John Wayne’s Hometown: Winterset, Iowa- A Heavenly Habitat

I am very excited to write this article, as it’s been something I’ve always wanted to write about- a visit to John Wayne’s hometown of Winterset, Iowa. I’d like to dedicate this article to the owners of The Heavenly Habitat Bed and Breakfast we stayed at, Steve and Nancy, as well as my Mom, Sandra, and (as always when it comes to The Duke) my late Grandfather Joseph Kasper, the man who introduced me to John Wayne in the first place.                jwm.jpg

My mom and I took the trip specifically to see the John Wayne Birthplace Museum, as we are both major fans (thanks to Joseph Kasper!!!) but we soon discovered the small town of Winterset to be absolutely delightful. The drive was 5 ½ hours from our hometown of Tinley Park IL (outside Chicago) but the drive seemed to fly by, as the open road was calming (well that, and we had good music to listen to- KISS, Def Leppard, Ozzy Osbourne, the RENT soundtrack, The Beach Boys- my request!).

 

We got into Winterset and the first thing I noticed that got me really excited was the John Wayne Drive sign- it’s not every day you cruise down a street named after an American Icon! We drove down to the Heavenly Habitat Bed and Breakfast (Maureen O’Hara stayed here in 2013 for the ground breaking ceremony for the building of the JW museum; we stayed in the same room she did) but because we were early for check in, we decided to walk down to the John Wayne Museum and look into the gift shop (the first of many trips!!). We also had the opportunity to take some great pics outside the museum.

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Maureen O’Hara (rightfully) donated this diamond on the Duke’s Movie                                                                  Diamond Walk  outside the museum

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                                                       Taken moments after we got there                                   

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                                                                Cut out Duke

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                                                                In the Gift Shop!!

While inside the gift shop, I was really ecstatic about just being in Iowa and being in the town Duke was born in!!! My Mom and I took some pictures and I can positively absolutely say I’ve never been more excited just to look around a gift shop.

 

                                 This is the entrance to the little vignette that plays

After the gift shop and photo taking session, we went back to The Heavenly Habitat Bed and Breakfast and met the owners Steve and Nancy (please please click the link at the end for their website and to learn more about them) The Heavenly Habitat name sounds exactly as the name suggests, heavenly; it was an old church converted to a B&B. My Mom chose this place because of its amazing reviews- and the fact Maureen O’Hara stayed there in 2013 made it even more of a reason to stay there (my Mom made sure to reserve the room that she stayed in). At first, that was what made me really excited to stay, but as we got more acquainted with both the place and Steve and Nancy, I felt extremely comfortable there, and I’m the type of person who has a hard time opening up to new people and places. Towards the end of the visit I felt as comfortable at the B&B as I do in my own room at home- I didn’t want to leave!!

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                                                Heavenly Habitat- aka The Perfect B&B 

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                                                With Nancy & Steve- Two Lovely People     

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My Mom and I ❤ !

 

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Maureen O’Hara stayed in this room in 2013- and I got to stay there too!!!!!! 

Steve and Nancy are the nicest couple and they are the most wonderful people. Like I mentioned earlier, I have a hard time opening up to people, but they were so friendly and easy to talk to they had me talking with them in no time. They told me stories of when Maureen O’Hara stayed with them- how the paparazzi created a frenzy, Maureen’s memories making McLintock, how she had to put on make -up and do her hair before she went out on the town- and every one was priceless! But the most touching thing Steve told me was how much Ms. O’Hara enjoyed her stay in Winterset. He told me of how she said the rolling hills in Iowa reminded her of Ireland and that she wanted so very badly to come back to Winterset one day.20180730_162630.jpg

  Maureen O’Hara’s signature in the guestbook- above her’s is her caretaker and  below is her great-granddaughter (she didn’t stay but signed anyway!)

But it was really the second day in Winterset that the real fun began. It all started with breakfast, when Steve and Nancy made us Maureen O’Hara’s favorite eggs: Emeril Lagasse’s Shirred Eggs and they were absolutely delicious. We stayed and chatted with them for a while until the JW Museum opened up at 10- and I was literally jumping out of my skin when we got there.

The JW museum is small in space, but packed to the max with artifacts, props, costumes, pictures and other memorabilia from his life and movies.

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I’ll let the pictures and comments do the talking, as this is just a small sample of what we saw. I was so busy reading and fawning I didn’t get as many pics as I wanted to and I thank my Mom for taking the pics I slacked off on (even though I thought she was taking too many at the time, I now thank her!!!).

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Panels from The Shootist (1976). Amazing to be with these pieces that were in the  final scene ever of John Wayne on film. 

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With the actual Jaunting Car used in The Quiet Man (1952). It came all the way   from Ireland and placed in the JW Museum at Maureen O’Hara’s request. I was beaming

It was truly amazing and I can’t really say much in words about it other than the fact it was just the coolest thing ever.

After doing the Museum part we then went over to the little theater area where a 15 minute clip reel/ vignette  plays. There were so many posters of Duke’s movies, but there’s not really time to take pics inside because there’s always people waiting for the next running of the clip reel. I was lucky enough to be standing next to The Horse Soldiers (1959) poster and asked my mom to snap a pic of me with it (my inner Bill Holden fan was also really excited for that!)

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Me and The Horse Soldiers poster– Duke and Bill Holden!!!

After the museum part we then walked down to Duke’s childhood home and birthplace. Going down to and being inside his home was extremely humbling. It was a four room house with just a front room, little parlor, bedroom and kitchen. John Wayne came from the most humble of roots and it was in that moment when I was in his house where I realized how much of Winterset, Iowa was present in his overall personality. He didn’t spend too much of his life here, but the spirit of his hometown was forever embedded in him. Looking back at it all, I really feel like I was able to capture John Wayne’s spirit by making a visit there and a part of it is now a part of me. I don’t have too many pictures of the inside part of the house, I was too busy being amazed, but I will say I’m OK with that, it’s just something that should be seen with your actual eyes.

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Standing on John Wayne’s Front Porch

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Absolutely humbled…

After we visited the home, we went back to the gift shop where we got more stuff- (seriously it’s as if I saw something new to get every time we walked in;  I think we went back 5-6 more times and every time got stuff- hahaha!)

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Complete with a Red River belt buckle!

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My mom and I just spent the rest of the day walking around the little town of the Winterset area- it’s so cute and quaint. Everything was in walking distance of each other and in every shop people were friendly and polite. We ate at Montross Pharmacy & Drug store where we sat at the counter (my request!) and had ice cream floats. It was something I don’t have the opportunity to do at home, so I loved it! I felt like I was back in time doing something people of my grandparents’ generation would do- it was the most awesome memory!

In the late afternoon we just went back to the B&B- and we watched The Quiet Man– what else!

The next morning it was time to leave, and both my Mom and I were so, so sad to leave the B&B! We truly want to go back and are considering making Winterset a yearly Mother-Daughter trip for us. I left this message in the guest journal for Steve and Nancy and wanted to share it with you all here:

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Overall, I feel extremely lucky to have been able to make it to John Wayne’s hometown and see his birthplace/childhood home and museum; I want to thank my Mom for taking me there, wanting to do a special trip with me- It means a lot and I know your father is looking down at us so happy we made it there; I know he was alongside us the whole time!!!

And again I thank Steve and Nancy for being wonderful people and running the most perfect Bed and Breakfast- it’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when I will come back!! Steve, I truly do believe you when you say the spirit of Maureen O’Hara looks after the B&B and I say, “Yes”, I truly felt her spirit within its walls.

And lastly to Mr. John Wayne himself, all I can say is your little hometown is so proud of you, and your legacy continues to be felt there to this day. I felt completely honored and humbled to tour your hometown and I will be back again.

All pictures taken by Sandra and Emily Graziano

LINKS

TO SEE MORE PICTURES CLICK HERE

Heavenly Habitat Website

John Wayne Museum

 

 

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The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle (1939) Fred and Ginger Blogathon

1939 is of course known to all of us as The Golden Year because of all of the now true classic films released during the year. One of those movies that came out during The Golden Year was the final RKO pairing of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers: The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle– a portrayal of the real life husband and wife dance team that rose to fame in the pre WWI era- and since its debut it has fallen from public’s attention.

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Vernon & Irene VS Fred & Ginger

When one views Vernon and Irene Castle, I don’t believe it’s fair to say it’s a musical- more so, I think of it as a biopic with a few straight dance numbers (and one original song, Only when You’re in my Arms, sung by Fred)- none of those typical showy numbers and every dance is a careful recreation of a real dance style. In other words, there is nothing “original” about the choreography present in this film.

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Vernon and Irene- their first meeting

However, just because this isn’t a Fred & Ginger sing and dance show, I do believe this film is important because it is based off real people– and is a rare movie from its time to have an unhappy ending. The picture on a whole is not bad- and if you want to see Fred and Ginger play straight romance and more dramatic acting- this is the opportunity to see that. For Fred especially, this was a turn into a more serious part and it reminded the public Ginger had a true range of ability and foreshadows a lot of her later work.

How accurate it actually is to the real Vernon and Irene Castle- well, changes were made. For one, Vernon was British; secondly their loyal servant Walter (who was played by Walter Brennan) was black; and thirdly, Irene was dark haired. While Ginger recalls in her autobiography she clashed with Irene Castle on the making of the picture (Irene was a consultant and the movie itself was based on her memoirs), it was noted that according to Irene, Fred did a wonderful job of capturing the real spirit and emotional embodiment of Vernon.

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      The famous “Last Dance” For Vernon and Irene….

                                                 …but not quite for Fred and Ginger

Today, this film does rank as an odd one in the Fred -Ginger bunch- and if you’re not into biopics- especially old fashioned ones where the stories were given glamour treatment- then you’re not going to like this film. For me to watch it, I view it differently than I would a musical and I tend to focus on the love story and also the historical aspect. Even if you don’t feel the spirit of the Castles, you definitely feel the chemistry of Fred and Ginger- and that alone makes it watchable. (And if you really can’t latch onto anything- there is a cute little dog involved in the early half of the film)

Needless to say, I do declare, that despite its flaws, The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle is a biopic product of its time, a memorable tribute to the real Castles, a notable 1939 production, and of course, a different, yet interesting final RKO sendoff for the most famous dance partnership of all time.

FRED AND GINGER BLOGATHON Hosted by Love Letters to Old Hollywood and IN the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood

Love With the Proper Stranger Natalie Wood Blogathon 2018

118When it comes to Natalie Wood, I really believe she’s the Six Degrees actress of her day. She worked with so many famous names, that sometimes we as fans even forget the extent. I naturally adore Natalie as much as any other classic movie fan, but will admit it took me a couple years to fully appreciate her as an actress and performer- and I’m still discovering her range. I think the reason being is her films are not as instantly likable compared to others- but the good thing about that is it challenges you to view her films differently and really dig deep for those elements that hook you.

One of her films that I instantly took liking to, however, was Love with the Proper Stranger (1963). I honestly didn’t even know this film existed; I saw it on her filmography and sort of passed it off as not anything special. I didn’t think much of it at all until I read about the film in depth in the TCM/Manoah Bowman/Natasha Gregson Wagner collaborated coffee table book Natalie Wood: Reflections of a Legendary Life (a birthday gift from my parents in 2017) .

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Co-starring with Natalie is Mr. King of Cool, Steve McQueen, in his early career and in one of his first leading man roles. McQueen plays musician Rocky Papasano and Natalie plays Macy’s shop girl Angie Rossini. The film starts off by Angie tracking down Rocky by telling him she’s pregnant but all she wants is a name of a doctor- no strings attached. They don’t think they will see much of each other, but due to the expense of abortion, they end up having raise money get it. The pair bond and soon develops a mutual admiration for each other- and of course, neither admits it.

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Natalie in this role is just perfect, and as mentioned in the Natalie: Reflections book, this was the first time in her career she played a real adult woman who is free to make her own choices. If Rebel Without a Cause was her transition to teen/ young adult roles, this film was her move to full on adult woman roles. The character of Angie is making decisions about family, moving away from home, and whether or not to pursue romantic relationships. She is dealing with a dysfunctional family, being made fun of by her brothers (Herschel Bernardi and Harvey Lembeck) and pressured to marry a cook (Tom Bosely); and even has a bit of a romantic rival for McQueen’s affections played by Edie Adams. Her problems are all contemporary and relatable- and Natalie does a splendid job playing the role.

The most ground breaking scene of the film has to be the abortion scene, or should I say SPOILER almost abortion scene SPOILER. According to Natalie, this scene was entirely improvised by her and Steve, as all it said in the script was, “Get hysterical”. It’s absolutely emotional, and I would even argue it’s better than her Splendor in the Grass bathtub scene- I really can’t find words to describe it, all I can say is its one of those, “watch it to feel it scenes.” It truly rides the line of pro-choice or pro-life- without much being said at all and is immensely ahead of its time.

The other part I really admire about this movie is the chemistry between Natalie and Steve McQueen. Throughout the entire film, McQueen is his coy but alluring self- and you can slowly see Natalie falling for him against her will; she even tries to be aloof and standoffish to put him off, but that only attracts him more! The scene when they have dinner together towards the end is so charming and the dialogue makes you smile. If Steve McQueen showed up at your door and said “Man you look wild…. You look like a woman”, wouldn’t that make you swoon? (and note- I’m saying this as a casual fan of McQueen!)Image result for love with the proper stranger

Overall, I declare this film should make us all want the “bells and the banjos” in a romance; and say this film should be viewed when it is on, as TCM rarely airs it. It is available to own on DVD or Blu-ray thanks to Kino Lorber Studio Classics, and I’m really thankful as they are the studio who rescued this movie and put it on disc format for the first time. Don’t miss out on this little hidden gem of a picture- click here to buy it from Kino Lorber, here to buy it from Amazon  or HERE to buy from TCM. For Natalie Wood: Reflections of  A Legendary Life (Great book!! It’s one of the best out there!) AMAZON Barnes and Noble or TCMshop

And to Miss Natalie Wood- Happiest of Birthdays in Heaven! The world still misses you, and generations of new fans have come to admire you-myself included! XOXO

NATALIE WOOD 80th Birthday Blogathon

SOURCES
Images- Kino Lorber Twitter, TCM , fanpop , and dvdbeaver

Natalie Wood: Reflections of  a Legendary life By Manoah Bowman, and Natasha Gregson Wagner

5 of My All Time Favorite Movie Musicals

Greetings All!! I’m back- and I’ve missed this very much! Lately, I’ve just been in a bit of a rut– and right now I’m in the midst of (hopefully) transitioning out of a quarter life crisis- I’ve only now been seeing the light in the darkness after 3 years, as I’ve finally found a real career path that I’m extremely interested in pursuing and learning more about (To those who have never heard of or are unfamiliar with what a quarter life crisis is, please know it’s real) 

To help me continue my way out of it, I decided to do a post about 5 of my all time favorite Movie Musicals! I’ll admit straight up I’m not the biggest fan- but the TCM Class is helping me find more that I’d like to watch. (I am very excited to watch Gypsy on June 26!)

So without further skadoo, I present to you in chronological order

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My All Time 5 favorite Movie Musicals!

Swing Time (1936)

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Everyone has a favorite Fred and Ginger- and I agree with Ms. Rogers on her choice by saying Swing Time is the best! The songs, the dances, and many iconic moments from jumping over the fence, to dancing up the staircase, to that insanely cute moment with Fred and Ginger in the dressing room!

Wizard of Oz (1939)

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This has to be on my list- its one of my favorite movies of all time- end of story! I recently saw this on the big screen; it was emotional to watch Judy sing (Over The Rainbow is a whole other experience on the big screen) and it was overall dazzling to watch!

Meet Me In St Louis (1944)

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Another Judy film! This one is not just for Christmas- and oddly it was not a part of my childhood (looking back I feel cheated!) The Trolley song can get stuck in my head of days on end!!

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)

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This is the movie that got me into Loving Marilyn (and Jane for that matter!) !! It’s just stylistic and every song makes you want to sing along. I want to be as fabulously- flawless as Dorothy Shaw during the Ain’t there Anyone Here for Love number and as outstandingly brilliant as Lorelei Lee in the Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend performance. LIFE GOALS!!

The Little Mermaid (1989)

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This is my favorite Disney Movie (don’t get me started- can do a seperate post just on that!). For a long time I wanted to be a mermaid and when I was younger had a Little Mermaid themed bedroom. My inner nerd came out when my family and I went to Disney World in 2016 and I rode Ariel’s Undersea Adventure ride for the first time. I rode with my Dad- and I thank him for letting me be a 7 year old while we were on that ride.

Honorable Mentions

High Society (1956) It’s Bing, Grace and Frank with director Charles Walters! Easy choice!

Funny Face (1957)– Audrey (in Givenchy) and Fred in Paree!! A real “Fashion” musical!

Mary Poppins (1964)- Julie Andrews is amazing! Don’t need to say anything else!

Rent (2005) – I’m thrilled I was born the same year as the Broadway Musical! The film probably isn’t as good as the stage show- BUT THE MUSIC! (Adam Pascal: you are my Broadway crush!) 

Enchanted (2007)- Despite being made in the 21st century this feels like vintage Disney! The music, the heart, and story!!

 

ANNNNDD…. There you have it! What are some of your favorite musicals and do you have any suggestions of some musicals coming up on TCM for me to catch?!

 

 

 

 

 

Holden 100- Paris When It Sizzles (1964)

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Well my fellow bloggers, Holden Lovers, classic film fans- The 3rd Annual Golden Boy Blogathon is here and I for one am loving every minute of it! I’ve having so much fun this month in the world of classic film- and I hope you are to!

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For this special birthday milestone I chose to write Paris When it Sizzles (1964) which co-stars Audrey Hepburn. Some may be shocked I chose this film; I admit it took me a while to give in and watch because I read so much into it that it can be boring and, “fizzle”, in parts. Well, I do say that’s true; I won’t lie about saying everything about it is wonderful- however this film does, “sizzle”, too in more ways than you might believe.

With all that being admitted, now present to you why Paris When it Sizzles both Fizzles and Sizzles all while being a movie to watch. (I look at it as an excuse to watch Bill and Audrey on screen together in Paris)

First Up, the Fizzles

Behind the scenes Drama- This movie was filled with drama behind the camera. Not only was it the first time Bill and Audrey saw each other since 1954’s Sabrina (not counting causal Hollywood encounters), production was shut down while Bill went to alcohol rehab. Delays, tension on set, and probably just an unhappy workplace added with the fact neither of these stars wanted to do the movie- as they both “owed” Paramount a movie with their contracts- it wasn’t the smoothest of filming.

The Lagging Running Time- This movie runs 110 minutes and it’s not a quick sit either. Sometimes you find yourself checking the running time, and cringing which leads me to my next point

The Lack of Plot- Its essentially why the movie is so slow- yes the two are writing a screenplay- but nothing ever gets anywhere. Some of the skits that are played out are really boring (the airplane, the vampire, the carriage chase) and others are random. The fast forward button for certain scenes/ parts will be used!

And Now Why it Sizzles

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The Chemistry-  I don’ t even have to say this one out loud- Bill and Audrey are a “remembered Hollywood” couple for a reason- and I adore the moments they have in this film. The cigarette lighting, the dance (see below), the kisses, the body language- it all still feels natural like 10 years never happened.

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The Humor- This movie has got it! From the spoofs and references- this movie has its fair share of laughs! (Side note- look out for cameos of Marlene Dietrich, Tony Curtis, and Audrey’s husband Mel Ferrer!)

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Paris: on location- Beautiful shots of many famous Paris icons and places- a good view of ’60s Parisian fashion too!

THIS dance sequence- I told you this needs its own point because WOW– even if you are not interested in watching the movie please watch this- its magical and wonderful. DANCE WITH ME BILL!!!

 

             

EXTRA FACT– Many of you may not know this but Bill gave Audrey this present at the end of filming. MY HEART!!!

To the Golden Boy up in heaven, I say- I may never have gotten the chance to write to you and tell you how much I enjoy your films- but please know I enjoy them today in the 21st century! Love, Your Fan- Emily

 

PICS FROM PINTREST, WIKIPEDIA, GIF FROM TCM, BOTTOM 2 PICS- FROM ME, Emily

PARIS WHEN IT SIZZLES 1964- Occasionally played on TCM, available on Amazon and DVD

 

3rd Golden Boy Blogathon- William Holden 100

Well it’s here- and it’s still here! Love Letters to Old Hollywood had day 1 of the celebration and I’ve got Day 2! (The Wonderful World of Cinema has day 3 which is the actual Holden 100 day!)

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POST YOUR ENTRIES and I will list them here!

IHeart Bill Holden talks Breezy

Midnite Drive in on The Devil’s Brigade 

Taking up Room discusses why Bill adores Sabrina

Vinnieh has got The Key fact about why Bill is awesome!

The Story Enthusiast writes why Bill writes Dear Ruth

Classics, Coffeness and Craziness converses about The Horse Soldiers

LA Explorer reviews The Fleet’s In

AND MY Post!! On why Paris When it Sizzles–  Sizzles and Fizzles!

Happy 100 Bill! You may be turning a century- but you’re still as fabulous and as handsome as ever! ❤ You, Bill!

PS check out this cool tumblr blog devoted to Bill, where posts have been made all week to celebrate this wonderful man (I have been contributing some posts too, so check it out!)

PPS Still wanna donate to the William Holden Wildlife Foundation? Awesome! Click here!

Great Westerns Blogathon- Big Jake (1971)

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Saddle up everyone! Today is the Great Western blogathon hosted by Thoughts All Sorts!

I think I shock people when I say I love a good western film. I haven’t seen a ton, ton (hey- Im watching my way through) but I will out rightfully say I’m just as content watching a cowboy ride off into the unknown as a I am watching a Victorian costume drama.

To me the participation in this blogathon for me was an easy decision even if the choice of which one to do was hard! In the end, I settled for Big Jake (1971). It’s a John Wayne classic and you just can’t go wrong with that!

I know many of us who blog and read in the classic movie fandom are fans of John Wayne, but with that being said- in a resume of over 100 films it can be hard to sort out which ones are the essentials. In my view I think Big Jake is up there with the best- maybe not the top 5- but it’s certainly beloved.

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There are so many awesome things about this picture- so without further ado- I decided to present to you five facts on why I believe Big Jake is a highlight to see on the Duke’s filmography.

1-The Cast! This movie has Maureen O’Hara playing Big Jake’s wife Martha (who else?!),  Patick Wayne as son James McCandles, Ethan Wayne as grandson Little Jake McCandles, Christopher Mitchum (Robert’s son) as Michael McCandles, and Richard Boone as Gang Leader John Frain. Image result for big jake

2-The Humor! This movie has got brief great moments of humor- The Daddy scene in the beginning, Big Jake sewing James’s trousers, Big Jake’s “Dog”, the shower scene- funny stuff!!!

3-The Family- The whole underlying theme of this story is family. Sure Big Jake hasn’t seen his grandson ever before, and hasnt seen his wife and sons for years- but that doesn’t stop him from riding off with this sons to save and rescue his grandson!  And that scene with Little Jake tending to Big Jake’s wound- too adorable!! (edit- This film contains Duke’s family off screen too! Michael Wayne produced through Batjac!)

4- The Music- Western scores are seriously over looked! This movie’s score is not to be missed!

5-One of the last of its kind- Not only for John Wayne but for the western genre itself. For Duke, it was the last time he would work Maureen, Patrick and Ethan. And for westerns- well- this was 1971 and the genre was no longer appreciated by general audiences. I dare someone to watch this and not think it has great scenery, a great plot, and just good old fashioned western elements- cowboys, gun fight shootouts, horses, chasing outlaws.  I for one find it sad westerns today aren’t a ‘thing’ anymore- think about it, there is no such thing as a western cowboy hero in the 21st century. I consider those who love westerns today to have good taste in movies and actors- because they literally do not make them anymore.

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Bonus watch this movie for the best recurring dialogue exchange

Person- Jacob McCandles? I thought you were dead!

Jacob McCandles- Not Hardly!

And if all that wasn’t enough take a look at this clip from the premiere of the film at Knotts Berry Farm in 1971- The Duke and Maureen- just perfect!!

BIG JAKE 1971 AVAILABLE ON DVD, BLU-RAY, and AMAZON STREAMING, OCCASIONALLY PLAYED ON TCM

Doris Day Blogathon- Send Me No Flowers

April is here and this month there’s lots of fun things. Holden 100 for starters- but first we are kicking off April 2018 with the Doris Day blogathon. Even though I haven’t made it outwardly apparent on my blog, I must declare that I do have a lot of love and appreciation for Doris Day! (I have only seen a handful of her filmography- but I’m working my way through!)

As of this posting, she’s still with us- and is celebrating her 96th birthday- she was born the same year as my maternal grandfather-1922- and its really amazing she’s one of the last Golden era stars still standing.

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The very first Doris Day film I ever watched was Send Me No Flowers (1964). It is of course, her final film she did with Rock Hudson (and Tony Randall!) – and I think it was the perfect way to end their short lived, yet extremely memorable screen partnership.

The film is a bit of a different set up than their previous films- Pillow Talk and Lover Come Back- as this time they are playing a married couple.

Rock’s character George, is a hypochondriac and after a mix up in reports at the doctor’s office, he believes himself to be dying. Wanting to make sure Judy (Doris) isn’t lonely when he dies, George tries to find Judy a new husband. Tony Randall, plays their neighbor and best friend- Arnold.

 

Most of the humor- for me anyways- comes near the end of the movie- George admitting to Judy in the parking lot that he’s dying; Judy slapping George awake;  Arnold trying to convince George to admit his ‘affair‘; George admitting his ‘affair‘, along with Judy’s reaction- (Delores Yellowstone anyone?!) -and that’s my favorite part- as Doris getting angry looks so authentic and natural- that yes, you really do believe she and Rock are married~ and having a fight!

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Another element I really adore about this film is its dated but total retroness- the outfits, the style, the typical 60s suburban setting- its just super cool the for me personally to see what’s so different, yet still the same about 60s society and style in relation to today.

Perhaps the most touching moment comes with George and Judy recalling the most fun moments they had together- no doubt no acting was required.

After Send Me No Flowers– Rock and Doris would see each other a lot of screen- but only made 2 tv screen appearances together- Rock made a quick cameo on The Doris Day Show in 1971 and then made one of his final appearances on Doris’s TV special.

Overall- I’m grateful to have seen this film first- as it really got me into watching other Doris Day movies (btw my fave is The Thrill of it All 1963) – my regret is I waited until 2016 to watch it.

SEND ME NO FLOWERS- available on DVD and blu ray

(Pictures copied from bluray.com, movieposter.com and TCM)

Free For All Blogathon- Hidden Gems

In this Free for all Blogathon, I decided to do a post of what I personally believe to be are hidden gems in the classic film world. I was inspired to write this post due to a conversation I had recently with my high school government teacher (he is also a classic movie person and we have kept in touch all these years!) about how many relatively unknown classic movies that exist out there and how they are unknown but are just as good in quality as some of the big names.

I started thinking that yes there are so many films out there that are the definition of classic- Casablanca, Rear Window, It Happened One Night, The Searchers– they are significant and I absolutely love them- but what about all those other films that get “lost in the shuffle”, if you will; films that came out in between big hits- or that came out around the same time as big hits but got overshadowed.

Which leads me to this list (with a short description)- a list of movies I think are just as good as some of the big names, but aren’t as well known- again- this is my opinion- feel free to disagree, But my main hope is this post inspires others to seek out some other films that maybe aren’t as well known or significant because you never know- some of them may just be super delightful!

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Love with the Proper Stranger (1963; Natalie Wood, Steve McQueen)- Natalie plays Angie Rossini, a salesclerk at Macy’s department store who finds herself pregnant after a one-night stand with musician Rocky Papasano (McQueen). Available on DVD and Blu Ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics. 

I personally thought this was a great Natalie Wood movie and she certainly has great chemistry with Steve! It feels contemporary but still has that classic 60s vibe.

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Rings on Her Fingers (1942; Henry Fonda, Gene Tierney)  A sales woman (Gene) at a department store works with two con artists and falls in love with a victim (Fonda) of one of their schemes.

By far not The Lady Eve, but It’s a great Gene Tierney movie and Henry Fonda is charming! It’s just a swell little picture and I need to see the other movies these two made together! 

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Apartment for Peggy (1948; William Holden, Jeanne Crain, Edmund Gwenn) a depressed professor (Gwenn) whose spirits are lifted when he rents part of his home to a young couple (Holden and Crain)

My post is here if you’re interested to find out my in depth feelings towards this film! But I can say it again- I adore this movie so, so much! From the post war tone to the story, to the wonderful acting- I just love it!!
Image result for star of midnightStar of Midnight
(1935; William Powell and Ginger Rogers) When a dancer disappears from a theater, her former lover asks lawyer Clay Dalzell (Powell) to investigate, leading him on a trail of murder and deception.

Who knows- this could have been a discarded Thin Man plot- but honestly who cares- Bill and Ginger are fabulous, the mystery is good and I just love both of these actors! Plus Ginger’s outfits are gorgeous!!!

Image result for ex mrs bradfordThe Ex Mrs Bradford (1936; William Powell, Jean Arthur) A wealthy mystery writer (Jean) uses her doctor ex-husband’s (Powell) non-payment of alimony to coerce him into a reconciliation.

Again- this is a Thin Man type- plot setup- but again- who cares when Mr. Powell is solving the murder. I truly can say this one is really funny and actually has a better mystery plot than some of the Thin Mans (the later ones for sure). Jean and Bill play off so well together I love the attempts she uses to get him back; it leads to great humor! Just pure perfection!

Related imageDaisy Kenyon (1947; Dana Andrews, Joan Crawford, Henry Fonda) Daisy Kenyon (Joan Crawford) is a free spirited artist getting caught in a love triangle with Dan, a married lawyer (Dana) and Peter, a returning Vet (Fonda). Available on Blu Ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics or 20th Century Fox DVD. 

My favorite Joan Crawford movie (and I am not a huge fan of hers). It’s got a touch of noir and a touch of melodrama and it’s so layered in its story telling- the plot could have been so thin but Otto Preminger gives the triangle a good complexity that makes you wonder if Daisy made the right choice. You may read my review here

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A Letter to Three Wives (1949; Linda Darnell, Jeanne Crain, Ann Sothern) A woman who mails a letter to three women, telling them she has left town with one of their husband’s.

This movie is so intricate  for such a simple plot- for being an Oscar winner for best director and screenplay it’s sad the film has faded from the public with time. This has got a great script, great cast with again- layered characters- just as layered as those in All About Eve (which with this movie shares its writer/director; Joseph Mankiewicz) 1000% a must see!

And that’s where I’ll stop- on this post, anyways- as I really hope in the future I can add to this list. There are so many more classic movies- that aren’t big names- I still want to see and I just like to give things a chance- for you never know unless you try!

PS- To my Gov Teacher- This post is for you!

 

WANT THE MOVIES IN THE POST?! Amazon, or TCM SHOP  or KINO Lorber Studio Classics

The William Holden Centenary- Third Golden Boy Blogathon

Golden Boy banner_Stalag 17
2018 is proving to be a great year for classic film fans- and this year is extra special as one certain gentlemen and Golden Boy is turning the big 1-0-0 this year- Ladies and Gents- Yes Mr. William Franklin Beedle Jr – aka Hollywood’s Golden Boy William Holden- is hitting the big milestone on April 17.
To celebrate Bill’s big event, The Wonderful World of Cinema has invited both myself and Love Letters to Classic Hollywood to join her in her annual Golden Boy Blogathon which will run from April 15-17. I am hosting April 16. The rules are as follows:
  • Choose a Topic relating to Mr. Holden!
  • No more than TWO (2) entries per person
  • Duplicates are allowed- but no more than 2 people repeating a topic
  • Have fun and celebrate this wonderful man and gifted actor (who still is better than ever at three digits)
You can signup with myself, Ginnie (The Wonderful World of Cinema) or Michaela (Love letters to Classic Hollywood). LET’S SHOW THE WORLD WE STILL LOVE AND REMEMBER THE GOLDEN BOY and MAKE THIS THE BEST 100 Birthday tribute EVER!!
Grab a fab badge designed by the talented Michaela and Let’s Go!
      Golden Boy banner_Golden Boy
Golden Boy banner_Sabrina              Golden Boy banner_Holden in color
Golden Boy banner_Holden in black and white                  Golden Boy banner_Country Girl

ROSTER

 

PS- If you are a TCM junkie you’d be pleased to know that Miss Stefanie Powers (Bill’s partner at the time of his death) is currently recording segments with Ben Mankieweicz that will air in April- hmm??- Well yes- you’ve guessed it- Bill will probably be April Star of the Month- which is super exciting- as it will allow fans to catch up and be introduced to some of his most famous and even lesser known roles. I for one am hoping The World of Suzie Wong (1960) will be aired and discussed!

PPS- If you are interested click on this link to make a donation to the William Holden Wildlife Foundation fund. Set up by Stefanie Powers in  1982, it honors Bill’s wish of protecting wildlife and his memory. I plan on making a small donation in April for his birthday!