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!
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
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!
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!
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
The title of this post refers to the famous Uncle Sam poster we’ve all seen in our history textbooks. I’m sure the above photo makes that fairly obvious, but you never know what kind of people read your blog.
So…why the above poster?
Well, I GOT MY VOTER’S PACKET THINGY IN THE MAIL THE OTHER DAY AND I’M SO EXCITED!!!!
For those who may not know, I’m 19 years old. And everyone knows that the voting age in the US is 18. So this is my very first election, you guys! I’m BEYOND excited!
Now, I’m gonna get all Carole Lombard-patriotic on everyone and tell you to VOTE VOTE VOTE!
Voting is important, everyone! A lot of people think that their one vote can’t possibly make a difference, but hell yes, it will! Every vote counts! And in my honest opinion, if a person doesn’t vote, they have no right to complain about the government. Because they did nothing to make a difference.
Everyone knows that we are the greatest most powerful nation in the world. Here in America, we have tons of things that we take for granted that plenty of other countries in the world don’t have. America is effin awesome. And when you vote, you are being an awesome American! We have the best of everything (just look at how amazingly we performed in the Olympics! #1 always!) so let’s keep it that way!
So vote! Glamour gals like Carole Lombard and Myrna Loy did it and sexy he-men like Clark Gable and John Wayne did it, so why shouldn’t you? Classic movie stars were incredibly patriotic and passionate about their country, so take a leaf out of their books! I’ll be voting at both the primaries and the actual elections, so if you live in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, we might have the same voters’ center and we can have a little chit-chat! I’ll be the only dame in electric blue peacock-patterned stockings, so you won’t be able to miss me!
Today marks the 110th birthday of the “Queen of MGM,” Norma Shearer!
I know I haven’t been kind to Norma in the past. I’ve often said that she was overdramatic and only got plum roles because she was married to MGM’s Head of Production (and Brooklyn native!) Irving Thalberg.
But…things have changed now, and I am proud to say that I have become a Norma Shearer convert!
Yup. I like Norma Shearer.
What happened to cause this change, you may ask?
I simply got a better understanding of classic films, that’s all. Lots of Norma’s films like Marie Antoinette, A Free Soul and Romeo and Juliet show off her dramatic chops, but other films of hers such as Idiot’s Delight and The Women show us that she had a gift for comedy as well, and that’s when I realized that she is a more talented actress than I gave her credit for.
Idiot’s Delight was a film I originally watched for Gable only. I was not going to pass up a chance to see his only musical-type role! At first I found Shearer’s character annoying, but after repeated viewings of the film I learned to love her…and now she steals the whole picture from right under Gable’s nose for me! In fact, her overdramatic-ness was what made it so funny…her character’s penchant for spinning tall tales and her exaggerated Russian accent will have you laughing out loud. In one scene, she is called out for telling the story of her escape from Bolshevik Russia differently each and every time she says it, to which she responds, “I have made many escapes.” She has plenty more zingers where that came from!
Her character in The Women was funny as well (But in my opinion, the Roz is funniest and steals the show. However, Norma’s character is funny in her own right). Norma may have played the wronged woman here, but you can’t help laughing at the scenes that take place on the ranch in Reno and when she declares, “I’ve had two years to grow claws, mother…JUNGLE RED!” This is actually my favorite line from the film, and now I call all my bottles of red nail polish (and there are plenty, folks) “Jungle Red.” Norma’s character is also sweet yet strong. You are automatically sympathetic towards her and want her to win in the end. And who doesn’t cry during the scene in which she tries to explain to her young daughter the meaning of divorce? Shearer’s character in that film teaches ladies an important lesson: love is important, but pride and dignity are even more important. Take it from our girl Norma before having to learn it the hard way.
Off the screen, Norma was a great person. She was a loving, devoted wife to Irving Thalberg, in a place where true love was, and still is, elusive and hard to come by. She was also a devoted mother. She had two children with Thalberg, and planned to retire from the screen to raise them. However, at her husband’s insistence and encouragement, she continued making films. Not the shallow diva you thought she was, huh?
Here’s one of my favorite photos of Norma:
Here, she’s showing off her baby bump. I don’t think any other classic Hollywood actress posed while pregnant. At a time when openly acknowledging your children was considered unglamorous and bad for your box office, Shearer defied the rules and was one proud Mama! I don’t think things changed when it came to talking about pregnancy until twenty or so years after this picture was taken (!!!), when Lucille Ball filmed the baby episodes from her hit show I Love Lucy while actually pregnant. The only other actresses who were proud to show off their children like this were Shearer’s fellow goddesses Marlene Dietrich (her daughter is Maria Riva) and Joan Crawford (all her children turned out to be ungrateful, bitchy brats. Poor Joan). If you’ve been feeling a little…meh…towards Norma Shearer, hopefully this post has changed that!
Happy birthday, Norma Shearer!
The wonderful thing about being a classic movie fan is that the love you have for these films never goes away from you. You see people claiming to be the #1 fan of some modern-day actor who can’t act or some modern-day boy band who can’t sing. Fast forward six months into the future and suddenly these people aren’t fans of bad actor X or bad boy band X anymore; they’ve moved on to someone else. But you never see that with classic film fans. This is a love that sticks with ya for life!
Just when I think I couldn’t love these films anymore than I already do I stumble across little things that make my heart swell up and overflow with more classic movie love! Take, for example, this quote by Lauren Bacall on the film “Twilight.” You know, that “vampire” “film” that was so hilariously bad that after having the misfortune of seeing the first “film” of his…this…thing in theaters I laughed so hard I almost busted a lung and threw my leftover popcorn at the closing credits and I absolutely refuse to italicize the title of this “film” because I do not believe that something this bad can actually be called a film. Anyway, here’s what Lauren had to say…
Yes I saw it, my granddaughter made me watch it, she said it was the greatest vampire film ever. After the ‘film’ was over, I wanted to smack her across her head with my shoe but I do not want a book called Grannie Dearest written about me when I die. So instead I gave her a DVD of Murnau’s 1922 masterpiece Nosferatu and told her, ‘Now that’s a vampire film!’
LAUREN BACALL, I LOVE YOU. I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU. She understands that vampires are supposed to be scary, not sparkly! They’re supposed to make you scream with fright, not roll your eyes to the high heavens hoping that God can have mercy and take your soul right then and there. I hope Lauren Bacall’s granddaughter actually took the time to watch Nosferatu (one of my all-time favorite horror films) and she better have kissed her grandmother’s feet after that. I would also like to say that my father has a raging crush on Lauren Bacall. Every time I watch a film of hers he would stop dead in his tracks and stare at her with his mouth hanging open slightly. Good choice, Dad! Oh, and I don’t think I’ve posted this hilarious photo before…
Lauren Bacall trying to put on a pair of headphones. When I first saw this picture, I laughed myself to tears. Actually, I think I peed myself a little because I was laughing so hard. Folks, if you ever wondered what would happen if you took a classic movie actor and placed them in the 21st century, here it is.
I also found another AMAZING photo today that honestly, I have no words to describe:
YES. YES. YEEEESSSSS. LOOK AT THAT. LOOK AT THAT GREATNESS RIGHT THERE. Stany AND Gabe, with middle fingers raised??? Can someone say BEST PICTURE EVER??? Ugh, I just LOVE these people! We would’ve gotten along so well together, raising our middle fingers to the entire world. Why didn’t I live back then, WHYYYYY? Stany with her middle finger raised just exudes Brooklyn’s trademark charm and kindness! You go, girl! And Gabe with his middle finger raised…perfection! He and I=two peas in a pod. So whenever the going gets tough, simply look at this picture and raise your middle finger to the world!
***CORRECTION: My good friend Mark told me that the guy on the far right is Sheldon Cooper. Thank you darling!
That concludes Carole Irene’s wise advice for the day, and this awesome post. Enjoy my loves!
Many people would list Red Dust as their favorite Gable/Harlow pairing, but I have a special fondness for Hold Your Man, perhaps their least-known, most serious, and most scandalous pairing. It’s a great, dramatic Pre-Code through and through, and one of those films I watch again and again and again.
Gable is a con man named Eddie Hall. While running away from the cops (just another day in the life I suppose!) Gable barges into the apartment of a nineteen year-old Brooklyn dame (hey, sound familiar?) named Ruby Adams (Harlow). She helps him hide from the cops and covers up for him. Ruby is an expert manipulator of men, and Eddie is a hit-and-run guy, but sparks fly between them, they realize their love is real, and soon they are sleeping together (the film makes this blatantly obvious…gotta love the Pre-Codes!). When one of Ruby’s admirers writes her a letter, Eddie and his cronies quickly hatch a plan to con him out of money, and much to her chagrin, Ruby is forced to participate in the plan. However, it doesn’t work out when Gable gets jealous and accidentally kills the man. When the cops get to the apartment, Ruby and Eddie are on their way back from getting a marriage license, and Ruby is wrongfully arrested for the murder and sent to two years in a women’s penitentiary. While there, she discovers she’s pregnant, and she and her inmates map out a secret plan to get Eddie and marry them. Will it work or will Ruby get caught by the matrons and Eddie arrested by the cops?
Although this film deals with a lot of serious topics (murder, imprisonment, illegitimate pregnancy, abandonment) it does have its comedic moments. There is a cute running gag in the film about Gable’s crooked smile, which Harlow imitates to a T. In return, Gable imitates her famous hip-swaying walk. The script is excellent, with lots of acidic, witty one-liners, with which Harlow practically steals the picture from Gable. This film also reprises the famous bathtub scene from Red Dust (MGM as we all know, was never ashamed of repeating its successes). Not only does Gable walk in on Harlow bathing, he gets some tub time too–with a face full of soap, hiding from the cops!
I also love the scenes with Harlow in the women’s penitentiary. She has some crazy inmates there: a Socialist, a daughter of a preacher, a girl who’s obsessed with sailors, and one of Eddie’s ex-girlfriends, Gypsy Angikon. Funny moments include: a scene in which the Socialist girl rips a missal in half during a church service, a scene where Eddie has to pretend to be one of the girl’s brother and kisses her, and the whole “sneak Eddie into the penitentiary chapel for the secret wedding” part is quite funny. Another great thing about the film is that it takes place in Brooklyn! (Flatbush to be exact) We all know that the film was shot on the MGM lot and not really in Brooklyn, but I think they did a really good job portraying Old New York: organ grinders, children playing on the sidewalks, mothers popping out of windows to tell their kids that dinner is ready…it’s so cute!
For you Pre-Code fans out there (and who isn’t?) Hold Your Man is chock full of racy-for-the-1930s dialogue and scenes. There’s a great bit in which Gable tries to lure Harlow into his bedroom, and a not-so-subtle scene with Gable and Harlow the next morning after their first night together. As the film goes on, it becomes obvious that Harlow is living with Gable. But most scandalous of all is Harlow’s–GASP!–unplanned pregnancy. Of course, the poor girl becomes the talk of the women’s jail. This is why I like Pre-Codes: they are a lot more realistic and they aren’t afraid to show the more difficult, and in some other Pre-Codes, the more ugly side of things (remember Three on a Match?). And from what I understand, this film was supposed to be even racier, and suffered some cuts from the Legion of Decency.
Hold Your Man also gave us the rare opportunity to see Harlow as a dramatic actress. In the beginning of the film she is all sass and dry humor, but the second half of the film allows her to show emotions such us love, hate, angst, and sadness. The scene in which she sings the title song, “Hold Your Man” on the piano is poignant because it shows the confusion over her feelings for Eddie, her worry over her own situation, and the angst that comes with difficulties in love. I don’t want to spoil the ending, but it’s a real terjerker, and Harlow does a great job of breaking your heart with her performance. I wish she got to act in more dramatic films like this one.
I hope you see why Hold Your Man is my favorite Gable/Harlow pairing. It has it all: great acting, snappy script, comedy, drama, murder, romance, scandal, and a very strong message. It also proves that Harlow isn’t just some dumb blonde like so many idiots out there think; she was a smart, intelligent woman with great talent. The film isn’t on DVD, sadly, and it’s so rare to come across, but it’s worth the trouble trying to find it. You’ll thank me later!
The Clark Gable and Carole Lombard Murder Case is not only the last book in George Baxt’s celebrity series, but it is also the last book he wrote before his death in 2003 (I have been reviewing these books in chronological order). And of course, Baxt goes out with a bang…this is perhaps the worst book in his entire series!
Before I begin my review, here’s an excellent, original review written by Vincent, who runs the site Carole & Co. (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/50359.html). The review not only points out some of the many things wrong with this book, but it is also a good example of how to write PROPER celebrity fiction! I’ll be referring to it throughout my own review.
Here’s the plot of this hot mess: It’s December of 1939. Gone with the Wind has finished filming and the Atlanta premiere is drawing near (saaay, that rhymes!). However, all of Hollywood, including Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, is suffering from paranoia due to a series of kidnappings. Amongst those who were kidnapped is a promising young protegee of Carole’s named Lydia Austin. But when no leads turn up about Lydia and the body of her ex-boyfriend washes up on the shore during Miriam Hopkins’ beach party, it becomes obvious that there is more to this case than meets the eye. Detective Herb Villon and his sidekick Jim Mallory team up with Gable and Lombard to crack this case.
First of all, the plot was extremely sloppy. It went absolutely NOWHERE for a good three-quarters of the book, and I think it was at that point when Baxt remembered that there has to be some solution to this absolutely boring mystery so he brought the book to a very speedy and unsatisfying conclusion. Here’s the breakdown of the book: 75% was “witty banter” terrible enough that, had they read it, would’ve made Gable and Lombard vomit uncontrollably, and 25% was actually solving the mystery.
And ya know what? The characters who went missing were so unlikable that I didn’t give a fuck about them whatsoever. They were three Nazi spies, seven Japanese spies (remember we’re starting WWII here folks) Carole’s protegee, who was a worse character than the spies!!! The girl apparently had a lot of “talent”…and how Baxt expects us to believe this I have no idea, since all this girl ever seemed to do was sleep with anything that had a penis. She literally has had a roll in the hay with every male character in the book (except the detective) at some point, from Gable to Groucho Marx. Why? Looking for a sugar daddy of course! Whadda bitch. I found myself so glad this little idiot was missing and I never wanted them to find her again. And as the story goes on and we learn more about her character, it becomes obvious that she’s a dim bulb too. WHY Carole Lombard would ever take a person like that under her wing is beyond me. Thankfully, this Lydia character is kidnapped before the action of the book takes place, so all we know about her comes from what we’re told by other characters.
In the book, Carole has three other protegees, but the most ah-nnoying one is the Eskimo, Mala Anouk. The other two are Nell Corday and Nana Lewis (dude, come up with a better name. Nana is what I call my grandma). But Mala takes the cake for being the most disgusting book character ever. Even more disgusting than Peter Pettigrew in the Harry Potter series. The girl lives entirely on BLUBBER. BUH-LUBBER. WHALE FAT. This is a girl who wants to be a HOLLYWOOD ACTRESS and she eats PURE FAT three times a day!!! How do you even eat squares of cold fat!? And by “how” I mean, “how can you live with yourself, do you have no shame?” or “how are you even alive right now, shouldn’t you have died from atherosclerosis a long time ago?” or “how are you not 6000 pounds?” or “how does Baxt expect us to believe that Lombard would’ve ever groomed a fat-eating actress?” In one part, the fat-eater even serves Lombard and Gable BLUBBER COOKIES. How the hell do you make cookies out of FAT!? What kind of shitty cookies are these? I was an avid eater of blubber (I’d eat a raw horseflesh before doing that, ugh!), the earth would not be able to accommodate my weight, lose all gravitational force, and end up spinning away somewhere in the cold, vast universe. Actress on the make eating blubber YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!?!?
This book also features the most random cast of characters ever. We have Gable and Lombard, Miriam Hopkins, Kay Francis, Humphrey Bogart and Mayo Methot, Groucho Marx, and W.C. Fields, who is completely wasted in this book and completely unnecessary to the story. And so were Bogie and Methot, for that matter. They just came for a couple of pages and left. Absolutely none of these characters were developed, with Baxt instead drawing upon film characters that these actors played. I HIGHLY doubt that Groucho Marx walked around in half crouch with an unlit cigar dangling from his mouth in real life! I seriously think Baxt put a bunch of names is a hat, closed his eyes, picked out these names, and forced them into a story. I’m quite surprised Dorothy Parker didn’t make a cameo appearance in this book like she did in all the rest. She would’ve been the icing on the cake.
Now, onto the characterizations of Gable and Lombard. I don’t even know where to begin here. Well, in his review, Vincent addresses the annoying giggle that Baxt gives Lombard in this book. A giggle that made my eyes twitch. A giggle that almost made me explode in a rage. A giggle that made my heart turn cold and had me wondering if there is a God in this world. “Hee hee hee.” WHEN, In the name of God, did she EVER laugh like that? And this “hee hee hee” is there every single time Lombard opens her mouth in this book! I dunno if this “hee hee hee” after every statement is supposed to make Lombard sound sly and crafty but it only ended up making her sound like she’s lost all her brain cells in an alcoholic fog. Only three types of people say “hee hee hee”:
1) Evil Disney villains.
2) Evil wicked witches.
3) The senile grandmother I mentioned earlier.
Is Carole Lombard one of those three? I don’t think so! Besides the “hee hee hee,” Lombard also spends most of the time screeching and yelling at Gable for everything. EVERY SOURCE I’ve read about Gable and Lombard’s relationship said that it was a relationship based on love and laughter. Sure, they had rough patches like any other couple, but the book makes it seem like their relationship was tense and stressful 24/7. There was also none of that trademark Lombard charm, humor, and generosity. She instead screeches and throws tantrums like a petulant child or my menopausal high school math teacher. The real Lombard would’ve looked down on such behavior! Carole also spends time making obscene pictures out of cheese and crackers in this book (insert facepalm here). This book did one of my favorite actresses NO justice. Baxt did not even try to understand her at all. And why he dedicated the Astaire and Rogers book to her is beyond me. Like she would want any of these books dedicated to her!
Now Gable. Poor, poor Gable. If Baxt was trying to make the readers hate Gable by portraying him the way he did in this book, it didn’t work. I think this book made me love him even more, because it made me realize what a smart, lively, vibrant personality he had. Baxt portrays Gable as a big, lumbering idiot who barely says anything except an occasional “sure, sweetheart, sure” to calm Lombard down. Other than that, he just stands there and watches on as everything takes place around him, like some kind of shadow. And many times in this book, Baxt states outright that Gable is “dumb” and “not good enough” for Carole. First of all, Gable wasn’t dumb, and anyone who cares to learn about him can see that indeed, Gable was quick-witted and very intelligent. He loved to read, and there are plenty of photos out there that prove it. He never finished high school, so educating himself was a matter of great importance to him, and his widow Kay Gable said that he would read a book a day. He read books on all topics, from mysteries to histories (rhyme #2). And I’m sure Lombard knew what she wanted in a man, so saying he’s “not good enough for her” without any proof to back himself up is just plain wrong. Baxt did not do his homework on Gable or any other star he wrote about, and instead poorly portrayed the images the studio system gave these actors. Gable was a very quiet man, never one to brag about himself or make a big deal out of things. There is a difference between being HUMBLE and being STUPID, Mr. Baxt!
As usual, Baxt got a lot of facts wrong in this book. Big, big facts. Once again, the timing is all wrong. The story takes place in December 1939, before the Atlanta premiere of GWTW. In the beginning of the book, Lombard is getting ready to film Made for Each Other with Jimmy Stewart, but as Vincent pointed out, the film was released in February 1939, way before the action of the story and even before Clark and Carole were married! But at the end of the book, Carole was scheduled to begin filming Mr. and Mrs. Smith which wasn’t released until the end of January, 1941! And unlike today, you did not need a year to make a good film. I highly doubt this film would’ve taken more than several weeks to shoot! And whatever happened to In Name Only, Vigil in the Night, and They Knew What They Wanted, the three films that she made in between Made for Each Other and Mr. and Mrs. Smith? Did they just disappear into the mist or something?
At one point, Baxt makes up an entirely new movie for Gable. Apparently he made a World War I film called Hell Below. What the fuck is Hell Below!?!? I am proud to say that I’ve seen Gable’s entire filmography, and he never made a film by that name. I’m thinking that he might’ve mixed up with Hell Divers. But that film isn’t about World War I…rather, it is about naval aviation. Can Baxt get ANYTHING right???
Baxt also makes an outrageous claim that Harlow died from syphilis that William Powell gave her. How low can this author go? But thankfully, anyone who knows even basic facts about the Golden Age knows that Harlow died of kidney failure. Baxt’s low, cruel statement only succeeded in making him look retarded. He also claims that this syphilis is what kept Powell off the screen for two years. HE HAD CANCER. God, who would ever make something like that up!? Who in their right mind would lie about having such a disease? It’s like Baxt had something personal agaisnt these stars! He also claims that Russ Columbo’s death wasn’t an accident, and that Lansing Brown shot Columbo out of jealousy because the two were lovers and he heard Columbo wanted to marry Lombard. It was true that Columbo wanted to marry Carole, they were so very much in love. But the death was indeed an accident, with Brown feeling the guilt for the rest of his life, and THEY WERE NOT LOVERS. I hate it when an author says that every actor in Hollywood was gay! Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with homosexuality, but it’s very unrealistic to claim that ALL OF THEM were homosexual.
And please, don’t even get me started on the claims of Gable abusing Ida Lupino and sleeping with Judy Garland. HE NEVER DATED LUPINO AND JUDY GARLAND WAS ONLY FIFTEEN YEARS OLD! How DISGUSTING. This book and all its ridiculous claims are pure fiction. And horrible fiction at that.
So here’s what I learned from rereading and reviewing this series: the cover is the best part of any Baxt book. Just check out that artwork! I hope you guys enjoyed these reviews, and I hope I did a good job giving you a thorough idea of these books!
Let’s start off this post this way: I’m a nineteen year-old girl. My best friend is also a nineteen year-old girl (we’re only born nine days apart, how awesome is that?). What else do nineteen year-old best friends do? First and foremost we gossip. A lot. About friends, family, people we hate, boys we like, and boys who like us. We also shop. Just two days ago, we went to the Columbus Circle Mall, where I spent $50 on new makeup and $100 on a Father’s Day gift for my dad (HE BETTER BE HAPPY WITH IT). And lastly, we talk about our dream man. The man that is perfect in our eyes, but probably doesn’t exist or is so unattainable and impossible to get. She lusts after the likes of Michael Fassbender and Gerard Butler while I lust after the likes of Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, Cary Grant, and Errol Flynn. I don’t have a classic movie buddy. Sadly, I’ve never met anyone younger than 80 who loves the classics, so whenever I discuss my dream man with my friend, it’s a very…one-sided conversation. So, I’ll share my dream man with you guys, people who actually understand what I’ll be talking about!
- I love light-colored eyes in a man, blue eyes being my particular favorite. My dream man would have beautiful blue eyes like Gabe or Coop. They would be bright and hypnotizing…just look at Coop’s!!!
- I am also incredibly attracted by a man’s smile, especially when he has a wide, genuine, dimpled smile that shows his nice teeth (I also insist on nice teeth, white and straight. No crooked teeth, yellowed teeth, or gaps. Bad teeth scare me). Franchot Tone has a gorgeous smile when he shows his teeth. Also Clark Gable (his dimples just make me swoon) and Errol Flynn have great smiles that make my heart melt.
- I love dark features (with the exception of eyes, as I mentioned above). I love dark hair, dark lashes and eyebrows, and skin that can tan. I wouldn’t mind myself an Italian hunk like Rudy Valentino and I ESPECIALLY wouldn’t mind Cary Grant!
- I love foreign accents. To me, there is something so attractive about a man from another place. He can teach me a lot about his place of origin, from the mannerisms to the slang and cuss words. I love traveling and I’m fascinated by other places, and what better way to learn than from a wonderful foreign man while being hypnotized by his exotic accent? Rudy Valentino had a sexy Italian accent, Cary Grant had his distinctive mid-Atlantic accent, and Desi Arnaz had a cute Spanish accent (which Lucille Ball so lovingly imitated in I Love Lucy).
- I love a man with grace and poise. No klutzes for moi! I especially love a man who can show off some fancy footwork. A dancer is always fun, passionate, and exciting, like Fred Astaire or that gorgeous hunk named Gene Kelly! Donald O’Connor also gets me weak in the knees, even though he’s blond and I don’t usually go for blonds (actually, one of my exes was blond. He had green eyes and was drop-dead hilarious so that made up for it. There are exceptions to every rule!).
- I ADORE a funny man! Especially a funny man who doesn’t constantly brag about how funny he is. A man who is NATURALLY funny! What girl doesn’t want a man who can cheer her up on a bad day, is well-liked for his great personality, and can charm her, her friends, and her family off their feet? Hence why I am attracted to men who aren’t known for good looks, like Chaplin, Keaton, and the Marx Brothers (yes, to me, each one of them is cute in their own way!). A funny man is definitely on the top of my list of good qualities in a man!
- I love a man who is honest. This is more important to me than anything else. A liar=a douchebag. And trust me, I’ve dealt with so many liars as of late, and it is not pretty! I tend to share a lot of myself with someone I love, and I would like for them to honestly share themselves with me too. I don’t judge anyone, and as long as a man is honest, he holds my love and respect (and my respect doesn’t come easily). I’ve been told that I naturally never trust, and well, it’s because I’ve been lied to a lot, and for no good reason. At least when the classic movie actors were having affairs, they were dead honest about it! And sometimes, when talking about themselves, they would probably give a little too much information! I adore that. Clark Gable once said a very beautiful quote about Carole Lombard: “You can trust that little screwball with your life or your hopes or your weaknesses, and she wouldn’t even know how to think about letting you down.” Someday, I want a man who can be that honest with me. Honesty is sexy.
- Nothing gets me like a man with great wit! Intelligence and humor rolled into one? Excellent! My heart beats like a drum when I meet a man who has a way with words, who shares my sarcasm, and who owns an acid tongue. Men like William Powell and Laurence Olivier can sure make me swoon!
- What girl doesn’t love a man with a naughty side? It’s exciting to have someone who’s a bit of a bad boy with you (and only you!). Men like Errol Flynn are practically irresistible.
- I like to draw, so having a man who is also a fellow artist would be just divine. It doesn’t even have to be fine art, but also music or of course, acting. Gary Cooper was especially a gifted fine artist (he originally came to Hollywood to become an illustrator!) and wouldn’t it be just so romantic to sit for hours together and draw pictures of whatever captures our fancies? Coop was pretty damn good, and I will be featuring some of his works in a future post!
- I love a man with a manly phyisique. Clark Gable, to me, has the perfect male body. He’s burly and tough, not too thin, and not fat either. He’s all big muscle, and he’s also tall (6’1″. Height is important for a tall 5’5″ girl like me). Cary and Errol Flynn were also around the same height, but Coop beats them all at 6’3″. However, Coop’s body is a bit too thin for my taste. I want a man who is strong, can hold me safe in his arms, and who wouldn’t blow away in a strong wind! Therefore Gabe has the perfect body for me.
- I love me an outdoorsman. I love to run through the grass, jump in the surf, climb trees, and play with animals, so a man who loves these things is quite important to me! Nobody fits the bill quite like Clark Gable.
- I also really really really REALLY want a man who loves classic movies just as much as I do! Actually, I don’t want one. I NEED ONE. Sadly, I’ve never met a boy who really loves classic movies. But when I do, I know he’s a keeper, because that means they have good taste, which is a rare thing these days! I want to be with someone who can laugh at Chaplin and Keaton with me, sit on the edge of the seat while watching a Hitchcock movie with me, cry during GWTW with me, and discuss every film we watch together. Oh, and of course, it would be nice if he put up with me when I swoon over all the handsome actors! When I find that special man, I think it will be the beginning of a beautiful friendship
- Last, but definitely not least, I love men who are confident in their masculinity. He exudes every masculine characteristic without even trying. Because it’s an innate quality that he constantly exudes. A real man doesn’t need to publicly speak about his masculinity. Have you ever seen Gabe or Coop or Cary or Errol or Rudy Valentino or William Powell talking about and bragging about what it means to be a man? Do you ever see a real man lording it over everyone else about how “masculine” he is compared to others? Of course not? A REAL man doesn’t have to constantly talk about his masculinity, he’s too busy SHOWING IT with his actions! And this isn’t something that only comes from me. Every single female I know thinks this and agrees with this. And every classic movie actor is a real man <3
So basically, my dream man would know how to have fun, would enjoy a day out or a day cuddling at home, respects me like I respect him, is always honest with me, is smart, funny, and artistic. He is strong, kind, caring, and confident yet humble. The relationship that I always look up to and wish to have is Gable and Lombard’s. It was truly beautiful and reading about it never fails to bring a tear of joy and sadness to my eyes. Both were so proud and happy to love each other. I’ve yet to find the “Pa” to my “Ma” but I will someday!
If you like to read and research absolutely everything on classic Hollywood like me, you’ve probably heard of George Baxt’s fictional classic Hollywood murder mysteries. I’ve certainly came across them a great deal when educating myself about classic Hollywood, and I thought it was a fun idea to take our beloved stars and put them in a thrilling murder mystery, a work of fiction. So I decided to order a bunch of them two years ago, for my seventeenth birthday. To my chagrin, I found out that the books are extremely rare and out of print, and I ended up having to order them from some bookshop in London! Some books in the series, such as the Dorothy Parker Murder Case and the Alfred Hitchcock Murder Case were either too expensive or too rare, so alas, I don’t have them.
I was beyond excited to read them, but…I am sorry to say, they were an absolute disappointment, especially since Baxt himself was a former Hollywood agent, who was supposed to have known most of these stars. I was expecting an insightful look into the lives of these Hollywood stars, but instead I got a shallow story with a stupid plot and even stupider characterizations each and every time! I have no idea what Baxt meant by writing these books…did he mean to slander the names of the stars of classic Hollywood? Or was all of this meant to be taken as a joke, a lighthearted work of fiction? But when you’re dealing with the personalities of real people, how are you NOT supposed to take what is said seriously?
Anyway, over the summer I will be reviewing what I have from this series for two reasons:
1) The books are rare, so it may be difficult for some to access them and read them for themselves.
2) I don’t think anyone on here deserves to plow through such drivel anyway.
The titles I’ll be reviewing are:
1) The Tallulah Bankhead Murder Case
2) The Greta Garbo Murder Case
3) The Marlene Dietrich Murder Case
4) The Humphrey Bogart Murder Case
5) The Clark Gable and Carole Lombard Murder Case
6) The William Powell and Myrna Loy Murder Case
7) The Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers Murder Case
I’ll discuss what worked and didn’t work for me, and I’ll also put up some of the “facts” that Baxt had in books, just to show how outrageous they sometimes are! This means that I’ll have to re-read them (oy…but at least they’re small, easy reads). So stay tuned!
Lone Star (1952) is about a cattle rancher named Deveraux Burke (Clark Gable) who is sent on a missi0n by former president Andrew Jackson (Lionel Barrymore) to convince Texas to join the United States. During his Texas adventures, he meets Senator Tom Craden (Broderick Crawford) and his girlfriend, newspaper woman Martha Ronda (Ava Gardner). Both of them want Texas to remain as the Lone Star Republic, separate from the United States. Despite their clashing opinions, Dev and Martha (of course) fall in love. And who will win the big final showdown between Dev and Tom?
I’m really sorry to say this, but i found this historical western/romance mashup to be quite…awful Getting a detailed, blow-by-blow account of the annexation of Texas made me feel like I was a junior in high school and sitting in AP American History class all over again. According to director Vincent Sherman, even the cast realized just how lame the film was shortly after shooting began. Broderick Crawford was intoxicated throughout the filming (which is something admirable to me…how can an actor be so dead drunk yet still remember all their lines?), and Gable and Gardner were just “showing up, reading lines, and going home.” It was just…nothing was really that exciting during the film. It was really quite predictable.
I also hated the Gardner character. She was such a bitch! First of all, she was dating the Broderick Crawford character, so she shouldn’t have been seducing Gable to begin with! Then she sings “Moonlight is Made for Lovers” to Gable, and when he goes in for the kiss, she pushes him away! Um, if you sing that kind of song to a man, WHAT ELSE is he supposed to do!? She also spends most of the movie flirting with him, then slandering him in her newspaper. Whadda bitch, toying with the man’s affections like that!
There were, however, two high points in the film. the first is Lionel Barrymore, in the small role of ex-Prez Andrew Jackson. This was Barrymore’s last film, and he was wheelchair-bound at this point. Barrymore is always a joy to watch and gives everything to his role, no matter how small.
The other high point is my man Gabe. Because no matter how awful the film, he provides plenty of eye candy, which makes up for everything in the end. He also has curly hair in this movie, and that combined with his blue eyes and rough-and-tough manliness turns me into a pool of melted Jell-o every time <3
Some of you may know that I love art. Drawing, painting, printing, carving, I’ve done it all and I love it all. So of course, for my art class in school, most of my subjects dealt with classic films. Here’s some of the work I’ve done recently:
Jean Harlow…not really happy about how this one came out…
Gable and Lombard, publicity shot for No Man of Her Own (1932).
I know this is a bit of a short post, but I wrote a review of Lone Star (1952) and WordPress decided to just delete the entire thing >:( I’m way too frustrated to re-do the entire post now, so keep your lovely eyes peeled for it tomorrow!
I hope everyone had a great start to their New Year! Since yesterday was Marion Davies’ birthday, I am going to review one of my favorite films of hers: “Cain and Mabel.”
Here’s the story: Mabel O’Dare is a waitress-turned-Broadway star and Larry Cain is a mechanic-turned-prizefighter. Both hate each other with a burning passion, but their press agents cook up a love affair between them so they can gain more publicity. However, the publicity stunt slowly turns into the real thing, and Cain and Mabel secretly plan to quit their high-paying jobs in favor of eloping and becoming a mechanic and a housewife, respectively. When Cain’s press agent, Reilly (the always-hilarious Roscoe Karns) overhears their secret plans, he is determined to break them up. Will Cain and Mabel’s dreams come true?
This film was basically a vehicle for Marion Davies, who was losing box office appeal at the time, and it was produced by William Randolph Hearst’s production company, Cosmopolitan. Hearst pulled all the stops in order to show his mistress at her most beautiful–Davies had plenty of close-up shots in the film, and also got to show off her talents as a comedienne and as a dancer in lavish numbers such as “Coney Island” and “I’ll Sing You A Thousand Love Songs.” However, the film flopped at the box office, and Gable seemed a bit out of his comfort zone as a boxer.
Despite the fact that it flopped, I really love this film and find it quite enjoyable. It is cute, lighthearted, and incredibly funny. I thought the casting was great, the script was snappy, and the music was good. I’ll admit that the story is a bit predictable, but I still saw no reason for it to flop.
Even though this sweet little film doesn’t have the most complex plot or characters, it is well-known for one thing–its music. The big dance number of the film, “I’ll Sing You A Thousand Love Songs,” was actually nominated for an Academy Award in Best Dance Direction. It took two weeks to film and cost Hearst over $400,000. The result was a lavish, spectacular showstopper that clocked in at about ten minutes long. The other memorable number from this film is “Coney Island.” The carousel from the number cost $35,000 alone, and later became a fixture in the backyard of Davies’ Santa Monica home, along with her pools, tennis courts, etc. This was also the closest that Gable got to being in a musical.
Filming “I’ll Sing You A Thousand Love Songs.” The roof of the soundstage literally had to be raised in order to film it! Marion Davies is all the way up top, standing in the oval.
Overall, “Cain and Mabel” is a fluffy romantic comedy that is easy to love and enjoy. Oh, and there’s also the weirdest costume in film history in it:
“Manhattan Melodrama” is one of my all-time Gable favorites. It’s fast-paced. exciting, and yes, heavy on the drama! But it’s all good fun, and every time that I recommended this film to someone, they ended up enjoying it. The people don’t lie!
The film revolves around orphans Blackie Gallagher (Clark Gable) and Jim Wade (William Powell). Although they were raised together, they take completely opposite paths in life. Mischievous Blackie becomes a gangster and professional gambler, and studious Jim becomes district attorney, vying for the position of governor. Blackie’s girlfriend Eleanor (Myrna Loy) becomes tired of the wild life with Blackie, and instead settles down and marries Jim. Despite this, the two men remain friends. But when Blackie kills a man, their friendship becomes tested as Wade’s morals and job as D.A. tell him to send his best friend to the electric chair. Does Wade do what he feels is right, or does he save Blackie?
Obviously, the cast is terrific, and the three leads all play off each other wonderfully. Gable was, and always will be, great in the gangster role. This was also the first of fourteen pairings between Powell and Loy. Seeing their chemistry here, it is no surprise why they would make thirteen more films together (three of them being in 1934). Supporting actors like Leo Carrillo, Nat Pendleton, and George Sidney lend plenty of personality and likability to their characters, and Mickey Rooney as young Blackie in the beginning of the film is adorably and touching. (Fun fact: Rooney idolized Gable quite a bit on set, and would dress like him, act like him, and even drive a little replica of Gable’s car, much to Gable’s chagrin).
The Biograph Theater less than an hour after Dillinger’s death.
In recent years, this film has become quite famous due to the Johnny Depp film “Public Enemies,” which was a biopic of 1930s gangster and Public Enemy Number One, John Dillinger. Dillinger, a big Myrna Loy fan, was infamously shot to death by FBI agent Melvin Purvis outside the Biograph Theater in Chicago right after watching this film. Apparently, the news was used to publicize the film, much to the shock and horror of Loy. No blog post on this film would be complete without mentioning John Dillinger!
“Manhattan Melodrama” is also famous for the debut of a popular jazz standard, “Blue Moon.” However, in this movie we hear the song in its original title and lyrics, “The Bad in Every Man” by Rodgers and Hart. I must say, as much as I love “Blue Moon,” “The Bad in Every Man” is just so much more better. I can’t help but sing along to it every time I watch the film. The music in general is quite good in this film. It gets stuck in my head FOREVER.
But best of all, “Manhattan Melodrama” is an incredibly New York-ish film. Of course, being a New Yorker, I love that. It’s fast, glitzy, dramatic, complex, and just captures life in this city so well. It always gives me the shivers because it feels like I’m in a time machine, going back to that time and place that I love so much. That is the best feeling in the world, and the mark of an excellent film.
One of my biggest goals is to watch the entire filmography of the greatest actor who ever lived: Clark Gable. As we all know, he’s the most perfect man, and no one compares with him, or ever will. Therefore, I was expecting a lot for The King and Four Queens. However, I am sad to say that I was excited for no reason at all, and this film ended up being quite boring, and not even Gable’s screen presence could do much for it.
The King and Four Queens revolves around outlaw Dan Kehoe (Gable) who, of course, is on the run. When he stops by in a random town, he hears the story of the four McDade bandits, who were killed in an explosion after stealing tons of gold. One of them survives the bombing, but no one knows which one it is. The boys’ mother has hidden the gold and guards it fiercely, along with her sons’ wives. So Kehoe hightails it to Wagon Mound, and there he flirts with the wives, hoping they can lead him to the gold. Of course, Ma McDade doesn’t approve, hoping that the wives would stay faithful for the one husband who may return.
The only thing special about this film was that it was the only one Gable ever produced. He formed a production company with Jane Russell’s husband, Bob Waterfield (Russ-Field-Gabco Productions). However, Gable felt the job of producing was extremely stressful, and never produced another film. Which is kinda sad, since this film was quite mediocre. I wish he produced more so he could’ve added more awesome films to the body of his work.
Now here comes my infamous long list of complaints:
1) This film had a very thin, predictable plot. It was basically a vehicle for Gable to flirt with FOUR WOMEN in the space of an hour and a half. They could’ve done a lot more with Gable’s character’s quest for gold, but the only effort he puts into is…kissing a bunch of buxom young women. Over and over and over again.
2) The women were quite one-dimensional and stereotypical. There’s the dumb blonde who wants to get into show business (Barbara Nichols), the disgustingly sweet, shy, innocent, naive girl (Sara Shane), the fiery, sexy brunette (Jean Willes), and the heartless, clever, crafty one (Eleanor Parker). Boooo-ring. The only thing that ran through any of their silly minds was finding ways to get into Gable’s pants. I found all of them ridiculously annoying.
3) The mom (Jo van Fleet). Oh my God. She is perhaps the scariest person to ever be portrayed in film history. Her eyes have absolutely no feeling, her voice sounds like a gravelly old frog’s, and she wields a gun better than any sharpshooter. The first thing she does in the movie is shoot Gable in the arm. Seriously. She needs a man or something because she was insane.
Ma McDade with–SURPRISE–a gun.
4) It was just so BORING. I can’t describe why, but it just was. It’s a Western, but kind of a cop-out Western because there weren’t any terrible bad guys, or shootouts, or horse chases with Native Americans, or anything! It was just Gable seducing girls. And the only “shooting” was that ninety year-old mom thinking she’s Annie Oakley and waving her rifle around and giving everyone a stink-eye. The only funny parts were some scenes in which Gable sang and danced.
5) The lines were laughable at best. There’s one scene in which Gable’s character says “My trail’s hotter than the fourth of July!” which had me in stitches because it was so corny. And the mom says nothing more than mumblings like “GRRrrRrR that KEEEEEEE-HOOOEEEE man GRRRrrRrr.”
The one nice thing about this film was that it was shot in gorgeous DeLuxe color. The mountains and the scenery were absolutely breathtaking–but not as breathtaking as shots of Clark Gable’s blue/grey eyes.
Sometimes, when scouring the Internet for images related to classic films and actors, you find lots of random, fun things. Here are some of the gems that you can find when looking up images of some classic movie stars:
Here’s Marion Davies using an odd contraption called the Bentograph. It was supposed analyze the human character. Director Monte Bell gives Marion part of her analysis: “Full forehead; benevolent, creative, learned and happiest when in company of the intellectual. Nose; pretentious, ambitious, sensitive, aims high and demands social and artistic recognition”.
Cary Grant, Sally Eilers, Hal Roach, and Elizabeth Jenns English make for an interesting band!
Ida Lupino visits Harry Fink, bottle collector who used to lend out his collection to film studios so they can be used as props!
Is it me, or does Lana Turner slightly resemble Joan Blondell in this photo?
Anne Shirley, Carol Stone, Rosina Lawrence, Lana Turner, Vicki Lester and Natalie Draper drink soda out of a pumpkin.
Another “handie” (Stewart could perform over 300!): China clipper
Why am I loving Laurence Olivier’s mismatched outfit?
That’s all! I made it quite long to make up for all the days I haven’t blogged. Hope this was fun and entertaining!