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!

 

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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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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. 

 

Grace Kelly- Why I just Adore her!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Character Costume Blogathon

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A lot of you who read my blog may know that I love Grace Kelly– as not only is she a princess and an old Hollywood actress, but she is also lovely, wonderful, classy, elegant, serene, and one of the most magnificent ladies ever to walk the earth. For every great lady, there is a designer for whom they act as a muse to. For Grace Kelly, that designer was none other than the talented and gifted Edith Head. So when it came time to do a Blogathon hosted by Christina (over at her awesome blog) about character costumes, I had to participate to write about Grace and Edith!!

Yes, Edith Head dressed practically everyone in Hollywood during her amazing and impressive career, but to me, Grace and Edith together is the definition of “designer and client.” They go together just like The Duchess of Cambridge and Alexander McQueen or Audrey Hepburn and Herbert de Givenchy.

Although Grace wore her most famous outfit (her wedding dress!) by the MGM designer Helen Rose no one knew how to dress Grace better than Edith.  Ms. Head designed the wardrobe for Grace in two of her Hitchcock films (which were her best performances!) as well as The Country Girl and The Bridges at Toko-Ri.

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In Rear Window, Grace’s character Lisa Carol Freemont wears this amazing black and white chiffon number- and even today, its stylish- the heels, the A-Line skirt, and the top and bottom design that is made to look like two separate pieces- it’s absolutely timeless.

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Another outfit I just adore to death is the Black dress in Rear Window– again timeless, and it may not be flashy but it doesn’t need to be! It’s simple, yet extremely stylish- its my definition of a little black dress.

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And finally my other favorite from Rear Window is the printed dress Grace wears while examining Thorwald’s apartment. It’s an unusual dress Edith designed as she normally chose not to use prints for fear of the print becoming aged as people looked back on it, but yet again, Edith proved her eye for style, for it hasn’t aged a day- it’s fabulous!!!

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In To Catch a Thief, Edith perfectly matched Grace’s (well Frances Stevens!) eyes in this wonderful blue gown. However, the real eye catching winner in my view was definitely the white ensemble (I do realize the gold ball gown is the favorite of many but I believe it’s this white one that does it for me!)

Aide from the movies, Edith also designed some wonderful personal outfits for Grace including her legendary teal Oscar dress, as well as her suit she wore when departing for her honeymoon.

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Once Grace left for Monaco, the two did stay close as evidenced by this picture below (thanks to Grace and family Tumblr, left and Oscars.org, right) Image result for edith head grace and family tumblr

Thanks for Oscars.org there is also this darling note from Grace to Edith!

Has there ever been a more charming friendship between an actress and designer? I think not!

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Grace Kelly Blogathon: Mogambo

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This entry is part of “The Wonderful Grace Kelly Blogathon” hosted by Virginie at “The Wonderful World of Cinema”. I would personally like to thank her for allowing me to participate at such short notice. This is officially my first blogathon- I entered at the last minute- its Grace Kelly, my favorite actress so I couldn’t let it pass me by!  For me, Mogambo was the second Grace Kelly picture I saw, and I watched for the first time on my 17th Birthday.

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(Photo-Wikipedia)

Mogambo… what is Mogambo? According to the trailer, Mogambo means “The Greatest”. And maybe that’s because MGM really had the “greatest” elements going for the film- Technicolor, location shoot, and the “greatest” actor in all of Hollywood, the king of himself, Mr. Clark Gable. Of course, MGM also had the “greatest” source material for the picture, as Mogambo was to be a remake of their own 1932 Jean Harlow pre-code Red Dust (which also had Gable as the leading man- Only Gable can replace Gable folks, even if its twenty years later!)

Like its predecessor, Mogambo was to have the same plot- two women (one married, one single) vying for the affections of Clark Gable in an exotic location- but instead of taking place on an Indochina rubber plantation, Mogambo was to be set in the African jungle. To cast the female leads, MGM turned to some of Gable’s former co-stars: Ava Gardner, who had previously worked with Gable on both The Hucksters and Lone Star; and Gene Tierney, his leading lady from Never Let Me Go. With Gable, Gardner, Tierney and veteran western/ action director John Ford all attached, Mogambo was set to be a smash even before it hit the big screen.

So how does the wonderful Grace Kelly fit in of this? It actually turned out to be a twist of fate, as right before filming began, Gene Tierney dropped out due to illness. Needing to find a new actress for the part, John Ford went to MGM executives and showed them Grace’s 1950 screen test from the film Taxi. Of her test, Ford said Ms. Kelly had “Breeding, Quality and Class” (I agree Mr. Ford, I agree!!!)

At the time Grace only had two films to her name, (14 Hours and High Noon) but MGM execs clearly agreed with Ford when they offered her the role of Linda Nordley (the married woman; Donald Sinden played her husband), as well as the traditional 7 year studio contract. Grace accepted, but careful as ever, signed on the conditions that A– she was able to live in New York and B– every two years she could get time off to work in the theater.

Filming took place from Fall 1952- Winter 1953. During the duration of the shoot, Grace naturally got along with all her co-stars (she found a life-long friend in Ava Gardner; with Clark, while on location, she joined him on hunting trips ) and even impressed everyone at dinner one night by ordering in Swahili! On the downside, behind the scenes, there were also some problems- Frank Sinatra and Ava’s deteriorating marriage (and her abortion during a filming break), Ford’s nasty treatment to all the stars, and of course the allegedaffair” between Gable and Grace.

In the end, however, Grace’s hard work prevailed, as was she was nominated both for a Golden Globe and an Oscar with both noms in the category of Best Supporting Actress. I think Grace gave a good performance and her character proves glamour can exist even in the most un-glamourous of places. Her scenes with Gable and Gardner are well acted and it’s easy to believe she’s falling for Gable, even though she’s a married woman. The costumes are also wonderful as Helen Rose made Grace to be “Safari Chic”.

Today, Mogambo may not be regarded as a “classic” classic, however, it still is a fan favorite and is considered by many to be John Ford’s most under rated work.  I think Grace herself summed it up well as to why we still watch the film today, when she later said,“Mogambo had three things that interested me-John Ford, Clark Gable, and a trip to Africa.”

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(photo- DVD Beaver)

What I like about Mogambo is even though it’s a re-make- it’s a good one that’s worth watching. It’s different to Red Dust and is not a shot by shot, word for word re-make. The film also has nice parallel between Grace and Mr. Gable, in regards to their careers- his last real success and a breakout performance for her. My favorite scene has to be the lake scene with Clark, Grace, and their embrace- it’s just so pretty and it’s really the moment Grace’s character falls for Clark’s (seriously who can blame Grace!!)

After all everyone, with talent like that Mogambo truly is “The Greatest”!

Sources

Spoto, Donald.  High Society: The Life of Grace Kelly.  1st Ed.  New York: Harmony Books, 2009.  Print.

MOGAMBO 1953 Available on DVD