The Black Pools of Noir in MURDER, MY SWEET 1944

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It’s dark. Too dark to see without assistance from a handy flashlight to confirm the time on his watch. Private dick Philip Marlowe is scouting out the meeting place in a densely wooded area, just off the road. He walks cautiously as dense, smoky fog crawls along the ground, in his tipped fedora and buttoned up trench coat. He hears the snap of a twig underfoot, close range, and turns abruptly only to see a deer.

He heads back to his parked car. Leaning against the large, open top convertible and without looking down, he tells the man hiding in the back of his car- the same man who just hired him to go into those dark woods to help him buy back a stolen jade necklace- that they’re likely being watched and tested for obedience, for this mysterious exchange. Unexpectantly, Marlowe is suddenly struck from behind on the head. Hard.

As he slumps to the ground we hear him narrate in a raspy-smooth voice, “I caught the blackjack right behind my ear. A black pool opened up at my feet and I dived in. It had no bottom. I felt pretty good… like an amputated leg.” Visually we see black edges closing in on his unconsciousness body until total darkness fills the screen.

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This is just one scene from Edward Dmytryk’s MURDER, MY SWEET (1944) which perfectly evokes the many hallmarks of a signature film noir. Even before I completed the TCM/Ball State University course in Film Noir last summer, I had seen this film prior and knew this was what film noir is supposed to be.

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All the beautiful shades of shadows and light are glowing on the screen. Dick Powell as Philip Marlowe drops bitter and sarcastic cynacism in descriptive lingo that his profession as a hard-nosed private investigator affords. From time to time, he narrates to us. Often with uniquely descriptive metaphors. He’s no hero charging in wearing a ten gallon white hat, but he’s not exactly the villainous anti-hero either. Ultimately he does the right thing, but not out of conformity to society rules. He’s in business for himself.

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He fully appreciates a pretty dame- good or bad. And speaking of bad dames, a good film noir isn’t complete without a beautiful and cunning femme fatale. Enter Claire Trevor. He doesn’t fool easily, although he sometimes likes to lead on as though he does. And a typical film noir is based on a crime drama. The crime is presented via a missing girlfriend and jade necklace. But were they ever missing/stolen or merely borrowed? And why are so many people interested in hiring Marlowe to find- or bury -the truth? Time will reveal all as Marlowe finds himself a very popular dick for hire.

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And what about those black pools? Another calling card of a film noir is a dream sequence. The more trippier, the better. Marlowe swims in that black pool more than once and it gets saturated wet in trippy.

Now that we’ve laid out all the evidence why MURDER, MY SWEET (1944) qualifies as   a definitive film noir, let’s discuss why it’s also one of my favorites of this genre (and perhaps should be yours too):

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Dick Powell. Dick Powell has always been one of my favorites of the silver screen. But like so many, we were introduced to him through Pre-Codes. In the thirties, he shined as the upbeat, charming crooner of those terrific Busby Berkley musicals and other classics. He was usually the guy singing and smiling his way into the hearts of the sweet girl next door or sassy sidekick (like cuties Ruby Keeler and Joan Blondell). But for the first time in his career, MURDER, MY SWEET took a dramatic turn of character for Powell. His role as Philip Marlowe was a major risk that paid off successfully and launched him into the noir world and other dramatic roles. Not all actors can boast such a successful breaking of typecasting and transition so effectively into the changing times of the big screen. He would transition again post-noir as a producer and director.

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Because of his prior roles in the thirties and his natural skills in comedy, I’ll admit there were times in viewing this film for the first time that I expected him to go more campy. Especially considering the dialogue, one could easily play it as dark humor and break character. But he delivers with a five o’clock shave, a heavy-smoky voice and candidly acerbic tone that a gumshoe Marlowe demands.

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Claire Trevor. This role came right between her big roles as Dallas, a woman of ill-repute and good intentions, in STAGECOACH (1939) and Gaye Dawn, the complex mess of a lush in KEY LARGO (1948). The deeper I look into these roles, the more I’m convinced Claire Trevor is a highly underappreciated actor. The variety and nuances across these three roles are a testiment to her range. Here in MURDER, MY SWEET she plays the femme fatale very well, with sophisticated beauty masking her street-wise naughtiness as Helen Grayle.

Anne Shirley is another underrated actor. Her portrayal as Ann Grayle keeps you guessing sometimes to see if she plays the sinner or the saint, but the good girl emerges ultimately to give great contrast to Trevor. The role is not quite as meaty as it could be, so Trevor tends to steal the scenes.

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The love/hate dynamic between Marlowe and Moose Malloy. Mike Mazurki appealingly plays the big thug with a broken heart who possesses more brawn than brains. Malloy is more than a typical hired heavy. He’s an unexpected romantic yet also like a big, dumb animal that can’t figure out if he wants to play with his food. Unfortunately for Marlowe, he’s often on the dinner menu. But I like the way that, no matter how many times he gets hurt, there’s a part of Marlowe that looks upon Moose like a big puppy that somehow just doesn’t know any better.

Dialogue. Oh the writing in this film is priceless!

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In introducing Marlowe, he narrates, setting up a scene with visual artistry and coarse flair, as the camera cuts a path through images of the city at night with all the neon flashing landscape:

“It was seven o’clock. Anyway it was dark. I’m a homing pigeon. I always come back to the stinking coop no matter how late it is. I’d been out peeking under Sunday sections looking for an old barber named Dominic, whose wife wanted him back. I forget why. Only reason I took the job is because my bank account was trying to crawl under a duck. And I never found him.  I just found out all over just how big this city is. My feet hurt and my mind felt like a plumber’s handkerchief. The office bottle hadn’t sparked me up, so I’d taken out my little black book and decided to go grouse hunting. Nothing like soft shoulders to improve my morale. The soft shoulders had a date, thought she could do something about, was going to check right back. There’s something about the dead silence of an office building at night. Not quite real. The traffic down below was something that didn’t have anything to do with me.”  

What a fascinating way to introduce a character. It’s so quintessentially noir. Thanks to the stylistic writings of Raymond Chandler (novel) and John Paxton (screenplay), it strongly influenced an entire genre and style of film. Here are some more lines that make me smile…

On women:

“She was cute as lace pants.” (Moose Mallory)

“She was a charming middle-aged lady with a face like a bucket of mud. I gave her a drink. She was a gal who’d take a drink, if she had to knock you down to get the bottle.”

On love and such romantic notions:

“I tried to picture him in love with somebody, but it didn’t work.” (Marlowe on Malloy)

“He’s in love and in a big hurry. He’ll get over that.” 

Helen Grayle: “I find men *very* attractive.”
Philip Marlowe: “I imagine they meet you halfway.”

On being roughed up or drugged up:

“My throat felt sore, but the fingers feeling it didn’t feel anything. They were just a bunch of bananas that looked like fingers.”

“‘Okay Marlowe,’ I said to myself. ‘You’re a tough guy. You’ve been sapped twice, choked, beaten silly with a gun, shot in the arm until you’re crazy as a couple of waltzing mice. Now let’s see you do something really tough – like putting your pants on.'”

And these lines gave me a chuckle:

“He died in the middle of a glass of beer. His wife Jessie finished it for him.”

“It was a nice little front yard. Cozy, okay for the average family. Only you’d need a compass to go to the mailbox. The house was all right, too, but it wasn’t as big as Buckingham Palace.”


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This post was my contribution to the Film Noir Blogathon, hosted by Quiggy of The Midnite Drive-In, Aug. 12-14. And kudos to Connie of Silver Scenes for the fabulous banners. With a tremendous list of participants, I encourage you to read these noir knock-outs.

Annette & Frankie’s BEACH PARTY Ice Cream Social

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When I heard Fritzi of Movies Silently had this cool idea for an Ice Cream Social themed blogathon, serving up some sweet treats to kick off the summer, I was on board. Surf board, that is. According to Fritzi, the idea is to review a movie, post an article or share a recipe that has a sunny plot or has the power to cheer you up when you’re feeling down. She also encouraged us to write an article sharing happy movie memories, classic movie humor, and/or share an ice cream/frozen dessert/summer sweet recipe based on a star or film.

So when I noticed that William Asher’s BEACH PARTY (1963) was in the Roger Corman guest programmer line-up of AIP films this week on Turner Classic Movies, all those childhood memories flashed before me of cooling down hot summer days at my grandparents’ lake house by watching beach party and surfer flicks as ice cream and Bombpops melted down my sticky hands. Seemed appropriate to this blogathon to share a sweet treat or two, inspired by Frankie and Annette, along with all the kookiest surfer kids (plus cameos of September screen legends) in those silly, nonsensical films.

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[For an overview of the cultural influences of all five of the American International Pictures’ “Beach Party”movies, including BEACH PARTY (1963), click HERE.]

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When I think of Annette Funicello, three things pop in my head: her Disney Mousketeer days, her “beach party” roles, singing with her helmet of hair-sprayed do and perfectly tailored bikinis, and Skippy peanut butter ads. Let’s serve up an ice cream sandwich with creamy peanut butter that even Annette would approve…

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Peanutty Ice-Cream Sandwiches:

Ingredients:

2/3 cup butter or margarine
2 cups quick-cooking oats, uncooked
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped dry-roasted peanuts
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
3 cups vanilla ice cream, softened
1 cup coarsely chopped dry-roasted peanuts
Preparation
Prep: 20 Minutes
Cook: 5 Minutes
Bake: 11 Minutes
Freeze: 1 Hour, 30 Minutes

Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Remove from heat, and stir in oats and next 7 ingredients. Drop oat mixture by tablespoonfuls 3 inches apart onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Spread each dollop of cookie batter to form a 3-inch circle.

Bake at 350° for 9 to 11 minutes or until edges are golden. Remove from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack.

Swirl peanut butter into softened ice cream. Freeze 30 minutes. Scoop ice cream evenly on flat sides of half of cookies; top with remaining cookies, flat sides down. Roll sides of sandwiches in coarsely chopped peanuts. Place in plastic or wax paper sandwich bags, and freeze at least 1 hour.

Note: Do not substitute a greased baking sheet for parchment paper. Cookies will slide and tear.


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For a yummy treat to cool down Annette (“Dolores” in BEACH PARTY) after chasing charming Bob Cummings (“Professor Robert Orwell Sutwell”) sporting his Tiki hat as she attempts to make Frankie (aka “Frankie”) jealous, this cool dessert should do the trick…

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RASBERRY ICE BOX CAKE:

Ingredients
24 graham crackers, crushed
1/3 cup butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 (6 ounce) package raspberry flavored Jell-O(R) mix
1 cup boiling water
 15 ounces frozen raspberries
20 large marshmallows
1/3 cup milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Mix graham cracker wafer crumbs, butter and brown sugar until well combined. Set aside 1/4 cup of this mixture for a topping and press the remainder into one 9×13 inch pan.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Dissolve raspberry gelatin in the boiling water and add the frozen raspberries, stirring until melted. Chill until partially set and spread on wafer base.
Melt marshmallows with the milk. When cool, fold in whipped cream and spread on top of raspberry mixture. Sprinkle with remaining crumbs. Chill for 3-4 hours before serving.

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*This post was my contribution to Movies Silently’s Classic Movie Ice Cream Social (a blogathon of cheer!), taking place May 20-23, 2016. There’s a sweet list of scrumptious bloggers on the menu of participants so scoop ’em out!

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A PreCode Paralyzed Piranha: Walter Huston in A HOUSE DIVIDED (1931)

One of the many joys of attending a classic film festival such as the recent TCM Classic Film Festival, sometimes you get a chance to screen a film for the first time. When seeing a decades old film for the very first time, yet on the big screen, it’s like momentarily slipping back in time. I imagined what it may have been for audiences of the past.

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Recently at #TCMFF 2016, I experienced such a unique pleasure in screening William Wyler’s A HOUSE DIVIDED (1931). It’s a PreCode with such dark tones, that Czar of Noir Eddie Muller himself introduced this screening with a brief interview of Wyler’s son, David Wyler.

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The story takes place in a small fishing town, centered on the main character, Walter Huston as Seth Law. He’s a strong, mean, miserable son of a bitch. As low brow as that sounds, I’m underselling it. Seth’s wife has just died so he takes his son, Douglass Montgomery/Kent Douglass as Matt Law, to the local dive to get drunk. Initially we give him some slack in his aggressive handling of the situation, assuming temporary grief. Soon Seth’s true nature becomes clear as he cruelly berates his son to prove his manhood and by attempting to force him to drink heavily. Matt is uncomfortable and offended by his father’s behavior but not strong enough to stand up to him. In his aggression, the father openly manhandles women as he slings back shots then starts a violent brawl that finishes with Matt out cold.

In striking contrast to his father, Matt is a kind, gentle and handsome blond lad. Back home, Seth announces he will simply replace his wife with a mail-order bride of strong stock. He has plucked her from a simple description in a catalogue (in “Heart and Hand” magazine, selecting a 35-year-old, hard-working good cook named Ada Peterson); not unlike picking out the strongest draft horse for the farm. Calculated enough to know his son would make the more persuasive communicator, Seth tells Matt to write the letter. Matt gingerly approaches his domineering dad with a trade. Now that he’s older and there’s help on the way, he wants to branch out on his own. He’s never liked it there. And who could blame him?

On the day of the new bride’s arrival, Matt is unable to convince his father to ‘clean up’ to greet his betrothed. Instead, he treated it like any other day, went about his fishing business and left it up to Matt to welcome her. A true romantic. When a young, very attractive, slight wisp of a gal shows up at the door, Matt is confused.

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This nineteen year old is evidently not the Ada Peterson as advertised. Young Ruth Evans (Helen Chandler) explains that she came in her friend’s place because the original bride-to-be had already married another by his letter’s arrival. There is an instant chemistry between the two. She initially assumes Matt is her groom.

Reality comes crashing in soon enough after he explains the mix-up and Pops walks in. In his socially inept and jarring method, Seth inspects his new livestock with disapproval. Ruth begs for him to reconsider because she has no where else to go. Besides, if his son is so sweet, how bad can dad be, right? Ruth eventually convinces him to change his mind after he realizes his pretty new bride can provide assets that a housekeeper cannot. Now he inspects her with hungry eyes. She’s switched to deep regret. Apprehensive, she ponders her mistake yet reluctantly moves forward with the wedding. It’s clear that without someone to stand up to Seth, she is not strong enough, physically nor rhetorically, to persuade him otherwise.

At the wedding ceremony, a crowd of unruly, drunken locals align with Seth’s behavior yet widen her eyes to the grim future before her. She’s sunk. After the spectacle of ill manners, Seth approaches Ruth back at the house. He’s ready for bed time, looking at her like she’s a gazelle dinner at a lion den. She openly states she’s made a big mistake; she tries to talk him out of it. Her pleas fall flat on his ears. He wants his dinner and he doesn’t care if she doesn’t comply.

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Matt finally intervenes and a violent confrontation ensues. The fight ends with Matt assuming he’s accidentally killed his father. No such luck. The town doctor is called and he says Seth will likely never walk again. Ruth and Matt feel doomed and torn, trapped by an obligation to stay. Meanwhile, this tragedy and a bond of fear of Seth has only drawn them closer together.

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Seth is determined to grow stronger and defy the doctor’s diagnosis. He is more ruthless than ever before to assert his bullying power over his son and display his machismo to his young bride. It’s nighttime. An intense storm is brewing outside. Matt slips into Ruth’s room. She confides in him that she is too afraid to stay a moment longer. They plan to escape together.

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Seth, whose bed has been set up on the main floor downstairs for obvious reasons, picks up that something is going on. With paralyzed legs, he pulls himself off the bed and crawls along the floor towards the staircase. Slowly and surely, he drags his body up each spindle of each step, along the outside of the staircase. His strong and determined arms pull him up as he peers onto the second floor. There light coming from underneath Ruth’s door.

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Sitting on her bed, as Ruth and Matt find love and solace in each other’s arms, Matt attempts to convince her to stay until morning, after the storm settles down. Ruth expresses that she is too filled with fear to wait. Just then, Seth bursts in. What follows is a frightening, suspenseful explosion of violence, fear and a chase through a horrific stormy sea.

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I’ve never been so freaked out by a paralyzed cinematic figure before. When Walter Huston crawls and drags his way upstairs, you do not think of him as having the disadvantage in power. Not in the slightest. Instead, you are biting your nails and gripped by your own fears that his son Matt will meet his doom.

That’s how intense, strong and cruel he comes across. It also has an eery quality that reminded me heavily of Tod Browning’s FREAKS (1932) when you see them crawl in the muddy muck under the circus trailer, with knife clinched in teeth, to hunt down their deserving victim.

The violent explosion between Matt and Seth is indeed a nail-biter. Seth pulls his body around the room on the floor, posturing his body to block, shoving chests of drawers and beds around like they were kindling, and one-handedly throwing a chair down the stairs after Matt, knocking him out. Trust me, there is no handicap on Seth’s part.

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I won’t give up the exact ending but the climax is palatably intense, with Seth remaining a terrifying threat right up to the end. Walter Huston makes this role. In his PreCode days, he sometimes played a father figure, or a cop, but was a master as the villain. There is something about his presence. When he says something, you believe it. His face scrunches up in an evil snarl. He’s defiant, intimidating, menacing, with a confidence deep in his bones that comes across boldly on the screen. There are many great screen villains, but I guarantee you’ll never forget this one.

This was my contribution to The Great Villains Blogathon, hosted by those lovely blogging ladies Kristina of SPEAKEASY, Ruth of SILVER SCREENINGS and Karen of SHADOWS and SATIN, May 15-20.

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Happy #ClassicMovieDay! My 5 Movies on an Island

 

May 16th is National Classic Movie Day.

Rick of CLASSIC FILM & TV CAFE chose to honor this with the 5 Movies On An Island Blogathon. As Rick states, “the intent is for participants to write about the five classic movies they’d want to have with them if stranded on a deserted island. (Yes, you can assume you have electricity, a projector, big screen, and popcorn!)” I’m so glad Rick allowed us the popcorn. I’ll take it a step further and assume a comfy couch, dark chocolate and my family and friends.

Five Movies Blogathon

I’ve thought long and hard on this daunting task. Daunting, that is, for any true classic film fan whenever asked to narrow down their top films. Especially when one enjoys such an eclectic variety of film. But to add to the challenge, this isn’t as simple as listing off your favorite five films. Au contraire. One must consider these would be your ONLY five films.

So I thought of all the factors that must be considered. What films could be watched hundreds of times over? Staying power… check. What if you have nothing but the beautiful sunrises and sunsets, the warm sand, gentle ocean breezes and cocoanuts to entertain you? Alright, obviously that sounds beyond terrific, but even in paradise we Old Movie Weirdos need our cinema. Entertaining, got it. Also, what films (and charismatic stars) would keep you company over the years stuck on that island? Even Gilligan had an entourage after all. So, a large ensemble of cast may be in order. Hmmm… check.

Comedy has always been my favorite genre, especially when the chips are down. As my predictament of being separated from society would more than likely present an earnest challenge to my serious need for socialization, comedies would be a must. Check. But then I paused for a moment… I needed the inclusion for inspiration of the human spirit. It may be the magic elixar for the optimism required to keep hope of being rescued someday. Ah yes, that would be a nice feather in the cap, too.

Noting all of these factors with this belaboured process, I reached the following results:

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  1. THE GREAT RACE (1965). It’s no secret this has been a favorite of mine since childhood. It hit most of the check marks too. Definitely a comedy. And not just any comedy, but a comedy dedicated to the great Laurel & Hardy and director Blake Edward’s own way of paying homage to that entire wonderful era of comedic filmmaking. Ensemble cast. And what a terrific cast- Tony Curtis and Natalie Wood in their prime, with Jack Lemmon and Peter Falk that make me laugh until I cry, and a team of funny character actors like Keenan Wynn, Larry Storch and Vivian Vance, too. For for a full review and details on this one, click HERE.

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2.  IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD (1963). Here’s another film that I’ve seen countless times over and have no issue in seeing it another hundreds of times more. Additionally, this one also checks the boxes for both comedy and ensemble casting. With a terrific sense of adventure, I know all of these comedy legends would keep me laughing and company on those lonesome nights with only the gritty sand in my toes. Click HERE for more details on why I think this film would be perfectly suited in my island of five.

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3. ARSENIC and OLD LACE (1944). I wouldn’t dare be stuck on a stranded island without my Cary Grant, of course. And a screwball or romantic comedy would be just the ticket. But the Sophie’s Choice faced me down. Which Cary Grant film? THE PHILADELPHIA STORY? BRINGING UP BABY? THE AWFUL TRUTH? MY FAVORITE WIFE? It was practically a coin toss but I finally came to the decision to go with the screwiest one of the lot. And while it may be Grant’s least favorite of his films, in many ways it’s my most. Besides, nothing makes you feel better about your crazy predicament than knowing at least you’re not with a bunch of murderers where insanity runs in the family so much that it “it practically gallops.”

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4. GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933 (1933). I knew a musical would be on my list. Oh sure, a grand and technicolor MGM sort would be delightful, or perhaps the SOUND OF MUSIC would be a fine choice for something uplifting with a plethora of earworms to sing along on the beach. Or even some Ginger and Fred or Gene Kelly? For me, a Busby Berkley vehicle from the deliciously naughty PreCode era is more my style. But again, the task of narrowing it down faced me. FOOTLIGHT PARADE ? 42nd STREET? Truly tough options but GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933 was my first BB love. And with a cast that includes Joan Blondell, Aline MacMahon, Warren William, Ginger Rogers, Dick Powell, Guy Kibbee, Ned Sparks, Ruby Keeler (hello, PreCode dream team!) with toe-tapping tunes as “We’re In The Money,” “Pettin’ In The Park” and “Remember My Forgotten Man,” my lonely troubles would easily melt away.

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5. IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946). When addressing the very last slot, it’s a real toughie. I won’t deny that films like THE THIN MAN, CITY LIGHTS and a variety of Hitchcock films ran through my mind. I wanted to pick an inspirational film. One that moves me to tears. One that’s so classic it will feel moving every time. With just the right amount of comedy and still uplifting in the end, despite the dark tones, Frank Capra’s IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE fits the bill. When straddled with a bleak outlook and challenging obstacles, George Bailey is my go-to guy.

Hope you enjoyed my list and process. As you can see, I enjoyed it too but it was not an easy endeavor. What are your classic five films if stranded on a deserted island? And why? Whatever your picks may be, go enjoy National Classic Movie Day this May 16th by enjoying one or several cinema treasures. If you’re a classic film freak like me, it’s a holiday to celebrate all year long.

TCM Film Fest 2016: Emotions Run High

gary_tcmff_line_sketchLast week I departed from a ten day stay in Hollywood. A grand adventure of exploring the origins of Old Hollywood- both via site-seeing and serving as a Social Producer for the 2016 Turner Classic Movies Film Festival, which took place April 28-may 1. For us classic cinephile fanatics, this year’s schedule of screenings and events tapped deep into a range of emotions, appropriate to the official theme of Moving Images.

[For a full pictorial review of our discoveries into Old Hollywood, look for my pre and post fest coverage in a post coming soon. My travel companions Aurora @CitizenScreen, Annmarie @ClassicMovieHub and Jeanelle @NebraskaNellie and I spent time with pals Laura of @LauraMiscMovie, her hubby Doug, Elise of @EliseCD and Danny of @Cinephiled for unforgettable forays into site-seeing, off the typical tourist grid. ]

For a second year in a row, I was privileged to be selected to act as a Social Producer for this year’s fest. (Click here for that post.) As such, we SPs conducted a little bit of business, including attending the Press Conference, then set out to enjoy this classic movie marathon. Here are my highlights:

DAY ONE, Thursday 4/28:

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Reunited with actor James Karen after the trivia game win. (We’ve met at Buster Keaton Celebration in Iola, KS in years’ past)

“So You Think You Know The Movies” is a popular trivia game, hosted by Film Forum’s hilarious Bruce Goldstein, held annually at Club TCM. SP and media archivist Ariel Schudson (@ArchivistAriel) gathered up a group of us to form a team or two. And lo and behold, our team won! We each contributed at least one answer but Cinematically Insane’s Will McKinley (@willmckinley) saved the day via classic film trivia world domination in a nail-biting tie-breaker.

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My first screening of the fest began with a punch to the gut. Famed film historian Donald Bogle introduced director of ONE POTATO, TWO POTATO, Larry Peerce. It was a film new to me and its impression will be forever etched in my memory. The ground-breaking film on interracial marriage was simple, thoughtful yet incredibly powerful story that left me in tears. I should note that minutes prior to an emotionally raw and unconventional ending, fire alarms sounded; evacuating the entire TCL Chinese Multiplex. We were able to return to complete our screenings; but for many of us, the unfortunate timing was a pinch of salt in our open wounds of emotion.

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Czar of Noir Eddie Muller/ Photo credit: Getty Images for Turner

My second screening took an Argentinian noir twist in Fernando Ayala’s LOS TALLOS AMARGOS. Another new discovery for me, the Czar of Noir Eddie Muller introduced this rarely seen gem which was restored by UCLA’s Film and Television Archive and partially financed by his Film Noir Foundation with rich cinematography by Ricardo Younis. Knee-deep in fraud and paranoia for profit, a reporter (Carlos Cores) pairs up with a Hungarian expat (Vassili Lambrinos) and unravels down a wicked path in this tale of self-destruction.

DAY TWO, 4/29 :
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The second day started with the sumptious Pre-Code feast with Joseph von Sternberg’s SHANGHAI EXPRESS (1932). For a fashionista like me, this is a high-style feast for the eyes. Marlene Dietrich and Anna May Wong are unparallel visions in this gorgeous print. Author Jeremy Arnold introduced celebrated cinematographer and the director’s son, Nicholas von Sternberg, who contributed fun stories on Ms. Dietrich. A personal favorite, and my husband’s (aka @santaisthinking) first time viewing, this was a major highlight of the fest for both of us.

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Actress Jennifer Grant, daughter of Cary Grant

Like countless others, we were shut out of DOUBLE HARNESS so we headed over to the Roosevelt to catch a glimpse of Illeana Douglas’s (@Illeanarama) book signing, grabbed a bite (you remember food, right?) with friends before heading over to catch Cary Grant’s daughter Jennifer Grant introduce her dad’s rarely seen film, WHEN YOU’RE IN LOVE (1937). This was a silly romcom romp where we’re treated to the “Tennessee Nightingale” Grace Moore and Grant tickling the ivories. As he is my all-time favorite actor, this was a very special must-see!

Next up, we indulged in Bruce Goldstein’s Vaudeville 101, at Club TCM. This was a delightful peek at the history and some examples of the early vaudeville acts. Kept me laughing out loud and a few were snipets of the Vitaphone presentation I attended the next day.

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Actor Alec Baldwin interviews screen and stage legend Angela Lansbury/ Photo credit: Getty Images for Turner

We camped out early in front of Grauman’s TCL Chinese Theater in giddy anticipation to see charming Alec Baldwin introducing John Frankenheimer’s THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (1962) with special guest, legendary Angela Lansbury. This dark political thriller remains relevant after all these years and while all the performances were terrific, naughty mommy Lansbury is clearly the stand-out. What a thrill to witness how energetic and razor-sharp this stage and screen icon continues to be.

DAY THREE, 4/30:
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The crowds lined up early at the majestic Egyptian venue for my first event on Saturday with Ron Hutchinson’s presentation of the 90th Anniversary of Vitaphone.  As the founder of The Vitaphone Project, Hutchinson offered the packed house with a brief history of when sound was first synchronized with film, then entertained us with a variety of shorts. Captivating songs and hilarious vaudeville routines from George Burns and Gracie Allen, Baby Rose Marie, Shaw and Lee, Molly Picon and others kept the audience in stitches. What a happy way to start the day! Between our loud laughter that morning and the fact that I can’t stop thinking about those shorts, this presentation developed into my favorite one at the fest.
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Eddie Muller introduced David Wyler with our second feature, William Wyler’s A HOUSE DIVIDED (1931). As Muller pointed out, while it is technically a Pre-Code, it has major noir tones thanks to its cinematography and Walter Huston’s acting chops of his intensely dark character. Again, it was a joy to have a member of the director’s own family, who is also a vet of the entertainment industry and an experienced producer, introduce this early talkie on film.

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TCM Wine Club tasting with dear friends… Aurora (L), Theresa (R) and me (C)

After taking quick peeks at both Alec Baldwin’s interview with Elliot Gould at Club TCM and Rita Moreno’s book signing in the Roosevelt lobby, we took a nice break at the TCM Wine Club wine tasting. Situated poolside, this was a welcome and relaxing reprieve from the fast pace of running to screenings and passing out my #TCMFFSP ribbons to enjoy a few moments of crisp and cool Chardonnay. I recommend!

Then, we settled in back at Club TCM for a more casual view into Hollywood history with Hollywood Home Movies. From movie stars at the Beverly Hills Tennis Club to the Nicolas Brothers at The Palace with special guest Tony Nicholas himself in attendance with his family, this was such a fun and intimate presentation.

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Plethora of friends gather for MIDNIGHT screening

I was pleased to end my evening with a 1930s screwball romcom with Bonnie Hunt’s introduction of Mitchell Leisen’s MIDNIGHT (1939). With dream pairing of writers Billy Wilder and Charles Bracket and a cast that included the stunning and witty Claudette Colbert, a young stached Don Ameche, and an animated John Barrymore, they lit up the screen, scene after scene. I also appreciated that Bonnie Hunt joined us in the audience, sitting in a seat close by to our large group and laughed equally as hard and loudly as we did. Big props to you, Ms. Hunt!

DAY FOUR, 5/1:

I chose to sleep in a bit instead of being included the many who were turned away from DOUBLE HARNESS a second time. Instead, we camped out early to grab a good positioning for Charlie Chaplin’s THE KID (1921). Chaplin’s first feature as director, star, writer and producer, this premiere restoration was a compelling and emotional experience, further enhanced by a detailed intro by acclaimed Parisian film archivist Serge Bromberg.

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David Steinberg, Photo credit: Getty images for Turner

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HORSE FEATHERS screening- TCM Programmer Scott McGee and family- Ethan & Shannon, Photo credit: Getty Images for Turner

We quickly dashed over to comedy great David Steinberg’s intro to Norman Z McLeod’s HORSE FEATHERS (1932).  Groucho, Harpo and Chico are joined by Thelma Todd for this hilarious college football classic. I think the only one in the audience who laughed harder than me was TCM programmer Scott McGee.

Another quick turnaround rushed us back into the same TCL Chinese Multiplex House #1 for John Ford’s grand SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON (1949). Another homage to Monument Valley, this stunning vision on the big screen was another must-see for me. At last year’s #TCMFF, I was thrilled to see Ford’s MY DARLING CLEMENTINE introduced by Peter Fonda and Keith Carradine. Carradine was on hand to honor us with an intro again.

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CINEMA PARADISO star Salvatore Cascio and TCM host Ben Mankiewicz/ Photo credit: Getty Images for Turner

My final screening of the fest was the most emotional one of the long weekend. Writer-director Giuseppe Tornatore’s CINEMA PARADISO (1988) may seem like an unconventional choice to close #TCMFF to those who have never seen it, but for those of us who know and love this film, it was the perfect choice. A foreign film made in the late eighties, this film is a beautiful and deeply emotional tribute to classic film fans. I was not alone as tears streamed down my face for the entire last ten minutes and during other segments as well. Now all grown up Salvatore Cacsio, who played the central character of young Toto, charmed the crowd at Grauman’s TCL Chinese Theatre with his translated guest intro with Ben Mankiewicz. I compliment #TCMFF programmer Charlie Tabesh for this superb pick.

The last night ended with crowded Roosevelt of attendees’ goodbyes and photo opps followed by a late supper at Mel’s Drive-In with friends. My many gratitudes include:

Thanks to Debbie Lynn Elias aka @moviesharkd for including me along with other SPs Aurora @CitizenScreen, Annmarie @ClassicMovieHub and Kristen Lopez @Journeys_Film on her LA-based radio program, BEHIND THE LENS on Adrenaline Radio, generously providing us a platform to discuss our our roles of Social Producers and the #TCMFF. And all her supportive tweets!
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Thanks to my artist hubby Gary @santaisthinking for offering up creative and witty sketches, just for fun! You can probably still find them via #sketchTCMFF on twitter.

Thanks to the entire TCM staff and crew for all their hard work on another successful fest! Spotlight and Essentials passes sold out in a record 14 minutes and the Classic Passes sold out faster than ever before. According to the Press Conference, a projected 26,000 attendees enjoyed this year’s mega event. From a past gig in trade show management of a similar show size in my past life, I can assure you this takes organized planning, countless hours and months of hard work and skilled efficiency… KUDOS, TCM team!

Special TCM staff thanks to Noralil Fiores and Marya Gates for masterfully running the Social Producer program. I can’t imagine leading these initiatives, while TCM launches FilmStruck and TCM Backlots all at the same time. Whew!

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Pals Karen, Jessica, Raquel, Carlos and Danny

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#TCMParty class picture/ Photo credit: Will McKinley

And a VERY special shout-out to all my #TCMFF friends, new and reunited alike. So many which began and continue via the #TCMparty twitter experience and via the Going To TCM Film Fest Facebook page.

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Swapping childhood stories with actress, author and TCM friend Illeana Douglas (L), myself and husband Gary Pratt (R)

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Will McKinley (L), myself (C), TCM host Ben Mankiewicz (R) at the closing party

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Actress Monika Henreid, daughter of Paul Henreid (R) and me

Overall, it was another stellar fest that included star gazing, new discoveries, a ‘family’ reunion of meaningful connections with classic film friends (or #OldMovieWeirdos as we like to call ourselves) and fully cinematic range of emotions. If you love classic movies, love TCM, and you simply want to feel right at home like never before, this is it. Hope to see you at #TCMFF in 2017!

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OSCAR SNUBS of the 31 Days Of Oscar Blogathon are here!

 

 

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We come now to the second week of the 4th annual installment of the 31 DAYS OF OSCAR Blogathon… OSCAR SNUBS! It’s time to vent, folks.

We all have a grievance to spew on at least one, but likely several, categories or years within the history of the Academy Awards. Let’s face it, it’s up to those select group of voters to make their choices in the grand democratic process. And a majority of the nominees and winners are fortunate and well-deserved artisans being honored for their hard work and creative results. But do we always agree?

Cary Grant, Alfred Hitchcock, Myrna Loy, Barbara Stanwyck… these are only a sampling of the mega talent of Hollywood that somehow missed competitive Oscars time and time again to our shock and dismay. So here is your chance to tell us YOUR SIDE of an Oscar Snubs story. Here are this weekend’s participants, thus far…

Second Sight Cinema presents her argument for the glaring Oscar omission with 31 Days Of Oscar: The Stanwyck Snub.  As Lesley puts it, “How the hell could Stanwyck, who for me edges out the other two actresses in my Holy Trinity of divas (Davis and Crawford) for her appeal, her lack of pretension, her ability to be really funny or really poisonous or really glamorous or touching or steely or any combination thereof—how could she not have won anything but that honorary Oscar that is the Academy’s way of saying, “We screwed up”? ” Truly… Twitter: @zleegaspar

My creative co-host Aurora of Once Upon A Screen argues oh-so-justifiably for screen legend Doris Day in Talk About Snubs! Why Hasn’t Doris Day Received an Honorary Oscar?   Of the Board of Governors of AMPAS she asks, “Why those Governors have failed to place Doris Day‘s name alongside the others as a recipient of an honorary award is a mystery to me, something that fuels my anger and disappointment more with each passing year.” EXACTLY, Aurora! Twitter: @CitizenScreen

Moon In Gemini passionately takes on regrets in Alan Rickman’s Absurd Lack Of Oscar Nominations. As she pleas, “if he had managed to live into his 90s, the Academy would have pushed him onstage in his wheelchair and given him an honorary Oscar, because that’s what they do when they realize they’ve screwed up royally with their competitive categories. Which they clearly did in this case, so maybe it will be time for a séance in 30 years, Academy.” Twitter: @DebbieVee

CineMaven’s Essays From The Couch takes a close look at the Sweet Smell Of Success (1957). As Theresa compares to others of this film’s caliber, this film also “shines klieg lights on politics and television and journalism. “Sweet Smell of Success” takes the cake. And to paraphrase J.J. Hunsecker, it’s a cake filled with arsenic. What a fantastic movie. Venom never went down so smoothly.” Twitter: @CineMava

One Gal’s Musings applauds Stanley Tucci‘s body of work for this week’s Oscar Snubs. As she observes his ongoing talents across all screens, “Tucci’s TV work continues to be stellar. To borrow a cliche, he’s one of the hardest working men in show business and appears on TV when the role feels right. He currently has two Emmys on his mantle. It’s Oscar that eludes him.”

Movie Movie Blog Blog lassos up CHILL WILLIS and his ALAMO Oscar Campaign. As he says “Wills’ elaborate Oscar adventure is proof that money and publicity alone are not enough to nab someone an Academy Award. But as we’ve seen in the 55 years since The Alamo, that doesn’t stop plenty of wanna-bes from trying.” Twitter: @SatMatTweet

The Wonderful World of Cinema alerts us to a Joan Fontaine Oscar Snub with Something’s Wrong With Rebecca’s Wins. Virginie “thinks that Joan deserved this Oscar… mainly due to her memorable interpretation of Mrs. De Winter. It’s this role that made her a legend of the silver screen.” Twitter: @Ginnie_SP

Cary Grant Won’t Eat You serves up BIG FISH: A Kettle Of Oscar Snubs As she points out: “I’m curious why this film wasn’t considered worthy of awards based on artistic merit, if nothing else for the images’ perfect cohesiveness with the storytelling.”

I See A Dark Theater breaks down the competition to rally for why funny and talented Jean Arthur may have been nominated for The More The Merrier, but was snubbed for the big win. As she explains, “Arthur’s blend of charm, quirk, and (just barely) subtle command undoubtedly treaded on far lighter ground than the more serious-minded roles her nominative peers tackled, but nonetheless, she still created a nuanced character who operates well beyond the comedic scenes and turns out to be more complex than she appears.” Twitter: @Kimbo3200

Danny Reviews investigates the Top 3 Oscar Worthy Charlotte Rampling Performances. As Danny shares, “Charlotte Rampling is bigger than ever, as her peers in AMPAS, finally nominated her after a nearly 50 year career.” Twitter: @danny_reviews

Critica Retro campaigns for Brazil with Brazil and Oscar- or lack thereof traumatic. “There’s a whole union climate when a Brazilian film is shown on the statue. Suddenly, the whole nation joins around this film, which happens to be “Brazil at the Oscars”: our great hope to show that we also have culture. In no other country an Oscar nomination is able to unite a people, or Americans would be more united and happy people in the world.” Twitter: @startspreading

The Midnite Drive-In gets armed with Guns and Glory while making an argument for The Guns Of Navarone (1961). Quiggy outlines each specific nomination and notes on the score, ” There is one scene in particular, in which the only background music is a rhythmic drum beat.  This made the scene all that more intense, where a full scale orchestra might have reduced it to ashes.  The rest of the movie has such rousing and almost patriotic feel to it.”

Wolffian Classic Movies Digest discusses the Oscar-worthy merits of Jean Arthur in Talk Of The Town. “It is sad as many overlooked gems like this movie does not get the attention it does deserve as one of the movies many sad things was that Jean Arthur never won the award for her wonderful role which was one of her finest on the screen.”Twitter: @wolffianclassic

Stay tuned… MUCH MORE to come! I will update this post throughout the full weekend- both Saturday and Sunday. Please honor these fabulous writers by reading and commenting on their posts. A big SHOUT OUT to all our contributors!

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Read last week’s ACTORS contributors (hosted by adorable Aurora @CitizenScreen at ONCE UPON A SCREEN) here: ACTORS WEEK.

Next weekend (2/20): the CRAFTS!! (Costumes, screenwriting, and so much more!) Hosted by perfectly Paula @Paula_Guthat at PAULA’S CINEMA CLUB

Last weekend (2/27): the BEST PICTURES and DIRECTORS ~ hosted by Kellee and Aurora

The Vapors! Swooning, Fainting Women in Film

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The ivory keys stop abruptly as the image of watching Kay Francis looks over in alarmed concern. Jean Muir dramatically passes out at the piano before she can finish her tune. This isn’t the only time nor the only reference to fainting in the PreCode gem, DR. MONICA (1934). Oh sure, Muir’s character Mary turns out to be pregnant. Francis’ character, Dr. Monica is the doctor that diagnosises her. The kicker is that Mary’s under some strain because the baby’s father John (Warren William) is Dr. Monica’s husband.

It got me to thinking. I’ve been stressed plenty in my day. I’ve been pregnant a couple of times. And while I’ve never dealt with Mary’s situation, I’ve never fainted a day in my life. I don’t know a singular example of any women in my life that has fainted. And yet, from watching classic films, it must happen all the time, often with the slightest strain or a shock.

You can see fainting and swooning in silent films and a plethora of classic films. I can’t think of many examples in modern film where this phenomena isn’t the rare scene. And when exactly did this change occur? Was this a reflection of a change in society? Did women truly faint all the time in in real life, even after those Victorian corsets loosed and fade from fashion? Or was this a stereotype only depicted in film?

You might observe that fainting seemed to transition away from celluloid as feminism came into play in society in the seventies. But a couple of interesting factors should be considered. Many PreCode films of the early 1930s as we can see in the before mentioned film, William Keighley/ William Dieterle’s DR. MONICA (1934), show women in more empowered roles like a female doctors and female pilots and yet they couldn’t seem to stop those darn fainting spells.

Then, fast forward to the ‘women’s lib movement’ of the 1970s. As the movies took on more realism, women seemed to be transitioning away from fainting for bell bottoms and car chases. But did the faux feminine stereotype of fainting fully disappear from the screen? My theory is that modern film replaced the markers of unrealistic fainting and swooning spells for unrealistic crying or hysteria in a continued image of the helpless woman.

Luckily, we’ve seen a few stand-outs of women since the seventies that are empowered and not likely to faint, swoon nor cry when the occasion hardly calls for it. Ripley in the ALIEN (1979+)series, Officer Marge Gunderson in FARGO (1996), and Agent Starling in SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991) come to mind. While I’ve seen a few (emphasis on few) female roles that exhibit physical strength, it still seems a daunting challenge to find a consistency of choice roles that realistically display the emotional fortitude and intelligence of women today. We’ve come a long way baby, but we’ve got a longer way to go…

Here are a few images of those fainting, swooning ladies:

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In MY MAN GODFREY, Carol Lombard makes fake fainting a habit

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Campy SciFi of the 1950s saw a surge of fainting damsels in creature shock

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Announcement: 3rd annual WHAT A CHARACTER! BLOGATHON

“I was only a leading man for a minute; now I’m a character actor.”

… Robin Williams

Back in 2012 we- as in Aurora, Paula and I- borrowed a catch-phrase from our home of the classics, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) to host a blogathon dedicated to those whose names few remember.  The phrase is WHAT A CHARACTER! and the players are actors who rarely got leading parts, exhibiting instead a versatility and depth many leading players wished they had.  We never tire of seeing them or paying tribute and as the previous two installments of this event proved, neither do you.  So let this fun tradition continue with the third annual WHAT A CHARACTER! Blogathon…

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Contact us:

Kellee of Outspoken & Freckled aka (@IrishJayHawk66)

Paula of Paula’s Cinema Club aka (@Paula_Guthat) and

Aurora, of Once Upon a Screen aka (@CitizenScreen)

We are thrilled to be hosting this event again and we hope you’ll join us in shining the spotlight on the great character actors in the movies.  You know who they are, the Edward Arnolds and Eugene Palettes and Eve Ardens of the world, the ones whose names rarely appeared above the movie title, but who we relish in seeing time and time again.

If you’re interested in participating, and we certainly hope you are, please adhere to the following:

  • Let one of the hosts know which character actor is your choice.  Since there are so many greats worthy of mention, we won’t take any repeats and we’re not limiting these to “classic” actors.  Great character actors have made their mark since the end of the classic era and deserve some attention as well so the field is wide open.
  • Please include your twitter or FB tag, email address and blog name & URL.
  • Publish the post for either November 16, 17 & 18.  Let us know if you have a date preference, otherwise we’ll split publicizing duties equally among the three days.
  • Please include the blogathon graphic on your blog to help us publicize the event. (See the 3 pretty banners included in this post)
  • Include the graphic and link to the host sites in your WHAT A CHARACTER! post
  • If possible, please send any of the hosts the direct link to your WHAT A CHARACTER! post by the day before your due date.  Otherwise we’ll simply link to your site’s home page.
  • HAVE FUN and spread the word!  There are many great characters worthy of attention.

PARTICIPANTS:

Ann Doran & Luren Tuttle ~ Theresa guest post on ONCE UPON A SCREEN

Ann Dvorak ~ A PERSON IN THE DARK

Bealuh Bondi ~ A Thousand Words

Burgess Meredith ~ THE LAST DRIVE-IN

C. Aubrey Smith ~ CRITICA RETRO

Cecil Kellaway ~ THE LADY EVE’S REEL LIFE

Christopher Lloyd ~ THE MOVIE RAT

Don Beddoe ~ CHRISTY’S INKWELLS

Dame Edith Evans ~ MARGARET PERRY

Edna May Oliver ~ PORTRAITS BY JENNI

Edward Everett Horton ~OUTSPOKEN & FRECKLED

Esther Dale ~ CAFTAN WOMAN

Frank McHugh ~ THIS GIRL FRIDAY

Grant Mitchell ~IMMORTAL EPHEMERA

Harry Dean Stanton ~ JOEL’S CLASSIC FILM PASSION

Iris Adrian ~ SPEAKEASY

John Ridgley ~ COMET OVER HOLLYWOOD

Leo Carillo ~ PHANTOM EMPIRES

Melville Cooper ~ CLASSIC MOVIE HUB

Rochelle Hudson ~ BUNNYBUN’s CLASSIC MOVIE BLOG

Thelma Ritter ~ CINEPHILED

Thomas Mitchell ~ ONCE UPON A SCREEN

Tony Randall ~ A SHROUD OF THOUGHTS

 

A big thank you – HAPPY BLOGGING!

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The Spielberg Blogathon Weekend… They’re HERE!!

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The time has arrived to join in on the celebration! He is not only one of the most influential filmmakers in film history, but an honest to goodness film fan.  In that spirit, Michael of It Rains…You Get Wet , Aurora of Citizen Screenings and I celebrate the films of Steven Spielberg by way of the SPIELBERG BLOGATHON this weekend.

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The plan is that I will host all Saturday entries on Outspoken & Freckled and Michael will take over hosting duties for Sunday on It Rains…You Get Wet.  As for Aurora, she says… “I’ll be right here” (like writing up this promo post), helping with promotions on social media throughout the weekend.

Following is the list of participants and their chosen topic/film.  You’ll note the entries span Steven Spielberg’s impressive career and exhibit the kind of enthusiasm the director himself injects in his work.  Astounding talent aside, Steven Spielberg speaks to us directly through his movies.  Here’s the proof – enjoy!

JAWS (1975) ~ Kris Kringle for Outspoken & Freckled

RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK ~ Rob Medaska for Citizen Screenings

“Amazing Stories” THE MISSION, tv episode (11/1985) ~ It Rains… You Get Wet

“Night Gallery” EYES, tv episode (1969) ~  It Rains… You Get Wet

MINORITY REPORT (2002) & THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN (2011) ~ Movie Rob

JURASSIC PARK (1993) – Citizen Screenings

DUEL (1971)~ Blog of the Darned

“Columbo” MURDER BY THE BOOK, tv episode ~ Twenty Four Frames

JAWS (1975) ~ Prowler Needs A Jump 

MUNICH (2005) ~ The Joy and Agony of Movies

INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE (1989) ~ Screenkicker!

AMISTAD (1997) ~ Seetimaar- Diary of a Movie Lover

EMPIRE OF THE SUN (1987) – Critica Retro

DUEL (1971) – Blog of the Damned

Why we need Indiana Jones 5 – with or without Harrison Ford – By Director Steven Spielberg

Comparison of Spielberg’s Sci-Fi Films – Cindy Bruchman

SUGARLAND EXPRESS (1974) – The Soul of the Plot

Spielberg’s Actors – Kirkham A Movie a Day

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND’s UFOology – In the Comfy Chair

Escapism: The Spielberg Effect – Outspoken & Freckled

HOOK (1991) – Margaret Perry

TINTIN (2011) – Fights, Tights and Movie Nights 

My Top 10 Favorite Spielberg-Directed Films – Flixchatter

“You shouldn’t dream your film, you should make it!” – Steven Spielberg

 

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the SPIELBERG BLOGATHON

For many, August signals the ending of summer. One of the fun ways this August celebrates summer is via sharks, sharks and more sharks. Sharknadoes came back with a sequel vengeance when “Sharknado 2” aired on SyFy channel recently and became a national, albeit majorly campy, phenomena. August 10th, Discovery Channel returns in it’s 27th season of the very popular “Shark Week” and “JAWS Week” just completed it’s swim on AMC Channel. With all this shark action on the little screen, one can’t help but consider how much Steven Spielberg kicked off a firestorm and created a national fascination due to his film JAWS (1975).

Not his first film and hardly his last, mega hit JAWS (1975) was just the beginning for Spielberg. Taking on everything from aliens, adventure-seeking archeologists, battlefields in WW2 to the Holocaust, director/producer/writer Steven Spielberg has become an American institution via the silver screen. According to imbd he has directed over 52 films and produced over 144 and continues his constant pace today. A prolific filmmaker to be certain. But more importantly, so many of his films became part of our American experience- thanks to his signature style of weaving in very heartfelt and little “real” moments into every film. With so many wonderful Spielberg offerings, why not bid adieu to summer with a SPIELBERG BLOGATHON?

So Michael of IT RAINS… YOU GET WET aka @le0pard13, Aurora of CITIZEN SCREENINGS aka @citizenscreen and I, Kellee of OUTSPOKEN & FRECKLED aka @IrishJayhawk66, are paying homage to this beloved master of cinema with a blockbuster blogathon to end the summer with a BANG!

Here’s how it works:

For any folks who wish to submit one or more blog posts dedicated to Steven Spielberg’s career (film/TV/directing/producing/writing, etc.) particular work or life, simply contact one of us hosts…

Kellee of OUTSPOKEN & FRECKLED ~ twitter @IrishJayhawk66 ~ prattkellee @ gmail [dot] com

Michael of IT RAINS… YOU GET WET ~ twitter @le0pard13

Aurora of CITIZEN SCREENINGS ~ twitter @CitizenScreen

We kindly ask that you do the following:

-leave us a blog comment or tweet us with your Spielberg topic

-provide us with your blog name & url, twitter handle if you have one plus contact info

-let us know when your entry is published (hopefully prior to 8/23-24) so we can promote it

-please post only new content- readers’ greatly appreciate fresh posts! (recycling old material is better for consumer goods)

-include one of the provided banners (see below) and the following statement…

“This post is part of the SPIELBERG BLOGATHON hosted by Outspoken & Freckled, It Rains… You Get Wet, and Citizen Screenings taking place August 23-24. Please visit these host blogs for a full list of participating blogs.”

[Hashtag #SpielbergBlogathon]

BANNERS:

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PARTICIPATING BLOGS:

JAWS (1975) ~ Outspoken & Freckled

INDIANA JONES AND THE RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK ~ Citizen Screenings

“Amazing Stories” THE MISSION, tv episode (11/1985) ~ It Rains… You Get Wet

“Night Gallery” EYES, tv episode (1969) ~  It Rains… You Get Wet

MINORITY REPORT (2002)/ THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN (2011) ~ Movie Rob

DUEL (1971)~ Blog of the Darned

“Columbo” MURDER BY THE BOO, tv episode ~ Twenty Four Frames

JAWS (1975) ~ Prowler Needs A Jump 

MUNICH (2005) ~ The Joy and Agony of Movies

INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE (1989) ~ Screenkicker!

AMISTAD (1997) ~ Seetimaar- Diary of a Movie Lover

EMPIRE OF THE SUN ~ Critica Retro

WHY WE NEED INDIANA JONES 5- WITH OR WITHOUT HARRISON FORD ~ From Director Steven Spielberg

COMPARISON OF SPIELBERG’S SCI-FI FILMS ~ Cindy Bruchman.com

SUGARLAND EXPRESS ~ The Soul of the Plot

JURASSIC PARK ~ Citizen Screenings

RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK ~ Rob Medaska, guest author on Citizen Screenings

SPIELBERG’S ACTORS ~ Kirkham A Movie A Day


keepsake
“Before I go off and direct a movie I always look at 4 films. They tend to be “SEVEN SAMURAI” (1954), LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962), IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946), and THE SEARCHERS (1956).” … Steven Spielberg

photo*As a special treat, we are giving away a fun gift… a JAWS 2014 Hallmark keepsake ornament ~ with the unforgettable John Williams theme sound effects!  All participating bloggers will be automatically entered into the drawing. Sadly, only people living in the domestic United States are qualified to win(apologies to our friends living in Hawaii, Alaska or outside of the U.S. ) Winner will be randomly selected, announced following the blogathon event, then contacted to so we can ship directly.

HAPPY  BLOGGING!

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