Hello, Mr. Lawford... One of the quirks of the studio era was that very often actors were conscripted into parts. Unless a performer had a lot of clout with the public, they pretty much had to take whatever the studio threw at them. Even then the word, "suspension" got bandied around a lot, but that's … Continue reading The Old College Try
How is everyone holding up? It's T-minus thirty days and counting until the Atticus and Boo Blogathon, people. Thanks to everyone who has signed up so far--you all are awesome! If any of you other equally awesome people are looking to join our little tribute, here are the details. Feel free to contact me anytime … Continue reading One Month Until the Atticus and Boo Blogathon
Nice to see Ms. Bergman again... In the seventies, studios liked a lot of star wattage in their prestige films. Maybe it was because their output was so much smaller than it was in past decades, or maybe they were desperate to get audiences away from their TVs and back into theaters. It was probably … Continue reading This Train Is Bound For Murder
Mr. Johnson's back... When Batman was on TV in the 60s, it seemed like every star in Hollywood lined up to take their turn at being a villain, and one of these was Van Johnson. Early in Season Two, he played the Minstrel, a devious lute player who sets his sights on the Gotham City Stock Exchange … Continue reading Holy Guest Star, Batman
Good evening (oh, wait)... Every prestigious filmmaker has had their imitators, and there's probably more homage paid to Hitchcock than anyone. One instance of this is the 1997 David Mamet film, The Spanish Prisoner, a tale of twists, turns, betrayal, and secrets. Oh, and it features an unusually serious Steve Martin, but we'll get to that. … Continue reading Anybody Could Be Anybody
Swimmers, take your marks... Esther Williams never set out to be a movie star. She was a champion swimmer who dreamed of competing in the Olympics. When the 1940 games were cancelled, she got a job working as a floor model at I. Magnin's Los Angeles store, and then landed a gig with Billy Rose's … Continue reading Come On In, the Water’s Fine
Good evening (again)... Hitchcock had a long time to develop his trademark style. Before the taut mysteries and thrillers we all know and love, he accumulated a sizeable and assorted filmography. One of these was his 1928 British film, Champagne. It's so unlike what we think of as traditional Hitch that if anyone misses the opening … Continue reading Is That You, Hitch?
Hello, friends. I'm your Vitameativiggivat Girl... The name, Lucille Ball, is synonymous with dramatic film noir...oh, wait, no, it isn't. Duh. 😉 Lucille Ball was a comedienne in the best sense, but like most up-and-coming actors, she did her share of roles outside of what she's now famous for. Ergo, Lucille Ball made some dramatic … Continue reading Hardboiled Lucy
Good to see you, Miss Barbara... I have kind of a love-argh thing with Preston Sturges. I know he's revered among film buffs, but sometimes he bugs me. Not always, though. Sullivan's Travels excellently captures a time when men rode the rails to wherever the jobs were. Hail the Conquering Hero is a rollicking tale of … Continue reading Crooked But Never Common
*Sound of book opening...* Disney certainly used to love the classics. One of the best of their old-school features in my opinion is 1949's The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, which combines not one, but two classics: Kenneth Grahame's novel, The Wind In the Willows and Washington Irving's short story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The film … Continue reading Ichabod and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
Hello again, Mr. Donat... I was going to review The Magic Box for Maddy's 'thon, but Amazon un-Primed it, so it's getting saved for later. Plan B was 1943's The Adventures of Tartu, an intriguing though very rough-around-the-edges tale of espionage and near-romance. I had no idea what to expect going in, but I figured I'd give Tartu a … Continue reading A Tartu By Any Other Name
In 1960, To Kill A Mockingbird released, and movie audiences beheld something unique in film history, although they wouldn't have known it then: The last few minutes of the movie are one of two brief times Gregory Peck and Robert Duvall would share a screen. It was Robert Duvall's first movie. As Boo Radley, he … Continue reading Announcing the Atticus and Boo Blogathon!
Ms. de Havilland is back... In the nineteen-fifties, Olivia de Havilland was married and living in Paris with her husband and two children, but she still made films now and then. In 1958 she starred in The Proud Rebel opposite Alan Ladd. A somewhat gentle story for a western, the film follows a Confederate veteran as … Continue reading Proud Olivia
Mr. Rathbone, I presume... Basil Rathbone had the forceful act down pat. If he wanted to, he could take or throw a punch, hold his own with a sword, or bore a hole in his opponent with his eyes. In the 1935 film, Anna Karenina, where Rathbone played Alexei Alexandrovitch Karenin, the rejected husband of the … Continue reading Shorter Basil
Are you prepared? The seventies were a weird time in Hollywood. Studios were operating on tighter budgets, so the high output of a couple of decades earlier was unheard of. Instead, studios opted for fewer films with big ensemble casts and higher octane production values, and one of these was 1974's The Towering Inferno. Like … Continue reading The Tower By the Bay