My Very Opinionated, Very Nitpicky, Very Detailed, and Very Long Review of “The Great Gatsby” (2013). Millions of Spoilers Abound…
Hello darlings! Long time, no see. I’ve had a pretty harrowing semester, but by the looks of the grades that I’ve gotten so far, it looks like all that hard work is going to pay off! On Sunday, my friends and I celebrated the end of the semester by going to see the new Gatsby film at a fancy theater in Union Square. We were all so pumped, but no one was as pumped as me. I’ve loved the book for many years and I’ve read it over and over and over again. To me, one of the most beautiful things about Fitzgerald’s masterpiece is how, almost a century later, it still resonates so strongly with young people like myself. I can’t fathom people who don’t like this book and don’t like anything Fitzgerald has written. If you are one of those people, you should just get out of here right now. You don’t deserve to read books. Or have opinions on them. Or live.
However, after the two and a half hour film came to an end, I was all torn up. I didn’t really know what to feel about this “Gatsby.” The rest of my friends either really hated it or felt ambivalent like I did. Out of four stars, I’d give this film two. So here’s my review detailing all the good, the bad, and the ugly about this film. It isn’t a classic film, but it is a classic story, so this counts for something, right? If you haven’t seen it yet and plan to soon or if you’re reading the book in preparation for seeing this film, then I advise you to stop right here, because I’m going to be throwing spoilers around like there’s no tomorrow.
Nick Carraway: Let’s begin at the beginning, shall we? Unless you live under a rock, you must know that The Great Gatsby (the book) is told from the point of view of Jay Gatsby’s average Joe neighbor, Nick Carraway. Nick has just moved from the Midwest to my glittery, glitzy city: New York. Nick’s not in Kansas anymore. When the film opens, we see our pal Nick in a sanitarium for alcoholism, depression, and anxiety. His doctor advises him to write, since “writing gives [him] solace,” as Nick himself says in the film. So, whaddaya know, Nick ends up writing the story of “The Great Gatsby.” As this plotline was unfolding in the film, I was like, “WHAT. IS. THIS.” In the book, there is no sanitarium, Nick goes back to the Midwest. In the book, it is very subtly implied that Nick is Fitzgerald’s alter ego, but not in the standpoint from writing the book. Rather, he is his alter ego in that he is a Midwesterner who is exposed to the different world full of glitter and flamboyance and money–the world of 1920s New York. Nick’s observations in the novel corroborate with Fitzgerald’s own opinions on 1920s materialism. This doesn’t mean that the film should’ve went so far as to completely REPLACE Fitzgerald with the Carraway character!
Anyway, let’s move on to Tobey Maguire’s interpretation of Nick Carraway. Maguire has never been a favorite actor of mine. I don’t really know how he made it in Hollywood. The only explanation I can think of is that he really worked that casting couch. For me, Tobey Maguire wins the “Most Painfully Awkward Actor to Ever Grace the Screen” award. Because of this strange plot point of Carraway actually writing the novel, we get a lot of Maguire reading famous lines from the book, including the opening line and the immortal closing line. I don’t know what’s wrong with Maguire, but he, like, couldn’t pronounce ANYTHING. The dude was blundering around with the gorgeous lines and making them sound clunky and awkward. Verdict: Tobey Maguire can’t read. At all. He’s illiterate.
Jay Gatsby: Leonardo DiCaprio’s Gatsby kinda fell in the middle for me. He is suave, debonair, and as fresh as a cool blast of air in a muggy July afternoon. Just look at that face, everyone. He is swoon-worthy, and did a pretty good job of capturing Gatsby’s all-consuming infatuation for Daisy. It shows in literally every facet of his personality. DiCaprio also captures that aura of frantic-ness that permeates Gatsby’s life (since he is obsessed with making up those lost five years with Daisy). However, what I really didn’t enjoy about DiCaprio’s performance was THAT. ACCENT. What was it even? Was Jay Gatsby supposed to have an accent in the novel!? HUH??? DiCaprio spoke in this mix of New York accent and British accent (at least that’s what I THINK it is…) and it made me realize just how disgusting those two accents sound blended together. British people pronounce every letter in their words and speak at a pretty moderate pace, for the most part. But us New Yorkers can’t really be bothered with speaking clearly and slowly. Or with pronouncing 75% of the letters in a word. THEY’RE OPPOSITE ACCENTS. If a mess could speak, it would sound like Leo’s Gatsby. Actually, if a mess could speak, it would sound like Tobey Maguire. If confusion could speak, it would sound like Leo’s Gatsby. It was so bad that my friend kept whispering “old spawt” in my ear the whole train ride home until I yelled at him to shut up. A scene that irritated me was the one in which Gatsby is shot to death in his swimming pool. Of course, I was tearing up and thinking “Noooo don’t die!” The irritating part was that of course he dies saying “Daisy,” while I’m thinking, “DON’T DIE WITH THAT BITCH’S NAME ON YOUR LIPS.” And how about his entrance in the film? I wish I could enter every social function with a come-hither smile on my face and a glass of champagne in my hand, while fireworks explode behind me and “Rhapsody in Blue” swells in the background.
Daisy Buchanan: Carey Mulligan’s Daisy just wasn’t careless enough for me. You get the whole “dumb blonde airhead money-obsessed nasty bitch” personality from her, but not as intense as it should’ve been. You still do hate her, you still get frustrated with her stupidity, but Mulligan made it very hard to make you really feel all those feels for her so much. She was meh. I don’t really know why. I guess I just don’t like Carey Mulligan.
Myrtle Wilson: I LOVED Isla Fisher’s Myrtle Wilson. She was absolutely perfect: a beautiful yet trashy and cheap-looking woman, which is exactly what Fitzgerald was going for in his novel. You can even hear it in her accent. While Daisy has a high-class, hoity-toity, put-on New York accent, Myrtle has a loud, common New York accent. The subtlety with which she did that was great. Her death scene (like everything else in this film) was really over the top and in your face, but that wasn’t her fault. She is one of the delights of this film. And is it just me, or does Fisher’s Myrtle Wilson bear an exact resemblance to Clara Bow?! I was blown away by it when I noticed it while watching the film!
I thought it was really clever that Myrtle seemed to have modeled herself after the most popular and desirable actress of her time. However, I’m not 100% on that feeling, because it might purport the image of Clara Bow as trashy and loose in her ways, an untrue rumor that ruined Bow’s life and reputation and still tarnishes her to this day.
Tom Buchanan: The second really great performance in this film was Joel Edgerton’s as Tom Buchanan. He was exactly how I imagined him when I read the book. Big, strong, brutal, cruel, controlling. and unfeeling. He was a cold bitch of a man. And that’s exactly the way it’s supposed to be. Edgerton makes you scared of him, scared that if one of the characters step just one toe out of line, he would lash out of nowhere and use that giant temper and giant body to destroy someone. By the end of the film, all that fear you have been feeling morphs into absolute disgust–which is perfect. Just. Perfect. Props to Joel Edgerton for his awesome performance.
Jordan Baker: Elizabeth Debicki’s Jordan Baker was another delight to watch on-screen. This long, lean lady didn’t give a crap about anyone but herself. Debicki gives Jordan that wonderfully sinister edge…she can be your best friend one second, but throw you under the bus in the next. Whether someone in the film loved Jordan or hated her, it was all the same to her. That is kinda admirable in a woman, in my opinion. I often found myself wishing that Debicki could’ve been cast as Daisy instead of Mulligan–her personality was on point.
The Music: Going into the film, I was scared shitless over the music. The soundtrack was being supervised by Jay-Z, for fuck’s sake. I knew it was going to stink to high heavens. I knew it was going to make me cry. I was right…to a certain extent. Some selections made me facepalm, such as Jay-Z’s “$100 Bill” and Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” (shameless plugging of wifey dear’s music, obviously), and overall it was much too modern for my taste. Some selections cracked me up out loud, such as the Dracula-like organ music that played as Nick went to his first Gatsby party. Even though I felt that the music should’ve stuck strictly to 1920s jazz and dance music, some of the modern pieces had a heavy vintage influence, such as Will.I.Am’s “Bang Bang.” The one modern song that I was so in love with and DIDN’T have any vintage influence to it was Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful.” The song is so relatable and so haunting, clearly resonating with the message of the film perfectly. Of course, the 1920s jazz and swing was perfect and lovely, and save for “Young and Beautiful,” it should’ve been the entire soundtrack. I’m a sucker for old music.
The Visuals: I’m going to post some photos from the film and let them do the talking for a bit:
Needless to say, my jaw dropped about every five minutes over the breathtaking mise-en-scene in this film. It was so Twenties: big, loud, flamboyant, beautiful, colorful, wild, glamorous, vulgar…it was so ME. This is the stuff I love, the stuff I want in life. “The Great Gatsby” is perhaps the most aesthetically beautiful film I’ve ever seen. I’ve been obsessed with this time period for many years now, and seeing these images just intensified my desire to leave this ugly, broken time we live in now and instead go back to this gorgeous, infamous time in history. This is a Baz Luhrmann film, and love him or hate him, his works are immensely pleasing to the eye. The visuals were easily the best thing about this film, along with…
The Costumes: I would chop off my right arm for the clothes in this film. I would kill for the clothes in this film. I would die for the clothes in this film. A lot of these characters had the shittiest personalities ever conceived, but damn, they looked like heavenly angels of perfection. Designer Catherine Martin (who’s also Baz Luhrmann’s wife) did an incredible job of creating costumes that were historically correct yet desirable to the modern woman. And as you all know, I am a head-0ver-heels sucker for historical accuracy. Being a woman who takes pride in her wardrobe and who loves collecting vintage and vintage-style pieces, I applaud Martin’s work here. I’m also just as fascinated by men’s fashion as I am with women’s fashion, and after seeing the men’s costumes in this film, I vowed to myself to marry the first man I see who can wear a suit like Jay Gatsby. There’s NOTHING sexier than a man who takes care of his clothing and appearance. Let’s look at some of my wardrobe favorites:
My favorite costume in the whole film is a black robe and hair scarf that Daisy wears when she commences her affair with Gatsby. I can’t find any full-length shots of this costume, so I’ll post the best that I can find. This costume is so simple yet so glamorous and high fashion.
More gorgeous costumes:
The Symbols: Okay, now this is the thing I hated the most about this film. It automatically assumes that everyone in the audience is a bunch of dumb fucks who don’t read, and every single symbol and theme of The Great Gatsby is explained to you outright. This film was about as subtle as a freight train coming right for you. Fitzgerald’s novel was beautiful because even though it is about a lavish, loud time, it is so subtle and intimate. This wasn’t an intimate night at the movies. There was nothing for the audience to figure out, nothing for them to look for, which is the most fun thing about watching a movie (for me anyways). I love figuring out the little connections, the subliminal messages, the clever links. But here, I didn’t get that satisfaction at all. Even though I already know the meanings of the images in the story, it would’ve been so gratifying to see them play out in the film. But no, instead the audience is TOLD what the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg mean, why Nick Carraway becomes disgusted with 1920s New York (and in the novel, ultimately returns to the Midwest), why Daisy cried over the shirts, and what the green light means, among other things. We’re not dumb over here! The film could’ve been much better if it just employed some subtlety where it was needed. Some of the effects were kinda cheesy too, especially when seeing the film in 3D (which we did, unfortunately….3D gives me migraines).
WE ALREADY KNOW WHAT THESE SYMBOLS MEAN YOU DON’T NEED TO TELL US, BAZ LUHRMANN THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
So, that’s my review! Feel free to sound off on your opinion of the film, darlings!
Happy (half hour early) St. Patrick’s Day, everyone! In honor of this holiday, I’m going to repost the most Irish-related post I’ve ever published. It is (surprisingly to me), one of the most popular posts on this blog. It’s a post in which I poured my heart out, the post many of you have loved and read, and the post in which I famously lost my shit. I STILL can’t believe some of the things I wrote in this post. The post I’m talking about my dears, is, of course, the post in which I reviewed Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley, the awful stinker of an authorized sequel to GWTW. So reread, relaugh, and enjoy!!
Anyone who reads this blog knows that I am a diehard “Windie” (Gone with the Wind fan). I’ve read the 1,037 page book (my second-favorite of all time, after Les Miserables), about six times, and I’ve lost count as to how many times I’ve seen the film. I just know that it’s over 20. And if you’ve been looking at my sidebar, you might have noticed that I’ve been reading “Scarlett” a sequel to GWTW authorized by the Margaret Mitchell Estate and written by Southern romance author Alexandra Ripley. I’ve heard VERY mixed reviews on this book, so I thought that I had to read and judge it for myself. I don’t believe in any sequels unless they are written by the original author, so I read this for pure entertainment, and to see just how good it is. Well…I’m sorry to say that the negative hype that had always surrounded the book is 100% true in my opinion. The book gradually got harder and harder to read, there were weeklong periods where I would neglect it in favor of doing something else, and it became a serious drag by the end. When I finished it last night, I was so physically exhausted in such a bad way, as though I had been put through the wringer. Now I present to you my “list of grievances”, every single thing I found wrong with this travesty.
GWTW Became Commercialized: The Mitchell Estate made a BIG mistake when choosing Alexandra Ripley as author of their proposed GWTW sequel. Yes, she, like Mitchell, was a Southern writer. But she, unlike Mitchell, wrote fluffy romance novels. You know, the ones that your mother or other female family member enjoyed and that you liked to flip through when she wasn’t looking. This sequel was so…commercialized and mass-market. It was cheap. “Scarlett” is nothing but an overly-long “bodice ripper” romance or 1980s Harlequin romance with some of Mitchell’s characters thrown in, and Ripley’s illogical creations thrown in there as well. I’m sure you’ve come across fan fiction. This book is like a really REALLY bad, really REALLY long fan fiction.
Ripley is not Mitchell: As I’ve stated above, nothing really ties the two authors together. Why Ripley was chosen, I have no idea. As I plowed through the stupid book, I couldn’t help but question if Ripley actually read and studied Mitchell’s work before attempting to work with her material and characters. It was that ludicrous! Considering the thin storyline, the book was much too long–823 pages–and felt much longer than the four-figure page number of the original. That’s a problem. The “drama” was so forced, as though Ripley had a page requirement to fill. Did she think that writing a long book would make her novel as much of an epic as Mitchell’s? That’s the most laughable idea imaginable! But Ripley made no bones about it. She said herself that she took on the assignment only to bolster her own fame and so “everyone can listen to every damn thing she had to say”, to paraphrase a quote of hers. I have no clue how this hot mess made it past the publishers! These were my thoughts after reading about a quarter of the book, but I have an annoying habit of seeing every book I read till the end, and I secretly hoped to find something of merit in the novel, so I marched onward. To be completely honest, if you changed the names “Scarlett and Rhett” to something else and placed the book in cheap romance section of the bookstore, then this book would’ve been passable (a 2 out of 5) but since it is the sequel to the greatest American novel of all time, it’s simply horrible! Ms Mitchell does not deserve to have her work desecrated and cheapened in this way. The writing is nothing like hers, and the characters don’t retain their personalities. At. All. It’s unethical for someone else to take another author’s work and mess around with their plot, settings, and characters. However, this is not entirely Ripley’s fault. She was commissioned to write this (what happened in the book though, is her fault). As a reviewer on Amazon said, “There is no such thing as a sequel to a masterpiece”.
The Plot: In a nutshell, it is ludicrous, laughable, unbelievable, and downright boring and pointless. It gets rid of all the characters we know and love, gives us a bunch of stupid new ones, and takes the action from Georgia to Ireland. IRELAND?! Anyway, in GWTW all the actions and dialogue carried some weight or meaning and helped to propel the novel forward. In “Scarlett”, all the actions were absolutely meaningless, the dialogue was stupefyingly cliched and forced, and it combined to make a story more stagnant than an algae-infested swamp in the middle of July. Nothing leads to nothing (I never understood that line from King Lear until now) and the characters do not develop whatsoever. They’re still the same insipid things we started out with on page one. All 823 pages are filled with tea parties, balls, hunts, dances, musicales, and house parties that lead to scenic NOWHERE. All of it can be removed and there would be no difference in the action of the story. But the actions that do propel the story forward are so unbelievable and bizarre. There is no detail (save who wore what and who said what at whose party), and none of that sweeping, grand imagery in GWTW.
Scarlett Sells Tara: Are you FUCKING KIDDING ME?! Sorry for the language, but there are some times in which it is needed. And this is one of those times. Tara was Scarlett’s lifeblood, her sanctuary, her place to go when she needed to get away from it all and find peace and renewed energy. She loved Tara more than she loved herself; it was a crucial theme of the original novel. She did anything for it, even marry men she didn’t love just to build it back to its former greatness. However, Ripley has Scarlett sell Tara without a second thought. In a heartbeat. In the blink of an eye. Suddenly, she feels that she “doesn’t belong” at Tara. THE FUCK?! And she doesn’t sell it to just anyone. She sells it to Suellen. The sister she always hated with all her heart. The sister who did not understand the value of Tara in GWTW. That is a shocking shame and insult to fans of the novel and the film.
The Characters: Ripley makes quick work of getting rid of Mitchell’s beloved, lively characters and stuffing in droves of her own boring, flat, two-dimensional ones instead. Not only are all the characters seriously under-developed and remain the same from beginning to end, but they have a really bad habit of coming in at random moments and disappearing suddenly, never to be heard from again. Not even like, five chapters into the book, Mammy is killed off (because she would just get in the way of Scarlett’s misadventures later on in the book). Ashley, Aunt Pitty, Wade, Ella, Will Benteen, Suellen…everyone is thrown away as soon as possible. Nor does Scarlett seem to care. I really would’ve liked to see how she keeps her promise to Melanie from the end of GWTW, but do you think that even crossed Ripley’s mind? No, sir. All of Mitchell’s marvelous characters are killed off or ignored. It’s so upsetting, and obviously reeks of cheap romance novel. All the characters are thrust into the most bizarre and unbelievable situations imagined, that it’s actually kind of funny that someone could’ve thought of this and write it on paper without thinking “this is stupid.” No one, absolutely no one, not even Scarlett and Rhett, are complex or compelling, and are more like weak, diluted shadows of their former selves or knockoff clones of Mitchell’s original characters. Anne Hampton (who Rhett MARRIES in the book!!!) is a bad Melanie clone, Luke Fenton is a bad clone of Rhett and Scarlett’s daughter by Rhett, Cat, is an even worse, freaky clone of Bonnie. It’s all such utter nonsense.
Scarlett: She is so stupid, whiny, irritating, and a poor, mere shadow of the strong spitfire we loved in GWTW. In a masquerade ball (one of the many), she is so stupid she doesn’t even recognize Rhett! She also suddenly renounces her genteel upbringing and ladylike veneer and becomes an Irish peasant who refuses to wear a corset or a fancy gown (instead she’s happy with tacky colored petticoats and striped stockings. Uhh, this isn’t Pippi Longstocking, Alexandra Ripley), receives guests barefoot, has no furniture in her house, dances jigs in the street, spits in her hands, and engages in extramarital sex. Yep, she’s turned into an animal. The Scarlett here is utterly mindless, and none of the growth and maturity from GWTW is present here. Scarlett, who was hard-headed, unimaginative, and full of common sense, suddenly takes an interest in superstition, magic and mysticism (which the book is rife with). In GWTW, Scarlett renounces religion and has trouble understanding the minds of the people around her. So now she blindly believes the fairy tales people tell her? This magic crap started when she went to Ireland (because the official religion of Ireland is magic, obviously), and shot through the roof after a creepy-ass witch lady gives her a caesarean with the kitchen knife on Halloween night. And the witch lady heals her with her magical spells. What the fuck is this? Harry Potter? And what is the wonderful name she gives her child? CAT. You know, after those things that meow. And then she suddenly becomes the world’s most loving, caring, and doting mother to Cat, after she practically alienated her other three children from her in GWTW and continues to abandon Wade and Ella in this sequel! Does Ripley think we’re stupid or something? Her own plot is so riddled with holes that it even contradicts itself! Also while in Ireland, she doesn’t realize that a civil war is brewing right under her nose, even though she’s already been through one! And suddenly, Scarlett is secretly supporting the Fenian Brotherhood and inviting Charles Parnell to her house (I don’t know if Ripley was trying to be all smartass on us and sneak in a Gable reference) when she would literally sleep with her eyes open every time politics was mentioned in the original. What’s even more annoying is that the Irish in the book are so fake and pagan that they worship Scarlett as some sort of savior or goddess, calling her “The O’Hara” (great title, huh?) and she becomes so…nice. Scarlett, that famously flawed, selfish, spoiled brat starts doing benevolent things for people without a greedy ulterior motive. This rebirth of Scarlett as this golden soul was a TOTAL FAIL and reflected no understanding at all of Mitchell’s work. The ending of the book is totally implausible and laughable, to say it nicely (I might as well reveal the end, no one deserves to go through the entire book to find out). The townspeople (yeah, Scarlett builds her own town on the O’Hara’s former land…Ballyhara. Can it get any dumber?) rebel against Scarlett, accusing her and her daughter of witchcraft (WTF?!) They burn her town down and go looking for her, pitchforks and torches in hand. Meanwhile, she reunites with Rhett (who just happens to randomly appear in Ireland) and escapes with him and Cat to hide from the dissenters in a creepy, old tower that’s apparently haunted by a ghost, where she wants to do nothing but have sex on the stone floor with Rhett, while her child sleeps like, a foot away from them, and her town is in flames around them. My mind cannot even begin to describe how stupid this ending was.
Rhett: No longer the witty, sarcastic scoundrel that captured the hearts and minds of women everywhere, Rhett loses all of his masculinity and becomes so attached to his mother that it’s unnatural. He becomes so serious and kind of a wimp, not the reckless dashing blackguard of GWTW. After living through a storm at sea while going on an innocent boating excursion with Scarlett in the beginning of the book, he has sex on the beach with her (WOW). Afterwards he tells her he only did it because they didn’t drown in the boating accident. Then he deserts her on the island. It’s so stupid! And my eyes were glazing over every time I read about how good Rhett looked in his apparently wrinkle-proof sweater. The reader also learns that Rhett goes back to Charleston not only to make amends with his family, but to rebuild his plantation (since when did he even care about his stupid plantation?) and indulge in his new favorite hobby of planting flowers. RHETT BUTLER PLANTING FLOWERS. You read right, unfortunately. And why, oh WHY did he marry that Melanie clone?!?!?!
The Traveling: Scarlett goes wherever she wants: from Tara to Charleston, Charleston to Savannah, America to Ireland, Ireland to America, across the entire country of Ireland…all in the blink of an eye. She instantly pops from place to place like some kind of magician, and the journey across the Atlantic from America to Ireland is of no consequence or importance to her! There was one part in which she journeys across Ireland, forward and back, in one day. By horse. What’s she got, Pegasus? Oh, and Ireland is not the size of your backyard, Alexandra Ripley.
Ireland: How could Scarlett abandon her beloved Tara for Ireland? Wasn’t this the great AMERICAN novel??? It’s absolutely INSULTING to GWTW fans, since Ripley messed around with a cornerstone of American culture and literature by ripping the story out and putting it in a different country. Georgia becomes a distant, painless memory to Scarlett. One of the greatest things about GWTW was the backdrop of the South, with its grandeur and uniquely American attitude. Moving the action to Ireland is ridiculous! Ripley obviously didn’t want to fool with postwar Georgia (because she knew nothing about it), but what she did was blasphemous, since the south was the essence of the novel. As soon as Scarlett met her Irish relations, I knew it going to go downhill from there. And boy, it went downhill like a monstrous avalanche. This book was not only insulting to GWTW fans, but it was insulting to the Irish. I’m not Irish, but I do know many people of Irish descent, and they aren’t superstitious, crazy alcoholics who believe in fairies and leprechauns! She makes it seem like Grimm’s Fairy Tales is the Irish Bible. It destroyed that sense of place and history so prevalent in Mitchell’s original.
The Sex: Being a cheap romance novelist, Ripley tried to add a sex element to her sequel, but failed embarrassingly. Scarlett is turned into an unnaturally beautiful, ageless seductress, even though she’s almost 40 by the time the novel ends. The drunken kiss/attack on Scarlett from Ross Butler (Rhett’s brother) was pointless and downright ridiculous. Scarlett, who famously loathed sex and found the act repulsive, suddenly lured men like a vamp and had extramarital sex with one that she barely knew. After a boating accident, she has sex on the beach with Rhett (which is the cheesiest thing in the entire world). And a scene in which she sensually fondles herself when thinking about Rhett STILL makes my skin crawl.
But I Learned Something From This Book: Now I know why the original story ended where it did. There was simply nothing more to write, no more story to tell. Mitchell took ten years to write GWTW, and she was very tired of it. In her will, she requested that all her notes and manuscripts dealing with GWTW be destroyed. This was faithfully carried out by her husband. We were clearly never meant to know what happens to Scarlett and Rhett. One of the beautiful things about GWTW was that the reader can create their own ending for Scarlett and Rhett. The magic of the novel lies in that cliffhanger, and cemented its timelessness in the hearts of millions.
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! Hope you are spending it with someone special! And here’s a sweet little secret from me: you are ALL my Valentines today!!! Because I love each and every one of you! (P.S. I like anything velvet, sparkly, or peacock!)
If you thought the corniness ended there, you’re wrong. Let’s celebrate by looking at classic movie stars doing adorable, sweet, mushy things, shall we?
Here’s one of my favorite photos of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard. Ugh. Can you say PERFECTION? They’re so cute together it kinda makes me sick, but in a very good way. This is the classic movie lover’s dream relationship right here!
There is something so sweet about Spencer Tracy letting Katharine Hepburn use his back as a table. It reminds me of my high school’s annual Walk-A-Thon in which all my friends would sign the backs of each other’s shirts. Let’s just say that mom was none too happy to see me coming in with my Walk-A-Thon t-shirt covered in rainbow messages and signatures. But Spence is just so much more adorable than a high school student. The way he’s crouching obediently for Kate…that’s the way it should be. Men, take note.
The Gary Cooper cute doesn’t end there. Here he is nuzzling noses with Shirley Temple. It’s the icing on the cutie patootie cake. And mark this, since this is a rare moment in which I actually think Shirley Temple is cute…
Gary Cooper ought to take the cuteness prize because he keeps popping up over and over again in this post. Here, he is teaching his young daughter Maria how to dance. And they say actors are lousy parents!
That’s all I’ve got! Happy Valentine’s Day, loves!
After the Thin Man stars our two favorite detectives: the fast-talking, hard-drinking, sharp-tongued husband and wife duo Nick and Nora Charles (William Powell and Myrna Loy, an onscreen couple that never fails to make me get down on my knees and thank God for creating them). But this time, instead of running around New York, they are back home in San Francisco, where they can relax…or so they think. When the Charleses go to spend New Year’s Eve with Nora’s old, stuffy aunt and her aristocratic family, they find themselves entangled in yet another mystery when they find out that cousin Selma’s husband has been missing for three days and rumored to be running around with a club singer. After Nick and Nora find him, Robert is shot that same night, and Selma is accused of murder. As the case goes on, several other murders occur. But was it Selma? Or was it her kindhearted suitor, David (Jimmy Stewart)? Was it the skeevy club owners? The seedy torch singer? Her greedy blackmailing brother? The possibilities are endless, and it’s up to Nick and Nora to make sense of it all.
Often considered to be the best of The Thin Man sequels, After the Thin Man was the second of the six films in the series and the sixth out of the fourteenth pairing for Loy and Powell. Nowadays, fourteen pairings of the same actor and actress sounds repetitive and ridiculous. But not in Old Hollywood, which went by the rule of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” and made you like it! No matter how many times you watch Powell and Loy on the screen, they just never get stale and old. Their chemistry is always top notch, they have spark and zap, and can make anything worth watching. Without a doubt, the antics and verbal banter that these two get into in this film provide almost all of the laughs.
The rest of the laughs in this come from…Asta. Yup. The Thin Man series was (and still is amongst the classic movie set) enormously popular, but I don’t think anyone has ever commented on how awesome that little dog is. Seriously. I’d go so far as to say that Asta is my favorite character in the whole series. This dog is freakin hilarious. One of the best parts of After the Thin Man is the cute little subplot with Asta and Mrs. Asta (and HOW ADORABLE ARE THEIR BABY PUPS?!) and my favorite scene in the film is when Asta accidentally eats a clue! Another thing that is special about After the Thin Man is that you can watch it, understand it, and enjoy it all without seeing the first film. Pretty neat, huh?
The ending of the film is pretty cute, too. Here’s a spoiler (without giving away the identity of the killer): after the case is over and done, Nora insinuates to Nick that they are going to have a baby. Of course, being a man, which means being a bit thickheaded when it comes to such matters (sorry, boys!) he didn’t get the hint, resulting in perhaps one of the most famous quotes from Nora in the whole series: “and you call yourself a detective!”
One of the most notable things about this film is the performance by a very very very early Jimmy Stewart. He will make your jaw drop. That’s all I’ll say here.
Overall, a very fun, yet lighthearted film with plenty of comic relief! One of the reasons why the Thin Man films are so enjoyable is that they take a serious topic like crime and make it somehow…fun? Geez that sounds terrible. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed!!!
As we all know, Humphrey Bogart was the man. He was rough, tough, and probably more awesome than anyone ever. Here’s what he has to say about various topics that all of us think about:
Humphrey Bogart on drinking:
Humphrey Bogart on the bicycle craze:
Humphrey Bogart on celebrity disguises:
Humphrey Bogart on modern-day films:
Humphrey Bogart on the male package:
P.S. Happy Australia Day to all my Australian readers!
Hello my darlings! Here’s a sequel to the original “That Awkward Moment When” (http://goldenagedames.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/that-awkward-moment-when/) in which we saw that the flawless gods and goddesses of classic film were actually normal people like you and me. So next time you do something embarrassing, don’t fret! Think of this:
That Awkward Moment When Spencer Tracy Forgot His Pants
This scene is from one of my favorite Tracy films, Father of the Bride. Thankfully, father Spencer Tracy did not appear at daughter Liz Taylor’s wedding looking like this. Or maybe he could’ve. He has nice, slim, hairless legs.
That Awkward Moment When Bette Davis Flubs The Line
I think it’s really cute when classic movie stars, especially legends like Bette Davis, mess up the line. The reactions that old movie stars had were vastly different from the reaction stars have today. Like, they would get really upset and embarrassed that they messed up. Back then, time and film were precious, since we are talking about the Studio Era during the Depression. Some actors had really hilarious reactions, though. Like Carole Lombard’s streams of profanity whenever she messed up. You can see plenty of these classic film bloopers on YouTube!
That Awkward Moment When Lucille Ball and Harpo Marx Are Long-Lost Twins
I think I might’ve blogged this before, but the crazy resemblance here never fails to astound me. This is from one of my all-time favorite I Love Lucy episodes, the one in which she dresses up as tons of classic movie actors to impress her New York friend and ends up meeting Harpo Marx. This photo has convinced me that Lucy and Harpo are long-lost twins. They have the same hair, smiles, maniacal expressions…there’s no way that these two weren’t womb-mates!
That Awkward Moment When Marlon Brando Duckfaced
This photo of Richard Burton and Marlon Brando never fails to make me laugh hysterically. I feel that I’m looking at a picture of two bozos on Facebook instead of two acting greats. It has all the qualities of a Facebook photo: the background is obviously someone’s home, they have that “hey buddy!” pose, and the photo was taken with a low-quality camera. But what makes this the absolute perfect Facebook shot is Marlon Brando’s duckface. The man was definitely ahead of his time here. But instead of making the pose something ridiculous that is only done by ugly fake pussies, Brando makes it look classy. Only because it’s Brando.
That Awkward Moment When Buster Keaton Looks Like A Baywatch Babe
Buster Keaton is one beautiful hunk of man. Nothing makes it more obvious than this photo. Look at him seductively gliding through the water like he’s some god of the sea. Look at that sexy swimsuit, complete with an undershirt. Look at those nice pecs. And look at the wonderfully glum expression. He’s giving Pam Anderson a run for her money here.
That Awkward Moment When Joan Crawford Is Given An Ugly Portrait of Herself
Imagine you are Joan Crawford. You are asked to sit for a painting. All the while, you are positive that this painting will be a beautiful gorgeous replica of your beautiful gorgeous face. Then you get…THIS. What the HELL is that painting even?! That’s not pretty Joanie! It looks like the frickin spawn of the devil. And look at Joan’s face. I wouldn’t be pleased if I were painted as Satan’s mistress either. Thankfully her self-esteem didn’t go downhill after this one.
That Awkward Moment When Winston Churchill Leaves Very Little to the Imagination
Okay, I know Winston Churchill isn’t a classic movie star but I came across this photo and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to post this. This takes the cake in embarrassing swimsuit moments (and we’ve all had them) because here he’s actually wearing a swimsuit yet it’s so tight that he might as well be naked. Way to flash the entire beach, Winston Churchill.
That Awkward Moment When Laurence Olivier Ruins the Picture
This has to be my favorite photo of Viv and Larry. There’s Vivien Leigh, so gorgeous and glamorous, as always. And then there is Laurence Olivier, in perhaps the most hilarious photobomb in the history of photography. I’m actually surprised that the usually serious Olivier’s face didn’t shatter into a thousand pieces from all that laughing. Touche, Larry.
That Awkward Moment When Errol Flynn Looks Like He Isn’t Wearing Pants
That Awkward Moment When Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery Are Losing It Over Baby Cows
It’s pretty funny to see non-farm folks doing farm things. Observe how these two baby calves are obviously getting the better of Carole and Rob. Carole seems horrified, but she’s doing a lot better than Robert Montgomery, who is actually about to fall over right into the calves little pen. Which is fine, I don’t like him that much anyway (crucify me now).
That Awkward Moment When Humphrey Bogart Is Dressed Like a Grandma in Public
Humphrey, why are you making what seems to be a public speech when dressed like a sweet little Victorian-era grandmother? What has gotten into you, my man? You are supposed to be a rough-n’-tough hardboiled detective! But he’s Humphrey Bogart and he’s always cool so he probably got away with this.
That Awkward Moment When Katharine Hepburn Shreds Better Than A Twelve Year-Old Boy
Katharine Hepburn is awesome for many reasons. But I betcha didn’t know that she can skateboard! Judging by this photo, she’s got some mad skills. She skateboards so much better than those shrimpy twelve year-old boys with baggy clothes and oily hair who think that they are skating gods but actually end up scraping their knees on the pavement. Kate the Great should’ve been featured in an episode of Rocket Power, if you ask me.
That Awkward Moment When Katharine Hepburn Makes A Giant Food Mess
Here’s another awkward moment featuring Kate the Great, but here she’s dishing the gossip…and the food crumbs. Look at that abhorrent mess around her plates! Oh my Jesus. I don’t know if any of the food that was on these plates actually made it into Kate’s digestive system. It looks like it all ended up as mess for janitors to clean. Hollywood actresses were supposed to eat like ladies, not like cavemen!
That Awkward Moment When Humphrey Bogart and Peter Lorre are Sitting Naked in a Sauna and Playing Cards
That Awkward Moment When Katharine Hepburn Takes a Dive
Kate is on a roll today! This is the third awkward moment featuring her. I believe this extremely embarrassing moment was from a film, but I can’t remember which. It must be from a film, since if someone just happened to push her into the water like that, I would assume they’d never see the light of day ever again.
That Awkward Moment When Gary Cooper Is Too Tall for His Horse
Dude’s feet are pretty much dragging on the ground. His 6’3″ is much too much for that fat little pony. But Coop looks like he’s making the best of the situation, even though the Coop-to-pony ratio is greatly imbalanced.
That Awkward Moment When Fred Astaire Defies Gravity
That Awkward Moment When Your Music is Making Cary Grant’s Ears Bleed
Here, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason were attempting to serenade Cary Grant with a song on the harp while on the set of North by Northwest. However, Cary Grant found the song so vile and so shitty that he had to cover his ears before he lost his sense of hearing entirely. Sorry guys, your music isn’t classy enough for Cary.
That Awkward Moment When James Cagney Falls Into a Cactus Bush and Bette Davis Just Laughs
That Awkward Moment When Vivien Leigh is Dressed to the Nines and Lauren Bacall is Dressed in a Bathrobe
The difference between Viv and Betty in this picture is astounding. Viv is dressed to perfection in black, furs, and pearls. Timeless! However, Lauren Bacall is hanging around in a fuzzy, too-small bathrobe that looks like one I owned when I was four years old. Now that’s what I call awkward!
That Awkward Moment When Ray Milland is Very, Very Drunk
Hope you enjoyed this latest installment! x
Hey everyone, hope you’re all having a happy holiday! I know that in the past I’ve been absent from my blog a lot due to illness (but recently it’s been because of school) and I think I ought to come clean about that: I’ve been ill in past months due to abhorrent treatment from my ex (the one I’ve blogged about in the past). I thought about making this giant scorching expose of him and his family on here, but then I thought that it would be too inflammatory (even for me) and that you will lose respect for me and I would end up losing respect for myself too. Maybe I’ll save the scathing expose for my memoirs. However, because it’s the holiday season, I thought I would talk about all the good things that he has done for me. Everyone comes to you for a reason, after all.
So, thank you ex-boyfriend, for so many things:
Thank you for constant verbal abuse. It was strange to have you calling me horrible things while my friends at school were telling me that I am beautiful inside and out. It taught me who my true friends are and it taught me to seek those who see beauty in others always.
Thank you for lazy, stay-at-home attitude. It has increased my sense of adventure and exploration. While you’re probably spending your nights reading the expiration dates on your dairy products, as a friend of mine so famously said, I’ve been going out and seeing new places and meeting new people. Thank you for that.
Thank you for never defending me when I needed it. While you sat there like an ass, other male friends have rushed to my defense. It taught me that chivalry isn’t as dead as you make it seem to be.
Thank you for ridiculing me on a public forum. It taught me that only sissies and losers would publicly make fun of a girl on Facebook and not to feel hurt by your comments.
Thank you for saying that you were the one who blocked me on Facebook. That’s why I’m looking at your name and your sister’s name under my block list, right?
Thank you for being misogynistic. It’s been the butt of jokes amongst many, many people. Trust me.
Thank you for always turning the conversation to yourself. It taught me to seek the humbleness and modesty in others.
Thank you for being a liar. It taught me that honesty is the best policy.
Thank you for being narrow-minded. It taught me to open my mind and to be accepting towards all people.
Thank you for your disdain of the arts. It has only increased my artistic passions and creative pursuits.
Thank you for trying to tear me away from my family. It taught me that they are #1.
Thank you for insulting my friends. It has only made me love them more.
Thank you for trying to destroy my male friendships. They have become like brothers to me.
Thank you for trying to destroy my self-esteem. I may be different, but I enjoy being different. And other people appreciate it too.
Thank you for driving me to suicide several times. Now I can’t even entertain the thought.
Thank you for hating the city in which I live. Now I’d never move out of here for anything.
Thank you for thinking that you are a better-looking version of Gary Cooper. It still cracks me up that you can actually think that about yourself. Bless your little heart.
Thank you for disrespecting me. It taught me that good relationships should be based on respect above anything else. Too bad that means you can never have a good relationship, since you don’t respect women.
Thank you for calling me “crazy” and “kooky” every time I showed emotion. It taught me to seek those who understand emotion and know how to behave accordingly.
Thank you for your lazy attitude towards work. It has encouraged me to work a job, volunteer, and to seek a second job.
Thank you for always doing poorly in school. It has spurred me to keep up my good grades.
Thank you for hating 95% of the world’s population. And for silly things too, like their religion or their sexual orientation. It taught me to never judge anyone and to appreciate what each person has to offer.
Thank you for being racist and supporting white supremacy. It further showed me something that I always knew: that all people are beautiful.
Thank you for always shitting on my culture. It taught me that all cultures are fascinating.
Thank you for touting yourself as a “real man.” I bet you don’t even have a penis, kinda like a Ken doll when you pull his pants off.
Thank you for calling yourself a Christian. It taught me that a true Christian is the exact opposite of what you are.
Thank you for being intolerant of other faiths. It taught me to never judge anyone on their beliefs.
Lastly, thank you for cheating on me with multiple girls. It gave me the energy and realization to leave you and to make my life so much better without your miserable presence.
This is for his sister, who’s just as bad as he is:
Thank you for trying to ruin the relationship. It taught me to never stick my nose in other people’s business. It also taught me that you need to get a life.
Thank you for being jealous of me. I didn’t know that living in New York City and being a size 4 was that special or important, but it taught me that materialistic and shallow people like you are always the most miserable.
Thank you for saying that I “live in a fantasy world.” Meanwhile you think you live in an episode of “Gossip Girl.” It’s always fun to deal with people of meager intelligence such as yourself.
Thank you for your mindless celeb-worship. It taught me to look up to people who actually do something besides make assholes of themselves.
Thank you for your alcoholism. It taught me to take good care of myself and to look my best always, not like some drunk slob who vomits and pees herself.
Thank you for not going to college. It reminds me that someday I’ll be making money while you’ll be living off mommy and daddy for as long as you live.
Thank you for spending 20 out of the 24 hours a day on your X-Box. It taught me to actually go out and to actually meet people and gain new experiences.
Thank you for falling in love with your brother. Because who else would marry someone like him besides someone like yourself?
I write this because I know that many women have or will go through an abusive relationship. It’s so tough and it tears you apart. I don’t want something like this to happen to anyone. Please, take my experience as an example and let yourself go of those who fill you with negative energy. No one is worth the damage that such a relationship can cause. I’m glad I’ve found the strength to shake these bums off and lead a happy, fulfilling life once more. What are you thankful for this holiday season? xx
No, guys, I’m not Gerald O’Hara rejoicing that the Civil War is finally over. But I’m rejoicing that in several hours, THIS SEMESTER IS FINALLY OVER.
WHAT A NEVER-ENDING NIGHTMARE THIS WAS.
And after this winter break begins…so I will blog by day and go to the 1000 Christmas parties I’ve been invited to by night!
I’ve even got my first grade of the semester…and IT’S AN A+!!!!!!
Which means that tonight I’ll be completely losing my mind at my favorite show/dance performance/immersive theater piece Sleep No More.
But don’t look at me funny, there are people out there who have seen this show OVER 50 TIMES. Some people have all the time (and money, geez Louise, a ticket is $90 a pop!)
See y’alls real soon! xx
It’s yet another reason why I’m World’s Worst Blogger.
I hope y’alls forgive me for not writing these past three weeks, but this semester has been absolutely EXCRUCIATING! Honestly, it feels like it has dragged on for three years. The work is never-ending (CAN THESE PROFESSORS PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT I HAVE A LIFE OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL) that sometimes I feel like I’m going to lose all sanity because of it. Seven term papers and three finals and one final project is probably worse than Medieval torture. I actually sprained my thumb last night writing my study guide for a final >:(
But on December 20th, it will ALL. BE. OVER. FINALLY. And I’ll write again, I promise!!!
Sorry again guys. Just gotta finish all this schoolwork! (if that’s even possible…)
HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL MY LOVELY READERS! Even to my international readers! Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays for three reasons:1) It revolves around FOOD which is the greatest thing in the world. Food is my friend.
2) It is the beginning of my favorite time of the year…the holiday season!
3) I get to seriously contemplate all of the things I am thankful for.
So here’s the classic movie-related list of things I am thankful for this year.
1) That Clark Gable existed and made movies. Seriously Gabeykins, where would I be without you?
2) That Jean Harlow existed and made movies. She’s my ultimate girl crush with Clara Bow running a close second.
3) On a non classic film-related note: That Barack Obama is still our president. The first president I ever voted for WON! YEAHHHHH! Ladies, here’s to four years without a strange man of questionable religious beliefs all up in our uteruses!
4) I’m thankful for all the new great classics that I’ve discovered and continue to discover each and every year.
5) I’m thankful for all the inspirational classic movie figures that have helped me get through some trying times!
6) I am thankful that Hurrell hair can turn into 50s rockabilly grrrl hair the next day. Observe:
7) I am thankful for my nutty family and my crazy lovable li’l sis who makes me laugh hysterically and never fails to brighten my day with her unbelievable shenanigans.
8) I am thankful for my friends, who always support me, make fun of me (in a good way!), help me, and make me feel better when I’m blue. When you have friends who always encourage you to believe you are loved and you are beautiful inside and out, you know you did something right
9) I am thankful for my classic movie posters and my classic movie calendars.
10) I am thankful for TCM and Robert Osborne who is a beautiful beautiful man.
11) I am thankful for New York City, because it is gorgeous and exciting and it offers so much vintage, Art Deco, and classic film things to enjoy, and that New York is a city that encourages you to be different.
12) I am thankful for my blog which allows me to express my feelings and gives me a place to just be myself.
13) I am thankful for all that I have. After this hurricane, I’ve realized just how important every little thing is, and how lucky I am.
14) Last but DEFINITELY not least, I am thankful for you guys! My readers are the best! You are all awesome! If it weren’t for your support I would still be the shy, quiet girl I was two years ago when I started this blog. Thanks for giving me confidence and advice and encouragement every step of the way! You’re all #1!
I hope you all enjoyed this list, and if you would like to share the things you are thankful for, you are more than welcome! I hope you all ate (or will eat) lots of turkey!
Margaret Perry over at http://thegreatkh.blogspot.co.uk/ has given me a Liebster Award! YAY! The Liebster is given to up-and-coming blogs of 200 followers or less. If you are reading this, Margaret, thank you so much for the honor! So, if you receive a Liebster Award, you must share eleven facts about yourself, answer eleven questions from the blogger who awarded you, and award eleven bloggers of your choice! Here we go:
Eleven Facts About Moi:
1. All of my fingers are double-jointed. I’m like some sort of weird finger contortionist.
2. I’m a voracious reader. My all-time favorite book is Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.
3. I think peacocks are the most beautiful, fabulous animals in the entire world.
4. My biggest goal is to travel the world. I hope to study abroad for winter intercession next year in either England, France, or Australia!
5. I’ve always loved cartoons, and I still do! My favorites were (and still are) Tom and Jerry, Merrie Melodies, Mickey Mouse, and Looney Tunes. I also love the classic Disney films.
6. I confess I have a strange fascination with the occult and the unknown. I love learning about that stuff.
7. The things I notice first in a guy are his eyes (I love light-colored eyes, blue being my favorite) and his smile.
8. I was originally left-handed, but I was forced to switch to right.
9. My favorite fruit is the clementine, which is quite unfortunate since they’re in season only during the winter
10. My favorite band is Queen. Queen has gotten me through a lot of difficulties!
11. All my clothes have to: 1) have a vintage flair 2) have at least a dash of sparkle. My latest purchase was a black velvet dress with a gold glitter star pattern from Topshop. It sparkles more than the sun or the stars. Best shopping decision I’ve ever made!
If you could matchmake two of your favorite stars, who would be your OTP?
Hmmm…so many possibilities come to mind! But I think my OTP (one true pair) would be Myrna Loy and William Powell. Every time I watch them in a film I find myself begging them to get married and have babies already. Or Jean Harlow and Clark Gable, those two make sparks on the screen!
What classic movie would you like to see remade?
None. Modern remakes have a funny way of messing up beloved originals.
What is your favorite film genre, and what are your three favorite films in that genre?
My favorite film genre is the screwball comedy! My favorite screwballs are It Happened One Night, Arsenic and Old Lace, and To Be Or Not To Be.
You have the opportunity to share one classic film with a theatre full of your friends. Which film do you choose?
Gone with the Wind, most definitely!
What one actor/actress do you love so much, you would see a film simply because they are in it?
Clark Gable! I’ve sat through some really shitty films (LIKE THE PAINTED DESERT) just to look at Gabe’s perfect face.
What/who is your favorite animal character from a movie?
I love Asta from The Thin Man series. That dog is such a boss.
What years do you consider to define the era of “classic movies”?
This is a great, hotly disputed question, and as Margaret implies, the answer varies from person to person. I personally consider the classic movie era to be from around 1905-ish to 1960.
Astaire or Kelly? Audrey or Katherine? Bette or Joan? Olivia de Havilland or Joan Fontaine? Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin?
Astaire or Kelly: love them both with all my heart and soul, but I think I will go with Kelly here. It was a close shave, though!
Audrey or Katharine: Easy. Kate the Great of course! I might get crucified for this, but I CAN’T STAND Audrey Hepburn. The most overrated actress who ever lived, if you ask me.
Bette or Joan: I love Bette, but Joan wins this. Sorry Bette, but Joan is my homeslice for life.
Olivia de Havilland or Joan Fontaine: Livvy is my fave sister. She’s an amazing talent and a delight to watch on the screen. From what I’ve seen of Joan Fontaine’s work, she seems a lot more…forced…than her sister. Just look at the faces she makes in Rebecca and you’ll see what I mean.
Who is your favorite Barrymore?
My fave Barrymore is definitely Lionel. He’s like an old cuddly teddy bear! Who seriously knows how to act.
What is your favorite silent movie? Who is your favorite silent movie star?
Oh geez, this is a toughie. I’m gonna bend the rules here and give two favorite silent movies: Metropolis and The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari. I’m gonna bend the rules again with my favorite silent stars: Clara Bow and Rudolph Valentino.
If you could spend one day with your favorite star, who would it be and what would you do?
I’d spend the day with the lovely Clark Gable and we would tour Hollywood together and visit all of his favorite places there
Now I shall award eleven of my favorite blogs (that meet the qualifications) for a Liebster Award! You guys have to list eleven facts about yourself, answer the eleven questions I give you, and award eleven other blogs with the Award! Congratulations to:
All Good Things http://poohtiger-allgoodthings.blogspot.com/
Classicfilmboy’s Movie Paradise http://www.classicfilmboy.com/
Dear Old Hollywood http://dearoldhollywood.blogspot.com/
Deep Glamour http://deepglamour.net/
Critica Retro http://criticaretro.blogspot.com/
Gone with the Wind Fansite http://gwtwfansite.weebly.com/
Marlene Dietrich Collection http://marlene-dietrichcollection.blogspot.fr/
The Hollywood Revue http://hollywoodrevue.wordpress.com/
Alexander’s Sanctuary http://alexandersanctuary.wordpress.com/
The Kitty Packard Pictorial http://kittypackard.com/
Old Hollywood Glamour http://oldhollywoodglamour.blogspot.com/
1. If you could have a dinner party with seven classic film stars, who would they be?
2. Who is your favorite classic movie director?
3. Who is your favorite most-underrated actor?
4. Have you ever watched a film in which you had NO IDEA what was going on?
5. Who is your favorite Hollywood costume designer?
6. Who is an actor/actress that you would take out of one film and put into a different one?
7. Do you mix up any classic movie actors/actresses.
8. Favorite movie musical?
9. Have you hated an actor/actress whom you now love?
10. What is your favorite performance that was overlooked by an Oscar?
11. What is your most-quoted film?
And if you don’t have a blog and just want to answer the questions, please feel free to do so in the comments! X
I’m gonna be quite busy for the rest of the week, so you might notice a lack of posts until the weekend. But on the bright side, it’s my last midterm tomorrow (FINALLY!), but I will still be a bit busy afterwards because now I WORK! Yaaaaayyyyyyy! My new job is the COOLEST! I work at a bookstore in Soho, which is nearby all this awesome shopping, including this little store for rare/vintage and handmade perfumes right across the street (FIST. PUMP!). And guess what? The bookstore is letting me specifically curate their Film/Theatre and Art sections! AWWWWW YYYYEEAAAHHHHH! I’m also actively participating in donating my old or unused clothes and other necessities to Hurricane Sandy victims, which is taking time from schedule as well, but is extremely rewarding I also voted for the first time in my life today, and it felt GREAT! I even got a little voting bracelet that I’m gonna wear forever (or until it gets so old that it turns to dust). The entire process was only five minutes, but it was the most triumphant five minutes of my life! Another UNBELIEVABLE thing that has happened to me recently is that one of my favorite actors from the show “Sleep No More” (which I blogged about in July) has invited me PERSONALLY to attend the launch of the new music video for his rock band!!!! I was literally jumping for joy! It’s not every day that a girl’s actor crush (who happens to be a down-to-earth, well-respected total sweetheart) notices her like this!
I probably won’t be able to write a post until Friday night, but I promise you it will be a good one! I have also read all your comments, but I won’t be able to answer them until Friday as well. Sorry for the delay, but I just want to get these stressful exams out of the way first. To Meral: I haven’t been able to get on my computer yesterday to change my birthday setting, but I did now, and it has Vivien Leigh’s beautiful face right there, with one my favorite photos of her! Please forgive me for the delay. Better late than never! Love you! India: Best of luck on your surgery darling! Keeping you in my thought and prayers always. You’ve helped me through some difficult times, and I will do everything I can to help you back much love!
New York may be getting another storm on Wednesday, but it won’t dampen my spirits! I haven’t been this happy in ages! Remember to always look on the bright side, my lovely readers. Things can happen that make life seem bleak, but as Charlie Chaplin said in City Lights: “The sun will shine and the birds will sing.”
To all my East Coast readers, I hope you are all recovering well from Sandy. It’s so jarring to be hit with something so devastating so close to home. Living in New York, the most un-tropical place in the world, I never imagined a hurricane of this magnitude affecting us. Several of my friends’ homes burned to the ground and my sister’s friend’s mother passed away in the storm. If the hurricane hasn’t affected you (thankfully) please don’t forget to help and donate as much as you can! There are so many with nothing! Thank you xx.
VOTING TIME, MY FRIENDS, IS UPON US!
ONLY TWO MORE DAYS.
I am beyond excited to be voting for my very first time. I don’t usually talk politics, but I would like to mention that I am going to be voting Obama. I am quite liberal in my views, and I don’t want to set the #1 country in the world back to the Stone Age by voting Romney.
However, if this were an option, this is where my vote would definitely go:
Who WOULDN’T support Tracy for Prez? If he were running for office, I would think this would be the first unanimous vote ever…everyone would vote Tracy. I am fully confident that the job of leading the most powerful country in the world should fall in his hands.
However, Spencer Tracy is dead and can’t run for President :””””””’(
So I’ll have to make do with Obama instead.
Happy Voting on Tuesday, folks!
Note: President Obama has declared New York City a Major Disaster Area. Please continue to keep New York and the rest of the East Coast in your thoughts and prayers! Xx
November is one of my favorite months of the year. It is the beginning of cold weather, with Thanksgiving and Black Friday it marks the beginning of the holiday season (my favorite time of the year), and it is also known as Movember. During November of each year, men are encouraged to grow lovely, elegant mustaches in order to raise awareness for men’s health issues such as prostate cancer and testicular cancer.
So to all the boys out there, MAKE LIKE THE CLASSICS AND GROW THEM PENCIL ‘STACHES!
Mustaches are awesome because:
1) They can accent an otherwise boring face
2) They give your face a focus
3) They are a badge of masculinity
4) They automatically make you look suave, urbane, and sophisticated
5) Everyone loves a man who can flaunt a ‘stache
I sure do love it when a man has some tasteful facial hair, so Movember is a really exciting time of the year for me. Random fact: my ex-boyfriend wasn’t able to grow facial hair. But that’s because he wasn’t a real man. Or a real human being. He was more like a living, breathing, walking asshole. Anyway, for all the real men out there, here are some classic movie mustaches to inspire you this Movember!
Be wary of the Chaplin ‘stache. He is a perfect specimen of humanity, yes, but growing his facial hair would get you Hitler remarks instead. It sucks when a terrible man ruins the image of a very innocent thing.
Last but not least, the Crowning Glory of All Facial Hair: Clark Gable’s Mustache. At first, Gable wasn’t too enthusiastic about his ‘stache (he had to grow it for a film) but after the unexpected success of It Happened One Night he kept it for the rest of his career because he saw it as his good-luck charm. His mustache has become an iconic trademark. It has been the fantasy of women for ages. It has sparked a fierce, decades-long debate. It has made facial hair cool forever. It even has its own fan page on Facebook. One of history’s greatest mustaches right here.
So here we are, boys! Hope you have been inspired to grow your own epic mustache this Movember!
Hello my lovelies,
As you’ve probably heard, Hurricane Sandy has terribly impacted us here in New York. Power has been out for millions and there has been flooding in the streets and in homes.
The MTA is still completely shut down and even some bridges have closed. The New York City skyline looks so sad without all of its bright lights :’(
I am so thankful to say that I still have power and apart from minor leaks and the loss of cell phone service and WiFi, my family and I are okay. However, I’m not going to be able to blog until my Internet service returns (right now I’m connected to a faulty free public WiFi and I’m not sure if I will even be able to post this because the connection is that bad).
However, not everyone was as lucky as I was. Areas such as The Rockaways, Howard Beach, and Breezy Point have been totally devastated and destroyed by the hurricane. Fires in Breezy Point have destroyed approximately 100 homes and the death toll nationwide has risen to 40.
I ask you all to keep the East Coast, especially those in The Rockaways, Howard Beach, and Breezy Point who have lost homes and loved ones, in your thoughts and prayers. If you have been severely impacted by the hurricane, please seek shelter and relief. If possible, do what you can to help those who need it. New Yorkers are the strongest most determined people in the world, and nothing can ever take us down! We always band together like a giant family of 8 million people in times of crisis, and we can overcome anything
Hello all! This might be my last post for a little while…as you might have heard, Hurricane Sandy might ravage the Eastern coast starting from tonight and until Tuesday. We’re gonna get the works here: gale-force winds, torrential rains, flooding, and power outages for up to a week. Even the MTA has completely shut down. Since when has the Northeast become Hurricane Central? Anyway, stock up, stay inside, and stay safe for these next several days!
Now, on with the post!
I have a very multi-varied taste in music. I listen to pretty much anything save for country music and “Call Me Maybe”-style pop music, which I DESPISE. I don’t even know how “Gangnam Style” goes, nor do I really want to know.
My favorite genres of music are jazz, big band, and swing. However, my all-time favorite band doesn’t come from that time period at all. I’m talking about Queen.
In case you live under a rock and don’t know: Queen was an amazingly awesome and fabulous British rock band that was formed in 1971. The members of Queen were John Deacon (guitar and bass), Roger Taylor (drums), Brian May (guitar), and last but definitely not least, Freddie Mercury (vocals, piano). The band is responsible for all those amazing songs you know and love, such as “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “We Will Rock You,” “Don’t Stop Me Now,” “Killer Queen,” “Another One Bites the Dust,” “We Are the Champions,” and many, many more. The band fell apart after Mercury’s life was cut short at age 45 from pneumonia brought upon by AIDS. However, Mercury’s death did not spell the end for Queen. Queen has spent more time on Billboard’s Hot 200 List more than any other band in history (even more than the stupid fuckin overrated Beatles) and is widely considered the greatest band that ever existed. Ever. Fuck Justin Beiber and Taylor Swift, Queen still sells millions of more albums today (over 3o0 million to be exact). Who DOESN’T love Queen!? And if you are terrible, horrible, and evil enough to dislike this band, then I don’t want to know you ever. And neither does anyone else on this planet.
See this man right here? Freddie Mercury is one of the greatest loves of my life. You might be thinking, “but he was hairy and he had those crazy teeth and he was gay!” But those things don’t even matter. This man is awesomesauce as fuck. He is one of the few human beings that is universally respected. Even by the Internet, and the Internet rarely respects anyone. Freddie transcends all our worldly conceptions of what is “good” and “perfect.” He pretty much redefined music and blew the world’s collective mind with his genius. Freddie Mercury is The Rock God.
Now you must be thinking, “What in the world does Queen have to do with classic film?” Trust me, it has a lot to do with it. I relate everything to classic film. I don’t know if this is true, but I think that Freddie Mercury was in fact a classic movie fan. Freddie had plenty of creative license in the band. He was very focused and a dedicated worker, writing all of the Queen hits we know and love, designing the famous Queen logo (he was a talented artist, something not widely known about him), writing and arranging the music of each song, and envisioning Queen’s music videos. If you study Queen’s ouvre, you will notice a lot of classic film references. Here are some of my favorites:
“Under Pressure” (1981)
“Under Pressure” is one of my favorite Queen songs. Come tough times and exam times (I can’t think of a more fitting song than this one when I’m having midterms and finals) this is the song I blast. A collaboration with David Bowie, this song is about our culture that is willing to overthrow political machines and the pressure that has come about all over the world due to the fast-paced, workaholic lives we lead. The cure to all this? Love. “Under Pressure”‘s music video contained neither Freddie Mercury nor David Bowie because both were on tour. However, it contained lots of classic film references:
Queen seemed to be particularly fascinated by the silent horror films of the 1920s. From top to bottom we have John Barrymore’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde from 1920, Nosferatu (1922), and Fredric March’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde from 1931 (which isn’t a silent movie). The monsters show up in the beginning of the music video to symbolize the evil and corruption in the world.
I may be wrong, but I believe this scene is from the Russian silent film Battleship Potemkin (1925), which is most famous for that scene in which a man gets his glasses smashed…creaming his eye in the process.
The next classic movie reference we see in the “Under Pressure” music video is the famous sequence from Nosferatu is which Nosferatu appears to a terrified Hutter during the night. (Fun fact that everyone from my generation knows: The first of these three photos from the film also appears in an episode of Spongebob. Just sayin’).
My favorite lines from “Under Pressure” are: “‘Cause love’s such an old-fashioned world/And love dares you to care for the people on the edge of the night/And love dares you to change our way of caring about ourselves/This is our last dance/This is our last dance/This is ourselves.” Such beautiful lyrics! To show that love conquers all, the music video then has a montage of silent movie kisses…none of which I can identify :’( If you recognize any of the kisses above, please tell me!
Watch the music video for yourself here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a01QQZyl-_I
Radio GaGa (1984)
“Radio Gaga” is also chock-full of classic film references. It’s also my favorite Queen music video. The song, which is about television’s takeover of radio and a critique of the subsequent commercialization of radio (something we unfortunately still have today), references two major radio events: Orson Welles’ famous (or infamous) broadcast of War of the Worlds (“You gave them all those old-time stars/Through wars of worlds invaded by Mars”) and Winston Churchill’s “This was Their Finest Hour” speech from 1940 (“You’ve yet to have your finest hour”)
However, the biggest and most obvious classic movie reference in the “Radio GaGa” music video is to Metropolis (1927), Fritz Lang’s classic futuristic film. In order to use clips from the film, Queen had to buy the rights to the film from the Communist government of East Germany. In exchange for the film rights, Queen allowed their hit “Love Kills” to be used in the Giorgio Mororder restoration of the film.
The music video opens with establishing shots from Metropolis:
There were also several scenes in which the band looked like as though they were in the film itself. The picture is grainy black and white, and they drive around the Metropolis in a futuristic little car controlled by a lever.
My favorite part of the music video is when Freddie Mercury recreates the famous clock scene in which a worker is driven to exhaustion from moving the clock hands around all day long. But of course, Freddie’s clock is big and golden and not the weird one that goes up to ten and he NEVER gets tired. He makes something as silly as moving the hands of a clock look awesome. I especially love how the rest of Queen is standing there like a boss while Freddie works the clock. Also, Freddie’s ass looks divine in those black leather pants.
Next we have the super-famous scene in which The Inventor creates an evil robot replica of the film’s heroine, Maria.
Freddie helps to contribute to the destruction of the Metropolis by breaking a building in half just by lifting his arms and looking triumphant. Which is actually something very plausible for someone whose awesomeness is as high as Freddie’s. What a boss.
Watch the music video for yourself here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t63_HRwdAgk
Other Classic Film References Used By Queen
Two of Queen’s albums: “A Night at the Opera” and “A Day at the Races” are named after two Marx Brothers films from 1935 and 1937, respectively. Love those films and love those albums!
The artwork for Queen’s 1977 album “News of the World” also seems to be inspired by Metropolis or vintage sci-fi in general. The story goes that Roger Taylor had an issue of Astounding Science Fiction depicting a robot holding a dead man. This cover inspired the band to have the image revised to contain the robot holding the “dead” bodies of the four band members.
So why are you still sitting here reading this? Go listen to some Queen!
I am very proud to say that I’ve got my Halloween all planned out. This year, I’m going to dress up as a glamorous 1930s movie star (last year I was a flapper…see how I’m doing this decade by decade? Next year is Rosie the Riveter). That means I’m busting out my old senior prom gown:
I’m pairing this with peacock feathers in my hair, diamond bracelets, and diamond and emerald earrings. Is it Golden Age enough? I also want to do some creepy stuff…what’s Halloween without it? I’ve always had a fascination with the occult and the unknown, which has only been heightened by the timely book I’ve been reading (Breverton’s Phantasmagoria). The Phantasmagoria detailed an old custom in which if a young girl lights a candle and eats an apple before a mirror on Halloween night, the doppelganger of her future husband will appear before her in the mirror. Of course, this trick can go totally wrong and Bloody Mary can appear in the mirror instead and murder me. If that’s what ends up happening, it was great knowing you all.
But if you are still unsure about what to be for Halloween, I’m here to help…the classic movie way, of course! Why not get some costume inspiration from the stars?
A Very Uncomfortable Indian Chief
Boys, why not take a leaf out of Gary Cooper’s book? Here he is dressed up as an Indian chief, but a very uncomfortable and clumsy-looking one indeed. His fabulous feather headdress is all askew and his face looks like he ripped a fart and is hoping no one heard it. Nevertheless, the Native American people have always fascinated me–they are so proud and majestic!
Here’s William Powell dressed as your favorite gal–your granny! Just look at this badass grandma…cigarette dangling from her lips like a hardboiled detective, flaunting her skinny old birdlike arms, and her hairy calves. You go granny!
First of all, let’s take a moment to think about this picture. Are Lucille Ball and Harpo Marx twins separated at birth?! Forget Zeppo, Lucy is the fourth Marx brother! Just more glamorous of course. Harpo Marx is a very easy costume: oversized clothes, a top hat, and a curly ginger wig. Don’t forget to carry a horn with you and fill your pockets with pictures of horses and other random stuff.
Here’s a costume that’s so easy-peasy lemon-squeezy that anyone can do it! From left to right, we have Gloria Swanson, Lucille Ball, and Cary Grant dressed up as the lovable Little Tramp. A very simple costume to put together, and easily recognizable, too!
A Very Classy Guido
You must be thinking, “did this girl seriously just use those words together in the same sentence!?” Indeed, I have. First and last time, cross my heart. Looking at this picture of Nazimova, you can’t help but think she makes the guido spiky-hair style look almost…like something decent people do to their heads.
Fantabulous Sparkling Ice Skating Men
Here’s one you can do with a friend! Forget Johnny Weir–Jimmy Stewart and Lew Ayres are where it’s at when it comes to shimmering glam ice-skating dudes. Just look at those sequin jackets and metallic leggings! Fab! Looks like something I would wear!
A Gay Nineties Couple
This is a costume idea for you and your significant other. Hollywood lovebirds Norma Shearer and Irving Thalberg look like they belong in the 19th century with her corseted dress, fur boa, and jaunty hat and his colorful striped suit. A cute idea!
A Big Angry Bug
This picture makes me laugh to no end. Katharine Hepburn, famous for her uppity accent and Bryn Mawr education, clearly looks happy to be dressed in this big bug costume, complete with sequins and two wire antennae.
I just came across this photo of Claudette Colbert dressed as a Harlequin and I think I’m gonna change my costume to this one, guys! Sequined bodysuit+perfect high-heeled shoes+giant neck ruff=costume with my name written all over it. I’ve always wanted to be a circus performer, after all.
A Giant Shiny Butterfly
Mae West is so awesome we should all bow to her. No one else, alive or dead, classic Hollywood or otherwise, can wear a giant metallic rubber butterfly complete with wings and antennae the size of a small child and pull it off so well like Miss West.
A Giant Shiny Bat
Dear me, what giant shiny animal with enormous wingspan will Mae West be next? The woman wears latex as flawlessly as Freddie Mercury. Mae West’s collecti0n of latex costumes aside, a bat is one of the most classic Halloween costumes you can go with. Don’t forget to add some Mae West glam to what could end up being a cliche costume.
Hope you had fun celebrating Halloween classic Hollywood style!
As all of you, my lovely readers, know, the name of my blog is called An Elegant Obsession. It’s pretty straightforward why I christened my blog with this name: I am obsessed with all things classic Hollywood and vintage, and unlike most other obsessions, mine is an elegant one, if I do say so myself. After all, I am obsessed with an era of glamour and class. Part of what made classic Hollywood so elegant is the art of glamour photography.
Glamour photography is, sadly, a dying (ore pretty much dead) art. Nowadays, the idea of photographing celebrities is to show that they are “just like us”: they go shopping, they get coffee from Starbucks, they mow their lawns…whatever. The purpose seems to be to capture them at their most UNglamorous. However, in the olden days I so love, the purpose of photography was to depict these stars as gods: too perfect, too beautiful to be living in this world.
George Hurrell was perhaps the greatest and most prolific glamour photographer. With a career that spanned over seventy years, he photographed the faces of every important star from Norma Shearer to Sharon Stone. Hurrell’s photography is so great because it’s so dramatic. His hallmarks were dramatic lighting with strong blacks and whites. But the Hurrell trademark I want to talk about today is “The Hurrell Hair.”
As seen on the beautiful ladies Bette Davis, Veronica Lake, Carole Lombard, and Jean Harlow, George Hurrell loved to spread out the long, luxurious waves that all Hollywood actresses had back in the day. Any picture with the hair like that is a guaranteed Hurrell. Hurrell used a backlight on his subjects when taking a photo like this, as it added a shimmer or “halo” effect to the hair…which goes back to what I said about the whole “goddess” thing.
So, not being a photographer and having NO equipment but an iPhone 5 camera, I set out to do some Hurrell hair pictures of my own.
It isn’t so good, as my hair isn’t long enough, the photos are in color, I don’t have photography equipment, and I am an overall strange-looking person. But achieving a cheap knockoff of Hurrell Hair was not as difficult as I would’ve thought it would be!
If you are interested in doing a Hurrell experiment of your own, or if you just want to have long 1930s-1940s style waves everyday like I do, let me know and I will be more than happy to make a tutorial!
Meanwhile, I’ll be growing out my hair to get it as long as Vivien Leigh’s in GWTW:
P.S: does anyone have tips on getting rid of dark under-eye circles? I have them all the time, and no matter how much rest I get, I always seem tired and sick-looking! Thanks in advance for any advice!
I might be getting into personal territory here, but here’s a little something to know about me: in an increasingly atheist world, I believe in God. I pray, I believe in Creation and the existence of Adam and Eve and every single Biblical figure, and I ask God to help me when times are tough. You might as call me an endangered species.
But sometimes, things happen that you lose faith for awhile.
As you have probably seen me talk about on this blog, things have been extraordinarily difficult for me in the past several weeks. I could not believe that so many things could go wrong at once! I was pretty much like, “God, if you don’t love me, then I won’t love you.”
But then I understood that God works in mysterious ways…he TOOK AWAY all these things to give me something BETTER.
What was this wonderful thing, you may ask?
FINALLY THIS INJUSTICE HAS BEEN CORRECTED!
This is better than an all-day shopping excursion.
This is better than free food.
This is better than HAVING FRIENDS.
This is better than BOYS.
This is better than TRUE LOVE.
FINALLY, I can own the sexiest Gable/Harlow film and my favorite Gable/Harlow film so I pull all-nighters crying over the beauty of this screen couple. Alone. My favorite thing to do!!!!!!
This was enough to fully restore all faith I have in God and all the beautiful things he does for us every day.
New York City. The Big Apple. The City That Never Sleeps. Destination of the world’s leaders and tourists from every corner of the planet. Home to the world’s freaks and geeks, the wealthiest of the wealthy, the most renowned celebrities, the dirt poor, and your humble blogger. I know I make a mighty big deal about being a New Yorker, but being from a glittery yet gritty place like this, how could I not? Everyone is aware of the magic of New York. Even Old Hollywood! Nowadays, New York is a prime filming destination (Who can forget when Sacha Baron Cohen paraded down Manhattan on a procession of camels for his film The Dictator?) and often my school has been used as a film location, the most notable being that inane series Gossip Girl (that day was a TOTAL NIGHTMARE…school was a circus because Leighton Meester and Ed Westwick were outside) and the Kevin Bacon series The Following (which happened at the same time as touring the Freshman class around the campus for their orientation. My school plans these things well, doesn’t it? Oh well, we got to see Kevin Bacon AND an exploding car!) You’d never think that Old Hollywood was up for location filming when it was cheaper and quicker to film on a soundstage. However, Hollywood is not the only place to travel to for your classic film fix, New York has its own classic film landmarks too! So if you don’t live here, don’t forget to come for your classic movie pilgrimage!
And may I recommend flying to New York at night? This might not be possible though, because I’m not sure how many hotels would allow night check-ins. But the aerial view of New York at night is just so beautiful, like sparkling golden jewels nestled in a case of black velvet:
Adam’s Rib (1949)
Summary: Married lawyers Adam (Spencer Tracy) and Amanda Bonner (Katharine Hepburn) find themselves on the opposite sides of the courtroom when Adam is prosecuting a case involving a woman who tried to murder her cheating husband and Amanda is her defense attorney.
The entire beginning sequence of the film, which is about the woman and her husband, was filmed in New York:
This is the scene in which the woman sees her husband going into his gal pal’s house. “Allan’s Steak Heaven” no longer exists, but it used to be located on East 52nd Street and Lexington Avenue.
Here’s an easy location: The Criminal Courts Building, 100 Centre Street
This location is apparently 104 Bayard Street and Baxter Street…but I kinda doubt that. In the screenshot from the film, you see the awning for Carmine’s Restaurant, a legendary eatery famous for its GIGANTIC Italian dishes (I’ve eaten there before, and trust me, one dish can comfortably feed you and a date, with some to spare). But Carmine’s is located in the Theater District, at 200 West 44th Street. Hmm…
All About Eve (1950)
Summary: Broadway newbie Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter) gets lucky when she befriends the great, legendary stage diva Margo Channing (Bette Davis). Through her friendship with her role model, she gets close to Channing’s other connections. Everyone thinks that Eve is an innocent, star-struck, obsessed fan, except for cynical theater critic Addison DeWitt (George Sanders) who sees Eve for what she truly is: a manipulative snake who uses Margo to make her way up in the notoriously merciless world of theater.
Here is the famous 21 Club, located on 21 West 52nd Street. The 21 Club is a restaurant and a former 1920s speakeasy (it was opened in 1922. Also notice how the doors are a little bit under the ground.) Although the joint was raided numerous times by the police, the owners of the speakeasy were never caught, since a system of levers was used to tip the shelves of the bar and throw all the liquor down a chute and into the sewers. Sounds like a scene straight from a Pre-Code! The 21 Club also had a secret wine cellar, accessed through a secret door in the brick walls and leading to the basement of the building next door, 19 West 52nd (!!!) This wine cellar became the storage spot for the private wine collections of numerous celebrities, including President Gerald Ford, JFK, Richard Nixon, Elizabeth Taylor, Ernest Hemingway, Frank Sinatra, Al Jolson, Sophia Loren, Gene Kelly, Gloria Swanson, Judy Garland, and Marilyn Monroe. Every president since FDR with the exception of George W. Bush (who was an asshole anyways) has dined there. Can you say New York legend?
Bell, Book, and Candle (1951)
Summary: Gillian Holroyd (Kim Novak) is a modern-day witch (such people do exist…this is New York I’m talking about here!). When publisher Shep Henderson (Jimmy Stewart) walks into her building, she falls in love with him and decides to have him all to herself…especially since he’s engaged to her former enemy from her college days. So Gillian casts a spell on him. Will it work?
You can’t really tell because of the use of close-up shots, but this scene was in fact shot on top of the Flatiron Building, located on 175 5th Avenue. The Flatiron Building was built in 1902 and is considered to be the world’s first skyscraper (I know, I know, it’s impossible to think that this was actually once thought of as a skyscraper). At its time, it was the tallest building in New York City.
Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961)
Summary: I don’t like the film or the book (don’t hate me) but much to my chagrin, Breakfast at Tiffany’s is considered a legendary New York story. Holly Golightly is a madcap prostitute who lives in a brownstone on Manhattan’s East Side. Her apartment is only half-furnished, her cat has no name, she constantly loses her keys, and she loves to visit Tiffany’s because it “feels like home.” (and NO, you can’t eat breakfast at Tiffany’s, it’s a jewelry store for goodness sake. Unless your idea of breakfast is a bunch of diamonds and semiprecious gems.) After spending a day in the city with Holly, her neighbor Paul Varjak falls in love with her. But Holly is determined to marry Jose, a millionaire from exotic South America.
It ain’t Breakfast at Tiffany’s without the Tiffany and Co. flagship store, located on 727 5th and 57th Street. In the film, Holly would spend every morning eating a pastry and drinking coffee while admiring Tiffany’s window displays. When filming this scene, hundreds of onlookers were watching Audrey, which made her nervous and caused her to constantly mess up. It wasn’t until a crew member was nearly electrocuted behind the camera that Hepburn was able to collect herself, forget about the crowd, and finish the scene. This location has been the flagship of Tiffany’s since 1940.
This beautiful locale is the Conservatory Water in Central Park, which stretches from 72nd to 75th Street.
This scene was filmed at the New York Public Library, located on 5th between 40th and 42nd Streets. It is one of the most iconic and largest libraries in the world and one of the leading research libraries.
This final film exterior was shot at Park Avenue and East 52nd Street.
Butterfield 8 (1960)
Summary: Fashion model Gloria Wandrous is embroiled in an illicit affair with married socialite Weston Liggett. However, Gloria’s desire for respectability causes her to reconsider her lifestyle.
In the film, Liz Taylor tells the taxi to take her to 38 Horatio Street. However, the actual location is 15 Gay Street and Waverley Place.
In this scene, Liz takes a stroll down 5th Ave and pauses to look at the window display of the store on the corner of 5th and 55th. However, what is located there is now…the Disney Store. Something tells me Elizabeth Taylor wasn’t interested in the latest Mickey Mouse toys and Disney Princess dolls!
42nd Street (1933)
Summary: Big-time Broadway director Julian Marsh (Warner Baxter) is putting on a new show and has to deal with the torrential love life of its star, the stuck-up diva Dorothy Brock (Bebe Daniels). On the night before the premiere of the show, Dorothy breaks her ankle, and it’s up to unknown chorus girl Peggy Sawyer (Ruby Keeler) to take the lead. The show must go on!
Okay. I totally cheated here. 42nd Street wasn’t really filmed on 42nd Street. It was instead filmed in Warner Brothers Studio in Burbank, California. I passed through those same soundstages where Ruby Keeler tap-danced her way into the hearts of millions of Americans. But it’s fun to see the real location where the famous finale of the film is supposed to take place!
This is what West 42nd Street looks like today. Obviously, the 1933 recreation and the 2012 reality cannot be compared. When the film was made, West 42nd Street was a hotbed of crime, porn, and prostitution. It remained so until the early 90s when Giuliani cleaned it up (I was a little kid then…dear God, do I feel old!) However, there are still one or two adult film schowcases lying around there. Now 42nd Street is the center of the city: it’s in the heart of Times Square and the Theater District. It’s also Tourist Central…so GOOD LUCK walking through there. I have to bite my tongue to prevent the unleashing of the Potty Mouth on the Midwesterners wearing Bermuda shorts and fanny packs and taking VIDEOS of the Empire State Building. Because apparently the Empire State Building moves. People like that don’t last a day in a city like this. End tourist rant.
The Godfather (1972)
Summary: Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) is the aging Don of the Corleone Mafia Family, one of the five greatest Mafia families of New York. As soon as his youngest son, Michael (Al Pacino) returns home from World War II, the ten year peace is broken when a drug dealer named Virgil Sollozzo asks the Corleones for protection of his drug ring in exchange for money and a share in his drug dealership. However, the Don is morally against drugs and refuses. This prompts Sollozzo to hire hitmen to attempt to assassinate the Don. While the Don recovers, it is up to his sons Santino, Frederico, and Michael to lead the Corleone Family in one of the most violent Mafia wars in New York history.
Who doesn’t know Radio City Music Hall? Built in 1929 by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., this legendary venue has remained largely unchanged since. Renowned interior designer Donald Deskey (ever heard the term “Deskey Deco”? He’s why) designed the elegant, razzle-dazzle interiors which still remain today. The theater’s gold curtain is also the largest in the world. Radio City has also premiered some of the greatest classic films, including the original “King Kong,” “It Happened One Night,” “National Velvet,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “Mame,” and “To Kill A Mockingbird” (whose star, Gregory Peck, was a former usher at Radio City). Nowadays, Radio City is one of New York’s most iconic Christmas venues. Every year it stages Christmas Spectacular, featuring the New York Rockettes, who are celebrating their 85th anniversary this year.
This is of course, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, located on 5th Avenue between 50th and 51st streets. A note here: the cathedral is undergoing major renovations, so its famous facade is temporarily hidden by scaffolding. St. Patrick’s is the seat of the archbishop of the Roman Catholic diocese of New York.
How To Marry A Millionaire (1953)
Summary: Three models, Shatze (Lauren Bacall), Pola (Marilyn Monroe), and Loco (Betty Grable) hatch a plan: tired of cheap, poor boys, each one of them plans to trap and marry a millionaire. However, it is difficult to tell the big money apart from the hucksters, and in the end, will the money even be worth it?
Pola’s apartment is located on 36 Sutton Place and East 55th Street. Some of Manhattan’s wealthiest have lived in this neighborhood, including Freddie Mercury (one of the greatest loves of my life), Bill Blass, Joan Crawford (another love of my life), Marilyn herself, and her then-hubby Arthur Miller.
Here, my friends, is the George Washington Bridge. One of the world’s busiest bridges, the George Washington spans the Hudson to connect Manhattan to New Jersey.
The Hucksters (1947)
Summary: Fresh from the war, Victor Norman (Clark Gable) is looking for a job in the competitive world of advertising. His first task is to get widow Kay Dorrance (Deborah Kerr) to endorse Beautee Soap. He does so and gets the job, but things don’t go smoothly when Vic finds himself attracted to Kay instead of his current girlfriend, the young Jean Ogilvie (Ava Gardner).
The Jazz Singer (1927)
Summary: Cantor Rabinowitz (Warner Oland) is upset because his son Jakie (Al Jolson) would rather become a jazz/ragtime musician than uphold the family tradition of five generations and take on the role of cantor in his neighborhood’s synagogue. Relations between father and son get so bad that Jakie leaves home, changes his name to Jack Robin, and gets a big opportunity through stage actress Mary Dale. However, Jakie constantly remembers his family and is torn between his career as a jazz singer and his family’s wishes for him to become a cantor.
King Kong (1933)
Summary: Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) is finishing up his film starring leading lady Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) and has found the perfect location: the mysterious, eerie Skull Island. The crew does not know what they will encounter here, but they soon find out that this island is the home of the giant menacing gorilla King Kong. Kong kidnaps Ann, and it is up to the crew to rescue her.
The most iconic scene of the movie and one of the most iconic scenes in film history was shot at the Empire State Building, located at 350 5th Avenue and West 34th Street. The scene I’m talking about is, of course, the one in which Kong climbs the Empire State, Fay Wray in his hands, and swats away at the fighter planes. The establishing shots of the fighter planes were shot in my great homeland Brooklyn (at the U.S. Naval Airbases). The scenic NYC views in the film were shot from the top of the Empire State, and the scenes involving the monkey were shot on replicas of the building in Hollywood (the filmmakers secured the original architectural plans of the Empire State in order to create a convincing recreation for the movie). This 102-story Art Deco landmark was built only two years earlier than the film, in 1931. Here’s a sweet little secret from someone who was walked right past this building numerous times: if you look closely, the windowpanes of the Empire State are red!
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Summary: A heartwarming classic New York story. At the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, an old man discovers that the actor portraying Santa is drunk. Special events coordinator Doris Walker (Maureen O’Hara) persuades the old man to take his place and becomes a sensation, quickly gaining the post of in-store Santa at Macy’s. Doris then finds out that the man calls himself Kris Kringle and truly thinks of himself as Santa Claus, which makes her uncomfortable since she does not believe in fantasy. However, the people also believe there is something special about Kris. But unfortunately, Kris is soon held at Bellevue and all seems lost until his friend Fred Gaily promises to release him. A hearing is then set up in which Gaily argues that Kris is in fact Santa Claus. Will he win?
This scene was shot at East 61st Street and Madison Avenue.
Parade scenes were filmed down Central Park West between 76th and 77th Streets.
And of course, parade scenes were filmed at Macy’s, located at 34th street between 6th and 7th avenues, Herald Square. Ah, Macy’s. I’ve got a love/hate relationship with that place. The world-famous flagship location has been standing in Herald Square since 1901. A tip for all of you who are planning a trip to New York and have Macy’s on your agenda: the store has ten floors. It is a behemoth, a monster that saps up all your strength and energy and sanity after awhile. So make sure to give Macy’s an entire day for itself. It is also always unbelievably crowded. And the shoe department is a total nightmare. But if you are an international visitor, go to the Information Desk at the Visitor’s Center on the second floor for a discount card good for 11% off your purchases (yay!) What I like about Macy’s is that it has a large range of products for people of all economic standings (it’s the only place I can think of where I can buy a pair of new Louis Vuitton flats and a Gucci purse and a pair of dirt-cheap jeans from the juniors section) and some of the store still has the old wooden escalators from the early 1900s (although with the recent renovations happening in the store, I don’t know what will become of these relics).
The court scenes of the film were shot at the New York County Supreme Court, located at 60 Centre Street in the Financial District.
North by Northwest (1959)
Summary: New York advertising exec Roger O. Thornhill (Cary Grant) is kidnapped by a gang of spies led by Philip Vandamm (James Mason) because they mistakenly believe that Thornhill is CIA Agent George Kaplan. Thornhill is able to escape Vandamm’s clutches, but he now must find Kaplan to clear himself of a murder that is believed he committed. Thornhill then meets the beautiful femme fatale Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint)…but is Eve really trying to help Roger?
The scenes of Cary Grant’s character exiting his workplace were filmed at the CIT Financial Office at 650 Madison Avenue. You know, I’ve walked past this building many, many times, never knowing that Cary Grant did so too.
Thornhill then walks into the world-famous Plaza Hotel (750 5th Avenue and Central Park South) this 20-story palace of luxury will be featured greatly in a one of my favorite films, which will be coming up soon on this list.
Sensing that he is being followed, Thornhill then goes to the United Nations Headquarters on 1st Avenue between 42nd and 48th Streets. Nowadays, this is where Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinajad (dunno if I spelled that right) comes to perform his crazy antics every year.
Summary: Linus (Humphrey Bogart) and David (William Holden) are wealthy brothers, while Linus is all work, David is all play. Sabrina Fairchild (Audrey Hepburn) is the shy, awkward daughter of the family chauffeur and is in love with David “who hardly knows she exists.” Sabrina then goes to Paris for two years and comes back an elegant, beautiful, society women who not only captures the heart of David, but Linus’ as well.
The Seven-Year Itch (1955)
Summary: Richard Sherman (Tom Ewell) is the exec of a publishing firm and your regular average Joe. He sends his wife and son for a vacation in the country. Always a faithful family man, Sherman often dreams of being successful with women…and temptation strikes when a beautiful sexy blonde (Marilyn Monroe) moves into the apartment upstairs.
Arguably THE most iconic scene in cinema history was filmed right here in New York: the scene in which an oncoming subway train rushes past, causing Monroe’s skirts to billow upwards as she stands above the subway grating. This legendary grating is located on 52nd Street and Lexington Avenue. The scene was shot on September 15, 1954 at 1 in the morning. However, portions of this scene had to be re-shot in Hollywood because onlookers whistled and cheered Monroe on as her skirts flew up, causing her to forget her lines.
Strangers on a Train (1951)
Summary: One of my favorite, and most underrated, Hitchcock films. Creepy Bruno Antony (Robert Walker) thinks he has hatched the plan for the perfect murder when he meets pro tennis player Guy Haines (Farley Granger) on a train. If Haines kills Antony’s hated father for him, he will kill Haines’ slut of a wife, freeing him to marry his elegant socialite girlfriend, Ann Morton (Ruth Roman). Guy laughs off the plan, but Bruno is serious and murders Guy’s wife. When Guy chickens out of his end of the bargain, Bruno threatens him by telling him that he will plant evidence at the scene of the crime, framing Guy for the murder. Not only is the police suspecting Guy, his career is tainted, his relationship with Ann is strained, and he is being stalked and blackmailed by a psycho. Will he go through with the plan?
Once again, we see Penn Station in a classic film. Penn Station is one of the busiest rail stations in the world. However, the original Penn Station, built in 1910 was much grander and larger, a Beaux-Arts gem of New York City. However, in 1963, orders were given to demolish the head-house and train shed of Penn Station to make way for an office complex and expansions to Madison Square Garden.
That Touch of Mink (1962)
Summary:Sweet, conservative little country girl Cathy Timberlake (Doris Day) meets the man of her dreams, wealthy city man Philip Shayne (Cary Grant) when his Rolls-Royce splashes her with mud while on her way to a job interview. Philip is in love with Cathy as well, but there is one problem: he is not the marrying man, while marriage is the only thing she has on her mind.
This glorious scene of topless Cary Grant was filmed at the new York Athletic Club (180 Central Park South and 7th Avenue). It used to have a red awning. Today it is green and has the initials of the Athletic Club instead of the full name like it used to have.
Week-End at the Waldorf (1945)
Summary: Pretty much a happier, light-hearted remake of 1932′s Grand Hotel but taking place in the swanky Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. It stars Lana Turner in the Joan Crawford role, Edward Arnold in the Wallace Beery role, and Walter Pigeon in the John Barrymore role. The biggest plot stretch from the original comes with Van Johnson as a war hero about to undergo major surgery, and who wants to enjoy what would perhaps be the last days of his life. There is also an appearance by humorist Robert Benchley and a cameo appearance by Xavier Cugat as the Waldorf-Astoria’s bandleader.
The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel is located on 301 Park Avenue between East 49th and 50th Streets. This 47-story luxury dream of a hotel was built in 1931 and is a world-famous Art Deco landmark. It is also the first hotel in the world to offer room service, forever changing the face of the hotel industry. The hotel houses three American and European restaurants, a beauty parlor, its own railway station as part of Grand Central Terminal, a collection of boutiques, and an elevator large enough to fit FDR’s automobile (!!!)
Home Alone 2: Lost In New York (1992)
Summary: Okay, okay, this isn’t a classic film in the true definition of the term. But I consider it a classic because EVERYONE adores it! Ten year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) and his unbelievably large family decide to spend Christmas in Florida (ew…) However, our young hero loses his family and accidentally boards a plane to New York City. Kevin then discovers the power of the credit card, checks into the Plaza Hotel, and leads a life of luxury (i.e. being driven in a limo to the toy store while eating pizza and having banana splits delivered to your hotel suite every day). However, his dream life is ruined when he runs into his old enemies, Harry and Marv (the hilarious Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern). Kevin hatches a plan to put Harry and Marv behind bars once again when he finds out of their plan to rob a toy store on Christmas Eve. Because no one messes with kids on Christmas, bitches.
Here Kevin visits Battery Park, where he uses one of the many binoculars to get a closer look at the Statue of Liberty. It’s a warmer, dryer option than taking the ferry to Liberty Island (I once made the unfortunate mistake of doing this in a pink silk summer dress…Worst. Idea. Ever.)
One of the most heartwarming scenes of the film, when Kevin wishes for his mother to come find him, was filmed at Rockefeller Center (5th Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets). Since 1931, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree has lit up the holidays each December for native New Yorkers and tourists alike. It has become a Christmas icon and has brought holiday cheer to millions. Indeed, I cannot imagine Christmas without this tree. The first Rockefeller Center Christmas tree was a 20-foot Balsam fir. Today, the tree is a Norwegian spruce that can be anywhere from 75 to 90 feet tall.
Phew! What a post! I hope you enjoyed and learned something new, and if you are a classic movie fan who lives in or is planning to visit New York, I hope this will be a help to you! If I’ve forgotten anything, feel free to post in the comments
Yesterday’s post featured the film “Mutiny on the Bounty” twice, which made me in the mood for that film for the rest of the day. Let’s face it, I’m crazy for this adventure story. I’ve read the trilogy cover to cover twice, I own the 1935 film on DVD, have it on my DVR, and have it on my iPhone for those days when I need to watch an 18th-century sea insurrection on the go. I am also hell-bent on getting a copy of William Bligh’s own account of the mutiny, but a) I have about 736784624 other books I have to read, and b) I’m a broke college student. The book is only $9, but all I have on me is a dollar in quarters. This, my good readers, is real poverty. Anyway, my Bounty-esque mood got me thinking, “what were these people really like?” Of course, the trilogy by Nordhoff and Hall and the films (the excellent 1935 version and the stinky 1962 version) are based on a true event, but things here and there have been fictionalized for drama’s sake. Today, I am going to try to separate the fact from fiction.
Here is a portrait of the actual William Bligh, lieutenant on the HMS Bounty. Bligh wasn’t the romantic hero of this story, so of course he was played by very…unromantic?…actors such as Charles Laughton (even though the real Bligh looked sickly and seemed to have a complexion the color of Elmer’s glue and Laughton did not, it didn’t matter in the larger story arc. Both of them ain’t gonna win any beauty pageants, and that’s all what matters here). However, Bligh was actually quite young when the events of Mutiny on the Bounty took place: a little over 30 years old. Yet he always seems to be portrayed as some old, cantankerous guy. It’s also interesting to note that the actual reason for the mutiny is unclear. The books and the films tell us that Bligh was a cruel, abusive tyrant. However, the Bounty’s log showed that Bligh sparingly used punishments (they became more frequent only during the return journey from Tahiti, in which relations between Bligh and his men truly started to deteriorate), which leads to another theory that the crew was young and inexperienced and did not want to go back to the disciplined life of a seaman after the sexual freedom experienced in Tahiti. Bligh was seized in his quarters and brought on deck, his hands bound and naked from the waist-down (!!!!!) He was then cast away with nineteen loyalists (four had to remain on the Bounty since there was no room) on a ship’s launch. Bligh then went on to make his amazing, dangerous, open-boat voyage to Timor. Hilariously (to me) Bligh seemed to be type of guy who attracted mutinies in everything he did. His crew rebelled against him during the Spithead Mutiny of 1797. In 1806, he became governor of New South Wales, Australia and incurred the wrath of some wealthy settlers there with his strict disciplinarian ways, resulting in the Rum Rebellion of 1808 and Bligh’s imprisonment in the penal colony of Tasmania, which was pretty much the Alcatraz of the time. Looking at the actual historical events, you kinda feel bad for the guy.
No. You aren’t having nightmares. THIS is supposed to be Fletcher Christian. This man was played by some of the greatest male sex symbols of all time: Flynn, Gable, and Brando. And THIS is what he actually looked like.
Let me clarify.
Fletcher Christian never actually sat for a portrait in his lifetime. So to be honest, no one really knows what he looked like. For centuries, we had nothing else to go on but Bligh’s short description of him: “5ft 9in high, blackish or very dark complexion, blackish or very dark brown hair. Make – very strong, a star tatowed on his left breast, and tatowed on the backside. His knees stand a little out and he may be called bow-legged. He is subject to violent perspiration (how attractive…), particularly in his hands, so that he soils anything he handles.” However, after four years of research, artist Adrian Teal painted the “first accurate portrait of Christian” in 2009, using both historical research and portraits of Christian’s descendants. This is the most accurate thing we’ve got on Christian’s face, despite being painted hundreds of years later. He looks a lot like my high school piano teacher, Mrs. Greene.
Now onto the history: Christian was master’s mate on the HMS Bounty, and was promoted to acting lieutenant by Bligh during the voyage, back when Bligh thought that this voyage was going to be sunshine and daisies. Accounts of the mutiny are pretty much parallel with what we see on screen: bloodless for the most part, and quick.Like we see in the films, Christian and the mutineers returned to Tahiti after taking over the ship. There, Christian married Maimiti, the daughter of one of the Tahitian chiefs, and dropped off the four Bligh loyalists to be picked up by a British ship and taken back to England. Eventually, Christian landed on Pitcairn’s Island, where all hell broke loose.This is the side of the story we don’t get to see, because it is truly quite disturbing.
On Pitcairn’s Island, there was a gender imbalance: fifteen men (nine mutineers and six Tahitian) and eleven Tahitian women. Of course, this led to bloody fights and the deaths of many of the men (they were all pretty much sleeping everywhere and with anyone. Married, unmarried, it didn’t matter). Also disturbing was that the mutineers turned the Tahitian men into their slaves, leading to bloody slave rebellions. They pretty much all became inebriated lotharios.
In 1808, an American seal-hunting ship called The Topaz landed on Pitcairn’s Island, to find only ONE mutineer alive (a man named John Adams), nine Tahitian women, and the children that the mutineers had with these women. Adams and Maimiti told the Topaz that Christian was shot and murdered in the war between the Tahitian men and the mutineers while working by a pond next to his home. On that same day, four other mutineers and all six Tahitian men were killed as well. To make matters more confusing, John Adams changed his story of Christian’s death every time ships stopped by to visit Pitcairn’s: sometimes he would say Christian died of natural causes, other times he would say he went insane and committed suicide, and other times he would stick with his original murder story. Rumors are still swirling to this day that Christian may have actually faked his own death in order to leave the island and come back to England…Christian’s story will always be shrouded in mystery.
Christian was survived by his wife Maimiti and three children: two sons named Thursday October and Charles, and a daughter named Mary Ann. Over the centuries, Christian’s descendants have spread out to Australia, New Zealand, and even the United States. Errol Flynn always claimed to have been a direct descendant of Fletcher Christian. Although I see this as nothing more than a publicity ploy, this is actually kinda plausible since Australia isn’t too far away from Pitcairn’s Island.
Here is a portrait of “Roger Byam” much later in his life. During the events of Mutiny on the Bounty, “Byam” was only fifteen years old. Why am I writing his name in quotes, you may ask? BYAM WASN’T HIS ACTUAL NAME. For some reason, it was changed in the books and the film. But this man’s real name was Peter Heywood. Heywood and Christian were in fact distantly related, and both got along quite well. In Tahiti, both men were quite promiscuous and had to be treated for venereal disease (gee whizz..I guess it’s tough for these guys being away from women so long!). There was nothing at all about Heywood having to write a Tahitian dictionary as we see him do in the books and the film, so that plot point was purely fictional. However, the rest of Heywood’s story pretty much parallels the events in the books and the films: Heywood was one of the four Bligh loyalists who had to remain on board the Bounty after the mutiny and was let off at Tahiti afterwards (where he adopted the ways of the natives to the extent of heavily tattooing his entire body). Like we see, Heywood and the loyalists were taken back to England on the HMS Pandora and were pretty much treated like crap and manacled below-decks by the captain Edward Edwards (NAWT Bligh as we see in the film). Despite Heywood’s unwavering loyalty to Bligh, in the subsequent court hearing Bligh seemed convinced that Heywood was just a guilty as Christian, and he was at first sentenced to hang. Fortunately for him, he was pardoned by King George III and went on the have an illustrious Navy career (unlike Bligh who was plagued by mutinies and Christian who ended up living out the book “The Lord of the Flies”). Finally, a happy ending in this story!
Hello Everyone! I’m back and ready to blog! Thank you all so much for the kind and encouraging words, it really touched my heart to see this outpouring of love <3 I truly do have the best readers! So here’s a funny post for you guys.
Us classic movie fans like to think of our favorite stars as flawless, effortless, and absolutely perfect. We tend to forget that they too, are people just like you and me, so of course things weren’t always so smooth for them. They, like us, have done some pretty awkward things in their lifetimes. But worse for them, some of these moments have been caught on film. Here are some of my favorite classic movie awkward moments. Don’t forget to comment with your faves! <3
That Awkward Moment When John Wayne Got Beaten Up By A Little Girl
I don’t know what film this is from or who this adorable little girl is, but this picture is hilarious. Look at the big, strong Duke, the paragon of manliness the world over…getting his nose tweaked by a toddler and screaming in pain. I guess even the most manly men have their Achilles’ Heel.
That Awkward Moment When Cary Grant Flips The Bird
Oh Cary. This gem is from “North by Northwest.” He’s holding a ring, but I know he actually thinks that everyone around him is just a mean, nasty, fuck. Good thing the censors were starting to let up around this point!
That Awkward Moment When Clark Gable Says The Wrong Name
This is one of my favorite awkward moments, mostly because I can’t believe no one in the cast or crew realized it. In “The Misfits” the name of Thelma Ritter’s character is Isabelle. However, there is a scene towards the middle of the film in which Clark Gable seems to have completely forgotten this and instead calls her by her actual name…Thelma. And NOBODY noticed. Except me. And I die laughing every time.
That Awkward Moment When Jean Harlow Has A Wardrobe Malfunction
This one’s for the boys. Not that they would mind. In the film “China Seas” there is a particularly intense scene in which Jean Harlow’s character and Wallace Beery’s character fight over half a bank note which can incriminate Beery and send him stuh-raight to the slammer. At one point, Beery pulls on Harlow so roughly that her flimsy little robe almost slides right off…leaving very little to the imagination. Jean recovers quickly, but not quick enough. I guess the Hays Code review board loved what they saw so much that they let it slide. Poor Baby Jean
That Awkward Moment When James Cagney Danced Better Than Ruby Keeler
James Cagney: little Brooklyn-born little Irishman with flaming red hair and blue eyes famous for always shooting up the joint as a gangster in films. Ruby Keeler: blue-eyed Canadian darling married to one of the greatest entertainers of all time (Al Jolson), famous for being a professional dancer and performing in lavish Busby Berkeley musicals. Obviously Ruby is the better dancer, right? Wrong. What many people don’t know about James Cagney is that this favorite film gangster was a hoofer since he was a wee child on the streets of New York. So, he pretty much started out as a dancer, and a damn good one. And it shows in the “Shanghai Lil” number of the film Footlight Parade (1933) my personal favorite of all the Berkeley musicals. Towards the middle of the number, Cagney and Keeler do a little tap dance together, and let’s face it, he beats her at her own game. Cagney has this smooth, light, almost sexy way of moving his body when he dances, and Keeler by comparison just looks clumsy, amateur, and…heavy. Just look at her in the picture above, she looks like she’s about to fall over! A truly awkward moment right here.
That Awkward Moment When Buster Keaton Shows Up For Five Minutes In A Chaplin Film And Steals The Whole Show
When people ask me about my stance on the whole Keaton/Chaplin debate, I usually just run away in tears. I love them both so much! It’s almost impossible for me to choose one over the other! However, there is an exception to every rule. And that exception is the film “Limelight,” which is a Chaplin film made much later in his career. “Limelight” is an extremely SAD film, not something you’d usually associate with Chaplin. This story of a suicidal ballerina and a lonely clown never fails to turn me into a big, tearful mess. However, Buster Keaton has a cameo appearance here that is enough to make you cry too…but from laughing too much! Chaplin knew he was taking a risk by giving the equally funny Keaton a role in his film…and Chaplin realized that maybe it was a mistake, because Keaton was obviously the funnier one here. Chaplin was so irked by this that he dramatically cut Keaton’s role…because he was too funny.
That Awkward Moment When Franchot Tone Has A Giant Wedgie
One of my all-time favorite classics is 1935′s “Mutiny on the Bounty.” It’s the perfect sea story, a swashbuckling adventure, and it even has a dash of romance. But another reason it’s so great is that it has plenty of hilariously awkward moments. Like this one. First of all, it’s embarrassing enough that Franchot Tone and Clark Gable had to wear these giant white Tahitian adult diaper things. Secondly, it’s embarrassing that these diapers had to get wet. Clark was smart enough to stand facing the camera. But Franchot, on the other hand, got stuck giving us The View. JUST LOOK AT THAT THING! It’s like, a Super Wedgie. I’m surprised he wasn’t crying in pain during this scene. Honey, you got a letter in your mailbox…
That Awkward Moment When Charles Laughton Picked His Nose In “Mutiny On The Bounty”
HE DOES THIS ABOUT SIX TIMES IN THE FILM, I SWEAR!!! Here’s the last awkward moment for this post, again from “Mutiny.” Charles Laughton literally spends the entire beginning of the film wiping his stray boogers and flicking them off somewhere else. I wish I was kidding, but I’m not. Where he’s flicking these boogers off to, only God knows. Maybe on Clark Gable. They famously hated each other. Speaking of Clark, the look on his face is priceless. He looks like he’s about to vomit at the sight. My poor Fletcher Christian
That’s all for now! I hope you enjoyed!
Happy 104th, Carole Lombard! Carole has been one of my greatest Hollywood favorites because she is just so…perfect! She’s the only actress I can think of who has the qualities of a glamour girl, a tomboy, a party animal, and a comedienne all rolled into one. Yes, Carole did have a famous potty mouth, but she was also extremely generous, kind, and friendly to all. I don’t think anyone in Hollywood ever disliked her. Carole is my role model…hopefully I’m doing her justice!
In honor of the lovely Miss Lombard’s birthday, I want to focus on her and Fred MacMurray. They are one of the most-underrated on-screen couples, which is a darn shame, since they have great chemistry together. They made four films as co-stars: “Hands Across the Table” (1935) “The Princess Comes Across” (1936) “Swing High, Swing Low” (1937) and “True Confession” (1937). I’m not reviewing any of the films today, because I usually like for film reviews to have their own post (nitpicky of me, I know) but I’m gonna show some of their publicity photos together. These photos show how well Lombard and MacMurray play off each other, but they also show the fun, dynamic personality so unique to Carole. Happy Birthday to my favorite Hollywood girl!
This photo is from “True Confession.” Lombard’s zany character was said to have been the inspiration behind a certain famous TV character named Lucy Ricardo. Having seen the film, the parallels are so obvious!
This one is my FAVORITE! It never gets old. There’s Fred and Carole clowning around (her face is priceless) and in the background, barely noticeable, is poor Una Merkel not knowing what to do with herself. Total. Photobomb. Love it!
That’s all folks! Now I’m off to pop some Carole films into my DVD player and begin my Lombard festivities! I have tons of great posts for you guys in the very near future so stick around!
The award for Worst Blogger in the History of Blogging goes to Miss Carole Irene, age 19, of Brooklyn, New York.
I apologize deeply for not blogging for almost two weeks now. I stink. And my lovely readers, I’m going to have to ask you to please sit tight for another week or so. Again, because I stink. I’ll explain why.
Usually, when people my age say “my life is falling apart” it’s because one thing isn’t working out for them. Something stupid, like the Internet is too slow on their iPhones (I say as I write this post on my iPhone) but when my life falls apart, it’s because EVERYTHING isn’t working:
1) Things at home are as rotten as they can be. I’m not getting into details here, but things are happening that make me end up crying and wallowing in misery for days on end. I just wish I can pull a leaf out of Harry Potter’s book and Apparate out of here to a place far, far away. Like Guam.
2) Things with friends are as rotten as they can be. Some friends think it’s cool to neglect me and speak to me only when necessary. Others whom I have known for years make plans with each other in front of me as though I don’t exist. And others I thought I can trust with my life, but they abandon me at a time when I need them most. I guess the cliche “nice girls finish last” is true. I haven’t done anything to upset anyone, and yet they seem to be trying their best to make me feel like crap. I’m really tired of feeling under-appreciated. It’s like no matter what I do I’m not pretty enough, not smart enough, and not popular enough for anyone. No one likes me.
3) School is an absolute nightmare. I have a full scholarship, but it comes with a catch: you can only keep it if you get a 3.5 GPA or higher. Any lower and it’s revoked. It’s hell on earth trying to keep up with the never-ending pile of homework, the hundreds of pages of reading every night (no joke), and the monstrous paper assignments. I feel like I can’t keep up, I can’t catch my breath, and that I can’t do all of this work well. I’m a student, not a miracle worker. I wish professors can understand that! But no. Lately I can’t finish my homework, and I feel that my grades are slipping. This, in addition to points 1 and 2, leaves me in tears.
4) Because of all this, I’m very ill. My nerves are frayed, I’m having trouble eating, I’m weak, I’ve had a sharp dip in my weight, and I’m suffering chronic migraines which don’t go away, no matter how much medicine I take. I feel like I’m on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
So I think that right now, it’s perhaps for the best that I put the blog on a short hiatus, until I feel better. I’m a firm believer in quality over quantity, and I want to give you guys the best work that I can. Right now, I don’t think I would be happy with the work I turn out, and neither would you guys. I’m only going to do a post for Carole Lombard’s birthday tomorrow and then I’m gonna have to take a break. I have some posts in the works for later, and I promise you I will publish them once I get things under control and I get my creative inspiration back. If you would like, I have a tumblr, http://lookatallthesedamnpictures.tumblr.com/ it includes not only plenty of classic movie stuff, but my other interests as well. I promise you it’s a great insight into my crazy, mixed-up brain.
Thank you all so much for your patience and for putting up with this. I apologize again. Love you all <3