Classic Links

This is nice: Joan Fontaine funds the refurbishment of a garden dedicated to her actress mother Lilian-- Mercury News

A film collector thinks he is buying reels of classic films like Grand Hotel (1932). Nope, they were porn flicks—from the same period-- Movie Morlocks/TCM

A full gallery of the silhouette posters from TCM’s Summer Under the Stars-- Michael Schwab

Wow—Diana Dors had a slick car— About.com

Speaking of Ms. Dors—have you seen this fabulous week-long tribute?-- She Blogged By Night

The top ten films of the 1900’s—an interesting list with clips— Film Ab Initio

Here’s another recent chat with Kim Novak. I love how she always varies her stories in interviews. SF Gate

Quote of the Week


Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday.

-John Wayne

Classic Links

The world movie-watching record holder has died at 65. He watched over 28,000 movies. This kind of makes me want to figure out how many I’ve seen.— Cinematical

Hahaha—the Academy can’t find Jean-luc Godard! Maybe he doesn’t want an honorary Oscar. (I’m a little bitter that Ms. Day wasn’t selected. Come on people!)— Alt Film Guide

A gorgeous gallery of Cary Grant aging gracefully through the years- The Kitty Packard Pictorial

The dissection of a hilarious scene with an epic fall: Cary Grant and Irene Dunne in The Awful Truth (1937)-- The Sheila Variations

Classic Links

66 Criterion titles will drop off Netflix instant play on September 22 (of course you can still rent them on disc, but I will miss being able to watch The Earrings of Madame De. . . at a moment’s notice)-- Criterion Cast

Mae Murray in Kodak color-- The Kitty Packard Pictorial

A fascinating review of Age of Consent (1969)-- Mondo 70

The films I most wish had never fallen into the public domain-- Movietone News

I’ve never heard of this book--The Other Side of the Rainbow: With Judy Garland on the Dawn Patrol - by Mel Tormé--Mel Tormé! Now I’m dying to read it-- Noodle in a Haystack

Classic Links

This is a fascinating essay about the Marx Bros. I love all the pics of them from their early days. It’s easier to see the family resemblance with the wig, mustache and other crazy accessories— A Mythical Monkey Writes About the Movies

I know a lot of you will be excited to check out this new book about Dana Andrews— TCM

The story of Spencer Tracy’s arrival in Hollywood— Dear Hollywood

A new Richard Lester archive has been donated to the BFI—oooh— The Guardian

In praise of Boris Karloff, the horror actor with class— Cinematcial

Princess Nicotine (1909)—a great early special effects flick— Film Ab Intitio

Quote of the Week


Vulgarity begins when the imagination succumbs to the explicit.

-Doris Day

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Classic Links

David Thomson writes about Alain Delon—sigh— The Guardian

The birth of the Rat Pack— Slate

Rosalind Russell’s flooded hometown premiere— Another Old Movie Blog

Ernest Borgnine to be honored by Screen Actors Guild— IMDB

Classic Links

Ann Rutherford is beautifully frank in this recent interview. There’s lots of talk about Gone With the Wind (1939)—but she has other interesting stories as well.-- LA Times

A stage reenactment of the Bette Davis/Dick Cavett interview. I would have love to have seen this-- Edinburgh Festival

Madame Sylvia—the woman who started celebrity fitness. The menus she made for her star clients both fascinate and amuse me.-- The Express

The Criterion Collection release of Night of the Hunter (1955) looks amazing: outtakes, a live reenactment of a scene from the movie on the Ed Sullivan Show and loads of interviews-- ClassicFlix

How could I have neglected to mention Maureen O’Hara’s birthday yesterday? Bad me! I will try to make amends by posting a link to this marvelous tribute from yesterday. Lots of great anecdotes here.-- The Sheila Variations

It turns out Angelina Jolie and George Clooney won’t be costarring in that Marilyn Monroe movie. I feel silly for believing that one-- IMDB

Summer Movie Blogathon: All About Eve (1950)

 


 I first became obsessed with classic movies at the age of thirteen, when I saw Dark Victory (1939) on broadcast TV. Bette Davis caught my eye—and that was it, I was hooked. I soon had a nice collection of classic flicks on VHS—all recorded from TV.

I must have watched them all several times, but the one I remember best is All About Eve (1950). For a while, I think I must have watched that movie once a week. It was irresistible to me. I’ve never been able to figure out exactly what it was about those impeccably dressed theater people that reached me. My best guess is that this was one of the first times that I recognized I was watching a well-made movie. Rather than being drawn to separate elements, like the star or the plot, on some level I realized I was seeing something that was more than the sum of the parts.


And so on lovely summer days, when I was on vacation from school, I watched Eve many times. Sure I’d hang out with my friends, and there were family vacations—but once I had all that free time, I chose to spend a great deal of it with this clever group of martini-sipping New Yorkers.

With the exception of a high school friend who would watch anything, and my dad—who liked to watch classic flicks while ironing his shirts—I didn’t know anyone else who liked these movies. I don’t recall being bothered by that, but on some level I must have wished I knew more people who enjoyed Eve as I did.

Years later, my boyfriend took me to an outdoor screening of All About Eve. I couldn’t believe it. In a series that usually screened Grease, Raiders of the Lost Ark and other crowd pleasers, they were showing this dialogue-driven flick  in a parking lot on a warm summer night!

As I watched Eve for the first time with a crowd, I could have recited every line. That was nothing new. The thing that excited me was that I could see there were other people in the crowd who seemed to know the movie as well as I did. And it was a big crowd. The parking lot was full. There had to have been a couple of hundred people there. It was a marvelous night.

Classic Links

I did not know that birthday gal Ann Blyth was a spokesperson for Hostess in the seventies. She sure dresses up fancy to serve Ding Dongs to her kids. Happy Birthday Ms. Blyth!— Noir and Chick Flicks

Lots of gorgeous pics in this old Hollywood Tumblr archive-- Old Hollywood(via The Big Parade)

It took me a moment to realize this isn’t a joke: there’s going to be a movie about Marilyn Monroe’s terrier starring Angelina Jolie and George Clooney (as Monroe and Frank Sinatra, who gave her the dog).— The Guardian

Review round-up:
The Bat (1926)
Youth Runs Wild (1944)
The Party’s Over (1965)

Quote of the Week


If you don't stand for something, you will stand for anything.

-Ginger Rogers

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Classic Birthdays



Ethel Barrymore (1879-1959)
Wendy Hiller (1912-2003)
Signe Hasso (1910-2002)

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Classic Links

Where is the spirit of Ginger Rogers today?--The Kid in the Front Row

A nifty guide to the Norma Shearer tribute on TCM-- Out of the Past

This new Rudolph Valentino photo book sounds fascinating.-- Skeins of Thought

Is TCM going the way of AMC? (ie: why did they show the The Bad News Bears?)-- The Vintage Vamp

Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell are my favorite screen duo--it always surprises me that they don't regularly rate among the best romantic pairs. Even in these photographs you can sense their chemistry-- Vintage Images

71 facts about The Wizard of Oz (1939) [why is there a celebration of the 71st anniversary of this movie anyway? Is there a new blue ray coming out?]— The Guardian

Classic Birthdays



Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980)
Gene Raymond (1908-1998)
Charles “Buddy” Rogers (1904-1999)
Bert Lahr (1885-1967)

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Classic Links

A couple more interesting tributes to Patricia Neal:
 Laszlos on Lex
Alt Film Guide

This review of Appointment with Danger (1951) inspired me to add it to my rental queue-- Where Danger Lives

Interesting stories about Garbo the set of Queen Christina (1933)— A Mythical Monkey Writes About the Movies

I haven’t seen this Carole Lombard pic before. Love the hat—or should I call it a headpiece?-- Art Deco

The effort to restore Vivien Leigh’s Gone With the Wind dresses— IMDB

Classic links from the LAMB—including some great posts from the John Huston blogathon— LAMB

Classic Links

Mystery solved! (thanks to panavia999) Grace Kelly and Alec Guinness used to exchange tomahawks as a gag. Now you can download a template of Kelly’s handwriting here-- Via Margutta 51

Alfred Molina writes about how Kirk Douglas and Spartacus inspired him-- The Guardian

A great story about meeting Jimmy Stewart-- The Kid in the Front Row

Day four of the John Huston blogathon. Lots of interesting stuff-- Icebox Movies

I thought this was a good response to Emma Thompson’s rather cruel assessment of Audrey Hepburn’s talent (I get what she was trying to say, but I didn’t think she was entirely fair).

Patricia Neal, 1926-2010



Goodbye to Patricia Neal. I couldn’t stand her the first time I saw her—as a sophisticated sugar mama in Breakfast at Tiffanys (1961). That voice drove me crazy. Then, it grew on me, and it became the thing I like most about her. I realized she had been so darn good in Tiffanys that I hadn’t been able to separate her from her character, and that voice was the most distinctive thing about her.

I know Hud (1963) was her big award-winning role, but I loved her in The Fountainhead (1949); it was satisfying to watch her play that wild-eyed over-the-top character. Not that she was ever capable of fading into the woodwork. Even in a movie like The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), where she is only meant to prop up a host of sci-fi wonders, she grabs your attention. She projected such intelligence and strength that she could never be simply a damsel in distress. And I can’t forget A Face in the Crowd (1957)—she was the soul of that movie, an increasingly lucid force for good in a swirl of rottenness.

Here are some tributes I grabbed from my feed:

The Guardian always puts together such moving memorials--
Obituary
Film clips
David Thomson tribute

And a few more--
IMDB
Self-Styled Siren
Motion Picture Gems

I'm sure there will be many more fine tributes as the day progresses.

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Quote of the Week



I never think of myself as an icon. What is in other people's minds is not in my mind. I just do my thing.


-Audrey Hepburn
 
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Classic Links

Day 1 of the John Huston blogathon— Icebox Movies

This question has me stumped—does anyone know the name of an actress that exchanged axes with Alec Guinness for over 20 years?— Via Margutta 51

The entertaining early talkie Their Own Desire (1929), with Norma Shearer and Robert Montgomery— Flappers and Flickers

I want this poster! It’s for The Girl Said No (1930), with Leila Hyams and William Haines.— Art Deco

This interesting gallery shows the aging of Greta Garbo— A Mythical Monkey Writes About the Movies

Classic Birthdays



Ella Raines (1920-1988)
Lucille Ball (1911-1989)
Hoot Gibson (1892-1962)

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The Hilariously Offbeat Dialogue of Deadline at Dawn (1946)


Deadline at Dawn (1946) is finally available on DVD—and I’m so glad its purple prose is now readily available to the masses. I saw this offbeat noir flick for the first time in a theater—and the over-the-top dialogue made the audience giggle so much that I thought I must have missed half of what the actors were saying.

I don’t mean to disrespect the movie, because it’s a great mystery, with interesting twists, appealing actors and even some well-executed touching moments, but that Clifford Odets script is nutty. People just don’t talk the way he writes. If you Google “purple prose Odets”—you’ll find that I’m not the only one who feels this way.

Odets was best known for his association with the adventurous Group Theater in the 1930s. He wrote most of his works for the stage—the most famous being Golden Boy (which made it to the big screen as well)—but he also wrote a few memorable screenplays, including Humoresque (1946) and the snarky Sweet Smell of Success (1957).

Of all of Odets’ screenplays, I have the most affection for Deadline at Dawn. It’s the sweetest-tempered noir I’ve ever seen and a loveable mutt of a movie. The dialogue may make me laugh, but it is its own brand of clever and extremely entertaining.

The story is of a sailor (Bill Williams) on shore leave who finds himself mixed up in a murder. A weary taxi dancer (Susan Hayward) and a wordy taxi driver (Paul Lukas) try to help him clear his name.

I had to share some of the incredible things these characters say. The taxi driver had the craziest lines:

A blind man could see how many boyfriends she had. Evidently the water tasted good so she jumped down the well.

Stop zigging when we should be zagging and zagging when we should be zigging.

Remember Alex, speech was given to man to hide his thoughts.

Golly Wolly it’s hot tonight.

Statistics tell us we’ll see the stars again.

I read all the incriminating papers you are looking for and I bunked them away like a squirrel.

Mr. Bartelli the bedbugs will never forgive you. Your skin is made of iron.

Between you and me and the lamppost captain, happiness is no laughing matter.

[His advice to a pair of lovers] Push through the daily shell shock of life together.

The dancer's lines are slightly less outrageous:

This is New York, where hello means goodbye.

You’d better drop down on your bendified knees and pray.

He was nervous like every butcher, baker and candlestick-maker in the town.

And the rest:

If she cut off her head, she’d be very pretty.
-Val, the conman (Joseph Calleia)

She was no lullaby, but she had the brains like a man.
-Val

Gee, time takes so long and it goes so fast.
-Sailor

For some reason, this exchange really cracked me up:

Sailor: Do you hear anything?
Dancer: Only your breathing.
Sailor: Is that what that is?


Image Sources: Poster, Odets Photo

Classic Links

Louisiana Story (1948), a classic with real Cajun flavor— Motion Picture Gems

The story of Marilyn Monroe—told in a coloring book-- TCM

And yet more controversy in the unending speculation about Monroe’s death-- Cinematical

Joe E. Brown in Bright Lights (1935)--Art, Movies, Wood and Whatnot

The Lux Radio Theater guide to becoming a movie star— Screen Snapshots

Classic Birthdays



Jean Hagen (1923-1977)
Dolores del Rio (1905-1983)

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Classic Links

Kim Novak is such a great interview subject. Each of these recent articles about her has something distinctly interesting about them. Though there is always bound to be some repetition because she is talking about such a short period in her life, she still doesn't just rehash all the same stories:

Chicago Tribune
New York Post
Oregon Live

I love this Basil Rathbone profile-- Laszlos on Lex

Architects in the movies— Cinema Style

Quote of the Week


Tallulah [Bankhead] never bored anyone, and I consider that humanitarianism of a very high order indeed.

-Anita Loos

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