Tuesday, December 29, 2015

New Year Wishes, Gang!

Yep, your authors here at the CM blog wish you the best in the new year! And if you have a bit of bubbly, like Anne & John, make sure you have Jeeves drive you home.

Monday, December 21, 2015

A Very Merry Christmas to All

This video will get you in the Christmas spirit.  Yes, it will.  Merry Christmas!
Mog's Christmas

Thursday, December 17, 2015

What is Your Favorite Christmas Movie?

From guest blogger Debbie:

I’ve been pondering this question and I’m not sure I have an answer to it.  There are so many that top my list and each has its charm.

I love “A Christmas Story” 1983.  I’m a boomer, but not quite as old as the kids in this film would be now.  However I do still remember the lovely simplicity of this time.  The war was over, and kids didn’t worry about what was going on in the world.  The world was a much larger place.  American kids could spend their holidays worrying about what Santa would or wouldn’t bring.

I love all the versions of A Christmas Carol.   I guess my three favorites are the Alastair Sim version from 1951, the George C. Scott version from 1984 (the most dramatic with a Tiny Tim who was tiny and did look sick) and the Albert Finney musical version “Scrooge” from 1970 with a score by Leslie Bricusse (you just can’t beat a holiday musical).

And speaking of the holiday musical, what can beat Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosie Clooney and Vera-Ellen in “White Christmas” 1954.   The cast is great, the songs and dancing terrific and the whole thing in glorious Technicolor!   I love “Holiday Inn” 1942 as well, but it lacks the color.  I am a black and white movie fan, but not musicals.   Musicals should be in color and probably the most beautiful is “Meet Me In St. Louis”  1944.   Vincent Minelli’s vision of turn of the century America is glorious.  It also contains my favorite Christmas song, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”.

Of course I could hardly leave out “It’s A Wonderful Life” 1946.   Frank Capra and James Stewart made a great combination.

 I guess I’ll have to think about this some more.  In the mean time I will be watching all of these wonderful holiday films.  Let us know your favorites!

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Christmas Movies That Aren't Christmas Movies

From guest blogger Debbie:

Tis the season for Christmas films.  We all have our long list of favorite Christmas movies.  “It’s A Wonderful Life”, “White Christmas”, “Holiday Inn”, “ A Christmas Story”, “ A Christmas Carol” more than likely top every classic movie lover’s list.  But what about all those films that aren’t really about Christmas, but that Christmas plays a part in the story.  Here is a short list of some of my favorites…..

“The Thin Man”  1934   - William Powell & Myrna Loy

Nick and Nora’s Christmas party with Nora in that fabulous “candy cane” dress.  Christmas day with Nick shooting balloons off their tree.  Such fun!

“Lady In The Lake” 1947   -  Robert Montgomery and Audrey Trotter

The opening credits alone make you think you’re going to be watching a holiday film, not a murder mystery.

“ Since You Went Away” 1944 – Claudette Colbert, Joseph Cotton, Jennifer Jones, Shirley Temple & Monty Woolley

 This wonderful wartime drama ends with Christmas and the hope that it brings.

 “Desk Set” 1957  -  Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn

Office intrigue and fun surrounding the installation of a computer in a broadcasting reference department.  The film concludes at Christmastime.

“The Apartment” 1960 -  Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine & Fred MacMurray

This wonderful  film also ends at Christmas and New Years.

 So........if you run out of the usual films to watch this time of year, check out these.  Each one is a treasure.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Manhattan Melodrama (1934)

Another post from guest blogger Debbie...

This quickly made, low budget film directed by Woody Van Dyke II , has become legendary for two reasons.

Reason #1:  It was the start of the thirteen year, fourteen film pairing of William Powell and Myrna Loy.

Reason #2:  It was the film that on July 22, 1934 lured bank robber John Dillinger out in public and subsequently to his death.

We should all be eternally grateful for both reasons.

Sunday, November 22, 2015


And now a few words from our guest blogger, Debbie!

How I love candid photos taken during a movie production.   These photos give you an insight as to what goes on during a production and also the relationship between the stars involved.

My favorite Bob Montgomery movie is “Night Must Fall” from 1937.   It is not your average Montgomery film. It was one of the first psychological thrillers.  I tad like Hitchcock except the "MacGuffin" is known from the start.   Bob had to fight to make this film and it is one of only a few from his career that he was truly proud of.  It was based on the Emlyn Williams play of the same name and concerns a psychotic killer.  The screenplay was adapted by John Van Druten and the film was directed by Richard Thorpe.  Interiors were filmed at the MGM Studios in Culver City and the exteriors were filmed in Sherwood Forest, CA.

Bob’s co-stars for this film were Rosalind Russell and Dame Mae Whitty.  Russell was cast because she worked well with Montgomery and Whitty was part of the original New York and London play cast.

It becomes obvious from these candids taken during production that Montgomery and Russell enjoyed working together.

Bob & Roz at Lunch

Bob at lunch

Chatting outside at Sherwood Forest  (This is one of my favorite photos)

Roz taking a break at Sherwood Forest

Listening to the radio between takes.  (Wouldn't you love to know what they were listening to, and wouldn't you LOVE to have that radio!!!)

A sister photo to the one above

Chatting between takes on the sound stage at Culver City

Candid photos from a favorite film, interesting stuff!!!!!!

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Happy Birthday, Joel ... Rrrrff!

                                    Joel in 1938 at age 33.

               Sharing a bed with 28-year-old Joel ... ah, to die for. 
               Joel with Constance Bennett in Bed of Roses (1933)

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

An Evening With Amanda and Elyot

It's Norma Shearer month on TCM ... all five of Bob and Norma's movies are being shown!  Yes! They're not all great, but they all have young, beautiful Bob to make them all a worthwhile watch.  My favorite is Private Lives (1931).  This is the fourth movie of the pairing, and their comfort level with each other is reflected in their performances.  And, of course, it is an excellent Noel Coward play, so the script is excellent.  I understand Irving Thalberg actually filmed the stage version for the cast to study, a first, I believe.  Additional time was given for studying the script and rehearsals, to assist Norma in developing her role.  A Noel Coward play was not Norma's cup of tea, but she apparently put a lot of effort into it, didn't exactly embarrass herself.  Bob, meanwhile, handled his role superbly.  If only he had gotten more good movies in which to show his stuff.

               Private Lives (1931) with Bob and Norma Shearer

  The movies will be shown on two nights and all times are EST.

          November 10th  -  Private Lives 8:00 p.m.
                                        Divorcee (1930) at 12:45 a.m.
                                        Their Own Desire (1929) at 2:15 am.

          November 17th  -  Strangers May Kiss (1931) at 8:00 p.m.
                                        Riptide (1934) at 3:15 a.m.

And a special bonus, Lady in the Lake (1947) will be shown on the 22nd at 8:00 a.m.  November is a good movie for Montgomery viewing.  More, more, more ...

Friday, October 30, 2015

Happy Halloween!

Watch out for the little old lady down the street ...

                      Lionel Barrymore in The Devil Doll (1936)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Bob Competes With Frank Morgan for the Girl? Only in the Movies.

When Ladies Meet (1931) is included in the newly released Forbidden Hollywood, Vol. 9.  Bob co-stars with Myrna Loy, but it is definitely a Myrna Loy movie with able support from Ann Harding, Frank Morgan, Alice Brady and our Bob.  The 'forbidden' description applies because of Myrna's designs on married Frank Morgan.  Bob, her ardent suitor, seeks to break up the Loy/Morgan affair by setting up a meeting of Frank's wife Ann Harding with Loy.  Great scene, great performance by Harding.  The movie has a really excellent script adapted from a Rachel Crothers play with superb art direction by Cedric Gibbons ... most of the scenes are in a Connecticut country cottage, a home about which to dream.  
Myrna discusses discusses filming Ladies in her autobiography, Being and Becoming
Bob Montgomery adored Alice Brady, and, both being great wits, they made very entertaining companions.  We became a little coterie of three, occasionally going to Alice's house or having something to eat after work.  That kind of easy camaraderie is rare in pictures, everything goes so fast you very often don't get to know people.
 Now that had to be a fun trio. 

Miscellaneous Thoughts and an ID'd Photo

First I get help identifying the photo in the Oct. 20th post, and now I have been able to identify the mystery photo in the March 31st post.  I thought it was from the 20s, actually it is a 1932 movie titled While Paris Sleeps which starred Victor McLaglen and featured William Bakewell and Helen Mack, the young couple in the photo.  I ran across a sister photo which had the ID information ... one of my mini-Viola! moments.

  William Bakewell and Helen Mack in While Paris Sleeps (1932)

When was the last time you saw anyone wear a hat?  And I don't mean a baseball cap, or a uniform hat...just your everyday Dick and Jane going out in public.  Everybody wore hats back when, and then they just went away.  Kinda sad.  I think most men look great in a fedora.  Bob Montgomery looked great in any kind of hat.

     Riders of the Black Hills (1938) with the Three Mesquiteers
            (Bob Livingston, Ray Corrigan and Max Terhune)
There were some fabulous sets dreamed up by the studios in the 1930s and 1940s.  Be it a nightclub stage dreamed up by Busby Berkeley or a simple country cottage in the English countryside, they were extremely important in making a successful movie.  Sometimes the sets are a bit much.  I hope Irene is  on a stage picking fake flowers and not on a real garden set.  Gotta check out this movie some time.  Either way, Irene, always the pro, managed not to break out laughing at her fake flower bouquet.  

                         Irene Dunne in Sweet Adeline (1934)

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Happy Birthday, Constance Bennett!

I have always admired Constance Bennett.  She was beautiful, a good actress, played a mean hand of poker and ran her own cosmetics and clothing company.   Her good business sense also helped make her the highest-paid actress in the early 1930s.  That's saying a lot in the time of Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford.  $150,000 for a movie or $30,000 per week ... darn good money for 1931.  That's a heck of a lot more than Bob was making when he co-starred with Constance in The Easiest Way.

            Bob and Constance Bennett in The Easiest Way (1931)

 She was born October 22, 1904, into the acting Bennett family.  Both parents were actors and sister Joan Bennett would also become a successful actress.  She married five times, the last time to a U.S. Air Force officer in 1946, finally a good marriage that lasted until her death in 1965.  Even as a life-long Democrat involved in politics throughout her life, she remained friends with Montgomery, Mr. Republican, and appeared twice on Robert Montgomery Presents

             Clark Gable and Constance in After Office Hours (1935)

60 years is much too short a life, but Constance apparently lived those years fully.  She is buried in Arlington National Cemetery ... not many Hollywood people have that distinction. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

And the Mystery Person Is.................

I love group photos of stars who appear to have little in common.  Granted, they all seem to be hams, but really, Don Ameche and W. C. Fields singing together?!  Of course the photo did not come with any information as to why this divergent group was posing for a photo.  Perhaps they've come together for a charity event or a morale booster for the troops, does appear to have been taken in the early to mid-40s. 

What I do know is that the stars are Fields, Nelson Eddy, Charley McCarthy, Edgar Bergen, Ameche and Dorothy Lamour.    The guy sitting down ... anyone know who he is? 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

From Mad to Cad

     Bob, as mad Philip, and Ingrid Bergman in Rage in Heaven (1941)

                                  Ingrid with George Sanders

Both male leads in Rage in Heaven were cast against type.  Bob is the psychotic villain while Sanders plays the noble, nice guy Ward who wins Ingrid in the end.  George does a nice job, but he played the cad/purring villain with such absolute perfection that the movie is a true waste of his particular talent.  (In case you haven't read it already, do try Brian's Aherne book on Sanders, titled "A Dreadful Man.")

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Commander Bob serving in the USNR

Bob joined the U.S.N.R. in April, 1941, eight months before the U.S. entered WWII, and was released from active duty in October, 1945.  He stayed on as a reservist until at least 1959, the Captain's uniform he wears as an extra in The Gallant Hours was his!

I'm guessing the photo below is fairly representative of the duties he performed.  Then Commander Montgomery is shown presenting a model of the frigate Constitution to Commander William Collins and the crew of the "Mod 89," the first of two prototypes of the Lockheed RV Constitution transport plane, on July 22, 1948.  The plane was massive, 50 feet to the tip of the tail.  It also proved to be underpowered for the Navy and, at that time, too large for civilian use.  Both planes were retired in 1953.

Can't imagine Bob signing up for the Army, their unforms were just no way as classy as the Navy's.  Besides, I'm sure the navy blues set off Bob's blue eyes just great.  Well, his love of sailing had perhaps a tad more influence on his decision. 

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Robert Montgomery, MGM, RM-7

This photo was taken in 1930, used to promote Love in the Rough.  Bob was 26 at the time, still ascending the ladder to stardom.  I'd say by his confident air that he already knew he'd make the top. 

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

The Worst Woman in Paris? (1933)

That is an actual title of a movie.  Fallen women being such a hot subject in pre-code Hollywood, I imagine it was difficult coming up with titles for all of them.  And who better to corrupt the woman than Adolphe Menjou, with the perfect villain mustache.  Yeah, Benita, whatever you do, DON'T OPEN THAT DOOR!!!

                               Benita Hume & Adolphe Menjou

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Two More Bob Movies to be Released on DVD

I need to check WBshop more often.  There are two Bob movies being released on DVD on October 6th!  Both are co-starring Helen Hayes, Vanessa:  Her Love Story (1935) and Another Language (1933).  

Vanessa is both dated and severely cut from it's original length, only the early TV edited version exists.  (At least that's my assumption, will delve into that in a later post.)  But it's worth a viewing, if only to see Bob in a period piece and some nifty outfits.  Yes, he was a well-dressed man in almost all circumstances.  

Another Language is the better movie.  It is also very much a Helen Hayes movie with a supporting cast including our Bob as her husband who is still under the domination of his mother.

(On a personal note, I finally figure out how to place the text of the blog alongside a photo and darn if I can get it to work with a second photo.  Maybe in another four years...)

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Happy Birthday, Virginia Bruce!

My apologies to the spirit of Virgina Bruce for getting this post in two days late.  Virginia's birthday was September 29th.  Virginia co-starred with Bob in Yellow Jack (1938).  Have always enjoyed this photo, an example of those great 1930s movie sets.  So much better than being in an 1898 Cuban jungle, with all the crawling and flying critters.

                    Bob and Virginia Bruce in YellowJack (1938)

Ran across a clip of Virginia singing in the movie Born to Dance (1936).  The song is "I've Got You Under My Skin" and she sings it to co-star Jimmy Stewart.  Had a nice soprano voice, helped by the always excellent coaching of MGM's Roger Edens.  You can see it here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Three Live Ghosts ... No Longer Alive?

Bob was signed by MGM in January, 1929, one of many Broadway actors signed in a rush by the studios to appear in the new "talkies."  They had him, but apparently were not sure what to do with him, letting him sit idle.  Having been advised that he needed to get himself in a better position to get the attention of the MGM brass, Bob went looking for and found a role in a Joseph M. Schenck production which was distributed by United Artists.  It worked.  MGM immediately cast him in  So This is College and it would be some years before he was allowed any more idle moments by the studio.  Three Live Ghosts was released in September 15, 1929.  Bob would be co-starred in four films by MGM that were filmed before the end of the year.

Three Live Ghosts has become a ghost itself, no prints of the movie having survived the years.  We are left with a couple dozen stills, a herald and a lobby card (that I know of!).  Wouldn't it be fascinating to see Bob appear on screen for the first time?!  (And, yes, I know.  He was an extra in The Single Standard.  Whereas it is enjoyable to watch the young Bob dancing across the screen, it is his voice that makes the man for me.)

I've blown up Bob from the photo so you can see him without a magnifying glass.  Note how they have a scarf around that rather long neck.   And, whereas the hat is rather nifty, the rest of his attire is old and scruffy.  The first and last time you will see a scruffy Bob! 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

My, What a Gorgeous Couple

           Joseph Cotten and Jennifer Jones in Love Letters (1945)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

And Who Will Crystal Choose ...

Will it be Sir Charles, as portrayed by Alan Mowbray?

Or will it be Raymond, Bob at his best?

                      Irene Purcell in Man in Possession (1931)


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Romeo Bob, Cause of Acute Fan Heart Trouble

                                       War Nurse (1930)

 Oh, be still my heart!!