Shamedown #5: That Uncertain Feeling

We're back, all, and about time, too. School is out for my son and I, of course, and it feels fine. Anyway, if any of you are wondering what a Shamedown is, click here for the answers. No one is too big to fail, not even Ernst Lubitsch and his famous touch, as audiences saw … Continue reading Shamedown #5: That Uncertain Feeling

During World War Two: Remember Pearl Harbor

Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously called December 7, 1941 "a date that will live in infamy." Eighty-plus years later, December seventh is still infamous, although the media nowadays seems to use Pearl Harbor mostly as a metaphor instead of an actuality. 9-11, for instance, has been compared to Pearl Harbor more times than anyone can shake … Continue reading During World War Two: Remember Pearl Harbor

My Four Favorite Noirs

Happy National Classic Movie Day! I'll be honest: Noirs aren't my default choice when it comes to movies. I guess it depends on my mood. Sometimes I've looked at those shadowy scenes and wondered if the characters have ever seen daylight or worn any outerwear other than a trench coat and a fedora. Or ever … Continue reading My Four Favorite Noirs

The Hardys Take Manhattan

Anything that can go wrong... MGM made sixteen Andy Hardy films. It might sound funny to us today, but movie serials were the thing before the advent of TV, and the Hardy movies were easy and quick to shoot because they used the same sets and mostly the same cast every time. Plus the stories … Continue reading The Hardys Take Manhattan

Smile Politely And Stab Cleanly

We all know how much Bette Davis loved heavy, meaty, dramatic roles, and her turn as Regina Giddens in 1941's The Little Foxes sure gave her something to sink her teeth into. I tried watching this movie on the plane to South Dakota last summer, but there was no sound and the remote was in the … Continue reading Smile Politely And Stab Cleanly

During World War Two: With A Little Help From My Friends

After Britain and Germany declared war in 1939, there were roughly two years in which America, for all intents and purposes, laid low. Sort of. Not really. The first Neutrality Act was signed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt on August 31, 1935, and it would be renewed several times over the next few years. The Act … Continue reading During World War Two: With A Little Help From My Friends

The Play’s the Thing

Mr. Holden's back... By 1943 William Holden had been in films for five years, and his roles were steadily growing in size and importance. It's ironic that one of his movies from that year was Young And Willing, about green-as-grass hopefuls trying to break into show business. The movie feels like something we've seen before, only … Continue reading The Play’s the Thing

Shamedown #3: The Crystal Ball

Another Shamedown is upon us. A little late, but it's still March, so we're all good. If anyone would like to know what a Shamedown is, please click here. Paulette Goddard and Ray Milland were kind of a screen team. They made four movies together during the nineteen-forties, and the third of the four was … Continue reading Shamedown #3: The Crystal Ball

Lauren’s Big Break

Time to look for some clues, all... The hard-boiled detective trope really came into its own during the 1930s, and one of its patron saints is Raymond Chandler, whose Philip Marlowe graced the screen several times, as well as books and radio. One of these is 1946's The Big Sleep, starring Humphrey Bogart, who turned hard-boiled … Continue reading Lauren’s Big Break

Why I’ve Seen “Since You Went Away” Umpteen Times

Since You Went Away is very well-trod territory for me. I've parsed it, studied it, scoured the Web for information about it. I've even counted the number of times the movie mentions war bonds and stamps (five times and twice, respectively, in case anyone is wondering). For those who might not be familiar with the plot, it follows … Continue reading Why I’ve Seen “Since You Went Away” Umpteen Times

My Favorite Moments From “It’s A Wonderful Life”

Few movies, holiday or otherwise, are as iconic as 1946's It's A Wonderful Life, and I'm not going in for hyperbole here. We see this thing everywhere. It's parodied, excerpted, tributed, shown in the background in various languages (looking at you, Home Alone 2) and we know it like green bean casserole or Mom's sugar cookies. … Continue reading My Favorite Moments From “It’s A Wonderful Life”

Put the Blame On Mame

Here's Mr. Ford... Our guest of honor sure had a way of landing some interesting roles, and one of the most iconic films he did by far was 1946's Gilda. It might be more iconic for Rita Hayworth than Glenn Ford, but it's a tossup as to who makes the bigger impression. The film was tumoultous … Continue reading Put the Blame On Mame

Stage To Screen: Our Town

Our Town is a perennial favorite for a lot of people all over the world. It's always being produced somewhere. Its setting, the fictional town of Grover's Corners, New Hampshire, even has its own website. This 1938 Pulitzer Prize winner follows the story of Emily Webb and George Gibbs, next door neighbors and childhood friends who … Continue reading Stage To Screen: Our Town

Queen of the Jukebox

There's a lot of weird, obscure stuff on streaming media, and Amazon seems to be a particular gold mine. I don't know how I found the 1944 film, Swing Hostess, but somehow I did. Or it found me. Who knows. Either way, it's been sitting on my Prime list for months, waving at me with its … Continue reading Queen of the Jukebox

Esther’s New Suit

Hello, Miss Esther... One of the fun things about Esther Williams' movies is seeing all the ways MGM devised to get her into the water, and so far I think my favorite is the 1949 film, Neptune's Daughter. It's not only a fun movie, but it's the point in Esther's career in which she started … Continue reading Esther’s New Suit

Less Phantom, More Opera

Surprise blogathon time... From the 1925 Lon Chaney classic to the beloved Andrew Lloyd Webber leviathan of a musical, The Phantom of the Opera is a perennial showstopper with its soaring music, swinging chandelier, and all-around creepiness. Sandwiched among the many onscreen iterations is the 1943 version starring Claude Rains as the Phantom with Nelson … Continue reading Less Phantom, More Opera

Keep It Simple, Sweetheart

We're back on Broadway, people. Eleanor's back. George Murphy's back. Fred Astaire's back...oh, wait. This was his first and only Melody, although he did dance on the real Broadway, so there's that. After the rather confusing and lackluster Broadway Melody of 1938, MGM went for a less-is-more approach with what became the final film in the Broadway Melody series, The Broadway … Continue reading Keep It Simple, Sweetheart