Oct 31, 2011

Classic Links

All about that notorious War of the Worlds radio broadcast— The Sheila Variations

10 scary scenes from classic movies. I agree with Clara on many of these picks-- Via Marguta 51

Capsule reviews of some great “old dark house” flicks-- Acidemic

The Alfred Hitchcock tournament is in full swing. Why are these things so fun?-- All Good Things

Can’t have Halloween without a good classic Hollywood cheesecake gallery!-- My Love of Old Hollywood

I love good reviews of bad movies. Here’s a great take on Decoy (1946)-- Classic Movie Ramblings

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Oct 30, 2011

Quote of the Week

Why is there so much month left at the end of the money?

-John Barrymore

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Oct 28, 2011

Classic Links

Bela Lugosi’s cape is up for auction. He saved it for his son. I wonder if he meant for him to sell it?-- IMDB

This is a conversation I would love to hear— If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger . . .

I'm so curious about this new Three Stooges movie. Not theater curious, DVD curious-- /Film

The new Grace Kelly biopic is going to cover six months of her life. It doesn’t sound like six of the most fascinating months, but it will be interesting to see where they go with this idea-- The Guardian

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Oct 26, 2011

Classic Links

A history of the replay. What an interesting idea to explore. I love the description of Joan Crawford in Sudden Fear (1952)-- Observations on Film Art

Lovely pics of Deanna Durbin’s Hollywood home-- Time Machine to the Twenties

A nice tribute to the music of Uninvited (1944)-- The Lady Eve's Reel Life

Tom found an amazing, rare interview with Dolores Hart, the star of Where the Boys Are (1960) who left Hollywood 40 years ago to become a nun-- Motion Picture Gems

Oct 24, 2011

Classic Links

This is a thoughtful review of Dear Cary: My Life With Cary Grant. I liked the comparison with Jennifer Grant’s book-- Sittin' on a Backyard Fence

Here’s a nice review of the difficult-to-find pre-code Laughter (1930) with Nancy Carroll and Fredric March-- Movie Classics

A couple of good posts about Mary Blair, the influential Disney artist who was featured on the Google home page a couple of days ago. The first is a short bio. and the second has lots of great pictures and links-- Shroud of Thoughts, Laura's Miscellaneous Musings

Oct 23, 2011

Quote of the Week

Marlene Dietrich and Roy Rogers are the only two living humans who should be allowed to wear black leather pants.

-Edith Head

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Oct 21, 2011

Classic Links

RIP Barbara Kent, 1907-2011. At 103, she was the oldest living movie star I knew of--
IMDBSelf-Styled Siren, Immortal Ephemera

These pics of stars playing sports are a lot of fun. I love Jane Russell with the basketball-- The Silver Screen Affair

I actually have noticed this dress a lot in classic Hollywood movies. I’m going to have to get one some day-- Flying Down to Hollywood

A couple of fine reviews of the new John Huston biography. I’ll be reviewing it myself in a week or so-- Another Old Movie Blog Out of the Past

This dueling divas blogathon sounds like a lot of fun-- Backlots

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Oct 20, 2011

Book Review-- Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century

[We are] a lovely charming decadent hopeless couple. –Richard Burton

I don’t want to be that much in love ever again. . .I didn’t reserve anything. I gave everything away. . .my soul, my being, everything. –Elizabeth Taylor

I shall miss you with passion and wild regret. –Richard Burton

Maybe we loved each other too much. . . .Pray for us. –Elizabeth Taylor

Richard and I lived life to the fullest, but we also paid our dues. –Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century
Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger
Harper Collins 2010

The two decade love story of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor was so eventful that it took a book the size of a full biography to cover it. This is as definitive a story of that affair that we are likely to get. Taylor and Burton’s widow gave the authors unprecedented access to their letters and Burton’s journals and other writings from the years they were together. These pieces bring the story of the couple close, with details of their passion, pleasure, shame and frustration. Interviews with several people who were close to them, including their children, fill out the portrait nicely.

The action begins quickly, which is always a treat with a biography. There’s a brief mention of their first, uneventful meeting at a pool party. Then it is on to the filming of Cleopatra on location in Rome in 1962, and Le Scandale, as Richard Burton called it. The guilt the pair felt over their public adultery and the betrayals it involved stayed with them, and haunted Burton in particular.

Still, Taylor and Burton were hopelessly drawn to each other, and while they couldn’t always live together, they remained in love until Burton died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1984. In their years together, they lived a nomadic life, camping out in fancy European hotels and sailing around the continent in their yacht, the Kalizma. That boat seems often to have been the only escape the pair had from the overwhelming, and sometimes physically dangerous, attention they received from their public. Even when their movies stopped making money, public fascination over the pair never died.

Their life together was always tumultuous. Wild, though not always vicious, fights were a regular part of their lives, and as some noted, a sort of foreplay. Taylor liked strong forceful men and would sometimes start a battle just for the excitement. Burton had a temper, and a dark streak of Welsh melancholy. They indulged in jewels, furs, food and, above all drink. Their extravagance thrilled and eventually disgusted their public as the sixties gave birth to the counterculture.

There were two parts to their indulgence. For one, they were simply larger than life, and took advantage of having the means to live in luxury. There were also darker reasons for their escape into extravagance. Always haunted that he had abandoned his family for Taylor, Burton also felt guilty that he had dropped his father’s name for that of a mentor who sponsored his education and helped him to escape Welsh mining life. Taylor fought to break free from the bonds of her Hollywood child star youth.

Though they always stayed in each other’s lives, their lifestyle was too unhealthy for them to remain together. Burton could not stay sober when he was with Taylor; drinking was what they did. Taylor encouraged and even demanded that Burton drink, until she realized it was driving him to his death. Despite her constant health troubles, Elizabeth was stronger, both mentally and physically.

Despite their dangerous passions, the pair mostly comes off well in the book. Burton and Taylor inspired admiration in the people they knew. They seemed to adore everyone from the queen of a nation to the lowest paid employee on a movie set, and they opened their hearts to all. Thought they always inspired controversy, they were professional, serious about their work and never content to just be movie stars.

While the book does pay tribute to the care they took in developing their craft, it’s also packed with gobs of sex, booze and tales of indulgence. It’s a well-told biography, but also very juicy. It never feels exploitive either. This was simply how they lived.

They were never out of touch. Even when they were eventually married to other people, they spoke on the phone constantly, sharing every detail of their lives. Their romantic partners knew they couldn’t compete, and the ones who lasted didn’t try.

As wildly successful as they were in the eyes of those around them, they often wondered what their lives would have been like if they had settled down together in a university town. It’s hard to imagine Taylor being a homey wife to Burton’s tweedy college professor, but the burden of fame got them to dreaming.

Burton was always disturbed by his unfulfilled ambitions, which included his desire to win an Academy Award (he was nominated six times) and to publish a book. Aside from a few stories and poems, Burton’s journals are the closest he got to writing that book. As excerpted in the book, they reveal a couple who always saw themselves as Elizabeth and Richard, while the rest of the world idolized and mocked them as Liz and Dick.

Oct 19, 2011

Classic Links

An interesting post about the shorts Buster Keaton made at Columbia near the end of his career-- Thrilling Days of Yesteryear

Here’s a chance to win a copy of the new Steve McQueen bio-- On the Marquee

Marvelous review of Crimewave (1954) with lots of screenshots. Can’t go wrong with Sterling Hayden, Tim Carey and early Charles Bronson-- Where Danger Lives

A little love for Miriam Hopkins-- A Mythical Monkey Writes About the Movies

I’m glad Wanda (1970) has been rediscovered. I must have seen it on a bootleg the first time I watched it, many years ago. I remember being fascinated by how interesting Barbara Loden was in the title role, depsite the fact that her character was so passive.-- The Guardian

Oct 17, 2011

Classic Links

This post is about some of the great screen teams that never happened. I could have sworn some of these people did work together, because they are perfect pairings. Did Jimmy Stewart and Barbara Stanwyck really never work together? (I just checked; they really didn’t)-- The Girl With the White Parasol

Java gives the heads up about Debbie Reynolds’ second auction on December 3, 2011. I think I may buy the catalogue this time.-- Java's Journey

These are fascinating pics of Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine as young girls.-- Olivia and Joan: Sisters of the Silver Screen

I always wondered about this Charlotte Chandler dame myself. Do any of you know much about her?-- Persblancs Classic B-Movie Reviews

Great to see Page back with another entertaining screen shot review-- My Love of Old Hollywood

Oct 16, 2011

Oct 14, 2011

Classic Links

Check out Monty’s Alfred Hitchcock tournament-- All Good Things

This is an interesting series of comparisons between movie actors and the real life people they portrayed-- Blame Mame

A short bio of early movie actress Mignon Anderson. Love that name-- Noir and Chick Flicks

There’s a pretty funny pic of the Muybridge horse taking a tumble here-- Pondering Life

Oct 12, 2011

Classic Links

This is an excellent, thoughtfully written post about The Constant Nymph (1943) with Joan Fontaine and Charles Boyer-- Another Old Movie Blog

Here’s a one minute clip from that newly re-discovered Hitchcock flick. Though it’s brief, it does offer a few glimpes of a couple of the major characters -- El Pais (via Via Margutta 51)

I feel for Richard Burton’s last wife. It wouldn't surprise me if she didn't really believe that his divorces from Elizabeth Taylor meant they were no longer in love; it could just make life easier for her to think so-- IMDB

Though this isn’t about classic movies, I had to share this frightening post about an Iranian woman who was sentence with 90 lashes and a year in prison because of the way she expressed herself in a film— Alt Film Guide

Oct 10, 2011

Classic Links

Poor Zsa Zsa Gabor, in the hospital again. I can’t believe how tough the last year has been for her-- IMDB

Another interesting blogathon, this one honoring Humphrey Bogart-- Forever Classics

The Siren’s review of My Week With Marilyn (2011)— Self-Styled Siren

A review of the 1910 version of Frankenstein. At only 12 minutes, the flick is well worth a peek-- Dave's Classic Films

Elke Sommer was pretty cool. Here are some reasons why-- Who Can Turn the World Off With Her Smile?

Here’s a chance to win the Criterion Collection edition of Night of the Hunter (1955)— Sittin' on a Backyard Fence

I love this collection of Ub Iwerks cartoons. Balloon Land always freaks me out. Watch out for the Pin Cushion Man!-- Mental Floss

Oct 9, 2011

Quote of the Week

I never said, "I want to be alone." I only said, "I want to be let alone." There is all the difference

-Greta Garbo

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Oct 7, 2011

Classic Links

RIP Charles Napier. I loved him best in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970). He had a fantastic grin--Edward Copeland on Film , Moon in the Gutter

The trailer for My Week With Marilyn. Michelle Williams is a fine actress, but she doesn’t seem to capture the essence of Marilyn Monroe. I don’t think anyone could. That’s why she continues to fascinate us— /Film

50 years of Blake Edwards’ Breakfast At Tiffany’s-- NPR

The new Myrna Loy biography, and why its worth reading even if you’ve had the luck to check out Being and Becoming, Loy’s beloved autobiography-- Immortal Ephemera

Check out all the amazing posts for the Carole Lombard blogathon. Classic movie fans adore this woman!-- Carole and Co.

Oct 5, 2011

Classic Links

This is a fascinating report from the re-premiere of part of a Hitchcock film that was thought to be lost. There’s so much to soak in here: interesting anecdotes about Hitchcock, information about the process of tracking down lost films and detailed plot notes-- Alfred Hitchcock Geek

This is an interesting post. It connects the phenomenon of teenage girls falling for much older men in classic movies with a very real problem.-- Flying Down to Hollywood

Another clever topic on one of my favorite photo blogs: stars eating candy and blowing bubble gum— Pictures

TCM is presenting a one night showing of West Side Story (1961) on 11/9 in theaters across the United States. It’s in celebration of the movie’s 50th anniversary-- Fathom Events

A hilarious review of The Phantom Creeps (1939) She Blogged By Night

Did you know that Rock Hudson recorded an album in 1970? He sounds like a slightly out-of-tune Johnny Cash-- Rock Hudson Blog

Oct 3, 2011

Goodbye to Gerald and the Return of Classic Links

Starting up again with the Classic Links is bittersweet, because I got some sad news during my hiatus.

I was sorry to hear that Gerald of Laszlos on Lex passed this August. It was always a treat to get an email or comment from him, the only man I have ever described as a “gentleman blogger”. He was a fine writer and a kind soul. I’ll miss his unique posts and gallant manner.

I remember being confused the first time he posted a comment at Classic Movies. He mentioned that he and his wife were devoted Cunarders. I had to look that up.

Another time Gerald had difficulty embedding a link of Cole Porter singing Anything Goes into a post. Since I’d shown an interest, he emailed the link to me so that I could hear a particular stanza in which Porter mentioned Anna Sten. I was so charmed by that gesture! I also loved Gerald's story about singing the song on the streets of New York with his young pals.

And I thought his crush on Ella Raines was so darn cute!

After spending a while re-reading his comments here, it surprises me to realize how much he visited. No wonder it felt so strange not to hear from him the past few months. He put a lot of thought into his comments; they were like little postcards. I loved how he always signed off “Best. Gerald”. I always imagined him bowing and tipping his hat after writing that.

There have been some beautiful tributes to Gerald written by Matthew (who introduced most, if not all of us to the man in the first place), Laura, Tom and Java. Tom has also compiled a great list of some of Gerald’s most memorable posts .

It breaks my heart to see the last post on a blog because the writer is no longer with us, but Gerald did write a beautiful farewell.

This little ditty is for you Gerald. Best. KC:


On to a few more links:

This great mix of clips from Georges Melies films gave me a perma-grin-- Vimeo

Fashion dolls turned into classic Hollywood actresses. I love the lipstick on the Joan Crawford doll-- Blame Mame

Remember to check out the Dick van Dyke Blogathon today!— Thrilling Days of Yesteryear

Oct 2, 2011

Quote of the Week

In certain pictures I do hope they will leave the cinema a little enriched, but I don't make them pay a buck and a half and then ram a lecture down their throats.

-Billy Wilder

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