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In a war film, what’s the difference between nasty exploitation and just plain honest reportage? André De Toth made tough-minded action films with the best of them, and this nail-biting commando mission with Michael Caine and Nigel Davenport is simply superb, one of those great action pictures that’s not widely screened. To its credit it’s not ‘feel good’ enough to be suitable for Memorial Day TV marathons.

Play Dirty

Blu-ray

Twilight Time

1968 / Color / 2:35 widescreen / 118 min. / Street Date October 17, 2017 / Available from the Twilight Time Movies Store 29.95

Starring: Michael Caine, Nigel Davenport, Nigel Green, Harry Andrews.

Cinematography: Edward Scaife

Film Editor: Jack Slade

Art Direction: Tom Morahan, Maurice Pelling

Original Music: Michel Legrand

Written by Lotte Colin, Melvyn Bragg, from a story by George Marton

Produced by Harry Saltzman

Directed by André De Toth

Some movies that were ignored when new now seem far more important, perhaps due to the tenor of times.
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Money Is the Devil: Church Satirized in Enjoyable Early Lubitsch Comedy with Premise Similar to Keaton Classic

Money Is the Devil: Church Satirized in Enjoyable Early Lubitsch Comedy with Premise Similar to Keaton Classic
'The Doll' with Ossi Oswalda and Hermann Thimig: Early Ernst Lubitsch satirical fantasy starring 'the German Mary Pickford' has similar premise to that of the 1925 Buster Keaton comedy 'Seven Chances.' 'The Doll': San Francisco Silent Film Festival presented fast-paced Ernst Lubitsch comedy starring the German Mary PickfordOssi Oswalda Directed by Ernst Lubitsch (So This Is Paris, The Wedding March), the 2017 San Francisco Silent Film Festival presentation The Doll / Die Puppe (1919) has one of the most amusing mise-en-scènes ever recorded. The set is created by cut-out figures that gradually come to life; then even more cleverly, they commence the fast-paced action. It all begins when a shy, confirmed bachelor, Lancelot (Hermann Thimig), is ordered by his rich uncle (Max Kronert), the Baron von Chanterelle, to marry for a large sum of money. As to be expected, mayhem ensues. Lancelot is forced to flee from the hordes of eligible maidens, eventually
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Marlene Dietrich Retrospective Screening at the Metrograph in NYC

Marlene Dietrich in “Shanghai Express”: mptvimages.com/IMDb

If you’re a fan of actress, camp icon, and anti-fascist Marlene Dietrich or want to learn more about her, you’re in luck. The Metrograph theater in New York City is hosting “Marlene,” a retrospective featuring 19 of Dietrich’s films. The festivities kicked off May 23 and will continue until July 8.

Marie Magdalene “Marlene” Dietrich was born in Berlin in 1901. Dietrich began her career as a vaudeville performer in Weimar Germany. She moved to Hollywood and eventually became a revered film actress, “bisexual sex symbol, willful camp icon, [and] paragon of feminine glamour” — “comfortable in top hat and tails, ballgown, or gorilla suit.” But the actress did not forget about what was happening back home in Germany; Dietrich became involved in the fight against fascism during WWII. She “used her likeness to fundraise for Jewish refugees escaping Nazi Germany and performed on Uso tours, earning her the Metal of Freedom and Légion d’honneur by the French government,” the press release details. Dietrich died in 1992 at the age of 90.

The “Marlene” retrospective will feature Dietrich’s seven films with director Josef von Sternberg: “The Blue Angel,” “Morocco,” “Blonde Venus,” “Dishonored,” “Shanghai Express,” “The Devil Is A Woman,” and “The Scarlet Empress.” The actress’ collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock (“Stage Fright”), Orson Welles (“Touch of Evil”), and Billy Wilder (“A Foreign Affair”) are among the other films screening at the Metrograph. A documentary about Dietrich, Maximilian Schell’s “Marlene,” will also screen. All of the films, besides “Marlene,” will be shown in 35mm.

Head over to The Metrograph’s site for showtimes and more information. The featured films and their synopses are below, courtesy of the Metrograph.

Angel

1937 / 91min / 35mm

Director: Ernst Lubitsch

Cast: Marlene Dietrich, Herbert Marshall, Melvyn Douglas

While English statesman Herbert Marshall worries over international affairs, his glamorous wife (Dietrich) concerns herself with, well, international affairs, beginning a tryst with a dashing stranger (Melvyn Douglas) who she only allows to know her as “Angel.” Dietrich’s last film on her Paramount contract is a spry, surprising love triangle, one of the least-known of Lubitsch’s essential works from his Midas touch period.

Blonde Venus

1932 / 93min / 35mm

Director: Josef Von Sternberg

Cast: Marlene Dietrich, Herbert Marshall, Cary Grant

A.k.a “The One with the Gorilla Suit,” which Dietrich dons to perform her big number “Hot Voodoo.” It’s all for a good cause: she’s an ex-nightclub chanteuse who’s gone back to work to pay for husband Herbert Marshall’s radium poisoning treatments, though she later allows herself to become the plaything of Cary Grant’s dashing young millionaire, earning only contempt for her sacrifice.

Der Blaue Engel

1930 / 106min / 35mm

Director: Josef Von Sternberg

Cast: Marlene Dietrich, Emil Jannings, Kurt Gerron, Rosa Valetti

Mild-mannered, uptight schoolteacher Emil Jannings lives a faultlessly law-abiding, by-the-book existence, but it’s all over when he gets a glimpse of Dietrich’s nightclub chanteuse Lola-Lola, and is immediately ready to ruin himself for her amusement. The first collaboration between Dietrich and von Sternberg made her an international star, and linked her forever to her seductive, world-weary delivery of the song “Falling in Love Again.” We’re showing the German-language version, preceded by a four-minute-long Dietrich screen test.

Desire

1936 / 95min / 35mm

Director: Frank Borzage

Cast: Marlene Dietrich, Gary Cooper, John Halliday, William Frawley

Dietrich and Gary Cooper reunite in this delightful urbane comedy by Borzage, a master of romantic delirium, here working somewhat after the style of producer Ernst Lubitsch. La Dietrich’s stylish jewel thief stashes a clutch of pearls in the pocket of an upstanding American businessman, and while trying to get back the goods she can’t help but notice the big lug isn’t half bad-looking. An excuse to recall the following lines from the 1936 Times review: “Lubitsch, the Gay Emancipator, has freed Dietrich from von Sternberg’s artistic bondage.” Those were the days.

Destry Rides Again

1939 / 94min / 35mm

Director: George Marshall

Cast: Marlene Dietrich, James Stewart, Mischa Auer, Charles Winninger

Jimmy Stewart, still in his rangy, impossibly-good-looking phase, is a marshal who sets out to clean up the wide-open town of Bottleneck without firing a shot in this charming Western musical comedy. The local roughnecks present him one kind of challenge; Dietrich’s saloon singer Frenchy, belting out her rowdy standard “The Boys in the Back Room,” quite another.

The Devil Is A Woman

1935 / 80min / 35mm

Director: Josef Von Sternberg

Cast: Marlene Dietrich, Lionel Atwill, Edward Everett Horton

Dietrich and von Sternberg’s final collaboration, and an apotheosis of sorts. In Spain in the early years of the 20th century, Lionel Atwill’s loyal suitor Pasqualito and the revolutionary Cesar Romero are teased into a frenzy by legendary coquette Concha (Guess who?). The coolly scrolling camera and baroque compositions are courtesy of an uncredited Lucien Ballard and Von Sternberg himself, doing double duty as cinematographer.

Dishonored

1931 / 91min / 35mm

Director: Josef Von Sternberg

Cast: Marlene Dietrich, Victor McLaglen

Dietrich plays X-27, a Mata Hari-esque spy for the Austrian Secret Service tasked with using a bevy of costume changes (Russian peasant, feathered helmet, leather jumpsuit) to gather information on the Russians during World War I. Outrageous plotting, high chiaroscuro style, and the star’s earthy sensuality mark this unforgettable pre-code treasure, beloved by Godard and Fassbinder both. Says Victor McLaglen: “the more you cheat and the more you lie, the more exciting you become.”

A Foreign Affair

1948 / 116min / 35mm

Director: Billy Wilder

Cast: Marlene Dietrich, Jean Arthur, John Lund, Millard Mitchell

Against the backdrop of a ruined postwar Berlin, another conflict is just heating up, as Dietrich’s cabaret singer with rumored Nazi ties vies with Jean Arthur’s Iowa congresswoman-on-a-fact-finding-mission for the affection of American officer John Lund. Wilder’s penultimate collaboration with co-writer Charles Brackett is a black comic delight full of crackling, piquant dialogue, and Dietrich’s knowing slow-burn has never been better.

Judgment At Nuremberg

1961 / 186min / 35mm

Director: Stanley Kramer

Cast: Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Marlene Dietrich, Maximilian Schell, Judy Garland, Montgomery Clift, William Shatner

Dietrich’s last truly substantial screen appearance came as part of the ensemble for Kramer’s courtroom drama, playing the widow of a German general executed by the Allies who’s befriended by investigating judge Spencer Tracy in this fictionalized retelling of the events of a 1947 military tribunal addressing war crimes by civilians under the Third Reich. Rounding out the all-star cast are Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Judy Garland, William Shatner, and Maximilian Schell, who would win the Academy Award for Best Actor, and later directed a portrait of Dietrich.

The Lady Is Willing

1942 / 92min / 35mm

Director: Mitchell Leisen

Cast: Marlene Dietrich, Fred MacMurray, Aline MacMahon, Stanley Ridges

Leisen, considered a comic talent on-par with Lubitsch during the screwball era, lends characteristic sparkle to this mid-career attempt at reconfiguring Dietrich’s very 1930s star persona to fit the needs of the 1940s women’s picture; here she plays a glamor-gal diva whose life changes when she discovers a baby on Eighth Avenue and decides to adopt, passing through melodramatic coincidences and a vale of tears before falling into the arms of Fred MacMurray.

Lola

1981 / 113min / 35mm

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Cast: Barbara Sukowa, Armin Mueller-stahl, Mario Adorf, Matthias Fuchs

Dietrich had for all purposes retired from the screen by the time that Fassbinder began his frontal assault on West German popular culture, but her image and her unlikely combination of cool irony and torrid emotion left a profound mark on his films. Lola, the candy-colored, late-1950s-set capstone of his “Brd Trilogy” in particular draws heavily from The Blue Angel, with bordello singer Barbara Sukowa torn between Mario Adorf’s sugar daddy and Armin Mueller-Stahl’s incoming building commissioner in boomtown Coburg.

Marlene

1984 / 94min / Digital

Director: Maximilian Schell

More than twenty years after Schell had co-starred with Dietrich in Judgment at Nuremberg, during which period she’d retired to a life of very private seclusion, he tried to get her to participate in a documentary about her life. She finally gave in — sort of. Dietrich offered only her memories and her famous voice, refusing to appear on camera, but necessity became a boon to the resulting film, a sort of guided tour of Dietrich’s life and work, which simultaneously reveals much and deepens her mystery.

Morocco

1930 / 92min / 35mm

Director: Josef Von Sternberg

Cast: Marlene Dietrich, Gary Cooper, Adolphe Menjou

After The Blue Angel, shot in Germany, was a hit, von Sternberg was given full run of the Paramount backlot, where he would conjure up all manner of exotic destinations out of thin air. First stop: North Africa, where French legionnaire Gary Cooper competes with sugar daddy Adolphe Menjou for the favors of Dietrich’s cabaret star Amy Jolly, who in one scene famously rocks a men’s tailcoat and plants a smooch on a female fan.

Rancho Notorious

1952 / 89min / 35mm

Director: Fritz Lang

Cast: Marlene Dietrich, Arthur Kennedy, Mel Ferrer, William Frawley

Teutons Lang and Dietrich team up in a Technicolor wild west of deliberate, garish artifice in this singularly claustrophobic oater, in which a revenge-mad Burt Kennedy goes looking for his fiancée’s killers at a hideaway inn run by Dietrich, and discovers dangerous, unbidden desires instead. As the chant of the film’s recurring, persecutorial Brechtian ballad goes: “Hate, murder, and revenge.”

The Scarlet Empress

1934 / 104min / 35mm

Director: Josef Von Sternberg

Cast: Marlene Dietrich, John Lodge, Sam Jaffe, Louise Dresser

Have ever a screen persona and a historical personage found such a hand-in-glove-fit as did Dietrich and Empress Catherine the Great of Russia? While the Motion Picture Production Code was preparing to chasten American movies, Dietrich and von Sternberg got together to throw one last lavish S & M orgy, a flamboyant film of 18th century palace intrigues and ludicrously lapidary décor.

Shanghai Express

1932 / 82min / 35mm

Director: Josef Von Sternberg

Cast: Marlene Dietrich, Clive Brook, Anna May Wong

“It took more than one man to change my name to Shanghai Lily,” proclaims Marlene Dietrich with the disdain of an empress, though in fact she’s a high-class courtesan, re-encountering former lover Clive Brook on an express train rolling through civil war-wracked China. The fourth of Dietrich and von Sternberg’s collaborations is a riot of delirious chinoiserie artifice and sculpted shadowplay — Dietrich’s co-star Anna May Wong was never again shot so caressingly.

The Song Of Songs

1933 / 90min / 35mm

Director: Rouben Mamoulian

Cast: Marlene Dietrich, Brian Aherne, Lionel Atwill

So often the instrument of corruption, Mamoulian’s film allows Dietrich to be the corrupted one, playing a country girl, Lily, who comes to big-city Berlin and quickly becomes the model and muse of sculptor Brian Aherne. Lionel Atwill’s preening decadent Baron von Merzbach admires Lily’s nude form in marble, and decides to bring the original home with him, where she slips into the role of the cynical sophisticate, though her heart remains with the artist.

Stage Fright

1950 / 110min / 35mm

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Cast: Marlene Dietrich, Jane Wyman, Michael Wilding, Richard Todd, Alastair Sim

Hitchcock’s last film in his native England until 1972’s Frenzy is an audaciously-structured thriller, making use of an extended flashback and a whiplash narrative about-face. Acting student Jane Wyman tries to save beau Robert Todd from taking the fall for a murder committed by stage star Dietrich, who shows her hypnotic charm in a show-stopper performance of “I’m the Laziest Gal in Town.”

Touch Of Evil

1958 / 95min / 35mm

Director: Orson Welles

Cast: Marlene Dietrich, Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Orson Welles

It’s not the size of the part, but what you do with it. Playing a brothel keeper in a seedy border town in Welles’s magnificently baroque late noir, Dietrich only has a clutch of lines, but they’re the ones you remember, whether her famous requiem for crooked cop Hank Quinlan, or her reading of his “fortune”: “Your future’s all used up.” Bold and self-evidently brilliant, you could use Touch of Evil to explain the concept of great cinema to a visiting Martian.

Marlene Dietrich Retrospective Screening at the Metrograph in NYC was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

A Mexican Affair

A Mexican Affair Created and performed by Rafa Reyes Produced and directed by Jeremy Williams The Metropolitan Room, NYC Saturday, April 8, 2017

What keeps A Mexican Affair -- cabaret show headlined by Rafa Reyes and backed by a fine Latin group -- going? It is the immense personable charm and contagious self-delight of Rafa himself, coupled with the powerful support he receives from the quintet behind him. This young singer from Mexico, who came to the United States to attend New York’s American Musical and Dramatic Academy, certainly has “that something” and it bespeaks of the kind of presence that compels an audience to stay with him and see what will unfold. That’s no mean feat in the world of solo cabaret performing (or in solo performing of any kind). The seasoned New York cabaret audience knows immediately if the performer in front of them is up to something,
See full article at CultureCatch »

Charlie Chaplin's A Woman of Paris reviewed – archive, 1 March 1925

1 March 1925: This is a remarkable film, an historic film, a film to see and consider

Mr. Charles Spenser Chaplin has been enjoying a holiday from his boots and his hat. It has been a holiday in the true sense, which implies, not idleness, but the doing of a thing long desired in the desired way. His new film A Woman of Paris is the fruit of many years’ consideration, the logical development of that other holiday The Kid, and the fulfilment of his dream.

Like all good comedians, pushing aside a delirious desire to play Hamlet, Chaplin has sought a medium of tragic expression, cast here and everywhere, for an outlet for his serious emotions. His later comedies are shot with the Hamlet quality. But he is bounded by the little hat, and the boots and the cane, and a servant to the public in whose mind these things stand for laughter.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

His Girl Friday / The Front Page

The restoration of a newly rediscovered director’s cut of the 1931 The Front Page prompts this two-feature comedy disc — Lewis Milestone’s early talkie plus the sublime Howard Hawks remake, which plays a major gender switch on the main characters of Hecht & MacArthur’s original play.

His Girl Friday / The Front Page

Blu-ray

The Criterion Collection 849

Available through The Criterion Collection / Street Date January 10, 2017 / 39.96

His Girl Friday:

1940 / B&W /1:37 flat Academy / 92 min.

Starring Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy, Gene Lockhart, Porter Hall, Ernest Truex, Cliff Edwards, Clarence Kolb, Roscoe Karns, Frank Jenks, Regis Toomey, Abner Biberman, Frank Orth, John Qualen, Helen Mack, Alma Kruger, Billy Gilbert, Marion Martin.

Cinematography Joseph Walker

Film Editor Gene Havelick

Original Music Sidney Cutner, Felix Mills

Written by Charles Lederer from the play The Front Page by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur

Produced and Directed by Howard Hawks

The Front Page:
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Tracy and Hepburn State Of The Union Saturday Morning at The Hi-Pointe

“Oh, that’s silly. No woman could ever run for President. She’d have to admit she’s over 35!”

State Of The Union plays on the big screen at St. Louis’ fabulous Hi-Pointe Theater this weekend as part of their Classic Film Series. It’s Saturday, November 12th at 10:30am at the Hi-Pointe located at 1005 McCausland Ave., St. Louis, Mo 63117. Admission is only $5.

It’s election week so the Hi-Pointe is rolling out a vintage political film to screen for this month’s Classic Film Series. State Of The Union is a 1941 Frank Capra film that comes off fresh and timely. A plain speaking, likable man, Grant Matthews (Spencer Tracy) is convinced to run for President by the publisher of a newspaper, Kay Thorndyke (Angela Lansbury) who is also his mistress, and before he knows it, his words and intentions are no longer his own. Because he wants to win,
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

Vanishing point by Anne-Katrin Titze

Clément Cogitore on Michelangelo Antonioni and Apichatpong Weerasethakul: "who are my masters" Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

Nicholas Ray's Bitter Victory starring Richard Burton and Curd Jürgens to Stanley Kubrick's Paths Of Glory with Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker and Adolphe Menjou come to mind or the tension built with Kip (Naveen Andrews) checking for mines in Anthony Minghella's The English Patient, based on Michael Ondaatje's novel when reflecting on Neither Heaven Nor Earth (Ni Le Ciel Ni La Terre).

Jérémie Renier is Captain Antarès Bonassieu

Clément Cogitore's haunting debut feature stars Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne discovery Jérémie Renier with Kévin Azaïs (Thomas Cailley's Love At First Fight, Catherine Corsini's Summertime), Swann Arlaud (Axelle Ropert's The Apple Of My Eye), Finnegan Oldfield (Thomas Bidegain's Les Cowboys, Eva Husson's Bang Gang), Sâm Mirhosseini, Marc Robert, Hamid Reza Javdan (Atiq Rahimi's The Patience Stone), Edouard Court,
See full article at eyeforfilm.co.uk »

CAFÉ Society – Review

Woody Allen narrates CAFÉ Society, his 47th film and at age 80, his voice is sounding sadly geezerish. Set in the mid-1930’s, CAFÉ Society has a cool period soundtrack, an older man courting a much younger woman, a Jewish family kibitzing around the dinner table, quotable dialog on love and life, and a neurotic Jewish hero channeling a much younger Woody. In other words, all the elements of a great Woody Allen film. It also has Vittorio Storaro’s rapturous cinematography (a Woody first) and a terrific and complex central performance from Jesse Eisenberg. CAFÉ Society is the most romantic Woody since Annie Hall and one of his best.

Leaving his (very) Jewish family back in the Bronx, young Bobby Dorfman (Jesse Eisenberg) heads west to “learn the movie business” from his Uncle Phil (Steve Carell), a bigtime Hollywood talent agent. Phil assigns his captivating, but romantically unavailable, secretary Vonnie
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

Three Classic War Films Screening at The Tivoli December 8-10

“The man you stabbed in the back is a soldier!”

Two anti-war Wwi films and one wild British propaganda piece made while WWII was still raging constitute the three-film series sponsored by The Mildred Kemper Art Museum next week at The Tivoli Theater (6350 Delmar in the University City Loop). This ties into the museum’s current exhibit World War I: War of Images, Images of War, which is on display through January (details on the exhibit can be found Here) http://www.kemperartmuseum.wustl.edu/Wwi

All three films start at 7pm and admission is Free!

All Quiet On The Western Front screens at 7pm Tuesday December 8th

The film series kicks off Tuesday December 8th with All Quiet On The Western Front (1930) — the first major anti-war film of the sound era, faithfully based upon the timeless, best-selling 1929 novel by Erich Maria Remarque, who had experienced the war first-hand as a young German soldier.
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

Largely Forgotten, Frequent Cagney Partner Remembered on TCM

Pat O'Brien movies on TCM: 'The Front Page,' 'Oil for the Lamps of China' Remember Pat O'Brien? In case you don't, you're not alone despite the fact that O'Brien was featured – in both large and small roles – in about 100 films, from the dawn of the sound era to 1981. That in addition to nearly 50 television appearances, from the early '50s to the early '80s. Never a top star or a critics' favorite, O'Brien was nevertheless one of the busiest Hollywood leading men – and second leads – of the 1930s. In that decade alone, mostly at Warner Bros., he was seen in nearly 60 films, from Bs (Hell's House, The Final Edition) to classics (American Madness, Angels with Dirty Faces). Turner Classic Movies is showing nine of those today, Nov. 11, '15, in honor of what would have been the Milwaukee-born O'Brien's 116th birthday. Pat O'Brien and James Cagney Spencer Tracy had Katharine Hepburn.
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Cummings' Ten-Year Death Anniversary: From Minor Lloyd Leading Lady to Tony Award Winner (Revised and Expanded)

Constance Cummings: Actress in minor Hollywood movies became major London stage star. Constance Cummings: Actress went from Harold Lloyd and Frank Capra to Noël Coward and Eugene O'Neill Actress Constance Cummings, whose career spanned more than six decades on stage, in films, and on television in both the U.S. and the U.K., died ten years ago on Nov. 23. Unlike other Broadway imports such as Ann Harding, Katharine Hepburn, Miriam Hopkins, and Claudette Colbert, the pretty, elegant Cummings – who could have been turned into a less edgy Constance Bennett had she landed at Rko or Paramount instead of Columbia – never became a Hollywood star. In fact, her most acclaimed work, whether in films or – more frequently – on stage, was almost invariably found in British productions. That's most likely why the name Constance Cummings – despite the DVD availability of several of her best-received performances – is all but forgotten.
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Forgotten Actress Bruce on TCM: Career Went from Dawn of Talkies to L.A.'s Punk Rock Scene

Virginia Bruce: MGM actress ca. 1935. Virginia Bruce movies on TCM: Actress was the cherry on 'The Great Ziegfeld' wedding cake Unfortunately, Turner Classic Movies has chosen not to feature any non-Hollywood stars – or any out-and-out silent film stars – in its 2015 “Summer Under the Stars” series.* On the other hand, TCM has come up with several unusual inclusions, e.g., Lee J. Cobb, Warren Oates, Mae Clarke, and today, Aug. 25, Virginia Bruce. A second-rank MGM leading lady in the 1930s, the Minneapolis-born Virginia Bruce is little remembered today despite her more than 70 feature films in a career that spanned two decades, from the dawn of the talkie era to the dawn of the TV era, in addition to a handful of comebacks going all the way to 1981 – the dawn of the personal computer era. Career highlights were few and not all that bright. Examples range from playing the
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Astaire Dances Everywhere Today on TCM

Fred Astaire ca. 1935. Fred Astaire movies: Dancing in the dark, on the ceiling on TCM Aug. 5, '15, is Fred Astaire Day on Turner Classic Movies, as TCM continues with its “Summer Under the Stars” series. Just don't expect any rare Astaire movies, as the actor-singer-dancer's star vehicles – mostly Rko or MGM productions – have been TCM staples since the early days of the cable channel in the mid-'90s. True, Fred Astaire was also featured in smaller, lesser-known fare like Byron Chudnow's The Amazing Dobermans (1976) and Yves Boisset's The Purple Taxi / Un taxi mauve (1977), but neither one can be found on the TCM schedule. (See TCM's Fred Astaire movie schedule further below.) Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers musicals Some fans never tire of watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dancing together. With these particular fans in mind, TCM is showing – for the nth time – nine Astaire-Rogers musicals of the '30s,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Rare Silent Film Actor Who Had Long Talkie Career Is TCM's Star of the Day

Adolphe Menjou movies today (This article is currently being revised.) Despite countless stories to the contrary, numerous silent film performers managed to survive the coming of sound. Adolphe Menjou, however, is a special case in that he not only remained a leading man in the early sound era, but smoothly made the transition to top supporting player in mid-decade, a position he would continue to hold for the quarter of a century. Menjou is Turner Classic Movies' Star of the Day today, Aug. 3, as part of TCM's "Summer Under the Stars" 2015 series. Right now, TCM is showing William A. Wellman's A Star Is Born, the "original" version of the story about a small-town girl (Janet Gaynor) who becomes a Hollywood star, while her husband (Fredric March) boozes his way into oblivion. In typical Hollywood originality (not that things are any different elsewhere), this 1937 version of the story – produced by
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Oscar Film Series: Death and Music in Melodrama Saved by Crawford

'Humoresque': Joan Crawford and John Garfield. 'Humoresque' 1946: Saved by Joan Crawford Directed by Jean Negulesco from a screenplay by Clifford Odets and Zachary Gold (loosely based on a Fannie Hurst short story), Humoresque always frustrates me because its first 25 minutes are excruciatingly boring – until Joan Crawford finally makes her appearance during a party scene. Crawford plays Helen Wright, a rich society lush in love with a tough-guy violin player, Paul Boray (John Garfield), who happens to be in love with his music. Fine support is offered by Paul's parents, played by Ruth Nelson and the fabulous chameleon-like J. Carroll Naish. Oscar Levant is the sarcastic, wisecracking piano player, who plays his part to the verge of annoyance. (Spoilers ahead.) Something wrong with that woman The Humoresque scenes between Paul and his mother are particularly intriguing, as the mother conveys her objections to Helen by lamenting, "There's something wrong with a woman like that!
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

A Star Is Born (Again)

Roughly forty-five minutes into William A. Wellman’s A Star is Born (1937), veteran press agent Matt Libby (Lionel Stander) is asked to fabricate a marketable biography for a certain Esther Victoria Blodgett (Janet Gaynor), his studio’s freshly signed ingenue. It all seems to be going quite smoothly—until Libby hears the new signee’s name. “Do you know," he asks his boss indignantly, “what her name is?” Oliver Niles (Adolphe Menjou), the studio’s head producer, is no less mortified. “We’ll have to do something about that right away," he concedes, and with that he launches into an impromptu brainstorm. Blodgett is out. Victoria is cut down to Vicki. And Esther? No: “Siesta, Besta, Sesta, Fester, Jester, Hester . . . Lester—Vicki Lester.” Niles chants the name like an incantation. He calls on his cronies for corroboration. The whole office starts crying it out: “Vicki Lester, Vicki Lester, Vicki Lester,
See full article at Keyframe »

A Year with Kate: State of the Union (1948)

Episode 25 of 52: In which Kate confronts Angela Lansbury onscreen and the Blacklist offscreen and manages to beat both.

Early on, I stated that sometimes Kate’s career seems charmed. I’d venture 1948 is one of those charmed years. As we saw last week, Song of Love failed--Kate’s first failure at MGM. Yet some strange circumstances and good luck landed Kate in State of the Union, based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning play. I say “good luck” because in the fall of 1947, the storm that would become the Hollywood Blacklist was brewing, and Kate nearly got caught in the center of it.

Though not as cloyingly obvious as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington - no light from the Lincoln Memorial in this film - State of the Union nevertheless delivers the classic Capra Corn package: nostalgia, patriotism, and a happy ending snatched from the jaws of tragedy at the last second.
See full article at FilmExperience »

Movie Review – A Farewell to Arms (1932)

A Farewell to Arms, 1932

Directed by Frank Borzage.

Starring Gary Cooper, Helen Hayes, Adolphe Menjou and Mary Philips.

Synopsis:

A tale of the love between an ambulance driver and a nurse during World War I.

Based on the Ernest Hemingway semi-autobiographical A Farewell to Arms,Frank Borzage’s1932 filmis considered one of the best adaptations of his novels. An important film that tackles the war pessimistically, it celebrates the unique and romantic love forged between a Lieutenant and nurse and the tragic outcome. A Farewell to Arms boldly stated how commonplace pre-marital sex was during the Great War, while also tackling the fracturing relationship and conflict soldiers had towards the cause itself. Something frowned upon by the Hays Code who deemed that “lustful kissing” and the scenes of childbirth needed to be excised from the film. Thank God David O. Selznick had an original nitrate copy after garnering the rights
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

A Year With Kate: Stage Door (1937)

Episode 13 of 52 wherein Anne Marie screens all of Katharine Hepburn's films in chronological order.

In which we've finally made it to the good stuff, so let's celebrate with Katharine Hepburn vs Ginger Rogers in a battle of the stars.

Hallelujah! Katharine Hepburn has arrived! From the ashes of Quality Street she rises, patrician and perfect. After 12 weeks of inconsistent performances, to suddenly be confronted with Kate in all her Mid-Atlantic, New England-born, iron spined, pants-wearing glory is a downright religious experience. And lo, Katharine Hepburn did star in a Kaufman and Ferber adaptation, and it was good.

Stage Door is the limelight dramedy of a gaggle of Broadway hopefuls living at the fictional Footlights Club in New York. The original play was an ensemble piece, but director Gregory La Cava and writer Morrie Ryskind remade the the movie in the image of its stars. Ginger Rogers, then between musical blockbusters,
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