Saturday, August 29, 2015

Ingrid and Cary learn to avoid coffee in... Notorious (1946)

Virginie over at The Wonderful World of Cinema is hosting a great blogathon devoted to screen goddess, Ingrid Bergman, and naturally I had to be a part of it. Ms. Bergman's 100th birthday is today, and what better way to honor her? Check out the other fantastic contributions here!

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I made a terrible discovery last night while taking notes for this post -- I've completely taken Notorious for granted. The first time I saw it, I loved everything about it, from its magnetic leads to its delicious dialogue. I could recite every camera angle and every scene. However, it had been awhile since I had seen the film, so watching it again suddenly became like a revelation to me. I've championed Notorious for years, and I was completely justified as it unfolded before me for the umpteenth time. This movie is damn good, and I'm so glad I picked it for this blogathon.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Gary Cooper and Audrey Hepburn find... Love in the Afternoon (1957)

The Summer Under the Stars celebration continues! Previously I wrote about Fred Astaire and Debbie Reynolds, but my last entry will be on that gorgeous hunk of man named Gary Cooper, whose day on TCM is the 30th. The rest of the blogathon's roster is constantly being updated and can be found here.

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One of my favorite Gary Cooper films, maybe even my absolute favorite, is Love in the Afternoon. Hell, it even ranks high in Audrey Hepburn and Billy Wilder's separate filmographies for me. It's a beautiful confection of a film -- funny, interesting, wonderfully photographed, and supremely romantic. And before anyone mentions it, yes, there is an age difference between the leading man and lady, but no, I will not be commiserating over it. I detest reducing good performances to a stupid number and/or appearance, because that's not what I care about when watching something as lovely as Love in the Afternoon. On to the movie!

Monday, August 24, 2015

My Second Anniversary.

Good golly. It's been two years already? When I started this blog, I had no idea how much I would enjoy it. I've found many other blogs I now adore, and I hope that I've been blessed with new readers of my own. For the past year, I've really been trying to improve not just the quantity of posts, but the quality of them. I've changed formats and colors, as well as paid more attention to the details in films. I started including photos I took myself in order to provide a better aesthetic and understanding for the movies I talk about (I admit, for better or worse--my laptop doesn't have a DVD player and so I have to improvise my own "screenshots" using my TV and phone camera). I'm also trying to take advantage of adding YouTube videos to my posts. They're all little things, but they're designed to make my blog much better for you lovely people, and so I'll sleep better at night. I even started participating in blogathons, which have been infinitely rewarding. I never enjoyed my blog the way I do now thanks to those blogathons.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Jane Powell and Ricardo Montalban spend... Two Weeks with Love (1950)

Today I celebrate Debbie Reynolds's day as part of the continuing Summer Under the Stars Blogathon, although her day isn't until tomorrow starting at 6 am. My first entry on Fred Astaire can be found here, and the list of other entries are here at Journeys in Classic Film.

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Although finally reviewing Singin' in the Rain was mighty tempting, I wanted to do something unique for the incomparable Ms. Reynolds. So, taking a look at her filmography, I decided to shed some light on one of Debbie's first major films, the charming Two Weeks with Love. Although Jane Powell is the real star here, I think you'll soon find out why I picked this for a post celebrating Debbie. We go back to the early 1900's...

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Shirley MacLaine shows Michael Caine she's no fool in... Gambit (1966)

I'm very happy to say I'm taking part in the great Anti-Damsel Blogathon. You really must read the other entries. Or else the ghosts of Bette Davis, Barbara Stanwyck, and Katharine Hepburn will come get you. You can find the list here.

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The story of Gambit is simple: a thief and his art forger partner hire a nightclub dancer to pull off the theft of a sculpture. Everything goes smoothly, it's the perfect heist, everyone parts ways, the end. Uhhh, no. The best thing about Gambit is that it turns its simple plotline on its head, effectively screwing with audience expectations. This is one of those films that you wish you could see for the first time every time, and it's also one that you might not want to read about before you see it. Just warning you -- I'll be indulging in plenty of spoilers in order to talk about the ball of delight that is Shirley MacLaine's character, Nicole Chang. Read on at your own risk.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Jennifer Jones and Greg Peck can't quit each other in... Duel in the Sun (1946)

This is my entry for the Barrymore Trilogy Blogathon, which celebrates all actors with the last name Barrymore. To read the rest of the stunning roster, click here.

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Imagine you're David O. Selznick. In 1939, you poured everything you had into a giant Civil War epic, a picture that was touted as the greatest movie to ever come along -- it was such a phenomenon, its impact and cultural status were recognized immediately, unlike say, Citizen Kane. Every movie you did afterwards, some critic or middling intellectual or gossip columnist had to sniff that it wasn't the next Gone with the Wind. So, you decide to go for broke once more and create another sprawling historical drama, and this time it'll star the biggest sensation Hollywood has ever seen, a beautiful actress named Jennifer Jones, who you just happen to be in love with. The film is Duel in the Sun, and despite Selznick's ulcers and nights of popping pills, his attempt to make a bigger and grander GWTW fell flat. That's not to say that Duel in the Sun isn't a good, entertaining flick, but how many of you heard its title and didn't instantly recognize it like you would if you heard Casablanca or, well, Gone with the Wind? Unfortunately, the same can be said for Jennifer Jones. I personally really enjoy Jones, and I'm sure she's familiar to classic film fans for her work in The Song of Bernadette and Portrait of Jennie, but it's doubtful her name inspires anything in modern moviegoers. She didn't rise to the heights of Bette Davis or Audrey Hepburn, much to Selznick's supreme disappointment. Three years after Duel in the Sun's 1946 release, the producer and his star were married; they were still together when Selznick died in 1965. Their love story always upsets me because Jones had been married to Robert Walker at the time, and when she left him in 1945, it destroyed the poor guy, who would experience mental illness and alcoholism until his premature death in 1951 at the age of 32.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Top Ten: Fred Astaire's Partners


Every August, TCM dedicates one day to one exclusive star. It's times like these I'm thankful to the television gods for both airing TCM and for creating the DVR; Summer Under the Stars covers a vast array of different films and I can always find at least five that I've been dying to see. This August is a bit different because I'll also be contributing to the SUTS Blogathon that runs alongside the programming, hosted by Kristen at Journeys in Classic Film. I really wanted to cover a bunch of people, but things have been absolutely bonkers for me lately. I have other blogathons I already committed to that I still have to write for, I'm going back to IU shortly, and I had gallbladder surgery recently that kept me away from my blogging (but not my film viewing!). Because of all this, I just chose three wonderful stars -- sorry, my beloved Gene Tierney and Kate Hepburn! -- and today I bring you the first of those. For the complete list of entries, click here. There's no way you could be sorry.