Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Surviving A Night of Deprivation

Our local cable system was down last night....aarrghhh!!  No computer and, therefore, no access to the blog.  No television, therefore no St. Louis Cardinals baseball.  (Yes, you can take the girl out of Missouri, but...)  It was all very frustrating.

Fortunately, there were a couple good things about being disconnected from the outside world.  Not being able to watch the Cardinals play, I didn't have to watch them lose their 4th game in a row.  They lost two more today, unfortunately the cable was back up. 

We resorted to watching two DVDs, picked at random. My husband and I are both old movie fans and can find something of interest in most movies.  The first movie was Joan of Paris (1942) starring Michele Morgan and Paul Henreid.  Maltin gives it a ***1/2 rating, we gave it a **1/2.  Tad bit too melodramatic for us, but enjoyed the supporting actors.  The excellent, short-lived actor Laird Cregor plays the evil German "Herr Funk" with relish.  May Robson effortlessly steals her scenes as the heroic teacher/underground leader.  Hans Conried appears briefly as a gestapo agent, he had such a great snarl.  And Alan Ladd, in his last role before hitting it big in This Gun for Hire (1942), plays a wounded pilot named "Baby."  It's always fun to watch future stars as they develop their persona.

The second movie was  Hired Wife (1940) starring Rosalind Russell, Brian Aherne, Virginia Bruce, Robert Benchley and John Carroll who play in order: the sassy secretary; the handsome, clueless boss;  the gold digger; the best friend and inebriated lawyer; and the gigolo.  The cast is much better than the script, makes the movie watchable.

If you made it this far through my ramblings, thanks for the effort.  And since I feel I need to work in at least one photo, this is Aherne, an avid flyer, with his plane in 1934.  He's obviously where he's happy - and without the constraint of his hairpiece.  Besides, it's always the smile that makes the man.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

It's the Blue Eyes

                            True Romances, December, 1934

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Hollywood Version of an English Garden

              Bob and Dame May Whitty in  Night Must Fall (1937)

Several outdoor scenes of Night Must Fall were filmed in Sherwood Forest, an area south of Thousand Oaks, CA between Hwy 101 and the Pacific Ocean.  The area was used by several studios beginning in the 1920s, in particular Douglas Fairbanks' Robin Hood (1922) ... hence the name.  Lake Sherwood is now bordered by expensive developments and, fortunately, several state parks protecting undeveloped areas of the Santa Monica Mountains.  It is understandable why people want to live there --- mountain scenery, ocean air, near L.A. but away from the crowds.  Maybe when I win the Lottery. 

That rocky ridge in the background may look familiar.  The television show M.A.S.H. was filmed in Malibu Creek State Park, located about nine miles southeast of Lake Sherwood.  The terrain is very similar.  Think helicopters flying wounded to the Army camp.  Yeah, England and South Korea are a lot alike ... only in the movies. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Uninvited Coming to DVD & BluRay

Happiness is seeing old movies come to DVD.  For Carrie, even more joy comes from a BluRay copy.  The awesome folks at the Criterion Collection are bringing The Uninvited to both on October 22, just in time for Halloween (boo).

The Uninvited DVD Cover

And, if you're a Ray Milland fan (and we know you are), be sure to pick up Ministry of Fear, also on DVD/BluRay from Criterion.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

In Glorious Black & White

Fan magazines of the 1930s were worth every penny of the 5 to 15 cents they cost ... then.  80 years later, they cost a tad more, and are most often worth it ... plenty of gossip, stories about the stars (with the occasional bit of truth) and some really nifty photos. 

                        Leslie Howard by Edward Steichen, 1934

Cary Grant, Gertrude Michael and Claude Rains, promo shot for "The Last Outpost" (1935).  Photo by William Wallinger. 

                              Phillip Reed, by Steichen, 1935

Monday, July 15, 2013

Watch out Girls, Here They Come

Robert Young, Eugene Pallette, Robert Montgomery, Walter Huston & Jimmy Durante aboard ship headed for Honolulu for on-location shooting of Hell Below (1933). 

Quite often Bob will be the only person in a photo wearing an overcoat.  Two of the reasons I can come up for this is:  1) Bob was a cold natured lad and simply needed the extra warmth, or 2)  Bob, elegant dresser that he was, just realized how good he looked in a tailored overcoat.  I mean, he does stand out in a crowd. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Bob, Audrey and T.G.I.F.!

                Bob and Audrey Totter in The Saxon Charm (1948)

The more I look at this photo, the more I like it.  It really is all Audrey --- the curled hair arranged just so, her face in the dead center with eyes looking away from Bob.  And then there's the contrast of her gloved hand on Bob's jacket vs. his hand on Audrey's bare arm.   A woman not fully welcoming the man's advances?  It must be the tie. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Lucky Kitties

  Jack Conway, Bob and Walter Huston on the set of Hell Below (1933)

                   Bob on the set of They Were Expendable (1945)

Monday, July 08, 2013

Keeping Cool in California, Bob-Style

The outdoor scenes of Love in the Rough (1930) were filmed at the Lake Norconian Club, which was located about 50 miles southeast of Los Angeles.  Bob, quite the athlete in his youth, is shown aquaplaning, a single-board predecessor of water skiing.  I wonder if holding the tow rope in your mouth was standard procedure. 

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Enjoy your Independence Day!

A high of 107 is predicted for the 4th of July in my part of the world.  Actually, it was 110 today, so I guess 107 represents a cool wave.  Anyway, I will be taking a pass on going outside to celebrate.  No standing over a hot grill, attending a parade or watching fireworks ... but, I can still get in an appropriate patriotic mood by watching some of my favorite movies. 

TCM will be showing two of my favorite movies overall, which just happen also to be excellent movies for stirring up patriotic fervor.  Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) is a great musical with plenty of flag-waving, and, in my opinion, one of the few black and white movies that would have been even better if filmed in Technicolor.  But a hoofing Cagney is still a joy to watch in glorious black and white.  The other film is The Music Man (1962), another great musical that just oozes Americana, with a marching band, a barbershop quartet, Marian the librarian, Harold Hill the world's best traveling salesman, the residents of River City, Iowa,  and a wonderful musical score. 

The movie I always make it a point to watch on the 4th is 1776 (1972).  Great score, a fantastic book and superb cast ... such a joy to watch.  And the dramatic last scene, when the Declaration of Independence is finally agreed to and the roll call is read of the assembled signers ... WOW.  

Monday, July 01, 2013

Vanessa, It's Been So Long

My only copy of  Vanessa: Her Love Story  (1935) is a VHS taping, recorded a very, very long time ago.  It has been some time since I last watched it.  Need to do so soon, if nothing else to find out why Bob is holding a rabbit. 

And, to check out Bob carousing at the local pub.  I'm sure Bob enjoyed dressing in a costume other than a tuxedo.  One can certainly understand the admiring gaze of the barmaid.