angry blood.

The location switches to a church scene, where Gilly also twists her hands anxiously, in torment over the angry man she adores. Though Danny frightens Gilly, she loves him more than Jerry. He seems to arouse in her an irresistible mixture of maternal and passionate feelings, even though she fears he could jeopardize her position as the town schoolteacher. They begin a private affair in a creaky abandoned mansion, and find that when they are alone, all is right between them.

In the outside world, the rest of the townspeople seem a lot more accepting of, and less worried about Danny than he imagines. It seems that he has really only been the target of a few nasty boys. Everyone else speaks to him with ease, despite his visibly growing anxiety over Jerry’s body hidden in the swamp. He even impresses the quietly intelligent town sheriff (Allyn Joslyn) who invites him for a chat on a bench full of townies.

Danny enjoys the company of the men, and particularly a practically deaf, but charming old-timer, but he never relaxes. His posture is tense and he keeps his arms folded tight across his chest. If anyone has noticed his anxiety, they don’t mention it. Perhaps Danny has always been this way.

The only time Danny truly relaxes is with his African-American friend Mose (Rex Ingram), a loner who lives in a shack by the swamp. He has regretfully given up on the human race, tired of getting knocked around, but aware that he has taken the coward’s way out. Danny understands him and treats him with the respect of a kindred soul.

When Jerry’s body is finally found, it is Mose who realizes Danny has killed him. The sheriff is not far behind, though he doesn’t want to believe the truth. Still, he must do his job and he pursues his investigation with somber dignity. He wants the crime to be about Jerry’s gambling debts, which he'd planned to cover with embezzled money from his father’s bank, but the clues all point to Danny.

A surreal ferris wheel ride at a traveling fair confirms the sheriff’s suspicions. As they ride in circles, he watches Danny and Gilly with probing eyes and thinks he understands the passion that led to the crime. Danny watches the lawman hovering over him as if he is ready to pounce, and he becomes so overwhelmed that he leaps to the ground, blacking out.

From then on, Danny is on the run. He starts his flight ready to fight to the death, sure of the unbeatable anger in his blood. His feelings change when he seeks sanctuary with his grandmother (Ethel Barrymore) who lives quietly near the swamp. She helps him to understand his father, who was not angry at heart, but rather fiercely protective of his family and happiness.

Elated by his grandmother’s words, Danny decides he will no longer fight. He hopes for compassion, knowing all the while that he may be walking to his death.

Moonrise is a strange hybrid of romance, mystery and small town drama. Sometimes it has the lush, nightmarish feel of Night of the Hunter, but it is not as jarringly surreal. Danny lives in a quiet, slow-paced world, but it holds menace for him. It isn’t until a symbolic moonrise that he finds a sense of peace in the middle of a dark, cruel night.

Image Source

Once again, here's that donation link:

Feb 16, 2011

Classic Links

Gah, my eyeballs are about to fall out, I’ve been trying to read every post submitted to the For the Love of Film (Noir) Blog-a-thon and they are all so good. Here’s a few links to check out—including information on how to donate to this important cause—

Ferdy on Films
The Self-Styled Siren
The Siren’s Interview with Eddie Mueller of the Film Noir Foundation

A little something about the recipient of the blog-a-thon funds: The Sound of Fury (1950) with Lloyd Bridges-- Movie Morlocks

Gobs of Criterion Collection titles are going to be available on Hulu Plus-- Cinematical

Haywire, a fasxinating memoir by Brooke Hayward is in print once again. Hayward’s mother was actress Margaret Sullavan and her father was Hollywood agent Leland Hayward. She also used to have food fights with Jane and Peter Fonda!-- TCM

This is a beautiful tribute to my favorite Hollywood couple: Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward— Classic Forever

I never knew how Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor reconciled. A cruise is as good a place as any to do it— IMDB

Feb 14, 2011

Classic Links

R.I.P. Betty Garrett, 91. I know it wasn't her most celebrated role, but I thought she was at her most charming in Neptune's Daughter (1949) with Esther Williams-- NPR

The film noir blogathon starts today!-- Cinema Styles

This is a nice look back at Julie Christie and Dirk Bogarde in Darling (1965)-- The Guardian

I love this essay about my favorite Orson Welles flick, A Touch of Evil (1958)-- Movie Morlocks/TCM

There’s an interesting clip at the bottom of this post about the origins of IMDB-- /Film

Feb 11, 2011

Classic Links

This is a fascinating profile of Lauren Bacall-- Vanity Fair

I wonder how many movies Netflix will be close-caption/subtitle for the Roku player? That’s one thing I miss about the DVDs-- New York Times (via Laura's Miscellaneous Musings)

For now, you can watch several Instant Play movies with subtitles via computer streaming (including some classics)— nc-mac-asl's blog

The William Haines sofa makes a comeback— New York Times

A play about the affair between Marlene Dietrich and Erich Maria Remarque-- Playbill

Feb 9, 2011

Classic Links

Yay—a new Jean Harlow book is coming out! It's by Darrell Rooney and the author of two of my favorite books about classic Hollywood, Mark Vieira. Here's an interview with the authors-- The Kitty Packard Pictoral

I know Bette Davis hated the way she was glamorized for Fashions of 1934 (1934), but I thought she was a dish in this amusing and lighthearted flick— She Blogged By Night

Employees’ Entrance (1933): one of the best pre-codes and my favorite Warren William performance. He is quite the cad in this one-- Immortal Ephemera

 I agree with Kate, Audrey Hepburn’s best wardrobe was for How To Steal A Million (1966), especially the black lace cocktail dress with the mask— Scathingly Brilliant

This is a striking pic of Audrey Hepburn. She looks lovely and melancholy-- Film Noir Photos

Hahaha---a wicked witch of the east doorstop!-- Cinematical

Feb 7, 2011

Classic Links

I’ve always admired Tura Satana (1938-2011). She was tough, smart and beautiful in so many ways. Here are a few of the many touching tributes made to her yesterday after news broke of her passing:

The Sheila Variations (this one has a great interview clip)
Criterion Cast
A Shroud of Thoughts

The amazing greatest posters of film noir series ends-- Where Danger Lives

Kim Morgan interviews John Garfield’s daughter, Julie Garfield-- Sunset Gun

Image Source

Feb 6, 2011

Feb 4, 2011

Classic Links

I’m so excited that The Prowler (1951) is now on DVD, though I’m also grateful to have seen it for the first time on the big screen during the Noir City festival-- The Night Editor

Oooh, the Vitaphone series from Warner Archives looks good too!-- Movie Crazy/Leonard Maltin

Laura shares some information about the 2011 TCM Film Festival-- Laura's Miscellaneous Musings

Ronald Reagan writes a glowing letter about Barbara Stanwyck.-- Motion Picture Gems

This is a great photo essay of Hush. . .Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964). You might want to hold off if you haven’t seen the movie, because it is spoilery-- My Love of Old Hollywood

The George Eastman House is sharing some of its collection online-- Alt Film Guide

Feb 2, 2011

Classic Links

The time For The Love of Film (Noir) is drawing near!--
Self-Styled Siren
Ferdy on Films

This is an interesting review of the new Bogart biography— The New Yorker

It seems like Tallulah Bankhead was the sort of woman who was always entertaining, whether or not she was on the stage-- She Blogged By Night

Roller skates, Mickey Rooney and Marilyn Monroe. Yep, I’m going to have to see Fireball (1950)-- Out of the Past

In my next life, I want to be a Finnish student— YLE