Dec 31, 2012

There Are Many Greats Still With Us

Once again, I’ve decided to compile a complement to my yearly R.I.P. post. There are still several performers alive today who made their mark in classic movies. From top box office stars to scene-stealing supporting players. They all made a difference, and many of them are fantastic ambassadors for the classics today.

This is the last time I'll be posting this tribute. I always knew I couldn't watch the list shrink for many years. I had to stop sometime, and it might as well be this year, while there are still many artists whose presence we can appreciate. Please let me know in the comments if you've got a name to add.

Jerry Mathers, 64

Sue Lyon, 66

Tuesday Weld, 69

Catherine Deneuve, 69 (Thanks Tom!)

Carol Lynley, 70 (Thanks Leigh!)

Sarah Miles, 70 (Thanks @EddieLove44!)

Yvette Mimieux, 70

Rita Tushingham, 70

Julie Christie, 71

Ann-Margret, 71

Gigi Perreau, 71

Peter Fonda, 72

Karolyn Grimes, 72

Raquel Welch, 72 (Thanks Leigh!)

Samantha Eggar, 73

Katharine Ross, 73

Richard Beymer, 74

Claudia Cardinale, 74

Dolores Hart, 74

Millie Perkins, 74

Paula Prentiss, 74

Jane Fonda, 75

Margaret O'Brien, 75

Albert Finney, 76 (Thanks @EddieLove44!)

Susan Kohner, 76

Robert Redford, 76

Dean Stockwell, 76

Diahann Carroll, 77

Julie Andrews, 77

Alain Delon, 77

Russ Tamblyn, 77

Brigitte Bardot, 78

George Chakiris, 78

Sophia Loren, 78

Shirley MacLaine, 78

Joan Collins, 79

Kim Novak, 79

Taina Elg, 80 (Thanks Tom!)

Mickey Kuhn, 80 (Thanks Leigh!)

Peter O'Toole, 80 (Thanks @EddieLove44!)

Debbie Reynolds, 80

Omar Sharif, 80 (Thanks Tom!)

Robert Vaughn, 80 (Thanks Tom!)

Carroll Baker, 81 (Thanks Tom!)

Claire Bloom, 81

Leslie Caron, 81

Barbara Eden, 81

Anita Ekberg, 81

John Gavin, 81

Mitzi Gaynor, 81

Darryl Hickman, 81 (Thanks Leigh!)

Tab Hunter, 81

John Kerr, 81

Rita Moreno, 81

Sean Connery, 82

Clint Eastwood, 82

Tippi Hedren, 82

Sally Ann Howes, 82 (Thanks Leigh!)

Barbara Lawrence, 82

Vera Miles, 82

Marni Nixon, 82

Maximilian Schell, 82 (Thanks @EddieLove44!)

Rod Taylor, 82

Robert Wagner, 82

Joanne Woodward, 82

Anne Meara, 83

Terry Moore, 83

Don Murray, 83

Joan Plowright, 83

Christopher Plummer, 83 (Thanks @EddieLove44!)

Jane Powell, 83

Ann Blyth, 84

Peggy Dow, 84

Sally Forrest, 84

James Garner, 84

Earl Holliman, 84 (Thanks Leigh!)

Kathleen Hughes, 84

Martin Landau, 84

Ennio Morricone, 84 (Thanks Lê!)

Nancy Olson, 84

Shirley Temple, 84

Stuart Whitman, 84 (Thanks Tom!)

Harry Belafonte, 85

Rita Gam, 85

Cora Sue Collins, 85

Rosemary Harris, 85

Gina Lollabrigida, 85

Roger Moore, 85

Estelle Parsons, 85

Sidney Poitier, 85

Barbara Rush, 85

Julie Adams, 86

Mel Brooks, 86

Mona Freeman, 86

Anne Jackson, 86

Gloria Jean, 86

Cloris Leachman, 86

Jerry Lewis, 86

Joan Lorring, 86

Marcy McGuire, 86

Irene Papas, 86

Jane Withers, 86

Patrice Wymore, 86

Lola Albright, 87

Honor Blackman, 87

Arlene Dahl, 87

Gloria DeHaven, 87

Lee Grant, 87

Julie Harris, 87

George Kennedy, 87 (Thanks Tom!)

Angela Lansbury, 87

Joan Leslie, 87

June Lockhart, 87

Dorothy Malone, 87

Colette Marchand, 87

Dina Merrill, 87

Dickie Moore, 87

Dick Van Dyke, 87

Cara Williams, 87

Jonathan Winters, 87 (Thanks Leigh!)

Lauren Bacall, 88

Theodore Bikel, 88

Stanley Donen, 88

Martha Hyer, 88

Leslie Phillips, 88 (thanks @RobertWRossEsq)

Eva Marie Saint, 88

Richard Attenborough, 89

Valentina Cortese, 89

Betsy Drake, 89

Rhonda Fleming, 89

Glynis Johns, 89

Peggy Stewart, 89

Jean Stapleton, 89

Sid Caesar, 90 (Thanks Leigh!)

Doris Day, 90

Ruby Dee, 90

Coleen Gray, 90

Barbara Hale, 90

Christopher Lee, 90 (thanks Kristen!)

Janis Paige, 90

Juanita Moore, 90

Eleanor Parker, 90

Carl Reiner, 90

Lizabeth Scott, 90

Carol Channing, 91

Nancy Davis (Reagan), 91

Deanna Durbin, 91

Louis Jourdan, 91

Esther Williams, 91

Mary Anderson, 92

Nanette Fabray, 92

Jayne Meadows, 92

Michele Morgan, 92

Noel Neill, 92

Maureen O'Hara, 92

Mickey Rooney, 92

Ruth Terry, 92

Marge Champion, 93

Patty Andrews, 94

Diana Serra Cary (AKA Baby Peggy), 94

Audrey Totter, 94

Efrem Zimbalist Jr., 94

Danielle Darrieux, 95

Joan Fontaine, 95

Zsa Zsa Gabor, 95

Lorna Gray, 95

Marsha Hunt, 95

Olivia de Havilland, 96

Kirk Douglas, 96

Patricia Morison, 97

Alicia Rhett, 97

Eli Wallach, 97

Norman Lloyd, 98

Mary Carlisle, 100

Luise Rainer, 102

R.I.P. 2012

As I reflect on the passing of these entertainers who have made their mark on classic movies, I'm grateful for the contributions they have made to my favorite period in film. Many of the people on this list were widely recognized and revered until the end of their lives. All were primarily actors unless otherwise noted.

Please let me know in the comments if I have missed anyone who you feel belongs on the list!

Peggy Ahern (Our Gang)

Turhan Bey (Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Arabian Nights)

Ernest Borgnine (Marty, The Wild Bunch)

Ray Bradbury (Novelist, Fahrenheit 451)

Dave Brubeck (Musician, All Night Long)

Phyllis Diller (Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number!, Eight on the Lam)

Andy Griffith (A Face in the Crowd, The Andy Griffith Show)

Celeste Holm (All About Eve, Road House)

Mila Parély (La belle et la bête, Le plaisir)

Ben Gazzara (Anatomy of a Murder, The Strange One)

Larry Hagman (Fail-Safe, Dallas, I Dream of Jeannie)

Charles Higham (Hollywood Biographer)

Davy Jones (Musician, Head)

Elyse Knox (The Mummy's Tomb, Joe Palooka series)

Jeni Le Gon (Dancer, Hi-De-Ho, I Walked With A Zombie)

Herbert Lom (A Shot in the Dark, The Phantom of the Opera)

Susan Luckey (Carousel, The Music Man)

Tony Martin (Ziegfeld Girl, 'Till the Clouds Roll By)

Patricia Medina (Aladdin and His Lamp, Mr. Arkadin, married to Joseph Cotten, above)

Hideaki Nitani (Tokyo Drifter)

Frank Pierson (screenwriter, Cat Ballou, Cool Hand Luke)

Joyce Redman (Tom Jones, Othello)

Ann Rutherford (Gone With the Wind, The Andy Hardy series )

Ravi Shankar (Soundtrack, The Apu Trilogy)

Warren Stevens (Forbidden Planet, Barefoot Contessa)

Martha Stewart (In a Lonely Place)

Joan Taylor (Earth Vs. the Flying Saucers, The Rifleman)

Phyllis Thaxter (Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, Tenth Avenue Angel)

Keiko Tsushima (Seven Samurai)

William Windom (To Kill a Mockingbird, One Man's Way)

Jack Klugman (12 Angry Men, The Odd Couple, Quincy)

Harry Carey Jr. (Red River, Rio Grande)

All photos from Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons

Dec 30, 2012

Quote of the Week

"Drinking problem? Why, no, not at all. Drinking is the easiest thing in the world. . . . Do you have a drinking problem, or can I fix you another drink?"

-Peter O'Toole

Image Source, Quote Source

Dec 28, 2012

Classic Links

I love this publicity photo for the 1936 movie Ceiling Zero! There's no way you'd see a group of actors posing this way, at least unironically, today. They pull it off though. From left to right: Pat O'Brien, Martha Tibbetts, James Cagney, June Travis &Stuart Erwin.

This is fantastic: Laura had the opportunity to interview Coleen Gray (Nightmare Alley, The Killing) for Dark Pages. Here's an excerpt and info. about the magazine--Laura's Miscellaneous Musings

I love this make-up guide for movies in the early days. You really had to put on some ugly stuff to look gorgeous on film.--Old Hollywood Glamour

Another fun blogathon: 31 Days of Oscar. Looks like there are lots of opportunities to participate--
Once Upon a Screen

RIP Gerry Anderson, the man who brought Supermarionation to the world, most famous for the hit UK show Thunderbirds. I love the the high quality of Anderson's productions. The costumes, sets and marionettes are always so beautifully executed-- From The Guardian: Obituary, Gallery

A lively gallery of classic actresses on the brink of fame. Don't they all just seem to be bursting with energy?--Life

If you love all the rare flicks you can see on the Internet Archive (including loads of Pickford titles), why not donate to their current fundraising drive?--Internet Archive

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Dec 25, 2012

Deanna Durbin Sings "Silent Night"

(This is the fourth year I've posted this clip on Christmas. It is becoming one of my favorite traditions at Classic Movies. I wonder if Ms. Durbin is singing this song today?)

I get chills every time I hear Deanna Durbin's low-key, but lush performance of Silent Night. It's from the murder mystery-musical-comedy-noir (and how many of those exist?) Lady on a Train (1945). While she sings to her father to ease the pain of being apart on Christmas Eve, even the thug listening at the door is moved to tears (though he still goes through with the secret theft his shifty boss has ordered). Given the underlying threat of danger, it's an oddly peaceful, heartwarming scene.

Happy Holidays!

Dec 23, 2012

Quote of the Week

I said to my good friend, Gary Cooper, "Coop, do you know anything about talking?" and he said, "Yup." 

-Buddy Rogers, remembering the birth of the talkies

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Dec 21, 2012

Classic Links

It's always exciting to hear the new selections for the National Film Registry. This year, I'm particularly excited to see Born Yesterday (1950), Kodachrome Color Motion Picture Tests (1922) and Two-Lane Blacktop (1971) on the list. The diversity of the selections always impresses me.--/Film

Check out the entries for year two of the Dualing Divas blogathon--Backlots

I'm fascinated by the genuine friendship that has developed between Sienna Miller and Tippi Hedren since the former played the later on film--The Guardian

I love this: Leonardo DiCaprio bought the Casablanca piano with a friend so that they could donate it to the Los Angeles County Museum of

I've never seen any of these classic holiday pics before. They're so charming--Pictures

Shirley Maclaine amazes me. She's led such an intriguing life. This article about the real life subjects of Bernie (2011), which stars Maclaine, is interesting in many ways, but I was particularly struck by how this versatile star has continued to play strong roles, and how much life seems to fascinate her. I can't wait to watch her with Dame Maggie in Downton Abbey--The Telegraph

Frank Langella has interesting ideas about human relationships and technology. He comes off a bit more considerate here than he does in his autobiography Dropped Names, which I recommend.--The Guardian 

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Dec 20, 2012

Book Review: A Son of Hollywood Writes About His Childhood

Moving Pictures: Memories of A Hollywood Prince 
Budd Schulberg
eBook edition, 2012
Open Road Integrated Media

Several years ago, I ran across a copy of Moving Pictures in a London book shop. Though I had once enjoyed reading a library copy and wanted one of my own, I thought about my suitcase full of books and decided it was one book too many to lug back to the states.

Oh how I regretted that decision! This brilliant Hollywood memoir is a classic of the genre. For that reason, I was delighted to review a new eBook edition, which is one of eight Schulberg titles re-released by Open Road Integrated Media this year. It is the story of Budd Schulberg, the oldest son of B.P. Schulberg, an unsung pioneer of the studio system. Young Schulberg's papa discovered Clara Bow, developed the idea for United Artists (but was edged out of his chance to be a part of the studio) and served as head of production at Paramount.

Moving Pictures is basically several books behind one cover. It's a memoir of a wealthy, but awkward son of Hollywood, a budding writer and of a growing movie industry. Schulberg manages to weave all of these elements together so that tales of his severe stuttering problem fit in neatly with stories about his long chat sessions with Bow in the backseat of her fancy car. In another incident where ordinary events become extraordinary, B.P. has a long time affair with actress Sylvia Sydney, which horrifies his highly moral son. Budd's struggles to reunite his parents will resonate with anyone who has experienced divorcing parents, but watching his father's mistress onscreen and angrily anticipating the scene where she dies is surely a rare experience.

Glamour and wealth surrounded this anxious, but ambitious young man every day, and Schulberg dutifully reports on those things, but he was most fascinated by things in his childhood world, like boxing and his colony of homing pigeons. He knows the Hollywood stories appeal to the masses, but that the glitter often hides despair, treachery and disappointment. Though I was sometimes impatient to get back to the movie stories, I did enjoy reading about his many passions, because he communicated so poignantly how much they meant to him.

The book takes a while to get moving. I actually had the same experience this time as I did when I read it years ago: I couldn't get engaged with the New York phase of Schulberg's story or his early Hollywood days, but once his dad started staying out late to party, it got interesting. I still haven't been able to decide if it's the content or the storytelling that improves at that point, but when young Budd watches his dad go into a crazy party after a boxing match, while the chauffeur waits to take him home to his mother, things go from 'eh' to interesting. My only theory is that it is because at that point, young Schulberg is starting to see the grown up world around him with greater clarity and the details come out in his writing.
Schulberg in 1954

Moving Pictures ends with Budd heading off to college, ready to grow up and make his own way in the world. Schulberg more than fulfilled his writing ambitions, making his name as a screenwriter, novelist and journalist. He also found success in Hollywood, like his father, but in his own way. Budd drew upon his Hollywood experiences to write What Makes Sammy Run? which Bette Davis once claimed to be the only book to accurately capture the brutal studio culture. He wrote The Harder They Fall and the Academy Award-winning On the Waterfront as well. Schulberg also became infamous for naming names to the House Un-American Activities Campaign, an act which stuck with him to his obituary.

Though this is a memoir of beginnings, from Schulberg's childhood to the birth of the studios, in the end there's enough detail and excitement in its pages for a lifetime.

Thank you to Open Road Integrated Media for providing a review copy of the book.

Dec 19, 2012

Holiday Links on Classic Movies

I've seen all sorts of searches for holiday-themed posts in my stats the past couple of weeks, so I thought I'd make it easy and make one big post with my best holiday stuff. So here are the reviews, cartoons and clips on Classic Movies that most get me into the spirit of the season:

Movie Reviews

My two-part review of classic forties Christmas movies is one of my favorites. I love these flicks so much. Part I, Part II

This review of It Happened on 5th Avenue has been popular this year, so here it is again!


I pretty much like this 1948 version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer because the mama reindeer wears a dress and apron and stands on her hind legs all the time. That always cracks me up.

Grampy puts all the DIY bloggers I read to shame in Christmas Comes But Once a Year. Makes me feel like a fool for buying toys.

This jazzy version of Frosty the Snowman is so much fun. Look at those kids dancing around!

Other Favorites

I loved how this post about Thurl Ravenscroft, the deep-voiced vocalist of the You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch song, turned out. I've got to admit I was a bit disappointed that it didn't attract much interest. I mean, this guy was so cool. And he was the voice of Tony the Tiger!

A rather slim Santa Claus visits a pair of turn-of-the-century children in this early example of trick photography.

Dec 16, 2012

Quote of the Week

I think Oscar Wilde wrote a poem about a robin who loved a white rose. He loved it so much that he pierced his breast and let his heart's blood turn the white rose red. Maybe this sounds very sentimental, but for anybody who has loved a career as much as I've loved mine, there can be not short cuts.

-Mary Pickford

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Dec 14, 2012

Classic Links

In celebration of the life of jazz great Dave Brubeck, here he is playing It's a Raggy Waltz in the British drama All Night Long (1962) [now streaming on Netflix]. Don't you love his face? He always looked so happy.

TCM is going to have some amazing movies and guests at the 2013 festival. Highlights include a restoration of King Vidor's The Big Parade (1925) and Tippi Hedren appearing with The Birds(1963)--Cinematically Insane

I like this review of The White Shadow (1924), the partial Hitchcock film that has been streaming at the National Film Preservation website (thanks to funds raised by the For the Love of Film blogathon). Be sure to catch it while you can: January 15 is the last day it will be available online--She Blogged By Night

Another great gift guide for classic movie fans. I can vouch for the Mary Pickford book (to be reviewed soon) it is bee-yoo-tee-ful--Sittin' on a Backyard Fence

Holy cow--Toby Jones had to sit in a make-up chair four hours to get his Hitchcock make-up applied. And then he had to act all day. Here's a timelapse video of the process--The Guardian

How did they get this custom-made Marlene Dietrich barbie doll to look so Dietrichy?--Flickr

An actress remembers working with Frank Capra on It's a Wonderful Life (1946)--Encino-Tarzana Patch

Omar Sharif remembers Lawrence of Arabia 50 years later--NPR

An interesting review of the new Marilyn Monroe documentary, Love, Marilyn. It sounds like your enjoyment of it will depend upon how you feel about the celebrities reading her words--NPR

Dec 9, 2012

Quote of the Week

The greatest difficulty in realizing my own ideas forced me to sometimes play the leading role in my films. . . .I was a star without knowing I was one, since the term did not yet exist.

-Georges Méliès

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Dec 7, 2012

Classic Links

This is a lovely tribute to Ava Gardner--The Skeins

Robert Osborne talks about his favorite Christmas movies. I love the way he expresses his affection for the films he enjoys and how his criticism of the flicks he doesn't like never seems to harsh, even if it is strong---USA Today

This is an interesting post about the way tabloids discussed Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton's romance--
TCM/Movie Morlocks

More tidbits about Elizabeth Taylor, familiar stuff, but still fun--The Awl

This essay brilliantly captures the sensuality of Purple Noon (1960) and the complexities of its seductive villain Tom Ripley--Criterion Collection

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Dec 2, 2012

Quote of the Week

About Citizen Kane (1941):

It’s not like any movie made at that time. It’s very much ahead of its time. In fact, you could say it was, you know, 40 years ahead of its time.

-Peter Bogdanovich

Orson was doing a biographical film and didn’t realize it.

-Robert Wise

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Nov 30, 2012

Classic Links

It was a huge bummer that Liz & Dick ended up being so--boring. I was going to write about the movie, but I realized I didn't even feel like talking about it. I mean, eh. I've been consoling myself by watching this clip of Elizabeth Taylor putting on her eye make-up. Glamour.

I love this recent interview with Leslie Caron. She makes a good point about the kinds of film roles older female actors tend to be offered--NPR

The photography of Yul Brynner--Movie Morlocks/TCM

The piano from Casablanca (1942) is going up for auction. I wonder how many legendary props and costumes are left to be sold? It seems like they're being offloaded at an alarming rate these past couple of years--The Guardian

A good question: With 35mm film dead, will classic movies ever look the same again?--The Atlantic

This is a truly original list of holiday gift ideas for the classic film fan. No DVDs, and plenty of great inspiration--Out of the Past

The Siren has also compiled a classic film book gift guide. It somehow manages to be personal and universal at the same time--The Self-Styled Siren

Simon Callow's review of Richard Burton's recently published diaries makes it sound like it has one booze story after another. I wonder what his life would have been like if he didn't drink?--The Guardian

An interview with Kim Morgan about her recent Marilyn Monroe piece in Playboy. She pays tribute to Hugh Hefner's huge contribution to classic film--Sunset Gun

Nov 25, 2012

Quote of the Week

I was a little nervous going to see him. . .because he was known as a womanizer. There's a story about him chasing Judy Holliday around his desk until she finally pulled out a falsie and said, "here, feel this!"

-Coleen Gray, About Darryl Zanuck

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Nov 16, 2012

Classic Links

How exciting that we can now see the existing reels of The White Shadow (the first film to which Hitchcock made a significant contribution) online for free! This was made possible in part by the movie bloggers who raised funds as a part of the For the Love of Film blogathon. What an amazing achievement-- Self-Styled Siren

Here's a direct link to the film--National Film Preservation Foundation
And Ferdy's review--Ferdy on Films
This is a touching gallery of movie projectionists at NPR. Am I projecting (sorry, can't think of a better word) or do many of them seem sad? As if they are aware their profession is dying? I loved this description of the job from the comments section. It's long, but well worth the taking the time to read:

The job is in constant motion. Reels and platters spin, film snakes its way up and down and around. Gears turn, film flutters, and the whole booth hums and vibrates. It is alive with noise and motion. The projectionist, too, rarely rests. There is always something to thread, something to start, something to build, teardown or move. Thursday nights especially, a projectionist rarely sits. There is a constant sense of urgency and of racing the clock, as every little task that is accomplished must be squeezed in between show starts. In a modern megaplex, you have five minutes between starts. In an older reel-to-reel setting you have to change reels every 20 minutes or you interrupt the flow of the movie and all those hundreds of people downstairs remember for a moment that you exist because you messed up. A projectionist is always aware of the passage of time and that s/he is at the mercy of time. I would like to see some of these qualities better captured in another series of photographs and preserved as a piece of history as we fade into oblivion. I challenge the photographer to do this...

Oh Barbara Payton, you had it rough--Criminal Element

Nov 11, 2012

Quote of the Week

I've worked with many fine actresses.  But in my opinion, the best actress I ever worked with was Grace Kelly. . . . Her mind was razor-keen, but she was relaxed while she was doing it. 

-Cary Grant

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Nov 9, 2012

Classic Links

What? Baby Peggy doesn't have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? We've got to do something about this! Check out this indiegogo campaign and pitch in-- Indiegogo: A Star For Baby Peggy

And I know that this is a movie blog, but I can't help posting a pitch for the Red Cross as well. There are still a lot of cold, struggling victims of Sandy on the east coast--Red Cross

This proposed sequel to Casablanca sounds like it has an interesting story and background, but I think they should leave it alone. Can you really make a sequel to perfection?--/Film

I love this pic of shoe designer Ferragamo with Audrey Hepburn. You hardly ever see her look put out like that. It's hilarious! There's also an amazing shot of the designer surrounded by the shoe forms of the famous ladies for whom he designed-- Blame Mame

Great giveaway: comment during the month of November at Film Noir Blonde to be entered in a drawing to win a Sunset Boulevard DVD--Film Noir Blonde

This great new site gives classic film fans information on screenings around the world. It's helpfully arranged by region-- Classic Screenings

A little something about The Red Balloon (1956). I must have seen this movie every year at elementary school--Mental Floss

Nov 4, 2012

Quote of the Week

When a man finds himself sliding downhill, he should do everything to reach bottom in a hurry and pass out of the picture.

-Douglas Fairbanks

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Nov 2, 2012

Classic Links

I'm going to have to try this recipe for Janet Gaynor's icebox cookies. Will it measure up to the Hepburn brownies?--Let's Misbehave: A Tribute to Pre-code Hollywood

I love the way Kimberly Truhler of GlamAmor has championed vintage style. Check out this Q&A where she talks about the timeless style of her idol, the fabulous Edith Head--Movie Star Makeover

Val Lewton, the man who turned Velveeta titles into brie movies got a mighty fine blogathon tribute this week. Check out these wonderful entries--Speakeasy

The Barnes and Noble 50% off Criterion Collection sale is back!--CriterionCast

Another deal! Stacia gave the heads up on a 30-day free streaming trial at Fandor. It seems like a nicely curated site--She Blogged By Night

This informative post about the quality of the Fathom classic movie presentations has been making the rounds for a week now, but I had to share it yet again. It's a must-read for anyone who is considering attending one of the TCM events the company produces--Cinematically Insane

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Oct 28, 2012

Quote of the Week

I was a stage child out in San Diego, and one day I went to the movies. Afterward, I climbed up in the projection room, got the address of D. W. Griffith's company in New York from a can of film and sent him a scenario. It was accepted at once. I got $25 and I said, "This is where I quit acting."

-Anita Loos

Quote Source

Oct 26, 2012

Classic Links

Rear Window is coming to Broadway? Actually, I can see how that could

The life and times of the MGM lion. I've always thought the first lion they used had such a funny looking mane. Kind of mullety looking--Mental Floss

This biography is a beautiful start to the Carole Lombard Filmography Project-- Backlots

How to be Cleopatra Taylor-style for Halloween--Comet Over Hollywood

Elizabeth Taylor is now the highest-earning dead star, which is a good thing, because I think most if not all that cash goes to her AIDs foundation--The Guardian

Though Jeanne Eagels didn't have film acting figured out, there's no denying how magnetic she is in The Letter (1929)--Noir and Chick Flicks

I didn't even know color footage existed of Monroe's birthday serenade to Kennedy. It makes me sad that investors are becoming increasingly interested in movie memorabilia. I always hope that these items will go to people who love them and want to share them with others--MSNBC

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Oct 21, 2012

Quote of the Week

A director must realize what is inside of a person, bring it out, and eliminate the flaws.

-Dorothy Arzner

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Oct 19, 2012

Classic Links

I'm curious about The Girl--the Hitchcock/Tippi Hedren biopic. Sienna Miller seems to do well playing real people. Her personality doesn't overwhelm her performances--

I've always loved the poster for The Come On (1956), but never had a clue about the movie. This review makes it sound pretty good, but I can't picture anything living up to Anne Baxter's pose. If movies were just like their posters, I'd probably never do anything else but watch them--
Noir of the Week

An interesting article about costumes in the movies, including several classics, written to mark the opening of a new exhibit in London--
The Guardian

This is a fascinating interview with Kim Novak. I love the anecdote about her and Jimmy Stewart on the set of Bell, Book and Candle (1958). I think I may have heard it before, but I like the way she tells it here--
The Telegraph

A great tribute to the best of Miriam Hopkins' work: the movies from her pre-code era--
Immortal Ephemera

This book of D.W. Griffith interviews sounds interesting--
Alt Film Guide

Oct 14, 2012

Quote of the Week

A lot of the time if you've got a really good cameraman you don't need a director.

-Robert Mitchum

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Oct 12, 2012

Classic Links

I think Anthony Hopkin's Hitch looks promising, and I love that Alma Hitchcock is featured in this film--YouTube

Georges Méliès's Robinson Crusoé film resurfaces in Pordenone. There have been so many wonderful early film discoveries lately. It makes me wonder what else is out there waiting to be discovered.--The Guardian

I love this profile! 105-year-old Sadie Mintz used to rent jewelry to the movie studios. She even supplied Marilyn Monroe's earrings for Some Like it Hot (1959).

I don't see how Tippi Hedren could have been a "big star," but I do think it's sad that the man who discovered her also destroyed her career.--NY Times

This is a great profile of Lana Turner. Fantastic photos too--The Classic Screen

I never get tired of the story about Cary Grant being offered the role of Bond--The Guardian

Nicole Kidman is too Nicole Kidman-ish for me buy her as Grace Kelly--Alt Film Guide

Oct 7, 2012

Quote of the Week

I have wasted the greater part of my life looking for money and trying to get along. Trying to make my work from this terribly expensive paint box, which is a movie. . .it’s about 2% moviemaking and 98% hustling. That’s no way to spend a life.

-Orson Welles

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Oct 5, 2012

The Return of Classic Links

After a nice loooong break Classic Links is back! I've really missed doing this, but I don't have as much time to post anymore, so going forward I will post links on Friday. If I find something I absolutely must share before the end of the week, I'll probably throw it up on Twitter, so do follow me there if you haven't already: @classicmovieblg.

It was fun to do Haiku month again. Thank you all for your support of both the event and my new ebook. If you haven't grabbed a copy yet, rush over to Smashwords now to get some fabulous 5/7/5 fun, much of which is exclusive to the book!

Now on to the links:

Be sure to check out Monty's Hitchcock upcoming leading lady tournament. You go kick some butt Ingrid Bergman!--All Good Things

Harpo Marx, harpist--Mental Floss

Those crappy cars in the driveway behind Harold Lloyd's former home depress me--My Love of Old Hollywood

Yesterday was Buster Keaton's birthday, but you can still watch this short today--A Mythical Monkey Writes About the Movies

For the first time since they came to the Smithsonian, Dorothy's ruby slippers are going on a trip, across the sea even, to London--The Guardian

An astrophysicist analyzes the Bond gadgets--NPR

Oct 3, 2012

Retro Review-- Elizabeth Taylor: My Love Affair with Jewelry

I'm fortunate to have some very important pieces of jewelry. I don't believe I own any of the pieces. I believe that I am their custodian, here to enjoy them, to give them the best treatment in the world, to watch after their safety, and to love them. --Elizabeth Taylor 

Elizabeth Taylor: My Love Affair with Jewelry
Elizabeth Taylor
Simon & Schuster 2002

The 33.19-carat Krupp diamond. The 69.42-carat pear-shaped Taylor-Burton diamond. Burmese rubies and diamonds from Cartier. An emerald and diamond suite from Bulgari. This is just a tiny portion of Elizabeth Taylor's epic collection of jewelry, made up of hundreds of lavish pieces.

I've never thought much about fine jewelry before reading Taylor's biography of her massive collection. I love my wedding ring, because it is my grandmother's diamond and my husband and I designed it together. Other than that, I've never had or desired any other jewels. That's why it surprised me how mesmerized I was by the astounding pieces in Elizabeth Taylor: My Love Affair with Jewelry.

I ordered the book from the library after reading Furious Love, the biography of Taylor's relationship with Richard Burton, last year. The passages in that book about Taylor's jewelry collection fascinated me. She and Burton would just casually wander into a jewelry store and drop thousands of dollars on a whim. Normally, this sort of behavior would disgust me, but I got wrapped up in their obsession with the jewels. I could see how the beauty and history of the gems impressed them as much as the game of obtaining them.

Taylor and Burton, her partner in jewelry collecting
It especially interested me that Taylor didn't consider herself the owner of her jewels, but rather a temporary custodian. She took that responsibility with varying levels of gravity, wearing her most expensive pieces with anything, from a lavish evening gown to a bathing suit. And yet despite my fascination with the collection, I was still a bit baffled by the money even this fabulously wealth couple would spend these adornments. Why would you buy something that you could only wear in public if you brought along a couple of security guards with machine guns? I don't think I'll ever fully understand that.

The book contains 125 photographs of her jewelry, several accompanying shots of Taylor wearing the pieces and some of her memories of specific pieces in the collection. The photo captions shared more history of the pieces, which I found a great complement to Taylor's memories. I loved reading her thoughts about the jewelry, because while she adored the jewels themselves, she also looked upon them as mementos of the people she loved, famous men like Mike Todd, Richard Burton, Michael Jackson and Malcolm Forbes.

What surprised me the most was how mesmerized I was by the photos of the jewelry. I had no idea how elaborate the designs could be. Up close, I could admire the artistry of each piece. They didn't seem so frivolous to me when I saw the craftsmanship that went into every detail. It is fascinating to see what jewelers are capable of creating. I accepted that skill as an art for the first time.

Taylor with Eddie Fisher, wearing earrings from Mike Todd
The variety of Taylor's pieces is also impressive. There's the many kinds of stones: emeralds, rubies, sapphires and diamonds are just the beginning. And the different kinds of designs, from elaborate formations sometimes designed in part by Taylor, to flowers and animals. I especially liked the monkey suite that Jackson bought his long-time friend.

Taylor also had a trio of rings with tiny diamonds, one as small as 1/8 of a carat, which she called the Ping-Pong Diamond. She loved wearing that with the Taylor-Burton diamond, her smallest and largest pieces, and joking about them when she went to parties.

That sense of humor about the jewels, and the fact that Taylor would let anyone admire, touch and even wear her jewelry endeared her to me. She really did just want to share all that beauty with the world. After seeing the gorgeous photos of those pieces and reading a bit about their history, I can understand why she would want people to see them and delight in their beauty with her.

Photos from Classic Film Scans, Cover image from Good Reads

Sep 30, 2012

Quote of the Week

Warners never made you feel you were just a member of the cast. They might star you in one movie . . . and give you a bit part in the next. I can remember thinking, "Oh, God, I hope it’s a small part this time so I can get some rest."

-Glenda Farrell

Image Source, Quote Source