Monday, December 24, 2012

No, Seriously, I'm Here Now

     Okay, so remember back on December 4 when I said I was back? Yeah, well, that didn't go as planned because obviously it has been twenty days (Happy . . . Merry? . . . Christmas Eve by the way, guys) since I gave an update on here. I've never done the whole New Year's Resolution thingy bajig, but I think I'll be doing one this year.

Be Organized!

     Geesh, never in my life have I ever had this much trouble be organized and on time. It's driving me nuts! I have to be organized or I do not function well (as evidence by my lack of posting on here, having time to watch my wonderful classic films, and in general, live in my own world). School and work has taken me by storm and I had the brilliant idea of getting sick . . . again. However, I should be in the clear now. I'm done with math. Kaput. Finito. I no longer have to endure Economics. Shabam! I can, at last, relax. The first semester is over . . . and oh, Dear God since the world didn't end this past Friday (I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this), I only have . . . gasp . . . five more months of seniorhood and I am . . . bigger gasp . . . graduating. Done with high school. Given a firm boot to the rear end and thrust into the real world. Oh. God. Can I pretty, pretty please go back in time and start over again? I don't want to pass Go. I don't want to collect.


     Fine. Don't let me. Make me have to face that cruel and unforgiving thing called life. I love you, too.

Anyways . . .

     So, lets see, what did I promise in my last post? Ah, yes, I remember, my Wish List. Well, people, since we live in the technology generation and since my parents were most definitely not born in the technology generation and since Barnes and Noble decided not to have the classic films which I desperately wanted, I know exactly what I'm getting for Christmas since I had to order them from Amazon. Does that deter me in the slightest? Does that make me any less excited than I would have been if I had given my mother a list and sent her off to Barnes and Noble by herself and hope that she find them? No. It does not. Believe me. I'm still itching to get my hands on them.
     And here, ladies and gentlemen, are my little goodies that I have to wait twenty-four more hours to get my hands on:

    Dean. Need I say more? I didn't think so.
    Photo Courtesy of http;//

    Three Sailors & A Girl
    I needed more Gordon in my life. You
    can never have too much of him.
    Photo Courtesy of

    Tea And Sympathy [Remaster]
    At last! It's mine! BWAHAHAHAHA!
    Photo Courtesy of

    To put my love for this film into words is
    nearly impossible. When I saw this was at last
    on DVD, I got a little misty eyed.
    Photo Courtesy of

    Battle Circus
    Bogie and June Allyson. Bogie and June Allyson!
    Together. In a picture. Together.
    Photo Courtesy of

    The Glenn Miller Story
    Broke down and finally got this at
    Barnes and Noble.
    Photo Courtesy of

    I got the King at Walmart.
    Photo Courtesy of
    San Francisco
    This was on my to-own list, but I wasn't necessarily
    looking to buy it and own it just now, but Clark here is
    under the Christmas tree, waiting for me.
    Photo Courtesy of
    TCM Greatest Classic Legends Film Collection: Doris Day (Calamity Jane / Please Don't Eat the Daisies / Love Me or Leave Me / Romance on the High Seas)
    For some unknown reason, because I always remember
    what film I do and do not have, I forgot that I
    already had Calamity Jane. 3/4 though ain't bad.
    Photo Courtesy of

     My mom also bought me a Western set with John Wayne pictures and a Richard Widmark picture, but I can't find a photo of it, and I don't remember what the exact title of the product is, but I know that I got me some westerns to look forward to.

My Cyber Monday Buy

     I also said that I would share my Cyber Monday buy that was just too perfect I couldn't resist and one that nearly brought me to tears:

The Complete Thin Man Collection (The Thin Man / After the Thin Man / Another Thin Man / Shadow of the Thin Man / The Thin Man Goes Home / Song of the Thin Man / Alias Nick and Nora)
Photo Courtesy of

     There it is. In all it's glory, The Complete Thin Man Collection. $17.99. I snatched this baby up so fast it was unreal. I wasn't about to risk me missing this buy especially since it had been sitting on $59.92 for a very long time. If you do the math, or better yet, let Amazon do the math for you that's a 70% discount. I surely thought it would go back up after Cyber Monday was over, but I just checked and it's still the same $17.99 so if you want this, need this like I did, I'd go ahead and buy it if I were you. Make it your late Christmas present to yourself. You honestly can't get much better than this.
     Well, there we are. Before the year is up, I'll have a Tin Pan Alley up. And I promise, no more super long hiatuses from me; I don't like them. Also, in January, I'll be starting the Star of the Month again.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

I'm Back, I'm Back!

     Oh, wow, so I had no idea that I had taken over a month hiatus! GAH! I feel awful. I originally had just planned to take a small break because my life (i.e. school and work) is a little bit (I lie. I mean a lot) hectic right now, and I just need some breathing space. I'm good now, though. I've gotten things under wrap it seems for the most part, and I'm lock and loaded and ready to go.
     Because it's nearing Christmas, I'll be posting my Classic Christmas Wish List tomorrow, if not in a couple of days. I don't know about you guys, but I've got a lot of classic films that I want, but I know that I can't own all the DVDs in the world so I'll just have to narrow it down to, oh, I don't know, half of all the DVDs in the world? Yeah, that should be good . . .
     Also, to keep with the whole idea of me making Tin Pan Alley a regular monthly post, I'll also be doing that, I've got a post idea about an AWESOME buy that I got due to Cyber Monday (no joke, it's awesome. It's so awesome it nearly brought me to tears).
     And for all this month, I'll Be Dreaming of a White Christmas with Bing, staying inside, keeping warm (especially as it gets nearer to Christmas) because Baby, It's Cold Outside with my one and only Dean (we'll also be walking in a Marshmallow World), and also be happy because as Andy said, It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year! (Yes, I know. That was so corny, but I was in the mood for a little corn on the cob).
     See you all soon!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Tin Pan Alley: The Beatles

     Yeah, so remember when I said I was going to make this a monthly thing? Yeah, well, it's been four months since I did my first one on Dean, and so obviously I am a failure on a gargantuan level. I've been meaning to do one of these bad boys forever now, but somehow I always forget to actually do it so while it's on my mind, I'm going to finally do my second Tin Pan Alley (and hopefully it will actually become a monthly series on here).

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     Well, as I told you, just because the series title is Tin Pan Alley that doesn't mean I'm just sticking to that period of time in the music world. I love music from the 20s-60s plus some Paul McCartney after The Beatles, but for this post we're just going to look at my top ten favorite song of The Beatles.

The Beatles
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1. I Saw Here Standing There . . . (Paul McCartney and John Lennon; Record/CD: Please Please Me)
  • This is the song that got me interested in The Beatles. I was so resistant about liking them because I felt as though I were betraying Dean and Frank and all the rest of my people if I did that. I couldn't help it though. This is song is just so . . . fun! It always gets my foot tapping.

2. Honey Pie . . . (Paul McCartney and John Lennon; Record/CD: The White Album)
  • This song has everything that I like: old Hollywood and Paul's vocals. I really love this song.

3. Cry Baby Cry . . . (John Lennon and Paul McCartney; Record/CD: The White Album)
  • Thanks to my teacher for A.P. Lit, I cannot help but to analyze almost everything now: my books, films, and songs in search of the hidden messages because as my teacher assures me . . . they're there. And when I analyzed Cry Baby Cry . . . well, it made me want to cry. John did a superb job, and then Paul's add on at the end which is apparently supposed to be a part of another song, which would make some think that it wouldn't mesh together, but because it's The Beatles it works.

4.  Yesterday . . . (Paul McCartney and John Lennon; Record/CD: Help!)
  • Talk about heartbreak. The lyrics just kill me. And Paul is a genius for though the song was credited as Lennon-McCartney, Paul wrote this all by his lonesome; and that's exactly what the song gives off the feeling of: loneliness.

5. The Long and Winding Road . . . (Paul McCartney and John Lennon; Record/CD: The Blue Album)
  • Paul. Just stop. You're killing me.

6. Help Me! . . . (John Lennon and Paul McCartney; Record/CD: Help!)
  • Love this song, though I can't really say who's version I like of this better: The Beatles or Jerry Lewis and his son, Gary.

7. Lady Madonna . . . (Paul McCartney and John Lennon; Record/CD: The Blue Album)
  • Very jazzy. Me like.

8. Eleanor Rigby . . . (Paul McCartney and John Lennon; Record/CD: Revolver)
  • "All the lonely people, where do they all come from/All the lonely people, where do they all belong?"

9. Drive My Car . . . (Paul McCartney and John Lennon; Record/CD: Rubber Soul)
  • I wish I had someone to drive my car . . . though I have no intentions of becoming a star. Fun to sing a long to and it just makes me want to move. "Beep Beep, Beep Beep, yeah!"

10. Come Together . . . (John Lennon and Paul McCartney; Record/CD: Abbey Road)
  • Damn good song.

     There we are then: the second edition of Tin Pan Alley. I don't really see how someone can't like The Beatles. They were so eclectic and talented that you have to like at least one of their songs. Now, I don't like all of their songs because there's just some that make me scratch my head and go "Huh?" but even so, there will never be another The Beatles. Oh, and I would like to point out just in case you didn't notice, Paul is my favorite.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Dear Cary,

A very young and handsome you.
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     I have a million of things that I long to tell you, but for fear of sounding too obsessed, I'm going to keep it to a minimum. The first thing that I must tell you is "thank you". I must tell you thank you before anything else because you saved me. You saved me when I desperately needed to be saved. My parents have been divorced all my life, and have living with my mother, I had decided that I was going to live with my father for the last four years of my public school career. Though my mother tried to explain to me that it was going to be too different down there, and I wouldn't like anything, I was (am) stubborn, and I didn't listen to her. Well, she was right. I hated it down at my father's. I couldn't stand the school, I missed my friends, I missed my mother, and most of all I missed the life that I had lived for fourteen years. I just wanted it all back.
     And that's when you came in, Cary.
     I decided that I was going to move back to my mother's after I finished ninth grade down at my father's, but that was such a long way to go. I felt as though I were drowning and I knew that I needed a life saver to rescue me. That life saver came in the form of TCM: Turner Classic Movies. I immediately fell in love with the black and white, color, 1930s through the 1960 movies. They were different. They were like nothing I had ever seen before. Oh, sure, I had seen Gone with the Wind, and I had seen a ton of John Wayne pictures, but never before had I ever seen anything like TCM was showing.
My second favorite picture.
Photo Courtesy of
     And I had never seen anything like you grace the screen in all my days.
     Cary, you were so so so handsome. Illegally handsome. No man should ever look as good as you did. Yet there you were in all your glory, flashing that white smile, showing off that cleft chin, and your eyes sparking with mischief. You made me laugh. I love to laugh, and for a while there I wasn't doing any of that. But you made up for all that lost laughter. And that voice of  yours . . . it was magic to me, music. And you knew this. You knew the effect that you had on people but never, not once, did you let it go to your head. For all your fame, you never let it get the best of you. You tried to act and be as simple as possible. That was little Archibald Alexander Leach in you. The little boy that grew up from the age of nine thinking that first, his mother had abandoned him, and then second, had died. Your father, for the most part, was absentee. You ran away at fourteen to join Bob Pender's Stage Troupe, and when they went to America you went with them, and it was while you were here that you knew that you belonged here. There was no other place for you. America was the land where dreams came true, and you had such big dreams and every last one of them deserved to at least have a chance to come true.
     Success didn't just come to you, you had to work hard for it, but you were used to doing that. You had to work hard for every little thing that you had; and that's one thing that makes me so mad when people say that you were a tightwad or cheap. You weren't that way by choice. You grew up in England during the first World War and you had to learn to give up things, have substitutes, or sometimes nothing at all; but even then you weren't a tightwad. A tightwad, no matter how much he loved his home country, would not give his whole salary, which amounted up to $100,000 from a film, in your case The Philadelphia Story, to the British War Relief Fund. Oh, yes, Cary, you were a terrible tightwad.
My favorite picture of you, though I don't know exactly why.
Photo Courtesy of
     You weren't by no means perfect, Cary. You had your own demons just like we all do. You did things that I'm sure you wished you hadn't when you got older and you looked back on it, and then in the same breath, I'm sure you said that there were things that you wished you had done but hadn't, and that in any case, you did what you did and there was no going back. As much as I love you, Cary, I try very hard not to idolize you because I know that you didn't like that. I try hard to think of you as the man Cary Grant before I think of you as the movie star Cary Grant. As a man, as a human being, you were allowed to make mistakes. And so, for the most part, I succeed.
     I would also like to say that it makes me so happy to know that before you passed on, that you had at last found happiness with your daughter, Jennifer, and your last wife, Barbara. You deserved that happiness Cary, after all that had happened to you. You deserved it, and if there was only one thing that I could have ever wished for you was that you had got to enjoy it a little more than you had.
You and Jennifer.
Photo Courtesy of
     So, now to get to the end, I just wanted you to know how much I love, admire, and respect you. Though you have been gone now for twenty-six years you will never fully be gone from this world because of this glorious thing called celluloid. You will forever grace the silver screen, and as the years go by, I promise that when people see your pictures they will love you. I know because I did, I do, and I always will.

This letter was written in conjunction with the blogathon A Letter to the Stars. This is the first of my three letters to my three favorite stars. The following two will be up tomorrow and Tuesday.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Film Review: Beau Geste (1939)

My addiction.
Photo Courtesy of
TCM: Three brothers in the French Foreign Legion fight off murderous Arabs and a sadistic sergeant.

     To say that I simply really like this film would be a gross understatement. My feelings for Beau Geste amount way more than a "I like this film". No. It's to the point where for a brief second, just a brief one mind you, I wondered if Only Angels Have Wings might have competition. 
     Yes, it's that serious.
     And what makes it all the more funny to me is that I had been putting this film off for so long that it almost became an inside joke for me. I don't know why I put it off for so long, I guess I thought, despite the fact that Gary Cooper was the star, it was going to be boring and I wouldn't like it.
     I laugh in the face of irony.
     What got me to finally watch Beau Geste? The chance to see little Donald O'Connor. Yes. That is the sole reason why I decided that at last I was going to sit down and watch it.
     Of course, by the very first scene, it had me.
The boys.
Photo Courtesy of
     As I watched Beau Geste, I couldn't help but be jealous of the relationship between the three brothers, Beau, Digby, and John. I'm a girl, and though I have two older brothers and a younger sister, I have never felt the camaraderie between my siblings and I. Sure, I know that they'd be there for me, and if I cried for help, they'd come help me. I love them, and I'm pretty sure they love me. But I would kill to have the relationship that these Geste boys have with each other.
     Now going off of the word "relationship" and "camaraderie", I would like to pay special attention to the charisma between Gary Cooper, Robert Preston, and of course, the man of the month, Ray.
Ray, Darling, could you please stop being so handsome?
GIF Courtesy of
     Despite the fact that Gary Cooper is the star, and the fact that I love both him and Robert Preston (the Music Man!), every time I watch Beau Geste, I cannot stop myself from staring at Ray the whole time. Yes, he was incredibly handsome, but it is much more than that. This was Ray's first action adventure film after many "drawing room comedies where he played the suave sophisticate" (TCM) and he welcomed the chance, and you get this feeling that he had a lot of fun during the production with Coop and Robert.
Top of the mornin' to you!
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     This 1939 version is a remake of the popular silent 1926 version which starred Ronald Colman in the role of Beau, Neil Hamilton as Digby, and Ralph Forbes as John. Now, I haven't seen the original, but supposedly, the 1939 version is basically a carbon copy of the 1926. And while I know Ronald Colman, and respect him greatly as an actor in the few films that I've seen him in, I do not know who Neil Hamilton or Ralph Forbes are so I can't really say if they were great actors or not. In any case, I have a very hard time in seeing anyone play the Geste brothers as well as Coop, Robert, and Ray did (especially Ray).
Just kill me now.
GIF Courtesy of
     Going back to how I thought this picture would be boring and that's why it took me so long to finally watch it . . . well, obviously, that thought easily wins the award for all of the stupid thoughts that I've had over the years. I mean, really? Beau Geste boring? I laugh at my stupidity. There are multiple reasons times multiple reasons why Beau Geste has got to be one of the best action adventure films ever, if not the greatest (the opening scene has got to be the coolest opening scene ever).
     As much as it is exciting, however, there is an equal amount of comedy and sadness. The comedy comes from Coop, Robert, and Ray as they act like brothers will: their "fighting" and picking on one another is just so funny. And then, the sadness . . . oh, there as the ending is coming nearer and nearer it was almost unbearable for me to watch (I assure you, when you get to the end, you'll be yelling why! at your television or computer the same way I was).
Oh, why, oh why!
Photo Courtesy of
     Before I leave you, I would like to point out something that I found very interesting. In the film, Coop plays Beau, the eldest, Robert Preston plays Digby, the middle child, and Ray plays John, the youngest. Out of curiosity, I wondered if that was how the order went like that in real life. To my astonishment, I found out that while Coop was indeed the oldest (being born in 1901 he was thirty-eight when he made this film), Ray was actually thirteen-years-older than Robert, having been born in 1905 compared to Robert's 1918. Which means that Ray was thirty-three when he made this picture, and Robert was just a baby at twenty-one.
     Oh, and one one more quick thing, I give Beau Geste a 4/4 stars, so go do yourself a favor and watch it.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Film Review: The Lost Weekend (1945)

Still as amazing now as it was then.
Photo Courtesy of
TCM: A writer fights to overcome his addiction to liquor.

     I remember the first time I watched this film. I was at my father's, in my room, sitting in my computer chair, completely aloof to everything and anything around me. The film had just started, but the moment I saw Ray Milland's character, Don Birnam reach outside his window to grasp hold of the bottle dangling outside his apartment window on a string, I was hooked.
     Near the end of the film , my father walked in and wanted to know what I was watching. When I told him that it was The Lost Weekend with Ray Milland and Jane Wyman, he told me about this man that he used to know when he was a kid, and while he didn't hang his bottles outside of a window tied to a string, he did bury them under the bushes next to the fence. And that there were days when the yard would be up heaved and destroyed from his incessant digging as he searched for the bottles that he had forgotten where he put. His wife, my father told me, had been a very sweet and dear woman, and while the man was very kind when he was sober, he turned into someone completely different when he was drunk.
Don deciding his fate.
Photo Courtesy of
     My father's memory of this man and woman (and their children) made me sad. I've never experienced something like that before in all my life, and to hear that my father had, and that it was a connection to The Lost Weekend . . . it only left me even more despondent.
     That's when I realized that to watch The Lost Weekend, despondency and hope are the exact emotions that you need to be feeling by the end of it, and if you aren't, you seriously need to get yourself checked out.
     For me, The Lost Weekend was (is) one of those films that you really want to see, but you know what it's about, and you find the subject matter incredibly hard to watch, but you suck it up and you watch it anyways and before, during, and after a storm of emotions are lashing out inside of you and you're just left there going . . . "Oh. My. God." And you know if your life suddenly ended right there, you would be a better person for having seen the film.
Don: A man of conflicted emotions and needs.
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     Oh, yeah. It's like that.
     As I have stated before, Ray was a vastly under-appre-ciated actor whom many thought could only play the romantic men of the slapstick comedies. Still today he is mostly seen as the romantic lead. People! Ray was so much better than that! He was Don Birnam. Ray Milland didn't exist; he just wasn't, but Don Birnam . . . Don was real; he was. His pain was real. His fears were real. His addiction was real.
Ray and Oscar: A beautiful pair.
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     And I'm not the only one who thought that Don--I mean, Ray, was amazing. The nominees for the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1945 were Bing Crosby for The Bells of St. Mary's, Gene Kelly for Anchors Aweigh, Gregory Peck for The Keys of the Kingdom, and Cornel Wilde for A Song to Remember, and of course Ray Milland for The Lost Weekend. Now, I've seen four of the five films listed (A Song to Remember being the one I haven't seen), and while I love Bing, Gene, and Gregory, and Cornel, I have to admit that they got that year right. Ray deserved the Oscar. His performance was raw. Powerful. Real. Terrifying.
Don's pain is palatable.
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Needing that drink . . .
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     The Lost Week-end, despite being sixty-seven-years-old, is a film that hasn't become "dated" in any sense of the word due to its subject matter. There are some films that become dated (I hate using that word) because of its subject matter, and that's simply because of the influence on the passage of time we have come to think of and treat things differently then we did in 1945. Alcoholism was taboo back in the day, a subject that was considered "trash talk" and wasn't dare discussed at afternoon tea. And that's exactly what The Lost Weekend is addressing. We should never cover up things as being an alcoholic. We shouldn't be ashamed for being one; and we shouldn't be ashamed for seeking help.
     I would like to point out how remarkable that The Lost Weekend was even made. Look at that release date: 1945 . . . This film is a product from a time when a man could not sit on a woman's bed (even if they were confined to the holy state of matrimony) without at least one foot on the floor which makes me cock my eyebrow and give a good ole' long "Mmmmmhmmmm. Yeah, sure. That makes sense." And according to Billy Wilder, the liquor industry offered Paramount five million dollars to not release the film . . . [he suggested had they offered it to him, he would've taken it, but I doubt that because it doesn't really seem to jive with Wilder's personality] (TCM).
Cary Grant and Ray Milland
Cary and Ray.
Photo Courtesy of
     Now, once you see this film, you'll obviously see how perfect Ray was for it. I couldn't see anyone else as Don Birnam . . . surprisingly, however, Ray was not the one and only choice for the role. Jose Ferrer was offered the role (I've seen maybe one of his films, so I can't really say anything about that choice) as was . . . Cary Grant! My Cary! I read that Wilder took the script to Cary, and he thought he read/acted it brilliantly (of course he would), but that Cary didn't want to do the film because he didn't feel that anyone would accept him as a broken man, as an alcoholic--and as much I would love to see how Cary would portray Don Birnam, I'm glad Cary had the insight to know that he as Don Birnam just wouldn't be accepted. And The Lost Weekend HAD to be accepted. It was much too of an important film for it not to.
     There have been a lot of films about alcoholism produced since The Lost Weekend, but I'm going to go so far as to say that this 4/4 stars film has never been matched, the closest that comes to it though would be Jack Lemmon's Days of Wine and Roses. If you haven't seen The Lost Weekend, I highly suggest that you do--and soon. I warn you, though, it will change you. I don't know how exactly. I just know that it will. Somehow. Someway.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Film Review: Easy Living (1937)

TCM: When a working girl tries to return a lost fur coat, she gets caught up in a wealthy family's battles.

     Why can't my life be more like the movies? I mean, I'd love for a mink coat to fall down on my head and then meet Ray Milland. In fact, I wouldn't care too much for the coat, but the coat would get me the man, and Ray Milland . . . Yeah, I don't have to say much more than his name for me to get really excited.
     This was my first film that I saw with Ray in it, but to be truthful, I watched it for Jean Arthur, and I really only took enough notice in his role to take note that he was incredibly adorable and that Jean was lucky. The rest of the time I focused my complete attention on all of Jean's amazing-ness.
     It was upon a second viewing of this film that I focused my attention to other people besides Jean, and I liked what I saw when it came to this man named Ray Milland with an adorable accent that I just couldn't quite place. As I do with everyone that piques my interest, I do a little research on him. I found out that that accent of his was Welsh, he had a prolific career in Hollywood (though it appeared that toward the latter he took what came May), and that of course I would have to watch more of his films.
Edward Arnold and Jean Arthur.
Photo Courtesy of
     And watched I have, but for now, we're sticking to this delightful gem of a screwball comedy, Easy Living.
     Honestly, I would be really hard pressed to think of a better cast that could have done this film. As hard as it may be to believe for all of you that think nothing in this world is perfect--Easy Living is just that. Perfect. Jean Arthur. Ray Milland. Edward Arnold. Need I say more?
     Edward Arnold is one of my favorite big tough guys that talked real loud and acted real mean, but really has a heart of gold--even if you have to dig for a little bit to find it. In Easy Living, he plays J.B. Ball, the third richest banker in the good ol' U.S., and he's got the wife that, taking advantage of her husband's wealth, likes to spend it.
John Ball, Jr.--the working man.
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     Receiving the latest bill informing him of his wife's latest extra-vagant spending spree, poor J.B. has had enough, and throwing the coat outside the window, it just happens to topple down on poor Mary Smith whom happens to be, of course, Jean Arthur. When J.B. comes out of his apartment, happy go lucky because his wife no longer has the coat, she tries to give it back to him, but he tells her to keep it. Mary, however, becomes upset because when the coat toppled down on her, it ruined her hat, and she's missed her bus and has no way to get to work. By offering to buy her a new hat and a ride to work for the magazine, 'The Boy's Constant Companion', where all the spinsterish women see her expensive coat, she is mistaken to be his mistress and is promptly fired . . . which leads Mary broke.
Psst! I see you!
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     With her last dime, she goes to an automat and unwittingly meets John Ball, Jr., who has left home to prove to his father that he can make it out on his own and doesn't need his money. This action was quite common in the films of the yesteryear. It was meant as a way for the "common" people of the time to connect with the "upper" class people. It was a way for the upper class people to say, "Hey, you and I? We're both the same. We could be best friends . . ."
     As I'm learning only Ray can be, he plays John Jr., as a most charming and funny and witty and, in the case of Ms. Mary Smith, quite smitten, son of the third richest banker in America.
     When John Jr., first sees Mary, he can't believe that she's eating in an automat (the $58,000 fur coat might having something to do with that, but I'm just guessing on that), but when she insists that she's got nothing but a dime to her name, he concocts this brilliant plan of giving her some food and when he gets paid, gives the money back to the automat.
John and Mary.
Photo Courtesy of
     What could possibly go wrong?
     After a wild food fight with everybody fighting tooth and nail to get free food, John is fired and, refusing to return home and admit defeat to his father, has no place to go. Well, as aforementioned, Mary is believed to be J.B.'s mistress, and because of this has been given a room in an extremely expensive hotel by the proprietor in hopes that by taking extra nice care of J.B.'s mistress, she'll tell him and J.B. will start coming to his relatively empty hotel. So, while she has an expensive hotel suite, but no money, she offers John to stay with her.
     Again, this adds to John's confusion, but as most men probably would in his position, he just rolls right along with everything.
I would LOVE to take a nice hot bath in that . . . pool?
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     Mary takes John back to her hotel suite, and through the course of the night, they fall in love. It's under-standable. I mean, how can Jean/Mary not fall in love with Ray/John and how could Ray/John not fall in love with Jean/Mary? It can't be done. They're too perfect.
     The film continues on with ensuing slapstick comedy and misunderstandings as only Jean and Ray and Edward Arnold could pull off. It's a film that I would definitely recommend to anyone and everyone if they are in the need for a good laugh and a little loving; I give it a 3/4 stars.
Ray and Jean.
Photo Courtesy of
   If this is the first Ray Milland film that one might see, I hope that he or she understands that Ray was a brilliant actor, and that he just wasn't someone who did cute romantic comedies. Ray could really act, and he was quite brilliant (as I found out, as everyone does, when I watched The Lost Weekend). Ray was an understated and underestimated actor who, despite having won an Oscar and being some fantastic films, never got his dues which is a shame. And by saying that I hope that with my reviews of the five films that I consider Ray's essentials, if a) you haven't discovered him, you'll grow to love him, b) if you know him, but haven't realized just how magnificent he was, you'll begin to, and c) if you already love him, you'll grow to love him more.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Ray's Essentials

Here's Ray's line-up:

1. Easy Living (September 5, Wednesday)
2. It Happens Every Spring (September 8, Saturday)
3. The Lost Weekend (September 15, Saturday)
4. Arise, My Love! (September 22, Saturday)
5. Beau Geste (September 29, Saturday)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Star of the Month: Ray Milland

Well, to get back in the ol' swing of things, here is the star of the month for September . . . the star that I've been looking forward to doing for a couple of months now: Ray Milland. The line-up of his films will be coming out tomorrow.

Hmm. Me, Star of the Month? I like.
Photo Courtesy of

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Very Random Post to Let You Know I'm Still Alive

     So, I feel really bad because I just haven't been posting at all this month. I had a slew of posts that I was going to do because of my involvement in the Summer Under the Stars blogathon, but then . . . something happened on August 16; something so horrendous that it gave me nightmares for days, even in my waking hours I couldn't escape it. It haunted me. It made me sick. It made want to scream. It made me want to throw hysterical fits in grocery store aisles and cause my parents alarm and give ol' Happy Dale a ring (please, please tell me someone caught that allusion to a certain film with my wonderful Cary . . . and if not one of you wonderful readers did catch it, I hang my head in sadness).
     What, some of you may be asking, what could possibly cause this rationally sane girl to go insane? What could possibly reduce her to wanting to make fits in grocery store aisles and make her parents ship her off to a sanitarium? Tell me, now! Tell me! Okay, okay, you beat it out of me. It causes me such pain to say this dreadful six-letter word, but if you must know, if it gives you peace of mind, I'll push back my own pain, and tell you: School.
     Yes, school has been in full swing for a couple of weeks now, and because it's my last year and I had to be an idiot and decide that I'd take A.P. Lit (which really isn't that bad at all) and just completely stink at math, and have a job that slurps up any free time that I could possibly have, I've been absolutely rendered from posting anything. On the weekends, I'm sleeping into well past the afternoon mark trying desperately to stock up on the snoozes, but it's done mostly in vain for I always find myself tired, and by the time Friday rolls around, I feel like I'm a floundering wanderer lost in the Sahara desert searching, always searching, for an oasis.
     I must admit that I have tried to write up a few things, but then I just get bored and I forget about it and I don't end up posting them. Also, when I'm not sleeping or at work or doing homework, I have found myself back in very familiar territory, something that came long before my love of Classic Hollywood, Cary Grant or Dean Martin: Reading. Anyone that knows me knows that I LOVE to read; but when I found my new loves, I sort of set reading aside. Whereas it usually took me about two days to read books as long as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I was going weeks without cracking open a book and reading just for the pleasure of reading. I didn't, and I don't, like that. Reading has been my safe haven ever since I learned the magic of words; ever since I learned that by cracking open a book, I could transport myself wherever and whenever I wanted to. I would stay up until the slimmest of rays from the new light of dawn peaked between my tightly shut blinds, and bring me out of my world of ink and imagination to show me that a night had ended and a newly birthed day had began in my world of reality.
     I have missed that. I missed the itch that my palms would get every time I passed by a library or a bookstore; I missed the idea of all the books just awaiting for me to discover them, to love them, to treasure them. I missed discovering the meaning of a new word and the way it would roll around in my head, and then my tongue, and the nice fluid way it would come out of my mouth when I would use my newly discovered word in a conversation. I missed visiting the public library twice a week. I missed the old smell of books that have been closed for far too long; I missed the touch of yellowing pages between my fingers.
     I missed it all, and so it gives me great, great pleasure in saying that at last I have found my world again. It has welcomed me back with open arms, cocooning me in its familiar warmth, forgiving me for my long absence and assuring me that I never could have lost my safe haven had I even really tried . . .
     . . . The feelings that I have just spewed are feelings that I believe everybody should have when it comes to reading, but sadly, not everyone does. You can't possibly imagine how it pains me when someone says to me, "You like to read? Why? It's so boring. I hate it." It's worse then a sharp knife cutting through me. It's as though my very heart and soul has been ripped out of my body with someone's bare hands, and then just for his or her sadistic pleasure, stomping on them until they are nothing more than crushed particles mixing in with the dirt and bugs and the rest of the earth and her au naturel glory . . .

     . . . And now, I am left in an embarrassing position. I don't know how to end this post without sounding as completely out of my mind as I do in the main body. I guess I could say that I'm learning to balance everything in my life, and suggest that if you're life isn't already balanced that you get it so because if you don't, you might end up like me writing a very, very random post to let your readers (no matter how few they may be) that you are still alive and then end up sounding all cockeyed because you spew your guts about your obsessively insane love for reading and how you feel when you don't get enough of it. Yeah. That's how I'll end this post. See. I just did.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

I've Succumbed . . .

     After a long hard battle of trying not to catch it, I've succumbed to the disease known as tumblr. Yes. I have one now, and already in a few short days, I've become addicted to it. I blame all the wonderful blogs that I've found on there, and all their wonderful pictures of Cary, Dean, Ray Milland (I've become obsessed with the film Beau Geste which I'll be doing a review on in September, so that should give you give an idea of who's going to be my star of the month).
     Anywho, what I found amusing was that I actually already had a tumblr that I apparently made not long after I made this blog, but I can't for the life of me remember actually making it. And though I've become even more entangled with the world wide web and the twenty-first century, which doesn't sit well with my stomach sometimes, I've got my little twist on it. Just because Facebook, Blogger, YouTube, and Tumblr and all the rest are products of the twenty-first century, I am firmly stationed in my years that were the shades of black and white . . .

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Leibster Blog Award . . . What? Another One?

     Nah, I'm just kidding. I don't mind getting another one. It's like asking someone if they would like a second slice of chocolate cake and they say, "No. One is enough." Generally, that's just not going to happen, especially in my family. Anyways, this time I was awarded the Leibster by a friend from this amazing website, FilmClassics, who just started her own blog Serenade in Blue, and so here we go again. I'll answer her questions and tell eleven more things about myself (like you really wanted to know the first eleven), but I won't be tagging eleven more bloggers; the first time was hard enough.

11 More Things . . .

11. I don't like for a majority of my food to touch. If something touches that I don't think should, I will eat around the parts that touch. (Weird, I know)
10. My favorite colors are blue and orange.
9. I easily remember names, faces, and voices. I'm really good with the voices. So, if sometimes I don't recognize a face, or remember his or her name, you can bet I'll remember his or her voice.
8. I have an Irish temper like you'd never believe.
7. Ireland, next to Italy, is my dream home.
6. I have never broken a single bone in my body. I have rolled down brick stairs (bloodied up my nose), smashed all ten of my fingers in the window, gotten my neck slammed on by the car door (the babysitter didn't mean to), fallen out of a tree, went down a hill, brakes wouldn't work on my bike, and fell in a brier patch (got scratches all over me, a little bloody), along with a slew of other things. NOT ONE BONE I TELL YOU, HAS BEEN BROKEN. Everyone else in my family has gone to the emergency room for something. (And for some strange reason, I'm jealous about this. I feel so left out. ;) 
5. I'm from Georgia, born and raised, and so I have a very southern accent. However, I'm very good at doing an English, French, and Italian accent, which I do to amuse my family all the time.
4. My feet are always cold. Winter, Summer, Spring, it doesn't matter. They're ALWAYS cold.
3. I picked up on Dean's habit of saying "Heaven's to Betsy" and "Hot diggity dirt" (That just shows you how much I watch of him).
2. I can't blow a bubble (as in bubble gum) to save my life. This is the saddest thing in my life. I'm seventeen, and I can't blow a freakin' bubble.
1. I am not a morning person. I'm a night owl by nature and prefer to stay up late, and sleep in the following morning.

The Q&A . . .

1. What was your first classic? The first film I can remember watching that I didn't realize at the time was a classic was North to Alaska with John Wayne. I was about six.
2. Favorite classic TV show? What's My Line (I like the part when the celebrities came out)
3. If you could spend a day with any classic star, who would it be? Cary Grant. Dean Martin. Jean Arthur. They all just happen to be at the same party. Lucky me!
4. Least favorite classic actor? I don't really think he's considered a "classic" star, but I don't care for Steve McQueen too much. I don't see what was so great about the guy.
5. Least favorite classic actress? How many death threats would I receive if I said Grace Kelly?
6. Musical remakes of the 50's: yes or no?:  Got to love musicals, at least I do.
7. Hayes Code: yes or no? Why? Yes. I prefer the Code because everything that's made today just makes me sick to my stomach. It's as though everyone is having a contest to see how many f-bombs they can say in one sentence. The dialogue stinks. I'm a girl who loves the English language, and so when you know how to use it, like the writers did back then when the Code was enforced to get their meaning across, well, how can it get any better?
8. Silents or Talkies? Talkies
9. What do you think of movies like The Artist? I have yet to see The Artist (it's on my list!), but I say they need to make them. A film like that might get some curious in the actual Golden Days of Hollywood, and next thing you know, we've got another classic film lover in the group.
10. What role did your favorite actress deserve an Oscar for?: Ah, my Jean deserved, in the very least, an Oscar nomination for everything she did (the fact that she only received one her entire career makes me steam), but I'd say either: You Can't Take it With You, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and/or The More the Merrier.
11. What role did your favorite actor deserve an Oscar for?: Cary: Notorious, North by Northwest, and the one (out of two) that he was actually nominated for, None but the Lonely Heart. Dean: The Young Lions, Some Came Running, Rio Bravo (a nomination in the very least).

     Well, there we are . . . again.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Film Review: Presenting Lily Mars (1943)

A new favorite of mine.
Photo Courtesy of
 TCM: A small-town girl fights for her big chance on Broadway.

     While I have always liked Judy Garland, I have never had one of her films to crack my top ten. Until Presenting Lily Mars that is. I don't know what it was about this film per say that did me in (besides the wonderful chemistry between Van Heflin and Judy), but whatever it was, it got me good. While everyone tends to say that Judy was at her most beautiful in the film Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) thanks to soon-to-be husband Vincente Minelli, and while she was very pretty, I think that Judy was her most gorgeous in this film.
     Often credited as her first grown-up film, along with For Me and My Gal (1942), Judy, for the most part, is still looked at as a kid for the majority of the film, and it's not until the very end do we, as the audience, see her depicted as an adult (who knew that putting up your hair and wearing a dress could do that to a young girl). What makes Judy seem really grown-up throughout the film, however, is not how she dresses, but rather it's her character's, Lily, relationship with John Thrornway, played by "my" discovery Van Heflin.
Photo Courtesy of
     It wasn't until after I had watched Presenting Lily Mars that I realized that this was not the first film that I had seen Van Heflin in. My very first one had been, in fact, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946). For some unknown reason, I just didn't pay attention to him in that film.
     Perhaps, for some, he might not be considered the usual quint-essential leading man, but for me, he's perfect. Maybe it's because I was paying attention better to this film than I had with The Strange Love . . ., or maybe it was something else entirely, but whatever the case may be, Van completely took me by storm. I found myself wishing that I was Judy. Sure, I do that a lot (imagine myself in the woman's place when she's across from a favorite leading man), but I also found myself wanting to be in Richard Carlson's, who plays Van's best friend, Owen Vail, place, too. Just so long as I could be near the guy . . . and that desire happens very, very, very rarely (I can count on one hand who I'd feel that way about).
Van and Judy.
Photo Courtesy of
     For me, looking at a picture of Judy alone, and looking at a picture of Van alone, I would never think about putting the two together. Alone, they just don't seem as though they would have very good chemistry, but then when you put them together, it's very apparent that they did. And so that is the reason why I would never be a casting director.
And this is where he begins to falter.
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     Watching Van and Judy on screen together made my heart catch slightly. They're just perfect together, in my opinion. Judy's character, Lily, in the fashion of what she thinks is an actress, is all over the place; running here, running there, never seeming to have her feet ever touch the ground. Then Van as John comes in the picture, and right off the bat, you see that he's going to be the anchor that'll bring her back down to Earth, though it'll take a little while and she won't be on there for long. Yet, as the film goes on, and with Lily trying her everything to get John, who's producing a play in New York, to realize that she has talent, though it's amateurish, and that he should put her in it, you see though initially exasperated with her, there's something that he likes, though he's keeping it hidden below his cool exterior.
Catch her John, catch her!
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     Though he gives her a resounding "No!" and sends her back over the wall (she crashed the party that John and his mother, played by one of my favorite character actresses, Fay Bainter, were throwing and that's the only way she could get in), Lily, though initially upset, goes to New York with the blessing of her eccentric mother, played by another favorite character actress, Spring Byington. After a day of no food, she is discovered by John when she runs out onto the stage when the dancers are practicing to get away from the man that guards the door and who will throw her out, when she suddenly faints . . . right into John's arms.
     It's at that moment when he really stars to notice Lily, and he can't help it. As I stated before, Van and Judy, despite my initial disbelief, had amazing chemistry. After they share a kiss when Lily goes to John's hotel room to talk to him and Owen about the ending of the play and how it sort of . . ."fizzles", they fall for each other fast. Maybe the critics will just see that as too convient or whatever, but when they finally had that first kiss, I literally appluaded them and said, "Finally!"
     I wanted, I needed for Van and Judy to get together, and the sooner that they did the better for me. And the moment that sealed the fate of Van becoming a new favorite only lasted one second, but for me, it was the sweetest second in the whole wonderful picture. Throughout the film, Judy has a problem with her banes, and has a habit of blowing them away from her face and then pushing them back with her hand.
Very cute, right? I think it is.
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     I'd take a wild guess and say that with Lily doing that to her banes all the time that the writers meant to symbolize that as her youth. Lily tries to act older than she actually is throughout the whole film, until she finally does become one, and with her blowing her banes away from her face and then pushing them back with her hand in exasperation, the writers are reminding us that just because she tries to act older, she's still just a young girl on the cusp of womanhood. So, later on in the film, when John and Lily are in the process of falling in love with each other, and when she starts to push her banes out of her eyes when they are dancing, and John reaches up and does it instead . . . oh, I could hardly control myself. It was just too perfect, too cute, and it was then that I knew Van Heflin, no matter what, would become a favorite of mine. Granted, this is only my second picture with him in that I've seen, and the first that I've actually really paid attention to, but I just know that he'll become one that I can't keep quiet about.
Awwwww! C'mon! That is so so so perfect!
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     As I stated before, Judy is just so beautiful in this picture to me. The prettiest I've ever seen her, in fact. And with Van's rugged, all-natural looks, Presenting Lily Mars is just a wonderful picture to watch. It made me happy, it made me smile, and it made me laugh (there are some definite funny parts in it), and it made me go "Awwww" so many times I lost count (I really didn't keep count). And the chemistry between the two, and the romance that blossoms between them, all of it is so real. Never once do I feel as though they were faking it.
Aren't they sweet?
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     It escapes me why Leonard Maltin only gives Presenting Lily Mars 2/4 stars, and I don't know where he gets off calling it "a stale story of determined girl getting big chance on Broadway only comes alive when Judy sings". I definitely disagree with him on this one. I think this story is still as timely as today as it was then. I say this because I'm quite sure that any aspiring actress feels the same about making it no matter what just like Lily. In Presenting Lily Mars I have a found a Judy Garland film that finally cracks my top ten, a new favorite actor in Van Heflin, who is vastly underrated as I am finding out (Oh! And he's in Shane [1953] a la with my Jean! So it's almost impossible for me not to like him), and a lovely film to obsess over until they put it out on DVD (which, in all honesty, I'm quite shocked that it already isn't).
     For Presenting Lily Mars, I give it a 4/4 star rating.

This has been my contribution to Van Heflin's day on TCM's Summer Under the Stars Blogathon which is being held in conjunction with TCM's Summer Under the Stars by Sittin' on a Backyard Fence,

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Just Marilyn

Marilyn in Niagara (1952) . . .
Photo Courtesy of
     It seems improbable that fifty years have passed since Marilyn Monroe's death, but it really has been. It doesn't matter though because her popularity hasn't faded in the slightest since her untimely death as many star's have. Instead, it has done the exact opposite, and with each passing year Marilyn becomes more and more of a legend that we as the movie going public, classic film fans or not, have decided as her fate.
. . . and in River of No Return (1954)
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     If that's a good thing or not, I'm not sure. It seems to me that Marilyn is remembered more for her personal demons than for her acting, or lack thereof, abilities. I think that's the biggest insult one can do to her because in all reality, Marilyn Monroe was a fine actress, and I think--no, I know that's what Marilyn wanted us to remember her as.
     Perhaps limited in the roles that she could pull off, I think she really was a good actress who, if she had been treated as a human and not a sex symbol, would have been able to show off her talent; and then maybe we would remember her not just as Marilyn Monroe, but simply Marilyn Monroe.
     I have seen a very limited number of her pictures, but in everyone of them that I have seen, I've found her very enjoyable to watch. Whether she was playing a girl in the search of a millionaire, a girl who can thank the milk foundation for knowing how to kiss, or an actress who knows how to make lazy look real good, she just had this charisma with the video camera. She loved it, and in return, it loved her.
Clark and Marilyn in The Misfits (1961)
Photo Courtesy of
     My intention was to do a double feature of Niagara and River of No Return, but the first few parts of Nia-gara were blocked on youtube (my classic film oasis), and I haven't been able to find it on the other websites that I frequent. And so now I've just decided to do just a post on Marilyn; I hope that Sittin' on a Backyard Fence , who along with another blogger, is doing a month long tribute to all the stars in TCM's line-up for Summer Under the Stars, doesn't mind.
Yes, she was beautiful.
Photo Courtesy of
     Marilyn was a beautiful woman, no doubt about it. Yet, it seems to me that her breathtaking beauty was her biggest adversary because next to her personal issues, that's all anyone seems to remember about her as well. This past year in my U.S. History class, when we had finally reached John F. Kennedy's presidency, a classmate asked, "Didn't he bag that chick Marilyn Monroe?" When my teacher affirmed that, yes, he had an affair with Marilyn, this classmate of mine continued on and said, "Boy, that woman was FINE." Those are his exact words. I'm not making them up. It disgusted me then, and it still disgusts me now about what he said. He knows that she's beautiful, but I know without a doubt that he wouldn't be able to tell me, or anyone, one single film that she did. A total shame.
Norma Jean.
Photo Courtesy of
     I wonder, had there never been a Marilyn Monroe, had she walked this Earth her whole life as Norma Jean Baker, would she have made such a big commotion? I doubt it. Had she walked down the street, on the way to the super market, and had any man seen her, I think that they would have definitely noted her beauty, but that wouldn't be it. I bet that she would have been a friend to him, and he would have stopped and talked to her about every day things. She would have smiled, laughed, and then they both would have gone their own ways, and nothing more would have been done. I think that she would have liked that; to live as Norma Jean Baker and have people like her for being her; not having people fawn all over because she was Marilyn Monroe, and never know who was her friend and who was just being a leach.
     It's sad that no one will ever know, especially Marilyn. And so since that's impossible to find out, I suggest that instead of just everybody remembering Marilyn for her beauty, remember her as a woman that struggled her whole to become someone, to make a name for herself, and then when she finally did, she was never able to be her true self again; remember her not as Marilyn Monroe, but just Marilyn. Do it for yourself, and do it for her.
Just Marilyn.
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