Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Joan

Today the immaculate Joan Crawford turns 105! She was born in San Antonio, Texas (same as me) as Lucille LeSueur, but rose to stardom as the infamous Joan!
I recently watched her in Untamed '29. In the intro she sings and dances a jungle song, and I was blown away by her spunk and tenacity. You can tell the woman had more nerve than most, and a driven ambition that would have shattered lesser souls.
So... all hail the powerhouse that was and is Joan Crawford!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Morning with Tyrone Power

So I spent Saturday morning with Tyrone. I only have two of his movies (Black Swan & The Mark of Zorro) but both movies are just pure fun. I like these types of period movies, men with swords fighting bad guys! They are my kind of chick flick.
The Mark of Zorro is, i believe, the second Zorro movie made. I know that there was a silent one made in the 20s, but I am not aware of another one made until the Tyrone version. I like Ty's way of playing both a wimp (as a front) and the hero. He looks the part and keeps the action moving. Even when he is acting the fool, he's charming. I think Banderas really channeld that in the remake. There is no comparing the films however. The old one has a charm about it.
The Black Swan was my first Tyrone film. I adore swashbuckling movies! Everyone from Captain Blood to the Pirates craze of today, and the swan is no different. I like how Ty is both develish and charming. He's a bad boy trying to do what is right most of the time, but having some naughty fun some of the time. Maureen O'Hara is also gorgeous in this film. She was such a spitfire. I don't know how she could resist Ty for as long as she did!
I would love to see some of Tyrone's earlier work from the 30s! I just think he was such a good actor. He was Fox's biggest male star for a long time!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Clip From Their Own Desire

I posted about this film a little while ago, and just recently found this clip on youtube. The video isn't as clear as the film, but I wanted to share it because it contains my favorite scene.

When Montgomery is carrying Shearer, the film is blurry. It creates a very romantic feel, and their flirty banter is adorable. So push through the boring wide dance shot until the end of the video!

Monday, March 15, 2010


So I finally watched the first film to win the Best Picture Oscar, and I really enjoyed it. This was also my first Clara Bow movie. I have always adored Bow. I read a biography on her about a year ago and was amazed at how much adversity she overcame and suffered through. She also sounded like she was a lot of fun!

I read that while making Wings, the studio was worried because she had a constant string of men in and out of her hotel room at all hours of the night. Just one look at Bow looking devastatingly cute in her army uniform, and you can see why men just flocked to her! Bow was not known for being a modest girl. Those flappers were rebels, and Bow was no different. Her beau Gary Cooper was in Wings in a short cameo, and it is totally obvious why Bow had such a serious thing for Cooper. He was so handsome, tall and striking.

Wings also turned me on to Buddy Rogers! Talk about adorable! He looked so young and naive at the beginning of the film, but by the end he had a hardened haunted look that only war brings. He gave such a wonderful performance as a boy looking for adventure and glory who comes home both proud and heavy hearted. I tried to do a little digging on the actor, to find out more about him, but I came up kind of empty. I looked for more of his films and found that many aren't available, TCM doesn't have him slated anywhere in the near future, and biographical information on him is almost non-existent. I did find out that he was married to Mary Pickford, and I know that Lillian Gish mentions him in her autobiography. If I find out any more, I will post it!

The silent film affected me much more than I anticipated. The war sequences were done so very well. It was the first pre-code war film I had ever scene, and the battles sequences (unhindered by the code) really portrayed the horrors of WWI. Many pre-code films did have anti-war sympathies, but not Wings. I think the director, Wellman, tried to take a realistic approach to war more so than choosing sides. The blood, violence and death scenes were incredibly poignant. I had to remember to breathe during the dog fights. The film is not without humor. When Buddy Rogers is drunk and seeing bubbles everywhere, I couldn't help but laugh.

So, If you haven't seen Wings yet. I think it should top your list, not only because of it's cinematic history, but just to discover the true magic of silent cinema! I just read that this movie was filmed int he same county where I was born, Bexar County, TX! Awesome!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Their Own Desire (1929)

Just to get it off my chest: I was very disappointed that more wasn't done during the Academy Awards to truly honor Lauren Bacall. She is a living legend, and I don't think that the Academy did enough to really show her the dues she deserves.

Okay... I vented. On to the movie!

I am on a mission to watch every Robert Montgomery movie I can get my hands on! He is one of my all time favorite actors, and I just love watching him! I found the movie Their Own Desire (1929) and have since watched it more than once ;)
Desire is about a girl named Lucia (Norma Shearer) who finds out her father is leaving her mother for another woman. Lucia adores her father and is shattered by the news. Her and her mother go on vacation to forget their troubles. Lucia decides to never let a man do to her what her father did to her mother. That holds up until she meets a very charming man named Jack (Montgomery.) They fall in love and coincidentally, never share last names. They find out that Jack's mother is the woman that her father left her mother for. Lucia decides that her and Jack can't be together. Jack convinces her to give him one more night and their favorite spot. While they are away, a storm hits and the two lovers are feared dead. And then... I wouldn't dare ruin the ending for you!
Montgomery was wonderful as his early play boy self. He not only sweeps Shearer off her feet, but you go right along with her. There is one really magical scene: Montgomery is carrying Shearer to his car while the two flirt. The scene is fuzzy and out of focus. There isn't any one singular thing that makes the moment so great, but I must have watched it a dozen times.
A friend of mine was watching it with me, and she remarked at one time just how magnificent Shearer was. And it is so true. You can't take your eyes off of her. She is so magnetic and her and Montgomery smolder together. If you like Shearer (and like me, love Montgomery) then this is a must see! Best Line: Jack: "I'm going to take you to church someday,"

Monday, March 1, 2010

Great Stuff!

This is some raw footage of Mick LaSalle, author of Complicated Women. He did some interviews for TCM that were used in a documentary of the same name.

LaSalle's book is a wonderful read for anybody interested in Pre-Code actresses. This interview gives you a taste of his knowledge and insight. I love how he talks about Norma Shearer. She is an all-time favorite of mine, and I am always trying to learn more about her. His book covers every major actress during the Pre-Code era and gives a history of the code and how it came into being.

He also has a book called Dangerous Men. It's about (you guessed it) the guys of Pre-Code era movies... (his bits on William Powell and Robert Montgomery are my favorite!)

I hope the video inspires you to go in search of the book!

Bursting the Blog Bubble

I have never written a blog before! I am starting one mainly because I love reading blogs that other people have written.

I guess I should start by saying that this blog will be dedicated to my classic film addiction. I am a self confessed TCM junkie and can't get enough of it.

Pre-Code films are my favorite. I love how raw and edgy they are. For anyone who thinks that old movies are boring... go watch Barbra Stanwyk in Baby Face or Norma Shearer in The Divorcee!
It will change your cinemaic life!!!