Announcing: The 5th Golden Boy Blogathon

It’s that time of the blogathon calendar to announce the 5th William Holden Golden Boy Blogathon!
2022 is the opportune time to bring back the Golden Boy we all know and love and I’m pleased to say that Ginnie (The Wonderful World of Cinema) has asked myself and Michaela (Love Letters to Old Hollywood) to again be her co-hosts!
The Blogathon will take place on April 15-17 2022, ending on Bill’s actual Birthday (can you believe he would be 104 this year!).

In case you need a refresher or forgot the guidelines they are as follows:

1- Choose a topic related to the Golden Boy! It can be anything about him as long as it is done with RESPECT

• Duplicates are allowed, but limit of two entries per blogger.
• Please submit your topic in the comments. and also provide the name of your blog and its URL. You can comment here on my blog or on Ginnie’s blog or Michaela’s blog.

2- Once you’re approved, feel free to promote the event by including one of the banners Ginnie so awesomely created on your blog / social media!

3- The blogathon will start  April 15, 2022, and end on April 17, 2022. You can submit your entrie(s) on any one of these dates! (late entries also accepted!)

4- We each are hosting a day. I am in charge of April 15; Ginnie is taking control on April 16, and Michaela will conclude the event on April 17 (aka Bill’s Birthday!)

Finally, please remember we will only be accepting new, unpublished material for this blogathon!

BANNERS

If you have any question, just ask!!!

Subjects already claimed twice:

The Roster of Who is Writing What!

The Flapper Dame – The 7th Dawn (1964)
The Wonderful World of Cinema – TBA
Love Letters to Old Hollywood – TBA

Realweegiemidget ReviewsFedora (1978)

The Stop Button – Apartment for Peggy (1948)

Shadows and Satin – Sunset Boulevard (1950)

In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood – Hollywood at Last (I Love Lucy episode)

Rick’s Real/Reel Life | William Holden’s Golden Year: 1950

DubsismThe Devil’s Brigade (1968)

Critica RetroThe Turning Point (1952)

Silver ScreeningsOur Town (1940)

Whimsically Classic – Force of Arms (1951)

Taking Up Room – The Horse Soldiers (1959)

The Classic Movie Muse – Born Yesterday (1950)

Movie Mom- Dear Ruth (1947)

Can’t wait to see the entries this year and all the love we have for the Golden Boy!!!! 

Garden Of Evil 1954

This entry was written for the Bernard Herrman Blogathon hosted Classic Movie Muse! Be sure to check out the other entries!

Warning: Minor Spoilers!

For being a Henry Hathaway and Gary Cooper Garden of Evil (1954) wasn’t as great as I was anticipating; although the film is notable for being Bernard Herrman’s only score of a western film.

Ex-Sheriff Hooker (Gary Cooper) and gambler Fiske (Richard Widmark) are trapped in a fishing town when their steamship breaks down. They head for the local bar and soon are enlisted by Leah Fuller (Susan Hayward) to help track down her husband, John (Hugh Marlowe), who is trapped in a mine.

Coop, Western vet and Widmark (pintrest)

Tagging along is bounty hunter, Luke (Cameron Mitchell),  and random saloon customer Vincente. For the journey to the mine, it’s fairly physically easy, with arguements, and Apache threats being the difficult part. Then, of course there is the love square with all the guys hitting on Leah at some point or another. Leah, admits while traveling the mine her husband is trapped in used to be a boom town, until a volcano eruption wiped out everything but the church steeple and mine. She explains the priest calls the remaining area The Garden of Evil, while Natives consider the volcano sacred.

Cooper was solid in this role, and was the sturdy hero with strong morals. His character Hooker likes Leah, but knows she’s got a husband to rescue. There’s a bit of jealously for sure, but he pushes it aside when he helps John out of the cave and tends to his leg. Richard Widmark for being the Male co lead, somewhat took a back seat. He was almost a supporting player, but when you’re alongside Cooper, a second male lead won’t be anything else. I actually understand why John Wayne did not star in this film, as he was slated to appear instead of Widmark. As for Susuan Hayward, her character is rough and tough in this picture. Maybe too much so, yet she still gave a good performance. (Personally, for me Hayward films are hit or miss.)

The surprise for me in the film came when Leah’s husband, John,  made it out alive from the mine. I was thinking he’d for sure be found dead.  It was also a refreshing change of pace he was also found in the middle of the film, rather than towards the end, as the return journey to the town factored into the plot.

Overall, the plot isn’t bad, but the script and execution is. The film has sluggish pacing and it gets to the point where you really can’t care about the characters anymore. However, this film has its merits: the beautiful on location scenery, the actors, and Herrman’s marvelous score. The scenery is just gorgeous, as it was shot on location in Mexico, even the interiors were shot in a Mexican studio. Add in the Cinemascope lens and you’ve got a beautiful canvas. As for the score, it never disappoints. I’ve actually heard this score be compared to Herrman’s 1958 work on Vertigo- but that’s not a bad thing!

(wikipedia)

Overall, this film was interesting but nothing spectacular. I’m glad INSP network aired it, as it had been in my watchlist for a while! The stars are great in their parts, and the scenery is amazing. Furthermore, hearing Herrman’s only western score is definitely an essential!

LISTEN to Herrman’s score!

Author Interview: Killing John Wayne: The Making of The Conqueror by Ryan Uytdewilligen

In the world of showbiz, it’s impossible for a performer to have completely perfect films on their resume. You think of any one of your favorites and there is bound to be an embarrassment of a flop.


Some definitely had more than others, and not even a cinema legend like John Wayne got away with not having a flop. In 1956, not only did a flop land on his filmography, but it would turn out to be one of the worst films of all time: The Conqueror.
Directed by Dick Powell for RKO Studios and starring Susan Hayward, Pedro Armendáriz, and John Wayne as Genghis Khan, the film was notorious for being awful at the time of release. In the years to come it gained a reputation for being both a disaster to watch and literally deadly to make; for it was filmed at nuclear test sites in Utah, resulting in a majority of the cast a crew dying from cancer.

65 years after the film’s release Canadian author Ryan Uytdewilligen has written a book: Killing John Wayne: The Making of The Conqueror. Mr Uytdewilligen has spent the last three years researching the subject, and was generous to let me ask him some questions! The book is available now from Rowman and Littlefield publishing, and can be purchased at places such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble.

Killing John Wayne: The Making of the Conqueror by Ryan Uytdewilligen

Below you find the email interview, which Ryan was so cool to take part in!

1-What personally interested you into writing a book about one of the worst films ever made?
The film’s history and place in the pantheon of worst films was told to me a few years back. It always stuck with me, particularly the crazy miscasting aspect I dug deeper and deeper over the years and found out that this movie had so many layers of destruction to it that It became so wild and unbelievable, I simply had to know more.

2-John Wayne usually lobbied hard for roles he truly wanted. How did John Wayne come to land the lead originally meant for Marlon Brando?
From what I could find, John Wayne wanted to try and shake up his image. He also signed a contract with Howard Hughes, promising he would do three films with RKO. He did the first two right away, but the third film took years to set up. He was desperate to take anything. The rumor is that after Brando turned down the script, it was thrown in the trash. Wayne apparently pulled it out of the trash bin, flipped through it, and said that should be the next film.

3- I have read on IMDB The Conqueror wiped out RKO Pictures; In a world of crumbling studio systems, was The Conqueror viewed as a warning to other studios that they could be one bad film away from financial ruin?
It’s kind of a misnomer because RKO was in financial decline for years. Howard Hughes took it over in 1948 and ran it into the ground with terrible, expensive choices. When he sold it in 1955, all the studio had left was The Conqueror. They released it but failed to break even.


4-1956 also saw the release of one of the best movies ever made, The Searchers, which also starred John Wayne. How did The Conqueror not hurt John Wayne’s overall popularity?

Wayne said later on that he regretted taking the role and that he wasn’t suited for it. Critics were hard on it, but he followed it up with The Searchers, Rio Bravo, and a couple other hits, so it really fell by the wayside. In those days, most actors did two or three movies each year.

5- I personally have read in other books, John Wayne himself wasn’t happy during production. Was anyone on set glad to be making the film, or was it a pretty miserable shoot for all?
It was a miserable shoot all around. Susan Hayward was drinking and trying to allegedly have an affair with John Wayne. Second-time director Dick Powell was so in over his head, he wasn’t sleeping. Harsh weather conditions in Utah were harming the cast and crew. It was rough all around.

6-The Conqueror was a flop at the time of release and is still considered a flop today, for even someone like myself who hasn’t seen anything but trailer can agree on this. What would you cite as the reasons why the film has maintained it’s awful reputation?
It’s awful in many ways, but the miscast of John Wayne as Ghengis Khan is so startling, it’s hard to comprehend. But the performances are all very hammy, the story is lacklustre, and one-quarter of the movie is very sexist dance numbers that have nothing to do with the story. I will say, the production value is better than most things made today.

7-Branching off the previous question, The Conqueror has rarely aired on tv and is difficult to find on dvd and streaming platforms, why should movie fans still watch this flop of a film, even if it’s only to say, “I’ve seen it once”!
If you are a John Wayne fan, you can’t claim fandom unless you’ve seen this one. It also has so much lore around it, that it’s simply one of those bucket list watches that will not disappoint. 

8-The Conqueror is not only known for its content, but also for its filming location at nuclear test sites in Utah; was anyone aware at the time of filming how dangerous the location was?
The location scouts did bring this to attention to the producers who deemed it safe. The cast and crew got worried when they arrived and heard this from the locals, but ultimately, Howard Hughes called up the Atomic Energy Commission and was assured there would be no problems. Any link or danger from radiation was not known for at least a decade after. 

9-Unfortunately for most of the cast and crew, many people, including John Wayne himself (and his son Michael, a producer on the film), died from cancer due to the radiation present at the filming site; When did this link of cancer and location become apparent?
Dick Powell, the director, died from cancer in 1961, while co-star Pedro Armendariz died shortly after that from suicide after learning his cancer diagnosis. It wasn’t until the early 1970s that cast and crewmembers began dropping like flies. Wayne beat cancer in the mid-1960s, but ultimately succumbed to it in 1979. It was in that moment downwinders who were fighting for government aid finally brought their case to the US Senate. A journalist happened to see a connection between the filming location, the downwinder plight, and John Wayne’s death that year. He published an article that inspired many similar stories ever since. 

10- Last question: What overall lessons can be learned from The Conqueror and how can biopics today strive not to make the same mistakes?
This movie was made with no intent to get facts rights. The screenwriter even said he did no research and didn’t know who Ghengis Khan was before he took a meeting with Hughes. It was made for money and entertainment with no regard for authenticity. The production was very rushed too. So it was made with no care. I think a few Khan biopics have been made since. They were more cautious and careful, however, this film, The Conqueror, lives on because of how bad it is.

Bonus question: What are your favourite John Wayne films? 

I tend to gravitate to his stuff in the later 1950s and early 1960s, particularly Rio Bravo (his best and most entertaining western) and the riveting The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

Again, Killing John Wayne: The Making of the Conqueror by Ryan Uytdewilligen is available online: Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Thanks so much to Ryan for answering the Questions and I’m very excited to read the book!!!You can learn more about Ryan by visiting his website HERE

River of No Return (1954)

The great outdoors are really personally not for me. I’ve always been an, “indoors girl”, as I semi-quote Jack Dawson in Titanic (1997). That’s why I love movies- they can bring the tough outdoors to the comfort of the indoors! So of course I had to do Movie Rob‘s Genre Grandeur of The Great Outdoors! A great outdoors movie with breathtaking landscapes and scenery is 1954’s River of no Return.

River of No Return - Wikipedia
Poor Poster Promotion! (Wikipedia)

Directed by Otto Preminger, starring Robert Mitchum and Marilyn Monroe at first glance you’d think, well that doesn’t work. Even Marilyn didn’t believe in it, but I say she was too harsh on herself as she got to play a different type of role. Robert Mitchum plays Matt, a father with a young son Mark, and with Marilyn as his love interest, dance hall singer Kay, it gives her a chance to play a mother-figure.

The film starts off when Mark is abandoned by his caretaker and Kay looks after him until he reunites with his father. Mark and Matt are strangers, as Matt was in jail for killing a man in self defense. Kay reunites Mark with Matt and they part ways until Kay runs into them again while traveling on the river with her fiance, Harry. Kay and Harry’s raft gets ruined, and Harry steals Matt’s horse and rifle to continue on to the City Council to retrieve a deed on a gold mine. Kay is left behind with Matt and Mark in the wilderness.

River of No Return (1954) - Rotten Tomatoes
Mitchum and Marilyn! (Rotten Tomatoes)

The trio then embark down what the Indians call ‘the river of no return‘. Battling the elements and Indians, Matt and Kay bond with each other. Mark learns about his dad’s prison stay but starts to see him differently when he protects/ cares for both himself and Kay.

Its sort odd, I never seek out Robert Mitchum films, they come to me; by interest of either another actor, director or premise- but watching this film made me see him in a different light. I’d previously seen Out of the Past (1947) and El Dorado (1967), but this was my first Mitchum film in which I saw him play a true romantic lead, and it was cool!  

Going deeper with the romance,  I really liked that element between Marilyn and Robert Mitchum. They just click with each other. Marilyn got to be serious, and not just the blonde, while Mitch got to be the romantic tough guy. He still has to have that element about him, as he plays an outdoors man, but he has his tender moments.

Marilyn: Behind the Icon – River of No Return | Classic Movie Hub Blog
Real Scenery! (Classic Movie Hub)

The cinematography is what always keeps me coming back to this film. Its gorgeous and not a studio back lot, instead being filmed on location in Calgary and in Idaho for the use of the Salmon River for the long shots. Production on location was not without its faults, however, as Marilyn almost drowned with Mr. Mitchum diving into save her. On another occasion, when insisting they both do their own stunts, Bob and Marilyn’s raft flipped over, and Marilyn twisted her ankle! She was on crutches for the rest of the shoot, but nonetheless, it didn’t slow down shooting!

Of course, I must mention the spectacular songs Marilyn gets to sing, including a version of the title song! She worked very hard to get her finger positions correct to play the guitar, and even though its NOT her doing the playing, she certainly put in her best effort!

Overall, River of No Return is a fun and quick film to watch. Sometimes you need to see actors in different types of settings and this is a perfect example for both of the leads. Bringing the wilderness indoors, it makes for a great viewing experience from the coziness of your great indoors!

Audrey, Fred, Fashion: Bonjour Paris!

In the midst of the Corona pandemic, travel is something we all yearn for. We can’t go overseas like we may dream, but there still is one way to travel: through films shot in location.

In Awe of Audrey: Funny Face (1957)

In this month’s GG theme of travel, I took the opportunity to watch Funny Face (1957); I had not seen it fully through and this was perfect to watch, as it was shot in Paris.

Funny Face was almost tailor made for Audrey: Paris, a Cinderella transformation, and a great leading man to play off of, Mr Fred Astaire. It was Audrey’s fourth movie for Paramount, and 1 of 3 Astaire musicals set in Paris filmed in 1950s.
Funny Face is based of two Broadway sources; one: the musical Funny Face in which it takes its name, and two: the musical Wedding Bells, in which it takes the plot. Only 4 songs from the Funny Face musical make an appearance, with the other songs either written specifically for the film, or taken from other musicals. Unlike 1964’s My Fair Lady, Audrey does all of her own singing, as of course does Fred and Kay.

Funny Face sees Audrey as Jo Stockton, a bookshop worker, Fred Astaire as fashion photographer Dick Avery (based on real life photographer Richard Avedon), and Kay Thompson as Maggie Prescott, a fashion magazine editor.  Maggie is looking for the “next big thing” and one day sets out with Dick and her team to use a Greenwich Village bookstore as an inspiration. Its there they cross paths with Jo: who at first isn’t interested in any part of it.

Funny Face 1957 - Making Nice in the Midwest
Smitten or Inspired?


After the photo shoot, Dick stays behind when Maggie and co. leave, and gets to know Jo a bit better. In just the short time of the photos shoot, Dick becomes smitten with Jo, and after Dick leaves, Jo feels the same towards him.

Even though Jo dreams of going to Paris, being a fashion model is not on her radar. It’s only after she is tricked into coming to Maggie’s office on an errand, and accidentally runs into Dick again that she agrees to go.

Soon the trio arrive in Paris and the adventure begins- and so does Jo and Dick’s romance, (with a little help from Maggie)!

Funny Face (1957) | Nostalgia Central

For me, I’m not a super fan of movie musicals, but there’s something about Funny Face that makes it an exception. The fashion and the beauty of Paris almost makes the music take a backseat. Audrey herself isn’t proficient singer, but you don’t care she’s not perfect. Her spirit and dedication to the role makes up for her lack.

Not to mention this musical is a definite precursor to the MOD era of the 60s. There are some scenes with the modeling and visual setups that is very reminiscent of Mad Men and 1960s magazines. After all, France is fashion forward, isn’t it?

Part of the film’s plot has to do with fashion, and with Paris as the backdrop you can’t go wrong. The first scene/ song and dance Bonjour Paris!  takes you around various locations: from Notre Dame, to the Arch de Triumph, to of course the Eiffel Tower! Not to be forgotten is most famous image from this film takes place at the Louvre, with Audrey stepping down the steps, in the red dress with the scarf: its perfection!!!.

TAKE THE PICTURE!

The coolest part of the movie is seeing Audrey enjoy herself. She worked extremely hard on the dance routines, keeping up with Fred Astaire’s every move. Audrey’s son Sean even mentioned in his memoir, Audrey: An Elegant Spirit, he believes this was his mother’s favorite movie she made because she got to dance with her idol, Fred, and utilize her ballet training.

I’m inclined to agree with Sean, as watching the bohemian nightclub self expression dance was super fun to watch! Audrey makes it look so fun and cool, and absolutely effortless! It kind of makes you want to do your own self expression dance!

Overall, I’m kind of mad at myself for not sitting down to fully watch this film and take in its fun and elegance. The songs are not necessarily ones to get stuck in your head, but the images this film projects will be. After all when you have the eternal beauty of Audrey and Paris, you can’t go wrong!

Blogger Recognition / Sunshine Award

I’d like to give a massive thank-you to Rebecca of Taking Up Room for nominating me for the Sunshine and the Blogger Recognition award. I really don’t like chain awards (or emails), but decided to answer the questions for fun!! I believe she nominated me for both, so I will be answering the questions for both.

blogger-recognition-award-banner
sunshine-blogger-award

The Blogger Recognition Award rules are:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
  2.  Post the award banner on your blog.
  3.  Share the reason you started your blog.
  4. Share two pieces of advice for new bloggers.
  5. Nominate a maximum of 15 other bloggers.
  6. Tell your nominees about the award post, so they can participate.

While the Sunshine Blogger Rules are:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you in the blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

I wanted to do a film blog so I could immerse myself in the world of film and learn so much from others. It’s a great way to be in the world, even if you don’t formally play a part of it!
Advice- First, blog about what you like and put your own voice in your writing. Also secondly, remember the internet is not your life, don’t be afraid to take a break. The internet will be there when you get back on.
Now the 11 Questions:
1- What’s your hope for 2021? For the world to be more peaceful. To find happiness in the craziness.
2- What helped you stay sane in 2020? Music. It’s the most powerful force in the world!
3- Are there any movies you’re looking forward to this year? No, nothing is catching my interest. In 2021, I declare writers are out of ideas, and its sad! I may, and major emphasis on may, watch The Kingsman as it’s a prequel.
4- You can visit any five celebrity homes from any era. Which ones would you pick? Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, John Wayne, Colin Firth, and William Holden.
5- You’re about to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. What, if anything, would you take that the experts might frown on? I would not go hiking! I don’t hike!
6- Who are your three favorite film critics and why? Robert Osborne: he’s balanced and very personable; I miss him on TCM.  Peter Bogdanovich, he may be slightly weird, but knows a ton about John Ford. Lastly, probably Leonard Maltin, as he just appears everywhere!
7-When you’re watching stuff other than movies, do you prefer YouTube and streaming services or traditional broadcast TV? I will watch YouTube or traditional broadcast TV. Actually I prefer to own TV shows I like, you then never have to hunt down a streaming service . I want to try to cut down on watching new TV shows because it’s time consuming and there isn’t anything that looks worthwhile at the moment.
8- If you could adapt a TV show into a movie, which one would you pick and why? A Place to Call Home– it deserves to be a movie!
9-Which film prop or costume would you most like to own? Dorothy’s ruby slippers!
10- Who is your favorite movie or TV couple? Your least favorite? Favorite is DJ and Steve on Full House: childhood! My least favorite: Mary Queen of Scots and Prince Conde on Reign: It wasn’t even historically accurate and a major factor of why season 2 of the show absolutely sucked.
11-What was the last album you listened to? Kiss: Asylum (1985) 

Thanks for the nomination! And in 2021, I hope to do more blogathons, original posts and more!

Movie Theater Memories

With the recent news that Warner Brothers is sending all releases to streaming on the same day as theaters, many fear this is the death of movie theaters as we know it. One can argue theaters have been dying a slow death for many years, but considering theaters have survived television, VHS/ DVD, and the arrival of streaming, it really got me thinking: what if this turns out to be the final hurdle? Furthermore, got me remembering the movies I saw as a kid, and the movies I went to see with my friends in middle/ high school. I then realized what a build up these outings were. Everything from seeing the trailer on tv, and waiting for it to be on again (the days before YouTube!), to planning which showing and then going.

Imagine having to wait to see this again on TV


It also got me reflecting: I’m part of a generation that got to grow up with going to theaters, and I may be part of the last generation. While I don’t want movie theaters to die, I can say the experience is not what it used to be. I really didn’t start to notice this until maybe high school, as when I was little the only things you had to worry about were talkers, and people kicking your seat. The real turning point came for me in 9th grade (Spring 2011) when a friend and I went to see Soul Surfer; for half the film, she was texting another friend. It wasn’t pleasant sitting next to a glowing phone light

As I write this now, Downton Abbey (2019) is the last NEW film I saw in theaters. I saw it as a pre-release on the same day as the UK release, which was about a week earlier than the American release. Due to the fact the theater was full of hardcore Downton fans, it was the best viewing experience I’ve had in years. We all were “ooohhh”-ing when Mosley served in the dining room, we all laughed at Violet’s quick and witty comebacks, and most of all it was an experience viewing with like minded people. No one was on their phone, talking or being rude, we were all watching.
Overall, the final film I saw in a movie theater was a screening of The Thin Man at the Tivoli Theater in Downers Grove IL. And it, like Downton, was an event viewing. I had the privilege of attending the film with family friends of mine- my family and their family went together and it was just a happy event. We all are classic movie fans, and it was just special to view the film with fellow fans.
If The Thin Man turns out to be the final movie I ever see in a theater, then I can say I’m pretty damn proud of that. It doesn’t get much better than Bill Powell and Myrna Loy sleuthing and flirting onscreen with each other.


In all honesty, I’m not saying I will never go back to a theater ever again, but I can say I believe I wont be going as frequently as I did as a kid/ teen. I personally have a list of classic films I hope one day I get to view on the big screen and I hope to get the opportunity to view The Shootist,  Sunset Boulevard, The Awful Truth and so many more. 

Until that happens, for the time being, I decided to reflect on my cinematic experience so far. I present to you some highlights of my life at the theater:

• I saw Monsters Inc 5 times in the theaters as a kid, and Finding Nemo 3 times.
Lilo and Stitch was the first Disney animated movie I saw in theaters.
• The first movie I saw without my parents or any adult, was 17 Again (2009), I went opening weekend on the ultra screen with a friend. I was 12.
• June 2007, I was 10 almost 11, my Mom, sister, and I saw Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (my first Pirates movie on the big screen). I thought I was super cool because the movie was PG-13, and I was 10.
• I saw 3 John Wayne movies (The Searchers, The Quiet Man, True Grit) and 3 Cary Grant movies (The Philadelphia Story, An Affair to Remember, Charade).
• I saw 1 Hitchcock film: Rear Window.
• In late summer 2004, I was just starting 3rd grade and on a school night (major event on a school night!), my sister and I with a group of friends (and our moms) went to see Princess Diaries 2.
• A film I regret seeing on the big screen was a kid’s movie, Over the Hedge, I found it incredibly pointless and stupid, but was forced to see it, as a Girl Scout “outing”.  The troop went out for pizza afterwards, and I pretended I enjoyed the movie so I wouldn’t be called snobbish or boring.
• The only film I saw opening DAY: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017). It was the first as well as the last film I will ever see on opening day.
• I remember The King’s Speech being in theaters in 9th grade, and having a major interest in wanting to see it. Due to the R rating, I couldn’t go see it with friends, and my Mom wasn’t up for going, so I missed out.
• I went to see Lincoln when I was in 11th grade for extra credit in APUSH. Easiest extra credit ever. All we had was to show the ticket stub, we didn’t even need a write up! 

With all my heart I hope I will be able to make new memories at the movie theater. Check out my Instagram post below for some pics!

5 Films I don’t care for even though a “favorite” stars in them.

Like many of you who love classic movies, I’m willing to try movies that aren’t as popular on a certain actor or actress’s resume. For instance, I love the movie, A Lady Takes a Chance, (1943) with John Wayne and Jean Arthur; its not one of Duke’s “essentials”, but its a sweet story that makes for a hidden gem of a lesser known film of his. By the same token, there are certain films with my favorite actors/ actress that I cannot watch. Every performer is bound to have a flop (or four!) within their career, and I mean everyone, even Cary Grant, had them! Read on to learn 5 movies I can’t get into despite the fact one of my favorite stars is in the lead role!

Dream Wife - Wikipedia
Let’s dream Cary never made this!

1: Dream Wife (1953, Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr)- I told you Cary Grant has a flop on his filmography! In an extremely poorly aged plot, Dream Wife, co-stars Deborah Kerr as Cary’s diplomat girlfriend Effie who puts work above all, including her romance with Clemson Reade (Cary). Clemson is tired of waiting for an official engagement, so he instead marries a more traditionally minded Middle Eastern Princess. I’m not saying Cary can’t play against type, but this character Clemson Reade is such a jerk, you can’t blame Effie for putting her job over her love life! I watched this with my Mom and we were both embarrassed to see Cary play such a terrible role in a terrible film. Watch An Affair to Remember (1957) if you want something truly heartfelt and romantic!

Force of Arms - Wikipedia
Still love ya, Bill, even though you starred in this flick

2: Force of Arms (1951, William Holden, Nancy Olson)- I love William Holden, I love him so much I call him my “screen boyfriend” (OK, I have a few screen boyfriends, but Bill’s pic is on my wall), but this film is just terrible. It has horrible camera work, a forgettable and badly paced plot, and worst of all, it fails to capture what could have been a great romance for the two leads. Perhaps it was the odd combo of war vs romance, as the battle sequences were not naturally paced against the romance, going on for too long. The flick was later reissued under the title, A Girl for Joe, and it didn’t do anything to help matters!

The Girl He Left Behind
Its OK to leave this film behind!

3: The Girl He Left Behind (1956, Natalie Wood, Tab Hunter)- This movie is very forgettable and you can’t even enjoy Tab Hunter’s character because he has no redeeming qualities. Tab plays a spoiled rich brat who is drafted into the army. The film then follows his struggles of being knocked down a peg while in bootcamp, and his girlfriend, Susan (Natalie) coping with him being away. I’m ok with characters being jerks, however, they must have a likable quality about them, and this script didn’t provide that for Tab’s character. The pacing is also terrible creating a downright boring viewing experience. Natalie Wood, of course, is the main reason any of us attempt to watch this movie, but really, thankfully, we can look elsewhere to see her in a good movie. James Garner also had a small part in this film and later wrote in his memoirs, “the film was awful and I was awful.”

The Fighting Kentuckian - Wikipedia
Duke was in this movie?

4: The Fighting Kentuckian (1949, John Wayne, Vera Raltson) John Wayne plays militiaman John Breen coming home from the War of 1812 and falls in love with a French lady Fleurette De Marchand (Vera Raltson). Conflict arises when a greedy landowner plans to steal Fleurette’s land, leading Breen to ally with the other settlers. This is one of the Duke’s lesser known films, and it is billed that way for a reason. There’s really one one reason this film flopped: his leading lady, Vera Ralston, can’t act. Vera was a pro figure skater and girlfriend of Herbert Yates, chief of Republic Pictures. Wayne later recalled he was forced to use Vera as his leading lady and (rightfully) blamed her for the picture’s failure.

The Girl from Missouri poster.jpg
Classic Harlow look, not so classic Harlow character

5: The Girl from Missouri (1934, Jean Harlow, Lionel Barrymore, Franchot Tone) Jean Harlow is such a darling and I adore her, but this movie can’t be saved by her presence. In this movie, Jean plays a girl looking for love and marriage rather than just a quick fling. While I think Jean could pull off that character, (as she was capable of playing it, she’s so talented!), it instead just feels boring watching her. I partially believe the film’s poor plot and strange character actions are due to the production code being heavily enforced. Had this film been released just months earlier, it would have been better and considered a fun pre-code. On a personal note, I don’t believe Jean and Franchot Tone had good chemistry, so it makes it hard to root for their romance, but that’s just my opinion!

AND there you have it! There are just a sampling of movies that are not for me, although they do contain actors I’m devoted to! Of course these are just my point of view about these features, and if you personally happen to love them, that’s fine and dandy too! Do you have any films of favorite actors you just can’t watch? Moreover, it makes it more interesting too, when you don’t enjoy a movie a certain actor is noted for. No matter, its all in fair opinion, and what makes talking and blogging about movies all the more amusing!

Intermezzo (1939)

This entry is for Ginnie’s 5th Wonderful Ingrid Bergman Blogathon! Make sure to check out the other posts! (This article contains slight spoilers for Intermezzo 1939)

The 1939 American remake of the original 1936 Swedish film, Intermezzo, is significant for a few different reasons. First off, it was the American screen debut of Ingrid Bergman and secondly, it swayed leading man Leslie Howard to take the role of Ashley in Gone with the Wind (David O Selznick promised Howard the title of “Producer” for Intermezzo, for playing Ashley).

Intermezzo Poster

Intermezzo is similar to other stories of infidelity that played out in cinema at the time. Holger (Leslie), a married man with a son and daughter, falls unexpectedly in love with a beautiful woman, Anita (Ingrid). Torn between his wife, Margit (Edna Best), and family and the woman he has a love affair with, complications arise. It gets even more layered when Anita is the piano teacher to Holger’s daughter Ann Marie (Ann Todd), making Anita’s interaction with his family unavoidable.

Intermezzo'' 1939 | Ingrid Bergman, Leslie Howard | FILM~LIEBHABER | Flickr
(flickr) Howard and Bergman- Talent in a photo

Even though the basic plot is as old as storytelling itself, I truly believe it’s the natural connection Leslie and Ingrid have together that makes this film unforgettable. As a viewer, you care about the happiness of Ingrid and Leslie’s characters. You want them to be together no matter the difficulties they encounter. However at the same time, I personally believe because they don’t end up together, that’s what makes this film endure. Their passion leaves you longing for them and wishing this time you watch, they’ll be together!

I find it peculiar, at the time of release, many people thought Ingrid was speaking broken English throughout the movie, unable to understand her. I think that’s absolutely a weird thought, as she’s just speaking the way she speaks. Granted she was learning English, but there’s nothing wrong with her voice, its wonderful, it’s just Ingrid!

Intermezzo: A Love Story (1939) | Ingrid Bergman (1915-1982)… | Flickr
How could they think THIS BEAUTY needed tons of make-up?

Repeating a film role I think might have been tiring for Ingrid, given her quest to be a diverse actress always wanting different parts. Yet, on the flip side, it must have been extremely exciting for her to be making an American film. Even if she wasn’t completely content with repeating the part, she doesn’t give one inkling in her performance that this version was boring for her. Perhaps working in a new country, with new actors and crew members made an old role refreshing and exciting for her. I think that aspect is what really shines through in her acting in this film.

With Leslie Howard in a main role, as a true leading man, when I was younger I didnt see his appeal. I initially believed he was weird looking. Now watching him as I’m older, I get his appeal, as his personality and stage presence makes him a great leading man. I still don’t think he’s the most handsome, but its really the way he connects with his leading ladies and plays all types of scenes with such dignity that makes him truly amazing.  With Intermezzo you really get an understanding of Leslie as a leading man, even better than you do in Gone with the Wind, as here is THE leading man, not a supporting player.

Overall, Intermezzo may be overshadowed in Ingrid’s career due to the films that were to come for her. She went on to make a boatload of iconic films, and I feel sometimes this one gets lost in the shuffle, sadly. We can look at all her performances in Hollywood,  and they are so incredible, but we cant forget where her American career started, and re-watching Intermezzo should be a reminder for us all that she was already so delightful right from the get go. 

Intermezzo: A Love Story (1939) | Starring Leslie Howard & I… | Flickr
Ingrid was experienced but a newbie to Americans! No name above the title for her… YET!

Broadway Blogthon- Rent (2005)

RENT is a rock musical with the lyrics and music written by ...

Thanks to Taking up Room for hosting the Broadway Bound Blogathon and Check out the other posts!

Rent the musical may start off as a bunch of bohemian friends struggling to make ends meet, but beneath it all, it’s truly a human story about love, loss, and life.
Based on a 1896 play called La Boheme, Rent is not only Jonathan Larson’s sole work, but his life’s legacy.
The musical Rent has been around as long as I have, since 1996. However, the musical didn’t come into my life until the film version was made in 2005. The film version has 6 of the 8 principles from Broadway with only the Mimi and Joanne characters being recast.

The film, for the most part, is faithful to the play, with only the removal of one song (Contact), and much of the narration from the script was turned into dialogue. Rent begins on Christmas Eve 1989, with filmmaker Mark (Anthony Rapp) and his best friend, musician Roger (Adam Pascal) struggling to light and heat their apartment. Mark is getting over his ex-girlfriend, Maureen (Idina Menzel) leaving him for a lawyer, Joanne (Tracie Thoms), while Roger is coming off of half a year’s withdrawal. Roger is also struggling with his HIV positive diagnosis, and the death of his girlfriend, April. Meanwhile the guys pal, college teacher, Tom Collins (Jesse L Martin) is back in town and their landlord/ former friend, Benny (Taye Diggs) is about to turn of their power, demanding they pay last year’s rent after letting them slide.

They ARE NOT Gonna pay RENT!

On the way to the apartment, Collins is beat down, only to be helped back on his feet by street drummer and drag queen Angel (Wilson Jermaine Heredia). Its also on this Christmas Eve, Roger meets his neighbor, exotic dancer Mimi (Rosario Dawson), who like him (and also Angel and Collins) is HIV positive.

From here on out, the narrative follows the group of friends for a year in their life.

Tonight's Movie: Rent | The Love Pirate
The famous La Boheme scene! Note: Poor Mark!


The film itself is very long for a musical movie, over 2 hours, but in reality it goes extremely fast due to its soundtrack. Some songs flow straight into each other, such as One Song Glory going into Light My Candle.

I have fond memories of just listening to the soundtrack in the car over and over again as we drove from my hometown in IL to Hammond, IN where my grandparents lived. My family and I would go over every weekend, and we practiced that routine for two years from 2005-2007. Needless to say I learned the soundtrack really quickly. I sang along in my head to all the tunes- even if maybe the lyrics weren’t suited for a 9-11 year old. My favorite song was most certainly “What You Own”, and Adam Pascal’s heartfelt “One Song Glory”. In fact, all because of Adam Pascal’s voice I developed a crush on him. I didn’t even know what he physically looked like, I just knew I had a crush on him regardless. When I finally saw his picture in a Rent book, I was a bit shocked at his appearance, but I didn’t care, I was just happy to match his voice to his face.

Adam Pascal as Roger in RENT | Rent musical, School of rock ...
Adam as Roger. At age 9, I had a super crush… on his voice!


I find it to be a striking parallel Rent came into my life at a time of personal loss. My Grandma unexpectedly passed away at the end of 2005, and all of a sudden, the constant soundtrack in my life were songs about “measuring life in love” and living life without specific people in it. Looking back I can say the soundtrack was certainly part of the healing process, and perfectly captured what I and my family were feeling.
Today I feel the Rent soundtrack is very much embedded in my soundtrack of life. I think it’s got the catchiest songs and once they enter your life, they don’t leave your life. Rent will forever be a relatable and emphatical story because it’s a human story with universal appeal.
Especially in today’s new world, its crucial to keep in mind the values Rent teaches us: no day but today

ANTHONY AND ADAM: MAGIC!!