Friday, July 30, 2010

Bob & Joan

What do I do when I get bored? I look for pics... Thought I would share. (Click the picture for a larger version) I love Bob and Joan together.... They had great chemistry! Hope you like it, I know I do.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

6 Reasons to love Gordon MacRae

If you are thinking..."Gordon who?" Shame on you! Gordon MacRae was one of the best musical talents of the 1950s whose abilities were never truly valued or appreciated (In my opinion). He had a crooner's voice, deep and beautiful, and he had boyish good looks that should have taken him to the top. I think he was overshadowed by the already established crooners (Sinatra, Crosby) and 50s musicals were struggling to try and find the balance between 40s musical extravaganza and a changing (post war) culture of teenagers. So many stars therefore fell through the cracks.

MacRae is my favorite crooner. (Yes I like him better than Sinatra or Crosby) He didn't come off like a ladies man in his personal life (like Sinatra did... don't get me wrong.. I love ole' blue eyes but he was a player) and he was much younger than Crosby. He didn't have Crosby's jazz edge, but his voice was used more for Broadway adaptations and classic standards.

Since I think more people should adore this guy... I have come up with 6 reasons to why you should give this guy a chance! Not to mention videos to prove my point ;)

1. Just One Girl: This is when I fell in love with Gordon. It's just him singing about how he only needs one girl (Doris Day) to be happy. There is nothing technically stunning about the arrangement, and its just Gordon dancing in the snow, but I think it so sweet and endearing. (Plus the tune gets stuck in my head for days!) Its from By The Light of the Silvery Moon.

2. Oh What a Beautiful... Curly: If you are a R&H nut, then you already know that Gordon was the original film Curly in Oklahoma! I adore Gordon in this role. It gave him a chance to play a rougher character, and his voice was perfect for the R&H score. Some of my earliest memories are me laying on the floor watching this movie. My grandma hated Disney channel shows, so whenever she would babysit me, she would put on an R& H musical. She wonders why I pursued a B.A. in Theater! Anyway, Curly is definitely a reason to adore good ole' Gordy!

3. He looks Good in a Uniform: Who doesn't love a man in uniform? Gordon was in a few of movies that required him to don military duds (3 Sailors and a Girl, On Moonlight Bay, The West Point Story) I particularly like him in West Point Story with Cagney and Day. He filled the shoes of a WP cadet quite easily, and his hair cut is adorable. The movie really plays to Gordon's strengths: He sings a couple of fantastic songs and he plays opposite Doris Day (something he always did really really well!)

4. MacRae + Day= Wonderful: Speaking of doing great things with Day... they made a number of films together, and all of them are pretty enjoyable. My personal favorite is Tea for Two. A friend had told me how wonderful it was... but I never could find a copy (this way quite a while ago) One day I was in my favorite classic film rental store (that has since deceased.. RIP Classic Video!) and I had picked up a couple of Day movies to spend the evening with. The guy behind the counter asked if I had ever seen Tea for Two and my jaw dropped. He walked into the back of the store and came back with TforT! I was so happy! When they did go out of business, he even set it aside for me (along with a few other movies... gosh I miss those guys!) You can't watch this movie and NOT fall in love with Gordon!

5. Carousel... This is on of my favorite musicals.... the fact that Gordon is in it just adds icing to the cake! I think this one must have been close to Gordon's heart. He struggled with alcoholism (a requirement for a crooner, I think). He championed AA after he won his battle with the disease, and his character in Carousel is not only conflicted, but to be honest, he is pretty jacked up. Don't be expecting any light hearted sugary musical here, this film is deep and dark... and beautiful. I LOVE this song!!

6. Warner Archives is making Gordon Available! Several of Gordy's releases are now out on DVD! This is really exciting (for me anyway ;) Look for the Silver Lining, The Daughter of Rosie O'Grady, Return of the Frontiersman and 3 Sailors and a Girl are all out!

Also: TCM is playing some Gordon in the near future
The West Point Story- July 27... 7:00 pm Central
By the Light of Silvery Moon- July 27... 11:00 pm Central
About Face- July 31... 7:30 am Central (very...VERY.... Rare!)
Desert Song- Aug. 10...5:00 pm Central

So... I hope this post has made you realize either that you are already a fan of Gordon (and just not known it) or that you want to watch more of this incredibly talent guy!
I for one love him!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Why Montgomery... Must Be Animal Magnetism

I felt the need to post a Robert Montgomery pic.... Why? Well... Why Not? I'm not sure if you've noticed... but I kinda love this guy! I have yet to find a movie of his that I don't like.
(By the way I am trying my darndest to locate a copy of Montgomery's Man in Possession! If you have any ideas... shoot them my way!)
This one is from The Big House... Even playing a stool pigeon... I think he is adorable!

If you want to learn anything else about my favorite actor... visit a blog that I consider a must for any classic film fan: Classic Montgomery: Film Thoughts from a modern-day Robert Montgomery fan-girl

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Now, Voyager

I must admit.... I am not a big Bette Davis fan. I never have been. I don't dispute her acting skills or her longevity. I even admire her tenacity dealing with Warner over pitiful roles. I do feel like Bette was a bit full of herself (but I guess most "stars" are.) Bette was amazing in Of Human Bondage and I find her younger work preferable to her later films however I have never found her all that engaging. I can take her or leave her. All this to say, I was a little nervous when I put in Now, Voyager last night.

It had been a long day, (the heat and humidity in West Texas has been frustrating and insane!) and by the time I got home, I just wanted to curl up (with an enormous fan blowing frigid air) and rest. I glanced at my netflix movies , closed my eyes and picked one at random. I was actually a little let down when I opened it and saw that it was Bette Davis movie. I decided to just watch it and get it over with... I had heard that it was one of the best romantic classic movies, but I had my doubts. Bette... romantic?

I will say that it took me about 10 or 15 minutes to really latch onto the story in the beginning. Maybe it was my personal hesitation about allowing myself to enjoy a Bette film, or if it was because the wonderful camera work was distracting me momentarily. Bette is actually introduced through close ups of her awful shoes and her putting out a cigarette and hiding the evidence. You even watch her feet as they come down the stairs, you see their hesitation as she over hears her mother call her an ugly duckling.

Bette's character Charlotte or (Camille as she is sometimes called) goes through three possibly four stages through the course of the movie. The first one is her slightly crazy ugly duckling phase. Her overbearing, control freak mother has controlled every aspect of her life from her clothes, to her weight. She is on the verge of a nervous break down... and kinda has one while a psychiatrist (the always collected Claude Rains) is there. He sees the problem immediately and takes Bette to his "facility" to recover.

The Second stage occurs after Bette emerges from the (rehab?) The doctor and her sister in law send her on a cruise to give her time to acclimate to her new slightly confident state of mind before she goes home to the dreaded Mother. (Bette has some GORGEOUS shoes on when we first see her on board. Mirrors the ugly shoe close up at the beginning of the film symbolizing a change in the character.) On the boat, she meets a very handsome, surprisingly normal, Paul Henreid. The hang-up to their sea romance? Paul is married...GASP. He doesn't keep this a secret, they both fall in love understanding that this movie is post-code and their love can never last in a permanent way. Bette isn't fully confident in her new life style. She keeps second guessing herself, but Paul proves to her how worthy she is of love and adoration. The two go there separate ways agreeing to never see each other again. (Get your tissues!)

Paul has helped Bette get to stage three... She is know Confident, self empowered and comfortable in her own skin. (A lot happens during this part of the movie... but I won't give it all away!) Mother proves to still be her intimidating self, but Bette now know to "stick to her guns but not fire them". They work out a relationship that suits them both. (SPOILER ALERT. Stop reading if you want to keep the rest of the movie a mystery... skip to the last paragraph!)Bette is now popular with her family and friends; there seems to be no remains of the mousy ugly duckling from stage one. Until mother dies suddenly after a quarrel between her and Bette.

Bette retreats into her stage one self and runs back to Claude Rains at his facility. She isn't there five minutes when she sees a twelve year old girl sitting alone at a table that looks much like Bette did at the beginning of the movie. You can guess what happens next. Bette takes the girl under her wing. Its heart breaking when the girl (Tina) is crying during the middle of the night because nobody wants her or loves her. I think every girl has dealt with that at some point in their lives. Whether it be after a fight with the parents or that first boy who breaks your heart, every girl has felt like poor Tina. Bette holds her and comforts her. I can almost consider this a fourth stage. Bette has overcome her own problems to the point where she can help this little girl. She is maternal and nurturing in a way that tugs at the heart strings.
I know I just wrote a pretty lengthy synopsis, but I won't reveal anything else... just in case you want to make some discoveries of your own.

So... has this wonderful movie turned me into a Bette Davis fan? No. But I do recommend this movie to classic film buffs. It is a wonderfully crafted story. They cram quite a bit into the movie, but I don't think it hinders the overall effect. The camera direction is very well done, and the movie never feels cheesy or half baked. I will say that my admiration for Paul Henreid has grown since watching this film. I always adored him in Casablanca, but I fell head over heels for him in Voyager. Thanks for hanging with me through this long long post! Let me know your thoughts on Now, Voyager or if you have any other Henreid film suggestions!!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Summer Under those Wonderful Stars!!

So... I am super duper excited about the month of August on TCM! Summer Under the Stars is always my favorite time of year for movie watching, and next month will prove to be no disappointment!

If you are knew to the glory that is SUTS... then let me give a brief explanation... Each day in Aug, TCM salutes one actor by showing a 24 hour marathon of his/her movies. This is wonderful for two reasons... 1. They almost always play rare films for certain stars and 2. Its a great way to discover actors that you might have heard of, but aren't too familiar with.

Okay.... enough explanation... Let's get to to the goods!
Days I am going to be working the DVR to the max:

Aug. 3: Steve McQueen
-Steve McQueen: The Essence of Cool: Doc on the actor. I am a moderate SMQ fan, but I think this doc might actually make me a full fledged SMQ NUT!
-The Magnificent Seven: love... Love... LOVE this movie! I remember watching it with my Grandpa when I was just a little girl, and now I will have a copy of my very own!!
-The Cincinnati Kid: SMQ and Edward G. Robinson! I am totally there.... if Ann-Margaret doesn't scare me away...

Aug. 7: Errol Flynn
-Oh Errol... I am so glad your marathon is on a Saturday! What a wonderful companion to laundry day! (Like Sheldon... I have a strict laundry schedule! Bazinga!)

Aug. 10: Kathryn Grayson
To tell the truth... Grayson always makes me cringe a bit.... and I worry for the sake of my glassware when she reaches some of those high notes, but nonetheless, I adore some of her movies (mainly for the leading men) My recommendations...
-The Desert Song: If you think Gordon MacRae was a wimpy man... check him out in this one... talk about Sheik!
-Kiss Me Kate & Lovely to Look At: Both have Howard Keel. 'Nuff said

Aug. 12: Norma Shearer
This is the day I am the most excited about! Finally a day of Norma! The question is not 'What will I be recording?'... but... 'What will I NOT be recording?!' There are some rare Norma silents that should be really good: (Lady of the Night, A Lady of Chance and The Student Prince in Old Heidlberg) Plus... I would be remiss if I didn't mention that 3 of Norma's movies have... drum roll please... the always amazing (in my book) Robert Montgomery!!!

Aug. 16: Robert Stack
Who? My point exactly. I have no idea who this guy is, but I am intrigued!

Aug. 17: Maureen O'Hara
- The Parent Trap: There is nothing like the original!
-The Quiet Man: I have always wanted to own this one! Wayne and O'Hara had amazing chemistry... and this one proves it!

Aug. 24: John Gilbert
Why am I excited about a whole day devoted to John Gilbert? Lots and LOTS of silent movies! So many of the ones they will be showing are very rare! Gilbert was famous in the twenties for being a smoldering presence on screen (especially with Garbo!)
- He Who Gets Slapped: this one also has Lon Chaney and Norma Shearer... A serious drama... Get the tissues folks!

Aug. 25 Lauren Bacall
-Confidential Agent: I have always wanted to see this one with Bacall and Boyer. I understand that it isn't amazing but I would like to make some of my own opinions...
-Blood Alley: I can only imagine the chemistry between Bacall and John Wayne... This one, I am hoping, should be a treat!
-Bright Leaf: I have never even heard of this one (GASP) Cooper, Bacall AND Jack Carson! Um.... YES!
-Sex and the Single Girl: I have seen this movie a few times and love it! Absolutely a Must! Side notes: Tony Curtis in this one.... Yum and my favorite Character Actor: Edward Everett Horton "Thank you, Bob, for living down to my expectations."

Aug. 30: Kay Francis (It is actually Thelma Todd Day... but...)
-Mary Stevens, M.D.: Okay, so I am looking forward to this movie (not because of Thelma Todd) but because this is a wonderful example of a quintessential pre code film. Not only is Kay Francis a doctor in a film (NOT A NURSE) but she decides to have a baby out of wedlock. Two striking plot points that could not have happened after the horrible production code.

There you have it folks! A long post... for an awesome month of... well.... AWESOMENESS!