A "Wannabe" Flapper blogging about Hollywood's Golden Era
Author: The Flapper Dame
I'm Emily- wannabe Flapper and Anglophile. I love Classic Film, British Royalty, History, Reading, and UK/Oz TV shows. I also make scrapbooks, watch costume dramas/period pieces, and have too many crushes on actors. I am a dog lover!
I will admit I have not seen as many Olivia movies as I’d like to, but I really would love to delve into her filmography because she’s just one of the greatest stars from the era, and her star status is very clear when she made My Cousin Rachel (1952).
Directed by Henry Koster and co-starring Richard Burton in his US picture debut, this film is the first of two movies based of the novel by Daphne Du Maurier. Furthermore its noteworthy for being Miss de Havilland’s first movie since winning her first Oscar for 1949’s The Heiress.
Burton plays Philip Ashley who was taken in by his cousin Ambrose (John Sutton), who lives on a lavish estate in Cornwall. Ambrose marries his cousin Rachel (Dame Olivia) while on a holiday in Florence. However, shortly after the wedding Ambrose dies of a “brain tumor”. While Philip suspects Rachel’s involvement, he nonetheless invites her to stay at the estate, which he will now inherit upon his 25th birthday.
Although skeptical of Rachel and swearing revenge on her for Ambrose’s death and her motives for being mistress of the estate, Philip eventually falls in love with her. Rachel though, is not interested in marriage, only the status of being with Philip and what he can give her. When Philip falls ill however, Rachel *does* nurse him to health- but she plans to go back to Florence. Fearing she plans to poison him before she leaves, Philip then sets out to prove it. It all culminates in a very Hitchcockian move, with all of Rachel’s guilt or innocence (including her feelings of Philip and her potential involvement with Ambrose’s death) contained in one single letter.
On a personal note, I enjoyed this movie- not as much as Rebecca, as that’s a Hitchcock masterpiece, but it still holds that suspense with the simple question of: Is Rachel guilty or innocent, and who is she exactly? I often ponder what would have happened if Hitchcock directed the movie or even George Cukor, original director until creative differences with the studio either caused him to quit or be fired. (Imagine the discussions we could have had today of Hitchcock, the de Havilland sisters, and Daphne du Maurier if that had happened!)
On the flip side, I do understand those who prefer the 2017 version with Rachel Weiz and Sam Calfin (which I have not seen), and also those who feel the book is the superior. I own the book, but have not read it- yet.
Part of what I feel held back the complexity and mystery of the Rachel character was the fact Olivia now had an image to live up to, as she was an Oscar winner. Had she made this movie before The Heiress, perhaps she could have played it closer to the source giving a layered performance along the lines of The Snake Pit (1948).
Overall, I do recommend the movie, as it is a great mystery and especially if you are a fan of Olivia’s and Daphne Du Maurier’s then it’s an essential!!!
Its June and we all know that means one thing- June Weddings!!!
Which is exactly the theme I chose for Movie Rob’s June 2019 Genre Gandeur!
I gotta thank Movie Rob for choosing me to choose this month’s theme, as I think his GGs are a fun way to constantly keep it fresh with movies and pushing yourself to see more.
I had a bit of a hard time choosing which wedding movie I wanted to write about, and thought about reviewing Mamma Mia (2008), but I wanted to do something less talked about- so I ultimately chose to do a childhood favorite, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004).
In this somewhat inferior sequel to The Princess Diaries (2001), Princess Mia (Anne Hathaway) has graduated from college and is set to take the throne in Genovia, with Queen Clarice (Julie Andrews) abdicating. Its all political work until tradition dictates she must marry before she can take the throne.
Most of this movie is build up to Mia’s coronation, with a great deal involving wedding planning once she quickly becomes engaged to lovely, British Andrew Jacoby, Duke of Kenilworth (Callum Blue).
To make things complicated, there’s another man in the picture: cheeky, mysterious, but handsome Lord Nicholas Devereaux (Chris Pine), who not only is staying on palace grounds with his Uncle, but is next in line for the throne if Mia fails to marry within Parliament’s 30 day decree.
At first, Nicholas is told by his Uncle to sabotage the engagement- but after a few close and crazy encounters with Mia (including my favorite scene when they fall in the fountain) they end up truly falling for each other. The dilemma then turns into duty or love.
The movie does have a fun bachelorette party which not only contains Julie Andrews flying down on a mattress, but also a scene in which she sings on camera for the first (and so far only) time since her throat surgery. The scene is an immaculate gem in the picture and according to the behind the scenes segment- made everyone cry.
And of course this movie does contain a wedding – with Mia walking down the aisle where she, not only calls it off with Andrew and abolishes the marriage law, but convinces Clarice to marry her longtime love, head of security Joe (Hector Elizondo), who earlier asked her to marry him.
In all retrospect- this movie is not as amazing as seeing it initially when I was 7 (I saw it in the theater with my Mom, Sister and a group of our friends!). Its not as brilliant as the first one and became a tad too Disney-Channel with the plot, however, Julie Andrews saves this movie, and for that its worth a watchand re-watch. The chemistry of Anne Hathaway and Chris Pine is also wonderful enough to save it, with their banter being very alluring for a Disney kids movie.
Not to mention, I do look forward to seeing if there is a third installment because Julie Andrews playing a (Dowager) Queen is always deserving of my attention!!
For Movie Rob’s Genre Grandeur, the royalty theme- I had to participate because royal themed films are my all-time favorite! It was the perfect opportunity to watch, The Madness of King George (1994), for the first time ever. I was not aware of the film until my fellow royal enthusiast Aunt told me about it.
Starring Dame Helen Mirren as Queen Charlotte and the late Sir Nigel Hawthorne as “The Mad” King George III, this film tackles the topic of King George III’s mental illness.
For those who may not know, George III is the monarch America fought the Revolution against (he’s the, “taxation without representation”, King) and he is Queen Victoria’s grandfather (if you have seen season 3 of the ITV/ Masterpiece PBS TV show Victoria, this is Victoria’s mad grandfather they refer to).
Although the research at the time suggested the King had a mental state caused by porphyria, which causes blue urine, as mentioned in the movie; recent findings have led many to conclude His Majesty was suffering a psychiatric illness and that the medicine he was taking was causing the blue urine.
This movie is meant to be a drama, but it has its moments of humor- such as George playing cricket, giving a valet a piggy back ride in the corridor, and sliding down the railing with some of the servants.
The film does a fair job of balancing moments of the King’s illness versus the duties of being the monarch. The loss of America was a huge blow to George and the nation, but further issues persist such as ending the slave trade and dealing with their oldest son and heir’s Catholic mistress he wants to marry (which goes against The Marriage Act of 1772- forbidding Catholics on the throne).
But through it all, its Helen Mirren, who is the anchor and takes control when the King can’t. Even though The Prince of Wales is voted as regent, Queen Charlotte really is the one holding the family (and the monarchy) together.
This film was Miss Mirren’s first time playing a Queen as she has done so three times since: she played Queen Elizabeth I in Elizabeth I (2005), Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen (2006; for which she won the Oscar), and will soon be seen as Catherine the Great in the HBO mini-series.
Overall, I think my Aunt was right in telling me to watch this movie, as it was an interesting look on a King many Americans dismiss as, “unfair”.
The costumes were stunning and the sets were beautifully put together. There are some minor historical errors, mostly done for storytelling purposes, but the one that bugged me the most was the Louisiana Purchase being displayed on a globe. Other than that, even if some of the events that occurred during ‘episodes’ of the King’s madness didn’t really happen, they sure were entertaining!
In Honor of National Classic Movie Day this year Classic Film and TV cafe is doing a theme of choosing 5 classic films from the 50s. Personally, I consider the 1950s the last true “classic” decade for movies as it all changed during the 60s. Without further ado, my choices (in chronological order) are as follows:
The Quiet Man (1952)- My favorite (non-western) John Wayne movie! I recently saw it in a theater setting in March; it was spectacular! (It really is more romantic on the big screen btw!!!)
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)- J’adore this film! Every song on the soundtrack, the sparkling costumes, and Jane and Marilyn together are just perfection! Who doesn’t want to be a “Little girl from Little Rock” and believe that “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend”?
Roman Holiday (1953)- Audrey and Greg are so wonderful!!! And no one but Audrey can be that perfect in a Hollywood debut!
Rear Window (1954)- You gotta have a Hitchcock! This is one of my favorite movies of all time and it was not only my first Hitch film, but one of my first “Classic Hollywood” movies in general. (Grace Kelly is my favorite so I had to include it!!)
Sleeping Beauty (1959)- I have loved this film since childhood. Princess Aurora is my second favorite Disney Princess, but she was one of the first that I ever saw on screen. The storyline and characterizations may suffer a bit, but the music and the cinematic look of this movie is just a masterpiece!! Sad that its Disney’s last fairy tale he actually worked on.
And because I am gonna cheat a little bit here are 5 runners up (to complete a top 10): Sunset Blvd (1950), Niagara (1953), Mister Roberts (1955), Lady and the Tramp (1955), An Affair to Remember (1957).
I really loved doing this little post because its an ,”easy task”, but a hard decision!! I’m off to read all of your posts!!! Happy Classic Movie Day everyone!!
When it comes to Joan Crawford, I may not be a major fan of hers, but do believe she had a major staying power in Hollywood that few others processed. I admire her determination and have warmed up to some of her movies, with me being able to appreciate her as an actress, so I didn’t pass up the opportunity to participate in Pale Writer and Poppity Talks Classic films Joan Crawford Queen of the Screen blogathon!
Unlike most classic Hollywood fans, I first learned of Strait Jacket though the FX Feud 2017 miniseries. I saw the side by side comparison on YouTube shortly after and really applauded the way they were able to replicate the trailer so accurately. However, that wasn’t enough to get me to watch the movie.
Fast forward two years later and I see it playing on TCM,
so I decided to DVR it and give it a shot. Initially, I thought it would be
just something super campy, embarrassing, and laughable- but I was gladly
proven wrong, as this movie really blew me away with its suspense and acting.
Strait Jacket is basically the movie Joan did in place of Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte (after she was replaced by Olivia de Hallivand) and I enjoyed it more than Charlotte. Joan stars as Lucy, a woman who after axe-murdering her husband and his lover, spends 20 years in a mental asylum. Lucy’s daughter Carol (Diane Baker) witnessed the murder, and she then is sent to live with Lucy’s brother, Bill and his wife, Emily (Leif Erikson and Rochelle Hudson).
Directed by William Castle, this flick picks up when Lucy
is released from the hospital and reunited with Carol. Carol is happy to have
her Mom back again, and treats to her to a new dress, bracelets, and a wig- to
make her feel 20 years younger. This all backfires however, when Lucy starts
flirting with Carol’s fiancé, Michael Fields (John Anthony Hayes).
It gets even more twisted when a series of axe-murders start occurring again, and Bill and Carol suspect Lucy should be re-admitted to the mental asylum.
The actual twist is somewhat predictable, yet when it’s revealed, it’s still a lot to process with the whole backstory. I really can’t describe anymore plot without spoiling everything- but I will admit I was shocked by the final axe-murder victim, as well as the climactic reveal sequence.
Overall, this movie is what I described earlier- campy and laughable- but it has solid performances that allows it to be likable. Joan is over the top – but is so brilliant at being so, that you end up being impressed by it. The axe murders by today’s standards are nothing scary- but are impressive, from the sound effect (chopping of a watermelon) to the visuals. And of course what makes this movie really work and stand out from other B-pictures of the era has to be the right amount of camp- from the opening title visuals to the scene with Joan lighting her cigarette on the turntable- it’s all in the name of entertainment.
And of course– I have to mention because this is Joan Crawford- Pepsi even has a cameo appearance. There is even blink and miss it scene with Mitchell Cox, the then-VP of Pepsi playing Lucy’s doctor.
CLICK HERE to buy Strait Jacket on Blu Ray from Amazon!
When it comes to classic movie star leading men, it’s too easy to say I quickly fall for them upon seeing a movie they are in. From Cary Grant, to William Powell, to Clark Gable, to John Wayne- there are so many to adore and admire, and then there’s William Holden. Contrary to my statement above, I actually didn’t fall immediately for Bill.
My first ever William Holden film I saw was Sabrina, and honestly I only wanted to watch because of Audrey Hepburn. I knew Humphrey Bogart from Casablanca (I’d seen in in high school film class) but I didn’t know anything about William Holden. Looking up Sabrina on IMDB, I noticed a lot of reviewers commenting on the chemistry between Audrey and Bill but I didn’t know why- who was this “William Holden” guy and why were people crazy over him? Cut to actually watching the movie- and I did notice the chemistry with Audrey, but I didn’t fall for Bill. I was, however captivated by his deep, raspy, very sexy voice- that I was hooked on, but I didn’t consider him one of “my guys” as I call them.
The next movie on Bill’s filmography I watched was, The Country Girl, but again, I was watching it for another lady, this time Grace Kelly. I was motivated to watch it because it was Grace’s Oscar winning performance. When viewing this film something shifted with the way I saw Bill. His scenes with Grace were pulling me into looking at him, and wondering about his character motives- was he out to sabotage Frank (Bing Crosby) or was he really doing his job as director? Hmm. The scene that changed it all for me was the kiss between Bill and Grace. IT WAS SO ELECTIRCFYING. It came out of no-where and it made me realize that Bill is someone I should notice. His character of Bernie Dodd went from romance to confusion to regret all with seconds- and it was done so quickly yet effective, I’d never seen an actor do that before so brilliantly. From that picture on, it changed the game for me.
With two Holden pictures down, for some reason I didn’t seek out more until Born Yesterday and it was a good 2-3 months after watching The Country Girl. This was really the movie that made me completely “Ga-Ga” over Bill. Two factors overall sealed the deal. One: the elevator scene with Judy Holliday- that just made me completely utterly fall for him. Two- was the fact he was wearing glasses- BILL IN GLASSES IS A GOOD THING. Overall, for me Born Yesterday was the first time I saw Bill being the true romantic lead and right then and there, it made me a fan and admirer of his for life.
In the end, I believe I love William Holden because he was a great human being as well as an amazing actor. He had his demons with alcohol that ultimately, sadly got to him in the end, but he never let that stop him from giving his all to a performance. He never gave a poor performance, even if the movie itself was terrible (Force of Arms being one of them). Lastly, I guess I could mention he is a handsome gentleman (on top of being a conservationist, World War II veteran, Oscar winner- he has good looks too! 😉 ). Whenever we watch a William Holden movie my Mom always makes a point to say, “He was such a handsome man”- right you are Mom, right you are!
It has now been 38 years after his death, and yet he still has legion of fans- including “new” ones like me, who weren’t even on the planet when he died- and that fact alone speaks to why he is so beloved as an actor and as a person. Happy Birthday Mr. Holden!
GINNIE, MICHAELA, and to all the Holden Lovers- Thanks so much for writing and doing this blogathon, and showing Bill some love! Special thanks to Ginnie for inviting me to co-host, its always a pleasure!
Today is day one of three of the 4th Wonderful Golden Boy Blogathon and is also the actual day of William Holden’s Birthday!!!! He is 101 and still is and always will be a handsome man!! Michaela, Ginnie and I have a bunch of awesome entries to present so here we go!
For now I leave you with a gif of a dancing Bill (and Kim Novak) in Picnic!
Happy Birthday, Mr Holden! I hope you know just how much we on Earth still love, admire, respect and adore you and your movies!!!! Actor, Golden Boy, Oscar Winner, Conservationist, Gentleman, First Lieutenant in the US Air Force, World War II veteran- We miss you Bill!! XO – Emily
To celebrate Ms. Doris Day’s 97th birthday, Michaela of Love Letters to Old Hollywood is hosting the Third Doris Day Blogathon and I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to write about the 1966 rom-com The Glass Bottom Boat starring Doris and Rod Taylor (reuniting with Doris after 1965’s Do Not Disturb).
Also starring Paul Lynde, Dom DeLuise, Edward Andrews, Alice Pearce, and George Tobias, The Glass Bottom Boat is a product of its time. It sees Doris playing Jennifer Nelson- who works part time as a mermaid for her Dad’s (Arthur Godfrey) glass-bottom boat tourist operation. One day while swimming on the job, she meets Bruce Templeton (Rod) when he accidentally snags her mermaid tail with his fishing rod! When they meet, Jennifer realizes Bruce also works at the Aero-Space lab where she works as a secretary. Bruce commissions Jennifer to write his life story (and so they can spend more time together!), but when she starts her work of following Bruce around (for the book), the security chief at the lab suspect she’s really a spy! Its then up to Jennifer to convince everyone she is not a spy- in order to catch the real spy!
Just from reading other people’s reviews, this is an entry on Doris Day’s filmography that seems to divide fans. Personally, I enjoy it and do appreciate for what it is. I realize it’s not the most essential film Doris made- but it is funny, there’s the cute scene of Jennifer “walking” her dog while she’s at work, and there’s even a touch of physical comedy. The opening song is so catchy and the main titles are so colorful- which are very much a time capsule of 1960s graphics; anyone else think they are vastly overlooked!? But main thing about this flick I really adore is the chemistry between Doris and Rod- it is so magnetic! In fact, if another actor had been cast alongside her, I don’t think this movie would be enjoyable at all.
With that being said, I do understand why some people don’t like this movie. For starters, despite the fact the film is only 110 minutes, towards the end it does begin to drag. Secondly, the plot is not very convincing and there are some elements that have aged poorly- space age, Russian spies, some of the jokes and comedy gags.
Whatever you may think of this film, I can declare the under-rated thing about it is trying to explain it to someone due to the topics they combined to make it. You’ve got NASA, and the space factors combined with Doris working as a mermaid. Mix that with the handsomeness of Rod Taylor for a good romance and the wonderful comedic timing that Doris has and you’ve got yourself one genuine 60s slapstick comedy!
AND… You can’t forget Doris’ wardrobe! It’s fabulous and just furthermore proves she was one of the best dressed ladies on screen!
PS: CLICK here to see my autographed picture of of Doris I received in July 2018, after I wrote to her that May.
It’s that time of year again where Ginnie, Michaela and I celebrate the actor, conservationist, Oscar winner and most importantly wonderful man William Franklin Beedle Jr. (aka William Holden).
The rules are the same as last year’s and as a refresher are below
1- Choose a subject. It can be anything related to William Holden, as long as you remember that the main focus is him!
No more than two people can claim the same subject!
A maximum of two entries.
2- Please submit your subject here in the comments on my blog, or on Ginnie’s or Michaela‘s. Tell us your topic, the name of your blog, plus its URL.
3- Once your subject is confirmed, grab one of the Bill friendly banners (below at end of page) and include it on your blog in order to help us promote the blogathon!
4- The blogathon runs from April 17 to April 19, 2019.
5- On the blogathon dates, each one of us will update a new post where you will be able to submit your entry.
Please help us spread the word about the blogathon. Talk about it to your blogger friends, share it on various social media, etc. We want to have as many participants as possible. We want to know you heart Bill Holden as much as we do!
When choosing a star for this year’s Marathon Stars Blogathon I actually had a hard time choosing a star. Choosing Constance Bennett came to me after I had watched two movies with her in them- by coincidence- and like magic, the choice was clear that Miss Bennett was the Marathon Star for me!
Constance Bennett was an actress who transitioned
successfully from the silent era to the talkies, but sadly had a career decline
once the 1930s were over. Oldest daughter of silent star Richard Bennett and sister
to actresses Joan and Barbara, she was first known in movies for the clothes
she wore, rather than her performances. It wasn’t until her 1937 breakthrough
in Topper (alongside Mr. Cary Grant!)
that made audiences and critics see her acting ability. Prior to this Blogathon,
I had only seen Constance in Topper,
and it was only recently I decided to give the sequels a watch. I then realized,
Wow, Constance is a great actress, and I really want to do the Blogathon- so it
was a perfect opportunity to watch more of her movies!!
For this marathon I watched:
Topper Takes a
The sequel to the smash hit Topper, this movie follows the silly ghost shenanigans of Marion Kirby without husband George. While George has moved on due to his good deed in the previous film, Marion has another chance to prove herself by helping Cosmo Topper (Roland Young) win back his wife (Billie Burke). With a trip to Paris, this movie is every bit delightful as the original and even stars Asta Atlas too!! Personally, it was this movie when I realized Constance can hold her own in a movie, without a being a love interest!
Merrily We Live (1938)
A look at the high-society rich, containing an
all-star cast, this movie is one of those great screwball comedies from the
1930s. The Killbourne family’s matriarch (Billie Burke) is constantly hiring
ex-convicts to be the household servants, and when the previous butler
Grosvenor (Alan Mowbray) steals the silver she then vows to never hire another.
However, when a handsome, yet mysterious man named Rawlins (Brian Aherne) shows
up at the doorstep, the family is so charmed they decide to make him the new
chauffeur!! It gets even crazier when Rawlins falls for eldest daughter Jerry
Sin Takes a
A pre-code in which Constance plays Sylvia, a secretary to Gaylord Stanton (Kenneth MacKenna), a rich divorce attorney, who only has affairs with married women. When Gaylord’s latest gal, Grace (Rita La Roy), says she’ll leave her husband to be with him, Gaylord gives Sylvia a proposition to be married in name only. With Slyvia secretly in love with him, she agrees, and soon after the wedding he sends her alone on a trip to Paris. When in Paris she meets Reggie Durant (Basil Rathbone) and he falls in love with her. But, when Reggie proposes, is Sylvia really willing to divorce her husband?
What Price Hollywood (1932) (slight spoilers)
The prototype to A Star is Born, this movie is a pre code version of the timeless story. However, there are enough differences to make this stand out. While waitressing at the Brown Derby, Mary Evans (Constance) catches the sight of alcoholic director Maximillian Carey (Lowell Sherman), she accompanies him as his date to a movie premiere, and before she knows it, she’s landed herself a screen test for producer Julius Saxe (Gregory Ratoff). While Max is attracted to Mary, he avoids a romance with her fearing his alcoholism will take her down with him. With her newfound fame, Mary catches the eye of polo player Lonny Borden (Neil Hamilton); the two fall in love, and marry despite Max and Julius’s warnings. With fame taking its toll on both their careers, they divorce, and soon Mary is at the top of her game after winning the Academy Award. Her happiness is cut short however after Max commits suicide. With Max’s death plaguing the news, Mary then seeks comfort in her husband and they reconcile.
Ladies in Love (1936)
Three ladies (Constance; Janet Gaynor and Loretta Young) share an apartment and hope to find love and adventure in exotic Budapest. Although the three share an apartment they all wish for something different when Martha (Gaynor) insists they follow gypsy superstition after moving in. Susie (Loretta) wishes for independence and to be a hat shop owner, Yoli (Constance) wants a rich man, and Martha wants it all: the impossible- a home, a man, and kids! Tyrone Power, Don Ameche and Simone Simon also co-star. This film is notable for being the start of the Loretta Young- Tyrone Power film duo.
Looking back, Merrily We Live and What Price Hollywood were stand outs for me! Merrily We Live surpassed my expectations (and was so wonderfully written up by Ginnie in her article!), while What Price was interesting to see what changes and similarities there are to A Star is Born. Sin Takes a Holiday was good- but very slow moving for a 75 minute movie. Constance and Basil had good chemistry but the pacing took forever!! Topper Takes a Trip was in fact so great that I bought it for my collection! Ladies in Love was a bit similar How to Marry a Millionaire in terms of set up and was a film I have never heard of prior to this. It may take another viewing for me to fully appreciate it.
What I do appreciate though is Constance Bennett’s acting. I feel sad that she couldn’t have made the transition like Joan and also have been a Noir Queen- that would have been super cool. Sure she would have looked great in those 40s fashions, but she would have been an even tougher femme fatale! Nonetheless, we have her wonderful movies of the 30s when she was a Queen of the Silver Screen!
Thanks for hosting Ginnie, Crystal and Samantha!!! You’re all super swell!