What's a Christmas without a fee movie related gifts! One in particular I'm paging through now is Footsteps in the Fog by Jeff Kraft and Aaron Leventhal. It's a look at Alfred Hitchcock's San Francisco. The book is a nice change of pace in that it's not a rehash of Hitchcock information and mental analysis. It's a look at the films made in the Frisco area and Hitch's connections to the area.
A pleasant surprise, which I'm reading now, is a chapter on Shadow of a Doubt. It never clicked with me that Santa Rosa was north of Frisco.
The book goes into great depth on the buildings used in the film, what they look like today, maps, etc. The Newton home, at 904 McDonald Avenue, is still there. What really impressed me were photos from the film with prominent Santa Rosa landmarks in the background, compared to today. Also neat tidbits on filming at night during the war, the Til-Two Bar, Edna May Wonacott, and KSRO ("...with studios in Vallejo and Santa Rosa").
The book also touches on Vertigo, The Birds, Psycho, and even a bit on Rebecca (yes, you heard that right). Check out the information on Hitch's ranch in Scotts Valley too.
It sounds like 20th Century Fox is going to auction off it's archive of star contracts, letters, and internal documents for charity (good for them). Names mentioned include Cary Grant, Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Elvis, Fay Wray, and many more. Save your money - the auction will be held January 25 by Swann Galleries.
Some background on the Montgomery home in Towners, New York:
Robert Montgomery was one of the celebrity residents of Patterson. The Montgomery family owned a farm in Towners, and had a long affiliation with the Town...
...In March, 1939, Montgomery told Collier's Magazine that his farm in Towners was his refuge from his Hollywood career. The article noted:
"He has a farm in a place called Towners, near Brewster in New York State, and that's his dish... He lives on the farm three months a year and anyone visiting there who mentions the picture business is apt to get slugged. ...He'll be an actor until he dies - Montgomery will. But not in Hollywood. It's too far from Brewster, New York."
Montgomery and Elizabeth Allen were divorced in December, 1950, and Elizabeth continued to reside on the farm. She died in 1992 at the farm, and the property was sold after her death. It had been in the Montgomery family for seven decades. Robert Montgomery remarried four days after the divorce, and he and his wife, the former Elizabeth Grant Harkness, divided their time between New York City and East Hampton, Long Island. He died of cancer in Manhattan in 1981. The farm was purchased by the State of New York in the 1990s, and is now part of Wonder Lake State Park.
I saw It's a Wonderful Life on the big screen this weekend. While I started losing feeling in the lower-half of my body from the "vintage" seating, it was a fun time.
Watching an old movie on the screen lets you notice little things you never did on the television.
In the sledding scene at the beginning of the movie (where Harry slides into the water), all the kids have skull & crossbones patches on their hats.
All the Coca-Cola advertising in Mr. Gower's drug store.
The metal skull on Mr. Potter's desk (when George is getting offered the job with Potter).
Being able to recognize the portraits of family members as actual photos of the actors (not filler).
Once I've seen my IAWL for the year, I know it's Christmas time. I remember as a kid, trying to watch every showing of it on television - or at least part of it. Now if I try to watch it on TV (I believe NBC is the only network airing it) I go nuts with all the commercials.
I'll leave you with an interesting article I ran into about Frank Capra's films and his faith. Of particular interest is the story about a stranger visiting Capra in the hospital (when he had Tuberculosis) and giving him somewhat of a "pep-talk."
Anyway, blogging may slow down a bit with the holidays around the corner. Priorities, ya know!
I'd make it a recurring theme if I had more pics from that movie (it sounds so good)...
Well, we got out of Nolan's alive tonight . . . Robert Montgomery compliments himself and Rosalind Russell in this scene for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's "Fast and Loose," produced by Frederick Stephani and directed by Edwin Marin.
Short post today, but there's a load of new classic DVD news up on The Digital Bits web site. While you're doing the dance of joy for the upcoming release of Here Comes Mr. Jordan, there's some other interesting stuff coming as well (or has already arrived):
Gary Cooper Signature Series (I have on my list to pick up The Fountainhead one of these days)
Alfred Hitchcock: 3-Disc Collector's Edition (The Manxman, Rich and Strange, The Skin Game, Murder!, and The Ring) - which reminds me, does anyone know who puts out a good copy of Secret Agent on DVD?
Not many people know what Bob Montgomery did beyond his film career. The truth is, life didn't stop for him at the film studio.
I ran across some some interesting text from The Direct Persuaders, a book by Vance Packard: As the 1956 campaign got under way, party spokesmen made it clear that the days of whistle stops and torchlight parades were dead. The President himself stated he was going to rely on mass communication, and his press secretary mentioned that everybody had a lot of ideas on how to gear the 1956 campaign to the new age we are in, "the electronics age." Primarily this meant television—which had brought a new kind of persuader-consultant into the party councils: the TV adviser and make-up consultant. When in the spring the nation was intensely curious to know whether President Eisenhower would or would not run again in view of his illness, the tip-off came when reporters saw Robert Montgomery, the President's TV adviser, walking into the White House the day before an announcement was expected. This could only mean the President was going on the air, which probably meant he was going to run. The hunch was correct. After that appearance, incidentally, Mr. Montgomery received a scolding from TV columnist Harriet Van Home, of the Republican newspaper The New York World Telegram and Sun. She mentioned that Mr. Montgomery, "whose NBC show is also a B.B.D.&O. enterprise," was on hand to advise the President on lighting, make-up, and delivery. Then she stated:
Now I am going to be presumptuous and make a few suggestions to Mr. Montgomery. First, Mr. M., those pale-rimmed spectacles must go. They enhance the natural pallor that comes to every man after forty winters have besieged the brow. Also, pale rims tend to "wash out" when worn by anybody of fair coloring. Second, both lighting and make-up -- if, indeed, the President permitted the pancake touch-up he submitted to so reluctantly at the Chicago convention -- seemed to be aimed at making Gen. Eisenhower look pale. A man just back from a Southern vacation should look tanned, Mr. Montgomery, and the lighting should play up this healthy glow. [The President had been in Georgia to recuperate.]
I get a kick out of Miss Netherlands below. Yep, that's the middle finger. She's the one who put her finger in the dike (you can't see the bandage on the finger real well here). At the same time, there's a fellow who's winking at all of the female performers on stage. They show the wink, then show this....coincidence? I think not!
OK, last Robert Taylor movie this week...I promise.
TCM recently showed 1936's Small Town Girl, based on the book of the same name by Ben Ames Williams. Since it showed up in my TiVo list, I thought I'd give it a try.
It's the day of the Yale vs. Harvard football game. Kay Brannan (Janet Gaynor) is trodding away at her job at the small town grocery, when mobs of hyped up college students whiz by in fur coats, banners, and donkeys. She's missing out the fun of the game and, in modern terms, is bummed out.After the game, and a tantrum over the repetative pattern of dinner time at her parents' house, she storms out for an evening walk. Along drives RT (Dr. Bob Dakin) in a slick white convertible roadster, looking for directions to Tait's Tavern. You know where this is going. Kay semi-reluctantly gets into the car to lead the way.
I'll tell you, I've never seen so much drunk driving in a movie. Not that I want to lecture folks here, but boy, times have changed.
After a night of multiple bottles of champagne, Kay & Dr. Bob get married. Kay knows what's up, but Dr. Bob is drunker than a skunk. He has been taken advantage of, so to speak. Heh, here's the kicker - Dr. Bob has a fiancee.
By no means is this movie the next Citizen Kane, just another fun-to-watch romantic comedy from the 1930s. So hide your car keys, sit back, grab a Cosmo, and watch up.
Oh, and guess who else is in the movie - Jimmy Stewart, with eighth billing as Elmer.
Huh, what? Sorry, I almost forgot. Watched a romantic comedy a bit back from 1939 titled Remember? Nothing really spectacular, but the film did have its moments.
The quick rundown: Robert Taylor & Lew Ayres are buddies. Lew returns from a trip to the Bahamas with a fiancee. Upon meeting the fiancee, Greer Garson, Robert goes to work trying to steal her heart. It works. At lunch with Greer, Robert tells her to look into his eyes, "keep staring, they'll change color." At a dinner party with Greer's parents, the hokey mom (Billie Burke) hears about this trick & tries it too. So do the rest of the female dinner guests - they don't get it. Eventually Greer & RT get married.
Back to the plot...RT works at an ad agency & Lew works for the client, a drug company. One of the new drugs they're testing is something to make you forget for a certain amount of time.
Meanwhile, working at an ad agency means long hours and a postponned honeymoon. Greer & RT decide to divorce. Enter Lew and the test drug. A couple of sprinkles into martinis and they'll forget their troubles and get back together. They forget six months & the courtship starts all over again.
The best part of the movie, which was a surprise and got a good laugh out of me, came in the last 30 seconds of the movie. I'd repeat it here but I'd spoil it. Seriously, it's good.
Cinemactor Robert Montgomery, 45, was going into a business that calls for an air of pontifical certitude, but he had not yet adjusted himself to the part. "I don't think possession of a $60 typewriter qualifies me as an expert on anything," he said in his suite at London's Claridge's. Still at work on an English-made movie (Your Witness), he begins this week, in Robert Montgomery Speaking (Thurs. 10:10 p.m., ABC), a new series of radio comment on politics, international affairs, and the arts.
Republican Montgomery (he campaigned for Willkie in 1940 and Dewey in 1948) describes himself as both anti-Socialist and antiCommunist. But he does not intend always to follow the G.O.P. line. "I will speak for myself and I will speak freely," he promised, fingering the script of his first broadcast, which will be recorded and flown to the U.S. "I have no wish to reform anything, no wish to preach and no advice to offer. I just want to talk to people about things that interest me and that I hope will interest them." His sponsor, Lee Hats, decided on Montgomery (reportedly at $5,000 per week) when Lee ended its 3½-year tie-up with Gossipist Drew Pearson. Asked his opinion of his predecessor, Montgomery replied with a brisk "No comment." But he admitted that "I'm not going to use a crystal ball on this program."
I read this on Wikipedia via a message board talking about a top 10 geek girl article. Someone was asking why Hedy wasn't on the list. I nearly fell off my chair after learning this:
Hedy Lamarr and composer George Antheil received U.S. patent #2,292,387 for their Secret Communication System. This early version of frequency hopping used a piano roll to change between 88 frequencies and was intended to make radio-guided torpedoes harder for enemies to detect or jam. The patent was little-known until recently because Lamarr applied for it under her then-married name of Hedy Kiesler Markey...Lamarr's frequency-hopping idea served as the basis for modern spread-spectrum communication technology used in devices ranging from cordless telephones to WiFi Internet connections...
December 26 10:15 PM Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) A prizefighter who died before his time is reincarnated as a tycoon with a murderous wife. Cast: Robert Montgomery, Evelyn Keyes, Claude Rains. Dir: Alexander Hall.
Better news - it's coming out on DVD on 2/6/07. More info to come.
I remember the first time I watched 1940's Irene. I was sitting in a Days Inn in Sedona, Arizona. I watched the first 15 minutes then headed out to play tourist.
It's two years later and I've finally watched the whole thing. Boy, what I was missing. I'll leave you to TCM to read up on the plot, but in a nutshell: " An Irish shop girl falls in love with a high society boy." Shop girl being Anna Neagle and high society boy being Ray Milland. A great supporting cast of rich character actors too: Arthur Treacher, Billie Burke, Roland Young, and more.
I nearly had a heart attack and fell off the chair when the film switched from B&W to Technicolor. Sure, it's not the same color you see today, but Technicolor has character: Anna Neagle's red hair & blue dress; Ray Milland's jet black hair; a slick black dance floor. Did I mention Ray Milland in color? The film clicks back into B&W after about 20 minutes. That's an odd feeling.
Oh, and Alan Marshal, another high society boy vying for Anna's heart, kinda looks like Timothy Dalton to me.
I wasn't going to buy it, but now that I read that It's a Wonderful Life has been given a "facelift," I might just buy it again:
Republic first released this film on DVD back in 1998, and the transfer was fine for its day. Paramount has recently taken over distribution of the film however, and for its 60th anniversary, they've taken the opportunity to restore the film and create a brand new high-definition master. The new disc features a superior video presentation in the original full frame aspect ratio. While the previous DVD had a slightly digital look to it, this new image is wonderfully smooth and detailed, without appearing edgy or artificially filtered. It's presented in the original B&W, and features excellent contrast, texture and shadow detailing. The image is noticeably cleaner than the previous DVD, with far less visible dust, dirt and nicks on the print, and with an appropriately film-like quality that's very pleasing to the eye. The audio is improved as well, presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono. Dialogue is clear at all times, and the track thankfully fixes the defects that hampered the previous DVD's audio, which caused the sound to occasionally take on a muffled quality.
Now that the spammers have found my comment function, I've had to kill it. Since I'm using some sory of snazzy template, it's not working with the security function Blogger has with "normal" blogs. This might take me a while. In the meantime, feel free to email me from the link in the upper right corner to my profile.
November 19, 1947: American film stars, from left to right, Robert Montgomery, Loretta Young, Bob Hope, Alexis Smith and her husband Craig Stevens, aboard the Queen Mary at Southampton, England. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
F.T. We were talking about your statement that "actors are cattle."
A.H. Oh yes. Well, what I was leading up to is that when I arrived on the set, the first day of shooting, Carole Lombard had had a corral built, with the three sections, and in each one there was a live young cow. Round the neck of each of them there was a white disk tied on with a ribbon, with three names: Carole Lombard, Robert Montgomery, and the name of a third member of the cast, Gene Raymond.
I swear I've seen a photo of the cattle...but can't locate it. If you know of one, let me know!
"Who, me?", queries Robert Young after taking a gander at the inmressionistic art work tacked on his door by Laraine Day. That wolf impression (not garnered from Bob's personal life) is from his role in RKO Radio's "Those Endearing Young Charms", in which he wolfs his way into and out of the trusting arms of Laraine Day.
Radio's chillers, under the disapproving glares of U.S. parents & teachers (TIME, March 24), had had a bad year, but things were looking brighter. Last week CBS spread itself handsomely on an old, solidly successful crime show, Suspense. The program was extended to 55 minutes, moved to a good early evening spot (Sat., 8 p.m.) and placed in the capable hands of Robert Montgomery, a past cinemaster at leering and bloodletting. Montgomery handles the show's gory details as narrator. As occasional actor, he may recreate some of his grislier movie roles (Night Must Fall, Rage in Heaven). He thinks it should develop into "a damn good dramatic show. The full hour opens up a vista of new material that is fantastic, just fantastic."