Thursday, May 31, 2018

Now Frank Looked Good in a Mustache ... But Not Bob

Happy Birthday to a favorite, Frank Morgan.  Great actor, nice guy.

 --- Mr. Morgan was born Francis Wuppermann on June 1, 1890, in New York City.  His best early career move was changing his name.  He was the youngest of 11 children, poor Mrs. Wuppermann wth all those little Wuppermann's running around.  (Yeah, I love that name!)

--- Frank was a member of the "Irish Mafia" in Hollywood.  Evidently he was adopted by Cagney, O'Brien, Tracy, and the other Irishmen, since he was of Spanish, German and English heritage.  However, being an alcoholic who carried his own mini-bar in a briefcase to the studio with him, he fit in quite well with the others.

--- He appeared in four of Bob's films; When Ladies Meet (1933), Trouble for Two (1936), Piccadilly Jim (1936) and The Last of Mrs. Cheyney (1937).  He competed with Bob for the same lady in Ladies and Cheyney, and was Bob's father in Piccadilly.  Note, the last three movies were in a row for Bob, Frank made others as well.  That's a lot of time spent together, hope they were friends!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Surely a Fifth Time is a Charm ...

There are four copies of this 1933 Bob in my collection.  I am continually trying to find that one great copy.  This is the best of the four, the others are even more faded.  I do like the slightly different look of Mr. Montgomery in this photo.  Perhaps it's those blue eyes and the polka dot tie.  What do you think, maybe a yellow tie with green dots? 

Friday, May 25, 2018

Enjoy Your Weekend!

     Display your flag, enjoy your weekend ... most importantly, pause and remember those heroes that gave their all for their country.  

I have a weekend planned of grilling a tri-tip roast, watching baseball and checking out TCM's War Marathon.  They Were Expendable is being shown Saturday.  Bob makes my weekend perfect.  Hope yours is as well.  

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Just a Nice Family Home in Beverly Hills ...

I have read about and seen photos from the November, 1938 "House and Garden Magazine" article on Bob's then new colonial style home for some years.  It was only recently that a light bulb went on in my head and I decided to actually hunt down a copy of the magazine.  Anyway, it is a very nice article with loads of pictures and Elizabeth discussing the interior design.

All of the photos are included below.  There are a few Bob portraits identified as being from this article, but they aren't actually.  I'm guessing MGM sent over their own photographer for the portraits.  

One of the very few family photos ... nifty doggie. 

The other side of the house, the formal front of the home.  Inside the bay window is a breakfast nook.

An inside look of the nook, part of the dining room.  Betty points out that it is Bob's breakfast nook and he eats there by himself.  Hmm..

The article points out that the revolutionary war mural that covers the dining room walls is actually wallpaper.  The mural must have been a great topic for their dinner discussions (or not!)

One side of the living room ... I like the small child's chair back by the piano. 

The other side ... the antique cobbler's bench being used as a coffee table was a house-warming gift from Edward Everett Horton.  (Horton was in three of Bob's movies ... But the Flesh is Weak, Biography of a Bachelor Girl, and Here Comes Mr. Jordan.) 

This library shot is the most-often seen photo from the shoot.  I'm not sure how comfy the couch looks, but at 10 feet it is certainly a long one.  That's Bob way at its end.  I've enlarged that part for you ... the best part ...

This is a reading room off the library, more books, of course.  The bookcase has a dual purpose ...

... cleverly hiding the bar.  The small enclave also leads to the wine cellar.  Betty points out that a bar would not be true to a colonial home ... but a necessity for Hollywood parties!

The master bedroom.  Well, the twin beds are an improvement over the separate bedroom arrangement they had before! 

Another shot of the bedroom.  Bob and Betty had individual dressing rooms.  Betty's included a bathtub and Bob's a shower and a day bed.  (And what am I missing here ... why a daybed in his dressing room?)

The outside of the house that is always shown, including the main entrance door with the rounded arch. 

And the photo that becomes the famous postcard.  Such a nice home and gorgeous setting.

A closer look at the garage ... I think that's Bob 1935 Bentley sports car in the open bay of the garage.  Yeah, nice home.  Nice everything.

And, of course, the pool with pool house.  One can pretend that they're still back east, but the pool is the essential part of a Hollywood estate. 

There is no mention of the servant's quarters ...

Monday, May 21, 2018

Happy Birthday, Mr. Montgomery!

                         Robert Montgomery, b. May 21, 1904

Hope you get to watch at least some of today's marathon!  What better way to celebrate his day ...

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Marathon, Part 2 (One Day To Go!)

And now for the other five movies being shown tomorrow ...

Untamed (1929) receives a 4.6 rating on IMDB.  Ouch.  Granted, the movie is one of those rather awkward transition from silent to sound movies.  The use of titles for scene changes at the beginning is right out of the silents.  Hey, we are still learning about sound films, give us a chance!  If you are a Crawford fan, you will enjoy the beginning.  Joan, as "Bingo", gets to both sing and dance.  It is interesting to see musical numbers being used in the early sound pictures, whether it had anything to do with the rest of the movie or not.  Even Bob has to sing a love song to Bingo.  Too much.

I would suggest going 21 minutes into the movie and watch it from Bob's entrance on, the movie improves greatly.  This is Bob's third movie.  His transition is from stage to the talkies and he still has room for improvement.  But it is simply fun to watch him, the young, very exuberant Bob, still working on his basics, the way he walks, what to do with his hands when standing still.  The boxing scene is great fun, with some attempt of disguising just how skinny and small-framed the young Bob is.  But he can throw a lot of punches very fast!

Three years later, Bob has improved significantly.  In But the Flesh is Weak (1932), he has become the Bob we know so well ... so handsome, elegant and smooth.  The rating is only 5.7, probably so low because of the main plot of Bob and his Dad being gigolos with the quest of Bob marrying  a wealthy woman.  Yes, not exactly politically correct these days, but it was all fun in 1932 having men in the usual role held by women, of looking for a sugar daddy.  The beginning has a great scene of Bob preparing for and taking a bath, do watch that if nothing else.  I have always felt the big weakness of the film was Bob's co-star, Nora Gregor.  She was quite popular in Europe, but did not catch on in Hollywood.

                   Bob and Nora Gregor in But the Flesh is Weak

In Made on Broadway (1933), Bob gets to play a different role.  He is a fast-talking, streetwise fixer, not his usual suave, upper crust self.  He meets his match in Sally Eilers, and the two work to make her into a celebrity.  He begins to fall in love with her, while his wife, Madge Evans, waits patiently to see if he returns to her.  Bob is quite good in the role, interesting to watch.  IMDB's rating is 6.5.  That's fair.

In the same year, Bob made When Ladies Meet.  Based on a very sophisticated and successful play, the movie has simply a great cast; Ann Harding, Myrna Loy, Frank Morgan, Alice Brady along with Bob.  It is a witty play about current day morality.  Myrna is in love with Frank who is married to Ann, while Bob is in love with Myrna and will do anything to get Frank out of the picture.  It sounds strange to have Myrna in love with Frank rather than Bob, but Mr. Morgan makes it believable.  The laughs are provided by Alice Brady, and the "country home" set by Cedric Gibbons is amazingly beautiful.  I seriously want that home for myself.  The movie's rating is 6.9.  The main complaint would be that it could be viewed as being too talky. 

Lastly, Trouble for Two (1936) reflects being made after they began enforcing the Hayes Act.  Bob gets to kiss Roz Russell gingerly and that's about it on the sex front.  It is based on a story by Robert Louis Stevenson, "The Suicide Club", and is primarily a somewhat strange mystery, with Bob and Roz as European royals, and Frank Morgan (again!) as Bob's watch dog.  It is rather an adjustment for me watching Bob with a mustache and a curly wig!  It is also an under use of Ms. Russell, as often happens.

My, but it is getting late (or early, depending on your perspective!)  Hope my rambles make sense.  Remember, Monday is Bob's Day! 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Marathon Discussion Part 1 (2 Days To Go!)

Nine movies being shown on Bob's birthday ... of course they are not all great movies, but they do have Bob in them.  That's reason enough to watch each at least once, perhaps a second time to follow the plot rather than just appreciating Mr. Montgomery. 

I would place four in the category of "must-see" Bobs, and you probably have seen them all.  Night Must Fall was Bob's favorite movie.  He put a lot of effort in the role and his performance is just wonderful.  The final scenes are just superb.  He deserved the Best Actor nomination ... at least.  

                   Rosalind Russell and Danny in Night Must Fall

Mr. & Mrs. Smith is a delight.  Carole Lombard and Bob enjoyed working together and it shows through in their performances. There are a number of classic scenes that do not fail to make you laugh, no matter how many times you have seen them.  The IMDB rating is only 6.5.  I disagree wholeheartedly ... too many Hitchcock fanatics dissing the movie because it is a comedy and not your typical Hitchcock.  That's their loss.

Private Lives was first a play written by Noel Coward, and this is a faithful adaptation.  I'm sure it would have been just fantastic to see Coward and Gertrude Lawrence perform it on the stage, but Bob and Norma Shearer acquit themselves quite well.  An enjoyable movie, the leads ably supported by Una Merkel and Reginald Denny, the discarded spouses.  Did you know Laurence Olivier played Denny's role on the stage?  My fun newly acquired factoid for the day ...

                     Norma Shearer and Elyot in Privates Lives

And Hide-Out is purely a joy to watch.  Such a sweet romantic comedy, with one of the screen's best matches.  Yes, Maureen O'Sullivan was actually as good-looking as Bob.  If they had only made the sequel ...

Let's see, that leaves five movies to discuss.  I watched two of them earlier this evening, which is why I'm approaching my total collapse time already.  And three more to catch up on tomorrow.  Watching five Bob movies ... ah, the hard work I do for the blog!  Until tomorrow ...

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Countdown Begins ... 3 Days To Go!

This coming Monday, May 21st, is Mr. Montgomery's birthday.  I'm glad I'm retired and don't have to worry about using up a vacation day (or more likely, sick day), because TCM will be having a Montgomery marathon ... 9 Bob movies!!  Fantastic.  The only drawback is that it's a day marathon, as in no movies shown in the evening except the 6:00 EST showing of Night Must Fall (1939).  But am I complaining?  No.  I am just thrilled that TCM remembered Mr. Montgomery at all.  My hugs and kisses go out to the beautiful soul in programming who remembers our beautiful man.

So, get those DVRs warmed up and ready to go!  Here's the schedule ... all times are CST (for a change..)

                 5:00 a.m. - Untamed (1929) 
                 6:30 a.m. - Private Lives (1931)
                 8:00 a.m. - But the Flesh is Weak (1932)
                 9:30 a.m. - Made on Broadway (1933)
               10:45 a.m. - When Ladies Meet (1933)
               12:15 p.m. - Hide-Out (1934) 
                 1:45 p.m. - Trouble for Two (1936)
                 3:15 p.m. - Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941)
                 5:00 p.m. - Night Must Fall (1937) 

Overall, a good selection of Bob's movies.  What a way to spend his day!

I am thinking about doing a couple posts this weekend to discuss briefly the pros/cons of the movies being shown.  I generally do not "review" Bob's movies, since I am so completely biased.  But, perhaps I can provide input to help you decide which ones to be sure to catch.  Of course, I'm addressing those of you who have not seen all of Bob's movies.  The old pros out there can just ignore my ramblings, as usual. 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The One That Bob Was Not Prettier Than ... ***

Maureen O'Sullivan was born on May 17th, 1911, in Boyle, County Roscommon, Ireland.  (Another one of those great name/birthplace combinations!)  She, of course, co-starred with Bob in Hide-Out (1934).  They made a great pair, her Pauline to Bob's Lucky.  It is a movie that begged for a sequel, catching up with the two when Lucky gets out of prison.  In our next lives ...

1934 was a great year for Maureen.   She made four movies; Tarzan and His Mate, The Thin Man, Hide-Out and The Barretts of Wimpole Street.  Not bad, young lady.  


*** That's open to discussion, of course...

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

... It's That Glorious Head of Curly Hair!

It's another treasure find.  Not recognized in a lot of photos up for auction, was this worn, but in excellent shape for its age, still from Three Live Ghosts (1929).  Gosh, but it's fun coming across a photo of young Mr. Montgomery, not easily recognizable because he is not wearing his usual tuxedo!  And it is one I haven't seen before, so doubly nice. 

Actually, it is never the clothing that helps me recognize young Bob ... it's that glorious head of curly hair!

It still amazes me that there are stills and lobby cards existing for this long-lost movie.  I have more Three Live Ghosts stills in my collection than a number of his other movies.  Night Flight items are rare, no promotional photos that I know of, just a few terrific posters, none of which I can afford!  And I have few items from any of Bob's Norma Shearer movies.  Part of my problem there is all those gorgeous photos taken by Hurrell for Norma's movies.  The photos for Riptide alone ... need to get back to buying Lotto tickets.

As for this expenditure, that lot I bought ... anybody interested in some Joe E. Brown stills?  Have I got a deal for you! 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Bob & Bob, Broadway and Bennett

From the March 28, 1931, issue of Picture Show Magazine:


90 years ago, May 10, 1928, marks the opening on Broadway of "The High Hatters", in which Bob appeared as Dick Halloway.  The show ran for all of 12 performances.


I used this nice photo of Clark Gable and Constance Bennett in a post back in 2015.  What I did not notice then and only recently discovered, was that I had a photo with Ms. Bennett's autograph on it!

This blowup might help ...

A nice surprise, for a change.  

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

One of Many Beautiful Faces of the Young Bob

                                 Robert Montgomery (1930)

Monday, May 07, 2018

ALERT!! 5:00 p.m. PST, Tuesday on TCM

Robert Montgomery and Myrna Loy in finalmente una donna! 

... or "Finally a Woman", not as romantic as Petticoat Fever (1936). 

Thursday, May 03, 2018

A Tall, Blond and Handsome Hunk of a Brit

1.  Brian Aherne was a tall dude ... 6' 3-1/2"
2.  He co-starred in four movies with Rosalind Russell.  I'm sure Roz appreciated being able to wear high heels, for a change.
3.  Born May 2, 1902, in King's Norton, Worcestershire, England, U.K., and his birth name was William Brian de Lacy Aherne.  Sounds like a character in an 18th Century novel. 
4.  Close friend of George Sanders, one of the few.
5.  Survived a five-year marriage to Joan Fontaine.
6.  Had a pilot's license, even owned his own plane.  Not that common in the 1930s. 
7.  And the Montgomery connection ... appeared on Robert Montgomery Presents three times.

                                             Brian Aherne

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

All Good Wishes ... Robert Montgomery

I have grown to really appreciate this photo of our 43-year-old Bob.  It is 1947 and Bob has just signed with Universal Pictures, so new studio portraits are needed.  No longer one of the celestial beings of MGM, Bob simply looks more down-to-earth.  Well, still not exactly "one of the guys" ... Bob was always unique, special. 

The postcard was probably signed some years later.  And, in all likelihood, signed by Bob himself!  I just don't see people who forged his signature wasting their time on a postcard.  So, a double pleasure; a favorite photo and something Bob handled.  Be still my heart...