Stage To Screen: Girl Crazy

Amazing as their music is, a lot of George and Ira Gershwin's musicals aren't presented today in their original forms, and while Girl Crazy is no different, it has stayed more intact than the vast majority of its mates, at least in terms of its music. Girl Crazy marked the debut of such classics as "I Got … Continue reading Stage To Screen: Girl Crazy

I Shall Return

One of the Second World War's most iconic images is that of General Douglas MacArthur wading through the surf at Leyte in his long-promised return to the Philippines. While that incident has famously been called "staged," it was and it wasn't. MacArthur's landing craft was unable to take him right up to the beach because … Continue reading I Shall Return

Somewhere Over the Film Noir

Betty Grable and Carole Landis don't really come to mind when one thinks of film noir. They're fun and nice and pretty and hardly the type for dark and stormy nights, but dark and stormy is exactly what they get in 1941's I Wake Up Screaming, a murder mystery based on the Steve Fisher novel, Hot Spot. Well, … Continue reading Somewhere Over the Film Noir

It’s All About People

It's a great day for the Irish... We all know 2020 was a strange year, not only because it felt like the hits just kept on coming, but how we relate to each other was turned on its head. Certain salespeople would have us believe that being apart is no problem. Just get on Zoom … Continue reading It’s All About People

The Lady In the Tutti-Frutti Hat

Taking Up Room's first blogathon of 2021... Carmen Miranda's star rose very quickly in the United States, and it didn't take long for Twentieth Century Fox to play that up in a big way. The most overt example of was 1943's The Gang's All Here. The film appears to be an homage to the Good Neighbor … Continue reading The Lady In the Tutti-Frutti Hat

Down On the Farm

This year has shown us things about ourselves, positive and otherwise, and it may mean discovering depths and talents we never knew we had. With that in mind I decided to revisit 1947's The Egg and I. It's not only based on a true story of a city couple trying to start a chicken farm, … Continue reading Down On the Farm

Let’s Put On A Show

Escapism can take some funny shapes, and in 1944's Broadway Rhythm it literally does. It was meant to be the latest installment in the Broadway Melody series, but L.B. Mayer decided to change it to a vehicle for up and coming singer Ginny Sims. It was also an adaptation of a Kern and Hammerstein musical called Very Warm … Continue reading Let’s Put On A Show

Vive La France

Welcome back, Mr. Rains... While France was occupied during the Second World War, its soldiers, sailors, and airmen managed to deal heavy blows to the Axis with assists from the English and Americans. Like many other aspects of the war this effort was fodder for Hollywood's movie factory, and in 1944 our guest of honor … Continue reading Vive La France

Astaire’s Worst Movie

Gotta dance... Fred Astaire wasn't immune to the occasional turkey and one of them is 1940's Second Chorus. Astaire plays Danny, a trumpet player in a college band. It sounds all right on the surface, except that Astaire was forty-one at the time. At least Artie Shaw was along to make it all better. Oh, … Continue reading Astaire’s Worst Movie

See You In Court

Kate and Spence have returned, all... When Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy come up, people often talk about how well-matched they are. They're like two peas. Whatever Spence gave Kate, she gave back to him, and their love for each other was always evident. This dynamic played successfully in nine feature films, and one of … Continue reading See You In Court

We Can Take It

Rule, Britannia, Britannia rules the waves... It's no secret that early in the Second World War the United Kingdom was among the few free nations fighting against the Nazis. By 1944 people were exhausted and pep talks were in order, one of which came in the form of the Carol Reed film, The Way Ahead. … Continue reading We Can Take It

Through Different Eyes

I don't know what I was expecting when I bought 1945's The Enchanted Cottage. I didn't even think much about the plot except that it might be some nice late-World War Two escapism. What I found, though, was a quietly beautiful story about two outsiders who discover that the world has more for them than they realize. … Continue reading Through Different Eyes

The Old College Try

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

For Your Entertainment

Our state fair is a great state fair. Don't miss it, don't even be late. It's dollars to donuts that our state fair is the best state fair in our state... 1945 was a weary year, but with the end of the war in August everyone was looking ahead to happier times and simple fun. … Continue reading For Your Entertainment

Six Reasons To See “Meet Me In St. Louis”

In 1944 Americans and everyone around the world were weary of war. There was a desire for simpler, happier times, when nothing very big or exciting happened. Hollywood fed into this with movies such as Meet Me In St. Louis, a gentle story about the Smith family as they wait for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, or th … Continue reading Six Reasons To See “Meet Me In St. Louis”