For those of you who might be having a bad day, here’s a rundown of what’s going on in my life to make you feel better:
1) I’m planning to spend part of 2014 traveling the world and studying abroad. After months of begging and pleading and finally convincing my parents, I am, of course, having trouble renewing my passport because of this fucking government shutdown. I went to the post office yesterday to pick up the renewal form and schedule an appointment, but instead all I got was some bored lady telling me that they can’t process anything because everything is closed. So then I had to call the New York Passport Agency to schedule an appointment with them, but in order for them to issue a passport to anyone, you need to present evidence that you are traveling within two weeks. I am not leaving the country until 2014, but my applications need for me to make a copy of the photo page of my passport by October 18th. My appointment is October 16th. If the agency decides not to process my passport overnight, I’m screwed. I’m fucking sick of conservatives making this country look like a fucking joke.
2) I took my passport photos yesterday and dolled myself up so I can actually look good in this one (my old passport photo was taken before I got contacts. I had to take off my glasses and of course I couldn’t see shit, so I looked like a deer in the headlights, with my eyes the size of saucers). Despite the ages I took applying my makeup and styling my hair in perfect Dita Von Teese waves, I still managed to look like an escaped criminal in the photos. How is it that a person can look one way in the mirror but look COMPLETELY different in a photo? I’m so ugly I can’t even stand the sight of my own face. If only plastic surgery was affordable.
3) I had to do a voice-over narration for my multimedia journalism class. My voice is hideous. Absolutely hideous. I’ve never liked the sound of my own voice and I never will. I’m 20 years old yet I still sound like a goddamn child. Every time I pick up the phone and it’s a flippin’ telemarketer, they always ask me if my mommy or daddy is home and I fume into a silent rage before hanging up in their faces. I wish I could have a rich speaking voice, like Joan Crawford or Norma Shearer.
4) My body image has gotten worse, if that’s possible. Since I started school, I know I gained all the weight I lost through my summer starvation diet. However, my family is telling me that I haven’t gained any weight, but they’re my family, so they’re supposed to say that. I don’t want to talk to my friends about it because I don’t want them to know about my body insecurities. There is a gorgeous vintage dress that I’m just dying to buy, but because it’s a straight silhouette I know it will hug every. single. ugly. curve. It will highlight my butt, my hips, and my boobs and quite frankly that scares me because I am not a size 0. I am also eying these matching vintage shoes, but the heels are three inches tall, which will turn this 5’5″ dame into a 5’8″ Amazon woman
5) There is so much schoolwork I need to do, yet I’ve got no motivation to do it. I don’t want to interview strangers about our local representative running for City Council Speaker. I’m almost positive that no one in my neighborhood of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, even knows who our representative is. All I want to do is curl up somewhere cozy and finish reading Crime and Punishment dammit. Can’t a girl just find out what’s happening with Raskolnikov?
6) My novel is NOT coming along swimmingly. Writing is so hard. I constantly suffer from writer’s block and an inability to find the right words to express my thoughts. I constantly worry that I’m going either too fast or too slow in my plot, or that my characters aren’t developed or relatable enough. Writing is so difficult when you have a low self-esteem. I wish I had a friend who cared enough to read my work and critique it so I can know if I’m on the right track, but I don’t think I can trust any of my friends with something this personal. I’m a shy, secretive person deep down inside. There’s also the little problem of not knowing anyone who actually likes to read books…
I guess I’m just a disillusioned, jaded youth who doesn’t want to live in this sick, sad world anymore. Part of me wants to love someone and be loved by someone, but I know that things like love and respect and passion are dead, dead, dead. People pretend to love each other and they use and manipulate and hurt each other deliberately and it makes me so sad. My generation is nothing more than a group of fakes who pretend to be things they aren’t just to fit in with a preconceived notion of society. Every single person I meet is just a cookie-cutter image of another person. Whatever happened to individualism, to realness, and to honesty? Like Clark Gable said in It Happened One Night, I want to meet somebody that’s real, somebody that’s alive. But they don’t come that way anymore. Everyone is playing a part just to be popular; the youth of today are basically a bunch of highly talented actors who will never win Oscars . No one is interested in truly loving someone with every fiber of their being, because it takes too much time, too much attention. People waste so much time fearing to reveal their true feelings for each other because the world is telling us to look at people like they are just pawns on a chessboard.
If you’re a regular reader of my humble blog, then it probably comes as no surprise to you that I think a vast majority (read: 99%) of my generation is nothing more than a bunch of shallow, horrendous barbarians. Not only do they behave like barbarians (spitting on the street, fighting in public, smoking in people’s faces, collapsing drunk on the sidewalks, cursing around children, publicly flaunting their complete and utter stupidity like it’s something to be proud of, etc.) but they also DRESS like barbarians. Nowadays, it’s considered okay to walk around with your pants down to your knees while wearing a XXXL t-shirt that has some ugly pattern on it. What happened to the days in which people, you know, actually cared about the way they dressed? I’m a big sucker for men who take pride in their appearance, who meticulously groom themselves until they are so clean and neat you could eat off them. This isn’t bragging, but I do tend to dress elegantly, or even luxuriously, on a daily basis, and it would be an absolute dream to meet a man who can match me in that respect. Too bad they are like a rare and gorgeous species basically on the verge of extinction.
However, there is a side of me that is stupidly hopeful about many things. Maybe, if I write a post about it, some men will take notice of it and make an effort to bring some class and elegance into the mostly abysmal human race. Luckily, I study men’s fashion just as seriously as I study women’s fashion. As you can see, I don’t discriminate. So, here’s my little crash course on how to dress like a grown, mature man. Because boys, you need all the help you can get.
I know it’s silly to have to say this, but CLEANLINESS IS IMPORTANT, GUYS. It’s more important than anything else I will write in this post. Unfortunately, I’ve met quite a few boys who think showering is an option. BUT. IT. ISN’T. Shower every single flippin’ day. Use goddamn deodorant. They don’t have it in stores for decoration. It’s for you to use, embrace, enjoy.
Body hair isn’t really a big problem, because boys are supposed to be hairy, right? However, that doesn’t mean you should look like a gorilla. If you have back hair, get rid of it right now. If you have an unsightly unibrow, tweeze that thing until you get two eyebrows. It’s not unmanly to tweeze. You don’t want to be mistaken as a primate by an a big game hunter one day and locked up in a zoo somewhere.
It’s also not unmanly to take care of your nails. Nothing makes me shudder quite like seeing a man with long nails. It looks filthy. Trim all nail growth and file those nails smooth. And DON’T BITE YOUR NAILS. Do you know how much bacteria you’re putting into your mouth?!
Get a Tailor
Grown men own suits, so when buying suits, make sure they are in…wearable…colors like black, grey, and navy blue. Other colors, like puke green, radioactive yellow, and hot pink are suitable for Halloween only. Every man’s body type is different, so a lot of the time, a ready-to-wear piece can fit well in some places and not so well in others. This leads men to buy suits that are a size or two too big. This is where the tailor comes in. Even though ready-to-wear pieces are cheaper and easier to get, they automatically assume that people come in cookie-cutter sizes. Men who are too tall or too short can find their suits out of proportion: a tall man’s cuffs might not come down to his wrists, a short man’s breast pocket might be too far down the suit jacket, etc. A tailor can fix all that, and help to make the suit fit you as closely as possible without it being too tight.
A suit should fit you closely, but not too close that you feel your buttons straining or your skin pinching underneath the material. A good guide to follow: if you can fit a finger or two between your body and your clothes, it is a good fit. It’s just enough room for you to be comfortable without looking you raided Fatty Arbuckle’s closet.
During the Golden Age of Hollywood, ready-to-wear suits were a rarity. Suits were almost always tailor-made, which is why they fit each man so well, even if his body was not the “average” male body of the time. Clark Gable, who was 6’1 and weighed about 190 pounds, was considered a gigantic man for his time (back then, the average man was about Humphrey Bogart-sized: 5’8-ish) so he had to have literally every piece of clothing custom-made to fit his body. His tailor up until WWII was Eddie Schmidt (he made both Gable’s regular clothes and the costumes for his films) and after the war, all his clothes were tailored by Brooks Brothers. Even though Gable was a big man who probably would’ve had a hard time finding his size in stores, he fit like a dream in everything he wore, and because of the necessary adjustments that had to be made to his clothes so they could fit him, he helped to start new trends like broad shoulders and tapered waists. Let’s take an opposite case: Adolphe Menjou was a shorter, slimmer man, but you couldn’t ever accuse him of “swimming in his clothes.” James Oviatt, who was Menjou’s tailor, turned him into a men’s fashion plate and a renowned symbol of sartorial elegance.
You should always know your measurements to ensure the best fit when buying a ready-to-wear piece. That means specifics, like your neck measurements, the length of your arms, etc. The most important thing to keep in mind when buying ready-to-wear shirts or jackets is the breadth of the shoulders. The seam of the shoulders should end right where your shoulders do. If the piece doesn’t do that, trash it. This is something very difficult for a tailor to adjust, so make sure it’s already right when buying ready-to-wear.
Be Picky About Your Fabrics
This is something that I learned the hard way. When I was young and stupid, I would buy tons of really cheap clothes at places like Forever 21, thinking that I was so cool for having a lot of clothes. But a week later, the clothes would be literally falling apart and the $3 jewelry would be turning my skin green where I wore it. As I grew older and wiser, I learned that it isn’t about how much clothes you have, but how good the quality of your clothing is. Nowadays, I wear a lot of silk, lace, sequins, leather, velvet, glitter, and wool. It sounds opulent, but it’s fun, I feel good, and I don’t have to worry about my clothes disintegrating in public. A few good pieces of high quality always beats tons of pieces of really shitty quality. Make sure your clothes are made of 100% fabrics, like cotton,wool, leather, and silk. Poly-blends like nylon are not as sturdy and they make you perspire more, which in turn can make you smelly really fast, since the sweat just sits there. When I shop, I can quickly tell what’s a good fabric by rubbing it with my thumb and forefinger for a second. It’s faster and easier than digging through the piece before reading the label.
Get Nice Shoes
Every time I see a man in flip flops, my eyes cry tears of blood. Nobody wants to see your big hairy feet, so cover them up. Get a pair of black lace-up shoes that can go with anything. Brown is good too. Slim, pointed lace-ups are good for special occasions. Loafers are always classy. Like your clothes, your shoes should be of good quality and of the best materials, like leather.
Ties can really make or break your suit. The tie should match your suit and your dress shirt, so don’t buy your clothes to match your tie. Buy your ties to match your clothes. So that means no ugly ties in silly colors and stupid patterns, because those look immature and will never match with anything. The width of the tie should be taken into account as well. Bigger men should gravitate towards wider, longer ties. Smaller men should go for shorter, skinnier ties. An average-sized man should wear ties that are around three inches in width.
The colors of your ties should be solid or lightly patterned. Nothing too big, loud, or obnoxious. The color of the tie should also complement your natural coloring. Fair-haired, fair-skinned men can pull off light monochromatic color combinations. Dark-haired, fair-skinned men can pull off bolder color combos that combine darks and lights. Dark-haired, dark-skinned men can pull off both, in addition to low contrast monochromatic color combos. Of course, each man knows better than anyone what colors work best on him.
Always Have at Least One Tux
Tuxes are strictly special occasion wear. They’re timeless and debonair. And even though your prom has come and gone and you’re not planning to get married anytime soon (or you’re already married), you should own at least one tuxedo for formal parties, weddings, and other important events. And tuxes don’t always have to be black. You can change it up with a white tux too.
Keep Casual Dress Clean and Simple
Don’t buy those jeans that are pre-ripped, pre-frayed, and pre-stained. Looking like the hobos I see every day on the subway is not stylish. When it comes to jeans, stick to traditional or dark washes. Jeans in those washes are classic and can go with anything. For jean fit, stick to straight leg. Like your suit, you want your jeans to fit your body well without looking like you:
a) raided Fatty Arbuckle’s closet again
b) raided the closet of a scrawny ten year-old
And by the way, the waistline of your jeans should stay on your waist, not around your thighs. Just a heads-up, in case you weren’t aware.
How to Wear Shorts Without Looking Dumb
Wearing shorts is fuckin hard, for both men and women. I hate the summertime for many reasons, one of which is because it’s time for me to wear shorts and I. Hate. Shorts. The problem with shorts is that they’re pretty difficult to wear without looking like you’ve got thunder thighs. They pockets alone can make your thighs look double their size. And for someone with…shapely…thighs like myself, it can be agonizing torture. But wearing shorts isn’t impossible.
You should wear shorts as casual attire only. Don’t go to work wearing a suit jacket on top and shorts on the bottom, unless you’re hoping to get fired. Shorts should be worn only when the weather calls for it. That means no playing in the snow when wearing shorts, unless you’re hoping to get hypothermia and die.
Shorts should be primarily in lightweight materials such as cotton or linen. Cargo shorts should be worn only when hiking or doing strenuous outdoor activities. Athletic shorts should be worn only when participating in sports or running. The length of your shorts is perhaps the most difficult thing to determine when buying them. They should be long enough so that your knees are just visible or very slightly covered when standing still. Anything that hits right past your knees aren’t shorts. They are a highly unflattering abomination and should be burned.
You also don’t want to get shorts that are way too baggy. The baggier the shorts, the bigger your butt and thighs look. Unless you want to suffer from the Thunder Thighs Syndrome I talked about before, then get shorts that are comfortable yet well-fitting.
Aaaaaaaaaaaand that’s about all I’ve got! If there are any questions or if I missed anything, feel free to leave a comment!
My Very Opinionated, Very Nitpicky, Very Detailed, and Very Long Review of “The Great Gatsby” (2013). Millions of Spoilers Abound…
Hello darlings! Long time, no see. I’ve had a pretty harrowing semester, but by the looks of the grades that I’ve gotten so far, it looks like all that hard work is going to pay off! On Sunday, my friends and I celebrated the end of the semester by going to see the new Gatsby film at a fancy theater in Union Square. We were all so pumped, but no one was as pumped as me. I’ve loved the book for many years and I’ve read it over and over and over again. To me, one of the most beautiful things about Fitzgerald’s masterpiece is how, almost a century later, it still resonates so strongly with young people like myself. I can’t fathom people who don’t like this book and don’t like anything Fitzgerald has written. If you are one of those people, you should just get out of here right now. You don’t deserve to read books. Or have opinions on them. Or live.
However, after the two and a half hour film came to an end, I was all torn up. I didn’t really know what to feel about this “Gatsby.” The rest of my friends either really hated it or felt ambivalent like I did. Out of four stars, I’d give this film two. So here’s my review detailing all the good, the bad, and the ugly about this film. It isn’t a classic film, but it is a classic story, so this counts for something, right? If you haven’t seen it yet and plan to soon or if you’re reading the book in preparation for seeing this film, then I advise you to stop right here, because I’m going to be throwing spoilers around like there’s no tomorrow.
Nick Carraway: Let’s begin at the beginning, shall we? Unless you live under a rock, you must know that The Great Gatsby (the book) is told from the point of view of Jay Gatsby’s average Joe neighbor, Nick Carraway. Nick has just moved from the Midwest to my glittery, glitzy city: New York. Nick’s not in Kansas anymore. When the film opens, we see our pal Nick in a sanitarium for alcoholism, depression, and anxiety. His doctor advises him to write, since “writing gives [him] solace,” as Nick himself says in the film. So, whaddaya know, Nick ends up writing the story of “The Great Gatsby.” As this plotline was unfolding in the film, I was like, “WHAT. IS. THIS.” In the book, there is no sanitarium, Nick goes back to the Midwest. In the book, it is very subtly implied that Nick is Fitzgerald’s alter ego, but not in the standpoint from writing the book. Rather, he is his alter ego in that he is a Midwesterner who is exposed to the different world full of glitter and flamboyance and money–the world of 1920s New York. Nick’s observations in the novel corroborate with Fitzgerald’s own opinions on 1920s materialism. This doesn’t mean that the film should’ve went so far as to completely REPLACE Fitzgerald with the Carraway character!
Anyway, let’s move on to Tobey Maguire’s interpretation of Nick Carraway. Maguire has never been a favorite actor of mine. I don’t really know how he made it in Hollywood. The only explanation I can think of is that he really worked that casting couch. For me, Tobey Maguire wins the “Most Painfully Awkward Actor to Ever Grace the Screen” award. Because of this strange plot point of Carraway actually writing the novel, we get a lot of Maguire reading famous lines from the book, including the opening line and the immortal closing line. I don’t know what’s wrong with Maguire, but he, like, couldn’t pronounce ANYTHING. The dude was blundering around with the gorgeous lines and making them sound clunky and awkward. Verdict: Tobey Maguire can’t read. At all. He’s illiterate.
Jay Gatsby: Leonardo DiCaprio’s Gatsby kinda fell in the middle for me. He is suave, debonair, and as fresh as a cool blast of air in a muggy July afternoon. Just look at that face, everyone. He is swoon-worthy, and did a pretty good job of capturing Gatsby’s all-consuming infatuation for Daisy. It shows in literally every facet of his personality. DiCaprio also captures that aura of frantic-ness that permeates Gatsby’s life (since he is obsessed with making up those lost five years with Daisy). However, what I really didn’t enjoy about DiCaprio’s performance was THAT. ACCENT. What was it even? Was Jay Gatsby supposed to have an accent in the novel!? HUH??? DiCaprio spoke in this mix of New York accent and British accent (at least that’s what I THINK it is…) and it made me realize just how disgusting those two accents sound blended together. British people pronounce every letter in their words and speak at a pretty moderate pace, for the most part. But us New Yorkers can’t really be bothered with speaking clearly and slowly. Or with pronouncing 75% of the letters in a word. THEY’RE OPPOSITE ACCENTS. If a mess could speak, it would sound like Leo’s Gatsby. Actually, if a mess could speak, it would sound like Tobey Maguire. If confusion could speak, it would sound like Leo’s Gatsby. It was so bad that my friend kept whispering “old spawt” in my ear the whole train ride home until I yelled at him to shut up. A scene that irritated me was the one in which Gatsby is shot to death in his swimming pool. Of course, I was tearing up and thinking “Noooo don’t die!” The irritating part was that of course he dies saying “Daisy,” while I’m thinking, “DON’T DIE WITH THAT BITCH’S NAME ON YOUR LIPS.” And how about his entrance in the film? I wish I could enter every social function with a come-hither smile on my face and a glass of champagne in my hand, while fireworks explode behind me and “Rhapsody in Blue” swells in the background.
Daisy Buchanan: Carey Mulligan’s Daisy just wasn’t careless enough for me. You get the whole “dumb blonde airhead money-obsessed nasty bitch” personality from her, but not as intense as it should’ve been. You still do hate her, you still get frustrated with her stupidity, but Mulligan made it very hard to make you really feel all those feels for her so much. She was meh. I don’t really know why. I guess I just don’t like Carey Mulligan.
Myrtle Wilson: I LOVED Isla Fisher’s Myrtle Wilson. She was absolutely perfect: a beautiful yet trashy and cheap-looking woman, which is exactly what Fitzgerald was going for in his novel. You can even hear it in her accent. While Daisy has a high-class, hoity-toity, put-on New York accent, Myrtle has a loud, common New York accent. The subtlety with which she did that was great. Her death scene (like everything else in this film) was really over the top and in your face, but that wasn’t her fault. She is one of the delights of this film. And is it just me, or does Fisher’s Myrtle Wilson bear an exact resemblance to Clara Bow?! I was blown away by it when I noticed it while watching the film!
I thought it was really clever that Myrtle seemed to have modeled herself after the most popular and desirable actress of her time. However, I’m not 100% on that feeling, because it might purport the image of Clara Bow as trashy and loose in her ways, an untrue rumor that ruined Bow’s life and reputation and still tarnishes her to this day.
Tom Buchanan: The second really great performance in this film was Joel Edgerton’s as Tom Buchanan. He was exactly how I imagined him when I read the book. Big, strong, brutal, cruel, controlling. and unfeeling. He was a cold bitch of a man. And that’s exactly the way it’s supposed to be. Edgerton makes you scared of him, scared that if one of the characters step just one toe out of line, he would lash out of nowhere and use that giant temper and giant body to destroy someone. By the end of the film, all that fear you have been feeling morphs into absolute disgust–which is perfect. Just. Perfect. Props to Joel Edgerton for his awesome performance.
Jordan Baker: Elizabeth Debicki’s Jordan Baker was another delight to watch on-screen. This long, lean lady didn’t give a crap about anyone but herself. Debicki gives Jordan that wonderfully sinister edge…she can be your best friend one second, but throw you under the bus in the next. Whether someone in the film loved Jordan or hated her, it was all the same to her. That is kinda admirable in a woman, in my opinion. I often found myself wishing that Debicki could’ve been cast as Daisy instead of Mulligan–her personality was on point.
The Music: Going into the film, I was scared shitless over the music. The soundtrack was being supervised by Jay-Z, for fuck’s sake. I knew it was going to stink to high heavens. I knew it was going to make me cry. I was right…to a certain extent. Some selections made me facepalm, such as Jay-Z’s “$100 Bill” and Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” (shameless plugging of wifey dear’s music, obviously), and overall it was much too modern for my taste. Some selections cracked me up out loud, such as the Dracula-like organ music that played as Nick went to his first Gatsby party. Even though I felt that the music should’ve stuck strictly to 1920s jazz and dance music, some of the modern pieces had a heavy vintage influence, such as Will.I.Am’s “Bang Bang.” The one modern song that I was so in love with and DIDN’T have any vintage influence to it was Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful.” The song is so relatable and so haunting, clearly resonating with the message of the film perfectly. Of course, the 1920s jazz and swing was perfect and lovely, and save for “Young and Beautiful,” it should’ve been the entire soundtrack. I’m a sucker for old music.
The Visuals: I’m going to post some photos from the film and let them do the talking for a bit:
Needless to say, my jaw dropped about every five minutes over the breathtaking mise-en-scene in this film. It was so Twenties: big, loud, flamboyant, beautiful, colorful, wild, glamorous, vulgar…it was so ME. This is the stuff I love, the stuff I want in life. “The Great Gatsby” is perhaps the most aesthetically beautiful film I’ve ever seen. I’ve been obsessed with this time period for many years now, and seeing these images just intensified my desire to leave this ugly, broken time we live in now and instead go back to this gorgeous, infamous time in history. This is a Baz Luhrmann film, and love him or hate him, his works are immensely pleasing to the eye. The visuals were easily the best thing about this film, along with…
The Costumes: I would chop off my right arm for the clothes in this film. I would kill for the clothes in this film. I would die for the clothes in this film. A lot of these characters had the shittiest personalities ever conceived, but damn, they looked like heavenly angels of perfection. Designer Catherine Martin (who’s also Baz Luhrmann’s wife) did an incredible job of creating costumes that were historically correct yet desirable to the modern woman. And as you all know, I am a head-0ver-heels sucker for historical accuracy. Being a woman who takes pride in her wardrobe and who loves collecting vintage and vintage-style pieces, I applaud Martin’s work here. I’m also just as fascinated by men’s fashion as I am with women’s fashion, and after seeing the men’s costumes in this film, I vowed to myself to marry the first man I see who can wear a suit like Jay Gatsby. There’s NOTHING sexier than a man who takes care of his clothing and appearance. Let’s look at some of my wardrobe favorites:
My favorite costume in the whole film is a black robe and hair scarf that Daisy wears when she commences her affair with Gatsby. I can’t find any full-length shots of this costume, so I’ll post the best that I can find. This costume is so simple yet so glamorous and high fashion.
More gorgeous costumes:
The Symbols: Okay, now this is the thing I hated the most about this film. It automatically assumes that everyone in the audience is a bunch of dumb fucks who don’t read, and every single symbol and theme of The Great Gatsby is explained to you outright. This film was about as subtle as a freight train coming right for you. Fitzgerald’s novel was beautiful because even though it is about a lavish, loud time, it is so subtle and intimate. This wasn’t an intimate night at the movies. There was nothing for the audience to figure out, nothing for them to look for, which is the most fun thing about watching a movie (for me anyways). I love figuring out the little connections, the subliminal messages, the clever links. But here, I didn’t get that satisfaction at all. Even though I already know the meanings of the images in the story, it would’ve been so gratifying to see them play out in the film. But no, instead the audience is TOLD what the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg mean, why Nick Carraway becomes disgusted with 1920s New York (and in the novel, ultimately returns to the Midwest), why Daisy cried over the shirts, and what the green light means, among other things. We’re not dumb over here! The film could’ve been much better if it just employed some subtlety where it was needed. Some of the effects were kinda cheesy too, especially when seeing the film in 3D (which we did, unfortunately….3D gives me migraines).
WE ALREADY KNOW WHAT THESE SYMBOLS MEAN YOU DON’T NEED TO TELL US, BAZ LUHRMANN THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
So, that’s my review! Feel free to sound off on your opinion of the film, darlings!
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! Hope you are spending it with someone special! And here’s a sweet little secret from me: you are ALL my Valentines today!!! Because I love each and every one of you! (P.S. I like anything velvet, sparkly, or peacock!)
If you thought the corniness ended there, you’re wrong. Let’s celebrate by looking at classic movie stars doing adorable, sweet, mushy things, shall we?
Here’s one of my favorite photos of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard. Ugh. Can you say PERFECTION? They’re so cute together it kinda makes me sick, but in a very good way. This is the classic movie lover’s dream relationship right here!
There is something so sweet about Spencer Tracy letting Katharine Hepburn use his back as a table. It reminds me of my high school’s annual Walk-A-Thon in which all my friends would sign the backs of each other’s shirts. Let’s just say that mom was none too happy to see me coming in with my Walk-A-Thon t-shirt covered in rainbow messages and signatures. But Spence is just so much more adorable than a high school student. The way he’s crouching obediently for Kate…that’s the way it should be. Men, take note.
The Gary Cooper cute doesn’t end there. Here he is nuzzling noses with Shirley Temple. It’s the icing on the cutie patootie cake. And mark this, since this is a rare moment in which I actually think Shirley Temple is cute…
Gary Cooper ought to take the cuteness prize because he keeps popping up over and over again in this post. Here, he is teaching his young daughter Maria how to dance. And they say actors are lousy parents!
That’s all I’ve got! Happy Valentine’s Day, loves!
After the Thin Man stars our two favorite detectives: the fast-talking, hard-drinking, sharp-tongued husband and wife duo Nick and Nora Charles (William Powell and Myrna Loy, an onscreen couple that never fails to make me get down on my knees and thank God for creating them). But this time, instead of running around New York, they are back home in San Francisco, where they can relax…or so they think. When the Charleses go to spend New Year’s Eve with Nora’s old, stuffy aunt and her aristocratic family, they find themselves entangled in yet another mystery when they find out that cousin Selma’s husband has been missing for three days and rumored to be running around with a club singer. After Nick and Nora find him, Robert is shot that same night, and Selma is accused of murder. As the case goes on, several other murders occur. But was it Selma? Or was it her kindhearted suitor, David (Jimmy Stewart)? Was it the skeevy club owners? The seedy torch singer? Her greedy blackmailing brother? The possibilities are endless, and it’s up to Nick and Nora to make sense of it all.
Often considered to be the best of The Thin Man sequels, After the Thin Man was the second of the six films in the series and the sixth out of the fourteenth pairing for Loy and Powell. Nowadays, fourteen pairings of the same actor and actress sounds repetitive and ridiculous. But not in Old Hollywood, which went by the rule of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” and made you like it! No matter how many times you watch Powell and Loy on the screen, they just never get stale and old. Their chemistry is always top notch, they have spark and zap, and can make anything worth watching. Without a doubt, the antics and verbal banter that these two get into in this film provide almost all of the laughs.
The rest of the laughs in this come from…Asta. Yup. The Thin Man series was (and still is amongst the classic movie set) enormously popular, but I don’t think anyone has ever commented on how awesome that little dog is. Seriously. I’d go so far as to say that Asta is my favorite character in the whole series. This dog is freakin hilarious. One of the best parts of After the Thin Man is the cute little subplot with Asta and Mrs. Asta (and HOW ADORABLE ARE THEIR BABY PUPS?!) and my favorite scene in the film is when Asta accidentally eats a clue! Another thing that is special about After the Thin Man is that you can watch it, understand it, and enjoy it all without seeing the first film. Pretty neat, huh?
The ending of the film is pretty cute, too. Here’s a spoiler (without giving away the identity of the killer): after the case is over and done, Nora insinuates to Nick that they are going to have a baby. Of course, being a man, which means being a bit thickheaded when it comes to such matters (sorry, boys!) he didn’t get the hint, resulting in perhaps one of the most famous quotes from Nora in the whole series: “and you call yourself a detective!”
One of the most notable things about this film is the performance by a very very very early Jimmy Stewart. He will make your jaw drop. That’s all I’ll say here.
Overall, a very fun, yet lighthearted film with plenty of comic relief! One of the reasons why the Thin Man films are so enjoyable is that they take a serious topic like crime and make it somehow…fun? Geez that sounds terrible. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed!!!
As we all know, Humphrey Bogart was the man. He was rough, tough, and probably more awesome than anyone ever. Here’s what he has to say about various topics that all of us think about:
Humphrey Bogart on drinking:
Humphrey Bogart on the bicycle craze:
Humphrey Bogart on celebrity disguises:
Humphrey Bogart on modern-day films:
Humphrey Bogart on the male package:
P.S. Happy Australia Day to all my Australian readers!
Hello my darlings! Here’s a sequel to the original “That Awkward Moment When” (http://goldenagedames.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/that-awkward-moment-when/) in which we saw that the flawless gods and goddesses of classic film were actually normal people like you and me. So next time you do something embarrassing, don’t fret! Think of this:
That Awkward Moment When Spencer Tracy Forgot His Pants
This scene is from one of my favorite Tracy films, Father of the Bride. Thankfully, father Spencer Tracy did not appear at daughter Liz Taylor’s wedding looking like this. Or maybe he could’ve. He has nice, slim, hairless legs.
That Awkward Moment When Bette Davis Flubs The Line
I think it’s really cute when classic movie stars, especially legends like Bette Davis, mess up the line. The reactions that old movie stars had were vastly different from the reaction stars have today. Like, they would get really upset and embarrassed that they messed up. Back then, time and film were precious, since we are talking about the Studio Era during the Depression. Some actors had really hilarious reactions, though. Like Carole Lombard’s streams of profanity whenever she messed up. You can see plenty of these classic film bloopers on YouTube!
That Awkward Moment When Lucille Ball and Harpo Marx Are Long-Lost Twins
I think I might’ve blogged this before, but the crazy resemblance here never fails to astound me. This is from one of my all-time favorite I Love Lucy episodes, the one in which she dresses up as tons of classic movie actors to impress her New York friend and ends up meeting Harpo Marx. This photo has convinced me that Lucy and Harpo are long-lost twins. They have the same hair, smiles, maniacal expressions…there’s no way that these two weren’t womb-mates!
That Awkward Moment When Marlon Brando Duckfaced
This photo of Richard Burton and Marlon Brando never fails to make me laugh hysterically. I feel that I’m looking at a picture of two bozos on Facebook instead of two acting greats. It has all the qualities of a Facebook photo: the background is obviously someone’s home, they have that “hey buddy!” pose, and the photo was taken with a low-quality camera. But what makes this the absolute perfect Facebook shot is Marlon Brando’s duckface. The man was definitely ahead of his time here. But instead of making the pose something ridiculous that is only done by ugly fake pussies, Brando makes it look classy. Only because it’s Brando.
That Awkward Moment When Buster Keaton Looks Like A Baywatch Babe
Buster Keaton is one beautiful hunk of man. Nothing makes it more obvious than this photo. Look at him seductively gliding through the water like he’s some god of the sea. Look at that sexy swimsuit, complete with an undershirt. Look at those nice pecs. And look at the wonderfully glum expression. He’s giving Pam Anderson a run for her money here.
That Awkward Moment When Joan Crawford Is Given An Ugly Portrait of Herself
Imagine you are Joan Crawford. You are asked to sit for a painting. All the while, you are positive that this painting will be a beautiful gorgeous replica of your beautiful gorgeous face. Then you get…THIS. What the HELL is that painting even?! That’s not pretty Joanie! It looks like the frickin spawn of the devil. And look at Joan’s face. I wouldn’t be pleased if I were painted as Satan’s mistress either. Thankfully her self-esteem didn’t go downhill after this one.
That Awkward Moment When Winston Churchill Leaves Very Little to the Imagination
Okay, I know Winston Churchill isn’t a classic movie star but I came across this photo and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to post this. This takes the cake in embarrassing swimsuit moments (and we’ve all had them) because here he’s actually wearing a swimsuit yet it’s so tight that he might as well be naked. Way to flash the entire beach, Winston Churchill.
That Awkward Moment When Laurence Olivier Ruins the Picture
This has to be my favorite photo of Viv and Larry. There’s Vivien Leigh, so gorgeous and glamorous, as always. And then there is Laurence Olivier, in perhaps the most hilarious photobomb in the history of photography. I’m actually surprised that the usually serious Olivier’s face didn’t shatter into a thousand pieces from all that laughing. Touche, Larry.
That Awkward Moment When Errol Flynn Looks Like He Isn’t Wearing Pants
That Awkward Moment When Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery Are Losing It Over Baby Cows
It’s pretty funny to see non-farm folks doing farm things. Observe how these two baby calves are obviously getting the better of Carole and Rob. Carole seems horrified, but she’s doing a lot better than Robert Montgomery, who is actually about to fall over right into the calves little pen. Which is fine, I don’t like him that much anyway (crucify me now).
That Awkward Moment When Humphrey Bogart Is Dressed Like a Grandma in Public
Humphrey, why are you making what seems to be a public speech when dressed like a sweet little Victorian-era grandmother? What has gotten into you, my man? You are supposed to be a rough-n’-tough hardboiled detective! But he’s Humphrey Bogart and he’s always cool so he probably got away with this.
That Awkward Moment When Katharine Hepburn Shreds Better Than A Twelve Year-Old Boy
Katharine Hepburn is awesome for many reasons. But I betcha didn’t know that she can skateboard! Judging by this photo, she’s got some mad skills. She skateboards so much better than those shrimpy twelve year-old boys with baggy clothes and oily hair who think that they are skating gods but actually end up scraping their knees on the pavement. Kate the Great should’ve been featured in an episode of Rocket Power, if you ask me.
That Awkward Moment When Katharine Hepburn Makes A Giant Food Mess
Here’s another awkward moment featuring Kate the Great, but here she’s dishing the gossip…and the food crumbs. Look at that abhorrent mess around her plates! Oh my Jesus. I don’t know if any of the food that was on these plates actually made it into Kate’s digestive system. It looks like it all ended up as mess for janitors to clean. Hollywood actresses were supposed to eat like ladies, not like cavemen!
That Awkward Moment When Humphrey Bogart and Peter Lorre are Sitting Naked in a Sauna and Playing Cards
That Awkward Moment When Katharine Hepburn Takes a Dive
Kate is on a roll today! This is the third awkward moment featuring her. I believe this extremely embarrassing moment was from a film, but I can’t remember which. It must be from a film, since if someone just happened to push her into the water like that, I would assume they’d never see the light of day ever again.
That Awkward Moment When Gary Cooper Is Too Tall for His Horse
Dude’s feet are pretty much dragging on the ground. His 6’3″ is much too much for that fat little pony. But Coop looks like he’s making the best of the situation, even though the Coop-to-pony ratio is greatly imbalanced.
That Awkward Moment When Fred Astaire Defies Gravity
That Awkward Moment When Your Music is Making Cary Grant’s Ears Bleed
Here, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason were attempting to serenade Cary Grant with a song on the harp while on the set of North by Northwest. However, Cary Grant found the song so vile and so shitty that he had to cover his ears before he lost his sense of hearing entirely. Sorry guys, your music isn’t classy enough for Cary.
That Awkward Moment When James Cagney Falls Into a Cactus Bush and Bette Davis Just Laughs
That Awkward Moment When Vivien Leigh is Dressed to the Nines and Lauren Bacall is Dressed in a Bathrobe
The difference between Viv and Betty in this picture is astounding. Viv is dressed to perfection in black, furs, and pearls. Timeless! However, Lauren Bacall is hanging around in a fuzzy, too-small bathrobe that looks like one I owned when I was four years old. Now that’s what I call awkward!
That Awkward Moment When Ray Milland is Very, Very Drunk
Hope you enjoyed this latest installment! x
HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL MY LOVELY READERS! Even to my international readers! Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays for three reasons:1) It revolves around FOOD which is the greatest thing in the world. Food is my friend.
2) It is the beginning of my favorite time of the year…the holiday season!
3) I get to seriously contemplate all of the things I am thankful for.
So here’s the classic movie-related list of things I am thankful for this year.
1) That Clark Gable existed and made movies. Seriously Gabeykins, where would I be without you?
2) That Jean Harlow existed and made movies. She’s my ultimate girl crush with Clara Bow running a close second.
3) On a non classic film-related note: That Barack Obama is still our president. The first president I ever voted for WON! YEAHHHHH! Ladies, here’s to four years without a strange man of questionable religious beliefs all up in our uteruses!
4) I’m thankful for all the new great classics that I’ve discovered and continue to discover each and every year.
5) I’m thankful for all the inspirational classic movie figures that have helped me get through some trying times!
6) I am thankful that Hurrell hair can turn into 50s rockabilly grrrl hair the next day. Observe:
7) I am thankful for my nutty family and my crazy lovable li’l sis who makes me laugh hysterically and never fails to brighten my day with her unbelievable shenanigans.
8) I am thankful for my friends, who always support me, make fun of me (in a good way!), help me, and make me feel better when I’m blue. When you have friends who always encourage you to believe you are loved and you are beautiful inside and out, you know you did something right
9) I am thankful for my classic movie posters and my classic movie calendars.
10) I am thankful for TCM and Robert Osborne who is a beautiful beautiful man.
11) I am thankful for New York City, because it is gorgeous and exciting and it offers so much vintage, Art Deco, and classic film things to enjoy, and that New York is a city that encourages you to be different.
12) I am thankful for my blog which allows me to express my feelings and gives me a place to just be myself.
13) I am thankful for all that I have. After this hurricane, I’ve realized just how important every little thing is, and how lucky I am.
14) Last but DEFINITELY not least, I am thankful for you guys! My readers are the best! You are all awesome! If it weren’t for your support I would still be the shy, quiet girl I was two years ago when I started this blog. Thanks for giving me confidence and advice and encouragement every step of the way! You’re all #1!
I hope you all enjoyed this list, and if you would like to share the things you are thankful for, you are more than welcome! I hope you all ate (or will eat) lots of turkey!
Margaret Perry over at http://thegreatkh.blogspot.co.uk/ has given me a Liebster Award! YAY! The Liebster is given to up-and-coming blogs of 200 followers or less. If you are reading this, Margaret, thank you so much for the honor! So, if you receive a Liebster Award, you must share eleven facts about yourself, answer eleven questions from the blogger who awarded you, and award eleven bloggers of your choice! Here we go:
Eleven Facts About Moi:
1. All of my fingers are double-jointed. I’m like some sort of weird finger contortionist.
2. I’m a voracious reader. My all-time favorite book is Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.
3. I think peacocks are the most beautiful, fabulous animals in the entire world.
4. My biggest goal is to travel the world. I hope to study abroad for winter intercession next year in either England, France, or Australia!
5. I’ve always loved cartoons, and I still do! My favorites were (and still are) Tom and Jerry, Merrie Melodies, Mickey Mouse, and Looney Tunes. I also love the classic Disney films.
6. I confess I have a strange fascination with the occult and the unknown. I love learning about that stuff.
7. The things I notice first in a guy are his eyes (I love light-colored eyes, blue being my favorite) and his smile.
8. I was originally left-handed, but I was forced to switch to right.
9. My favorite fruit is the clementine, which is quite unfortunate since they’re in season only during the winter
10. My favorite band is Queen. Queen has gotten me through a lot of difficulties!
11. All my clothes have to: 1) have a vintage flair 2) have at least a dash of sparkle. My latest purchase was a black velvet dress with a gold glitter star pattern from Topshop. It sparkles more than the sun or the stars. Best shopping decision I’ve ever made!
If you could matchmake two of your favorite stars, who would be your OTP?
Hmmm…so many possibilities come to mind! But I think my OTP (one true pair) would be Myrna Loy and William Powell. Every time I watch them in a film I find myself begging them to get married and have babies already. Or Jean Harlow and Clark Gable, those two make sparks on the screen!
What classic movie would you like to see remade?
None. Modern remakes have a funny way of messing up beloved originals.
What is your favorite film genre, and what are your three favorite films in that genre?
My favorite film genre is the screwball comedy! My favorite screwballs are It Happened One Night, Arsenic and Old Lace, and To Be Or Not To Be.
You have the opportunity to share one classic film with a theatre full of your friends. Which film do you choose?
Gone with the Wind, most definitely!
What one actor/actress do you love so much, you would see a film simply because they are in it?
Clark Gable! I’ve sat through some really shitty films (LIKE THE PAINTED DESERT) just to look at Gabe’s perfect face.
What/who is your favorite animal character from a movie?
I love Asta from The Thin Man series. That dog is such a boss.
What years do you consider to define the era of “classic movies”?
This is a great, hotly disputed question, and as Margaret implies, the answer varies from person to person. I personally consider the classic movie era to be from around 1905-ish to 1960.
Astaire or Kelly? Audrey or Katherine? Bette or Joan? Olivia de Havilland or Joan Fontaine? Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin?
Astaire or Kelly: love them both with all my heart and soul, but I think I will go with Kelly here. It was a close shave, though!
Audrey or Katharine: Easy. Kate the Great of course! I might get crucified for this, but I CAN’T STAND Audrey Hepburn. The most overrated actress who ever lived, if you ask me.
Bette or Joan: I love Bette, but Joan wins this. Sorry Bette, but Joan is my homeslice for life.
Olivia de Havilland or Joan Fontaine: Livvy is my fave sister. She’s an amazing talent and a delight to watch on the screen. From what I’ve seen of Joan Fontaine’s work, she seems a lot more…forced…than her sister. Just look at the faces she makes in Rebecca and you’ll see what I mean.
Who is your favorite Barrymore?
My fave Barrymore is definitely Lionel. He’s like an old cuddly teddy bear! Who seriously knows how to act.
What is your favorite silent movie? Who is your favorite silent movie star?
Oh geez, this is a toughie. I’m gonna bend the rules here and give two favorite silent movies: Metropolis and The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari. I’m gonna bend the rules again with my favorite silent stars: Clara Bow and Rudolph Valentino.
If you could spend one day with your favorite star, who would it be and what would you do?
I’d spend the day with the lovely Clark Gable and we would tour Hollywood together and visit all of his favorite places there
Now I shall award eleven of my favorite blogs (that meet the qualifications) for a Liebster Award! You guys have to list eleven facts about yourself, answer the eleven questions I give you, and award eleven other blogs with the Award! Congratulations to:
All Good Things http://poohtiger-allgoodthings.blogspot.com/
Classicfilmboy’s Movie Paradise http://www.classicfilmboy.com/
Dear Old Hollywood http://dearoldhollywood.blogspot.com/
Deep Glamour http://deepglamour.net/
Critica Retro http://criticaretro.blogspot.com/
Gone with the Wind Fansite http://gwtwfansite.weebly.com/
Marlene Dietrich Collection http://marlene-dietrichcollection.blogspot.fr/
The Hollywood Revue http://hollywoodrevue.wordpress.com/
Alexander’s Sanctuary http://alexandersanctuary.wordpress.com/
The Kitty Packard Pictorial http://kittypackard.com/
Old Hollywood Glamour http://oldhollywoodglamour.blogspot.com/
1. If you could have a dinner party with seven classic film stars, who would they be?
2. Who is your favorite classic movie director?
3. Who is your favorite most-underrated actor?
4. Have you ever watched a film in which you had NO IDEA what was going on?
5. Who is your favorite Hollywood costume designer?
6. Who is an actor/actress that you would take out of one film and put into a different one?
7. Do you mix up any classic movie actors/actresses.
8. Favorite movie musical?
9. Have you hated an actor/actress whom you now love?
10. What is your favorite performance that was overlooked by an Oscar?
11. What is your most-quoted film?
And if you don’t have a blog and just want to answer the questions, please feel free to do so in the comments! X
I’m gonna be quite busy for the rest of the week, so you might notice a lack of posts until the weekend. But on the bright side, it’s my last midterm tomorrow (FINALLY!), but I will still be a bit busy afterwards because now I WORK! Yaaaaayyyyyyy! My new job is the COOLEST! I work at a bookstore in Soho, which is nearby all this awesome shopping, including this little store for rare/vintage and handmade perfumes right across the street (FIST. PUMP!). And guess what? The bookstore is letting me specifically curate their Film/Theatre and Art sections! AWWWWW YYYYEEAAAHHHHH! I’m also actively participating in donating my old or unused clothes and other necessities to Hurricane Sandy victims, which is taking time from schedule as well, but is extremely rewarding :) I also voted for the first time in my life today, and it felt GREAT! I even got a little voting bracelet that I’m gonna wear forever (or until it gets so old that it turns to dust). The entire process was only five minutes, but it was the most triumphant five minutes of my life! Another UNBELIEVABLE thing that has happened to me recently is that one of my favorite actors from the show “Sleep No More” (which I blogged about in July) has invited me PERSONALLY to attend the launch of the new music video for his rock band!!!! I was literally jumping for joy! It’s not every day that a girl’s actor crush (who happens to be a down-to-earth, well-respected total sweetheart) notices her like this!
I probably won’t be able to write a post until Friday night, but I promise you it will be a good one! I have also read all your comments, but I won’t be able to answer them until Friday as well. Sorry for the delay, but I just want to get these stressful exams out of the way first. To Meral: I haven’t been able to get on my computer yesterday to change my birthday setting, but I did now, and it has Vivien Leigh’s beautiful face right there, with one my favorite photos of her! Please forgive me for the delay. Better late than never! Love you! India: Best of luck on your surgery darling! Keeping you in my thought and prayers always. You’ve helped me through some difficult times, and I will do everything I can to help you back much love!
New York may be getting another storm on Wednesday, but it won’t dampen my spirits! I haven’t been this happy in ages! Remember to always look on the bright side, my lovely readers. Things can happen that make life seem bleak, but as Charlie Chaplin said in City Lights: “The sun will shine and the birds will sing.”
To all my East Coast readers, I hope you are all recovering well from Sandy. It’s so jarring to be hit with something so devastating so close to home. Living in New York, the most un-tropical place in the world, I never imagined a hurricane of this magnitude affecting us. Several of my friends’ homes burned to the ground and my sister’s friend’s mother passed away in the storm. If the hurricane hasn’t affected you (thankfully) please don’t forget to help and donate as much as you can! There are so many with nothing! Thank you xx.
VOTING TIME, MY FRIENDS, IS UPON US!
ONLY TWO MORE DAYS.
I am beyond excited to be voting for my very first time. I don’t usually talk politics, but I would like to mention that I am going to be voting Obama. I am quite liberal in my views, and I don’t want to set the #1 country in the world back to the Stone Age by voting Romney.
However, if this were an option, this is where my vote would definitely go:
Who WOULDN’T support Tracy for Prez? If he were running for office, I would think this would be the first unanimous vote ever…everyone would vote Tracy. I am fully confident that the job of leading the most powerful country in the world should fall in his hands.
However, Spencer Tracy is dead and can’t run for President :””””””’(
So I’ll have to make do with Obama instead.
Happy Voting on Tuesday, folks!
Note: President Obama has declared New York City a Major Disaster Area. Please continue to keep New York and the rest of the East Coast in your thoughts and prayers! Xx
November is one of my favorite months of the year. It is the beginning of cold weather, with Thanksgiving and Black Friday it marks the beginning of the holiday season (my favorite time of the year), and it is also known as Movember. During November of each year, men are encouraged to grow lovely, elegant mustaches in order to raise awareness for men’s health issues such as prostate cancer and testicular cancer.
So to all the boys out there, MAKE LIKE THE CLASSICS AND GROW THEM PENCIL ‘STACHES!
Mustaches are awesome because:
1) They can accent an otherwise boring face
2) They give your face a focus
3) They are a badge of masculinity
4) They automatically make you look suave, urbane, and sophisticated
5) Everyone loves a man who can flaunt a ‘stache
I sure do love it when a man has some tasteful facial hair, so Movember is a really exciting time of the year for me. Random fact: my ex-boyfriend wasn’t able to grow facial hair. But that’s because he wasn’t a real man. Or a real human being. He was more like a living, breathing, walking asshole. Anyway, for all the real men out there, here are some classic movie mustaches to inspire you this Movember!
Be wary of the Chaplin ‘stache. He is a perfect specimen of humanity, yes, but growing his facial hair would get you Hitler remarks instead. It sucks when a terrible man ruins the image of a very innocent thing.
Last but not least, the Crowning Glory of All Facial Hair: Clark Gable’s Mustache. At first, Gable wasn’t too enthusiastic about his ‘stache (he had to grow it for a film) but after the unexpected success of It Happened One Night he kept it for the rest of his career because he saw it as his good-luck charm. His mustache has become an iconic trademark. It has been the fantasy of women for ages. It has sparked a fierce, decades-long debate. It has made facial hair cool forever. It even has its own fan page on Facebook. One of history’s greatest mustaches right here.
So here we are, boys! Hope you have been inspired to grow your own epic mustache this Movember!
Hello all! This might be my last post for a little while…as you might have heard, Hurricane Sandy might ravage the Eastern coast starting from tonight and until Tuesday. We’re gonna get the works here: gale-force winds, torrential rains, flooding, and power outages for up to a week. Even the MTA has completely shut down. Since when has the Northeast become Hurricane Central? Anyway, stock up, stay inside, and stay safe for these next several days!
Now, on with the post!
I have a very multi-varied taste in music. I listen to pretty much anything save for country music and “Call Me Maybe”-style pop music, which I DESPISE. I don’t even know how “Gangnam Style” goes, nor do I really want to know.
My favorite genres of music are jazz, big band, and swing. However, my all-time favorite band doesn’t come from that time period at all. I’m talking about Queen.
In case you live under a rock and don’t know: Queen was an amazingly awesome and fabulous British rock band that was formed in 1971. The members of Queen were John Deacon (guitar and bass), Roger Taylor (drums), Brian May (guitar), and last but definitely not least, Freddie Mercury (vocals, piano). The band is responsible for all those amazing songs you know and love, such as “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “We Will Rock You,” “Don’t Stop Me Now,” “Killer Queen,” “Another One Bites the Dust,” “We Are the Champions,” and many, many more. The band fell apart after Mercury’s life was cut short at age 45 from pneumonia brought upon by AIDS. However, Mercury’s death did not spell the end for Queen. Queen has spent more time on Billboard’s Hot 200 List more than any other band in history (even more than the stupid fuckin overrated Beatles) and is widely considered the greatest band that ever existed. Ever. Fuck Justin Beiber and Taylor Swift, Queen still sells millions of more albums today (over 3o0 million to be exact). Who DOESN’T love Queen!? And if you are terrible, horrible, and evil enough to dislike this band, then I don’t want to know you ever. And neither does anyone else on this planet.
See this man right here? Freddie Mercury is one of the greatest loves of my life. You might be thinking, “but he was hairy and he had those crazy teeth and he was gay!” But those things don’t even matter. This man is awesomesauce as fuck. He is one of the few human beings that is universally respected. Even by the Internet, and the Internet rarely respects anyone. Freddie transcends all our worldly conceptions of what is “good” and “perfect.” He pretty much redefined music and blew the world’s collective mind with his genius. Freddie Mercury is The Rock God.
Now you must be thinking, “What in the world does Queen have to do with classic film?” Trust me, it has a lot to do with it. I relate everything to classic film. I don’t know if this is true, but I think that Freddie Mercury was in fact a classic movie fan. Freddie had plenty of creative license in the band. He was very focused and a dedicated worker, writing all of the Queen hits we know and love, designing the famous Queen logo (he was a talented artist, something not widely known about him), writing and arranging the music of each song, and envisioning Queen’s music videos. If you study Queen’s ouvre, you will notice a lot of classic film references. Here are some of my favorites:
“Under Pressure” (1981)
“Under Pressure” is one of my favorite Queen songs. Come tough times and exam times (I can’t think of a more fitting song than this one when I’m having midterms and finals) this is the song I blast. A collaboration with David Bowie, this song is about our culture that is willing to overthrow political machines and the pressure that has come about all over the world due to the fast-paced, workaholic lives we lead. The cure to all this? Love. “Under Pressure”‘s music video contained neither Freddie Mercury nor David Bowie because both were on tour. However, it contained lots of classic film references:
Queen seemed to be particularly fascinated by the silent horror films of the 1920s. From top to bottom we have John Barrymore’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde from 1920, Nosferatu (1922), and Fredric March’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde from 1931 (which isn’t a silent movie). The monsters show up in the beginning of the music video to symbolize the evil and corruption in the world.
I may be wrong, but I believe this scene is from the Russian silent film Battleship Potemkin (1925), which is most famous for that scene in which a man gets his glasses smashed…creaming his eye in the process.
The next classic movie reference we see in the “Under Pressure” music video is the famous sequence from Nosferatu is which Nosferatu appears to a terrified Hutter during the night. (Fun fact that everyone from my generation knows: The first of these three photos from the film also appears in an episode of Spongebob. Just sayin’).
My favorite lines from “Under Pressure” are: “‘Cause love’s such an old-fashioned world/And love dares you to care for the people on the edge of the night/And love dares you to change our way of caring about ourselves/This is our last dance/This is our last dance/This is ourselves.” Such beautiful lyrics! To show that love conquers all, the music video then has a montage of silent movie kisses…none of which I can identify :’( If you recognize any of the kisses above, please tell me!
Watch the music video for yourself here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a01QQZyl-_I
Radio GaGa (1984)
“Radio Gaga” is also chock-full of classic film references. It’s also my favorite Queen music video. The song, which is about television’s takeover of radio and a critique of the subsequent commercialization of radio (something we unfortunately still have today), references two major radio events: Orson Welles’ famous (or infamous) broadcast of War of the Worlds (“You gave them all those old-time stars/Through wars of worlds invaded by Mars”) and Winston Churchill’s “This was Their Finest Hour” speech from 1940 (“You’ve yet to have your finest hour”)
However, the biggest and most obvious classic movie reference in the “Radio GaGa” music video is to Metropolis (1927), Fritz Lang’s classic futuristic film. In order to use clips from the film, Queen had to buy the rights to the film from the Communist government of East Germany. In exchange for the film rights, Queen allowed their hit “Love Kills” to be used in the Giorgio Mororder restoration of the film.
The music video opens with establishing shots from Metropolis:
There were also several scenes in which the band looked like as though they were in the film itself. The picture is grainy black and white, and they drive around the Metropolis in a futuristic little car controlled by a lever.
My favorite part of the music video is when Freddie Mercury recreates the famous clock scene in which a worker is driven to exhaustion from moving the clock hands around all day long. But of course, Freddie’s clock is big and golden and not the weird one that goes up to ten and he NEVER gets tired. He makes something as silly as moving the hands of a clock look awesome. I especially love how the rest of Queen is standing there like a boss while Freddie works the clock. Also, Freddie’s ass looks divine in those black leather pants.
Next we have the super-famous scene in which The Inventor creates an evil robot replica of the film’s heroine, Maria.
Freddie helps to contribute to the destruction of the Metropolis by breaking a building in half just by lifting his arms and looking triumphant. Which is actually something very plausible for someone whose awesomeness is as high as Freddie’s. What a boss.
Watch the music video for yourself here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t63_HRwdAgk
Other Classic Film References Used By Queen
Two of Queen’s albums: “A Night at the Opera” and “A Day at the Races” are named after two Marx Brothers films from 1935 and 1937, respectively. Love those films and love those albums!
The artwork for Queen’s 1977 album “News of the World” also seems to be inspired by Metropolis or vintage sci-fi in general. The story goes that Roger Taylor had an issue of Astounding Science Fiction depicting a robot holding a dead man. This cover inspired the band to have the image revised to contain the robot holding the “dead” bodies of the four band members.
So why are you still sitting here reading this? Go listen to some Queen!
I am very proud to say that I’ve got my Halloween all planned out. This year, I’m going to dress up as a glamorous 1930s movie star (last year I was a flapper…see how I’m doing this decade by decade? Next year is Rosie the Riveter). That means I’m busting out my old senior prom gown:
I’m pairing this with peacock feathers in my hair, diamond bracelets, and diamond and emerald earrings. Is it Golden Age enough? I also want to do some creepy stuff…what’s Halloween without it? I’ve always had a fascination with the occult and the unknown, which has only been heightened by the timely book I’ve been reading (Breverton’s Phantasmagoria). The Phantasmagoria detailed an old custom in which if a young girl lights a candle and eats an apple before a mirror on Halloween night, the doppelganger of her future husband will appear before her in the mirror. Of course, this trick can go totally wrong and Bloody Mary can appear in the mirror instead and murder me. If that’s what ends up happening, it was great knowing you all.
But if you are still unsure about what to be for Halloween, I’m here to help…the classic movie way, of course! Why not get some costume inspiration from the stars?
A Very Uncomfortable Indian Chief
Boys, why not take a leaf out of Gary Cooper’s book? Here he is dressed up as an Indian chief, but a very uncomfortable and clumsy-looking one indeed. His fabulous feather headdress is all askew and his face looks like he ripped a fart and is hoping no one heard it. Nevertheless, the Native American people have always fascinated me–they are so proud and majestic!
Here’s William Powell dressed as your favorite gal–your granny! Just look at this badass grandma…cigarette dangling from her lips like a hardboiled detective, flaunting her skinny old birdlike arms, and her hairy calves. You go granny!
First of all, let’s take a moment to think about this picture. Are Lucille Ball and Harpo Marx twins separated at birth?! Forget Zeppo, Lucy is the fourth Marx brother! Just more glamorous of course. Harpo Marx is a very easy costume: oversized clothes, a top hat, and a curly ginger wig. Don’t forget to carry a horn with you and fill your pockets with pictures of horses and other random stuff.
Here’s a costume that’s so easy-peasy lemon-squeezy that anyone can do it! From left to right, we have Gloria Swanson, Lucille Ball, and Cary Grant dressed up as the lovable Little Tramp. A very simple costume to put together, and easily recognizable, too!
A Very Classy Guido
You must be thinking, “did this girl seriously just use those words together in the same sentence!?” Indeed, I have. First and last time, cross my heart. Looking at this picture of Nazimova, you can’t help but think she makes the guido spiky-hair style look almost…like something decent people do to their heads.
Fantabulous Sparkling Ice Skating Men
Here’s one you can do with a friend! Forget Johnny Weir–Jimmy Stewart and Lew Ayres are where it’s at when it comes to shimmering glam ice-skating dudes. Just look at those sequin jackets and metallic leggings! Fab! Looks like something I would wear!
A Gay Nineties Couple
This is a costume idea for you and your significant other. Hollywood lovebirds Norma Shearer and Irving Thalberg look like they belong in the 19th century with her corseted dress, fur boa, and jaunty hat and his colorful striped suit. A cute idea!
A Big Angry Bug
This picture makes me laugh to no end. Katharine Hepburn, famous for her uppity accent and Bryn Mawr education, clearly looks happy to be dressed in this big bug costume, complete with sequins and two wire antennae.
I just came across this photo of Claudette Colbert dressed as a Harlequin and I think I’m gonna change my costume to this one, guys! Sequined bodysuit+perfect high-heeled shoes+giant neck ruff=costume with my name written all over it. I’ve always wanted to be a circus performer, after all.
A Giant Shiny Butterfly
Mae West is so awesome we should all bow to her. No one else, alive or dead, classic Hollywood or otherwise, can wear a giant metallic rubber butterfly complete with wings and antennae the size of a small child and pull it off so well like Miss West.
A Giant Shiny Bat
Dear me, what giant shiny animal with enormous wingspan will Mae West be next? The woman wears latex as flawlessly as Freddie Mercury. Mae West’s collecti0n of latex costumes aside, a bat is one of the most classic Halloween costumes you can go with. Don’t forget to add some Mae West glam to what could end up being a cliche costume.
Hope you had fun celebrating Halloween classic Hollywood style!
I might be getting into personal territory here, but here’s a little something to know about me: in an increasingly atheist world, I believe in God. I pray, I believe in Creation and the existence of Adam and Eve and every single Biblical figure, and I ask God to help me when times are tough. You might as call me an endangered species.
But sometimes, things happen that you lose faith for awhile.
As you have probably seen me talk about on this blog, things have been extraordinarily difficult for me in the past several weeks. I could not believe that so many things could go wrong at once! I was pretty much like, “God, if you don’t love me, then I won’t love you.”
But then I understood that God works in mysterious ways…he TOOK AWAY all these things to give me something BETTER.
What was this wonderful thing, you may ask?
FINALLY THIS INJUSTICE HAS BEEN CORRECTED!
This is better than an all-day shopping excursion.
This is better than free food.
This is better than HAVING FRIENDS.
This is better than BOYS.
This is better than TRUE LOVE.
FINALLY, I can own the sexiest Gable/Harlow film and my favorite Gable/Harlow film so I pull all-nighters crying over the beauty of this screen couple. Alone. My favorite thing to do!!!!!!
This was enough to fully restore all faith I have in God and all the beautiful things he does for us every day.
New York City. The Big Apple. The City That Never Sleeps. Destination of the world’s leaders and tourists from every corner of the planet. Home to the world’s freaks and geeks, the wealthiest of the wealthy, the most renowned celebrities, the dirt poor, and your humble blogger. I know I make a mighty big deal about being a New Yorker, but being from a glittery yet gritty place like this, how could I not? Everyone is aware of the magic of New York. Even Old Hollywood! Nowadays, New York is a prime filming destination (Who can forget when Sacha Baron Cohen paraded down Manhattan on a procession of camels for his film The Dictator?) and often my school has been used as a film location, the most notable being that inane series Gossip Girl (that day was a TOTAL NIGHTMARE…school was a circus because Leighton Meester and Ed Westwick were outside) and the Kevin Bacon series The Following (which happened at the same time as touring the Freshman class around the campus for their orientation. My school plans these things well, doesn’t it? Oh well, we got to see Kevin Bacon AND an exploding car!) You’d never think that Old Hollywood was up for location filming when it was cheaper and quicker to film on a soundstage. However, Hollywood is not the only place to travel to for your classic film fix, New York has its own classic film landmarks too! So if you don’t live here, don’t forget to come for your classic movie pilgrimage!
And may I recommend flying to New York at night? This might not be possible though, because I’m not sure how many hotels would allow night check-ins. But the aerial view of New York at night is just so beautiful, like sparkling golden jewels nestled in a case of black velvet:
Adam’s Rib (1949)
Summary: Married lawyers Adam (Spencer Tracy) and Amanda Bonner (Katharine Hepburn) find themselves on the opposite sides of the courtroom when Adam is prosecuting a case involving a woman who tried to murder her cheating husband and Amanda is her defense attorney.
The entire beginning sequence of the film, which is about the woman and her husband, was filmed in New York:
This is the scene in which the woman sees her husband going into his gal pal’s house. “Allan’s Steak Heaven” no longer exists, but it used to be located on East 52nd Street and Lexington Avenue.
Here’s an easy location: The Criminal Courts Building, 100 Centre Street
This location is apparently 104 Bayard Street and Baxter Street…but I kinda doubt that. In the screenshot from the film, you see the awning for Carmine’s Restaurant, a legendary eatery famous for its GIGANTIC Italian dishes (I’ve eaten there before, and trust me, one dish can comfortably feed you and a date, with some to spare). But Carmine’s is located in the Theater District, at 200 West 44th Street. Hmm…
All About Eve (1950)
Summary: Broadway newbie Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter) gets lucky when she befriends the great, legendary stage diva Margo Channing (Bette Davis). Through her friendship with her role model, she gets close to Channing’s other connections. Everyone thinks that Eve is an innocent, star-struck, obsessed fan, except for cynical theater critic Addison DeWitt (George Sanders) who sees Eve for what she truly is: a manipulative snake who uses Margo to make her way up in the notoriously merciless world of theater.
Here is the famous 21 Club, located on 21 West 52nd Street. The 21 Club is a restaurant and a former 1920s speakeasy (it was opened in 1922. Also notice how the doors are a little bit under the ground.) Although the joint was raided numerous times by the police, the owners of the speakeasy were never caught, since a system of levers was used to tip the shelves of the bar and throw all the liquor down a chute and into the sewers. Sounds like a scene straight from a Pre-Code! The 21 Club also had a secret wine cellar, accessed through a secret door in the brick walls and leading to the basement of the building next door, 19 West 52nd (!!!) This wine cellar became the storage spot for the private wine collections of numerous celebrities, including President Gerald Ford, JFK, Richard Nixon, Elizabeth Taylor, Ernest Hemingway, Frank Sinatra, Al Jolson, Sophia Loren, Gene Kelly, Gloria Swanson, Judy Garland, and Marilyn Monroe. Every president since FDR with the exception of George W. Bush (who was an asshole anyways) has dined there. Can you say New York legend?
Bell, Book, and Candle (1951)
Summary: Gillian Holroyd (Kim Novak) is a modern-day witch (such people do exist…this is New York I’m talking about here!). When publisher Shep Henderson (Jimmy Stewart) walks into her building, she falls in love with him and decides to have him all to herself…especially since he’s engaged to her former enemy from her college days. So Gillian casts a spell on him. Will it work?
You can’t really tell because of the use of close-up shots, but this scene was in fact shot on top of the Flatiron Building, located on 175 5th Avenue. The Flatiron Building was built in 1902 and is considered to be the world’s first skyscraper (I know, I know, it’s impossible to think that this was actually once thought of as a skyscraper). At its time, it was the tallest building in New York City.
Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961)
Summary: I don’t like the film or the book (don’t hate me) but much to my chagrin, Breakfast at Tiffany’s is considered a legendary New York story. Holly Golightly is a madcap prostitute who lives in a brownstone on Manhattan’s East Side. Her apartment is only half-furnished, her cat has no name, she constantly loses her keys, and she loves to visit Tiffany’s because it “feels like home.” (and NO, you can’t eat breakfast at Tiffany’s, it’s a jewelry store for goodness sake. Unless your idea of breakfast is a bunch of diamonds and semiprecious gems.) After spending a day in the city with Holly, her neighbor Paul Varjak falls in love with her. But Holly is determined to marry Jose, a millionaire from exotic South America.
It ain’t Breakfast at Tiffany’s without the Tiffany and Co. flagship store, located on 727 5th and 57th Street. In the film, Holly would spend every morning eating a pastry and drinking coffee while admiring Tiffany’s window displays. When filming this scene, hundreds of onlookers were watching Audrey, which made her nervous and caused her to constantly mess up. It wasn’t until a crew member was nearly electrocuted behind the camera that Hepburn was able to collect herself, forget about the crowd, and finish the scene. This location has been the flagship of Tiffany’s since 1940.
This beautiful locale is the Conservatory Water in Central Park, which stretches from 72nd to 75th Street.
This scene was filmed at the New York Public Library, located on 5th between 40th and 42nd Streets. It is one of the most iconic and largest libraries in the world and one of the leading research libraries.
This final film exterior was shot at Park Avenue and East 52nd Street.
Butterfield 8 (1960)
Summary: Fashion model Gloria Wandrous is embroiled in an illicit affair with married socialite Weston Liggett. However, Gloria’s desire for respectability causes her to reconsider her lifestyle.
In the film, Liz Taylor tells the taxi to take her to 38 Horatio Street. However, the actual location is 15 Gay Street and Waverley Place.
In this scene, Liz takes a stroll down 5th Ave and pauses to look at the window display of the store on the corner of 5th and 55th. However, what is located there is now…the Disney Store. Something tells me Elizabeth Taylor wasn’t interested in the latest Mickey Mouse toys and Disney Princess dolls!
42nd Street (1933)
Summary: Big-time Broadway director Julian Marsh (Warner Baxter) is putting on a new show and has to deal with the torrential love life of its star, the stuck-up diva Dorothy Brock (Bebe Daniels). On the night before the premiere of the show, Dorothy breaks her ankle, and it’s up to unknown chorus girl Peggy Sawyer (Ruby Keeler) to take the lead. The show must go on!
Okay. I totally cheated here. 42nd Street wasn’t really filmed on 42nd Street. It was instead filmed in Warner Brothers Studio in Burbank, California. I passed through those same soundstages where Ruby Keeler tap-danced her way into the hearts of millions of Americans. But it’s fun to see the real location where the famous finale of the film is supposed to take place!
This is what West 42nd Street looks like today. Obviously, the 1933 recreation and the 2012 reality cannot be compared. When the film was made, West 42nd Street was a hotbed of crime, porn, and prostitution. It remained so until the early 90s when Giuliani cleaned it up (I was a little kid then…dear God, do I feel old!) However, there are still one or two adult film schowcases lying around there. Now 42nd Street is the center of the city: it’s in the heart of Times Square and the Theater District. It’s also Tourist Central…so GOOD LUCK walking through there. I have to bite my tongue to prevent the unleashing of the Potty Mouth on the Midwesterners wearing Bermuda shorts and fanny packs and taking VIDEOS of the Empire State Building. Because apparently the Empire State Building moves. People like that don’t last a day in a city like this. End tourist rant.
The Godfather (1972)
Summary: Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) is the aging Don of the Corleone Mafia Family, one of the five greatest Mafia families of New York. As soon as his youngest son, Michael (Al Pacino) returns home from World War II, the ten year peace is broken when a drug dealer named Virgil Sollozzo asks the Corleones for protection of his drug ring in exchange for money and a share in his drug dealership. However, the Don is morally against drugs and refuses. This prompts Sollozzo to hire hitmen to attempt to assassinate the Don. While the Don recovers, it is up to his sons Santino, Frederico, and Michael to lead the Corleone Family in one of the most violent Mafia wars in New York history.
Who doesn’t know Radio City Music Hall? Built in 1929 by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., this legendary venue has remained largely unchanged since. Renowned interior designer Donald Deskey (ever heard the term “Deskey Deco”? He’s why) designed the elegant, razzle-dazzle interiors which still remain today. The theater’s gold curtain is also the largest in the world. Radio City has also premiered some of the greatest classic films, including the original “King Kong,” “It Happened One Night,” “National Velvet,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “Mame,” and “To Kill A Mockingbird” (whose star, Gregory Peck, was a former usher at Radio City). Nowadays, Radio City is one of New York’s most iconic Christmas venues. Every year it stages Christmas Spectacular, featuring the New York Rockettes, who are celebrating their 85th anniversary this year.
This is of course, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, located on 5th Avenue between 50th and 51st streets. A note here: the cathedral is undergoing major renovations, so its famous facade is temporarily hidden by scaffolding. St. Patrick’s is the seat of the archbishop of the Roman Catholic diocese of New York.
How To Marry A Millionaire (1953)
Summary: Three models, Shatze (Lauren Bacall), Pola (Marilyn Monroe), and Loco (Betty Grable) hatch a plan: tired of cheap, poor boys, each one of them plans to trap and marry a millionaire. However, it is difficult to tell the big money apart from the hucksters, and in the end, will the money even be worth it?
Pola’s apartment is located on 36 Sutton Place and East 55th Street. Some of Manhattan’s wealthiest have lived in this neighborhood, including Freddie Mercury (one of the greatest loves of my life), Bill Blass, Joan Crawford (another love of my life), Marilyn herself, and her then-hubby Arthur Miller.
Here, my friends, is the George Washington Bridge. One of the world’s busiest bridges, the George Washington spans the Hudson to connect Manhattan to New Jersey.
The Hucksters (1947)
Summary: Fresh from the war, Victor Norman (Clark Gable) is looking for a job in the competitive world of advertising. His first task is to get widow Kay Dorrance (Deborah Kerr) to endorse Beautee Soap. He does so and gets the job, but things don’t go smoothly when Vic finds himself attracted to Kay instead of his current girlfriend, the young Jean Ogilvie (Ava Gardner).
The Jazz Singer (1927)
Summary: Cantor Rabinowitz (Warner Oland) is upset because his son Jakie (Al Jolson) would rather become a jazz/ragtime musician than uphold the family tradition of five generations and take on the role of cantor in his neighborhood’s synagogue. Relations between father and son get so bad that Jakie leaves home, changes his name to Jack Robin, and gets a big opportunity through stage actress Mary Dale. However, Jakie constantly remembers his family and is torn between his career as a jazz singer and his family’s wishes for him to become a cantor.
King Kong (1933)
Summary: Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) is finishing up his film starring leading lady Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) and has found the perfect location: the mysterious, eerie Skull Island. The crew does not know what they will encounter here, but they soon find out that this island is the home of the giant menacing gorilla King Kong. Kong kidnaps Ann, and it is up to the crew to rescue her.
The most iconic scene of the movie and one of the most iconic scenes in film history was shot at the Empire State Building, located at 350 5th Avenue and West 34th Street. The scene I’m talking about is, of course, the one in which Kong climbs the Empire State, Fay Wray in his hands, and swats away at the fighter planes. The establishing shots of the fighter planes were shot in my great homeland Brooklyn (at the U.S. Naval Airbases). The scenic NYC views in the film were shot from the top of the Empire State, and the scenes involving the monkey were shot on replicas of the building in Hollywood (the filmmakers secured the original architectural plans of the Empire State in order to create a convincing recreation for the movie). This 102-story Art Deco landmark was built only two years earlier than the film, in 1931. Here’s a sweet little secret from someone who was walked right past this building numerous times: if you look closely, the windowpanes of the Empire State are red!
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Summary: A heartwarming classic New York story. At the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, an old man discovers that the actor portraying Santa is drunk. Special events coordinator Doris Walker (Maureen O’Hara) persuades the old man to take his place and becomes a sensation, quickly gaining the post of in-store Santa at Macy’s. Doris then finds out that the man calls himself Kris Kringle and truly thinks of himself as Santa Claus, which makes her uncomfortable since she does not believe in fantasy. However, the people also believe there is something special about Kris. But unfortunately, Kris is soon held at Bellevue and all seems lost until his friend Fred Gaily promises to release him. A hearing is then set up in which Gaily argues that Kris is in fact Santa Claus. Will he win?
This scene was shot at East 61st Street and Madison Avenue.
Parade scenes were filmed down Central Park West between 76th and 77th Streets.
And of course, parade scenes were filmed at Macy’s, located at 34th street between 6th and 7th avenues, Herald Square. Ah, Macy’s. I’ve got a love/hate relationship with that place. The world-famous flagship location has been standing in Herald Square since 1901. A tip for all of you who are planning a trip to New York and have Macy’s on your agenda: the store has ten floors. It is a behemoth, a monster that saps up all your strength and energy and sanity after awhile. So make sure to give Macy’s an entire day for itself. It is also always unbelievably crowded. And the shoe department is a total nightmare. But if you are an international visitor, go to the Information Desk at the Visitor’s Center on the second floor for a discount card good for 11% off your purchases (yay!) What I like about Macy’s is that it has a large range of products for people of all economic standings (it’s the only place I can think of where I can buy a pair of new Louis Vuitton flats and a Gucci purse and a pair of dirt-cheap jeans from the juniors section) and some of the store still has the old wooden escalators from the early 1900s (although with the recent renovations happening in the store, I don’t know what will become of these relics).
The court scenes of the film were shot at the New York County Supreme Court, located at 60 Centre Street in the Financial District.
North by Northwest (1959)
Summary: New York advertising exec Roger O. Thornhill (Cary Grant) is kidnapped by a gang of spies led by Philip Vandamm (James Mason) because they mistakenly believe that Thornhill is CIA Agent George Kaplan. Thornhill is able to escape Vandamm’s clutches, but he now must find Kaplan to clear himself of a murder that is believed he committed. Thornhill then meets the beautiful femme fatale Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint)…but is Eve really trying to help Roger?
The scenes of Cary Grant’s character exiting his workplace were filmed at the CIT Financial Office at 650 Madison Avenue. You know, I’ve walked past this building many, many times, never knowing that Cary Grant did so too.
Thornhill then walks into the world-famous Plaza Hotel (750 5th Avenue and Central Park South) this 20-story palace of luxury will be featured greatly in a one of my favorite films, which will be coming up soon on this list.
Sensing that he is being followed, Thornhill then goes to the United Nations Headquarters on 1st Avenue between 42nd and 48th Streets. Nowadays, this is where Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinajad (dunno if I spelled that right) comes to perform his crazy antics every year.
Summary: Linus (Humphrey Bogart) and David (William Holden) are wealthy brothers, while Linus is all work, David is all play. Sabrina Fairchild (Audrey Hepburn) is the shy, awkward daughter of the family chauffeur and is in love with David “who hardly knows she exists.” Sabrina then goes to Paris for two years and comes back an elegant, beautiful, society women who not only captures the heart of David, but Linus’ as well.
The Seven-Year Itch (1955)
Summary: Richard Sherman (Tom Ewell) is the exec of a publishing firm and your regular average Joe. He sends his wife and son for a vacation in the country. Always a faithful family man, Sherman often dreams of being successful with women…and temptation strikes when a beautiful sexy blonde (Marilyn Monroe) moves into the apartment upstairs.
Arguably THE most iconic scene in cinema history was filmed right here in New York: the scene in which an oncoming subway train rushes past, causing Monroe’s skirts to billow upwards as she stands above the subway grating. This legendary grating is located on 52nd Street and Lexington Avenue. The scene was shot on September 15, 1954 at 1 in the morning. However, portions of this scene had to be re-shot in Hollywood because onlookers whistled and cheered Monroe on as her skirts flew up, causing her to forget her lines.
Strangers on a Train (1951)
Summary: One of my favorite, and most underrated, Hitchcock films. Creepy Bruno Antony (Robert Walker) thinks he has hatched the plan for the perfect murder when he meets pro tennis player Guy Haines (Farley Granger) on a train. If Haines kills Antony’s hated father for him, he will kill Haines’ slut of a wife, freeing him to marry his elegant socialite girlfriend, Ann Morton (Ruth Roman). Guy laughs off the plan, but Bruno is serious and murders Guy’s wife. When Guy chickens out of his end of the bargain, Bruno threatens him by telling him that he will plant evidence at the scene of the crime, framing Guy for the murder. Not only is the police suspecting Guy, his career is tainted, his relationship with Ann is strained, and he is being stalked and blackmailed by a psycho. Will he go through with the plan?
Once again, we see Penn Station in a classic film. Penn Station is one of the busiest rail stations in the world. However, the original Penn Station, built in 1910 was much grander and larger, a Beaux-Arts gem of New York City. However, in 1963, orders were given to demolish the head-house and train shed of Penn Station to make way for an office complex and expansions to Madison Square Garden.
That Touch of Mink (1962)
Summary:Sweet, conservative little country girl Cathy Timberlake (Doris Day) meets the man of her dreams, wealthy city man Philip Shayne (Cary Grant) when his Rolls-Royce splashes her with mud while on her way to a job interview. Philip is in love with Cathy as well, but there is one problem: he is not the marrying man, while marriage is the only thing she has on her mind.
This glorious scene of topless Cary Grant was filmed at the new York Athletic Club (180 Central Park South and 7th Avenue). It used to have a red awning. Today it is green and has the initials of the Athletic Club instead of the full name like it used to have.
Week-End at the Waldorf (1945)
Summary: Pretty much a happier, light-hearted remake of 1932′s Grand Hotel but taking place in the swanky Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. It stars Lana Turner in the Joan Crawford role, Edward Arnold in the Wallace Beery role, and Walter Pigeon in the John Barrymore role. The biggest plot stretch from the original comes with Van Johnson as a war hero about to undergo major surgery, and who wants to enjoy what would perhaps be the last days of his life. There is also an appearance by humorist Robert Benchley and a cameo appearance by Xavier Cugat as the Waldorf-Astoria’s bandleader.
The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel is located on 301 Park Avenue between East 49th and 50th Streets. This 47-story luxury dream of a hotel was built in 1931 and is a world-famous Art Deco landmark. It is also the first hotel in the world to offer room service, forever changing the face of the hotel industry. The hotel houses three American and European restaurants, a beauty parlor, its own railway station as part of Grand Central Terminal, a collection of boutiques, and an elevator large enough to fit FDR’s automobile (!!!)
Home Alone 2: Lost In New York (1992)
Summary: Okay, okay, this isn’t a classic film in the true definition of the term. But I consider it a classic because EVERYONE adores it! Ten year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) and his unbelievably large family decide to spend Christmas in Florida (ew…) However, our young hero loses his family and accidentally boards a plane to New York City. Kevin then discovers the power of the credit card, checks into the Plaza Hotel, and leads a life of luxury (i.e. being driven in a limo to the toy store while eating pizza and having banana splits delivered to your hotel suite every day). However, his dream life is ruined when he runs into his old enemies, Harry and Marv (the hilarious Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern). Kevin hatches a plan to put Harry and Marv behind bars once again when he finds out of their plan to rob a toy store on Christmas Eve. Because no one messes with kids on Christmas, bitches.
Here Kevin visits Battery Park, where he uses one of the many binoculars to get a closer look at the Statue of Liberty. It’s a warmer, dryer option than taking the ferry to Liberty Island (I once made the unfortunate mistake of doing this in a pink silk summer dress…Worst. Idea. Ever.)
One of the most heartwarming scenes of the film, when Kevin wishes for his mother to come find him, was filmed at Rockefeller Center (5th Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets). Since 1931, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree has lit up the holidays each December for native New Yorkers and tourists alike. It has become a Christmas icon and has brought holiday cheer to millions. Indeed, I cannot imagine Christmas without this tree. The first Rockefeller Center Christmas tree was a 20-foot Balsam fir. Today, the tree is a Norwegian spruce that can be anywhere from 75 to 90 feet tall.
Phew! What a post! I hope you enjoyed and learned something new, and if you are a classic movie fan who lives in or is planning to visit New York, I hope this will be a help to you! If I’ve forgotten anything, feel free to post in the comments
Yesterday’s post featured the film “Mutiny on the Bounty” twice, which made me in the mood for that film for the rest of the day. Let’s face it, I’m crazy for this adventure story. I’ve read the trilogy cover to cover twice, I own the 1935 film on DVD, have it on my DVR, and have it on my iPhone for those days when I need to watch an 18th-century sea insurrection on the go. I am also hell-bent on getting a copy of William Bligh’s own account of the mutiny, but a) I have about 736784624 other books I have to read, and b) I’m a broke college student. The book is only $9, but all I have on me is a dollar in quarters. This, my good readers, is real poverty. Anyway, my Bounty-esque mood got me thinking, “what were these people really like?” Of course, the trilogy by Nordhoff and Hall and the films (the excellent 1935 version and the stinky 1962 version) are based on a true event, but things here and there have been fictionalized for drama’s sake. Today, I am going to try to separate the fact from fiction.
Here is a portrait of the actual William Bligh, lieutenant on the HMS Bounty. Bligh wasn’t the romantic hero of this story, so of course he was played by very…unromantic?…actors such as Charles Laughton (even though the real Bligh looked sickly and seemed to have a complexion the color of Elmer’s glue and Laughton did not, it didn’t matter in the larger story arc. Both of them ain’t gonna win any beauty pageants, and that’s all what matters here). However, Bligh was actually quite young when the events of Mutiny on the Bounty took place: a little over 30 years old. Yet he always seems to be portrayed as some old, cantankerous guy. It’s also interesting to note that the actual reason for the mutiny is unclear. The books and the films tell us that Bligh was a cruel, abusive tyrant. However, the Bounty’s log showed that Bligh sparingly used punishments (they became more frequent only during the return journey from Tahiti, in which relations between Bligh and his men truly started to deteriorate), which leads to another theory that the crew was young and inexperienced and did not want to go back to the disciplined life of a seaman after the sexual freedom experienced in Tahiti. Bligh was seized in his quarters and brought on deck, his hands bound and naked from the waist-down (!!!!!) He was then cast away with nineteen loyalists (four had to remain on the Bounty since there was no room) on a ship’s launch. Bligh then went on to make his amazing, dangerous, open-boat voyage to Timor. Hilariously (to me) Bligh seemed to be type of guy who attracted mutinies in everything he did. His crew rebelled against him during the Spithead Mutiny of 1797. In 1806, he became governor of New South Wales, Australia and incurred the wrath of some wealthy settlers there with his strict disciplinarian ways, resulting in the Rum Rebellion of 1808 and Bligh’s imprisonment in the penal colony of Tasmania, which was pretty much the Alcatraz of the time. Looking at the actual historical events, you kinda feel bad for the guy.
No. You aren’t having nightmares. THIS is supposed to be Fletcher Christian. This man was played by some of the greatest male sex symbols of all time: Flynn, Gable, and Brando. And THIS is what he actually looked like.
Let me clarify.
Fletcher Christian never actually sat for a portrait in his lifetime. So to be honest, no one really knows what he looked like. For centuries, we had nothing else to go on but Bligh’s short description of him: “5ft 9in high, blackish or very dark complexion, blackish or very dark brown hair. Make – very strong, a star tatowed on his left breast, and tatowed on the backside. His knees stand a little out and he may be called bow-legged. He is subject to violent perspiration (how attractive…), particularly in his hands, so that he soils anything he handles.” However, after four years of research, artist Adrian Teal painted the “first accurate portrait of Christian” in 2009, using both historical research and portraits of Christian’s descendants. This is the most accurate thing we’ve got on Christian’s face, despite being painted hundreds of years later. He looks a lot like my high school piano teacher, Mrs. Greene.
Now onto the history: Christian was master’s mate on the HMS Bounty, and was promoted to acting lieutenant by Bligh during the voyage, back when Bligh thought that this voyage was going to be sunshine and daisies. Accounts of the mutiny are pretty much parallel with what we see on screen: bloodless for the most part, and quick.Like we see in the films, Christian and the mutineers returned to Tahiti after taking over the ship. There, Christian married Maimiti, the daughter of one of the Tahitian chiefs, and dropped off the four Bligh loyalists to be picked up by a British ship and taken back to England. Eventually, Christian landed on Pitcairn’s Island, where all hell broke loose.This is the side of the story we don’t get to see, because it is truly quite disturbing.
On Pitcairn’s Island, there was a gender imbalance: fifteen men (nine mutineers and six Tahitian) and eleven Tahitian women. Of course, this led to bloody fights and the deaths of many of the men (they were all pretty much sleeping everywhere and with anyone. Married, unmarried, it didn’t matter). Also disturbing was that the mutineers turned the Tahitian men into their slaves, leading to bloody slave rebellions. They pretty much all became inebriated lotharios.
In 1808, an American seal-hunting ship called The Topaz landed on Pitcairn’s Island, to find only ONE mutineer alive (a man named John Adams), nine Tahitian women, and the children that the mutineers had with these women. Adams and Maimiti told the Topaz that Christian was shot and murdered in the war between the Tahitian men and the mutineers while working by a pond next to his home. On that same day, four other mutineers and all six Tahitian men were killed as well. To make matters more confusing, John Adams changed his story of Christian’s death every time ships stopped by to visit Pitcairn’s: sometimes he would say Christian died of natural causes, other times he would say he went insane and committed suicide, and other times he would stick with his original murder story. Rumors are still swirling to this day that Christian may have actually faked his own death in order to leave the island and come back to England…Christian’s story will always be shrouded in mystery.
Christian was survived by his wife Maimiti and three children: two sons named Thursday October and Charles, and a daughter named Mary Ann. Over the centuries, Christian’s descendants have spread out to Australia, New Zealand, and even the United States. Errol Flynn always claimed to have been a direct descendant of Fletcher Christian. Although I see this as nothing more than a publicity ploy, this is actually kinda plausible since Australia isn’t too far away from Pitcairn’s Island.
Here is a portrait of “Roger Byam” much later in his life. During the events of Mutiny on the Bounty, “Byam” was only fifteen years old. Why am I writing his name in quotes, you may ask? BYAM WASN’T HIS ACTUAL NAME. For some reason, it was changed in the books and the film. But this man’s real name was Peter Heywood. Heywood and Christian were in fact distantly related, and both got along quite well. In Tahiti, both men were quite promiscuous and had to be treated for venereal disease (gee whizz..I guess it’s tough for these guys being away from women so long!). There was nothing at all about Heywood having to write a Tahitian dictionary as we see him do in the books and the film, so that plot point was purely fictional. However, the rest of Heywood’s story pretty much parallels the events in the books and the films: Heywood was one of the four Bligh loyalists who had to remain on board the Bounty after the mutiny and was let off at Tahiti afterwards (where he adopted the ways of the natives to the extent of heavily tattooing his entire body). Like we see, Heywood and the loyalists were taken back to England on the HMS Pandora and were pretty much treated like crap and manacled below-decks by the captain Edward Edwards (NAWT Bligh as we see in the film). Despite Heywood’s unwavering loyalty to Bligh, in the subsequent court hearing Bligh seemed convinced that Heywood was just a guilty as Christian, and he was at first sentenced to hang. Fortunately for him, he was pardoned by King George III and went on the have an illustrious Navy career (unlike Bligh who was plagued by mutinies and Christian who ended up living out the book “The Lord of the Flies”). Finally, a happy ending in this story!
Hello Everyone! I’m back and ready to blog! Thank you all so much for the kind and encouraging words, it really touched my heart to see this outpouring of love <3 I truly do have the best readers! So here’s a funny post for you guys.
Us classic movie fans like to think of our favorite stars as flawless, effortless, and absolutely perfect. We tend to forget that they too, are people just like you and me, so of course things weren’t always so smooth for them. They, like us, have done some pretty awkward things in their lifetimes. But worse for them, some of these moments have been caught on film. Here are some of my favorite classic movie awkward moments. Don’t forget to comment with your faves! <3
That Awkward Moment When John Wayne Got Beaten Up By A Little Girl
I don’t know what film this is from or who this adorable little girl is, but this picture is hilarious. Look at the big, strong Duke, the paragon of manliness the world over…getting his nose tweaked by a toddler and screaming in pain. I guess even the most manly men have their Achilles’ Heel.
That Awkward Moment When Cary Grant Flips The Bird
Oh Cary. This gem is from “North by Northwest.” He’s holding a ring, but I know he actually thinks that everyone around him is just a mean, nasty, fuck. Good thing the censors were starting to let up around this point!
That Awkward Moment When Clark Gable Says The Wrong Name
This is one of my favorite awkward moments, mostly because I can’t believe no one in the cast or crew realized it. In “The Misfits” the name of Thelma Ritter’s character is Isabelle. However, there is a scene towards the middle of the film in which Clark Gable seems to have completely forgotten this and instead calls her by her actual name…Thelma. And NOBODY noticed. Except me. And I die laughing every time.
That Awkward Moment When Jean Harlow Has A Wardrobe Malfunction
This one’s for the boys. Not that they would mind. In the film “China Seas” there is a particularly intense scene in which Jean Harlow’s character and Wallace Beery’s character fight over half a bank note which can incriminate Beery and send him stuh-raight to the slammer. At one point, Beery pulls on Harlow so roughly that her flimsy little robe almost slides right off…leaving very little to the imagination. Jean recovers quickly, but not quick enough. I guess the Hays Code review board loved what they saw so much that they let it slide. Poor Baby Jean
That Awkward Moment When James Cagney Danced Better Than Ruby Keeler
James Cagney: little Brooklyn-born little Irishman with flaming red hair and blue eyes famous for always shooting up the joint as a gangster in films. Ruby Keeler: blue-eyed Canadian darling married to one of the greatest entertainers of all time (Al Jolson), famous for being a professional dancer and performing in lavish Busby Berkeley musicals. Obviously Ruby is the better dancer, right? Wrong. What many people don’t know about James Cagney is that this favorite film gangster was a hoofer since he was a wee child on the streets of New York. So, he pretty much started out as a dancer, and a damn good one. And it shows in the “Shanghai Lil” number of the film Footlight Parade (1933) my personal favorite of all the Berkeley musicals. Towards the middle of the number, Cagney and Keeler do a little tap dance together, and let’s face it, he beats her at her own game. Cagney has this smooth, light, almost sexy way of moving his body when he dances, and Keeler by comparison just looks clumsy, amateur, and…heavy. Just look at her in the picture above, she looks like she’s about to fall over! A truly awkward moment right here.
That Awkward Moment When Buster Keaton Shows Up For Five Minutes In A Chaplin Film And Steals The Whole Show
When people ask me about my stance on the whole Keaton/Chaplin debate, I usually just run away in tears. I love them both so much! It’s almost impossible for me to choose one over the other! However, there is an exception to every rule. And that exception is the film “Limelight,” which is a Chaplin film made much later in his career. “Limelight” is an extremely SAD film, not something you’d usually associate with Chaplin. This story of a suicidal ballerina and a lonely clown never fails to turn me into a big, tearful mess. However, Buster Keaton has a cameo appearance here that is enough to make you cry too…but from laughing too much! Chaplin knew he was taking a risk by giving the equally funny Keaton a role in his film…and Chaplin realized that maybe it was a mistake, because Keaton was obviously the funnier one here. Chaplin was so irked by this that he dramatically cut Keaton’s role…because he was too funny.
That Awkward Moment When Franchot Tone Has A Giant Wedgie
One of my all-time favorite classics is 1935′s “Mutiny on the Bounty.” It’s the perfect sea story, a swashbuckling adventure, and it even has a dash of romance. But another reason it’s so great is that it has plenty of hilariously awkward moments. Like this one. First of all, it’s embarrassing enough that Franchot Tone and Clark Gable had to wear these giant white Tahitian adult diaper things. Secondly, it’s embarrassing that these diapers had to get wet. Clark was smart enough to stand facing the camera. But Franchot, on the other hand, got stuck giving us The View. JUST LOOK AT THAT THING! It’s like, a Super Wedgie. I’m surprised he wasn’t crying in pain during this scene. Honey, you got a letter in your mailbox…
That Awkward Moment When Charles Laughton Picked His Nose In “Mutiny On The Bounty”
HE DOES THIS ABOUT SIX TIMES IN THE FILM, I SWEAR!!! Here’s the last awkward moment for this post, again from “Mutiny.” Charles Laughton literally spends the entire beginning of the film wiping his stray boogers and flicking them off somewhere else. I wish I was kidding, but I’m not. Where he’s flicking these boogers off to, only God knows. Maybe on Clark Gable. They famously hated each other. Speaking of Clark, the look on his face is priceless. He looks like he’s about to vomit at the sight. My poor Fletcher Christian
That’s all for now! I hope you enjoyed!
Happy 104th, Carole Lombard! Carole has been one of my greatest Hollywood favorites because she is just so…perfect! She’s the only actress I can think of who has the qualities of a glamour girl, a tomboy, a party animal, and a comedienne all rolled into one. Yes, Carole did have a famous potty mouth, but she was also extremely generous, kind, and friendly to all. I don’t think anyone in Hollywood ever disliked her. Carole is my role model…hopefully I’m doing her justice!
In honor of the lovely Miss Lombard’s birthday, I want to focus on her and Fred MacMurray. They are one of the most-underrated on-screen couples, which is a darn shame, since they have great chemistry together. They made four films as co-stars: “Hands Across the Table” (1935) “The Princess Comes Across” (1936) “Swing High, Swing Low” (1937) and “True Confession” (1937). I’m not reviewing any of the films today, because I usually like for film reviews to have their own post (nitpicky of me, I know) but I’m gonna show some of their publicity photos together. These photos show how well Lombard and MacMurray play off each other, but they also show the fun, dynamic personality so unique to Carole. Happy Birthday to my favorite Hollywood girl!
This photo is from “True Confession.” Lombard’s zany character was said to have been the inspiration behind a certain famous TV character named Lucy Ricardo. Having seen the film, the parallels are so obvious!
This one is my FAVORITE! It never gets old. There’s Fred and Carole clowning around (her face is priceless) and in the background, barely noticeable, is poor Una Merkel not knowing what to do with herself. Total. Photobomb. Love it!
That’s all folks! Now I’m off to pop some Carole films into my DVD player and begin my Lombard festivities! I have tons of great posts for you guys in the very near future so stick around!
Oftentimes we don’t get to see original pieces of art that are centered on classic Hollywood. Most classic Hollywood art that’s out there is drawings and paintings that are exact copies of glamour portraits of famous stars (and yours truly is guilty of this). But Brooklyn artist Jason Bryant breaks the mold by incorporating the Old Hollywood glamour portraits we know and love with his own unique twists.
Bryant, who has a solo exhibition at Porter Contemporary entitled “Smoke and Mirrors” (on until October 20th), combines startlingly realistic paintings of famous Old Hollywood images with comic/cartoon art. Here are some of his works:
This, as many of us know, is a glamour photo of Rita Hayworth from the 1946 film Gilda. At a quick glance, it doesn’t seem that the picture has been altered too much. But on a closer look, you can see that Rita’s eyes are pixellated, giving the effect that they are clouded over by the smoke from her cigarette. It’s interesting to consider, since the title of Bryant’s show is “Smoke and Mirrors.” Also, this painting is entitled “Facade.” With this painting, the message seems to be twofold…Rita’s eyes were clouded over because of the glitz and glamour that Hollywood had to offer…but can this painting mean that our eyes are clouded over for the same reason as well?
This is my personal favorite of Bryant’s works, entitled “A Crack in His Faux Finish.” Here we see the lovely Cary Grant, but his perfect visage is covered up by fireballs and a grim reaper. Looking at the title of this work, we can tell that these bright bursts of flame (and the giant crack in the lower right of the painting) are meant to display the vulnerability of these actors. Grant once famously said, “Everyone wants to be Cary Grant. Even I want to be Cary Grant.” These stars were given an image to live up to by their studios. However, these images tore some of these people apart. Can you imagine how difficult it must be to always be the perfect, glamorous, sexy star? In the end, it can drive someone crazy, and “cracks in the faux finish” will result.
This painting, entitled “Fabulously Flawed” stars Marlene Dietrich, one of the greatest sex symbols of the 1930s, along with Harlow and Garbo. Dietrich was considered by millions to be a divine, perfect flower. A goddess. But as we can see in this painting, maybe there were some thorns on this rose. Dietrich was a human being and had her flaws like all of us. But with the publicity from the studios painting her as “The Blue Angel,” you were never allowed to know that.
Here’s an interesting painting, entitled “Happiness.” The glamorous Carole Lombard is looking out into the distance, and there is a colorful rainbow and birds all around her. But then you see a sentence saying “Rainbows don’t mean shit” by her lips, as though she’s speaking it (which isn’t hard to imagine, considering Lombard’s famous potty mouth) and then you realize that this isn’t supposed to a happy painting at all, that it is all, going back to the Rita Hayworth painting, a facade.
Bryant’s artwork is unique in that it captures that lavish beauty and glamour of Old Hollywood, but it also shows that not all was perfect in the land of the movie stars. Behind the camera, these stars weren’t gods and goddesses. They were human beings just like you and me. They had their ups and downs. They had their struggles and their inner demons. Many of these stars struggled with their self-image, with love, with loss, with family, with addictions…and some were even plagued by scandal (just look at Fatty Arbuckle and Errol Flynn). To the outsider, Hollywood seemed like some celluloid fantasy playground where all was sunshine and rainbows. But reading biographies of these film stars, many faced serious problems in life, proving that even the rich and beautiful have their bad times. The ultimate message I got from Bryant’s paintings is that whether we are gods and goddesses adored by millions or just an average Joe, we all are on a quest for happiness. It’s something extremely thought-provoking, especially for admirers of Old Hollywood.
If you live in New York City, you’ve probably heard of the brand new Charlie Chaplin musical that opened on Broadway about two weeks ago. My best friend and I are big Chaplin fans, so of course we went exploring to see what it was all about!
Chaplin: The Musical is being played at the Barrymore Theatre, which is nice, small, and very fancy, reminiscent of the 1920s-1930s where the bulk of the action in the musical takes place. Also, if you plan to see this show and would like to buy tickets for an evening performance (like I did…I don’t like Broadway matinees, they just don’t seem right!) then DRESS UP! Girls, put on a nice evening dress and some fine jewelry and boys pull out those suits, because a night on Broadway is always a wonderful chance to sparkle! Also, the first thing my friend and I noticed upon entering the theatre was that everyone else except us was extremely…old. Like, age 70 up. I guess it was fun night out at the retirement homes last night because the ENTIRE THEATRE was full of people older than my grandparents! Either that or I’m an old geezer inside a 19 year-old girl’s body. Most likely the latter. Which is fine by me. I’d rather be an old bore than a shallow bimbo straight off Jersey Shore.
The musical got pretty fair reviews in the newspapers. Going in, I honestly had no idea what to expect: was this going to be musical about Chaplin’s life or a musical mashup of his most popular films? Will the actor be true to Chaplin’s character? Will Chaplin be portrayed in a favorable light? How accurate will the facts be? These were just some of the questions reeling through my mind in the days before the show. Then I found out that the musical is about Chaplin’s life; his biography on stage. In a musical. I was nervous as hell. This idea was so easy to mess up!
But then I found that I LOVED it from the very beginning! The story of Chaplin: The Musical covers Chaplin’s life from his troubled childhood in the slums of London to 1972, when Chaplin returned to the United States after two decades of exile to receive a lifetime achievement award. The way the musical weaves together the events of Chaplin’s life was irreproachable. It all flowed so well together, and even incorporated flashbacks perfectly. The musical focused much on Chaplin’s relationship with his mother, Hannah, who was an actress and eventually lost all her mental faculties, devastating the young Charlie. Hannah’s memory would go on to influence Charlie in almost all of his creative work, and indeed, many biographical elements of both Charlie and Hannah directly influence the films that Chaplin goes on to make. The musical also explores Charlie’s sometimes-testy relationship with his older brother/business manager Sidney, his tumultuous marriages until he finds the love of his life, Oona O’Neill (daughter of playwright Eugene O’Neill), and of course, the Communist controversy so hatefully started by gossip columnist Hedda Hopper, all because Chaplin declined to be interviewed on her radio show. Of course, I cried like a baby in the end, when Chaplin receives his lifetime award, Oona at his side, forgiving those who cast him off, and being forgiven in return.
Here are some elements of the show that I loved:
Rob McClure. Rob McClure makes his Broadway debut as a Little Tramp, and he does a wonderful job. McClure of course isn’t an exact replica of Chaplin (something impossible to do) but he is as close as you can get, both in his physical looks and his personality. The man sings his heart out, brings much emotion to his role, and even walks a tightrope. He is the best thing about the show and totally deserved the standing ovation he got in the curtain call.
Projections. A lot of projections were incorporated into the show, bringing the audience a taste of the actual Chaplin with little clips from his films. There were also projections of the first silent movies Chaplin saw as a teen in London and a clip of Hitler addressing the German people which Chaplin (in the most hilarious moment of the play) mocks as preparation for his role in The Great Dictator. I felt that the projections were a nice, unique touch that gave the stage show a very filmic quality.
Now here are some things that kinda ticked me off:
Mildred Harris. Sometimes, I found that the parts of Chaplin’s life that the show chose to focus on were quite strange. The fact that the show chose to focus a great deal on Mildred Harris, Chaplin’s first wife, and passed over Paulette Goddard, wasn’t a good decision in my opinion. Goddard was Chaplin’s high-profile marriage, and she worked on some of his most celebrated classics with him. For some strange reason, the show treated his short-lived marriage to Harris to be of much more importance.
Hedda Hopper. Don’t get me wrong here. Hedda Hopper was portrayed brilliantly in this musical. But Hopper’s revenge-seeking ways are what angered me. Starting the false rumors of Chaplin’s “Communist affiliations” only because he did not wish to be interviewed? Really? Because of Hopper’s dirty work, Chaplin would become the subject of a paternity suit and exiled from America in what would be the lowest point of his life and career. Hedda Hopper was The Biggest Bitch in Hollywood.
I would like to end my review on the best thing about the musical: the moral. Chaplin’s “Little Tramp” character was and still is famous all over the world because he is an Everyman figure: he has some good moments, but he has some bad ones too. Sometimes he strikes it rich, sometimes he loses it all. He finds love, but sometimes it’s a struggle for him to do so. Although many wouldn’t guess it, Chaplin himself struggled with love. His mother had to leave him to stay in a mental institution, which devastated him. His first three wives turned out to be gold-diggers. He struggled with the fact that his millions of fans did not adore him so much as they adored The Little Tramp. There were many points in Chaplin’s life when he questioned if anybody out there really loved him, if anyone will ever see beyond this Little Tramp, beyond his fame, beyond his fortune. Of course, these negative feelings all escalated when he was exiled from the country on false charges of Communism. Was all of his art going to go down the drain after all these years of hard work? It seemed like the end for Chaplin. However, at age 54, Chaplin married the young Oona O’Neill, who was the love of his life, because she was one of the few who cared for the actual man behind the stage paint and the funny costume. And even though it took awhile, both Chaplin and the United States forgave each other for the past. Chaplin’s life story teaches us that love will find each and every one of us, maybe early, maybe later (like Charlie). We just have to find that one person who would care to look beyond the facade, beyond the superficial, and really care for who you are inside, flaws, insecurities, and all. Chaplin’s story also tells us to forgive. No matter how bad a problem may seem, there is always a solution for it.
Chaplin: The Musical had a very emotional ending for me. I’m gonna get a little personal here and say that Chaplin’s films have pulled me out of many a low point. Why? Because they are side-splittingly funny…yet they have the power to bring out the tears too. The background used for the finale of the show was the same one from Modern Times, the barren road leading to everywhere and nowhere. AKA the Greatest Movie Ending of All Time and also The Ending That Makes Me Cry Like A Baby (this ending and City Light’s get me sobbing). I mean, why WOULDN’T you cry? There’s the Tramp, with the girl he loves, both dirt broke with nothing between them, yet they stay positive and move on to life’s next chapter for them, confident that their love will see them through everything. Are you crying yet? Cuz I am. The ending of the musical was so adorable and so emotional and trust me it brought on the waterworks. There I was, sitting next to my friend, with two streams of tears flowing down my face. I’m so glad they didn’t play the song “Smile”…that would’ve turned me into a giant watery mess. I was embarrassed enough that I cried in front of her and I had to fan my eyes with my Playbill. Remember my lovelies, no matter how low things can seem sometimes, “Be Brave! Face life! Tomorrow the birds shall sing” and always keep a “Smile” on your beautiful faces <3
If you are interested in seeing Chaplin: The Musical you can order tickets at http://chaplinbroadway.com/. Also, don’t forget to bring some money to buy some Chaplin souvenirs!
Nowadays, most of the lovable yet wayward youth I know want tattoos. It’s gotten to the point where I think I am the only un-inked person born in the year 1993. Because so many people I know have gotten inked, I’ve seen more than my fair share of really bad tattoos. However, NOTHING is worse than this one:
These pictures, which were taken in 1936, are of a rabid fangirl’s tattoo of Gary Cooper. First of all, I couldn’t believe that it was socially acceptable for women to get such big, noticeable tattoos in the 1930s. Second of all, I couldn’t believe that that…THING…is supposed to be GARY COOPER.
The guy on the left is Gary Cooper, but I have no idea who on God’s Green Earth that guy on the right is supposed to be. For one thing, Coop is a cutie patootie. Just look at that adorable little smile! The tattoo “likeness” of Coop looks more like:
a) A dirty little pervert
b) A backwoods hillbilly hyuk with missing teeth
c) Gary Cooper’s third cousin twice removed who was a fetal alcohol syndrome child
d) All of the above
The answer is d) All of the above, obviously. Another thing is that this “tattoo” looks like it was drawn onto the woman’s skin with a pencil. By a four-year-old.
I wonder if Coop himself ever saw these pictures, and what he thought. Actually, I don’t think he did, because seeing this “likeness” of him would’ve probably given him severe self-esteem issues for the rest of his life. It’s easily the Worst Tattoo in History.
One of the wonderful things about classic films is that almost all of the actors were drool-worthy. Tall, dark, and handsome with amazing bodies. Like most girls, I love it when a man has muscle. And thankfully, Hollywood understood my obsession with the brawny and had most of its actors pose for “beefcake pictures”: photography devoted to shirtless men. Women took “cheesecake” photos, which were swimsuit photos. But today is all about the guys as I show you some of my favorite beefcake photos.
Cary Grant and Randolph Scott
Does this count as a “beefcake” photo? Whatevs, Cary and Randolph have nice, lean muscles. If you’ve seen My Favorite Wife, you’ll know that Randolph Scott had a bod to rival Johnny Weissmuller’s. And nice legs, Cary!
Perfection. My copy of A Streetcar Named Desire has this image on the cover.
This is one of the earliest photos of Gabe that I’ve seen. And one of my favorites. And one of the most drool-worthy pics of all time. Gable haters say he was flabby, but this photo proves he was RIPPED. Dear God, those beefy dimpled shoulders…
Coop may have been as thin as a rail, but that didn’t mean he didn’t have muscle! This picture proves that he didn’t have the body of an overgrown child, but had some nice, well-developed arms. He also had a nice smattering of chest hair, an added bonus.
Gorgeous!!! He may have been a womanizer and a hellraiser, but with a body like that, who can blame him? Errol is like some long-lost Greek god. They just don’t come that way anymore. Now excuse me while I put my face in the freezer to cool off my blushing cheeks.
Cags may be an unlikely choice for a post like this, but being an athlete and dancer, he did have a great body. Cags wins the award for Most Underrated Beautiful Bod. You can’t see it in this picture, but he also had these adorable freckles on his shoulders. Which is a big plus in my world.
Last but definitely not least is this perfect specimen of humanity known as Valentino. He was PERFECT. I bet all those rumors about him being effeminate were started by ugly, jealous men. Because let’s face it, he’s gorgeous. And a BIG bonus…his swim trunks leave very little to the imagination. And I’m sure we all like what we see.
Until next time, my loves!
Am I the only one who is in a bitter mood? Everything has just been going downhill for me lately. I’m back in school, the work is backbreaking, the weather is horrible (pouring buckets all the time here in NYC!) so my hair is in a permanent state of fuzziness a la Clara Bow (but since I’m nowhere near as beautiful or as glamorous as her, I don’t look good) and worst of all my mystery illness is back: I hate the sight and smell of all food, and my stomach expels what little I try to eat. So right now, I pretty much look like a stressed-out, frizzy-haired concentration camp survivor with red lipstick and red nail polish.
But what hurts worse than any of what I described above is that people who I thought loved me very much all of a sudden decide not to stand by me. It’s terrible to know that people who you thought you could trust with your innermost thoughts and ideas can suddenly turn on you and treat you like a complete stranger. Lesson learned: don’t trust anyone but yourself. And blog, blog, blog to make yourself happy!
Recently I’ve noticed that Old Hollywood had plenty of artists. And I don’t mean “artists” in the sense of actors, directors, costume designers, makeup artists, producers, script writers, editors, etc. (that goes without saying!) I mean fine artists: drawers and painters. Many of our favorite actors were also gifted with the brush and the palette, which I find fascinating because I dabble in art myself. Here’s a look at some great actor/artists and a little backstory on each:
She wasn’t called “Kate the Great” for nothing. She could act in most anything, she was a trendsetter and a revolutionary, and she was also an artist. Kate started painting in the 1930s while dating aviator and film producer Howard Hughes, and the hobby stuck with her until her death. Kate had a lovely soft, muted style (I tend to gravitate to sharper, more severe art styles and I love using richly saturated colors in my works, so I admire Kate’s expertise in an art technique that I couldn’t master, no matter how hard I tried!) And her watercolors are museum-quality pieces, in my humble opinion. The photo on the far left is a self-portrait of Kate in the makeup chair, being transformed into a Chinese farmer woman for a film (I forgot which. If anyone knows, do tell!) She writes on top, “The left is lower than the right!” in reference to her eyebrows. The next two paintings are beautiful watercolors of Manhattan. Kate wonderfully softens up the otherwise crazy (yet lovely nonetheless) steel jungle that I call home. And with today’s weather being what it is, “jungle” is a very fitting term to describe this city…
Gingers Rogers is a QUADRUPLE threat: dancer, singer, actress, and artist! Ginger had been painting as early as 1933, and apparently George Gershwin was the first person to buy her work. Ginger painted quite actively for the rest of her life, and she once said that it helped her to relax and express herself. She enjoyed painting caricature-style portraits and landscapes, and can create artwork in a variety of different styles, from the line caricatures you see in the picture above (of surprisingly, fellow painter Katharine Hepburn) to rich, colorful paintings of cattle and the West (unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any photos of this series of paintings). Fun fact: Ginger painted under the name “Ginger Briggs.”
Another example of a quadruple threat here! Sinatra was actually a very accomplished painter and made many acclaimed works in his lifetime. But most famous (and mysterious) were his clown paintings. Apparently Sinatra painted a series of clown portraits and gave them to friends and hung them around his home. I wonder what was Sinatra’s attachment to clowns. I’ve searched EVERYWHERE for the story behind these paintings, but to no avail. If anyone knows the backstory, please share it! The color photo on the far left is a clown painting that Frank gave as a gift to a friend, Jenni Rizzo. I’ve read that the clown has a little bit of Frank in it, and is an indirect self-portrait. The picture on the left is of Frank painting yet another clown, and if you look in the background, you can faintly see other works that Frank created hanging on the walls.
Unlike all of the above film stars, Clark Gable was not a serious artist. He did not paint or draw works to sell them. Nevertheless, his work still tells a story about himself. These two self-portraits (which were sold at an auction years ago) show a side of Gable that we don’t get to see often: his childlike, boyish side. First of all, he drew them in a medium any serious artist would shun: your average crayon. The kind that kindergarteners use when coloring in a coloring book. Obviously, all that talk about Gable being humble and down to earth is true: he was not afraid to poke fun at himself. The portrait on the right is a (hilarious) self-portrait of a drunk Gable, complete with a bottle, glasses, and a “hic hic hic!” coming out of his mouth. It’s definitely not the best piece of artwork out there, but it is cute and good because he drew it. But his phenomenal caricature on the left leads me to think that the only reason the portrait on the right looks like it was done with his feet is because he probably drew it drunk as well! The portrait on the left shows that Gable had a very modern, stylized look to his artwork, something that was very prevalent in the artwork of his time (Art Deco) It is deliberately flat and two-dimensional, and the shadows have a very heavy, block-like appearance to them, like most Deco works. I also love that he charmingly exaggerates his most famous features: his big ears, deep dimples, wide eyes, heavy brow, and sarcastic little smile. Gable didn’t draw to be serious, he drew to have fun.
Coop just continues to fascinate me. I haven’t always been a big fan of Coop’s, and I haven’t learned much about him until recently, and I enjoy discovering more and more about this guy. Many say that Coop was a bit of a dim bulb, but that is not the case. Coop was in fact an incredibly gifted artist, perhaps the best actor-artist in Hollywood, and that is why I saved him for last. Coop had been drawing since he was a child, and he attended Grinnell College in Iowa and majored in graphic arts. Coop intended to become a commercial artist or cartoonist. After college, Coop went back to his Montana home and worked as an editorial cartoonist for a local newspaper. He then moved to Hollywood, where his ambition of becoming a cartoonist got sidetracked when he scored parts as an extra in films, and we all know what happened from there! Even though Coop became an actor instead of an artist, he still never lost his love for creating, as seen by these two photos. His talent was incredible. He could paint a delicate nature scene en plein air or draw dark, inky caricatures (does that look like a self-portrait to you? Hmm…) In TCM’s “Word of Mouth” feature, one of the first things Maria Cooper Janis remembers fondly about her father is his love for art. Coop was so good, that he can create perfect pictures while having a smoke!
That’s all, folks! I hope you learned as much as I have