This Property Is Condemned- Actually Good!

A few months ago I hosted my Duo Double Feature Blogthon and I chose Robert Redford and Natalie Wood. However, I had only watched one (Inside Daisy Clover 1965) of their two films together, promising I’d write about their other (This Property is Condemned) when I saw it. Well this may be a month late from when I saw it, but here it is- This Property is Condemned (1966)

Honestly this is not a movie you watch for plot, per-say but one you watch for performances and good chemistry; kind of like Paris when it Sizzles (1964).

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With that being said- Yes, I agree when Robert Wagner cites this film as one of his favorite Natalie performances and I will say it does seem this is the better of the two Wood/Redford films. WARNING- This post contains spoilers- this is the type of movie that cannot be talked/ written about without spoiling certain scenes/plot points

Based on the one act play by Tennessee Williams, the story and plot is as follows: Told in a frame narrative by the character of Willie Starr (Mary Badham- Yes! that’s Scout in To Kill A Mockingbird) the movie is about Alva Starr (Natalie) – Mississippi small town girl longing for a big town life- she’s got a sister Willie and an embarrassing single Mother (Kate Reid) , who runs a boarding house. Redford plays Owen Legate- a drifter sort who works for the railroad- he and Alva meet when he comes to stay at the boarding house.

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Naturally the two fall for each other and there is everything working against them. What follows after they meet is a bit of randomness not really super relevant to plot- but again- it’s Natalie and Redford being super adorable with each other so- who cares what is happening, really.

The major thing worth mentioning in terms of the story is JJ- Mrs Starr’s boyfriend- a creep – and Mr Johnson a old, rich railroad worker who clearly wants to go out with Alva (Mrs Starr approves- as she claims he will ‘look out’ and ‘take care’ of Alva and the family)

The plot gets going when Mr Johnson wants to take the family to Memphis with Alva protesting, as she would rather join Owen in New Orleans.

LITE Spoilers- Quite possibly the weirdest part of this movie is when after Alva is denied going with Owen, and after going out to the bar with her family, JJ and Mr Johnson- she marries JJ. I think you, as the viewer, can guess after she marries, she runs away from JJ and joins Owen in NOLA.

MAJOR SPOILERS- AS IN THE ENDING OF THE MOVIE SPOILERS But it’s the ending that is the most crazy- Within the last ten-ish minutes of the movie, it is pure Natalie and Robert bliss- they are so happy and cute, they are in New Orleans- they are so wonderful- it’s everything you want between two characters who you are rooting to be together for-  Owen even proposes marriage to Alva and offers they can send for Willie once they are settled in Chicago- H o w e v e r- in the classic twist, the bliss does not last, as Alva’s mother shows up, having tracked her down, and spills that Alva is married to JJ.

Now this is where the twist gets turned on its ear- The scene continues with Redford’s character doing the whole- “Alva, she’s lying; tell me she’s lying!” bit- and Alva does run off, into the rain crying- but we never see the aftermath of the fallout–  it ends with Alva running off and Bam!!! cut straight back to Willie  where the movie began- and we hearnot see the fate of Alva – that she caught tuberculosis and died.

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Abrupt- yes- shocking- yes BUT in a weird sort of way- it’s oddly satisfying because you don’t have to deal with the angst of Alva and Owen’s breakup and probably eventual reconciliation, what you remember is the happiness they had- (yes she runs out on him but it’s so fast paced you don’t have time to think about it before the film ends)

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Overall, my personal feeling is this film is not that bad; I thought it would be way worse- it’s watchable and given Natalie’s overall filmography- this one is one of her better films.  If this movie was with other leads and a subpar director- I think it would have failed miserably- but with names like Wood, Redford and Pollack attached- it’s automatically better than average. My advice is to go in with an open mind, as I hesitated to believe people when they said this movie was actually good.

Image result for this property is condemned In terms of watching the performances (as I mentioned above) I simply adore Nat with Bob Redford and again I’ll say- I wish they made another movie together! Mr. Redford is soo handsome in this role and Natalie does a great job playing a southern bell (an unlikely role- given her Eastern European background).

I’m not sure when it will be on TCM next, or even when it will be out on DVD/ Blu-Ray- but if you can give this a chance- Especially if you like Natalie!

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The William Powell & Myrna Loy New Year’s Blogathon

So- I was gonna call it a year on blogging with completing the Grace Kelly Blogathon this year- then Phyllis Loves Classic Movies talked me into being a co host to the Myrna Loy and William Powell New Years Blogathon.

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It will take place Jan 1-3 2018- the only rules are that there will be 1- No duplicates and 2- Free martinis for all! You can write about any topic you want relating to Bill, Myrna and/ or the films they made! (remember they made 14 together!)

THE List is as follows:

Maddy Loves Her Classic Films-  Why Bill and Myrna make a perfect screen couple

Realweegiemidget Reviews- Airport ’75  (1975) (Myrna Loy)

Love Letters to Old HollywoodI Love You Again (1940) & So Goes My Love (1946)

The Midnite Drive-InThe Thin Man (1934)

Movies Meet Their Match: TBA

Caftan WomanAfter the Thin Man (1936)

Musings of a Classic Film AddictDouble Wedding (1937)

Critica RetroLove Crazy (1940)

Hamlette’s SoliloquyThe Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

LA Explorer- I love you again (1940)

AND GRAB YOURSELF A SUPER COOL BADGE Made by PHYLLIS Loves Classic Movies

See you there! Su-gar!

        

             

Grace Kelly- Why I just Adore her!

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Its that time of year again everyone!! Its time to celebrate the Wonderful Grace Kelly- with a Wonderful Blogaton hosted by my fellow Grace enthusiast at The Wonderful World of Cinema- First off Ginnie, as always, thanks for hosting to honor our amazing Gracie!!

This year- I’ve decided to do a personal post about why I just love Grace Kelly- as an actress, princess and as a person. To the wider world of classic Hollywood- Grace is a small snippet. She only made 11 movies and was in films only from 1951-1956. She doesn’t have longevity in the business nor did she have a wide ‘acting career’- However Grace had Talent. Style. Class- all things that most actors either had to A- fake or B- had to work a long time to achieve- Grace had all of that and more straight from the get go. The fact she was a top star, worked with some of the most dazzling leading men, was directed by the master of suspense, and won an Oscar- all within a mere 5 years is amazing and unbelievable- I mean who else worked with all of these handsome men- Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, and William Holden? Someone like Bette Davis was in tinsel town for decades and never even worked with all of them!!

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As an actress Grace was great in all her roles even if the picture was forgettable (a laGreen Fire) she wasn’t- she gave her best with what she had- and she had a natural ability to make the audience interested in her character and what she was doing.Image result for grace kelly

I often wonder what would have happened if Grace continued her career- what would have Marnie been like with her in the lead? Or The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) – would Kim Novak still been cast in Vertigo? Would we have seen Grace in more comedic roles? I’m not sure what would have happened in any of these situations- but one thing’s for sure is that Grace did leave Hollywood at the peak of her popularity- and had she stayed -I believe she would have kept favor with the audience-  maybe yes she would have had a flop or two- but I think she would have remained popular and positive in people’s minds. I even think she could have been a great broadway star given that theater was her first love- perhaps a Tony could have been in her future.Image result for grace kelly i want to be remembered as a kind

On the other hand- I do believe Grace was the most marvelous princess. She cared so much about her new adopted country yet she never lost touch with her American roots- she pushed Monaco into the 20th century and put it on the map for the world to see. She was really the first Cinderella story before Diana and before Kate.  I only do wish she would have found a real way to return to her love of acting while still maintaining her image of Princess Grace.

Maybe the best part of what remained in her life in Monaco was her ever constant style- to me Grace seemed like one to never follow fads- she knew what she liked, and she knew what types of clothes worked for her and she stuck with it- and for that – she never looks dated. On a personal level- I believe that is the ultimate secret to being a fashion icon- and that is what I go by when I put together outfits or go clothes shopping.Image result for grace kelly

Today Grace has been gone for 35 years- yet I think she’s more well known now more than ever. To me Grace Kelly’s style and mannerisms are what the world  lacks today. In my own life I don’t try to ‘Be’ Grace Kelly- that’s impossible- but what I do try to do is follow her example- and remember what it means to be classy like her.

In her final interview Grace expressed her wish to be remembered as “a kind and loving person” and I think that’s just how she remains in the hearts and minds of people today. I certainly see her that way and I think you all do too!

Happy Birthday Dear Grace! You may be gone, but you are never forgotten! 

Special POST- Flapper Actress Infographic!

This is a very special post!I was emailed by Asher Weinstein from Costume Supercenter about showcasing this very cool flapper costume infographic (after all, my Blog is called The Flapper Dame!!). Now I may specialize in film, but many classic actresses were considered the best flappers of their day! Check it out! Many thanks to Asher for letting me post this on my site!!

The text below is written by Asher Weinstein and the infographic is from Costume Supercenter. All credit is due to their rightful owners.

Picture yourself back in the roaring 20’s. Alcohol may be illegal but it doesn’t stop the nightlife in the speakeasies from thriving. Partying and good times is all the rage. This is the golden age of the Flappers. These debutants of the dancefloor  keep the party alive throughout the 1920’s with their radiant fashion and strong independent attitude.

Movies like The Great Gatsby and Chicago have glorified the flappers of the 20’s. But even out of all the flappers who made their names known in the early half of the 20th century, there were a few who stood out from the rest. Costume SuperCenter put together this infographic highlighting 7 of the most famous flappers. If you like the roaring 20’s style, why not dress up in a flapper costume for Halloween. And guys don’t need to feel left out either with these 1920s outfits for men too!

 

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Test Pilot- Three GREAT Stars IN an OK Film

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For this here Blogathon (hosted by My Good Friend In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood) celebrating the perfect reel-real couple of Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, I chose to write about one of Spencer Tracy’s films from 1938 Test Pilot.

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This choice for me is a bit of a different one. Usually I write about how much I adore a film- and everything about it- but I want to expand my reflections of film- even writing about ones I find OK or average. Even my choice of focusing on a Spencer Tracy performance is atypical for me- as he’s not a “favorite” of mine- but at the same time- I admire him and his craft.

Honestly- Its been a while since I’ve seen Test Pilot– and even more honest- it’s an OK film that I don’t even want to own for my personal collection- but it’s worth watching anyway because of the cast- no other film has had such a great trio of great actors- Clark Gable, Myrna Loy and Spencer Tracy??? It’s just what MGM wanted you to bank on back in 1938-but unlike most films that can rely on star power AND a great script- this film sadly relies more on star power—and its all thanks to the  1938 poll in which Clark was crowned King and Myrna named the Queen of the Screen.

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Now- I’m not criticizing the performances- Myrna is great, Gable is great, and Spencer- although playing usual second fiddle to Gable (in their second of three films together)- is great, the script and plot is just terrible- its slow and at times a bit random.

However, the actors playing off each other- that is genuine and it translates to the audience- you care about what’s going to happen because its Myrna, because it’s Clark and because it’s Spence. All three actors had a marvelous time behind the scenes- and it’s been reported that it was a favorite of both Clark’s and Myrna’s. If this film were cast with subpar actors- it would have been another forgotten B-list film that you would catch on TCM and just decide to give a shot because well, why not.

Image result for spencer tracy test pilotSpencer Tracy in this film I feel is very believable in his role of Gunner- you can relate to and believe in his friendship with Clark’s character- but at the same time- you can see the slight jealously there is between them – and that’s just what happened off screen. Luckily for us, (and both Clark and Spencer), today we can look back and appreciate the friendship that did develop between the two- it’s unlikely a friendship but a really cool one too! I confess to not seeing too many of Spencer movies outside of his Katharine co-starring films, but I do say it is one of his best non Katharine Hepburn performances (along with Boys Town, of course)

I will also say the flying sequences for the time were quite impressive. The producers even secured the backing of the US Air Corps and had real life- but uncredited- Test Pilot Sammy Wroath do the sequences. Talk about authenticity!

 

IN the end, Test Pilot film may not be “AMAZING” but its an important piece of Hollywood history. Fans of all three actors should watch- as it’s a great excuse to watch them in their prime- and together on screen!!

Duo Double Feature Wrap Up and Thanks!

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So Everyone- The Duo Double Feature blogathon is wrapping up! But I’m still accepting posts- No rush- this isn’t school!!

I would like to say a massive Thank you to all of you who embraced this idea for a blogathon and graciously thank Phyllis Loves Classic movies for Co Hosting- after all- Even Blogathon hosts need a fabulous co host! (especially in this case! Two Stars Two Movies- Needs Two Hosts!!) 🙂

Feel free to check out all three other days if you missed and or are just interested in seeing the posts!

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

WRAP UP ENTERIES

Jean Harlow and Bill Powell- Of Screen Magic

 

 

Again- I will keep accepting, And I will see you all soon

THANK YOU ALL SO SO MUCH! Emily- The Flapper Dame

 

 

Robert Redford and Natalie Wood- Double Duos Blogathon

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For my own co-hosted blogathon- I decided to go with a paring I recently discovered – Natalie Wood and Robert Redford- while I have always admired Natalie- Never really have I delved into her films- until now that is!

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I decided to do this pairing after seeing Redford’s beautiful tribute video he narrated for TCM- I hadn’t known they met in high school or that they even made movies together- but the way Bob spoke of Natalie made me immediately want to watch Inside Daisy Clover– which aired on TCM a few days after the tribute video.

Inside Daisy Clover (1965) tells the story of Daisy Clover and her journey into 1930s Hollywood. Natalie plays Daisy- and Mr. Redford plays her leading man/fellow movie star- the “Prince Of Darkness” Wade Lewis. It should be noted this film was the start of Redford’s movie career, as according to him although he had broadway success, ‘Natalie selected an unknown to be her leading man”.

For Natalie and Bob- this film really gave them the chance to become real friends- as when they met in high school, it wasn’t a happy first meeting. As Redford recalled- he was on duty as school assembly guard when a girl, (Natalie) came running to to his door, late for the assembly, begging him to let her in. Redford, wanting to be ‘cool’ said she wasn’t allowed to go through his door and she would have to go around to the door that accommodated her last name. Natalie, ever so clever, then called him an ‘asshole’ and gracefully went around to her proper door.

It’s amazing that 10 years later they played opposite each other- and also became the best of friends. If you want real proof of it, while on set Natalie and Bob planned a surprise birthday for reserved and shy producer Alan Pakula- complete with a stripper!

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Despite the fact Daisy Clover isn’t the best in terms of plot (yes- it’s got a good setup and a cast of Roddy McDowell, Christopher Plummer, and Ruth Gordon- but sadly in my eyes, it falls somewhat flat)- I like it-It’s worth watching just to see Wood and Redford together- their characters go through a rocky relationship but the camaraderie and closeness of them is always present. On screen Natalie and Bob have this unspoken bond that can’t be faked- it takes real friendship to create their characters’ feelings- it’s just wonderful.

I personally adore the scene of them on the boat together- Daisy is new to Hollywood and trying to cope emotionally with the stress but all it takes is Wade to come walking in for her to feel calm again. Wade’s carefree attitude is the perfect match for Daisy’s high strung personality!!

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The Wood-Redford reunion film- This Property is Condemned was released in 1966 (honestly I haven’t seen it yet- But it’s airing on TCM Nov 10 2017- and as a consolation- I will be writing a companion post to this post on on my thoughts of it). I can tell you this about it- It co-stars Mary Badham (Scout- in To Kill a Mockingbird) and is based off the one act play by Tennessee Williams; it also was the first time Redford worked with director Sydney Pollack.

From what I have read from other people, it seems to me that this film is the stronger of the two they did together- Natalie’s husband Robert Wagner has even said this was his favorite performance of hers.

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On the set of Downhill Racer

No matter what though- the bulk of Natalie and Bob’s friendship happened off screen- In 1969- Natalie married Richard Gregson (who was both her and Redford’s agent)- with Bob as best man. She then took a short break from filming movies- but that didn’t stop her from working behind the camera- as she did on the Redford film Downhill Racer (1969)– she typed scripts, was a costume consultant, and even appeared incognito as a crowd extra in certain scenes.

Natalie even made a small cameo as herself in 1972’s The Candidate– as a favor to Redford.

In the end- according to Redford- Natalie and he sadly lost touch- but he never forgot the boost she gave his career and the fond friendship they had. For Mr. Redford, Natalie taught him how to handle the emotion of being a star- and he never has forgotten it.

Take a look at the TCM tribute video to get a glimpse at this wonderful and enduring friendship

And then watch this clip of Redford reminiscing about Downhill Racer– he talks about Natalie and her encouragement when it opened to bad reviews.

Personally – I think all people should have a friendship in their life similar to Natalie and Robert’s- a mutual respect and having great care for one another is a beautiful thing.

Its interesting to think about what could have been with these two- they almost made Barefoot in the Park (1967) together; Redford was an early contender to appear in Bob&Carol&Ted&Alice (1969); and Natalie was almost cast in Mary Tyler Moore’s role in Ordinary People (1980).  On my view, would have loved to see them in more pictures- and certainly in stronger movies with better scripts.

Alas, even if the films aren’t the best- I think the bigger lesson can be seen in the friendship they shared.

Day 2 of the Duo Double Feature Blogathon

It’s day two of the double duos blogathon! Get ready for more fabulous pairings who made two films!

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Post ’em right here!

 Quiggy talks about Peter Weller and Nancy Allen

The Metzinger Sisters write about James McArthur and Janet Munro

Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci are the pick for The Story Enthusiast

Old Hollywood Films explains how Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins feuded and filmed together!

Critica Retro covers two brilliant actresses, best friends Jean Harlow and Myrna Loy

Love letters to Old hollywood tells us about Vera Ellen, Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire!!

 

Announcing: The Duo Double Feature Blogathon

Hello all! I know I’ve been a tad AWOL lately, but like most of you, I’ve been doing the TCM Hitchcock class, and devoted time to viewing his films I’ve never seen before. Its sad it’s nearing the end- but never fear, as both Phyllis Loves Classic Movies and I are excited to announce a new Blogathon, The Duo Double Feature Blogathon.
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We’ve all at some point in our movie watching sessions have come across two actors who are just magical together- whether it be a romantic couple or a buddy- buddy/best friends pairing- there’s so many great ones- Doris & Rock, Olivia & Errol, Bill & Myrna- but then you have the lesser known but equally fabulous pairings- Doris & James Garner, Grace Kelly & Bing Crosby- and they again- just have that magic- then somewhere along the line you look up the two stars and say to yourself, MAN only TWO movies together??? Why? They should’ve made 10 more together- and that’s just what this blogathon is about- Two stars who only made Two movies together, no more no less- just 2 (note-we are not counting the brief cameos in films such as Thank Your Lucky Stars or Variety Girl- we are talking actual characters/ roles in a film) . It will run from September 22-24.

The rules are simple- Just choose a screen pairing that only made two movies together. Rather than giving a super in depth summary of both films (as this would be super long!) maybe do a quick summary of each and spend more time talking about the magical chemistry between the two- maybe mention a funny story or some favorite scenes/ moments from real life and/or the films they made.  Remember- these are two people we wish did way more films- what makes them so amazing together? (No repeats please- plenty of dous to write about!)

Need to double check about a duo? Here is a simple list to get you started- (You may sign up with me, at Laura’s blog, or message either of us on twitter!)
-Robert Redford and Natalie Wood- TAKEN BY THE FLAPPER DAME
-William Holden and Grace Kelly
-William Holden and Audrey Hepburn- Maddy Loves Her Classic Films
-Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly
-Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable
-James Garner and Doris Day
-Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio (yes- in the future we want this to change)
-Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman- Little Bits of Classics
-Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball
-James Stewart and John Wayne
-Robert Redford and Paul Newman- Thoughts All Sorts
-Ginger Rogers and Dennis Morgan
-James Stewart and Kim Novak- Moon in Gemini
-James Stewart and Myrna Loy
-Jean Harlow and William Powell-Random Pictures
-Jean Harlow and Myrna Loy- Critica Retro
-William Powell and Rosalind Russell
-Ginger Rogers and Cary Grant
-Cary Grant and Sophia Loren- Anyone Got a Match?
-James Stewart and Jean Arthur
-James Stewart and Maureen Ohara
-Henry Fonda and Maureen Ohara
-John Wayne and Donna Reed
-Maureen O’Hara and Natalie Wood
-Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth
-Barbara Stanwyck William Holden
-Joel McCrea and Veronica Lake
-Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon
-Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman

  • Errol Flynn and Bette Davis
  • Errol Flynn and Eleanor Parker
  • Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon- Charlene’s Mostly Classic Movie Reviews
  • Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson
  • Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins
  • James Cagney and Bette Davis
  • Elizabeth Taylor and Spencer Tracy- Movies Meet their Match
  • Lauren Bacall  and John Wayne- In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood
  • William Powell and Ronald Colman- That William Powell Site
  • Susan Hayward and Tyrone Power- Caftan Woman
  • Brenda Marshall and Errol Flynn- Phyllis Loves Classic Movies
  • Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci- The Story Enthusiast 
  • Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton- Realweegiemidget Reviews
  • John Wayne and General Sterling Price- Midnite Drive in
  • Julia Roberts and Richard Gere- dbMoviesblog
  • Vera Ellen and Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly – Love Letters to Old Hollywood
  • Joseph Cotten and Ethel Barrymore- In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood
  • Cary Grant and Jean Arthur-Sat in your Lap
  • Margaret Lockwood and Stewart Granger- The Wonderful World of Cinema
  • Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins- Old Hollywood Films
  • Words Seem Out of Place: Michelle Pfeiffer and Al Pacino
    Taking Up Room: Betty Grable and Don Ameche

If you want to do a duo not on this list- that’s fine! Just make sure they only made two movies together! (seriously- we have just scratched the surface in terms of this list!!)

Feel free to grab one of the FABULOUS banners made by Phyllis Loves Classic Movies- aka my fabulously awesome  co-host and close friend! (note- you can also use the one at the top of this page- the one with Jean and Myrna)

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Hope to see you there!!!!!

 

Reel Infatuation Blogathon- Paul Verrall in Born Yesterday 1950