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

Oxford Calling

The Barrymores are back, y'all... In 1936, MGM established a branch of its studio in Britain, starting out at the Denham Studios in London. In 1938 three of its biggest stars made A Yank At Oxford there: Robert Taylor, Lionel Barrymore, and Maureen O'Sullivan, supported by a lady who would became rather infamous later. Lee (Robert Taylor) … Continue reading Oxford Calling

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

Stage To Screen: A Raisin In the Sun

In "Lost Ones," Lauryn Hill wrote, "It's funny how money change a situation." The song is about a bad breakup, but money does change everything whether it's lacking or in abundance. It doesn't matter what race or ethnicity someone is, or where they live, or what time period they live in. Money does things to … Continue reading Stage To Screen: A Raisin In the Sun

Home Sweet Haunt

Mwahahaha... Even the dark house subgenre has its cliches. The jumpscare. The dark and stormy night. The literal skeletons (and maybe various body parts) falling out of closets. Lots of screaming. Oh, and let's not forget the Spend-the-Night-In-the-House-And-Win-Something trope. 1958's House On Haunted Hill ticks all these boxes, adding in a bit of camp and the … Continue reading Home Sweet Haunt

Burton Meets Irving

Yep, it's almost Halloween. Amazing, isn't it? I don't know about anyone else, but I always like visiting Sleepy Hollow around this time, and this year I thought I'd review the Tim Burton version of Washington Irving's immortal 1820 story. For those of you who haven't taken in this film, be warned: This isn't the … Continue reading Burton Meets Irving

Five Reasons To See “Frankenstein”

Everybody knows who Frankenstein's monster is. Let's be honest. He's as notorious as Dracula with an almost equally formidable filmography. We'll go into that another time with a proper "Page To Screen," but today we're only interested in the 1931 Universal classic and why it's worth watching. Frankenstein came out ten months after Dracula and Universal Studios … Continue reading Five Reasons To See “Frankenstein”

Jean’s Breakthrough

Here's Miss Jean... Jean Arthur was an extremely competent actress and best remembered for her screwball comedies. She made several films with Frank Capra, one of which was the 1936 smash, Mr. Deeds Goes To Town. It was Arthur's breakthrough role and her first time working with Frank Capra, who was making the first of what would … Continue reading Jean’s Breakthrough

All For One, One For All

Hello again, Mr. Breen... Ah, The Three Musketeers. I remember watching the film when it came out in 1993 and thinking it seemed a tad derivative in the wake of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Both movies start out in a prison with guys getting done in for stealing. Both movies were scored by Michael Kamen … Continue reading All For One, One For All

Everybody’s Habitual

Hello, Miss Parker... Eleanor Parker certainly got around in terms of the roles she played, and in my opinion one of the more unusual ones was that of Zosh in the 1955 film, The Man With the Golden Arm. Oh golly, it's a doozy. It's a little bit beatnik. It's a little bit Requiem For A Dream. In the … Continue reading Everybody’s Habitual

Page To Screen: The Black Stallion

Who else had to read The Black Stallion for school? I did. Fourth grade. I can't remember anyone complaining about it. In fact, Black Stallion books were kind of the rage in my class. For those who haven't experienced it, the novel follows New York City teenager Alec Ramsey and his friendship with a mysterious, very wild … Continue reading Page To Screen: The Black Stallion

The Documentary of the Future

Hey Boo... Robert Duvall has had a wildly diverse career to say the least. George Lucas, um, not really, but he's George Lucas. In 1971 the two of them made an unlikely team with the release of Lucas's first feature film, THX-1138, a dystopian tale of the world we live in, only not. THX-1138 bears a slight resemblance … Continue reading The Documentary of the Future

The Not-So-Simple Life

Some say that before there were influencers, there was Paris Hilton. I don't know if I agree with that, because influencer culture has always existed in some form, but it can't be denied that Hilton possesses a unique kind of celebrity. Actually, that's an understatement. Those of us who were around in the nineties and … Continue reading The Not-So-Simple Life

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