Thursday, February 27, 2014
Friday, February 14, 2014
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
We have lost another icon from the Golden Era of Hollywood, Shirley Temple. Blame Mame would like to send out a big thank you to her for her contributions to the world we all idolize. You may be gone, but will never be forgotten. Your legacy will live on for generations because of your films.
As I mentioned in my review of 1953's Call Me Madam, I was able to catch a couple of films during TCM's celebration of the Best Costume Design during their 31 Days of Oscar programming. The second film was 1954's It Should Happen To You starring Judy Holliday, Peter Lawford, and Jack Lemmon. I really hadn't planned on watching this one, but when I saw it starred Judy Holliday I had to because I found her so charming in 1954's Phffft.
In 'Born Yesterday' I got two mink coats - this time I get everything!
Judy Holliday as Gladys Glover
Jack Lemmon as Pete Sheppard
Peter Lawford as Even Adams III
Gladys Glover has just lost her modelling job when she meets filmmaker Pete Sheppard shooting a documentary in Central Park. For Pete it's love at first sight, but Gladys has her mind on other things -- like making a name for herself. Through a fluke of advertising she winds up with her name plastered over 10 billboards throughout city. Suddenly all of New York is clamoring for Gladys Glover without knowing why and playboy Evan Adams III is making a play for Gladys that even Pete knows will be hard to beat. [IMDB]
My Favorite Scene:
I found myself giggling a few times throughout this film, which doesn't happen very often. There is a scene where Pete bursts into Gladys' room to express his displeasure for how she has spent her saved money on this billboard. He goes on and on tearing down her actions and is just about to leave the room (which seams like for good) when he turns around to make sure their date is still on for the upcoming Friday. The perfect comedic timing of both leads was on display in this scene.
Trivia and Tidbits:
This was the film debut of Jack Lemmon, which is hard to believe because he plays this role like he had been doing it his whole life. He was such a gifted comedian. The on location scenes were shot during a 10-day shoot in New York City in July 1953.
I wasn't expecting much from this film about an out of work model who buys a billboard to put her name on it, but I was proven wrong. The film is full of heart and teaches you a very valuable lesson: Don't let your successes and fame make you forget who is important in your life because they mean nothing if you don't have someone to share it with.
Saturday, February 8, 2014
Friday, February 7, 2014
Today, as a part of their 31 Days of Oscar programming, TCM was celebrating past nominees of the Best Costume Design category. Being stuck in bed not feeling well, I decided to check out a couple of the films. First up was the 1953 film Call Me Madam. Up until now, I had seen Ethel Merman in only one other film (1954's There's No Business Like Show Business), so I was excited to see what she had to offer. Having Donald O'Connor, Vera-Ellen, and George Sanders along for the ride also sweetened the deal.
Call Me Madam (1954)
Ethel Merman as Sally Adams
Donald O'Connor as Kenneth Gibson
Vera-Ellen as Princess Maria
George Sanders as General Cosmo Constantine
Sally Adams is a social butterfly whose hobby of knowing everyone of value in Washington, D.C., pays off when she's chosen to serve as United States Ambassador to the fictional country of Lichtenburg. Once settled in her new position, she strikes up a romance with the country's smooth foreign minister, Cosmo Constantine, and her assistant Kenneth catches the eye of Princess Maria. [Netflix]
My Favorite Scene:
Hands down my favorite scene(s) were when we were treated to the beautifully choreographed dances between Donald O'Connor and Vera'Ellen. That being said it was at the royal party where Kenneth and Princess Maria dance in the garden that has to take the top spot. I was mesmerized by Maria's dress every time she spun. The way it flowed and spun around was beautiful and graceful. This pairing was on point because they complimented each other so well.
Trivia and Tidbits:
For almost 20 years the film was withdrawn from exhibition because Fox's music rights had expired. It wasn't until 2004 when the film was released on DVD that it was seen again. Something I didn't know prior to viewing this film was that Vera-Ellen suffered from anorexia, which is why most of her costumes in the film were designed to cover her neck because it was thin and pre-maturely wrinkled. Prior to this film Ethel Merman originated her role on Broadway from 1950-1952 in 644 performances.
I've yet to see an Irving Berlin film I didn't enjoy. Even if the story isn't up to par, the musical numbers always make up for that. This film isn't one of those because this film was quite charming. From the exquisite singing from the entire cast (this was George Sanders only full musical film) to the double love story lines, I couldn't look away from the screen.
Thursday, February 6, 2014
Monday, February 3, 2014
By day I work in a camera/photo shop here in New Orleans, so as you can imagine I have quite a love for photography. I'm not quite old enough to have had the full experience of film photography, but that doesn't mean I do not have respect and adoration for the art form. At the top of my list of favorite film mediums is Kodak Kodachrome. I help customers all the time with their old Kodachrome slides and they always produce the most gorgeous photos. Colors and sharpness so crisp the images jump off the print.
So when I came across the book 'Hollywood In Kodachrome' by David Wills while on my usual weekly mission at Barnes and Noble, I just had to have it! They must have just gotten these books in because it was wrapped in plastic and looked so perfect! Beautiful coffee table books full of Old Hollywood pictures will always be my drug of choice...
The book opens with gorgeous photos and a foreword written by the lovely Rhonda Fleming. She talks about how she was discovered by talent agent Henry Willson and about her dislike of her Hollywood nickname, "The Queen of Technicolor." She also admits to not being a trained actress and that her main influences in Hollywood came from top model of the day Anita Colby. Honestly, I didn't know much of her before reading this, but I did appreciate her explanation of how the photography side of the studio system worked.
After we here from Rhonda there is a very informative introduction by David Wills where he discusses the beginnings and uses of color film in Hollywood during the early 1900's. One fact I didn't know before this book was that Kodachrome was the first sustainable color film to be made. Of course that came with a long list of cons, but it did produce some of the most vibrant photos ever produced. The lighting had to be bright, and make up had to be caked on, but the end result was phenomenal.
After the text, comes the real gems of this publication, over 250 gorgeously illustrated Kodachrome photos from 1940-1949. Everyone from Rita Hayworth and Veronica Lake to Lucille Ball and Betty Grable. My biggest surprise came toward the end of the book... apparently Marilyn Monroe's infamous nude 'Red Velvet' session by Tom Kelley was shot with Kodachrome! The color and vibrancy of these photos has always stood out to me and after seeing them in this book it all makes perfect sense.
I will forever have an admiration of the Old Hollywood style of photography. Whether it is the dramatic George Hurrell black and whites or the vibrant Kodachrome shots of the 1940's... the photos present the stars of that time as glamorous gods and goddesses. Even if only for a second, these photos share a little bit of that glamour with us mortals down here in the real world.
You can buy 'Hollywood In Kodachrome' at Amazon or Barnes and Noble. All of the photos used in this post were captured by me from my copy of the book.