Thursday, November 15, 2018

And Just How Can I Get a Tour Ticket?

"SO YOU WANT TO VISIT A MOVIE STUDIO...Well, then, why not take a personally conducted tour through Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.  The accompanying pictures show what you would see on the studio lot in Culver City, California. 

PICTURE 5.  As we head for the sound stages we pass the studio barber shop, where Robert Montgomery reads the paper as he gets a shampoo from barber Carl Renner and a nail trim from manicurist Lola Bardsley."

(I wonder if the barber had to sign a non-disclosure clause or if he just knew not to cross Eddie Mannix.)  

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

I Wonder Who Picked Up the Tab

 Love this photo.  It appears some small photo concern took the photo and decided to try for a few extra dollars selling it as a souvenir of Hollywood.  It is 10x13 inches and the parties are identified in the photo's background.  I somehow wonder if they made any money off it since such items would seem to be rather pricey for the average movie fan in 1932, in the midst of the Great Depression and all. 

It is a unique photo of Hollywood royalty.  Douglas Fairbanks was at the top for a very long time, and his son Jr. is well on his way to a successful career of his own.  And Mrs. Fairbanks Jr. (Joan, of course) is rather successful on her own.  Bob Montgomery is doing okay for himself and there's that new super hot property, the young Mr. Gable.  

For a closer look at the couples, first we have Bob and Betty.  Betty is seldom smiling in such photos.  Was she uncomfortable in the group, or in front of a camera? 

Bob and Betty were rather formal in public.  The main physical contact is Betty holding onto Bob's arm.  That's why it is a bit strange seeing Bob's hand on Jr.'s shoulder.  They were best buds at this time, a little "bromance" going on!

Joan and Doug Sr. were definitely not a couple. 

This is the couple that had much of the country wondering.  As in, "Are you kidding me?"  Ria was 17 years older than Clark and not the hot blonde you would expect to be at his side.  (Excuse my cattiness ... just a tad envious!)

Thursday, November 08, 2018

To Beard or Not to Beard ...

TCM will be showing SIX Robert Montgomery movies this month!  That's just great of them.  The more Bob's movies are shown, the more chance there is for some fortunate soul to discover our wonderful Mr. Montgomery.   And it's a good variety of some of his better movies, from war movies to a fantasy (Jordan) to a comedy/mystery (Fast and Loose).

Do note the beard on Bob in this still from Hell Below (1930), the first movie being shown.   I have on occasion voiced my dislike of the mustache he wore in Trouble for Two (1936).  (As in why mess with a perfectly handsome face!)  But, the mustache and beard combination seems to work much better for Bob.  I bet it took him just a few days to grow it. 

                     Bob and Walter Huston in Hell Below (1933)

Bob gets to demonstrate his beard-growing talent again in They Were Expendable (1945), the next movie being shown.  That's quite a full beard he has.  Yes, a multi-talented man was our Bob.

   Ward Bond, Bob and John Wayne in They Were Expendable (1945)

All six movies and their show dates and times (all EST):

                Nov  9  - Hell Below (1933) at 1:45 p.m.
                Nov 10 - They Were Expendable (1945) at 5:45 a.m.
                Nov 12 - When Ladies Meet (1933) at 10:45 a.m.
                Nov 17 - Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) at 8:00 p.m.
                Nov 25 - Fast and Loose (1939) at 4:30 a.m.
                Nov 30 - The Last of Mrs. Cheyney (1937) at 9:30 a.m.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Mark December 1st on Your Calendar!

A tad late Happy Birthday to Mr. Joel McCrea, born November 5, 1905 in Pasadena, CA.  A cowboy at heart, when Joel married actress Frances Dee, the young couple moved to his new ranch house near Moorpark, CA.  The ranch was quite large initially, much of it being sold off during the housing boom in the late 50s and early 60s.  (Mr. McCrea was a very wealthy man.)  The couple remained married until his death in 1990, a mere 57 years later.  

To find out more about the ranch, check out this site, McCrea Ranch Foundation.  Be sure and check the upcoming events.  A tour of the ranch sounds like great fun.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween - "Night Must Fall"

This post will focus on the two stars of the film, Robert Montgomery and Rosalind Russell.

     Robert Montgomery & Rosalind Russell as Danny and Olivia

Rosalind Russell (Olivia Grayne)  Born Catherine Rosalind Russell on June 4, 1907 in Waterbury, Connecticut.  After working as a model and on the stage, Russell moved to Los Angeles in the early 1930's.  She was hired initially by Universal Studios but was unhappy there.  She set her sights on MGM and was given a contract there where she played mostly sophisticated "other women" at first.  "Night Must Fall" was a welcome change of pace for her and she worked well with Robert Montgomery.  They had already starred together in 1934's "Forsaking All Others" and in 1936's "Trouble for Two".  She went on to do "Live, Love and Learn", also in 1937, and in 1939 she and Montgomery starred in "Fast and Loose".  She also was one of the stars of 1939's "The Women" and was able to show what a wonderful comedian she was.  This was showcased in 1940's "His Girl Friday" with Cary Grant.  Russell's career continued into the 1970's.  She died November 28, 1976 at the age of 69.

                          Rosalind Russell as Olivia Grayne

Robert Montgomery (Danny)  As most of you already know, Henry Montgomery Jr. was born May 21, 1904 in Fishkill Landing, New York.  Having seen the stage version of "Night Must Fall" on Broadway he was determined to play Danny on film.  Having been pigeonholed by MGM as a light romantic lead, L.B. Mayer was not interested in casting him in such an unusual dramatic role.  Montgomery badgered Mayer into doing the film and giving him the role.  Some say Mayer (who was not particularly fond of Montgomery) did so hoping he would fail in the role.  Just the opposite was true as Bob was nominated for an Academy Award for his work.  His performance was remarkable.  He was so charming and yet so sinister.  He could be conflicted to the point where you feel sorry for him and turn into ice cold evil when Olivia confronts him as being the murderer.  Montgomery had a long career in Hollywood (in film), in New York (in television and directing on Broadway), and also in the Navy during during WWII.  He died on September 27, 1981.  He was 77.

                             Robert Montgomery as Danny

"Night Must Fall" is a wonderful film.  It was one of the first psychological thriller and will remind you of Hitchcock's work.  In my opinion, the stage play actually did a better job of focusing on the relationship between Danny and Olivia.  She is afraid of him and suspects that he is a murderer but at the same time is attracted to him.

                    Montgomery and Russell as Danny and Olivia

She at one point feels sorry for him because it is obvious he is disturbed and afraid of what he has done and that he might get caught.  She goes as far as lying for him at one point.  The end of the play has her trying to take the blame, but he won't let her.  He even kisses her goodbye before the police take him away though he had just earlier told her he was going to kill her.  All that has changed in the film.  I guess MGM couldn't abide such a strange relationship and had to clean it up with the ending they came up with.  It would have been much more effective had they stuck to Emlyn Williams story as written.

                    Russell and Montgomery as Olivia and Danny     

This was the film that turned me into a rabid Montgomery fan.  And, as I jokingly like to say, if you can fall in love with a guy carrying a head in a hatbox, well, that's some actor!!!!

Hope you have a Happy Halloween, and do yourself a favor and watch "Night Must Fall"!

(Thanks very much to guest blogger Debbie for this excellent four-part series on NMF.  Gee, you'd think she liked it!)