Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Roaring Twenties (1939)

July 26, 2011

64. The Roaring Twenties (1939)

Starring James Cagney, Priscilla Lane, Humphrey Bogart, Gladys George, Jeffrey Lynn, Frank McHugh, Paul Kelly

Directed by Raoul Walsh

Plot: "Three men attempt to make a living in Prohibitionist America after returning home from fighting together in World War I." (from IMDb)

I thought the acting and story were great in this. Everything, really, just made for a topnotch and very engaging production. I can't say that gangster flicks are really my thing, but I enjoy watching Bogart and Cagney. Besides them, I thought Gladys George was exceptional; she was a very expressive actor who was able to convey a great deal of feeling without saying too much. As Panama Smith, she was perfect for the part and rather underrated in general, I think. I also liked the newsreel format of the film. It is a good way to weave the different years together and illustrate the time period. I'm not usually one for sad endings, but this one just works; it’s hard to imagine any other way to conclude it.

I can't really say that this is a film that I'll watch a lot, because it is kind of depressing, but there is no doubt that it is Warner Brothers at its best—and definitely worth a viewing.


I really love the intro credits—the font and how it shimmers a bit against the skyscape.

Cagney plays Eddie, a basically good guy who is driven to crime by some bad breaks.

I never noticed before how Cagney does that thing with his lip. He does it quite a few times in this.

“I do alright, any time, any place.”

Quintessential baddie Bogart, before he hit it big with stardom. I have to say he does make a great bad guy, and adds a lot to the movie.

**Please note that not all the pictures and graphics in this post are mine. Click on respective images for source. No copyright or creative infringement is intended. If you feel I have used an image contrary to the author's wishes, please let me know and I will promptly remove it.**

Sunday, July 24, 2011

College (1927)

July 15-16, 2011

63. College (1927)

Starring Buster Keaton, Anne Cornwall, Harold Goodwin
Directed by James W. Horne

Plot: "To reconcile with his girlfriend, a bookish college student tries to become an athlete." (from IMDb)

I'd only seen ONE silent movie prior to this (Chaplin's City Lights) and this was my first Buster Keaton film. It was amusing enough, I guess, but I can't say that I really loved it. While there are some funny parts, it wasn’t one I would be dying to see again.

I read a few online reviews of this and most seemed to agree that it was a mediocre, though not entirely awful, effort—kind of Keaton on auto-pilot. So maybe I should give some of his more popular films a chance.

There is also a bit of blackface (pictured above) in this that is uncomfortable to watch.

I wasn't crazy about the musical accompaniment on the DVD I watched; at times I felt like it detracted from the picture.

I thought the very end was rather odd. I think it was meant to be humorous…? Or perhaps it was making a social statement. I'm not sure.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Dodge City (1939)

July 7, 2011

62. Dodge City (1939)

Starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Ann Sheridan, Bruce Cabot, Frank McHugh, Alan Hale, John Litel, Henry Travers

Directed by Michael Curtiz

Plot: "A soldier of fortune takes on the corrupt boss of a Western town." (from TCMDb)

I'm not huge on Westerns, but I decided to watch this one for Olivia and Errol. I also like Ann Sheridan a lot, but this is definitely not her best role, as she gets very little screen time. Too be honest, this film confused me a little. That could be because I was only half paying attention, and because the cattle chases and all that caused me to lose some interest. I think I got the basic plot, though: Errol is the good guy; Alan Hale is his comic-relief sidekick (who gets a little annoying after a while); Olivia is Errol's feisty love interest; William Lundigan (in a role very different than the one I last saw him in!) is Olivia's rowdy brother; Bruce Cabot is the lawless bad guy; Ann Sheridan is the saloon girl; Frank McHugh is Olivia's uncle.


Olivia and Errol are wonderful together, as usual. Like most of their pairings, they start out with an intense dislike of each other. [Of course we don’t really buy it, because we know they’ll eventually get together. But the sparks are still fun to watch.] Then they argue, and suddenly they are out on a date together (if you can call riding horses at sunset a date). I actually rewound to see if I missed something because I wasn't sure how they went from this (bickering) …


…to this.


I still wonder if I missed something? Ah, well, we knew it was bound to happen anyway. Never mind how we got there.

Despite the fact that most of the photos in this post include Errol and Olivia, they really don’t have that many scenes together. (It was hard to find photos of other things in the film, and I forgot to get screencaps. You can click on each image for the source.)


There are certainly bar room brawls, stampedes, and gun fights aplenty. But I don’t really go for that. One of my favorite part of the movie is probably when Olivia trips Errol. Really! It's a very funny moment that is delightfully and playfully acted. Okay, okay…maybe Frank McHugh's laugh is the best part of the movie. (Seriously, has anyone ever noticed how hilarious his laugh is? It's like a very light, quiet 'hehehehee'. I don't know why but it just strikes me as really funny. :D)


In conclusion, if you like classic westerns, stunning Technicolor, Olivia + Errol, or just want to hear what Frank McHugh's laugh sounds like, you'll probably want to check this out. tumblr_lht1z3BOXH1qg1naao1_500


P.S. On Monday I did a guest post on Sophie’s blog where I shared my six favorite Ginger Rogers films.

You can check it out HERE.

[Also, be sure to visit some of Sophie’s other posts and subscribe to her site. She has a great blog!]

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Happy Birthday to Ginger Rogers and Barbara Stanwyck!

 A top knot of multi-colored pastel flowers is perched atop Ginger Rogers' peaked black lace straw hat designed by Lily Dache. A wisp of veil covers the entire hat.

Today marks the anniversary of the births of two fabulous stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood—Ginger Rogers and Barbara Stanwyck.

tumblr_lixhs3Vddx1qepln6o1_500  Ginger cutting her birthday cake?

Ginger’s birthday this year is extra special because it would have been her 100th!


~ Barbara Stanwyck Quotes ~

“My only problem is finding a way to play my fortieth fallen female in a different way from my thirty-ninth.”

"I`m a tough old broad from Brooklyn. I intend to go on acting until I`m ninety and they won`t need to paste my face with make-up."

“Egotism - usually just a case of mistaken nonentity.”

“Career is too pompous a word. It was a job and I have always felt privileged to be paid for doing what I love doing.”

“Attention embarrasses me. I don't like to be on display.”

“I want to go on until they have to shoot me.”


~ Ginger Rogers Quotes ~

I`m most grateful to have had that joyous time in motion pictures. It really was a Golden Age of Hollywood. Pictures were talking, they were singing, they were coloring. It was beginning to blossom out: bud and blossom were both present.

"They're not going to get my money to see the junk that's made today." (1983)

"The only way to enjoy anything in this life is to earn it first."

(on being asked in 1943 what a girl needs to be a movie star) “Intelligence, adaptability and talent. And by talent I mean the capacity for hard work. Lots of girls come here with little but good looks. Beauty is a valuable asset, but it is not the whole cheese.”

“I believe in living each day as it comes, to the best of my ability. When it's done, I put it away, remembering that there will be a tomorrow to take it's place. If I have any philosophy, that's it. To me it's not a fatalistic attitude.”

"When you're happy, you don't count the years."

“Perhaps I’m old-fashioned, but black and white films still hold an affectionate  place in my heart; they have an incomparable mystique and mood. Believe me, the technique and expertise for achieving these effects were almost more challenging than the splendor of color. Certainly the result was as powerful as an Ansel Adams photograph.”

"The most important thing in anyone's life is to be giving something. The quality I can give is fun, joy and happiness. This is my gift."


I hope you have time today to watch one of these lovely ladies’ films and appreciate their talent and legacy!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

I’d Climb the Highest Mountain (1951)

id climb the highest mountain poster web 
July 7, 2011

61. I'd Climb the Highest Mountain (1951)

Starring Susan Hayward, William Lundigan, Rory Calhoun, Barbara Bates, Gene Lockhart

Directed by Henry King

Plot: "The simple told story, based on Corra Harris' biographical book, of a Methodist minister, called to a north-Georgia mountain-community in 1910 who, with his gently-bred new bride, meets the problems and crises of his circuit-riding congregation fearlessly and honestly." (From IMDb)

I originally saw this film when I was a kid, but for the longest time I couldn't recall the name of it. Then, one day I stumbled across this review that Laura had posted. That was it! I proceeded to immediately interloan it from my library system (thankfully they had it!). I'm really happy I found this film because it is quite a gem. At least I think it is—though my view could be altered a bit by nostalgia. I do think I view this film very differently as a twenty-year-old than I did at, say, age six or seven. If anything, I think that I am able to appreciate it more.

I can’t quite put my finger on what appeals to me about this movie. I think it is the honesty and simplicity of it. Despite having some sad moments, the film feels very calming. This tone is set with the voiceover of the older Mary that narrates the picture and strings together the different vignettes that comprise the story.

I'D CLIMB THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN '51 Susan Hayward RARE Original Movie Still #2 - I'd Climb the Highest Mountain (1951)<br /><br /><br />Stars: Susan Hayward, William Lundigan, Rory Calhoun. <br /><br />Biography Drama Romance Methodist

I also really like the two leads—William Lundigan and Susan Hayward—and I think their performances are what carries the film. I’m not even the type of girl who likes to go camping, but even I would consider moving to the backwoods and roughing it if it meant marrying someone as kind and nice (not to mention handsome) as William! In Laura’s review she mentioned that Jeanne Crain was originally slated to play Mary but backed out due to pregnancy. No offense to Miss Crain, but I am really glad that Susan Hayward got the role. I feel like she brings a lot of spunk to the part and keeps the character from being too bland and one-dimensional. It definitely makes me want to check out some more of her movies. Together, Lundigan and Hayward make a charming couple and their interaction feels very genuine.

I'D CLIMB THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN '51 Susan Hayward RARE Original Movie Still #12 - I'd Climb the Highest Mountain (1951)<br /><br /><br />Stars: Susan Hayward, William Lundigan, Rory Calhoun. <br /><br />Biography Drama Romance Methodist

As much as I enjoyed this movie, there is one part (where a tragic accident occurs) that really threw me. I did not remember it at all from my previous viewing and I wasn’t expecting it. But lest you think the film is all sadness, it’s really not. Mixed in with the more serious subject matter is a good deal of humor and fun. (Just watch out for that one part!)

In some ways, this movie is similar in subject matter to 1955’s A Man Called Peter, although that story is about a more famous minister and covers a longer amount of time. The setting also brings to mind films like The Music Man, Oklahoma!,  or Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (though this isn’t a musical, and the time period is probably closer to Anne of Green Gables or Pollyanna). So that should give you an idea of the ‘feel’ of the movie.

I'D CLIMB THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN '51 Susan Hayward RARE Original Movie Still #6 - I'd Climb the Highest Mountain (1951)<br /><br /><br />Stars: Susan Hayward, William Lundigan, Rory Calhoun. <br /><br />Biography Drama Romance Methodist

I wish I could make some screencaps (I watched it on VHS) from this because the Technicolor scenery, sets, and costumes are really quite lovely (I especially loved Hayward’s clothes). The lobby cards and black and white promotional stills (click on image for source) don’t do the film justice. Unfortunately, this isn’t available on DVD. It would be great if this could be restored and released, but I’m not sure what the status is on 20th Century Fox’s old films. (Anyone know?)

One thing that I might change about this film is to make it a little longer. At 88 minutes it breezes by, and I for one was sorry to see it end.

I'D CLIMB THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN '51 Susan Hayward RARE Original Movie Still #10 - I'd Climb the Highest Mountain (1951)<br /><br /><br />Stars: Susan Hayward, William Lundigan, Rory Calhoun. <br /><br />Biography Drama Romance Methodist

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Devil and Miss Jones (1941)

July 5, 2011

60. The Devil and Miss Jones (1941)

Starring Jean Arthur, Robert Cummings, Charles Coburn, Edmund Gwenn, Spring Byington, S.Z. Sakall, William Demarest

Directed by Sam Wood

Plot: "A tycoon goes undercover to ferret out agitators at a department store, but gets involved in their lives instead." (from IMDb)

The Devil and Miss Jones (1941)

Despite the fact that the plot feels like one you've seen before—you know, the wealthy curmudgeon that encounters the populace and converts to simple living…or something like that—it's  saved by great performances by Charles Coburn and the supporting cast. That cast includes Jean Arthur (perfect in this type of role), Edmund Gwenn (playing a very un-Kris-Kringle-like role. Gwenn had such range as an actor and is always a lively presence), Spring Byington (her ever-loving self), and S.Z. Sakall (the blustering butler). Robert Cummings is perhaps the one weak note in an otherwise talented ensemble.

The Devil and Miss Jones (1941)

Arthur and Coburn deliver some wonderful comedy (I especially like the scene where she is trying to muster courage to wop him over the head!)


If you enjoy '30s style Capra or just a good comedy, this is probably one that you’ll want to check out.

Never Say Goodbye (1946)

July 2, 2011

59. Never Say Goodbye (1946)

Starring Errol Flynn, Eleanor Parker, Lucile Watson, S.Z. Sakall
Directed by James V. Kern

Plot: "Phil and Ellen Gayley have been divorced for a year, and their 8-year old daughter, Flip, is very unhappy that her parents are not together…" (you can read the rest of the summary at IMDb but be aware that it does give some plot points away)

I really enjoyed this film. It was fun to see Errol in a comedy and he and Eleanor Parker (who looks gorgeous, by the way) are charming together. I especially liked Flynn's scenes with his daughter in the film, played by Patti Brady. Hattie McDaniel also has a small role, and she's hilarious. Forrest Tucker is also great in his comedic scenes as a burly Marine whose athletic prowess leaves Errol jealous...and injured.

Interesting fact: There is a part where Errol, imitating a ruthless and jealous husband, puts on a Humphrey Bogart accent. I thought he did a great job with it...until I read on IMDb that apparently Bogart himself did the dubbing!

Aren’t they cute? [source]

I think this is an underrated gem that deserves to be shown more and hopefully released on DVD soon. Watch it if you get a chance. :)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

Ava Gardner [source]

Claudette Colbert [source]

Susan Hayward and Virginia Dale, 1940. [source]

Debbie Reynolds, 1952. [source]

Anne Francis, 1955. [source]

Piper Laurie, 1950s. [source]

Vera-Ellen 1950Vera-Ellen, 1950. [source]

Ann Miller 1940&#8217;s
Ann Miller, 1940s. [source]

Publicity still for the 1942 movie Yankee Doodle Dandy with Jeanne Cagney, James Cagney, Joan Leslie, Walter Huston, and Rosemary DeCamp. [source]

Boom boom pow. Joan Crawford. [source]

Gloria Shea, 1932. [source]

…and God Bless America!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Birthday, Olivia de Havilland!

Yes, you!

Today marks the 95th birthday of one of my very favorite actresses—the beautiful and talented Olivia de Havilland.

Olivia at age 10 months
Olivia, as sophomore class secretary, poses with other class officers;
Los Gatos High School
At age 17

As Maid Marian in The Adventures of Robin Hood
Looks like somebody is going to get it! :o
Olivia with her TWO Oscars
Olivia today. Still going strong and living in Paris.

I'm still waiting for that promised autobiography, Olivia!
No idea what she's doing here but it's adorable.

One of my favorite Olivia films--The Snake Pit
With co-star Errol Flynn. They made eight films together.

She's amazing in this film, too (The Dark Mirror), playing the good AND the bad sister. I bet you can tell which is which!
Olivia and her sister, fellow actress Joan Fontaine.

“There’s something about Olivia de Havilland that has always set her apart from other actresses. Maybe it’s the combination of warmth, sensitivity and intelligence she conveys, or the way her good looks have always been further enhanced by the ever-present twinkle in her eyes or the wisdom you sense behind those orbs.”
Robert Osborne (via)

“Playing good girls in the '30s was difficult, when the fad was to play bad girls. Actually I think playing bad girls is a bore; I have always had more luck with good girl roles because they require more from an actress.”
 – Olivia de Havilland

“That girl can play any part ever written!”  – James Cagney about Olivia de Havilland

Oh, dear! All this and I STILL haven't even mentioned Hold Back the Dawn, The Heiress, To Each His Own, OR her most famous role as Melanie in Gone With the Wind! I guess I just can't get everything into one post, so here are some resources to learn more about this lovely lady:

Lots more photos of her on Tumblr
Interview for The Screen Actors Guild
2009 interview with Olivia in The Independent
2006 interview for the Academy of Achievement 
This interview (from last year) in the London Evening Standard

'Til next time...

**Please note that the pictures and graphics in this post are NOT MINE. No copyright or creative infringement is intended. If you feel I have used an image contrary to the author's wishes, please let me know and I will promptly remove it.**
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