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Where the Boys Are

Heading for Spring Break somewhere? Long before Girls Gone Wild, kids of the Kennedy years found their own paths to the desired fun in the sun, and most of them came back alive. MGM’s comedic look at the Ft. Lauderdale exodus is a half-corny but fully endearing show, featuring the great Dolores Hart and the debuts of Connie Francis, Paula Prentiss and Jim Hutton.

Where the Boys Are

Blu-ray

Warner Archive Collection

1960 / Color / 2:35 widescreen / 99 min. / Street Date July 25, 2017 / available through the WBshop / 21.99

Starring: Connie Francis, Dolores Hart, Paula Prentiss, Jim Hutton

Yvette Mimieux, George Hamilton, Frank Gorshin, Barbara Nichols, Chill Wills.

Cinematography: Robert Bronner

Art Direction: Preston Ames, George W. Davis

Film Editor: Fredric Steinkamp

Original Music: Pete Rugolo, Neil Sedaka, George Stoll, Victor Young

Written by George Wells from a novel by Glendon Swarthout

Produced by Joe Pasternak

Directed by Henry Levin

Ah yes, in 1960 first-wave Rock
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Love Me or Leave Me

MGM's show is a surprising powerhouse musical bio about the personality clash between an ambitious singer and the powerful enabler who wants her in his bed. Doris Day and James Cagney are at their best in an only slightly compromised telling of the real-life showbiz relationship of 'twenties star Ruth Etting and the domineering mobster Martin Snyder. Love Me or Leave Me Blu-ray Warner Archive Collection 1955 / Color / 2:55 widescreen / 122 min. / Street Date September 13, 2016 / available through the WBshop / 21.99 Starring Doris Day, James Cagney, Cameron Mitchell, Robert Keith, Tom Tully, Harry Bellaver, Richard Gaines, Peter Leeds, Claude Stroud, Audrey Wilder, John Harding. Cinematography Arthur E. Arling Art Direction Urie McCleary, Cedric Gibbons Film Editor Ralph Winters Original Music Nicholas Brodszky, Percy Faith, George E. Stoll Written by Daniel Fuchs and Isobel Lennart Produced by Joe Pasternak Directed by Charles Vidor

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

MGM's early CinemaScope musical bio holds up extremely well,
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Judy by the Numbers: "Get Happy"

In 'Judy by the Numbers' Anne Marie looks back at Garland's career through key songs

By the time Judy Garland turned 28, her entire adult life and her entire star persona had been a product of MGM. In 1950, Judy Garland's image - as cultivated by MGM and the Freed Unit - was of an exuberant talent, small in stature but big in heart and voice; a buoyant box office sensation. However, the reality was different. In the 13 months between the release of In The Good Old Summertime and Summer Stock, Judy Garland fought drug addiction, rehab, an increasingly strained marriage, an unsympathetic studio, and a suicide attempt that made headlines worldwide. Filmed before her attempt but released two months after it, Summer Stock is a record of the conflict between the image of Judy Garland and the reality of Frances Gumm.

The Movie: Summer Stock (1950)

The Songwriters: Harold Arlen (music
See full article at FilmExperience »

Judy by the Numbers: "I Don't Care"

Though nobody foresaw it at the time, 1948 was a major turning point in what would be Judy Garland’s last few years at MGM. After the one-two Freed Unit punch of Easter Parade and Words and Music at the beginning of 1948, Judy was supposed to head straight into her third Arthur Freed film,The Barkleys of Broadway. With Fred Astaire coaxed out of retirement, the duo of Astaire and Garland looked to be a new box office guarantee. Unfortunately, what wasn’t a guarantee was Judy’s health. After two months of rehearsal, Judy backed out of The Barkleys of Broadway, to be replaced by Ginger Rogers. This decision sounded the death knell for her partnership with Arthur Freed, the producer who had created the Judy Garland formula. Judy was too tired, too thin, and too weak to go on filming, until another producer from her past swooped back into the picture: Joe Pasternak.
See full article at FilmExperience »

Cinema’s Exiles: From Hitler to Hollywood

Banished by Josef Goebbels and threatened by the Reich, the creative core of the German film industry found itself in sunny Los Angeles, many not speaking English but determined to carry on as writers, directors and actors. More than simply surviving, they made a profound impact on Hollywood moviemaking. Cinema's Exiles: From Hitler to Hollywood DVD-r The Warner Archive Collection 2009 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 117 min. / Street Date April 12, 2016 / available through the WBshop / 21.99 Cinematography Joan Churchill, Emil Fischhaber Film Editor Anny Lowery Meza Original Music Peter Melnick Written, Produced and Directed by Karen Thomas

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

Cinema's Exiles: From Hitler to Hollywood is the perfect docu to introduce people to the way film and world history are intertwined... and also to generate interest in older movies and classic cinema. Instead of a story about the making of movies, it's about a fascinating group of filmmakers forced to abandon
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Judy by the Numbers: "Caro Nome/When I Look At You"

Anne Marie is tracking Judy Garland's career through musical numbers...

With Judy Garland now such an established hit, MGM worked overtime to make the most of its musical star. This meant that while Arthur Freed and the Freed Unit "made" her by crafting her star image (and arguably used her to her best advantage), Judy couldn't work with them exclusively. She was too valuable a commodity for that. So, MGM also put her under the watchful tutelage of another producer well-known for his musical mojo: Joe Pasternak

The Movie: Presenting Lily Mars (1942)

The Songwriters: Walter Jurmann (music) and Paul Francis Webster (lyrics)

The Players: Judy Garland, Van Heflin, Fay Bainter, Spring Byington, directed by Norman Taurog

The Story: Had Judy's fateful short with Deanna Durbin turned out differently only six years previous, she might have met Joe Pasternak earlier. For most of the 1930s, Pasternak was a top producer at Universal Studios,
See full article at FilmExperience »

Beery Is Loving Father of Future Superman Newspaper Editor in Oscar-Winning Blockbuster

Wallace Beery: Best Actor Academy Award winner and Best Actor Academy Award runner-up in the same year (photo: Jackie Cooper and Wallace Beery in ‘The Champ’) (See previous post: “Wallace Beery Movies: Anomalous Hollywood Star.”) In the Academy’s 1931-32 season, Wallace Beery took home the Best Actor Academy Award — I mean, one of them. In the King Vidor-directed melodrama The Champ (1931), Beery plays a down-on-his-luck boxer and caring Dad to tearduct-challenged Jackie Cooper, while veteran Irene Rich is Beery’s cool former wife and Cooper’s mother. Will daddy and son remain together forever and ever? Audiences the world over were drowned in tears — theirs and Jackie Cooper’s. Now, regarding Wallace Beery’s Best Actor Academy Award, he was actually a runner-up: Fredric March, initially announced as the sole winner for his performance in Rouben Mamoulian’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, turned out to have
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Slim Durbin and Marvelous Rendition of 'Last Rose of Summer'

Deanna Durbin: Ephemeral fame (photo: Deanna Durbin in 1981) [See previous post: "Deanna Durbin: 'Sweet Monster.'"] Unlike Greta Garbo, whose mystique remained basically intact following her retirement in 1941, Deanna Durbin’s popularity faded away much like that of the vast majority of celebrities who were removed — or who chose to remove themselves — from public view. Despite the advent of home video and classic-movie cable channels, Durbin remains virtually unknown to the vast majority of those who weren’t around in her heyday in the ’30s and ’40s. Yet, although relatively few in number, she continues to have her ardent fans. There are a handful of websites devoted to Deanna Durbin and her film and recording careers, chiefly among them the appropriately titled "Deanna Durbin Devotees." Fade Out Charles David, Deanna Durbin’s husband of 48 years, died in March 1999, at the age of 92; Institut Pasteur medical researcher Peter H. David is their only son. Durbin also had a daughter,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Remembering Fan Mob Madness: Durbin Pt.6

Deanna Durbin: Three Husbands with Universal Pictures background [See previous post: "Deanna Durbin: Highest Paid Actress in the World."] By the time the 26-year-old Deanna Durbin’s film career was over, the movies’ personification of girl-next-door wholesomeness had been married twice: Durbin’s union with Universal Pictures assistant director Vaughn Paul ended in 1943. Two years later, she married another Universal employee, 43-year-old German-born writer-producer Felix Jackson, among whose screenwriting and/or producing credits were the James Stewart / Marlene Dietrich Western hit Destry Rides Again (1939), the well-regarded Ginger Rogers / David Niven comedy Bachelor Mother (1939), and several Deanna Durbin star vehicles, including Mad About Music, Hers to Hold, and Lady on a Train. Jackson, in fact, produced nearly all of her post-Joe Pasternak films of the mid-’40s, the one exception being The Amazing Mrs. Holliday. The last Jackson-Durbin collaboration was the 1947 critical and box-office misfire I’ll Be Yours, which came out as their marriage was crumbling. Deanna Durbin would
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

The Top-Paid Female Star: Durbin Pt.5

Deanna Durbin: Highest-paid actress in the world [See previous post: "Deanna Durbin in the '40s: From Wholesome Musicals to Film Noir Sex Worker."] Despite several missteps in the handling of her career, David Shipman states that Deanna Durbin was Hollywood’s (and the world’s) highest-paid actress in both 1945 and 1947. In 1946, Durbin’s earnings of $323,477 trailed only Bette Davis’ $328,000 at Warner Bros. Those are impressive rankings (and wages), but ironically Durbin’s high earnings ultimately harmed her career. By the mid-’40s, her domestic box-office allure was beginning to fade, a situation surely worsened by World War II closing off most of Hollywood’s top international markets. As a result, Universal, since 1947 a new entity known as Universal-International, was unwilling to spend extra money in their star’s already costly vehicles. That’s a similar predicament to the one faced by silent-era superstar John Gilbert at MGM in the early ’30s: the studio had to pay Gilbert an exorbitant salary that made his movies much
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Durbin's 'Christmas' Movie No Yuletide Concoction

Deanna Durbin in the 1940s: From wholesome musicals to film noir sex worker (photo: Gene Kelly and Deanna Durbin cast against type in the un-Christmas-y Christmas Holiday) [See previous post: "Deanna Durbin Without Joe Pasternak: Adrift at Universal."] The Deanna Durbin vs. Universal dispute was settled in early 1942, when the actress was supposedly granted director and story approval. But things didn’t go all that smoothly from then on. There would be no loan-outs to the more opulent MGM, and Durbin would later complain that Universal refused to abide by her requests. Also, for the first time since her career skyrocketed in 1936, Durbin was absent from the screen for a whole year. The key reason there were no 1942 Deanna Durbin movies was the troubled production of her next star vehicle, The Amazing Mrs. Holliday, in which Durbin tries to smuggle Chinese orphans into the U.S., and which underwent not only various title changes, but also various directors and various script
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Adrift at Universal Pictures in the '40s: Durbin Pt.3

‘The Deanna Durbin Unit’ (photo: Robert Cummings, Deanna Durbin, and Charles Laughton in It Started with Eve) [See previous post: "Deanna Durbin Movies Save Universal."] Deanna Durbin and Henry Koster, who has been credited with helping to mold Durbin’s screen persona, collaborated on five movies. Besides Three Smart Girls, there was the inevitable sequel, Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939), in addition to One Hundred Men and a Girl, after which Durbin’s salary was reportedly doubled to $3,000 per week, plus a $10,000 bonus per film; the Cinderella-like First Love (1939), in which, following worldwide publicity, Durbin gets kissed on screen for the first time (Robert Stack was the kisser); Spring Parade (1940), with a Viennese setting and Robert Cummings as her leading man; and It Started with Eve (1941), a light, well-received romantic comedy co-starring Cummings and Charles Laughton. (Universal would also release the 1964 remake, I’d Rather Be Rich, starring Sandra Dee in the Robert Cummings role, Robert Goulet in the Deanna Durbin part,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Universal Studios Rescued by Teen Star's 'Miracle Movies'

Deanna Durbin ‘saves’ Universal (photo: Deanna Durbin in Three Smart Girls) [See previous post: "Deanna Durbin: Remembering One of Hollywood's Top Stars."] During the Great Depression most Hollywood studios were in dire financial straits, until, as the story goes, one (or more) lucky star(s) made them once again solvent. Mae West is credited for "saving" Paramount; Shirley Temple "saved" Fox; the Busby Berkeley, Ruby Keeler, and Dick Powell combo "saved" Warner Bros.; and the curious mix of King Kong, Fred Astaire, and Ginger Rogers "saved" Rko. So, did Deanna Durbin truly save Universal from bankruptcy? Well, Charles Rogers’ investment company came to the financial rescue of Universal in 1936, but the success of Durbin’s movies surely helped the new management get the studio back on its feet. For instance, according to author David Shipman, Three Smart Girls cost $300,000 — its budget doubled after studio bosses realized they had a hit in their hands — and earned Universal a hefty $2m. (An unspecified
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Remembering One of the Top Players of the Studio Era: Deanna Durbin

Deanna Durbin dies at 91: One of the top stars of Hollywood’s studio era (photo: Deanna Durbin in I’ll Be Yours) According to Hollywood lore, teen star Deanna Durbin saved Universal Pictures from bankruptcy in the mid-’30s, when her movies earned the Great Depression-hit studio some much-needed millions. The story may seem like an exaggeration, but in fact future Universal players such as Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, Maria Montez, Rock Hudson, Doris Day, and even Jaws‘ Bruce the Shark and the assorted dinosaurs found in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park partly owe their film careers to the pretty, bubbly, full-faced, soprano-voiced Deanna Durbin, the star of immensely successful Universal releases such as Three Smart Girls, One Hundred Men and a Girl, and That Certain Age. Universal should be in mourning this week. Late this past Tuesday, April 30, it was announced that Deanna Durbin had died a
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Deanna Durbin obituary

Child star with a powerful singing voice who played the perfect girl next door in Hollywood films of the 30s and 40s

When a teenage Deanna Durbin appeared on screen in the 1930s, wearing a decorous white dress with her hands clasped together, singing with a bell-like purity, audiences sighed contentedly. And so did film and music executives. In the days when child stars were wholesome, Durbin was everyone's idea of the perfect girl next door, and she was a huge money-spinner. Audiences flocked to see her musical comedies and, after she had trilled numbers such as It's Raining Sunbeams (in the film One Hundred Men and a Girl, 1937), Home Sweet Home (in First Love, 1939) and Waltzing in the Clouds (in Spring Parade, 1940), her fans queued to buy the latest record bearing her name.

Durbin, who has died aged 91, was the antithesis of the Hollywood glamour girl – which made her
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Deanna Durbin, 1930s Child Star, Dies at 91

Deanna Durbin, 1930s Child Star, Dies at 91
Deanna Durbin, who attained worldwide popularity as a child star in the 1930s while starring in a series of musicals, has died. She was 91. The actress' son, Peter H. David, was quoted in a Deanna Durbin Society newsletter saying his mother had died several days ago. He did not provide additional details and thanked her fans for respecting her privacy. Nurtured and promoted by producer Joe Pasternak, the blue-eyed, brown-haired Durbin had been discovered in junior high school in Los Angeles and cast in a series of warm musical comedies. By age 17, she was one of Hollywood's hottest stars.

read more
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Singer-Actress Deanna Durbin Dead at 91

Singer-Actress Deanna Durbin Dead at 91
Singer-actress Deanna Durbin, who was the highest-paid female star in Hollywood in 1947 but permanently exited the movie biz the next year at the age of 26, has died, her fan club announced Tuesday. The announcement did not give a date or cause of death. She was 91.

Durbin initially landed at MGM after a successful audition for a part in a planned biopic of opera singer Ernestine Schumann-Heink. She actually made her film debut in the 1936 MGM short “Every Sunday,” with Judy Garland (the two were only six months apart in age), and the opera film was never made. Soon thereafter Universal signed Durbin to a contract.

Her first film at U was “Three Smart Girls” (remade decades later as “The Parent Trap”). That big box office hit, in which she played the perfect teenage daughter, paved the way for many more of the same, and Durbin was credited with saving the studio from bankruptcy.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Spring Breakers – review

The beach party film featuring bikini-clad girls and beefcake guys became a B-movie Californian genre in the 1960s and ultimately led up to TV's vacuous Baywatch. It's generally thought to have been launched in 1960 with MGM's highly popular Where the Boys Are, based on a sober, sociological novel by Glendon Swarthout about a quartet of female midwestern students spending their spring break in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It had a title song by Connie Francis and was produced by the prolific Joe Pasternak, now best remembered for saying of Esther Williams, "Wet she was a star."

Camille Paglia regards Where the Boys Are as a significant and truthful comment on changing social and sexual mores in the 1960s, and Harmony Korine's brash homage to Pasternak's film has attracted similar, if rather more equivocal tributes. Korine made his name as screenwriter on Larry Clark's dubious 1995 film Kids about the spread
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

'Chasing Mavericks' Review: Surfing Saga Wipes Out on Dry Land

  • The Wrap
'Chasing Mavericks' Review: Surfing Saga Wipes Out on Dry Land
Regarding legendary MGM bathing beauty Esther Williams, producer Joe Pasternak once famously quipped, "Wet, she's a star." So it goes with "Chasing Mavericks," a biopic that features not enough stirringly gorgeous surfing footage and way too many clunky biopic clichés in telling the story of surf legend Jay Moriarity. With a storyline as by-the-numbers as a square dance, the movie's one surprise comes with the closing credits — namely, that this trite "inspirational" movie is the product of two world-class filmmakers, Curtis Hanson and Michael Apted. After a prologue in which eight-year-old
See full article at The Wrap »

R.I.P. Betty Garrett (1919-2011)

I was saddened to learn this morning that Betty Garrett, the great star of stage, screen, and TV, passed away yesterday at the age of 94 after suffering an aortic aneurysm.

Garrett was one of those rare people — like, say, Jack Valenti — who happened to be a witness to and/or participant in a remarkably high number of historic events of the 20th century. She was a member of Orson Welles’s famed Mercury Theatre company, and was with him on the night that he shook up America with his infamous radio broadcast of “The War of the Worlds” (1938); she was Frank Sinatra’s leading lady in two of the earliest great M-g-m musical-comedies, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” (1949) and “On the Town” (1949); her career was greatly hurt by the Hollywood Red Scare after her husband, the Oscar nominated actor Larry Parks, refused to name names before the House Committee
See full article at Scott Feinberg »
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