Monday, July 31, 2006

Fast and Loose

I absolutely love 1939's Fast and Loose. If you haven't seen it, think along the lines of The Thin Man - with Robert Montgomery as a rare book dealer and Rosalind Russell as his wife. Bob n Rosalind make such a great couple.

"Mr. Sloane, I've got it. Your face has been bothering me all through dinner.

Think of me living with it for two years."

I'll leave you with a Roaslind line: "Oh grandpa, what big eyes you have."

Tonight on the BIG Screen

I'm back from vacation. In a nutshell: something bit me on the ankle & it itched & swelled up for a week; it was 100 outside - we camped all week; thunderstorms that look like hell is coming suck. Enough about me.

The event I went to was aviation themed & included an outdoor aviation movie each night on a three story screen. Very cool actually. I ended up watching the first hour of The High & The Mighty (John Wayne, 1954), 633 Squadron (Cliff Robertson, 1964), and The Battle of Britain (Michael Caine, Laurence Olivier & half the free world, 1969). You get goose bumps watching the beginning credits of old movies on the big screen.

Anyhow, Cliff Robertson was there to introduce 633 Squadron. I was hoping to get his autograph, but bounding over masses of people in pitch black doesn't work well.

Why can't they show more classic movies on the big screen? Sigh...

Monday, July 24, 2006

Cary Grant is a Bum

Heh, now that I have that off my chest.

Just kidding, I like screwball Cary.

No new news here - just liked how this is stated on someone's web site:

"For a time he was Mr. Sharp Dressed Man in Hollywood. Style could have been his middle name and as Hollywood's Archbishop of Class for years he refused to carry a wallet because it ruined the drape of his suits. Now that is class! Indeed some would say he made that other icon of style, Cary Grant look positively scruffy in comparsion! Maybe a bit strong but Montgomery definately had that something, which set him above the rest!"

Think about that for a few days - I'm off for vacation.

Friday, July 21, 2006

A Date With David Smith

Heh, this YouTubed scene from Mr. & Mrs. Smith is priceless. Thanks romanleader.

Photo Friday

Today's photo is Tyrone Power. Since Tyrone was a USMC aviator, this photo is actually for his film Crash Dive from 1943. Download a larger photo here.

Just my two cents on Crash Dive, I watched it on of the Fox Movie Channel not too long ago. In all it's 1943 color beauty, the film includes Dana Andrews, Anne Baxter, and is available on DVD. Submarine movies are always entertaining...

Thanks to JTK - Kay Francis/Pre-code blog.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Thing in the Window

Ladies & gentlemen, it's time for another Robert Montgomery radio show. This installment is from an episode of Suspense from 1949 . Just what is that thing he sees in the neighbor's window?

I'll let you find out...

MP3 - 6.2 MB

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

One More DVD To The List

On my monthly run to Sam's Club, a run through their DVD section reminded me that the Film Noir Classic Collection Vol. 3 DVD set was released on Tuesday. The set includes the first release of Lady in the Lake on DVD. Mine is in the mail Amazon, so watch for a "review" of the goods in the near future.

Lady in the Lake includes a commentary by film historians Alain Silver and James Ursini as well as the theatrical trailer.

Oh yeah, there's other movies in the set. They include: Border Incident, His Kind of Woman, On Dangerous Ground, and The Racket.

It's one more Bob movie on DVD...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Blondie on a PT Boat

Now that I have your attention, I've got another home decoration tip for ya. You won't find this on Trading Spaces. Decorate that rec room or the hallway to the basement with some reproduction posters from
  • Blondie of the Follies
  • They Were Expendable
Both are 11x17 and start at $19.99.

I vote for the Blondie artwork...

Monday, July 17, 2006

For The Library

Added to the Amazon Wishlist:

In the Picture: Production Stills from the TCM Archives

In the Picture: Production Stills from the TCM Archives offers a rare collection of B&W photographs taken on movie sets from the silent era to the 1960's, giving readers a glimpse of Hollywood at work in the Golden Era. Highlighting the energy, glamour and challenge of filmmaking, these production stills capture beloved movie moments both in front of and behind the camera. In the Picture offers a unique perspective on Hollywood history from the great studio productions of MGM, Warner Bros. and RKO.

Format: Hardcover 10 3/4 x 9 1/2, 160 pp and 143 tritone images
Publisher: Chronicle Books

Includes pics from TCM favs such as:
  • Bringing Up Baby
  • Dancing Lady
  • Faithless
  • Forsaking All Others
  • Hide-Out
  • Inspiration
  • Lady in the Lake
  • Night Must Fall
  • North By Northwest
  • They Were Expendable
  • The Thinn Man
  • Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
It's a bargain book over at Amazon - cheaper than TCM.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Call Me Satan

Warning: the post today is of little substance.

My finger is itching to delete Angel on My Shoulder from TiVo. I've made it through the first half-hour and it's grating on me. It's Paul Muni. I'm all for tacky gangster performances, but this is too much. It it just me or is this the photo negative of Here Comes Mr. Jordan?

Mr. Rains is delightful as Mephistopheles. If you think about it, he certainly has "character range." I can picture his resume: "...included acting roles as Lucifer, angel supervisor, US senator, Nazi..."

And just because you shouldn't walk away from this blog daily without learning something: Claude was almost blind in one eye due to injury from a gas attack during WWI (IMDB).


Thursday, July 13, 2006

They All Have It

File this under "I love this photo," from 1935's No More Ladies.

As the New York Times puts it so well: "Joan Crawford has it, Robert Montgomery has it, the dialogue has it, Adrian's gowns have it, and the opulent Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer sets have it."

Photo is from the collection over at

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Bob Gets Analyzed

Being an Alfred Hitchcock fan, I have a healthy collection of books on the director. I'm proud to report that none of the books are the type that over analyze the "train into tunnel" scene from North By Northwest, or try to determine why the use of shadows explains how Hitch was feeling that day, blah, blah.

I did run into an article online though that does the analysis bit on Robert Montgomery.

The Rich Boy
The Reticent Artistry of Robert Montgomery

By Donald Phelps

"In the bird kingdom, one might envision [Cary] Grant as a starling: swooping, staccato voiced, a darkness highlighted in green or purple. Montgomery might be a hummingbird: a diminutive, focused brilliance, wings in constant febrile motion, even when apparently static. "

I had to smile on the next blurb - It must be the dinner jacket that explains my interest in the "Robert trifecta:"

"Not too much later along, he would display further nuance; a growing alertness to certain hard-core possibilities in the white dinner jacket and black dress trousers of the well-to-do young man. These Montgomery shared in shifts with those two other charismatic Roberts, Taylor and Young."

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Sleep, My Sweet

9 p.m. Saturday rolled around & there was nothing good on TV (as always). All of a sudden the channel changed & TiVo began recording Murder, My Sweet - I had forgotten I programmed it to record. I watched about an hour of it before I started to get sleepy. It wasn't the movie's fault.

TCM's Robert Osborne started out the flick noting they changed the title of the movie (Farewell, My Lovely) so it wouldn't sound like a sweet n' cheery Dick Powell musical. Never having seen one of his singing movies, I'd never had guessed he was the type. He pulled off a good, gruff, Philip Marlowe.

I think I enjoyed watching Murder, My Sweet more for the visuals than the actual story line. The lighting, shadows, and angles drew me in. There was one scene where Philip Marlowe's name appeared in shadow over another character's face - the lettering from his office window. There was another scene where I paused the film - the grille design on the convertible when Marlowe & Marriott drive out into the sticks: a sun & lightning bolts. I know absolutely nothing about cars...

Everyone loves drug induced delusions, right? Wow, what a nightmare when Marlowe gets shot up with some mystery drug. I'm still seeing cobwebs. Cool visualizations for 1944.

And the ending...I won't spill the beans.

June Allyson


Monday, July 10, 2006


I've heard of Robert Montgomery's "Open Letter From a Television Viewer" and honestly thought it was a letter to the editor of some major paper. Turns out it was a book Bob penned in 1968. Some details from

"After leaving television, Montgomery became an outspoken critic of the medium culminating in his 1968 An Open Letter From a Television Viewer. For whatever reason he lashed out, claiming television and radio were controlled and censored by politicians. Montgomery went so far as testifying before Congress on the subject, thus alienating himself from the industry that had given him fame and wealth."

Anyhow, the book is available off eBay. For you book collectors, the description is as follows: "Extremely RARE! Actor-Author, Robert Montgomery, is the father of actress Elizabeth Montgomery of Bewitched. Stated first printing, 1968 -- Good solid softcover -- Clean and tight...NO writing/highlighting/tears! Front cover edge nicked/rubbed; Slight foxing to edged of cover only; Excellent copy!"

Book is also on, used.

Hey Bob - it's 2006 - TV still sucks.

Get Bribed, Ask Me How

5 Great Stars in a Daring Drama of Love and Adventure!

Last week I mentioned my one film Robert Taylor kick. Well, the film was 1949's The Bribe.

Neat film really, with some great actors playing some really seedy characters. Let's see...Vincent Price faking a southern-ish accent. Charles Laughton as a swindling bum with a foot impediment. Oh, yeah, Ava Gardner & John Hodiak also round out the bunch as some of your more *normal* characters. Let me grab you the plot synopsis from IMDB:

"In pursuit of stolen aircraft engines on a Central American island, federal agent Rigby meets chief suspect Hintten and his wife Elizabeth, a sultry cafe singer; and is watched by Bealer, a "pie-shaped man" with sore feet. Rigby knows he's on the right track when Bealer offers him money to leave Carlota. When Rigby and Elizabeth are drawn to each other, the gang realizes there's more than one kind of bribe. Everybody sweats."

I'll second the last line of that description. Either they filmed the movie in a place that truly was warm, or they had a lot of spray water bottles laying around. You know, they faked the snow in It's a Wonderful Life with corn flakes & soap chips....whoops, I'm digressing.

Potential plot buster - don't read on if you don't want a hint of the end: I love the last scene of the movies - Robert & Vincent in a gunfight, in the middle of a fireworks display. Bullet or cherry bomb - you decide. The camera angles & lighting are slick.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Fugitive Lovers

Madge Evans and Robert Montgomery in an Exciting Ride on a Transcontinental Bus.

I borrowed the above sub-title from the 1934 New York Times review of the film - it pretty much sums up things.

When I put the movie on, I really didn't have much of an idea of what the movie was about. I knew there was a scruffy Bob & a kid at the end, but didn't expect what I watched. I liked it. It reminded me of the 1970's disaster movies a bit. Everyone is stuck on a boat or plane, and you get to learn a bit about everyone before the movie really gets going.

Haven't seen the movie? Go check out the plot synopsis on Interested in a reproduction movie poster for the film? It's actually a pretty nice one - check out more on a past post here.

And my favorite quote from the movie - Letty to Legs: "You're too big for one man. You ought to incorporate."

Friday, July 07, 2006

Free and Easy?

Does anyone out there own TCM's Buster Keaton Collection DVD set? It includes The Cameraman, Spite Marriage, and Free and Easy. I have Free & Easy burned on DVD from TCM itself, but I'm just curious if there's anything worthwhile in buying the set. It's 1930 super-early Robert Montgomery.

If you haven't seen Free and Easy, it's Buster's first talking film. While it has awkward moments, it's a cute movie - I can't think of any other word than cute. Here's a quick rundown from Amazon:

Gopher City Kansas hosts a beauty contest. The winner, Elvira Plunkett (Anita Page), and her mother go to Hollywood. The Chamber of Commerce also provides Elvira with an agent, Gopher City's own Elmer J. Butz (Buster Keaton). Elmer likes Elvira and the shy Elvira likes him, but Mrs. Plunkett, a formidable woman, has little use for hapless Elmer. On the train west, they meet movie star Larry Mitchell (Robert Montgomery), who takes a shine to Elvira and helps her meet MGM directors once they get to Tinsel Town. Elmer, meanwhile, wants to help Elvira with her career and he also wants to be her man. Movie stardom does come to the Gopher City entourage, but to whom is a surprise. And who will win the lovely Elvira's hand?

Some of my fav. moments include:

  • Buster trying to get the attention of Cecil B. DeMille on the MGM lot
  • Buster & Bob discussing Kansas
  • The costumes
  • The darn catchy tune at the end

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Classic Coming Attractions

As a lot of you already know, I'm a big fan of, a web site dedicated to DVD release news. Monthly, they post a new Classic Coming Attractions column which reviews recent classic DVD releases and announcements. It's always a good read.

Their latest column takes a look at:
  • The Cecil B. DeMille Collection
  • Charlie Chan Collection
  • John Wayne DVD-a-palooza (that's my term for it)
  • Recent film noir releases by Fox
  • And a bunch more
Always of interest is their Upcoming Classic Film Releases on DVD database/document which lists titles, dates and rumors about upcoming DVDs. Of interest on the rumor list: Joan Crawford Collection Volume 2 (no idea what's in it), The Fountainhead, The Corn is Green, James Cagney box set, William Powell/Myrna Loy box set, Frank Capra box set - I could go on.

And no, there's no Robert Montgomery box set on the release list...

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Polo Anyone?

Sometimes the photo captions on the back are as interesting as the photo.

"Robert Montgomery, popular Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer star, poses with some of his polo "paraphernalia." Mr. Montgomery, is perhaps the most noted polo player in the film colony. He is starred next in M-G-M's "Made on Broadway," which is being directed by Harry Beaumont.

Grin & Bear It

I've been on a Robert Taylor kick lately. A "kick" being defined as one movie on TiVo and a couple searches on the internet. Which leads me to this question: smile or no smile?

The last photo creeps me out - it looks like it was taken yesterday - the style, the clothes, blah, blah.