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

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Oct 26, 2012

Classic Links

Rear Window is coming to Broadway? Actually, I can see how that could work--About.com

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