Friday, September 29, 2006

Vacation, Time Off, Sabbatical

Holiday is coming out on DVD - and not in a box set. This 1938 George Cukor film, startting Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and Edward Everett Horton comes out December 5. The studios released it a few months back in a Cary box set...with a bunch of movies I already owned.

If you haven't seen Holiday, I highly recommend it. It's classic screwball Cary - he does some physical comedy that would probably break a neck or a leg if you or I tried it. Lew Ayres is also a fun watch as the family drunk.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Wild Ties & Broadway Scripts

What else could I be talking about other than The Saxon Charm - 1948, Robert Montgomery & Harry Morgan.

Larger photo here. I do love the ties...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Retail Bob

I never knew Macy's had stockholders. From Time Magazine, November 24, 1952:

When stockholders filed into R. H. Macy & Co.'s annual meeting in Manhattan last week, they spotted a new, but familiar face on the board: Actor Robert Montgomery, who was elected to Macy's board last September. In no time at all, Bob Montgomery found himself playing a big scene in which he was cast as the villain. What, demanded heckling stockholders, was he doing there anyway?

Replied Montgomery: "I've been in the business and professional field for 30 years. Whatever my talents are, they are at Macy's service." To which a lady replied dryly from the floor: "Thank you, Mr. Montgomery. I see you still have the gift of gab." Then, Lewis D. Gilbert, who owns stock in 600-odd corporations, including twelve shares in Macy's, and makes an avocation of harassing corporate boards, threw a question at President Jack I. Straus: "What does Mr. Montgomery know about merchandising?" Straus tried to defend Montgomery's qualifications as a director. After all, he said, several of the other directors had not known much about retailing when they had joined the board. Snorted Gilbert: "Maybe that's what's wrong with Macy's." . . .

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

More Color

Continuing the vintage color theme - Robert Tayor & Barbara Stanwyck.

Monday, September 25, 2006

What a Little Color Can Do

I just have to post this photo that Violaviolet found - I mean, how many times do you find a vintage color photo of one of your favorite classic stars? Think about it. And then ask yourself this - is that person what you imagined he/she would be in color? Hmm?

I can probably count on one hand how many color photos I have seen of Bob (not colorized) and I'd say most, if not all, were from the 1950s. *Sigh*

Robert Taylor....yep, seen a few. Robert Young, nothing (I could go on...).

October TCM Bob Schedule

Clear off TiVo or wheel the VCR out, TCM has some decent Bob flicks on in October. As always, check your local listing for exact times.

6 Fri
10 a.m. Three Loves Has Nancy (1938)
A country girl follows the man who jilted her to the big city, where she finds two new suitors. Cast: Janet Gaynor, Robert Montgomery, Franchot Tone. Dir: Richard Thorpe. BW-70 mins, TV-G

14 Sat
6 a.m. Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941)
A quarrelsome couple discovers their marriage isn't legal. Cast: Carole Lombard, Robert Montgomery, Gene Raymond. Dir: Alfred Hitchcock

19 Thursday
10 a.m. Night Must Fall (1937)
A charming young man worms his way into a wealthy woman's household, then reveals a deadly secret. Cast: Robert Montgomery, Rosalind Russell, Dame May Whitty. Dir: Richard Thorpe

26 Thursday - The entire "Fast..." series
1:30 p.m. Fast Company (1938)
Married book-dealers Joel and Gerda Sloane try to clear a friend in the murder of a rival book-seller . Cast: Melvyn Douglas, Florence Rice, Louis Calhern. Dir: Edward Buzzell

2:45 p.m. Fast And Loose (1939)
Married book-dealers Joel and Garda Sloane investigate the killing of a noted collector. Cast: Robert Montgomery, Rosalind Russell, Reginald Owen. Dir: Edwin L. Marin

4:15 p.m. Fast And Furious (1939)
Married book-dealers Joel and Garda Sloane get mixed up with murder during a beauty pageant . Cast: Franchot Tone, Ann Sothern, Ruth Hussey. Dir: Busby Berkeley

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Friday, September 22, 2006

More From Honolulu

Exhibit A: Suitcoat turned to shreds after one meeting with fangirls.

George & Gracie

I love how this scene was framed in the camera. Brooks is getting analyzed for wanting to go back to Honolulu - but it's really George (why would Brooks want to go to Hawaii?)

What's better than one Robert Young? Two.

They tried sneaking George (as Brooks) out of the hospital in a casket. It really didn't work out. He was smoking in the casket & when they saw the smoke coming out, well, you get the idea.

At the shipboard party - Gracie, as Mae West, with two Grouchos & the rest of the pseudo Marx Bros.

Brooks playing George being Leopold Stokowski

I'd be a Brooks Mason Fan

Brooks who? Hold on a sec...

Attention world. I have a new movie for my favorites list - 1939's Honolulu. Why might you ask? Well, let me give you a quick rundown:
  1. The cast: Robert Young, Eleanor Powell, Gracie Allen, George Burns
  2. The story: Brooks Mason is a Hollywood actor all the girls are mad about. Whenever he comes in contact with fangirls, they literally rip his clothes off and attack him to the point of hospitalization. Then there's George Smith. Poor guy looks just like Brooks & gets mobbed just the same. Brooks & George meet & decide to switch lives for a bit. George owns a pineapple plantation in Hawaii and Brooks just wants a vacation away. Yeah, there's more to it - get a synopsis here.
  3. Scenes with both Brooks & George (ahh, 1939 movie technology...)
  4. Eleanor Powell sure knows how to cut a rug - her *famous* hula scene is in this flick.
  5. The "Dress as your favorite star" party on the cruise. Young playing Smith playing Stokowski. Multiple Groucho Marx's (and the rest of the Bros.), the poor guys playing W.C. Fields & Clark Gable (where do all these people get their props in the middle of the Pacific Ocean)?
  6. Just the thought of warm, tropical weather in a 1930s setting

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Khandi Tooth Caper

Time for another radio show. This one is The Khandi Tooth Caper from the Suspense radio show. Broadcast January 10, 1948.

Howard Duff plays Sam Spade. Robert Montgomery is only the host, but do listen for his bit part as Philip Marlowe during the show.

Mp3 - 13 MB

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Subversive Bob

I laughed out loud when I read this Time Magazine "Letter to the Editor." From October 2, 1950:


Congratulations to Kirkpatrick, Schultz, el al., for their courageous attack on Miss Jean Muir. They are setting a noble example for all patriotic Americans, which I, for one, am going to follow.

The first on my personal black list is Robert Montgomery. He is a Republican, and next to Socialists, Baptists and jugglers, I hate Republicans. I have positive inside information that these dangerous subversives are trying to overthrow our Government. Giving up Mr. Montgomery is a considerable sacrifice, because he is a fine actor . . .

My two friends, who also hate Republicans, and I are oiling up our mimeograph. If 20 telegrams can get rid of Jean Muir, we can promise that six months from now our televisions will be darkened only by Democrats, and Democrats of the right race, color and religion. We hate lots of people besides Republicans. Some actors may deny our charges, but that won't help them. We don't have to prove anything. All we have to do is write letters and telegrams and make telephone calls to sponsors . . .


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Film Noir-ish

Picked up a cool book at the show the other day - Film Noir by Silver, Ursini & Duncan. Since I'm somewhat of a newbie Noir connoisseur, it's a good overview of the "must see" films. Really, a beautiful book with tons of movie photos, behind the scenes pics & commentary.

If you know everything about Film Noir already, enh, you might want something more meatier. But did I mention it has slick pics?

Wait, That Ain't Real Snow!

Ran across a cool "behind the scenes" photo from Petticoat Fever the other day. Turns out it's from a place out in SoCal that sells reprints of movie photos, posters, etc. Their collection ranges all over the board in price, but they also include some non-Bob Hurrell stuff. Check it out.

I'm in love with PF, even though I've never seen the film. I think it's the parkas & flannel that I can relate to. I wouldn't mind getting a pair of fur boots while I'm at it!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Mini MGM Photos

Some stuff I picked up at the movie show - mini 4x5 MGM photos.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Oh Yeah, I Left That At Home

Today was a semi-annual movie collectibles show at a local bowling alley hall. I think I spoke of the same beer-tinged ambiance back in Spring. Today was slightly more productive on the Bob front...slightly.

One dealer combined all of his materials into one "Liz & Robert Montgomery" folder. *Sigh* Nothing at all.

There's another dealer that I always get a kick out of. She has piles of large manila folders, one per actor/actress, stuffed full of scrapbook-type photos and articles. I kindly asked, "do you have anything for Robert Montgomery or Robert Young?" She replied, "yes, they're in alphabetical order." After digging through the piles she asked again if I found anything. "You know, I left three boxes at home..." You'd think she'd remember the annoying Bob fangirl after all these shows.

Anyhow, I'll follow up with some scans of what I picked up later on. I'll tell ya this. When an 8x10 is $2 compared to $20 on ebay, I tend to pick up anything that catches my eye!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Lying Down on the Job

"Your script sucks." OK, so that's not the exact line from the movie.

It's the hospital scene from 1948's The Saxon Charm, with Robert Montgomery & John Payne.

Larger image here.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Hold the Phone!

Robert Montgomery & Andrea King from a scene in Ride The Pink Horse.

Larger photo here.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Turpentine & Soda

A few screen caps from the beginning credits of 1937's Live, Love and Learn:

I'd love to find those drawings at a rummage sale!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Clark & Carole

Let me officially start this post by stating for the record that I'm not big into romances. You know, the big love affairs that caused a king to abdicate, the star to divorce person A for B, etc. Just not my thing. However, I do have to admit that I TiVo'd a show off PBS called Great Romances of the 20th Century simply because it featured Clark Gable & Carole Lombard.

I can't vouch for the accuracy of the facts (they could have told me Gable was left handed and I would have believed it. Is he? Anyhow...) but the 30 minute show sure had a lot of behind-the-scenes footage & home movies.

I'm finding myself forming a habit of looking for Bob Montgomery in anything Hollywood I watch or read. By darned, I'm successful too (would this be the lame equivalent to Six Degrees of Robert Montgomery?). Cases in point:
  • Clark had small parts in silent movies. The program was discussing the transition actors had from silents to talkies. Up comes discussion of Joan Crawford's transition. Of course, to illustrate this they're showing a scene from Letty Lynton, from behind the cameras - about 30 seconds worth. Gah, why can't we have the whole movie too?
  • For Hitchcock's cameo in Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Carole supposedly directed the bit. I guess Life Magazine was on the set for that. Wonder what issue those photos showed up in...
Anyhow, everyone knows the ending, so I won't go any further. If you're cruising PBS schedules and find this coming up, I'd recommend it.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Nine Eleven

Robert Montgomery Presents

Wish they'd put a few episodes on DVD. Sad to say I've never seen a show. The TV Guide web site offers a few Bob magazine covers:

Maybe after they're finished offering Green Acres and Gilligan's Island on DVD, they'll get to Bob's show...naw, probably not.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Sic Joan On 'Em!

Time Magazine - Monday, May 17, 1937

Let me preface this article from Time - the Screen Actors Guild is considering a strike. Can you imagine being a fly on the wall in these meetings!

...But last week he [James Cagney] and such other notably social-conscious cinemactors as Fredric March, Chester Morris, Franchot Tone, Joan Crawford, Jean Muir and Edward Arnold were debating something really big—a strike of the Guild which would shut every film studio down tight. While a committee headed by President Robert Montgomery negotiated the Guild's demands with representatives of producers, a hundred or more stars gathered nightly at the homes of March, Morris and Cagney to talk strike. Asking nothing for themselves, the Guild's 1,100 high-salaried contract players were out to improve the lot of their 4,500 low-paid associates—extras and bit-players getting less than $250 per week...

...Every night producers and Guild officers talked until 2 or 3 a. m. While her husband, Franchot Tone, backed up President Montgomery with telling arguments, Second Vice President Joan Crawford knitted away like a Madam Defarge, occasionally stiffening the men's backbones with her cry: "We strike!"...


Since TCM has been lacking in Robert Montgomery movies lately, I've had to turn to someone else from the MGM stable - Robert Young (like you all don't know already...).

I watched Maisie the other night, starring the aforementioned RY, Ann Sothern, and Ruth Hussey. At first I was leery of the wild west theme, but I was pleasantly surprised by the story. I will admit, I had to get over 1939's version of a cowboy costume first. Think Robert Young as the Lone Ranger, without the mask and with a ten gallon hat. Now also add the name "Slim" to his tall, lanky frame. Really, I can't describe it in words...

I am going to defer to IMDB for the plot overview - there's a lot of nuances that I'd butcher and take forever to write here. The movie turns into a murder mystery about half way through, and that's when it gets interesting.

Reading on IMDB, Maisie was the first of ten Maisie movies with Ann Sothern. I think I'll skip Congo Maisie...

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Here Comes the Fan Mail

Interesting *Bob 101* article. One of the few places I've seen his flying experience mentioned. If you click on the image you should get a readable version.

A thanks to parisianpierrot for letting me use this.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Poor Herbert

Time magazine has some real gems of articles & snippets with Bob. I plan to root around & see what I can find & share. This one brought about a smile:

Feb. 2, 1942

Lieut. Robert Montgomery, U.S.N.R., walked into the lobby of Washington's Mayflower Hotel, encountered a force of pen-waving ladies with autograph books. Unmolested, unnoticed was a bystander, Herbert Hoover.

I never imagined I'd read the words "unmolested" and "Herbert Hoover" in the same sentence (not that I thought - well - nevermind). Guess Herbert didn't want Bob's autograph.

Them darn fangirls again...

It Gets Deep (no lake pun intended)

Put the recent DVD release of Lady in the Lake in the PC here and watched the audio commentary version by Alain Silver and James Ursini. I think this was the first full movie where I listed to the entire commentary. It gets deep.

Both fellas go through a lot of factoids about the actors as well as film noir. About 45 minutes into the commentary, I was burnt out. Me, the fact nerd. I started to balance my checkbook & listen in the background, which is what I'd recommend.

One piece of info that struck me as interesting is the scene in Adrienne Fromsett's bedroom with Philip Marlowe, right after his car accident. He's laying in her bed recovering, and she's sitting on the edge of it. The scene made it past the censors - they were both in one bed at the same time (ha!).

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Fast and Furious

Let me preface this post by saying I am not referring to the recent movie with a similar title. At no time will you see Franchot Tone road racing a Nissan in this movie. While I'll be the first to admit the thought is interesting, let me haul your imagination back to 1939.

Fast and Furious is the sequel to Fast and Loose (which followed Fast Company - got it?). You'll probably remember Fast and Loose as the mystery/comedy with Bob Montgomery and Rosalind Russell as Joel & Garda Sloane. Joel & Garda are an awesome duo. Joel is a rare book dealer, who also has the talent to solve mysteries on the side. I honestly think they could have taken on Nick & Nora if there was a "standard" acting duo.

Instead of Bob and Rosalind, substitute Franchot Tone and Ann Sothern as Joel & Garda. I think they come off as more quirky and goofball than Bob & Rosalind. The original couple was Melvyn Douglas and Florence Rice.

Fast and Furious follows our book selling couple on vacation to Seaside City for a summer cool-off. Turns out Joel has ulterior motives...there's a beauty contest in town which his friend is managing. Add to that, Joel has been made one of the contest judges. There's more to the movie than watching a book dealing couple on vacation - there's a murder and some performing lions. Yes, I said lions.

One part I found interesting was Joel's office - the set was the spitting image of what we saw in Fast and Loose. Both films were made in '39.

All in all, it's an entertaining movie that you'll enjoy as part of the "Fast..." series.

September Classic Coming Attractions

Yes, it's a new month & there's a new review of classic DVDs over at The Digital Bits. Film noir is the theme du jour, with reviews of Double Indemnity and the Film Noir Classic Collection Vol. 3. Also in the mix is a look at the new Clark Gable set, early films from der Bingle, and more.

If you haven't figured it out yet, I cracked the seal on my Film Noir Vol. 3 set over the weekend.

Monday, September 04, 2006

YOU and Robert Montgomery

A few screen shots from 1947's Lady in the Lake trailer.

YOU (huzzah!)

By now I have messed up the order of these...

Friday, September 01, 2006

Ray Milland? Where?

Found this interesting blurb on TCM's web site about The Mystery of Mr. X - the Ray Milland part caught my eye:

Some casting notes: Montgomery's daughter Elizabeth, who would find fame 35 years later as Samantha in TV's Bewitched, was born just months before filming began. Montgomery was married at the time to Elizabeth Bryan Allen - no relation to this film's leading lady, Elizabeth Allan. Contrary to popular belief, Ray Milland is not in The Mystery of Mr. X. He is listed in extended printed credits (as Raymond Milland) so it is possible he had a bit part which was left on the cutting room floor. The Mystery of Mr. X was remade in 1952 as The Hour of 13, starring Peter Lawford.

I've got to admin, it would have been cool if Ray had a larger part in the film. It's my opinion he was at his best in his mystery & noir-ish type films.