Reel Infatuation Blogathon- Paul Verrall in Born Yesterday 1950

A Star is Born 1954- Judy Garland Blogathon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take a look at Howard Beale’s speech below

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

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

 

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

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

 

The Second Annual Classic Quotes Blogathon is Here!

Its arrived- the second annual classic quotes blogathon!

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

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

The Entries!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kayla tells us about Claude Rains is shocked in Casablanca. 

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

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

 

Sidney Poitier: 90th Birthday Blogathon

Niagara (1953)- Oh! Canada Blogathon

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

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

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

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

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

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Jean Peters

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

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

 

     

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

Agnes Moorehead Blogathon: Magnificent Obsession (1954)

For my contribution for the Agnes Moorehead Blogathon, I signed up to write about one of the best melodramas from the 1950s, Magnificent Obsession.

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Although Agnes Moorehead plays a supporting role in this film as Jane Wyman’s friend/ nurse, Nancy, her role is an important one- for without her, Jane’s character Helen, would be totally lost and left to navigate on her own.

I have never seen a Douglas Sirk film before (or a Jane Wyman one, either) so I was very excited to do this blogathon! Personally, I was extremely keen to view this film in particular, as the creator of the Australian television show A Place To Call Home took heavy inspiration from this movie for the show. Looking back, I feel the creator did a superb job taking both cinematic elements and dramatic elements and incorporating them into his melodramatic 1950s period drama. (Seriously check it out! Its a great TV show! If you love the 1950s and period pieces- go watch it!!! Non spoiler description here)

For those who may be unfamiliar, the 1954 version of Magnificent Obsession is a remake (I myself have yet to see the 1935 original version with Irene Dunne), yet it is has surpassed the original in terms of popularity. Its theme and feel are very similar to that of An Affair to Remember (1957; which itself is a remake of 1939’s Love Affair). With lush technicolor scenes, dramatic plot twists, and plenty of romantic moments, Magnificent Obsession provides exactly what the name suggests.

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The story is kind of a crazy one, you see, Rock Hudson’s character, Bob, gets into a speedboat accident- and then has to be resuscitated, but in a turn of events, the Doctor, Dr. Phillips, who saved him- dies. The Doctor’s widow, Helen then is left on her own, while Bob who is hated by everyone for causing Dr. Phillip’s death. In an effort to get to know Helen better, Bob tries to befriend her, but she rejects his advances. But- in another turn of events, by rejecting Bob, Helen then is run over and blinded by a passing car. Bob, then commits his life to medicine to become a doctor and by doing so, falls in love with Helen.

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The lovely Miss Moorehead comes into play as Nancy Ashford, who is Helen’s friend and Nurse. Because Helen is blind, Nancy sort of acts as her eyes, doing simple things for Helen, such as writing letters, keeping her company ,and even being a travel companion.  I just thought Nancy was a wonderful friend- so patient and kind to Helen- the exact caretaker I would want in a bad situation.

The group of Hudson, Wyman, and Moorehead, and director Douglas Sirk was so successful that all of them reunited a year later to make All That Heaven Allows, with Hudson and Wyman again as love interests. (I have not yet seen it, so I’m not sure what role Moorehead plays).

In short, I can’t wait to add this movie to my collection once it becomes available on Blu-Ray (COME ON CRITERION!!!). Its just one of those feel good movies you can watch on a rainy (or snowy!) day. It transports you to another world and now, I wanna go out and buy these sunglasses!

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Source- The Criterion Collection

There’s certainly nothing quite like Magnificent Obsession– go out and watch it today!

*Available on DVD from the Criterion Collection

The Dallas Blogathon: Ian McShane

Hi readers! this is my entry for the lovely Realweegiemidget’s first blogathon (congrats on the success!) about her favorite program Dallas (1978)

I have never seen or heard of this program but wanted to participate in the blogathon because its host is quite wonderful!

So I decided to write up about Ian McShane’s (Don Lockwood) role in the Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011).

McShane plays the role of Blackbeard a new rival of Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp). Together with Blackbeard’s daughter Angelica (Penelope Cruz) and Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), they embark on finding the Fountain of Youth.

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I just really love all of the Pirates movies- (CAN’T WAIT FOR #5 – did you hear Orlando Bloom is back as Will Turner?????)  and McShane is great as Blackbeard- even though he probably will not continue the role (spoiler- as his character dies at the end!) I just adored the humor as well as mystique he brought to his portrayal of such a  legendary figure. AND OF COURSE who wouldn’t want to have the cool powers of controlling The Queen Anne’s Revenge with just a swish of your sword- seriously cool!

Take a look at McShane’s super cool entrance!

I am just glad Disney decided to do this movie, as it is a bit of a difference from the other three- but it’s still great, for the performances of the new characters are just splendid. 

I can’t speak for myself, as I have never seen Dallas, but I’m sure seeing Ian McShane as a ruthless pirate must be a very different departure from his character of Don Lockwood. However, I must say he plays an awesome pirate! !!!

Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead men tell no tales will be out May 27 2017 (in the US) 

 

You Can’t Take it With You (1938)

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(Note- Earlier I was working on this and I accidentally hit “publish” instead of “Save”- sorry to my email followers!)

Based of the hit Broadway play and directed by Frank Capra, You Can’t Take it With You (1938) is one of the best from the best. And because this is for the Barrymore blogathon, the star at the center of this film is Lionel Barrymore.

You Can’t Take it with You is a story about two people who just get engaged, Anthony “Tony” Kirby (James Stewart) and Alice Sycamore (Jean Arthur) but they come from two different worlds- Tony is from a rich, slightly stuffy family, while Alice comes from a poorer, slightly eccentric, but loving family. Alice fears she will not be accepted by Tony’s family, and Tony fears his stuffy family will not approve of his choice. The film then plays out to see whether or not the two families can get along for the sake of Alice and Tony.

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Personally I just think this film is charming- as not only does it teach us to accept differences, its just a cute story in general. So many good moments and one liners (really don’t wanna spoil them!). I LOVE Jean Arthur- I probably relate to her more than any other actress- and James Stewart is just great. All the players were well cast right down to the supporting players. But it is Barrymore’s portrayal of Grandpa Martin Vanderhof that keeps everyone together- and is the conscience of the film. He’s just the type of guy you want as your own grandfather.

Sadly by the time of this picture’s production, Barrymore was suffering from health problems and the character was altered to accommodate his medical needs. The crutches, Grandpa Vanderhof uses served to help Barrymore stand, and it was explained in the movie as his character having a sprained ankle from sliding down the banister (because why else?? :-)) ) .

I say one of my favorite scenes has to be when Alice and Tony are sitting together at dinner and their dance together ! Its too cute! 😉

But in this film there is also a great irony, as in this movie, Barrymore plays the moral compass of the film, bringing everyone in and advocating for Tony and Alice’s union, but in Frank Capra’s other classic, It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), he plays the meanest of the mean, the banker Mr Potter. Just goes to show the versatility in Barrymore’s ability and that he can make audiences both adore, and (love to) hate him.

CREDIT GOES TO: Classic Movie Hub

IN the end, I do not call Capra’s films “CapraCorn” and even if they are- so what! They are all adorable and at the heart of all of them, contain a sweet love story. If you haven’t seen this Capra work, put it on your list- its just splendid!

Other picture credits- Wikipedia

 

 

Laura (1944)

This is my entry for the film noir blogathon– Quiggy Thanks for Hosting!

Film noir is one of my favorite genres of film- for sure in the top 3- and one of my all time favorite films noir, hands down,  is Laura (1944)

Many of you may already know I love Dana Andrews when I confessed my reel infatuation for him as Mark McPherson, but he’s not the only star of this film, as we all know its Laura herself Ms. Gene Tierney!

To me Laura is a unique film noir. It has all of the classic film noir elements, yet it still feels different than say a “textbook” film noir of The Maltese Falcon, or The Big Sleep. 

Laura has a very melodramatic feel to it- but- at the same time its still very tense like the true atmosphere of a noir. Its also very different due to the fact that Laura isn’t really the femme fetale of a ‘dangerous woman ‘- she’s not corrupting nor is she manipulative. She does draw men into her complex web of confusion, and has a very mysterious manner to her- but we never see her put anyone directly in the line of fire. Branching off, I must mention too, that Laura is almost two different types of film, from the beginning to the part of Mark falling asleep under the picture, its a mystery. But from that point on (spoiler: When Laura appears)  its almost as if the film turns into a melodramatic crime drama.

For me personally, part of the allure of Laura is the subtle romance- Dana and Gene have great chemistry- and I totally believe it when Dana Andrews falls for this beautiful, charming, but seemingly dead woman in the picture. However- these two characters barely have much screen time together, (Spoiler: McPherson and Laura only share one kiss) .

EDIT- A lot of you mentioned in the comments how much Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb) steals the show and I completely agree. Webb is the one character that pushes all of the action forward and without him, there is no mystique- he’s just as mysterious as Laura herself. Webb as much a star as Andrews and Tierney and I wanted to mention him!

When Laura first came out in 1944, no one really knew what kind of reception it was going to have- and in the trailer, the studio publicized Laura as an extremely aloof woman, whom of which every man wants to know and every woman wants to be. And to this day- the pitch is still accurate, and still very effective.

I first saw Laura during the 2014 Summer of Darkness on TCM- it was featured as a daily dose clip, and it then aired on the channel soon after. Much like the studio pitch to audiences back in the day, I can’t tell you what it is about Laura that made me want to watch it. I just thought- “Oh that looks interesting, I should give it a try.”

So maybe I can’t quite put my finger on it, as the real reason as to why I love Laura so much, but the one thing for sure is that I have a heck of a time trying to figure out why, and every time I see the film, I adore the film even more!