A Star is Born 1954- Judy Garland Blogathon

judy blogathon banner 1Hello everyone and may I say it’s delightful to be back for the Judy Garland blogathon.

When I heard this was happening I jumped at the chance to watch A Star is Born (1954) which of course  most of us know is one of Judy’s greatest performances.

For me, watching this movie has been a long time coming, as Judy has always been a favorite of mine; she’s my childhood idol. The only thing I regret is I didn’t start watching more of her movies until recently, as an adult- never when I was younger; but it’s better late than never!

A Star is Born is of course a remake of the 1937 Mitzi Gaynor/ Fredric March film. I have not seen the original yet- but I plan to watch it, as well as the 1976 version too (my Mom has seen the latter one). This 1954 version is the same story as all of the versions but what makes it unique is that this is a musical- which of course works so well to showcase Judy’s talents.
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The story is a typical Hollywood story- while Judy’s character, Esther Blodgett “Vicki Lester” rises and shines, her fellow actor and love interest (later husband) Norman Maine (James Mason) downward spirals and falls hard.

Overall, the film is a bit of a sad story, but a very real and human story, that holds its value in today’s world. It may be being remade again for the fourth time- but I believe that this particular version will forever be the most remembered and celebrated version. When viewing the film, I quickly learned part of its footage is missing due to the fact its original length was trimmed down in previews. Today- its been restored to the best of its abilities. In certain instances there are still images, accompanied with the audio track to fill in where the footage was deleted- its interesting to see what was cut- as the cut footage was somewhat important to understanding the story- its sad no one will ever see the original footage, as it would have been cool to see it all in full.
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In my view, Judy shines in her role and its as if she was born for the part- she plays it so believably- whether she’s singing and performing, or happily in love, or crying- shes always authentic; never ever fake. When watching it, my mom brought up the fact she’s just such a real actor and when she cries (or has an emotional moment) – you feel for her.
Image result for judy garland and james masonBut what makes this particular role so believable is that many experiences that happen to Ester also happened to Judy- the name change, working the bit parts, the hard efforts of landing a big break, the emotional struggles of being a star- and sometimes, it hits all too hard knowing that Norman Maine’s struggles were basically her struggles in real life.

But all emotional and real life parallels aside, this film gave Judy two of her most wonderful performances- the opening Gotta Have Me Go With You” number and of course my personal (and probably yours too) favorite The Man That Got Away. There’s of course a few other numbers- but these two stand out to me on a major level.

Related image“Gotta Have Me Go With You” is standard Garland- its showy without being over the top- it’s very catchy and easy to sing along with- its a wonderful way to start of this movie and it has become on of my favorite musical numbers of hers.

“The Man That Got Away”, on the other hand is top tier, brilliance- its powerful; emotional; and so amazing that you want to go back and re-watch it due to its strong presence- I had seen the clip before I watched this film, but watching it in context within the film makes it all that much more moving. I really cant describe it any other way- other than its just sheer perfection.

In the end, I’m very glad I watched this film- I felt it got a bit slow at times- but its just so memorable of a story that I’ll certainly be watching it again the future, it must have been so fascinating to have seen in back in 1954~ with the big build up of Judy’s return to the screen- she really gave it her all. While Judy’s star story may not have ended on the best note- its certain today- her star shines brighter than ever- and it will forever remain that way.

National Classic Movie Day 2017: 5 Stars Blogathon

HAPPY NATIONAL CLASSIC MOVIE DAY EVERYONE! First off let me say, running my own blog and sharing new films and learning about films and actors from hollywood’s golden era is one of the great joys in my life- and I’m very happy to do it alongside all of you who watch, read, and write with me! (click here for the blogathon list to read other bloggers favorite stars!)

And again I’d like to say THANKS A MILLION to all of you who do read and I DO READ EVERY SINGLE COMMENT and APPRECIATE THEM ALL!!!!

This post is probably one of the most difficult ones to write as I’m only limited to 5 stars!!?? Hard, but, do-able and all of you have done it to so, so can I!!

In NO order whatsoever, I present five favorite stars!

1- Grace Kelly

Image result for grace kelly Yes I know some may not consider her the “best” actress or even consider her to be “important” in Hollywood- But she is one of my favorites!! Rear Window (1954) and to Catch a Thief (1955) are some of my favorite movies! She was serene even before she bore the title of HSH  (Her Serene Highness) and she’s completely the ultimate Hitchcock Blonde.

2- Carole Lombard

Image result for carole lombard I wish I could be more like her in terms of being free spirited!! She’s a patriot and I feel her career was just getting started- she would have been amazing in so many roles if not for her untimely death- but nothing can diminish the fact she is and always will be fascinating and amazing! My favorite movie of hers My Man Godfrey (1936) with the runner up being No Man of Her Own (1932)  !

3- Cary Grant-

Image result for Cary grant notorious WHO DOESN’T ADORE HIM! To me he’s the ultimate leading man! Today, I just got his daughter’s Memoir and I’m excited to read it! There’s so many great films with him but the ones that stand out to me are The Awful Truth (1937), Notorious (1946), Penny Serenade (1941) , Charade (1963) and To Catch a Thief (1955).

 

4- William Powell

Image result for william powell thin man He’s the definition of dapper and the consummate 1930s example of style. Mr Powell is one of the stars that I came to adore after watching many of his movies- once you watch one you can’t stop- and I didn’t know about him right away- he’s a hidden gem that once you know about him- he’s forever a part of your life! Favorite movies of his- Mister Roberts (1955), All of The Thin Man Films, of course My Man Godfrey, and a hidden gem of a flick The Ex-Mrs Bradford (1936).

..And number 5- I have to say John Wayne- he was the first leading man I knew about in the “Old Movies” due to my Grandfather’s admiration of him. Its sad that I didn’t become a real fan of his until my later teen years- but now that I have seen some of his movies (and plan on viewing more!) I can say that Yes I am a real fan of his based my own opinions. I know why my Grandfather liked him so much now that I have viewed some of his movies and I always think of him whenever I watch one. My favorite movies of the Duke’s so far are- The Quiet Man (1952), The Searchers (1956) ,Big Jake (1971) and The Shootist (1976)

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So there’s my five!!! But I can’t leave this post without mentioning “Five Runners up”- Audrey Hepburn, William Holden, Myrna Loy, Clark Gable, and Gene Tierney.

Happy National Classic Movie Day, again to everyone and I hope you got to watch either an old favorite or a new to you movie! and Remember- Stay Classic!

Norma Demond’s Mansion in Sunset Blvd (1950)

Unfortunately, Mr Gillis is no longer here with us to tell us more about the house, but that can’t stop you from forming your own opinions! Make sure to (re-) watch Sunset Blvd and pay extra attention to Miss Desmond’s crazy mansion!!!

Golden Boy Blogaton- Apartment For Peggy

Chemistry never looked more interesting!

WIth Ms Crain; they are so fabulous together!!!

This film is a rarity, but to me its a hidden gem- it’s so cute! and rarely on TV- so the next time it’s on TCM WATCH IT!!!!!!!!!!  Please!!!!!

As for you Mr Holden, as this, today , the date of this post, would have been your 99th birthday, I have this to say: You’re one of my favorite actors, and while not everyone may know who you are, to me you’ll always have a place in my heart, and in my life. Your movies are timeless, and I understand why the late Mr Robert Osborne considered you his favorite- like he said you spoke “always an honest word” when you were on screen. Happy Birthday, and as always, I bet you’re still good lookin’.

“I’m Mad As Hell and Not Gonna Take This Anymore”- Network 1976

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So a lot of you who do read my blog might know that I love William Holden- but what you may not know is how hesitant I initially was to watch Network. At first I said- “No Way”- I don’t wanna watch a movie where Bill is “Old”; I’m not a big fan of Faye Dunaway, and I’m not really into movies from the 70s because they are so different from the ones I do like from the 30s 40s and 50s.

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However- being in the film blogging community and following the TCMParty on twitter, I started to change my tune. I read a wonderful post that my friend Ginnie wrote up on her blog and I just started hearing these wonderful sentiments from, well everyone about the movie itself. So finally I cracked and said, “Well- William Holden is in this movie and it is iconic– I’ll just watch it for credit and the fact of being able to say- ‘Yes, I’ve seen that one.” ”

Getting to the part of me actually viewing the movie- When watching it- I had no idea of how amazing the plot, characters and iconic catchphrase of “I’m as Mad as Hell and I’m not gonna take this anymore” could be- I was so in awe of everything- and now I get it- I get it why Network is just such a fun movie to watch.

To me the only thing that dates Network is the technology  and the physical looks of the actors who are a part of the picture. Everything else is just as accurate today as it was back then. Especially for the “Mad as Hell statement”- I understand why Howard Beale (Peter Finch) isn’t gonna take it anymore- as who should?

Yes- his Mad as Hell spiel starts off as a statement to express why he’s mad at the station and his situation- but that’s not really the focus-  Beale then shifts his statement to why he’s just Mad! Mad as Hell! – and he shouldn’t have to put up with this- and as a matter of fact, either should you!

I think what makes this statement iconic is that no one had ever taken this risk of verbally expressing such strong feelings before in a film. I think maybe films such as Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and The Graduate (1967) were some of the first films to express angst or similar feeling in terms of actions, but it was all very symbolic and reading between the lines- whereas in this film the angst and anger, annoyance even in this statement is Bold and direct in terms of understanding.

Take a look at Howard Beale’s speech below

It just gets more and more accurate every time I watch it. And- the film in general gets funnier every time as well.

In short- I watched for Bill Holden , but I stayed for the funniness, accuracy, and overall just interesting and deeply layered plotline of the film.

 

For my own blogathon, I couldn’t think of any other way to wrap it up on! Be sure to check out other posts as they trickle in- and remember- sometimes It’s OK to be MAD AS HELL!!

THANKS SO MUCH EVERYONE FOR WRITING, READING AND PARTICIPATING!!!! See you round for the next one, soon I hope!!!

 

The Second Annual Classic Quotes Blogathon is Here!

Its arrived- the second annual classic quotes blogathon!

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Because this blogthon coincides with the TCMFF, I will be accepting posts all though next week, as there is not a silly school-like deadline to meet- this is “fun” learning!

I will be updating posts as they come in- so feel free to come back and look around to read about all the iconic and perfectly delivered quotes from some of your favorite films!

The Entries!

Charlene takes a break from Feuding by telling what Bette Davis actually said in All About Eve!

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Phyllis knows how  to decipher a Good Witch from a bad one in the Wizard of Oz.

Movies Silently Proves to us that you can quote (or kiss!) someone without saying a word.

Amanda tells us all about how The Man Who Shot liberty Valance properly prints a legend

Realweggiemidget tells us what inspired Jack Nicholson to “be a better man” in As Good as It Gets

Cary Grant Won’t Eat You tells us how being bad is better for Mae West in I’m No Angel. 

Le explains why the Maltese Falcon is “the stuff dreams are made of.”

Simoa calmly tells us why the Brewster family is practically insane in Arsenic and Old Lace. 

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The Midnite drive in tells us how Clint Eastwood makes their day

Catia gives us why Clark Gable had a right not to give a damn in Gone With the Wind. 

Kayla tells us about Claude Rains is shocked in Casablanca. 

Simoa tells us about why the moon is reaching for Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina.

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And I have my own post up- FINALLY!- But just don’t be “Mad as Hell” for mine being late! 🙂

 

The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)

So it may be the last day of Phyllis Loves Classic MoviesJohn Garfield blogathon, but I’ve still got a write up to do and articles to read! When Phyllis announced this Blogathon, I didn’t really know much about John Garfield, other than the fact he was in well, a movie star!!!

And it’s really bad but other than The Postman Always Rings Twice, the only other movie I’ve seen with him is Destination Tokyo with Cary Grant. I’m hoping to change this however, after reading all of your articles!!!

I chose to write about The Postman because it’s just a great movie- and the first time I saw it, I really didn’t think much of it- but then I re-watched it and thought, WOW- OK this is a really great movie! And now every time I see it, it just gets better and better. For me, like the title says, I had to give it two chances until I really took to it.

For those who haven’t seen The Postman Always Rings Twice, you probably already know the plot if you have seen any other film noir- It’s about two star crossed lovers, Cora (Lana Turner) and Frank (John Garfield) who can’t be together due to the fact that  Cora is married to a dull and boring older man, Nick. And yes, you’ve guessed it- upon seeing each other Cora and Frank fall madly in love and soon scheme together to murder Nick. I don’t even have to go on for you to guess the ending.

Although the plot of Postman may seem a bit cookie cutter, the film stands out due to the actors as both Lana and our rebel-with-a-cause John Garfield play their roles to absolute perfection. They light up the screen together and I think many of us wish they could have done another film together.

As much as Ms. Turner really is the star- John Garfield is just fabulous. I paid more attention to him this time around and I can definitely say I have a new appreciation for him.

Another thing I noticed this time around is the recurring element of “the second time’s a charm”. SPOILER: Two attempts to kill Nick, Two attempts at a romance, Two times Frank is under suspicion for murder, and in the end, two major deaths.

I also noticed that for Garfield, this was a real chance for him to shine as a “leading man” in a romantic way. For once he isn’t the action man, or the tough guy, in Postman he’s just a guy- no special trait or anything- a drifter, yet he’s still intriguing because he’s John Garfield.

So if anything else is to be gained in re-watching Postman its two things- never doubt the outcome of a second chance, and two- John Garfield is a cool guy.

We don’t judge you, Cora

If you can, pick up the blu-ray copy- as it has a full length documentary on John Garfield’s life and career narrated by his daughter Julie- it’s fascinating!!

PICTURE CREDIT- dvdbeaver

 

 

Sidney Poitier: 90th Birthday Blogathon

Oh! Canada Entry 2: Megan Follows

Niagara (1953)- Oh! Canada Blogathon

O Canada Banner

For the Oh! Canada blogathon (hosted by Speak Easy and Silver Screenings), I decided to write about two “Canadian” related topics. The first is my love for the 1953 color film noir, Niagara and the second will be about my love for Canadian actress Megan Follows (AKA Anne Shirley!, it will be written written within the next few days!!).

But for my first entry, I couldn’t pass up the chance to write about one of my all time favorite film noirs, Niagara (1953) (Yes, you’ve guessed it! It takes place at the famous Canadian landmark! 😉 )starring Joseph Cotten and Marilyn Monroe in her break out role.

For those who may not recall, back in 2015, I wanted to view Niagara so badly, it turned out to be the film that made me get a blu ray player, as the DVD is out of print. I had been wanting to get a Blu-Ray player for some time, and Niagara was the film to push me to do it! It totally paid off too, as Niagara is  lush and just a visually stunning movie- and the beautiful Canadian backdrop is just to die for!

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Niagara for many is considered to be one of the two great “color noirs”, with Leave Her to Heaven (1945) being the other. In fact, this film was one of the last movies ever to use three strip Technicolor, which as we know, was unusual for film noirs. For many, Niagara is not be a hard boiled “traditional” noir with a PI/DI, a flashback, and the black and white shadowy cinematography, but it still lures you in like one of them. It still has a femme fatale, murder, betrayal, ill fated love, and jealousy – however, its all paced and scripted in a manner that doesn’t make you blurt out, “Film Noir!” I personally find it surprising this movie considered a great “film noir”, but for some reason, it works:

Image result for niagara 1953Marilyn Monroe plays the role of Rose Loomis, and her husband, George, is played by Joseph Cotten. At the start of the film, they are vacationing in Niagara Falls and soon they are joined by another couple, Polly and Ray Cutler (Jean Peters and Max Showalter). As with many noirs, Rose and George’s marriage is in trouble- and Rose has a secret lover. Polly then becomes caught up in the mess when the next day while touring the Falls, she sees Rose and her lover, Patrick- kissing.

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Jean Peters

As you can probably infer by now, Rose is planning to murder George and throw his body into the Falls with the song “Kiss” being played on the bells as the secret signal once to the job is done. It all goes wrong, however, when Patrick is the one who turns up dead, and not George. 

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Overall, I think Marilyn is just gorgeous in this film, and it proves her abilities as an actress, as she really isn’t a dumb blonde. She’s alluring and scheming- and yes- her murder plan may have gone wrong- but it takes a cunning individual to craft such a plan in the first place. The supporting roles are also played by a great cast- with Jean Peters being totally under-rated! And of course I can’t forget Mr. Joseph Cotten- as we get to see him in technicolor!!!

 

     

       Mr.  Joseph Cotten- Still handsome- and in COLOR!!! (DVDBEAVER- pic credit)

Overall, Niagara is just one of those great films from the 1950s- It’s dated in just the right places (fashion, in particular!) and like I mentioned earlier, it lures you into watching. I say its one of my favorite Marilyn performances and while it may not be on the “top tens” lists of 50’s films (or film noirs, etc)- its really a hidden gem that more people should watch!