Nov 30, 2011

Classic Links

This is a beautiful tribute to Robert Osborne. It's great that he is back!-- Noir Girl 

Another great tribute, this one to Kay Francis. Lots of lovely pics--  A Person in the Dark

Shopping and department stores as mythologized by the movies-- Movie Morlocks/TCM 

Another archive discovery: this time it’s a lost Disney short-- NPR 

A review of a new book about Hedy Lamarr’s genius invention-- Slate Image Source

Nov 28, 2011

Classic Links

I love the way Anna Kendrick writes about her experiences watching The Women (1939)-- The Guardian

This interesting post has lots of scans of an issue of Screen Book from 1929. It features Broadway Melody-- Allure

A review of 7th Heaven (1927), one of the swooniest movies ever.-- Silent Volume

 It’s amazing to see movies like The Artist and Hugo doing well at the box office. It’s already exciting enough that there are so many classic Hollywood-fan-friendly flicks in theaters right now (I’m thinking of My Week With Marilyn as well).-- Alt Film Guide

This information about the pros and cons of the Disqus commenting system may be useful to some of you who write blogs-- Via Margutta 51

Nov 27, 2011

Quote of the Week

I felt like an impostor, taking all that money for reciting ten or twelve lines of nonsense a day.

-Errol Flynn

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Nov 25, 2011

Classic Links

If this glowing review of Hugo(2011)doesn’t make you want to see it, you may not really love the classics!-- Motion Picture Gems 

It’s sad to think of James Dean’s love letters being sold. I’m sure he never would have guessed that would happen-- IMDB 

I love this list of film noir quotes-- Shadows and Satin 

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Nov 23, 2011

Classic Links

How exciting that The Constant Nymph (1943) is finally on DVD!— ClassicFlix

All these stories about the death of Natalie Wood that have been popping up are so confusing and upsetting. I hope this investigation does not go on too long-- IMDB, The Guardian 

A nice review of Hugo (2011), which has a strong link to classic movies-- Wide Screen World 

Java gives you all the information you need to know about the second Debbie Reynolds auction-- Java’s Journey 

This documentary about repertory movie theaters may be of interest for classic movie fans. After all, that’s usually where we get the chance to see older flicks on the big screen-- /Film 

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Nov 21, 2011

Classic Links

This post has an astounding nine versions of the jaunty opening theme from Come September (1961), which was composed by Bobby Darin, who is also a star in the movie. The first three are pretty good. I really like the Ventures version-- Rock Hudson Blog 

Another great book give away. This time it’s a copy of My Week With Marilyn-- Old Hollywood Glamour 

I imagine the only way to look at a book full of classic stars jumping in the air is with a big, silly grin-- The Silver Screen Affair 

It will be interesting to see how Georges Melies is incorporated into Hugo (2011). I’m dying to see this!-- NPR 

I’m not sure what to make of the Natalie Wood case being reopened. Something seems sketchy about it. I’m sort of curious to know what happened, but it might not be nice to know-- The Guardian

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Eleanor Powell on Television

I thought I'd celebrate Eleanor Powell's birthday with a couple of great performances after her big studio heyday.

Here's Powell in a performance from All-Star Revue in 1952. At forty-years-old, eight years after her last movie appearance, she is still light on her feet and precise in her movements:


This is a more elaborate number from the same show:


Nov 20, 2011

Quote of the Week

Say anything you like, but don't say I love to work. That sounds like Mary Pickford, the prissy bitch.

-Mabel Normand, to the press

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Nov 18, 2011

Classic Links

This is a great post about Simone Simon with lots of pics. She must have the cutest nose ever photographed-- My Love of Old Hollywood 

An interesting review of The Sleeping Tiger (1954), with Dirk Bogarde and Alexis Smith-- Another Old Movie Blog 

RIP Karl Slover, one of the last remaining Munchkins from The Wizard of Oz (1939)-- Noir and Chick Flicks 

I know I’m obsessing about Marilyn Monroe lately, but this is a great list of books about her. There are so many—and so many bad ones--out there that it’s nice to have this resource. The recent book about her relationship with Arthur Miller was also interesting-- The Guardian 

The remaining stars of West Side Story (1961) make their mark in cement-- IMDB

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Nov 16, 2011

Classic Links

This is an interesting analysis of Marilyn Monroe’s casual, simple style-- The Guardian 

Leonard Maltin describes what sounds like an amazing program of classic Hollywood star home movies. I’d love it if something like this were available on DVD-- Movie Crazy 

I didn’t realize Marlon Brando bought houses for so many of his lovers. I wonder how expensive that got?-- IMDB 

Abandon Ship (1957) looks like an interesting showcase for Tyrone Power-- Immortal Ephemera

Nov 14, 2011

Classic Links

Java does a fantastic job describing her experience seeing West Side Story (1961) in a theater. It’s all about the details you see on the big screen that can be lost on television.-- Java’s Journey 

I feel sorry for this contestant on Jeopardy who didn’t know who Joan Fontaine was. Of course it’s not because she lost the cash. It’s just depressing that she lives in a world without Letter From an Unknown Woman, Rebecca and of course, Born to Be Bad-- Olivia and Joan: Sisters of the Silver Screen 

This is a great idea for a blogging event. Check out the links in the comments for this post for the contributions to the Great Citizen Kane Debate. True Classics 

Pitfall (1948) is an unusual film noir, because the femme fatale is one of the nicest gals you could ever meet. She inspires men to behave badly, but she doesn't encourage it-- Classic Movie Ramblings 

Not like I haven’t noticed it before, but man was Veronica Lake tiny. These are promo shots for So Proudly We Hail (1943). She was heartbreaking in this movie. I thought it was her best dramatic performance. It really showed what she could do-- Film Noir Photos

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Nov 13, 2011

Quote of the Week

He's the kind of man a woman would have to marry to get rid of.

-Mae West

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Nov 11, 2011

Classic Links

This tribute to five movie costumes is interesting because it links the outfits with their characters so well-- The Girl With the White Parasol 

The Criterion Collection is now on iTunes-- /Film 

The Tenth Victim (1965): a mod comedy about killing for sport. It’s more goofy than dark-- Mondo 70 

An interesting analysis of Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1927)-- Silent Volume 

Richard Burton’s widow claims that his supposed final love letter to Elizabeth Taylor never existed-- IMDB

Nov 10, 2011

Book Review-- John Huston: Courage and Art

John Huston: Courage and Art
Jeffrey Meyers
Random House/ Crown Archetype

John gets bored easily. He needs new people to feed on all the time. The desert is littered with their bones. –wartime colleague Jules Buck

For Huston, life was a big game and he played it to the fullest. -ex-wife Evelyn Keyes

Though he was most famous for the movies which he wrote, directed and acted in, film was not the center of John Huston’s life. It certainly fit in well though. He was a storyteller, and the medium gave him a great vehicle to express his love for the arts and tall tales.

After suffering through the confinement of childhood illness, Huston jumped into life. He lived for adventure, traveling all over the world, taking wives and lovers as he pleased and frequently buying or gambling himself into debt. For most of his life, he seemed to live in fear of being bored. 

Though he enjoyed his work and did it well that boredom would often plague Huston on his movie sets. For every masterpiece he created, and some of them were among the best movies ever made, there were films which he did to pay off his debts. He’d get to a certain point in production and decide it wasn’t worth the effort to fix a bad script or put an extra bit of polish on his work.

Huston could be both remarkably kind, and cruel to the point of being frightening. Several movie careers, from that of Satyajit Ray to his own daughter Anjelica Huston flourished because of his assistance. In a particularly touching story shared in the book, he flew the seriously ill Carson McCullers to his estate in Ireland and distracted her from her pain with conversation and generous attention. On the other hand, his older children feared him, and many of the actors he worked with wondered if they would survive the dangerous requests of their demanding director.

Though Huston left discarded women and other broken souls in his wake, he seemed to feel few regrets. The intensity of his personality inspired lifelong devotion, particularly from secretaries and former lovers, between which there was often no difference. Despite this, many people have noted that he was often remote and seemed unable to make a significant emotional connection.

 In John Huston: Courage and Art, Jeffrey Meyers gracefully manages these extremes. He balances his story nicely between the personal and professional and the result is entertaining and informative. It is obvious that a lot of research has gone into the book. The number of interviews Meyers conducted alone is astonishing. He talks to family, ex-wives, former co-workers and lovers, and for the most part all seem candid and fair, no matter what trials Huston put them through. The result is a portrait that captures the magnetic appeal of Huston, while holding him accountable for his faults.

 The book aims for a comprehensive view of Huston’s life and since there is so much to tell, his films are not the core of the story. It does however provide a fascinating review of his career, with lots of interesting anecdotes from those who worked with him. Though making movies was meaningful to Huston, and he approached much of his work with care and intelligence, there was so much else that attracted him that sometimes they just paid the bills.

Unless you’ve seen all of Huston’s films, there are spoilers sprinkled like little land mines throughout the book which may cause some disappointment. I also found the prologue, which juxtaposed Huston and Ernest Hemingway bizarre, though interesting and well written. It wasn’t as if the comparison wasn’t apt; I could see and appreciate the connection between the two men. I only thought the piece would be more suitable as a separate essay than as the introduction to a biography.

These are minor issues though. Courage and Art is an exciting book which reads as effortlessly as an adventure novel. It captures Huston and his lavish and unpredictable world in great detail. Meyers has written several other books, and his skill and experience are evident.

Though I couldn’t tell from my own perspective, I believe that this book could be an engrossing read even for people who know little of classic Hollywood, Huston or his movies. Above all else, it is the story of a vibrant, complex man who made a unique impression as both a public and private figure.

Thank you to Random House/ Crown Archetype for sending this wonderful book for review. 

Here's an interesting clip about life in Huston's Irish estate, where he lived for many years and which is described in great detail in the book:

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Nov 9, 2011

Classic Links

Here are a couple of vintage scandal sheet pieces from a 1956 edition of Exposed magazine. I couldn’t quite read it all, but it looks like Lana Turner threw a whiskey bottle through a plate glass window in one of them. The layouts are great-- Where Danger Lives

This is a nice tribute to Natalie Wood. I always feel like I’m rooting for her, but I don’t quite know why-- A Person In The Dark

The Grace Kelly Barbie doll is gorgeous. I saw it in the store and it looked even better. I don’t know what the heck I’d do with one though--Movie Crazy/Leonard Maltin

Marilyn Monroe and Elvis now have their own video game--

Nov 7, 2011

Classic Links

Congratulations to Monty of All Good Things for reaching his second blog anniversary and Ivan of Thrilling Days of Yesteryear for climbing to year eight! Good work guys. It isn’t easy to keep a blog going, and you two do a fine job of it.

Laura covers the grand opening of the Joel McCrea Ranch-- Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings

This is an amazing article about the tricky restoration of A Trip to the Moon and the documentary based on that process. I can’t wait to see the results!-- Fast Company

Love this gallery that shows young and older versions of several classic stars. A great testimony to the beauty of embracing, rather than concealing maturity-- The Silver Screen Affair

Ever heard of Movember? Bette is having a mustache blogathon for the month of November, and it’s to raise funds for an important cause-- Bette’s Classic Movie Blog

Thingy's post about meeting Elke Sommer is pretty funny. She re-posted in honor of the dear woman's birthday last week.-- Pondering Life

Here’s a clip of Michelle Williams singing Heat Wave as Marilyn Monroe. I don’t think she gets Monroe at all, but Williams is a great actress anyway. Really, who could do Monroe? I saw a drag queen on Oprah (I think. . .) get awfully close several years ago.-- Towleroad

Nov 6, 2011

Nov 4, 2011

Classic Links

I’m glad to see that The Love Machine (1971) is now available on DVD. I’ve always wondered what a movie with John Philip Law, Jackie Cooper and Robert Ryan would be like-- Movie Morlocks/TCM

Even more movie memorabilia auctions. These include the dress Audrey Hepburn wore when she won her Academy Award and Steve McQueen’s jumpsuit from Le Mans (1971)--
 IMDB #1, IMDB #2

A gallery of cinema sex siren posters. I think Diana Dors’ tummy looks kind of odd in that first shot-- The Guardian

Drew Barrymore is the perfect co-host for TCM's The Essentials. Has there ever been another host on that show who has been able to say: “this next film stars my grandpa and my great uncle”?--

I didn’t know Eva Gabor helped Twister to get its big break by playing it with Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show. How many classic actresses can claim they launched a classic game?-- Mental Floss

I’ve never seen that picture of Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield together before (last pic in the post). For some reason I assumed they never met. It just seems like that would be too much blonde bombshell for one room. You'd think the copying thing would make their meeting kind of awkward. Was Marilyn flattered?-- Noir and Chick Flicks

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Nov 2, 2011

Classic Links

The sad, mysterious story of Ramon Novarro’s murder on Halloween Eve and a brief review of his career-- Alt Film Guide

Time for the bi-annual Criterion Collection sale at Barnes and Noble!-- Criterion Cast

It doesn’t surprise me that Noel Coward writes the best you go girrrrrl letters ever-- Self-Styled Siren

This is nice, but when is Doris Day going to get her Academy Award?-- NPR

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