Bela Lugosi Versus the Vampire

Film fest time... Bela Lugosi is best-known for playing Dracula in the 1931 Universal film. He played the role on Broadway as well, and he originated what we immediately think of when vampires come to mind (Not looking at you, Twilight.). Hauntingly slow speech. Clawed hands. A sweep of a cape. Bela Lugosi did it all first. Lugosi … Continue reading Bela Lugosi Versus the Vampire

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Stage To Screen: Cry ‘Havoc’

Happy New Year, everyone! How were your holidays? My son has a few days of vacation left before the rat race starts again, and we're savoring these last little bits of carefree non-scheduled time. Lots of binging on DVDs, for one thing. And Sims 3. Anywhoo...  As we've talked about before, Hollywood had to get … Continue reading Stage To Screen: Cry ‘Havoc’

Dance, Vicky, Dance

Hello there... I don't know why I never saw The Red Shoes. TCM showed it several times during the brief period my family had cable, but I never watched it. Too distracted, I guess. Well, that's all changed now, so let's hop into this 1948 gem, shall we? The Red Shoes was based on a story by Hans … Continue reading Dance, Vicky, Dance

Down In Africa

It's Miss Grace! Grace Kelly's third movie was 1953's Mogambo, co-starring Clark Gable and Ava Gardner. Set in the French Congo, it was a remake of the 1932 film, Red Dust. The story was a daring choice for Kelly, but it paid off. Victor Marswell (Clark Gable) is a big game hunter living in the African bush. He's … Continue reading Down In Africa

So Long, Champ

Hello, Mr. Rains... Claude Rains could play anyone...well, almost anyone. He never was a song-and-dance man. He was known for his elegant gentility, whether he played a villain, a hero, or someone in between. In 1941's Here Comes Mr. Jordan, Rains plays what appears to be his usual type, only he holds an extra set of … Continue reading So Long, Champ

Semper Fidelis

As I've said before, with many of their bigger stars and directors overseas, Hollywood studios had to get creative as to what kinds of films they made. Actors and actresses who normally played character or supporting roles were commonly moved into lead parts, and one example of this is the 1943 film, Salute To the Marines. Featuring … Continue reading Semper Fidelis

Mr. Breen Goes To the Village

Welcome back, Mr. Breen! Although it's pretty gentrified nowadays, Greenwich Village has a reputation for counter-culturalism and being a haven for artists and other creative types. It's always been a tempting setting for a story, even during the Production Code Era, when an undiluted bohemian Village didn't exactly meet Mr. Breen's standards. 20th Century Fox … Continue reading Mr. Breen Goes To the Village

The Fighting WACs

One obvious side effect of war, especially a global one, is the shortage of men at home, and World War Two was no different. Countless Hollywood fixtures, whether cast or crew, enlisted or were drafted into the armed forces, leaving studio rosters a little thin for the time being. Naturally, this gave rise to more … Continue reading The Fighting WACs

And Now For Something Completely Different

Who's up for a little classic intrigue? Sometimes when a chance presents itself, there's nothing to do but take it (Within reason, of course). In the early nineteen-forties, Fred MacMurray was a durable rom-com guy, but 1944 brought him a new kind of opportunity--a role in Billy Wilder's Double Indemnity. Based on a story by James M. … Continue reading And Now For Something Completely Different

Ingrid’s Casablanca

Welcome back, Ms. Bergman! What hasn't been said about Casablanca? What hasn't been asked about Casablanca? This is a film that's been parsed, analyzed, memorialized, quoted, parodied, and collected more homage than most films in history, with the exception of Citizen Kane and The Wizard of Oz, of course. What's left to be said? Plenty. It's a classic film that we … Continue reading Ingrid’s Casablanca

Hostage Hotel

Even after his mobility became limited, Lionel Barrymore had a busy career right up to his death in 1954. While he was with MGM for decades, he was loaned out on many occasions, one of the later ones being the 1948 film, Key Largo. Barrymore's role is definitely memorable, and shows his power as an actor even … Continue reading Hostage Hotel

Shamedown #7: The Memphis Belle

Another month, another Shamedown. If anyone would like to know what a Shamedown is, please visit Cinema Shame here. Previous Shamedown posts can be found here. The 1990 film, Memphis Belle, is fairly widely known. An ensemble piece starring Matthew Modine, Sean Astin, Harry Connick, Jr., D.B. Sweeney, Tate Donovan, and John Lithgow, among others, the film was produced … Continue reading Shamedown #7: The Memphis Belle