When I'm not playing blogger, I have a full time job in an office. Sounds exciting, doesn't it. Participating in office politics, managing projects, and turning gray has given me a warped interest in "office" films. Some that come to mind:
Female (1933) Aside from eating her mates alive, it's awesome to see a female CEO (Ruth Chatterton) in the early 30s. Love the assertiveness.
Mildred Pierce (1945) Another strong-willed businesswoman, Mildred Pierce (Joan Crawford) builds up quite the restaurant business only to have murder get in the way. Ok, the murder & business part don't go together (well...), but she has strong management skills.
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1967) Yes, someone who is no one can become someone in a big company. In this case it's WWW - World Wide Wickets. I just like saying that. In real life, people sing in the office just as often as in this film - but no dancing. Unlike WWW's office, my office is lacking the presence of Robert Q. Lewis.
Office Space (1999) The king of office movies (where is your TPS report?) If you live your work day in cubicle-land, you can probably recite the lines to this movie. Do you have your red Swingline? Careful with the audio if you have young ears around (or a boss):
Holiday (1938) Johnny (Cary Grant) wants to "retire" now rather than wait til he gets old. Amen.
Sixty-seven years ago this week, on December 8, 1941, The Norconian Resort in Norco, CA became a United States Naval Hospital. Before it's war service and sad decline, The Norconian was a destination for classic stars and home to a number of movies filmed on the resort grounds.
Born in 1929, and after on-again/off-again operation, the resort lived a short life and closed in 1940. In 1941, the Navy purchased the grounds, later opening it as a hospital the day after Pearl Harbor day. Since then, the grounds have been home to a prison and continue to have a naval presence to this day. And through all of this, original buildings and decor remain, in rough condition, behind a fence.
Laura from dropped me a note the other day about The Norconian's connection to some of Bob's early films, specifically Love in the Rough and Their Own Desire with Norma Shearer. We've talked about Love in the Rough's connection in a past post, but Their Own Desire was news to me. After some research (tough work!), Laura was able to confirm that the pool scenes in Desire match photos of The Norconian's pool, high dive, and bleachers. So much for Lake Michigan!
I am far from an expert on the topic, but these resources can fill you in more:
Profiles in History has a massive auction coming up Dec. 14 and has posted an ton of really neat (technical term) items for viewing on ebay. I'll tell you, the four drawer metal file cabinets full of stills really has my interest. I'm sure they went through them first to weed out the nice items, but that whole "grab bag" idea gets your imagination going. Shipping will be murder, I'm sure. As hinted to in this post's title, collectibles just might be doing better right now in value than my retirement.
Now it wouldn't be a Classic Montgomery post without mentioning there are some sweet Bob Montgomery photos up for sale. In addition to Hurrell portraits, stills from films such as No More Ladies, Untamed, Letty Lynton, When Ladies Meet, and Our Blushing Brides, Faithless are up for grabs.
If you go digging, I recommend checking out ebay and also Profile's Web site at ProfilesInHistory.com. I've noticed for some lots, additional or different photos are on their Web site vs. ebay (and vice versa).
Oh, and one more hint, hunters. Search for film titles or co-stars to your fav. films - you'll find more.
Leftovers - in the style of Larry King's ol' blurby column:
Watched Hollywood Party: Jimmy Durante is half naked and overly hairy (gah). Thank goodness the many cameos and "pre-codeness" of the film make up for that image. Another insanely catchy tune and a brief appearance by Robert Young make up for Jimmy's Schnarzan (I mean that in a loving way).
Magnificent Obsession is coming out on Criterion Collection DVD in January - both the Rock Hudson and Robert Taylor versions. I've only seen Rock's version and am inexplicably hooked.
Caught a documentary on Irving Thalberg on the History channel the other day. Very interesting - I need to find a good book on him now. I was surprised that in the 30 minutes I watched, there was no film or audio of him - just stills floating by.
Belated birthday wishes to Hoagy Carmichael (Nov. 22). Ahh, Stardust.
The current run of The Name's The Same ends this week. Withdrawal will be setting in, although not for Clifton Fadiman.
One of Lifetime's many channels had White Christmas in HD over the weekend. All queued up and ready on my DVR.
If you can only watch one this month, check out Free and Easy. Besides having an insanely catchy song in it, it's a quirky story with a number of classic Hollywood cameos and scenes where you'll go "hmmm."
Dec. 2 11:30 a.m. Free And Easy (1930) A bumbling manager turns a beauty queen into a Hollywood star. Cast: Buster Keaton, Anita Page, Robert Montgomery. Dir: Edward Sedgwick. BW-93 mins, TV-G, CC
1:15 p.m. Our Blushing Brides (1930) Three roommates try to land rich husbands. Cast: Joan Crawford, Anita Page, Robert Montgomery. Dir: Harry Beaumont
Dec. 18 6:30 p.m. Rage In Heaven (1941) A jealous man plots to fake his death and incriminate his wife's suspected lover. Cast: Robert Montgomery, Ingrid Bergman, George Sanders. Dir: W.S. Van Dyke II.
Dec. 31 7:45 a.m. They Were Expendable (1945) A Navy commander fights to prove the battle-worthiness of the PT boat at the start of World War II. Cast: Robert Montgomery, John Wayne, Donna Reed. Dir: John Ford.
Happiness is rarely seen photos: A good chuck of LIFE magazine's photo archive is now accessible via Google. As the site notes:
Search millions of photographs from the LIFE photo archive, stretching from the 1750s to today. Most were never published and are now available for the first time through the joint work of LIFE and Google.
Tracy clued me in on this ad for Macy's that's running for their 150th. It's a clever combination of clips with classic stars touting or mentioning the store from way back when to today. What's with the escaping hippo?
This also got us talking about other ads with classic stars in them. The one that sticks in my mind is the Diet Coke series of ads with Cary Grant and others I can't remember. Argh, and it's not on YouTube like everything else out there.
WatchingNo More Ladies is one of my guilty pleasures in life. I love the film and watch it whenever it's on (or not, via DVD).
I ran into the below trailer for the film recently. Somehow the animated lion just doesn't seem to click with me and the plot of the film. Something about animation, alcohol, and cheating lovers that doesn't mix. Rowwwrrr...Robert Montgomery (I had to fit that in).
I'm back - sort of. Vacation has taken it's toll on me and I would like to request another to recover.
On the flip side, the closest I've been to classic film this past week has been Kingman, Arizona - home to Andy Devine. They're proud of their native son, who grew up there as a child. Route 66 through town is named in his honor and I think every other store in town has a photo of him up. Good for them. I think I'm going to have to locate my copy of Island in the Sky and rest up a bit now...
As always, check your local listings for the start time near you.
Nov. 14 10:30 a.m. Mr. and Mrs. Smith (1941) A quarrelsome couple discovers their marriage isn't legal. Cast: Carole Lombard, Robert Montgomery, Gene Raymond. Dir: Alfred Hitchcock
Nov. 19 3:30 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
I've given up on the Halloween theme this week: it's all been done before. But before it's completely out of my hands lying on the floor in a heap, here's a stretch of a theme post - a few different "costumes."
Guess the actor. If you read this blog with any regularity, you'll figure it out.
Update: A tip of the hat to the anonymous tipster who guessed the name: Robert Q. Lewis. These pics are from his CBS radio days, specifically February of 1948 . . . a few years before his television debut. Unfortunately, I don't know is whether these shots match any specific characters from his radio show or not. Finding copies of any of Robert Q's radio shows is harder to find than hen's teeth.
A funny thing happened on my way to the blog today. I was going to do some digging for Halloween-themed posts, but then spotted a comment from Alejandra about her Robert Taylor YouTube channel. Kinda got sidetracked if you know what I mean. Get sidetracked yourself on her YouTube channel.
Some of my favs: Personal Property & Johnny Eager:
If you have a spare six bucks laying around, the November issue of Architectural Digest is out with its annual "Hollywood at Home" issue. Aside from looking at ads for accessories that probably cost more than my house, AD's Hollywood issue includes stories (and photos) on classic stars at home. Stars featured in this issue include John Wayne, Howard Hughes, Humphrey Bogart, single photo snippets, and much more. Yeah, modern stars too...
IMHO, the photo of William Holden on page 188 is worth the purchase.
Robert Montgomery? The April 1992 is the issue you want.
Irene Dunne and Robert Taylor were caught here during rehersal of the Lux Radio Theater production of "Magnificent Obsession" discussing the script with Frank Woodruff, supervising director of the dramatic production.
Better yet - here's the radio presentation from April 26, 1937:
Ahh, Since You Went Away - the WWII bookend to The Best Years of Our Lives. Went Away always had that "too much female" feel to me, then Joe shows up, which levels things out. This particular still is from said film. I do have to add, I love the hangar dance scene - great lighting. I especially love AAF logo against the backdrop of the hangar.
Whenever Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream Home is on TV, I record it - just one of those movies I guess. That's why when I caught an article in the paper about someone owning one of the "dream homes," I thought it was fascinating (where can I get one?):
The studio sent blueprints of the movie set house to contractors across the country, hoping to see 100 replicas of the house built. Eventually, 73 “dream homes” were built in places such as Fresno and Bakersfield, Calif.; Phoenix; Ottawa Hills, Ohio; and Portland, Ore.
Attention SciFi junkies. The Day the Earth Stood Still is being reissued on DVD (again). This "special edition" will come out on BluRay and regular DVD on Dec 2., just in time for the holiday season. More from The Digital Bits Web site:
The 2-disc DVD (SRP $19.98) will include the film in its original full frame (1.33:1) aspect ratio, the original audio commentary by Robert Wise and Nicolas Meyer, a new commentary by film & music historians John Morgan, Steven Smith, William Stromberg and Nick Redman, an isolated score track, 8 featurettes (The Making of The Day the Earth Stood Still, Decoding "Klaatu, Barada, Nikto": Science Fiction as Metaphor, A Brief History of Flying Saucers, The Astounding Harry Bates, Edmund North: The Man Who Made the Earth Stand Still, The Mysterious, Melodious Theremin, Race to Oblivion: A Documentary Short Written and Produced by Edmund North and Farewell to the Master: A Reading by Jamieson K. Price of the Original Harry Bates Short Story), video of a live performance of the film's main title music by thereminist Peter Pringle, an Interactive pressbook, the vintage Fox Movietonews from 1951 short film, the film's theatrical trailer, multiple still galleries (for advertising, behind-the-scenes, portraits, production, spaceship construction blueprints) and the film's shooting script. The single-disc Blu-ray edition (SRP $34.99) will include all of the above along with the film in 1080p full frame with DTS-HD audio and 2 exclusive bonus features: the Interactive Thermin: Create Your Own Score option and the Gort Command interactive game.
Sorry, stuffed "collectible" beanbag toys of Gort, Michael Rennie, or Hugh Marlowe not included (darn).
Excellent film, I'm just sick of buying reissues every time they come out. Not only do we get extras, now BluRay is the carrot on the stick. Have you seen how many times they've reissued An Affair to Remember on DVD (BluRay aside, the letterboxed, Cinemascope version is the best BTW)? How about the Hitchcock films? Ok, end rant.
Hot tip from the comments portion of the blog: Robert Montgomery should be showing up on What's My Line on GSN in October sometime:
Episode #345, first aired: January 13, 1957
Game 1: Muriel Fleit, Mary Barber & Myrtle Berne (as Mystery Guests and the panel is blindfolded) - "Secretaries to Arlene Francis, Bennett Cerf & Dorothy Kilgallen)" (salaried; they won $50)
Game 2: Robin Roberts - "President of Frozen Shrimp Company" (he is the President of the Gold King Frozen Shrimp Co; he is also the pitcher of the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team; from Philadelphia, PA; he won $50)
Game 3: Robert Montgomery (as Mystery Guest) Bennett Cerf guessed his identity at $25
If you're really good at figuring out the current episode playing vs. the order 345 is in, you can figure out the air date on GSN. I'm not that talented...
Props to funny radio people, one of which is a new favorite: Robert Q. Lewis. Before his television shows, radio shows, game shows, and movie appearances (shew), Robert Q. was a disc jockey. My favorite tidbit: he played David Rose's song The Stripper (you'd know if if you heard it) for 45 minutes nonstop on his music show. Want to request a song on the show? Not that day - you got The Stripper instead.
It's January 1955 and what's Robert Montgomery doing? Producing his television show Robert Montgomery Presents on NBC, working on The Desperate Hours, and advising President Eisenhower on his various television and radio appearances. Busy guy.
This New York Journal-American article by James L. Kilgallen talks about Bob's various roles of the time and offers a number of interesting tidbits of information. For instance, how many actors do you know who had an office in the White House? (and Reagan doesn't count)