Thursday, 30 December 2010

"That's no good - ladies bruise too easy."

Basing on Vladimir Pozner’s (please, do not mix up with equally named Russian spy!) story, which was released in September and October 1945 in “Good HousekeepingNunnally Johnson wrote and produced a film under the same title, which became a box-office hit in 1946 and was directed by Robert Siodmak: THE DARK MIRROR.


In a nutshell:

Dr. Perada was murdered. Several witnesses saw Terry Collins (Olivia de Havilland) at that certain time near the crime scene. An easy case for Lieutenant Stevenson (Thomas Mitchell). But Terry has an alibi – and a sister: Ruth (Olivia de Havilland), a twin sister. Both occasionally switch roles. So, which one is the murderess? Maybe psychiatrist Scott Elliott (Lew Ayres) can be a help. The trouble with him: he’s going to fall for one of the sisters.


Schmooze:

  • Lew Ayres stared as DR. KILDARE in 9 films of the film series of the same name. He became famous as an actor when he played the lead in ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (1930). He was married to Ginger Rogers from 1934 to 1940.

  • The story received a nomination for an Acadamy award.

  • For radio-afficionados: there are some radio productions - with Olivia de Havilland (1950) and with Lew Ayres (1948) and one with both of them in THE HEDDA HOPPER SHOW - THIS IS HOLLYWOOD (1947)...

  • In 1984 there was made a remake for television starring Jane Seymour as the twin sisters.

  • Olivia de Havilland stated years later that the part of the mean twin sister still haunted her.

  • Though in credits only mentioned as technical adviser Eugen Schüfftan – who was a legendary cameraman and special effects specialist - did a great job and mixed several trick shots and added back projection so that Olivia de Havilland often acts in front of a screen on which runs a shot of herself as "her" twin sister.


A nodding acquaintance:

  • You may remember Richard Long (here: Rusty, the bellboy) from Orson Welles’ THE STRANGER (1946).

  • Thomas Mitchell might be best-known as uncle Billy in Frank Capra’s IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946) or Gerald O'Hara in GONE WITH THE WIND (1939). I like him very much as Diz Moore in MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939).


Celebrate the celluloid

Nibble some lemon drops! :”)

Sight-read

The soundtrack was composed by Dimitri Tiomkin, who also wrote "Do not forsake me, oh my darlin" for HIGH NOON (1952) – I bet you know that one!

See the beauty in it

The costumes were designed by Irene Sharaff – and some of them are really marvelous. There is a pair of blouses with ruching which is not quite my style – but Olivia de Havillands wardrobe in this film is heaven for any forties fashion addict.


Quotes Corner

“He’s a very smart guy for a college man.”


This film is awesome because of its technique. You seldom can spot errors. Olivia de Havilland is doing a fabulous job – well, she is always, isn’t she? - Of course the good sister is the one, who is more the type of a modest housewife and the bad one is the self-confident sister. No wonder: The war was over and women should leave the factories and go back to home. (Bye bye to Rosie the Riveter!) I have nothing against women staying at home and caring for husband and kids - but I think everyone/everywoman should be able to decide for herself and not feel guilty because they do not want to marry and/or raise children. -

So I recommend this film to every fan of Olivia de Havilland and everyone who is interested in trick technique and ask every viewer to take the characterization of the “better” sister not as the proof of “good” woman. There's a wide range of awesome women out there.. ;”)

“I never listened to such utterly nonsense in all my live.”

The End? Wait and watch!

Yours (well and) truly,

Frl. Irene Palfy

Saturday, 25 December 2010

A Merry Christmas to everyone!


To every follower and every person who stumbles by:

A Merry Christmas to you and your love ones!

With Love,

Frl. Irene







Wednesday, 22 December 2010

“Three angels came to earth that night and all around the stars were bright.”

Sally of Flying down to Hollywood is hosting “Twelve days of Christmas Movies” and I am doing my bit with this entry about my favourite holiday’s film: Paramount’s classic of 1955 WE’RE NO ANGELS by Michael Curtiz – based on a French play by Albert Husson and brought to you in glorious Technicolor.


In a nutshell:

Christmas eve 1895, prison colony of French Guyana - Devil’s Island: The three convicts Joseph (Humphrey Bogart), Albert (Aldo Ray) and Jules (Sir Peter Ustinov) have escaped from the prison. Before they leave the island they want to rob the store of Felix Ducotel (Leo G. Carroll). But they soon find out that Felix, his wife Amelie (Joan Bennett) and their daughter (Gloria Talbott) are really decent people, who are in deep trouble when Felix’ arrogant and greedy cousin André Trochard (Basil Rathbone) arrives with his nephew Paul (John Baer). So the three convicts stay and help the Ducotel family – with a little assistance of the fourth escaped prisoner: Adolphe – a cute little viper..

Watch out for:

Humphrey Borgart wearing a pink apron – and boy: does it bring out the colour of his eyes!


Schmooze:
  • The film's working title was ANGELS' COOKING which is the translation of the play's title which is LA CUISINE DES ANGES.
  • This is the 6. and last film Humphrey Bogart an Michael Curtiz made together - one of the other movies they did together was CASABLANCA.
  • There two other films which are based on Albert Husson's play: WE'RE NO ANGELS (1989) with Robert De Niro, Sean Penn and Demi Moore and ORE-TACHI WA TENSHI JANAI by Takashi Miike (1993).
  • It is said that Gloria Talbott insisted that when her character passes out her head would always fell to the left because she found her profile would look best then. - I got to confess that I never look at her when she passes out. Naughty me - poor Gloria passes out so often that she could have earned my attantion..

A nodding acquaintance:

  • John Baer played title character Terry Lee in 1953s television series: TERRY AND THE PIRATES (1953).

  • Gloria Talbott played Jane Wyman's daughter in ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS (1955) and played Moneta in television series ZORRO (1957-59).

  • John Smith who played medical officer Arnaud made his (uncredited) debut in GOING MY WAY (1944) as a choir member. In TV series CIMARRON CITY (1958-59) he played Deputy Lane Temple and Slim Sherman in series LARAMIE (1959-63).

Sing a Song:

In this film a wonderful song by Frederick Hollander is featured: “Sentimental Moments” and you can also hear “Hark! The herald angels sing”.


My favourite feature:

The shop! There’s so much to see! And the whole set of the Ducotel house is amazing. And they have gladioluses, which are one of my favourite flowers – they’re often seen in 1930ies films because they’re sooo elegant!

Scene to see

I can’t decide which one is the best or initial scene – so: Please watch the whole film. But maybe this scene will give you an impression - though the colours in this seem to be faded:


See the beauty in it:

Joan Bennett’s dresses are gorgeous. The wardrobe was designed by Mary Grant.

What the critics said:

In 2006 Time Out London found the convicts an
"ill-assorted trio of Bogart, Ray and Ustinov"
and go on with
"The lowest point comes when they all line up to croak Christmas carols."
*ouch!*
" ...it's static and laden with leaden talk, with nothing to interest the eye as recompense. ... Bogart looks particularly ill-at-ease and silly."

- sorry, they must have seen another film than I did, well the three prisoner are not the Rat Pack or Bing Crosby or some other croonin' fella but their singing is nothing to make a great point out of it. I think the trio is a perfect match and I love that Humphrey Bogart was not afraid of looking silly.

Quotes Corner :

“We came here to rob them and that’s what we’re gonna do. Beat their heads in, gorge their eyes out, cut their throats. – As soon as we wash the dishes.”

This film is hilarious. Of course there are moments when I have tears in my eyes. I am a bit sentimental, but and I think a good film touches you. So this is another plus for this movie and a good addition to extremely funny dialogues. I also like the fact that neither Adolphe nor the deaths or corpses are seen. I would have liked to see the snake but I think it is much more funny and also does not stress an animal. *yay*
I love the characters and the cast is amazing. Basil Rathbone is elegant as always in a light grey suit – and not quite so elegant wearing a nightcap. I can’t imagine how anyone could not like these four Christmas angels. I can’t make up my mind, which one of them is my favourite.

Thank you very much, Sally, for having me in your meme!

It is an honour for me. So, as I said before: Thank you.


“Right these way, please. This way to Christmas!”


The End? Wait and watch!

Yours (well and) truly

Frl. Irene Palfy

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Look, who's gone Hollywood!

When Hollywood is doing a biographical film, you can be sure that they'll put a lot Hollywood in it - and so did Daniel Fuchs and Isobel Lennart when they were writing the screenplay for LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME (1955), which was directed by Charles Vidor and is about famous 1920ies singing star Ruth Etting. Though Daniel Fuchs earned an Acadamy Award for best writing, motion picture story and a Writers Guild of America Award for best written american musical.

In a nutshell:

Chicago, 1920ies. Martin “Marty –the Gimp” Snyder (James Cagney) is a big shot in – not so clean – laundry business. He knows what he wants – and he wants ex-taxi-dancer Ruth Etting (Doris Day). Ruth knows what she wants, too: She wants a career as a singer – a real big number. In this case Marty is a great help: he gets her a job as a singer, starts her radio career, puts her into the Ziegfeld Follies and brings her Hollywood to star in the movies. And then there is Johnny (Cameron Mitchell), a pianist, who was interested in Ruth. Now he is a Hollywood conductor - and Ruth is going to work with him. What will Marty do about that?


Schmooze:
  • James Cagney asked for Doris Day to do the female lead in this film - they had worked together previously on WESTPOINT STORY (1950). LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME is the only film he - as a star - accepted second billing - he thought Ruth Etting was the central character in this film and Doris Day should be payed with a top billing for her work - and he sure was right about that.
  • Joe Pasternack who produced LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME has a short and uncredited cameo as a producer.
  • Ruth Etting wanted Jane Powell to be in the female lead - but the studio didn't to put cute Miss Powell into a Nightclub scenery..
  • You may know Harry Bellaver (Georgie) as Det. Frank Acaro from TV-series NAKED CITY (1958-63) or from ANOTHER THIN MAN (1939) from THE THIN MAN SERIES where he played "Creeps" Binder - you may remember the baby party? Sometimes I get the feeling that you could relate almost any classic film to one of the THIN MAN SERIES.. ;")
  • Jane Russell was asked to do the Ruth Etting character - but she refused.
  • Veda Ann Borg has an uncredited appearance as dance hall hostess.
  • Doris Day wrote later that she first did not want to take this role, because of it's vulgarity. After the film-release she received many fan letters which were not so polite about her playing such a dislikeable person. She answered every letter herself and declared that there was an difference between herself and her roles. In my opinion it is commandable that she did that.
  • The German titles for this film are NACHTCLUB-AFFÄREN (lit.: "Nightclub affairs") and TYRANNISCHE LIEBE (lit. "Tyrannic Love").
  • MGM's favoured Ava Gardner to play Doris Day's part - but she refused, accordingly because she did not want to be dubbed again.
  • Ruth Etting later stated that she never worked as a taxi-dancer.
  • James Cagney said that this film would be - out of all his films - in his top five.
  • According to Doris Day most of the more violent scenes between James Cangey and her were cut out.


Scene to see:

Every scene between Doris Day and James Cagney is most exquisite but to choose one: The fighting scene after the Ziegfeld show which ends in a (faded out) rape. Doris Day and James Cagney did brilliant fight scenes!!


See the beauty in it:

The blue dress Doris Day changes in after her first Ziegfeld number – the colour is amazing!

Murphy’s Law:

  • The clothes and cars aren’t always true to the era.
  • The Ziegfeld Follies NEVER billed any performers name over the show title.

Sing a song:

My favourite song is “10 cents a dance” – but there are several very good songs in this movie, like: “Shakin’ the blues away”, "Stay on the right sight, sister" and many more.


Here you have the real Ruth Etting singing for you:


Quotes Corner:

“I’m what make you tick. Don’t you ever forget that!”

I think this is one of the films Groucho Marx was referring to when he stated that he knew Doris Day “before she became a virgin.” ;”)
This film contains two of my all-time favourite actors: Doris Day (who I also appreciate as a truly gifted singer) and James Cagney. In my opinion Doris Day is a marvelous actress who is at her best when she gets the chance to act in a more dramatic role. James Cagney is indeed doing a thing that he was always good in: the gangster. I am feeling somewhat sorry for Marty who has the saddest part in this film’s trio. Though as a teenager I was fallen for Uncle Buck of HIGH CHAPARELL and I do like Cameron Mitchell – I think it wouldn’t have hurt the film when he was changed against any other young handsome actor. I don’t have a candidate for that on hand but I have not the feeling that he is putting something extremely special into this role – but to be fair: that would have been an enormous task to any actor opposite these two stars. ;”)

“You can put it down that I got the greatest respect for Miss Etting as an artist.”

The End? Wait and watch.

Yours (well and) truly

Frl. Irene

Friday, 3 December 2010

"A jester unemployed is nobody's fool"

Written, produced and directed by Melvin Frank and Norman Panama came a movie into the film theaters which was the most expensive at that time ($4 Mio.) and did not at all paid out at the box offices ($2.2 Mio). Though it should become a favourite on TV: THE COURT JESTER (1956).


In a nutshell
:

King Roderick (Cecil Parker) has unrightful took possession of the throne. But one member of the true royal family has survived: it is a little baby boy, who Hawkins (Danny Kaye) - a ex-carnival artist - takes care of. Hawkins belongs to a gang of rebels lead by The Black Fox (Edward Ashley), who wants to put back the real king on the throne. When Hawkins and Maid Jean (Glynis Johns) - who are in love with each other - are on their way to bring the baby king into safety they meet famous court jester Giacomo (John Carradine).

Hawkins takes Giacomo's place to dispossess the king - but what he did not know: Giacomo is also an infamous assassin who was engaged by the king's mean minister Ravenhurst (Basil Rathbone) who fears to loose his power. And then there is King Roderick's daughter Princess Gwendolyn (Angela Lansbury) who dreams of a romantic lover to abduct her from the court and she browbeats her lady's companion Griselda (Mildred Natwick), who is able to use magic to get her such a hero - and who do you think Griselda will choose?


Watch out for:

The fighting scene bewtween Ravenhurst and Hawkins - this scene also bears a little reminiscence of Basil Rathbone's famous final fighting scene with Tyrone Power, jr. in THE MARK OF ZORRO (1940) - the candles!!

You should always watch carefully when Basil Rathbone is fencing: He was one of the best sword fighters in Hollywood and he was still great though he was in his 60ies and they had to double him in one scene because Danny Kaye - at an age of 42 - was a bit too bursting with energy and not that professional which means he was a bit dangerous for his combatant..


Schmooze:

  • Danny Kaye received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Motion Picture Actor - Comedy/Musical.
  • Glynis Johns is best-known as Mrs. Banks in Disney's MARY POPPINS (1964).
  • The high speed marching maneuvers ("yay verily yay") was done by an U.S. Civil War reenactment group.
  • Mildred Natwick is maybe best-known as Miss Ivy Gravely in Alfred Hitchcock's THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY (1955).
  • When Hawkins/Giacomo is talking German he says: "What have you.." and than starts bubbling unintelligibly. In the German version at this point he "talks" Danish.
  • John Carradine is the father of Chris, David (whose death body was found in a most ungraceful pose last year), Keith and Robert Carradine.
  • The song "The maladjusted jester" was written by Sylvia Fine, who was Mrs. Danny Kaye. The other songs she wrote in cooperation with Sammy Cahn.
  • For the German version Danny Kaye was dubbed - like he mostly was - by Georg Thomalla, who also dubbed Jack Lemmon in almost every German release of his films.
  • Danny Kaye had to wear "leg falsies" so that his legs would look more thewy - which makes it much more funny that Hawkins (under the spell of Griselda) offers Gwendolyn amongst other things his "legs and calves".
My favourite character:
I love Griselda - she is awesome. I am a big fan of Mildred Nastwick. It's always great when she appears. And I also like Sir Griswold (Robert Middleton) very much. But I got to confess that I love the whole cast! They're marvellous!!


Scene to see:

The famous "the vessel with the pestle"-scene! Not my favourite one - but the one every one will recognize and Danny Kaye's daughter Dena later stated that when her father was in public people often came to him and recite the whole speech. Look for yourself:






Quotes corner:

"Who are we to say nay to miracles?"


This picture, which you could also take as Robin Hood parody - even Basil Rathbone does a version of Sir Guy of Gisbourne - is just fun to watch. There some of my favourite actors/actresses in this film: Glynis Johns, to whom I fell in love as a kid, when she appeared in MARY POPPINS (my first suffragette!), Basil Rathbone - elegant and malicious -, Danny Kaye, Angela Lansbury and Mildred Nastwick..

Though you can watch it with children of any age I find some scene quite sexy. Don't fear: nothing to corrupt any character. ;")

When I was a kid we often watched this film around christmas season, that way it became a holiday film for me without any direct connections to the season. Do you have some "traditional holiday films" like that?

"The real king is on the throne, Jean is my very own..."


The End? Wait and watch!

Yours (well and) truly,

Frl. Irene

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Amanda's Cinema Survey - Autumn of 2010

Amanda of A Noodle In A Haystack is doing her fabolous Cinema Survey again. This time I am going to participate.

So, here are her questions and of course my answers -which are always not static. ( -ask me again in 5 min.!):


1. What is your favorite movie starring William Powell and Myrna Loy, excluding all of The Thin Man films?


2. Name a screen team that appeared in only one film together but are still noteworthy for how well they complimented each other.

Harold Russell and Cathy O'Donnell in THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIFES (1946)


3. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers' best film together?

I haven't yet seen all of their films but of them I do know I like TOP HAT (1935) the most.


4. Your favorite actor named "Robert"?

Robert Mitchum

5. An actor/actress who, when you see one of their movies, you always wish that someone else was in his/her role?

Tom Hanks - first name that came into my mind. I can't stand him. Sorry.


6. An actor/actress that someone close to you really loves that you can't stand or vice versa?

One of my best friends loves Tom Hanks - sorry, but: NO!
Vice Versa: My mother can't stand Marilyn Monroe. Why, Mommie? WHYYYY??


7. An actor/actress that you both agree on completely?

That best friend and I completely agree about Danny Kaye.


8. Complete this sentence: Virginia O'Brien is to Ethel Merman as...

...Buster Keaton is to Charlie Chaplin - I love them all!


9. What is your favorite film starring Ray Milland?

DIAL M FOR MURDER (1954)
- though I love Ray Milland very much in almost every film..
10. You had to have seen this one coming: what is your favorite movie of the 1960s?

WAIT UNTIL DARK (1967)


11. An actor/actress that you would take out of one film and put into a different movie that was released the same year?

Though I like the film I'd like to see Olivia de Havilland as Cathy in WUTHERING HEIGHTS (1939).

12. Who was your favorite of Robert Montgomery's leading ladies?

I think, Bette Davis.. I haven't seen much films with him yet..


13. You think it would have been a disaster if what movie starred the actor/actress who was originally asked to star in it?

Gene Tierney (I love her - no question of that) wouldn't fit that perfect as THAT LADY IN ERMINE (1948) as Betty Grable did..


14. An actor/actress who you will watch in any or almost any movie?

Just one?? Gee, Linda Darnell..

15. Your favorite Leslie Howard film and role?

THE PETRIFIED FOREST (1936) = Alan Squier


16. You have been asked to host a marathon of four Barbara Stanwyck films. Which ones do you choose?

In no particular order:
DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944), THERE'S ALWAYS TOMORROW (1956),
SORRY, WRONG NUMBER (1948) and of course: THE PURCHASE PRICE (1932) but: don't you think that four films are way to insufficient??


17. What is, in your mind, the nearest to perfect comedy you have ever seen? Why?

In my opinion "Perfect comedy" means that you can watch it with different people and they all like it. So SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959) is my answer here - because of Jack Lemmon's hilarious performance and so many great bad guys.

18. You will brook no criticism of what film?

GOSFORD PARK (2001)

19. Who is your favorite Irish actress?

Maureen O'Sullivan - the only cause for me to watch TARZAN..


20. Your favorite 1940s movie starring Ginger Rogers?

THE MAJOR AND THE MINOR (1942)


21. Do you enjoy silent movies?

Yes.


22. What is your favorite Bette Davis film?
I like so many of her films that I can't pick just one. Sorry.


23. Your favorite onscreen Hollywood couple?

Doris Day and Jack Carson


24. This one is for the girls, but, of course, the guys are welcome to answer, too: who is your favorite Hollywood costume designer?

Irene and Edith Head


25. To even things out a bit, here's something the boys will enjoy: what is your favorite tough action film?

? DIE HARD (1988) ?- I love Alan Rickman..


26. You are currently gaining a greater appreciation for which actor(s)/actress(es)?

Currently none.

27. Franchot Tone: yes or no?

Yes.


28. Which actors and/or actresses do you think are underrated?

Bela Lugosi


29. Which actors and/or actresses do you think are overrated?

Clark Gable - sorry, but I can't really connect to him..


30. Favorite actor?
Only one?? Okay: Vincent Price!


31. Favorite actress?

Tough again.. Judy Holliday.


32. Of those listed, who is the coolest: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Steve McQueen, or Patrick Stewart?

Dean Martin. For he is not on this range I choose Steve McQueen.


33. What is your favorite movie from each of these genres:

That is a mean, mean, MEAN question - so my answers are my "this minute answers":

Comedy:

Swashbuckler:
THE MARK OF ZORRO (1940)

Film noir:
LAURA (1944)

Musical:
42nd STREET (1933)

Holiday:
WHITE CHRISTMAS (1954)

Hitchcock:
SHADOW OF A DOUBT (1942)


That was fun - thank you Amanda!!

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Some news for me..



I have just read that Kim Novak is diagnosed with breast cancer! I am pretty startled!!
Her prospects are good - but even though I am appalled!!!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Wahahaha! First Award for this blog!! THANK YOU SOOO MUCH!

The lovely and just awesome Michelle from Everything has a simpler meaning - please check out her blog - it is great!!! And: SHE IS A FAN OF THE MOST HANDSOME AND ALTOGETHER GORGEOUS: VINCENT PRICE!!! (Guess on which male actor I have the crush of my life.. One hint: He is big, bad, handsome and has a great sense of humour!!) Err, where was I? ...Vincent Price always distracts me..


Ah, yes: Michelle has awarded this humble blog with this award:





THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MICHELLE!! These are for you:



And: Thanks again!!

Friday, 8 October 2010

"Charlie... You're not talking... - You're nibbling!"

In 1955 a succesfull play by Robert Paul Smith and Max Shulman - addapted for the screen by Julius Epstein and directed by Charles Walters - was brought to the screen in Eastmancolor: THE TENDER TRAP.

In a nutshell:

New York, mid-1950ies: Charlie Y. Reader (Frank Sinatra) - a theatrical agent - lives a happy life for a bachelor: numerous women(Lola Albright, Carolyn Jones, Jarma Lewis) clean his home, care for his meals and do other things for him, which a bachelor of 35 years would like. (you get the picture - don't you?) A special friend of him among this ladies is Sylvia Crewes (Celeste Holm), a sophisticated classical musician and no love interest of Charlie - though she is interested.

Then Charlie's childhood friend Joe McCall (David Wayne) visits him. Joe is a married father of three children and tired of marital life - and Charlie vice versa envies his friend a bit for his calm lifestyle incl. wife and children.

At an audition Charlie meets the actrice Julie Gillies (Debbie Reynolds) - and is at once interested in her. But Julie has definite plans for her future: She wants to get married - and though she doesn't know her future husband yet, she has a strict shedule: The wedding date is already set and at first sight Charlie is not the man she would like to take part in her plans.

While Charlie and Julie get acquainted to each other, Sylvia and Joe spend time together and Joe starts to develop romantic feelings. More problems ahead, when Julie decides that Charlie could be the man she was waiting for and Charlie is not (yet) ready to give up his female-filled life.


Watch out for:

  • A blonde Carolyn Jones as dog-sitting Helen - and watch the TV program carefully: There you can spot Esther Williams - quite tempting.

Schmooze:

  • Lola Albrigth - who was a hat model and a showgirl in EASTER PARADE (1948) and one of Manuela's (Judy Garland) friends in THE PIRATE (1948) - played the part of Poppy Matson, whose familyname is boworred of Max Shulman's agent Harold Matson, while the surname of Joe McCall is borrowed of Robert Paul Smith's representative, Monica McCall.
  • Carolyn Jones is best known as Morticia Addams in TV series THE ADDAMS FAMILY (1964-1966).
  • THE TENDER TRAP shares some staff with HIGH SOCIETY (1956): Frank Sinatra, Celeste Holm and director Charles Walters.
  • The costumes were designed by Helen Rose.
  • The German DVD release has a 16 rating..
  • There is another film called THE TENDER TRAP: It is a 1974 documentary about carnivorous plants - narrated by Vincent Price!!! I would love to see that one!


    My favourite feature:

    Charlie's apartment is great!


    My favourite character:

    I love David Wayne - so this is no real question. .


    Celebrate the celluloid:

  • You could eat whitefish and/or

  • "rare Wisconsin cheese" and drink

  • scotch,

  • martini and/or

  • coffee.


Scene to see:

The restaurant scene - well, I would have start to watch the whole part in the restaurant beginning with Sylvia, Charlie and Joe talking and Julie joining them later - but this is pretty close to what I would have recommended:




Window shopping:

Celeste Holm's wedding costume is my favourite.


Quotes corner:

"When a man comes in and pays $15 for a tie - is it too much to expect a stinking tie to tie?"



A cute film. My favourite part - besides the restaurant scene - is when Charlie tries to get a date with one of "his" girls and all of them have other men! I think that is because in the beginning when all this girls are cleaning and caring it seems like he is putting on them and in the end he is the one who is left.

This film exaggerates satirically the chliché of the bachelor's and the bachelorette's dreams. David Wayne has again some sharp-tongued lines, which I like - and I love when Frank Sinatra - after a hard battle - forgoes to tie his tie.

Though it is in the mean part a comedy there are some not so cheery parts. And for the fans of 1950ies design: Julie visits a furniture exhibition! The scene is not very long, but all we will get in this film.

And of course - you'll get the opportunity to hear Frank Sinatra singing the song which was nominated for an Acadamy Award - this opening reminds me that I am going to need glasses:



I like opening credits..

Goodbye - I'll go and watch another movie - or this one again?

"Who was the girl in the turkish shoes? Because I think I am engaged to her."

Friday, 1 October 2010

"Sudden death sells papers."

In the 1950ies Fritz Lang made three movies, which would become known as his newspaper noir trio. The first one is based on a story by Vera Caspary: THE BLUE GARDENIA.


In a nutshell:

On her birthday Norah Larkin (Anne Baxter) receives a letter from her boyfriend, who is positioned in Korea: he has met another woman and is in love with her.
When playboy Harry Prebbles (Raymond Burr) calls to invite Norah's roommate Chrytal (Ann Sothern) Norah accepts in lieu of Chrystal and meets him in the Blue Gardenia Club. Harry manages that she gets drunk and when she goes with him into his appartment he tries to rape her. She defends herself with a poker.
On the next morning at home she can't remember anything - meanwhile Harry Prebble is found death - next to him Norah's shoes, her handkerchief and the blue gardenia she was gifted from him. For headlines journalist Casey Mayo (Richard Conte) tries to find the "Blue Gardenia Murderess" - and falls for Norah.

Watch out for:

  • Nat King Cole's cameo as a barsinger - singing the title song BLUE GARDENIA - and George Reeves as Police Cap. Sam Haynes.

Schmooze:

  • Norah's roommate Sally (Jeff Donnell - her real name was Jean Marie Donnell) likes to read Mickey Mallet-thrillers - this is a parody of Mickey Spillane novels, which are as horrible as the Mickey Mallet novels which are described in this film.
  • On a magazine cover (COLLIER'S WEEKLY) at the magazine booth you can spot Rosemary Clooney.
  • George Reeves starred as Superman in the tv series ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN (1952 -1958) and he has also a part in GONE WITH THE WIND (1939, -> Stuart Tarleton).
  • Neslon Riddle did the arrangements for the song BLUE GARDENIA.
  • The German title is GARDENIA - EINE FRAU WILL VERGESSEN (lit. = "Gardenia - A Woman Wants To Forget"), which is quite funny because the heroine of this film tries to remember..
  • The French title is LA FEMME AU GARDÉNIA (lit. = The Woman With Gardenia).
  • The two other newspaper noirs by Fritz Lang are WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS (1956) and BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT (also 1956).
Sight-Read:
  • PRELUDE and LIEBESTOD from TRISTAN & ISOLDE by Richard Wagner.

Celebrate the celluloid:
  • You could wear a blue gardenia,
  • drink Polynesian Pearl Divers (rum, pineapple juice and ice - I figured it out myself so it might be not accurate - but I do know that Pearl Divers are usually mixed with rum - and pineapple juice and ice are mentioned by Raymond Burr as Harry Prebble..) or
  • coffee - and also you can
  • eat a hamburger.
My favourite feature:

The Blue Gardenia Club - it so glamourous: Imagine going out and Nat King Cole sings in the backround..

My favourite characters:

I like Norah's roommates Chrystal and Sally - but maybe Chrystal the most for she has the wittiest lines..

Scene to see:

The Blue Gardenia club scenes - esp. Nat King Cole singing.


Window shopping:

Norah's black taffeta dress, Chrystal's pyjamas and the big basket-chairs from the Blue Gardenia Club.


Quotes corner:

"Come on, Chrystal, I made another mistake."

There are some analogies to Vera Caspary's LAURA: The housekeeper is destroys some of the evidences and that working girl theme, which I do love most in Vera Caspary's stories. I also like the flat the three women are living in - but I would go berserk, if I hadn't a room of my own.
Anne Baxter is one of my favourite actresses and I do like Ann Sothern, too - so that's why I wanted to see this film. And I really enjoyed it!
There are some people who say that the scene in which Harry tries to rape Norah is not convincing for Raymond Burr was homosexual - but I don't agree with this opinion. I do not think that the sexual orientation (resp. political or wathever else orientation) matters. It is no argument for not being convinced by a performance. If anyone thinks that a homosexual actor is not convincing in this kind of perfomance because of his orientation, I guess a real rapist would be more convincing.?
Then I know people who say that this scene is much too tame - I think, you have to get the meaning of a scene. If you want to see real violation you maybe should watch another kind of movie or a really creepy documentation. - It is Hollywood for God's sake! What also means: You got to do a little bit of the thinking by yourself. ;")
Sorry, that was just something that I had to say. Speaking of convincing: When Richard Conte tips the ashtray over - it makes me laugh because he does it sooo low-key..
And now my pretty civilised résumé:
BLUE GARDENIA is a great picture and you should watch it, even if you are allergic to gardenias.

Goodbye - I'll go and watch another movie - or this one again?


"Honey, if a girl kills every man who gets fresh with her - how much male population you'd think would be left?"

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

"Let them shoot me... - I am not afraid... - I am a good target!"

The first musical film, which is about to be reviewed in this blog, is based on an operetta by the same name: THAT LADY IN ERMINE (1948).

In an nutshell:

Italy in 1861: 300 years ago Countess Francesca (lovely Betty Grable) saved her castle and her folks by seducing and stabbing an adversary officer. Now her look-alike great-great-great-great-granddaughter Angelina (Betty Grable in a double role) marries Mario (most attractive: Cesar Romero), a baron she knows since their childhood. In their wedding night the castle is charged by the Hungarian army, lead by Colonel Teglash (handsome Douglas Fairbanks, jr.). Mario disguises himself as a gypsy, but is soon caught by the Hungarians. While the Colonel occupies the castle, he and Angelina get attracted to each other, though her sense of duty (as a sovereign and wife) doesn't allow her to give in. So her ancestor Francesca has to interfere...


Watch out for:

Walter Abel as Horvath - even if you have no memory for names: this one you will learn immediatetly. - and Reginald Gardiner as Alberto, Francesca's husband.


Schmooze:
  • Ernst Lubitsch died shortly after filming was started of a heart attack and the film was completed under direction of Otto Preminger, who insisted that Lubitsch should receive sole credit.
  • The operetta was filmed twice before: In 1927 as THE LADY IN ERMINE starring Corinne Griffith and Einar Hanson and in 1930 with Walter Pidgeon and Vivienne Segal - then movie than was called BRIDE OF THE REGIMENT.
  • The song "This is the moment" - music by Friedrich Hollaender (credited as Frederick Hollander), words by Leo Robin - was nominated for an acadamy award but lost to "Buttons and Bows" (from THE PALEFACE) by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans.
  • Otto Preminger wasn't very fond of the story and the movie.
  • Ernst Lubitsch wanted Jeanette MacDonald for the female lead.
  • 20th Century Fox chief of production Darryl F. Zanuck prefered Gene Tierney and for the male lead Rex Harrison or Cornel Wilde.


My favourite characters:

Mario and Horvath, who is devoted to his wife and children. I love Cesar Romero and Walter Abel!!


Scene to see:

Mario, as a gypsy, reading palms. Cesar Romero is hilarious!


Window shopping:

I am a sucker for anything concerning nightwear: So I'll go for Betty Grable's negligees and her dressing robe - plus that little box on the piano: I have a friends who just loves boxes.


Quotes Corner:

If you saw the film this quote sticks in your mind forever: "Horvath!"


A lovely little movie, which doesn't make anyone thinking to hard. Silly little tricks like the sun acting as if it was a cartoon sun and some really good special effects. And of course: you'll see Betty Grable's famous legs - insured for $ 1,000,000! And all brought to you in glorious Technicolor!! :")


Goodbye - I'll go and watch another movie or this one again?

"I don't care if he'll get shot or you'll get shot or I'll get slightly wounded."

Sunday, 19 September 2010

"I did it with a razor."

When the small thriller MISCHIEF by Charlotte Armstrong was released in 1950 it was not predictable that it would become the movie DON'T BOTHER TO KNOCK (1952) by British Director Roy Ward Baker - which was the first film for Anne Bancroft.

In a nutshell:
Pilot Jed Towers (Richard Widmark) looks out for a little female company after his girlfriend, the barsinger Lyn Lesley (Anne Bancroft), has left him. Vis-à-vis to his hotel room he spots Nell Forbes (Marilyn Monroe) in Room 809, who upon the recomandation of her Uncle Eddie (Elisha Cook, jr.) - the lift-attendant -, is baby-sitting Mrs. and Mr. Jones' (Lurene Tuttle and Jim Backus) daughter Bunny (Donna Corcoran). Jed walks over to have a flirt (and more) but Nell - who can't handle the death of the man she wanted to marry - is highly certifiably insane and dangerous - esp. for a little girl like Bunny..


Whatch out for:
  • Jeanne Cagney - younger sister of some James Cagney (you may have heard of him..) performing as Rochelle, the switchboard operator.

Schmooze:

  • In the novel Nell's and Eddie's family name is Munro, which was changed when Marilyn Monroe was casted. Guess why..
  • The film events take place in real time.
  • Anne Bancroft, who was 20 when this film was released, is probably best-known as Mrs. Robinson in THE GRADUATE (1967).
  • You may know Elisha Cook, jr. as Wilmer Cook from THE MALTESE FALCON (1941).
  • Jim Backus was the original voice of MISTER MAGOO of the TV series by the same name - resp. the following series THE FAMOUS ADVENTURES OF MR. MAGOO.
  • The German title is VERSUCHUNG AUF 809 what means - translated literally - "Temptation in 809". In the novel the events take mainly place in the room next to 809..
  • If you think the title music sound familiar - it is: It originated from 1950's PANIC IN THE STREETS.
  • Donna Corcoran is the only member who is still alive - you may know her from MILLION DOLLAR MERMAID (1952)- she portayed the 10 year old Annette Kellerman.
  • It was Marilyn Monroe's 18. movie and her first leading part.
  • It is said that because of a very small budget every scene was only shot once.
  • 1991 there was a remake for TV - this time it was named: THE SITTER.
  • There is another movie called DON'T BOTHER TO KNOCK /WHY BOTHER TO KNOCK from 1962 with Elke Sommer and Judith Anderson which is not related to this one.
Sight-read:
  • You can hear Anne Bancroft sing "How About You", "A Rollin' Stone", "Chattanooga Choo Choo", "How Blue The Night", "There's A Lull In My Life" and my favourite: "Manhattan". Boy, do I like that song..
Celebrate the celluloid:
  • Drink rye or coke (or both if you like it..) and eat some sweets..
Scene to see:

This time it is really hard for me to pick one single scene, so I say you'll make see this one: Uncle Eddie gets suspicious - and knocked out. Naughty, naughty Nell..


Window shopping:

I have a soft spot for Marilyn Monroe's wardrobe - in any film of her - so: I adore the negligee Nell is "boworring" from Mrs. Jones and also like that inornate dress she wears in the beginning.

Quotes Corner:

"Little girls aren't to be up at this hour."


Though I think the novel is much more suspensful - I like this film. Of course there are some modifications: The Anne Bancroft part was no singer, Jed was no pilot and they made Nell's background story more tragic - in the novel she is not mourning because of a loss of a beloved person. No, she is really mean and much more disturbed: it seems that she had killed her parents by burning down their house - and of course for this film they melt down some minor characters.. In the novel there is no clue about Nell being suicidal like it is in the movie.
I enjoy to see a more darker (mood not haircolour!) Marilyn Monroe. Not so much of her famous smile in here.


Goodbye - I'll go and watch another movie - or this one again?


"You won't cry anymore, will you?"


Saturday, 18 September 2010

"I'm quite safe - if you say nothing."

In 1946 film was released in which Orson Welles played lead and was also the director:
THE STRANGER.


In a nutshell:

Franz Kindler (Orson Welles) - infamous Nazi war criminal - lives a happy and peaceful life in the little town of Harper, Connecticut. He is known as Professor Charles Rankin, a very popular college teacher and weds Mary (Loretta Young), the daughter of Judge Adam Longstreet (Philip Merivale).


Then old Nazi pal Meinike (Konstantin Shayne) arrives. To avoid being unmasked by Meinike, Kindler kills him. When Mary's dog becomes far to nosey, Kindler slays him too. He now could be save but then War Crime Commision's investigator Wilson (Edward G. Robinson) appears, who was following Meinike to uncover Franz Kindler and is now trying to convince Mary that her husband is a Nazi.

Schmooze:


  • You may know Richard Long (who is here perfoming the role of Mary's brother Noah) as Tom Kettle from the Ma & Pa Kettle series.

  • Erskine Sanford, who plays one of the party guest was a regular at Orson Welles pictures. He acted also in CITIZEN KANE (Herbert Carter), JANE EYRE (Mr. Briggs), THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI (Judge) and some others.

  • This is the first picture to show concentration camp footage after WWII.

  • Philip Merival died in march, 1946 - two month berfore this film was released in the USA. UK start was in August 1946.


  • There is a scene in the movie where Orson Welles lifts Loretta Young only onehanded - this was no trick and no stunt men/women were appointed.

  • Loretta Young, born Gretchen Young, was 32-33 years old when she played in this movie.

  • You may recognize Konstantin Shayne for he was playing the part of Pop Leibel in VERTIGO (1958).


  • In Germany the film was released in february 1977. It is also known to German viewers as DIE SPUR DES FREMDEN (= "The trace of the stranger").


  • Orson Welles wanted Agnes Moorehead (you know: Endora from the BEWICHTED series and also a Orson Welles regular) to play the investigator - gee, would I love to see that!!


  • Orson Welles was not pleased with this movie - he liked his other works far better.

  • Sam Spiegel produced this film under the name of S. P. Eagle.

Murphy's Law:

  • After the projected film is finished the light still flickers on Loretta Young face - though it might be a bright non moving light.

  • The swastika Franz Kindler is drawing is in the wrong direction - maybe designedly.
Scene to see:

The final scene is worth to look at - though it is rather drastic.

Quotes Corner:
"Commit a crime and the earth is made of glass."


I have a feeling that when the last sentece is delivered it ends to abrupt. Two or three seconds fade out wouldn't have hurt. I like Edward G. Robinson very much so I naturally enjoyed his performance. If I was in place of Mary I would have left my husband after he killed my dog - even if he was as great as Orson Welles. Sorry, but hurting (to say nothing of murder) an animal is a BIG No-Go in my little world! Of course the movie would have been much shorter then..
And - again - I would have loved to see Agnes Moorehead doing the Edward G. Robinson part - she would have been a real mean anti to Orson Welles' devilishly Franz Kindler!

Goodbye, I'll go and watch another movie - or maybe this one again?

Remember:

"People can't help who they fall in love with."

Friday, 17 September 2010

"She may be his wife - but she is engaged to me!"

Another picture which is based on a play came up to the silver screen in 1936: LIBELED LADY - directed by Jack Conway.


In a nutshell:

Society girl Connie Allenbury (Myrna Loy) is falsly accused of stealing another woman's husband. She sues "The Star" - a newspaper, which headlined the wrong story - to pay $ 5 millions damages.

Journalist Warren Haggerty (Spencer Tracy) comes up with an idea to save the newspaper: He engages his ex co-worker and oldtime rival Bill Chandler (William Powell), who suggests that he seduces Connie so Haggerty's fiancée Gladys Benton (Jean Harlow) - acting as Chandler's wife - can catch them red-handed. That way Haggerty would be able to proof that "The Star" didn't tell a lie.

Chandler who learns that Connie's father (Walter Connolly) is fond of trout fishing pretends to be a writer and passionate angler to get near to Connie. Problems appear when Chandler falls for Connie and Gladys decides that she is attracted to Chandler..


Watch out for:

  • Hattie McDaniel as the maid in the Grand Plaza Hotel hall.

Schmooze:

  • Charley Grapewin, who plays Mr. Bane is known (amongst many others) as Uncle Henry in THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939), Gramp Maple in THE PETRIFIED FOREST (1936) and as Grandpa in THE GRAPES OF WRATH (1940)

  • The German titel is LUSTIGE SÜNDER which can be translated "Cheerful sinners".
  • The four leads became good friends. Allegedly Spencer Tracy used to state jestingly that Myrna Loy broke his heart by marrying producer Arthur Hornblow, jr.. It is said that Tracy reserved a table in the canteen for men who felt that Loy walked out on them - the "I hate Hornblow"-table.
  • LIBELED LADY was nominated for "Best picture" at the acadamy awards but lost to another movie starring Myrna Loy and William Powell: THE GREAT ZIEGFELD.
  • Jean Harlow and William Powell were a couple whilst this film was produced so Harlow intended to get the part of Connie so she and Powell could end up together - the studio objected because they felt the audience wanted Powell and Loy to be paired at the end. Harlow gave in and was in the end pleased with her part.

  • Walter Connolly (Myrna Loy's father in this picture) played the father of Claudette Colbert in IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934).

  • There is a remake called EASY TO WED with Esther Williams as Connie Allenbury, Van Johnson as Bill Chandler, Keenan Wynn as Warren Haggerty and Lucille Ball as Gladys.

  • Rosalind Russell was first choice for the Connie Allenbury part.

  • It was the fith film pairing Myrna Loy and William Powell.

  • Billy Benedict - one of the original Bowery Boys has an supporting role at the news paper.

  • Lionel Barrymore was supposed to play Connie Allenbury's father.





Celebrate the celluloid:


Eat pancakes/flapjacks or fish (trout!).



My favourite feature:

I like that raft in the lake. Gosh, won't you love to sit there and watch old movies on a big screen with some friends and splash around with your feet? (just an idea..)


Scenes to see:

William Powell angling and the lovely good-bye -scene with Powell, Harlow and Tracy - please look out for George Chandler's (the bell boy) mimic.



Window shopping:

Gee, I'd like to get that light suit Jean Harlow is wearing.


Quotes corner:

"This is love, not liquor." or "I am just a mug, Gladdie, but I love you." or maybe best known: "Marry your newspaper and become the father of many newslines."

I love the witty lines in this picture especially William Powell suggesting to Jean Harlow how to pass her time: "Maybe you could learn to read." and one I often use myself: "I am awful appealing in blue." This is an awesome screwball comedy and a marvellous cast!
I don't know anything about American eating habits, but I think it is funny to put the flag of the United States into a fish. I don't want to offend anyone but it seems strange to me. I mean: this film doesn't take place on 4th of July - as far as I know. But: Please correct me - I am eager to learn!


Goodbye! I'll go and watch another movie - or this one again? And:


"I like music with my moonlight."

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Intermediate message

Sorry for being absent such a long time! I was / am sick and for that I was watching many old UFA pictures - the German classics... But I am feeling much better now: So prepare yourself for some new posts! :")

Meanwhile I want to take the chance and say "I bid you wellcome!" to all new followers:


Hej, Sari! It's lovely to have you here!


Hello, Matthew! I am honoured that you are following my blog - I know you do such great work - and sooo much of it!


And: welcome, Whitney - a fellow Janenite and lover of classic novels! And not to forget: Bette Davis Fan!! yay!!!


I am happy to have you all here! I hope you'll have fun and feel free to give comments!


A marvellous day to all of you overseas - and a lovely night to all European friends!! ^ ^

Friday, 27 August 2010

"I never drink... wine."

In 1897 a book was published by an Irish author that was not an immediate bestseller. That it should become in the following century. In the 1920s the novel was adapted as a play and became later a longtime hit on broadway. The actor who played the lead should star in the 1931 Universal Studios-adaptation of the play: Bela Lugosi. The author was Bram Stoker and the novel was DRACULA.

In a nutshell:

Renfield (Dwight Frye), a young British estate agent, travels to Transylvania to make a deal with Count Dracula (Bela Lugosi). Dracula, who is a vampire, takes possession of him and travels with Renfield to England. There Dracula meets Dr. Seward (Herbert Bunston), Mina Seward (Helen Chandler) -Dr. Sewards daughter -, Mina's fiancé John Harker (David Manners) and Lucy (Frances Dade), Mina's friend. Dracula turns Lucy into a vampire and tries the same to Mina, but is finally killed by famous Dr. Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan).


Watch out for
:

The voice of the harbour master - it is director Tod Browning himself!


Schmooze:
  • The melody played at the opening credits is from Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" and was Universal Studio's signature tune for their horror movies as THE MUMMY or the like.

  • Though he was the star Bela Lugosi earned only $500/week.

  • It exists a memo saying: "Dracula is only to attack women." - apparently there shouldn't be any gay subtext.

  • Bela Lugosi and Edward Van Sloan are the only actors out of this picture who appeared also in the original 1927 play on Broadway.

  • The hungarian innkeeper is played by Michael Visaroff, who also appears in Tod Browning's FREAKS (1932).

  • A spanish version was filmed silmutaniously (same time, same set, different actors.)

  • You can see the set (Carfax Abbey & Dracula's castle) in other Universal movies.

  • It is said, that Bela Lugosi doesn't blink once in this film - I have not checked that yet..

  • Dracula never shows fangs in this film.

  • Bette Davis was supposed to play Mina but producer Carl Laemmle, jr. wasn't positive about her sex appeal.

  • Helen Chandler and Frances Dade were good friends.

  • Conrad Veidt, Paul Muni and Lon Chaney (who died before this film was realised) were considered to play Dracula.

  • In Dracula's castle you can see some opossums - there are no opossums in mid/east europe. That applies too for other animals like the armadillo.

  • Dwight Frye and Bela Lugosi appeared together with Frederic March in a broadway comedy play THE DEVIL AND THE CHEESE in 1926. Neither Lugosi nor Frye should play many comedies on screen after DRACULA.

  • Geraldine Dvorak, who plays one of Dracula's wifes was Greta Garbo's stand-in.

  • The first lines in this movie are spoken by Carla Laemmle - Carl Laemmle's niece - she plays a young tourist, who drives in the carriage together with Renfield and other people.


Sight-read:

  • You can hear Franz Schubert's "Unfinished Symphony" and the prelude to Richard Wagner's "Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg".


Murphy's Law:

  • Renfields briefcase appears magically on the table whilst it was seconds before in Draculas hands.

  • Dr. Seward's asylum is considered to be near London and in Whitby - must be a really colossal estate for Whitby is on the Yorkshire coast in nothern England..

My favourite feature:

Dracula's castle.

Favourite character:

Renfield - I am a fan of Dwight Frye..

Scene to see:

Renfield arrives and Dracula welcomes him to his castle.


Quotes corner:

One of the most famous film lines ever is delivered by Dracula himself:

"Children of the night, what music they make."


This film differs for the most part from the novel, which I am a great fan of. If you want to see a more authentic adaptation I recommend the 1992 version with Gary Oldman as Dracula to you - I really love that film, but won't make a revision because it is way to young for this blog.. *sigh* - maybe I should make a parallel blog with newer films.. naah.. - The 1931 version was planned to be more authentic to the novel, but after the Great Depression to adapt the play was less expensive.

I like the fact that music is used very sparingly - which is normal for the beginning talkies: Music was only used when actually music was played in a scene and in the credits of course. The nontalking sequences are more intensive that way.

I love Bela Lugosi because he resembles my late grandfather and there for it's a great delight for me to watch DRACULA.

Goodbye I'll go and watch another movie - or this one again? -

"Isn't this a strange conversation for men who AREN'T crazy?"

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Lunch at the usual time

A play by Terence Rattigan - usually perfomed in two one-act plays, in which the same actor performes the male main characters and the same actrice the female main characters - became a movie, directed by Delbert Mann which brought David Niven the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role with the shortest performance (16 minutes!) on screen that ever won this price: SEPARATE TABLES. (1958)


In a nutshell:

Serveral people are living in a little boarding house in England - some of them for years. Pat Cooper (Wendy Hiller), the landlady, has to find out that her secret fiancé John Malcolm (Burt Lancaster), still cares for his ex-wife (Rita Hayworth) and the longtime tennant Mrs. Railton-Bell (Gladys Cooper) discovers that Major Pollock (David Niven) - to whom her timid and prudish daughter Sybil (Deborah Kerr) is secretly attracted - is no Major at all and is pleaded guilty that he badgded women in a cinema. Now Mrs. Railton-Bell does everything in her power to evict him out.

Watch out for:
David Niven's and Deborah Kerr's performance! It's the cat's pjyamas!!


Schmooze:

  • Wendy Hiller also received an Acadamy Award for her performance.
  • Gladys Cooper was the most popular Pin Up Girl for the British in WWI. She and Cathleen Nesbitt (who played her friend in SEPARATE TABLES) both played the mother of Prof. Higgins (played by Rex Harrison) in MY FAIR LADY - Gladys Cooper in the movie version and Cathleen Nesbitt on Broadway.

  • Though she was introduced with the phrase: "...not a day over 30" Rita Hayworth was actually 40 years old.

  • The pool split Miss Meacham (May Hallat) does was cutted afterwards. It was actually her doing the split and no stand-in was used, though you are not able to see that now.

  • The title song "Separate Tables" became a bestselling single for Vic Damone.

  • Instead of Rita Hayworth Vivien Leigh was designated for the role of Ann Shankland, John Malcolm's ex-wife. She dropped out as her then husband Laurence Olivier didn't assume the direction of this picture.

My favourite feature:

I confess: In thisfilm I don't have an eye for anything but the ensemble.

Scene to see:
The conversation between the Major and Sybil after she learned, that he behaved in a way she can't put up with!

Window shopping:
I'd like to sneak a peek into that fashion magazine that Rita Hayworth pages through.

Quotes Corner:
"I have no couriosity about the working classes."


This film sure is talkative - it has to. After all: This is a play. And for that it may come off a bit tiring if you are not used to films like it.
It was pretty daring in the 1950ies because: It is all about sex and domination. You won't see anything and compared to todays TV-Crime Series as C.S.I. and the like. It seems not to be that dreadful that the Major nudged (!) a women in a cinema - nonetheless molestation starts in little things. Despite that he still engages my sympathie - and that is a bit confusing for me. But as he is pictured as a very VERY inhibited man I feel something like compassion.
And David Niven is incredible! Similarly is Deborah Kerr! You would not believe that this is the same woman that kisses Burt Lancaster in FROM HERE TO ETERNITY in that famous beach scene - she is so a mousy person in SEPARATE TABLES!
And I love Rod Taylor's facial expressions in this movie - his girlfriend (Audrey Dalton) is frequently trying to distract him from learning for his medical exam by seducing him..
Goodbye I'll go and watch another movie - or this one again? -

"Cherrie-bye"

And as a goody - Gladys Cooper, dream of oh so many soldiers in WWI: Enjoy it, boys! ;"p


Saturday, 21 August 2010

"I always wanted to meet Mrs. Thorwald!"

In 1942 Cornell Woolrich (whose real name was William Irish) wrote a short story called "It had to be murder", in which a man watches a murder from his window. It should become an immortal film classic in 1954 - directed by Alfred Hitchcock and with a changed title: REAR WINDOW.

In a nutshell:
After an accident photojournalist L.B. "Jeff" Jeffries (James Stewart) is forced to stay in his appartment. He passes the time watching his neighbours across the courtyard. After a chain of strange events he assumes that his neighbour Lars Thorwald (Raymond Burr) has killed his wife.
Jeff, his girlfriend - the glamour girl Lisa Fremont (Grace Kelly) - and Stella - Jeff's nurse (Thelma Ritter) - start to investigate. ...


Watch out for:
  • Alfred Hitchcock's cameo!


Schmooze:

  • Judith Evelyn - Miss Lonelyheart - played also in GIANT (1956) and THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV (1958).

  • Allegedly Raymond Burr was supposed to colour his hair grey, because he should look like David O. Selznick, with whom Hitchcock has had some quarrels.
  • Though they were within the Paramount studios and especially build for this movie, the apartments in Thorwald's house had electricity and running water, and could actually be lived in. Miss Torso (Georgine Darcy) allegedly relaxed in her "apartment" between the takes as if it was her real home.
  • You may know Ross Bagdasarian - the Songwriter - as the singing soldier in STALAG 17 (1953) and creator of Alvin and the Chipmunks.
  • Hitchcock did the direction directly from Jeff's apartment - the other actors outside had little earpieces to get the direction.


  • For the German (-speaking) filmviewers: After the rights to this movie reverted to Hitchcock all prints with the first German dubbing of 1955 were destroyed, so that a new dubbing had to be created in 1984 for the new release. (I think, this is why Jeff uses the word "arse" - I am pretty sure, that he didn't do that in the 1955 version..)

  • This was the 4th and last score for Hitchcock by Franz Waxman.

  • Maybe you have recognized the voice of Jeff's editor Gunnison, whilst he is talking to Jeff on the phone: It's Gig Young!

Murphy's Law:
  • Lisa's slippers are magically arranged after she had tossed them in her suitcase shortly before. Where can I learn that, please? This would do wonders for my packing skills!
  • The drinks in several glasses seem to refresh themself.

My favourite feature:

The set!! All this lights and people and stories!! It's a bit like a giant living dollhouse!

Scene to see:

Jeff is set about to eat his breakfast and Stella starts talking about how Thorwald possibly could have cut up his wife. - But, please!, watch the whole movie!! I can't imagine that you'll regret that!

Window shopping:
Lisa's night gown, her white and black dress from her entrance scene, her jeans and her black dress will go perfectly with my garderobe. (I sure have a soft spot for Edith Head's fashion!)

Quotes corner:

I picked this one, because right now it fits the weather situation (here) perfectly:

"You'd think the rain would've cooled things down. All it did was make the heat wet."



This film may be the perfect Hitchcock film for beginners. You can relate to the hero (you are watching movies like he is watching his neighbours, so I guess you are at least a bit interested in other ones' lives..), Grace Kelly is so photogenic it almost kills me and these little stories about the neighbours intrigue every one I know so far. Plus: I am a huge Thelma Ritter fan! I love wise-cracking dames!
















(I love how James Stewart turns and starts talking to the audience. I like my stars talking to me..)

Goodbye! I've got to go and watch another movie and:


"Oh, I love funny exit lines."