Vivacious Lady (1938)

I cannot think of a better way to start 2019 blogging, as I am more than thrilled to help Crystal of In the Good old Days of Classic Hollywood and Robin of Pop Culture Reverie celebrate the motion pictures made in the year 1938. Speaking on a personal level, I say the films of 1938 certainly rival the ones made in 1939. 1938 has a slew of great movies in itself and its about time we recognize the year’s legacy in film history.

Vivacious Lady

For this blogathon, I chose to pay tribute to a wonderful non-dancing Ginger Rogers picture made at RKO, Vivacious Lady, produced and directed by George Stevens; co-starring James Stewart in one of his first roles as a leading man.

Vivacious Lady is a wonderful often overlooked screwball gem. Its got a plot we all are familiar with- Girl (Francey) and Boy (Professor Peter Morgan) meet, get married on a whim, and afterwards have trouble finding alone time!

For Ginger, this part was the role she had been looking for to prove herself as a straight comedic actress, she was without Fred Astaire, there were no elaborate dance or singing numbers. Whereas for James Stewart, it gave him exposure to audiences as the leading man. Up until this point he had been a supporting player, playing everything from Jean Harlow’s boyfriend in Wife vs Secretary to After the Thin Man’s “Bad Guy”- but this role elevated him to the roles he was meant to be playing.

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This movie benefits from their genuine chemistry and during production although the two were NOT dating Jimmy and Ginger did date closer to 1940, ending sometime when Jimmy went to war. 

Not to be ignored are the immaculate supporting cast of character actors: Beulah Bondi and Charles Coburn as Peter’s parents, James Ellison as cousin Keith and Francis Mercer as Helen, the ex-fiancee.

The stand out scene of the movie occurs with Francey and Keith teaching Mrs. Morgan how to dance “The Big Apple”- and then Mr. Morgan walks in on the lesson! The expression on Charles Coburn’s face makes me laugh every time!!

However, the funniest part comes when Francey and Helen have perhaps one of the first girl v girl cat-fight in the movies- remember this movie pre- dates The Women!

Nice one Ginger!

The scene is so hysterical without being over the top- its basically sheer perfection! Ginger recalls in her autobiography (Ginger: My Story) the fight, “was choreographed as carefully as any ballet“, and all of its humor came down to George Stevens’ editing.

In all retrospect, 1938 was a turning point for both Jimmy and Ginger- even though they never made another film together. Jimmy of course was on his way to being the star we know today, starring in You Can’t Take it With You later that year. Ginger made Carefree with Fred Astaire and Having Wonderful Time and was moving towards a solo career.

As for George Stevens, he was in the middle of his Hollywood career with not only war documentaries ahead of him, but also many legendary productions as well including Woman of the Year, Shane, and Giant.

Click here to check out TCM’s page on Vivacious Lady and to look for upcoming airdates!

CLIPS: Youtube, PICTURES- dvdbeaver.com and IMDB

The Undefeated (1969) Rock Hudson Blogathon

Hello everyone! Its Blogathon 3 of November and its time for the entry for the Rock Hudson Blogathon hosted by Michaela at Love Letters to Old Hollywood and Crystal at In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood.

In some ways, The Undefeated (1969) ever-so-slightly reminds me of The Horse Soldiers (1959). The casting of two major actors, the civil war era backdrop, as well as the two leads coming together to fight the common enemy.

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An aspect audiences may find interesting about this film is its main point of focus is about a historical event many probably do not even know about- the Austrian intervention in Mexico, when Archduke Maximillian was deemed Emperor of Mexico on the behalf of French Emperor Napoleon III. The film loosely follows the true story of Confederate General James Orville Shelby’s escape to Mexico in an attempt to join the Austrian forces. The name of the movie is taken from a famous poem written about Shelby and his men’s efforts.

The Undefeated sees John Wayne as Union Colonel John Henry Thomas and Rock Hudson as Confederate Colonel James Langdon. After the end of the civil war, Langdon feels defeated and along with his men, plan to flee to Mexico to join the French-Austrian recruits in the invasion of Mexico and their president Benito Juarez. Thomas is also on his way to Mexico along with his adopted Indian son (Roman Gabriel) and 3000 horses to sell them to the French Austrian forces. Naturally the two parties cross paths, and after settling their differences and making their way, join forces to defeat Juarez’s Mexican forces that threaten them both.

It’s a standard later John Wayne western, and even though it may not rank as one of the “Best western” movies, it still is worth watching for all of the great actors (Ben Johnson, Dub Taylor for starters) in the story. Mr. Hudson referred to this movie as, “crap”, but I think anyone watching today would consider it good- especially when there are no westerns made like this anymore.

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In today’s terms, The Undefeated is almost a forgotten film on both Wayne and Hudson’s filmographies. John Wayne had his great role as Rooster Cogburn in the year’s True Grit and for Rock Hudson there were no big roles for him around this time; it really was towards the end of his film career, before making a transition to TV.

The Undefeated gave Hudson a real chance to shine. In his role of Colonel Langdon Hudson he gets to prove he can do a convincing southern accent. I immediately compared it to Pillow Talk (1959) when he was able to do a phony Texas accent when one was called for it. Hudson giving a convincing accent in this movie just proves the way in which he approached his characters and the way he gave them a genuine believability.

In all honesty, I probably have to watch this film again in order to really catch the details- it’s a bit long at just under 2 hours, but really enjoyable even if its not my personal favorite. After all- John Wayne made this movie even when he was in extreme pain for tearing his shoulder ligaments- and for that alone it should be an appreciated piece !!!

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(photos from pintrest and wikipedia)

Rear Window- 4th Wonderful Grace Kelly Blogathon

This year for the Grace Kelly Blogathon Day 2 I made the daunting decision to write up on Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1954)– which is arguably not only The Master’s best film, but also Grace’s best role.

But before I get into some of the technicalities, I will say that instead of giving a boring bloated analysis of it- Id like to focus on some of the stand out pieces that I feel make the picture brilliant

Grace plays Lisa Carol Fremont in this role- a model and independent woman. Her boyfriend is a photographer LB “Jeff” Jefferies (maybe that’s how they met!) played by Jimmy Stewart. Jeff breaks his leg and is holed up in his apartment with nothing to do but stare out and “spy” on his neighbors. Its all people watching until one night he suspects his neighbor Lars Thorwald (Raymond Burr) murders his wife. Jeff, Lisa, along with Jeff’s nurse Stella (Thelma Ritter), then investigate the truth.

One element that I feel goes overlooked is the scene in which Lisa turns on the lights and introduces herself to the audience. Everyone focuses on her kiss entrance scene- but the scene that follows is just as brilliant.

Lisa goes over and turns on three lights- and with each light says a part of her name. But note the framing- the first light, Lisa- the camera is a close up; the second light, Carol- its a medium shot- and finally the third light, Fremont, the camera zooms out to a long shot in which we get to see her gorgeous black and white frock.

Its pieces like this in which I feel Hitchcock’s tiniest details of framing and dialogue go great with each other. And Grace- she’s the only actress who could make an entrance as simple as this super sophisticated and elegant.

Another element in this movie that I feel may be under rated is Hitchcock’s use of sound. Except for the opening credits, all sound in this film is diegetic sound. Its an interesting choice for Hitch, as usually his soundtrack scores are a key focus of his films. Take a look at the intro to the film (don’t worry no spoilers)

I’m not a fan of Jazz- but there is something so infectious about this piece of music that sets the scene for the film. You automatically thing New York, the 50s, glamour, but business of the city. Also note how in the title sequence there are shades opening almost as if the audience is the voyeur for this picture.

Next- lets talk about the under rated and often taken for granted set of this movie- its a whole neighborhood in a sound stage- and that’s something you rarely see anymore (as its too expensive!). This is a set with no green screen, or digital apartments- they are really there and they are built. From what I know- they used two sound stages and the apartments were the street level while places like the courtyard were actually the basement.

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All apartments were made livable, and Hitchcock would give direction through an earpiece that all the actors had. Watch the video for the opening scene of the neighborhood and courtyard- just mind blowing on how that was all created!!

Finally- Lets discuss Grace Kelly in this movie!! This is her ultimate glamour role, her ultimate Hitchcock role and her most well known role. I feel only she could be Lisa Carol Fremont and if someone else like Vera Miles or Kim Novak would have played the role- this picture would not have been as believable or memorable. Lisa Fremont is so proactive, more than just the “girlfriend”and sidekick- as she’s the one doing the action scenes that Jeff can’t. I believe Hitch spent the rest of his career trying to find another actress to create a role such as this- but naturally and utterly failed, finding good, but somewhat sub-parr actresses for big roles in his pictures. Its so easy to take for granted how phenomenal Grace is in this role!!!

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In Sept 2017 (the day of Grace’s death) I had the pleasure of viewing Rear Window on the big screen and I can say that it absolutely changes your experience. Seeing every moment play out on the big screen makes it all more thrilling and dazzling.

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Click here to read a post I did concerning the fashions of Rear Window.

To Grace I will say that on this happiest day her birthday-I hope we can all pay her a great tribute, and I hope she is thrilled and perhaps touched that there are so many young people who still adore her and her movies!

 

HERE TODAY! 4th Wonderful Grace Kelly Blogathon!

It’s here everyone! Today begins the 4th Wonderful Grace Kelly blogathon! And I can’t wait to read all of our wonderful reviews! Remember I’m doing today’s posts and Ginnie at The Wonderful World of Cinema is doing tomorrow’s posts (which is Grace’s 89th Birthday!) Let’s so some love to our favorite actress and Princess, Grace Kelly!!!

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The Stop Button kicks off today with High Noon

Pale writer on Mogambo

The Drive In’s phone call on Dial M For Murder

Musings of a Classic Film Addict sees Green Fire

Pale Writer’s Spy Magazine article on High Society

Popcorn and Flickers reviews the Kelly Bag’s glorious history! 

The Story Enthusiast discuses the new book by Mary Mallory: Living with Grace (Its a great book!!)

I will be writing my review tomorrow- so be on the lookout for it!

Let’s all have a fun weekend with Grace Kelly by relaxing, watching some of her films, reading each others posts, and just gushing over how adorable she is!

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The Front Page and His Girl Friday

Happy Noirvember everyone! I’m back for the first entry of 3 this month kicking November off with Phyllis Loves Classic Movies’s remake of the THEY REMADE WHAT? blogathon.

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When it comes to His Girl Friday (1940) and The Front Page (1931), its easy to dismiss Lewis Milestone’s The Front Page as just simply, “the original His Girl Friday”. And of course His Girl Friday is so famous in its own right many may forget that it is a remake- it was one of the first movies ever to have overlapping dialogue, is a favorite amongst Cary Grant fans, and contains the now iconic performance of Rosalind Russell as Hildy Johnson (as Howard Hawks switched this character from a man to a woman during audition read-throughs, when his secretary read the part of Hildy).

However, upon viewing The Front Page for the first time ever, The Front Page is significant in its own right. Up until His Girl Friday, it was the fastest talking picture ever produced and even though yes- it can sometimes struggle with that pre-code dialogue delivery by some of its actors- its very forward in its production and it paves the way in what was to come in the style of which movies were made (see a video link at the end).

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 Ben Hecht- co writer of the original play

The plot of both these films is the same, and both are adaptions of the 1928 Ben Hecht- Charles MacArthur Broadway play of the same name. Editor Walter Burns and reporter Hildy Johnson are perfect work partners (and in His Girl Friday– ex man and wife), that is until Hildy announces s/he is getting married and will therefore be leaving the newspaper’s employment. Walter wanting to keep his star reporter on board then entices Hildy with the assignment of covering the story on escaped accused murderer Earl Williams. Hilarity then follows when Walter sets up stunts to delay Hildy’s departure- from kidnapping his/her future Mother in law to hiding Williams in a roll top desk!! (And of course there’s the additon of the throw -away fiancee for even more laughs!)

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Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell 

Comparing the two- I have seen His Girl Friday many more times- and I will say it does have the edge in terms of a picture overall but, sometimes the Walter-Hildy romance sidelines the main focus of the newspaper and the dialogue goes so fast you have to go back and play certain lines again to make sure you are hearing it right. The delivery of the dialogue in The Front Page may be weaker, and that’s not the actors fault’s, as this is still an early talkie picture, when speech was still being perfected, but it’s better than a lot of others made around the same time. Adolph Menjou especially gives a great performance as Walter- and hits the dialogue marks nicely- but I’m saying it- he can’t top Cary Grant’s manner of speaking- Cary owns this role.

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Adolph Menjou, Pat O’Brien, Mary Brian

In terms of Hildy- its not really applicable to compare the two- as they are basically different characters in these movies. I think its fair to say that while His Girl Friday is a comedy of remarriage The Front Page is more a buddy- buddy comedy and is actually (probably) more comparable to the 1974 Billy Wilder remake (I have not seen this version), in which Hildy is once again a male character. I will say Rosalind Russell is superb in her role. She won the part at the last minute- and after basically everyone else (Jean Arthur, Ginger Rogers, Carole Lombard to name a few!)  in Hollywood turned it down.

Overall, I do declare these two films do tell a story of Hollywood evolving in its ability to tell the same story in different production eras. The Front Page came out in 1931- the early talkie, pre code era that was on the verge of change, and His Girl Friday is from 1940, at the height of screwball comedy- and I can see now they both influenced the later works that followed.

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Remade again! in 1974.. and again  in 1988 as Switching Channels

If I had to give a key difference to describe both of these movies, I conclude that while The Front Page is a more faithful adaption to the play, His Girl Friday is what happens when filmmakers give their own spin on an established story- and in this case it paid of wonderfully for both Howard Hawks and the screwball legacy.

Both of these movies are also in the public domain and are available to watch on youtube.

Check out this video from filmstuck  discussing some of the changes made to His Girl Friday- they talk about character framing/ placement and the side by side comparison of the dialogue- it really gets at the distinguishable changes!!

 

PS- Check out this  cool new musical for Buttons!!! with an all star cast- the film comes out Dec 8 in select theaters only! Check Fathom events links for details!!

Buttons Ticket Page 
Buttons Website
Official Trailer

Co Hosting The 4th Wonderful Grace Kelly Blogathon! Nov 11-12 2018

 

So everyone, it’s that time of year again- The time where we all get together and celebrate the extraordinary human being: Grace Patricia Kelly. This year is extra exciting because Ginnie of the Wonderful World of Cinema has invited me to be her co-host!!!

The rules and guidelines are as follows:

– You can write about any topic relating to Grace- her movies, hollywood relations/ friendships, collaborations with Hitchcock and Edith Head, her time as Princess of Monaco, her family- possibilities are endless- just make sure Grace is the center of the topic (naturally!)
-The blogathon will run November 11-12, 2018
-Duplicates are allowed, since her filmography isn’t very big!
-Blog posts must be new material
-Maximum of 2 entries per person
-you CAN participate if you don’t have a blog- a guest post is acceptable!
and TWO NEW RULES THIS YEAR
– Don’t participate if you don’t like Grace Kelly- in the past, Ginnie had participants who BASHED Grace- that’s not acceptable! AND
2- If you want to participate, YOU MUST subscribe first.
You can subscribe to to the Blogathon with me, Ginnie, on Twitter, or by email- just let us know and we will mark you down!
Can’t wait to hear your choices so we can celebrate this amazing Actress, Princess, Mother, Wife, Friend, Colleague, Fashion Icon (need I go on!? 😉 )
THE ROSTER
ME, The Flapper Dame- Rear Window
Three Enchanting Ladies- 

The Story Enthusiast – The Swan (1956)

Realweegiemidget Reviews – To Catch A Thief (1956)

Maddy Loves Her Classic Films – High Society (1956)

In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood – Rear Window (1954)

Doses of Grace – Grace Kelly and William Holden’s partnership in The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954) and The Country Girl (1954)

The Stop Button – High Noon (1952)

Musings of a Classic FIlm Addict – Green Fire (1954)

The Midnite Drive-In – Dial M For Murder (1954)

dbmoviesblog – Dial M For Muder (1954)

Taking Up Room – Mogambo (1953)

Crítica Retrô – Portrayal of Grace Kelly’s wedding in fan magazines

Overture Books and Films– Grace and Frank Sinatra’s professional friendship

Banners Made by Ginnie- They are fabulous!
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PS-Thank you ALL (my readers, my casual reader, my occasional visitors, and anyone who has read even 1 of my posts) for making The Flapper Dame Number 30 on the list of Top 30 Classic Film Blogs on the Net! I am absolutely humbled by this and feel it’s an honor to be named. I started film blogging in Dec 2015 just to find a place where I belong and talk about topics I love- classic Hollywood films and the men and woman who made them. I feel I do belong in this community of Classic Film bloggers- I’ve “met” some of the coolest bloggers and people. You all (my readers and fellow bloggers) inspire me everyday to continue to blog. I want to thank all of you and let you know I read every single comment and appreciate all of the kindness. It truly is a great part of my life. and one day I hope to make film writing my whole life. 
Lastly and especially- I also want to Thank my Mom, Sandra who reads every post on here and spreads the words to her friends; and my late Grandfather Joseph Kapser for introducing me to the world of Classic Movies by showing me who John Wayne is. 

 

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

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