Thursday, December 27, 2018

New Year's Eve with Bill & Myrna!

Once again TCM is going to allow us to spend all New Year's Eve day with our favorite on screen couple, Nick and Nora Charles (aka William Powell and Myrna Loy).  They actually start the day out with two of the duo's other films, those being "Double Wedding" at 5:30AM EST followed by "I Love You Again" at 7:00AM EST.

Starting at 8:45AM EST a Thin Man marathon begins that includes all six of the films.  They are showing them in chronological order starting with 1934's "The Thin Man" and ending with 1947's "Song of the Thin Man" at 6:15PM EST.

The evening will also carry a great line-up with 1974's "That's Entertainment!" at 8:00PM EST followed by 1976's "That's Entertainment II" at 10:30PM EST and 1994's "That's Entertainment III" at 12:45AM EST.

So, if you're planning on staying in this New Year's Eve, you couldn't pick better company than Nick and Nora Charles and MGM's musicals!  Enjoy! (and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!)

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

From all of us at Classic Montgomery

                                    And All Good Wishes,
                                 Carrie, Kathy and Debbie

Thursday, December 20, 2018

A Christmas Carol (or Scrooge)

I'd like a nickel for every adaptation of this Dickens masterpiece that has been filmed at one time or other.

Let's see, there was 1935's Scrooge starring Sir Seymour Hicks,


1938's A Christmas Carol starring Reginald Owen,

1951's A Christmas Carol starring Alastair Sim (the favorite for most people),

1970's Scrooge starring Albert Finney (my personal favorite, I love a good musical!),

1954's A Christmas Carol starring George C. Scott (this one had the best Tiny Tim, the kid actually was tiny and looked sick),

and 1999's A Christmas Carol starring Patrick Stewart.

There have also been numerous versions starring everyone from Mickey Mouse to Mr. Magoo.

Then there are the ones played for comedy like The Muppet's Christmas Carol (with Michael Caine) and Scrooged starring Bill Murray.

No matter how it's portrayed, it's a marvelous story of redemption and hope.  Something we could use this day and age.  Try to watch at least one this Christmas, or if you are like me ........ watch them all!  (And you could read the book too.)

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

White Christmas - 1954

(Another great post by guest blogger Debbie.)

We all have our favorite Christmas films (especially classic film lovers).  For some it's "It's a Wonderful Life", for others, "Holiday Inn" or "A Christmas Story".  Mine has always been "White Christmas".

Maybe it's because being a child of the fifties, I have always equated Bing Crosby with Christmas.  I loved his Christmas music, his Christmas specials on TV, all of it.  Maybe the reason is because the film is visually beautiful.  All musicals should be in color.  This one was particularly colorful.  Maybe it's Irving Berlin's wonderful songs.  Maybe it's the wonderful cast.  Besides Bing there is Danny Kaye, Rosie Clooney and the wonderful Vera Ellen.  (I loved Vera.  As a teenager I was 5'10" and weighed just over 100 pounds.  If she was beautiful that skinny, there was hope for me.)  It's probably all those things.

             The Hayne Sisters (Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen)

          Bob Wallace and Phil Davis (Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye)

The storyline was great too.  Two song and dance men and two beautiful talented sisters do a show to help the men's former commanding officer (played wonderfully by Dean Jagger) to bring business to his Vermont inn.  Of course, there are lots of songs and many dance routines (be sure to check out Vera Ellen's dance partner, John Brascia, such a talented dancer!) that showcases all the lead actors' many talents.  And of course, there's romance.  The two men are bound to fall for the two sisters.  Of course they are.

      Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Danny Kaye and Vera Ellen

                              Vera Ellen and John Brascia

I'll be honest, one of the things I love most are the great comic quotes from the film.

Examples:  Phil Davis:  My dear partner, when what's left of you gets around to what's left to be gotten, what's left to be gotten won't be worth getting, whatever it is you've got left.  Bob Wallace:  When I figure out what that means I'll come up with a crushing reply.

Phil Davis:  We wouldn't be any good as generals.  Gen. Thomas F. Waverly:  You weren't any good as privates.

Phil Davis:  [sighs] I don't know what he's up to, but he's got that Rodgers and Hammerstein look again.  Betty Haynes:  Is that bad?  Phil Davis:  Not bad, but always expensive.

But my favorite has always been the one Bing says to Danny Kaye (Phil Davis) and Vera Ellen (Judy Haynes) after they fake an engagement to try to bring Bing (Bob Wallace) and Rosie Clooney (Betty Haynes) together.  Bob Wallace:  [to Judy] You outta consider yourself plenty lucky!  You might have been stuck with this wierdsmobile for life!  .......... So Funny!!!

Do yourself a favor, if you haven't seen this gem, do so.  If you have, watch it again!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Lady in the Lake - 1947

(As a Christmas gift to me, Debbie is covering the blog for the rest of the year.  And it's a gift to you readers as well since she has written four great posts.  Thanks, again, Debbie.)  

The last film Robert Montgomery made for MGM is an interesting one.  (I must admit, it is not my favorite Noir film Bob made, "Ride the Pink Horse" is my favorite).  But, still an interesting film it is.  Montgomery not only starred in this one but directed it as well.  The entire film was shot in the viewpoint of the central character (Philip Marlowe, played by Bob).  You are only allowed to gaze on that oh so handsome face when the character is looking in a mirror, or in the opening and closing scenes.  The remainder of the story is seen through Marlowe's eyes.  We see what he sees.

                                    Bob and Audrey Totter

                        Marlowe looking at himself in a mirror

The film was adapted from a Raymond Chandler novel.  Chandler actually wrote a screenplay for the film in 1943, but a version written two years later by Steve Fisher was used.  The film's timeline was changed from midsummer to Christmastime.  The holiday themes were an ironic contrast to the grim story line.  The opening credits are shown on a series of Christmas cards that supposedly are concealing a hidden gun.  I'll admit I've never been able to find it.  Photographs of the credits are hard to come by and not that clear.

                                        Opening Credits

The film had a great supporting cast that included Audrey Totter, Lloyd Nolan, Leon Ames, Jayne Meadows and Tom Tully.

                     Production candid of Bob and Lloyd Nolan

If you have a chance, check it out.  "The Maltese Falcon" it's not, but still very interesting and Robert Montgomery is much easier on the eye than Humphrey Bogart.

Oh, by the way, most of the movie posters show Bob with brown eyes.  This is a picky observation, but one that drives Kathy and me absolutely crazy.  Here is a rare "Blue Eyes" poster.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

That Was One Heck of a Fight

One of Bob's "Bests", Private Lives (1931), is being shown on demand on TCM.  The broadcast time for it is 5:00 a.m. CST on the 17th, a tad too early for any movie for me.  The knock-down, drag-out fight between Elyot and Amanda is definitely a classic.  Bob and Norma had great fun practicing it, I'm sure.

                   Bob and Norma Shear in Private Lives (1931)

Bob banged his head preparing for the big fight, and may or may not have been knocked unconscious.  The clipping below reportedly shows the damage to Bob's noble forehead from the fight.  Could be!  

Thursday, December 06, 2018

George H. W. Bush, 1924 - 2018

We certainly lost a great man this week,  so few like him remain. 

He was a kind and gentle man who still went all the way to the very top, the Presidency of the United States.  To say that he was of a different time is so sadly true.  
              Senator Bob Dole (95), fellow WWII veteran, gives the
                perfect homage to his President and friend, George
George is back in Houston now.  After 10:00 a.m. CST services at his church, St. Martin's Episcopal, he will be taken by train to his internment at the Presidential Library in College Station, Texas.  The train will travel slowly through several small towns before arriving at Texas A & M at 3:45, with internment at 4:15. 

Presidents are required to plan out their state funeral when they first take office.  One last job done well.  Thanks, George. 

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

What Does Bob Have in Common with Alan Ladd, Robert Redford & Leonardo Dicaprio?

Gosh, but I was excited when I first ran across this listing for Amazon Prime.  Season 6 of Bob's show, a season he acted in two of the episodes, and they actually have it for viewing.  I mean, I had thought only a handful of his shows were even in existence.

 On Feb. 7, 1955, Bob portrayed alcoholic Bob Birnam in "The Lost Weekend", the role Ray Milland did so well in the 1945 movie version.  A chance to see 50-year-old Bob meet the challenge of a live television performance ... just fantastic! 

           Bob and Leora Dana in RM Presents:  The Lost Weekend

He also had the feature role in "The Great Gatsby" which was shown Feb. 7, 1955.  Now that I'd really, really love to see.  I mean, just how would his performance compare with the movies Jay Gatsbys:  Alan Ladd, Robert Redford, and Leonardo Dicaprio.  I'd put my money on Bob.

But, then I scrolled down my computer screen and saw that "Season 6" at Amazon means two measly episodes.  And, of course, neither of them have Bob in them.  Oh, Shuckie Darns!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Another Thrilling Day at the Studio

Ran across this wardrobe test photo of Bob a while back.  Ah, the perfectly dressed and handsome lad was he.  You can tell he'd rather be most anywhere else but the studio playing dress up. 

Below is a still from Live, Love and Learn (1937) with Bob wearing the same outfit.  Note the hankie in his suit pocket is in exactly the same position.  Now that's planning out a movie to the smallest detail.  Love the hat. 

         Helen Vinson (Lily), Bob (Bob) and Barnett Parker (Alfredo)

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

An Evening With Lucky & Pauline. How Nice!

Real life can be too darn distracting at times...  Meanwhile, Hide-Out (1934) is finally out on DVD!!  Very good.  It was just released Nov. 13th, so I'm not behind too much.  Still a few Bob movies out there to save.  Personally, I'd like to see a decent copy of Unfinished Business (1941).  It was shown at a Gregory LaCava retrospective in Los Angeles a few years back, so it exists!  And when Letty Lynton (1932) is finally dug out of its legal morass, it really needs to be a remastered copy!  After such a long wait, we deserve it!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Thursday, November 15, 2018

And Just How Can I Get a Tour Ticket?

"SO YOU WANT TO VISIT A MOVIE STUDIO...Well, then, why not take a personally conducted tour through Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.  The accompanying pictures show what you would see on the studio lot in Culver City, California. 

PICTURE 5.  As we head for the sound stages we pass the studio barber shop, where Robert Montgomery reads the paper as he gets a shampoo from barber Carl Renner and a nail trim from manicurist Lola Bardsley."

(I wonder if the barber had to sign a non-disclosure clause or if he just knew not to cross Eddie Mannix.)  

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

I Wonder Who Picked Up the Tab

 Love this photo.  It appears some small photo concern took the photo and decided to try for a few extra dollars selling it as a souvenir of Hollywood.  It is 10x13 inches and the parties are identified in the photo's background.  I somehow wonder if they made any money off it since such items would seem to be rather pricey for the average movie fan in 1932, in the midst of the Great Depression and all. 

It is a unique photo of Hollywood royalty.  Douglas Fairbanks was at the top for a very long time, and his son Jr. is well on his way to a successful career of his own.  And Mrs. Fairbanks Jr. (Joan, of course) is rather successful on her own.  Bob Montgomery is doing okay for himself and there's that new super hot property, the young Mr. Gable.  

For a closer look at the couples, first we have Bob and Betty.  Betty is seldom smiling in such photos.  Was she uncomfortable in the group, or in front of a camera? 

Bob and Betty were rather formal in public.  The main physical contact is Betty holding onto Bob's arm.  That's why it is a bit strange seeing Bob's hand on Jr.'s shoulder.  They were best buds at this time, a little "bromance" going on!

Joan and Doug Sr. were definitely not a couple. 

This is the couple that had much of the country wondering.  As in, "Are you kidding me?"  Ria was 17 years older than Clark and not the hot blonde you would expect to be at his side.  (Excuse my cattiness ... just a tad envious!)