Category Archives: Tags & Awards

Award fun!

(award graphic by me, with bowtie patterns from Pugly Pixel)

The lovely Audrey of Fedoras and High Heels (one of my most diligent commenters!) presented me with the Liebster Blog Award. Thank you so much, Audrey! As the directions tell us, I have been tasked with bestowing this award on a new flock of bloggers. Here are my picks:

Born in the Wrong Decade by Niamhy – The little Irish lass with a fondness for unusual socks, parasols and brogues (among many other loves!) spotlights her love for vintage music and hosts regular feature I love called “Quote of the Day!” on her joyful blog. She never fails to lift my spirits with her wit and Joie de vivre.

The Stupendously Amazingly Cool World of Old TV by Millie and Emm – These two ladies single-handedly take on the job of watching every piece of classic TV footage they can get their hands on. While plying you with photos of gorgeous, under appreciated stars like Gardner McKay (newest web obsession, courtesy of Millie!) they carefully evaluate shows for all-important aspects. Among the important qualities they look for: awesome 60s spies, handsome men, geek glasses and fabulous clothes.

Bake Do and Mend by Gemma – Overflowing with historical facts and photos, Gemma’s Bake Do and Mend is a treasure trove for vintage lovers. Her recent post contrasting the US and UK during the depression years fascinates me, particularly the explanation about cocktails and US prohibition.

There you have it – three new blogs to occupy your afternoon! Please do check them out – you won’t regret it, I promise!

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Filed under Film Bloggers, Pick-me-ups, Tags & Awards

Evil Brilliance from Millie and Kate…

In case you have no idea what this is: Millie and Kate have concocted a devilishly impossible survey for their blog readers which asks just about every question it is hardest for film fans to answer. (Hence the name, “Brilliantly Evil”) Even though the rules allow non-asthmatics like me to play along, I think I’m already at a disadvantage. However, I’m feeling rather adventurous today, so let’s give it a whirl. Get ready for hair pulling!

1. Which actors do you always (or did you always) mix-up?

Cary Grant and Clark Gable. When I a was a novice film fan, I always said one name when I meant the other. I still slip up to this day sometimes and credit “Clark Gable” with once having been named Archie Leach. It’s a quirky mind mix-up because they share the same initials.

Another pair who I don’t mix-up but do think are crazily similar sounding are Lew Ayres and Robert Vaughn. Close your eyes as you listen to these clips. Don’t they sound the same?

Robert Vaughn: (start at :12 if you want to miss Anne Francis in a black wig…)

Lew Ayres: (he starts talking at :55)

2. Gidget or Beach Party?
Gidget. No question. Sandra Dee always beats Annette.

3. Favorite Movie Outfit?
Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.’s black and yellow cape outfit from Sinbad the Sailor. This picture isn’t of exactly the one I refer to, but you get the idea.


4. If you could be ANY character in ANY movie…who would you choose?

Nikki Ferris (Hayley Mills) in The Moon-Spinners. Reasons?

#1 – Having the chance to don the infamous pink outfit with mandatory red Toms

#2 – Being able to hang around with the utterly adorable Mr. Peter McEnery.


5. If you could marry ANY character in ANY movie…who would you choose?

This is an easy one. Ronald Reagan in One for the Book. His character is the perfect combination of sweet gentleness and man of action. One of my favorite scenes is when he puts the pushy Eve Arden character in her place.



6. If you could live in ANY movie…which would you choose?

Christmas in Connecticut. The house featured in the film has always been my idea of a dream home. If Reginald Gardiner happened to come along with the house – that would be more than jake with me. I could listen to him go on about the double-insulated walls and triple wall jackets all day.

(image credit: marcinéma)

7. Black & White movies you wish were in Technicolor, or vice-versa?

The only black and white scene I wish was in technicolor is the Color-Blind number from Carefree. It was originally intended to be a Technicolor dream scene, but the budget wasn’t large enough. Whenever I watch Carefree, I expect the routine to be in color.

8. Favorite Movie Soundtrack?
The Third Man (starts @ .50) It’s especially interesting how the theme recurs throughout the film just when you least expect it. It’s unsettling because the tune is quite upbeat and often feels out of place with the dark happenings of the film.


9. Favorite Movie Dance Sequence?
The Yam from Carefree with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. I always dance around to this whenever Carefree is on. Doesn’t matter what’s happening – I could have my hands covered in pasta dough or be at an important place in a painting.  All work stops!  The Yam demands to be danced! This club where the dance takes place always captivates me. I wish I could see it in person.


10. Coolest Movie Star? (Cough, cough, BOBBY DARIN, cough, cough -Millie)
Sorry, Millie!

but my choice is Douglas Fairbanks, Jr…of course.

11. Sophia or Gina (Oh, how Kate enjoys replaying Gina’s sad defeat OVER AND OVER! -Millie)
Gina.

12. “Isn’t It Romantic” in most Billy Wilder films, or “Red River Valley” in most John Ford films?

I’ll go with Isn’t it Romantic from Billy Wilder’s films.

13. If you could re-cast ANY role in ANY movie, what would it be?

Gene Tierney in Laura. This is going to be an unpopular opinion, I know, but… I have always felt Gene was too cold for the role of Laura. Laura was supposed to be a extraordinarily warm, caring, insightful woman and Gene just never conveyed that for me. In particular, the scene where Laura comes face to face with her maid after *a-hem* some rather spoiler-ific things happen, Gene is not at all compassionate for the feelings of the maid. She more or less says “Get over it. And oh, by the way, make us some eggs.” It bothers me every time I see it and the reason it’s odd is because of Gene.  If I could recast the role, I choose either Hedy Lamarr or Olivia de Havilland to replace Gene.


14. Favorite movie character with your first name?

The incomparable, utterly adorable Frank Morgan plays a character named Bob Casey in Broadway Melody of 1940. I felt so lucky the first time I watched the film and found he once played a character with my name.

15.One movie that should NEVER be remade? (under THE THREAT OF A SLOW, PAINFUL DEATH!)

Roman Holiday. If some dreadful, preppy, silicone-lipped actress even attempts to hitch a ride on the back of a Vespa in Rome, I will personally steal the ignition keys and throw them down the nearest drain.


16. Actor or Actress who you would love to be best friends with?

Reginald Gardner. He seems like the kind of a guy who would keep a girl in constant laughter stitches. Plus, I’d bet he was a sweetheart.

17. Are you an Oscar or a Felix?

I go through bouts of both. For a couple months, I’ll throw everything around like Oscar. Then one day, it becomes completely unbearable and I have a big Felix clear out. It stays organized and clean until I have a stressful week. Then I’m Oscar again.
****

I’ve divided this survey into two posts. There is a lot of material to cover here and I’d like to get this first half published while I work on the rest of the questions. Keep a look-out for the second half, coming soon!

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You’re a better man than I am…

Hello my dears! I’m thrilled to be continuing the film review chain started by Wendymoon of Movie Viewing Girl today (and Cary, Victor & Doug are just as thrilled as I am!).

Look at our chain so far:

Link #1: The Women (1939) by Wendymoon.
Link #2: Private Lives (1931) by Kate Gabrielle.
Link #3: Letty Lynton (1944) by KC.
Link #4: Madame Curie (1944) by Amanda Cooper.
Link #5: Monkey Business (1952) by Sally

and Link #6: Gunga Din (1939) by Casey – me!

The rules of the chain state that each film must be linked to the previous one by actor, actress, director, theme, or some other factor. My link to Monkey Business is Cary Grant and he brings us to Gunga Din.

The story opens with our trio battling and flattening a rival regiment in a bar fight. Soldiers are thrown from windows, rolled down stairs and have bottles cracked over their noggins. It’s a whirlwind scene that sets the lightening pace for the film which never stops straight to the end. The overall themes are friendship, duty and love with duty and love clashing as DFJ tries to mix the two. The plot seems predictable enough as the film begins, but I think you’ll be surprised by the twists and turns and where the boys finally end up. Remember Cary Grant’s slightly unscrupulous sidekick in His Girl Friday? He makes an appearance in this film, but not at all how you would expect!

One of the reasons I chose Gunga Din is of course because it stars my eternal crush Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. I was *shocked, shocked* (in my best Claude Rains voice) to find that my dear honorary niece Millie has not seen it yet! Even though she has promised faithfully to watch it soon, I thought I’d give her some encouragement. So in true Millie-esque fashion, my alternate title for this post is:

Why Millie Should Watch Gunga Din, NOW!

Reason #1: the cast.

Starring DFJ, Cary Grant and Victor McLaglen, Gunga Din is the ultimate adventure spectacle with enough action and exotic scenery to satisfy even a hardcore Black Swan fan like Miss Millie. And besides, this is my beloved Douglas Fairbanks, Jr at the height of his handsomeness. Honestly. Judge for yourself. I think there are few men who could don a form-fitting white uniform and lend it as much grandeur as DFJ does:

Cary Grant speaks throughout the film with a cockney accent, a stark contrast to the suave, sophisticated accent we know him for now. Other stellar attractions in the cast are Sam Jaffe, Joan Fontaine (more on her in a moment…) and Cecil Kellaway in a bit role.

I think Sam Jaffe ought to have the nickname of “The Chameleon”. He was one of the most versatile actors in classic Hollywood, bringing life to the insane Grand Duke Peter in The Scarlet Empress, the humble Indian water boy in our film and the hardened master criminal in The Asphalt Jungle. It took me several years and many viewings of Gunga Din and The Asphalt Jungle to finally realize Sam Jaffe was the same man in both. Oh and interesting fun fact: Sam Jaffe was 47 years old when he played the role of Din.

Reason #2: Cary Grant’s jail scene (pictured above)

No matter how many times I’ve treated myself to a viewing of Gunga Din, I never tire of watching Cary Grant connive his way out of Military Prison with the help of Gunga Din. I’m not giving away anything else, but I guarantee you won’t be able to keep a straight face when you watch it.

Reason #3: The Ball (pictured above)

While unsuspecting ladies waltz gracefully with our boys, Cary & Victor are plotting mayhem and hilarity ensues! Poor DFJ is the object of the mission, but he gets a few digs back at them before all is said and done.

Reason #4: Opinion of Emmy (as played by Joan Fontaine)

All right, allow me to begin this reason with a disclaimer: I adore Joan Fontaine. I think she is extremely lovely, her accent is to die for and she always comes off as terribly sweet in her roles. But, I simply can’t bear her in Gunga Din.

You see, a significant part of the plot revolves around her romance with DFJ. She’s a clingy, annoying fiancee who is standing between DFJ and the career he has always wanted. She wants him to marry her, settle down and become a coffee farmer. A coffee farmer! No, it’s just not DFJ.

Well, being that I am a zealous DFJ fan, I wonder if these feelings are merely me being “peanut butter and jealous” (one of Sarah’s phrases as quoted to me by Millie) or if others feel this way too. I’d be most grateful to anyone who’d like to chime in with their thoughts on Emmy.

-**-**-**-**-

April 17, 2010 UPDATE: Millie succumbed to Gunga Din fever last night and is now a DFJ convert! :D

-*-*-

And now, we need another link! If you want to add the next link in the chain, here are the rules, as laid out by Wendymoon:

1. Call dibs on doing the next review in the comments. First one to speak up gets it, others will have to wait to join up to the next link in the chain! (Chains usually only link one at a time, after all. It’s not a movie review tree.)

2. Write your own review of another movie (it should be one not yet used in the chain) and post it on your blog. Make sure the link to the previous review is made clear and that you link back to the original post where the chain began (so we can keep track of how the chain grows). The link can be an actor or actress, director, or something more creative (like a theme).

3. Include the rules of how to continue the chain, and let someone else continue it!

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Amanda’s Classic Cinema Survey, a la Casey

Amanda at Noodle in a Haystack has come up with this fabulous classic film survey that I simply must participate in. I’ve been truly enjoying reading all the responses from the classic film bloggers, so I’m going to jump in with my answers. Oh, and I’m adding photos for your viewing pleasure (an idea I’m borrowing from Kate!).

1. What is your all-time favorite Clark Gable movie?

China Seas (1935) with Jean Harlow. It was nearly a tie with Idiot’s Delight (1939), but China Seas wins because of all the terrific digs and jabs in the dialogue.

2. Do you like Joan Crawford best as a comedienne or a drama-queen?
Oh, drama queen – definitely. I don’t appreciate her comedic efforts. And don’t even get me started on her dancing… Some my favorite drama-Joan films are The Women, Grand Hotel, Susan and God, A Woman’s Face, When Ladies Meet, Above Suspicion and Mildred Pierce.

3. In your opinion, should Ginger Rogers have made more musicals post-Fred Astaire?
No, I don’t think so. The Fred and Ginger teaming was a very special match made in heaven. I think if Ginger had gone on to star in more musicals after Fred, it never would have worked out as well and now, we would all be mad she wasted her time on it. Just think of all the quality comedic and dramatic films she made after her time with Fred: Vivacious Lady, Having Wonderful Time (if Millie can place James Dean where ever she wants, I can capitalize on Doug Jr, too!), Stage Door, Primrose Path, The Major and the Minor, Weekend at the Waldorf, Kitty Foyle, Roxie Hart, etc… I’d rather have these gems than other musical films pairing Ginger with new leading men who could never compare with Fred.

4. I promise not to cause you bodily (or any other serious) harm if you don’t agree with me on this one. So please be honest: do you like Elizabeth Taylor? Hm?
Poor Liz. She is constantly the subject of controversy! I do like her, but with reservations. I’ve seen almost all the films she made between 1943 and 1954, plus some of the later ones like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Suddenly Last Summer and Butterfield 8. I’ve found that I enjoy her earlier films much more than the later ones (the films made after 1960 I totally refuse to watch on several grounds, one of which is Richard Burton). I enjoy her performances in all of the films I’ve seen her in, but she was not the drawing star for me. For example, I didn’t watch Julia Misbehaves because it was a Liz Taylor film. So, she was just additional happiness in a film I was already enjoying.

5. Who is your favorite offscreen Hollywood couple?
Douglas Fairbanks Jr & Wife MaryDouglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Mary Lee Eppling

6. How about onscreen Hollywood couple?
Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon
7. Favorite Jean Arthur movie?
Mr Smith Goes to WashingtonMr. Smith Goes To Washington
Hey Millie – Jimmy Stewart is good sometimes! ;)
8. What was the first Gregory Peck movie you saw?
It’s hard to remember, but I’m pretty sure it was The Paradine Case with Alida Valli. The Paradine Case is the earliest memory I have of classic film, so I guess that makes it the first one I ever watched!

9. What film made you fall in love with Alfred Hitchcock? (And for those of you that say, “I don’t like Hitchcock” — what is wrong with you?!)

Either The Birds or Dial M For Murder. I think The Birds is the first Hitch I ever saw. My parents were on a Blockbuster renting kick for a little while and we rented it from there. I was about 6 years old and it terrified me to no end!

I also have early memories of Dial M For Murder. Fuzzy images of a key under a mat, Grace Kelly clipping articles from newspapers and a very excited Robert Cummings.
Both are superb films suitable for sparking a Hitch habit. And by the way, if you call yourself a classic film fan and have not contracted the Hitch habit, you need to enroll yourself in Hitch School, asap!
10. What is your favorite book-to-movie adaption? At the moment, it’s The Fountainhead starring Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal. I’ll be reading the book it’s based on soon, so this is subject to change, depending on how faithful the film is to the book.

11. Do you prefer Shirley Temple as a little girl or as a teenager?
Though I love Shirley in general, I prefer her when she was a teenager. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against her in the child roles. It’s just that I spent a great deal of my own pre-teen and teenage years watching Shirley and Jane Powell when they were that age and the fond memories linger on.
12. Favorite character actor?
Just like all those who have responded to this survey before me, I’m having a really hard time picking just 1! Here’s a few that always put a smile on my face when their names pop up in the credits: Guy Kibbee, Eugene Pallette, Mildred Natwick, Barry Fitzgerald, Edna May Oliver, Eric Blore, Erik Rhodes, Edward Everett Horton and Alice Brady. I could write an entire post with nothing but the names of character actors I adore!
13. Favorite Barbara Stanwyck role?
Christmas In Connecticut - cast shot
Christmas In Connecticut with Dennis Morgan. It was quite a fight between this one and Ball of Fire, Double Indemnity, Clash By Night & The Mad Miss Manton.
14. Who is your favorite of Cary Grant’s leading ladies?
Jean Harlow in Suzy (1936).

15. Bette Davis or Joan Crawford?
Bette Davis!
16. What actors and/or actresses do you think are underrated?
Ronald Reagan, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr, Robert Sterling, Dick Powell, Frank McHugh, Glenda Farrell, Claire Trevor, Audrey Totter, Billie Burke, Frank Morgan. Just to name a few.

17. What actors and/or actresses do you think are overrated?
Randolph ScottRuth Roman
Oh dear – what a can of worms this question is! But I’ve never been one to avoid opening a can of worms! Hmm, let’s see… Donna Reed (aka “The Most Annoying Whisperer of All Time!”), Randolph Scott (I love watching Follow The Fleet because Fred & Ginger get top billing over him after he outbilled them in Roberta), Rod Steiger (just a thoroughly unlikable person, especially in Oklahoma!), Robert Young (*yawn* aka Mr. Boring), John Garfield (makes my skin crawl), Ruth Roman (“The Second Most Annoying Whisperer of All Time!” She’s really annoying in Strangers On A Train). These are just the top 6, I have others but I won’t bore you.

18. Do you watch movies made pre-1980 exclusively, or do you spice up your viewing-fare with newer films?
I mainly stick with films made pre-1960, actually. Although I do begrudgingly see modern films. Whenever I do, it is almost always a disappointment and merely serves to reinforce my belief that films made before 1960 are the best ever. I recently saw Up, and was pleasantly surprised by the touching story. But a case like that is few and far between.

19. Is there an actor/actress who you have seen in a film and immediately loved? If so, who?
One For The Book - Ronald Regan & Eleanor ParkerRonald Reagan in One for the Book with Eleanor Parker. I’d seen films with Ronnie before that, but One for the Book made me fall in love with him and I’m sure I’ll never get over it!

20. Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire?
Absolutely, positively, Fred Astaire. No hesitation whatsoever.
21. Favorite Ginger Rogers drama?
Kitty Foyle with Dennis Morgan and James Craig

22. If you wrote a screenplay, who would be in your dream cast and what roles would they play? (Mixing actors and actresses from different generations is allowed: any person from any point in their career.)

Will you be very angry with me if I beg to save this question? I’ve planned a whole post that feeds into this idea, so I’ll reveal it then, okay? (oh and yes, I realized I just answered a question with 2 more questions. Isn’t blogging wonderful? ;) )

23. Favorite actress?

Ooh. Very tough! All right… I’ll make the hard choice: Hedy Lamarr.

25. Favorite actor?

Douglas Fairbanks Jr. (20)Everyone probably knows it by now, but I’ll take any opportunity to advocate for my beloved Douglas Fairbanks, Jr!

26. And now, the last question. What is your favorite movie from each of these genres:
Love Letters '45
Drama: Love Letters (1945) with Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotten (I can never decide exactly what genre this does fall under, since it’s a cross between Drama, Mystery/Suspense  and Romance.)
Romance: The Quiet Man (1952) with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers cast
Musical: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) with Jane Powell and Howard Keel (My favorite brother is Benjamin, aka Jeff Richards, who ends up with Julie Newmar. I’ve watched SBfSB a couple times just to find him in every scene. These JR viewings are in addition to the 20 or so times I’ve seen SBfSB anyway.)

Comedy: The Women (1939) with Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford – the above photo is a huge tribute to the talent of the three ladies, they look so happy! Sadly, the truth is the set of The Women was notoriously clouded with jealousy and star rivalry.

Western: Stagecoach (1939) with John Wayne and Claire Trevor – I like to think of it as Grand Hotel in a western setting. Isn’t that a marvelous photo?!

Hitchcock (he has a genre all to himself): The 39 Steps (1935) with Robert Donat and Madeline Carroll, even though Madeline Carroll makes me mad. I mean, seriously girls, who wouldn’t want to be handcuffed to Robert Donat?

Suspense/Mystery (I’m adding this one so I can include a Noir film): Laura (1944) with Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney (If you’ve never read the book by Vera Caspary, you have no idea what you’re missing!)
All right, there it is, all photoed and everything! A big thanks to Amanda for creating this survey – it was lots of fun coming up with the answers! And, dear reader, if you haven’t written up your own answers, what are you waiting for?

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Elizabeth’s Two Sisters Tag

Hello dear friends! It’s seems ages since I wrote a blog post! But, never fear – I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth. ;) And I haven’t lost interest in blogging, either. (I have so many ideas for posts I think I’m stuck with blogging for a good 6 more years!) I’ve simply entered back into service for my coveted degree, often times feeling like my head will explode with ideas, deadlines and lists of supplies I must buy or bring to class. (Don’t tell my profs, but I shouldn’t even be writing this now – I’ve got several projects I should be working on! Shhhh!)

Anyhow, my lovely friend Kate has kindly tagged me to participate in Elizabeth’s Two Sisters Tag. Here goes:

  1. Do you like Greta Garbo? In general, like will I watch anything she’s in just because she’s in it? No, probably not. Even though actresses with accents are a huge favorite of mine, something about GG rubs me the wrong way. Must say though, before I get too much fruit thrown at me, I totally love Ninotchka. She’s brilliant in the comedic scenes- especially the one where Melvyn Douglas pops the cork on the champagne bottle and she falls to the ground blindfolded as if she’s been shot. I burst out laughing every single time I watch that.
  2. In Buster Keaton’s MGM films, do his gestures and his plots resemble those of Harry Langdon? Elizabeth will be very disappointed in me when I say I have never seen a Harry Langdon film. But! Don’t feel too bad yet, Elizabeth because I did my homework and looked up Harry on Youtube. I see what you mean about his style and how it is choppy and staccato. I also watched a clip from The Cameraman (made by Buster Keaton at MGM) and I do see a resemblance in the physical styles. I think it’s highly believable Buster was channeling (subsciously or otherwise) Harry for his MGM films. We’re all inspired by everything around us all the time, so why couldn’t Buster be inspired too?
  3. Who is your favorite director of silent dramas? Fritz Lang – just for Metropolis.
  4. Do Harold Lloyd’s movies (movies, not shorts) drag along? Absolutely, positively not! Harold is my favorite of all the slient era comedians. He’s so sweet and kind. And I never felt his chase scenes dragged on. My favorite HL film is The Cat’s Paw. The last scene where he tricks all the bad guys with the magic secrets is totally priceless. I’m always spellbound during that scene. I love seeing the bad guys get their due!
  5. Who made better silent shorts, Mack Sennett or Hal Roach? Hal Roach, no doubts at all.
  6. Is Al St. John a genuine heavy, or a baby heavy? (This is based on the idea of the “Baby Vamp”, which was the character of the girl who was vampish, but not a vamp.) Although I have never seen Al St. John in a film, I say genuine heavy. Elizabeth says “heavy” means the villain, and in this case, I think it fits. Al St. John was rather handsome (in some of his early photos I found, he was quite good looking). A good villain should always have some appeal of some sort – he’s all the more dangerous for it! (by the way is St. John pronounced as it looks or in the English fashion: “sinjin”?)
  7. Do you like 1920s musicals? In theory, yes. Sadly, I’ve seen very few. Just don’t have Joan Crawford dancing and we’ll be fine. ;)
  8. Do you like Al Jolson’s movies? No, no, no – a thousand times NO! Al Jolson is one of those people I simply cannot stand. In particular, his voice and conceited attitude grate on me to no end. I’ve seen The Jazz Singer and have a very hard time seeing why everyone holds him as a fine example of a classic film star. It looks like I agree with Elizabeth’s sister and Kate’s mom on this one.
  9. Who is your favorite animal star? This is an incredibly tough one! And not because there are so many animals I love, but because I’m trying not to copy everyone else! First, I’ll just say I’m not a big fan of either Lassie or Toto. I hate crying over Lassie and worrying she’s going to die every 5 seconds and Toto was just not cute enough to be given such a major role. Asta from the Thin Man films would have been my first choice for this honor, but since I’m trying to be original here I’m going with choice #2: Bonzo from Bedtime for Bonzo with Ronald Reagan. I’ve talked about this film before, trumpeting the fact that it is an amazingly good film despite all the ridiculous bad press it has received. Besides dear Ronnie, Bonzo is one of the major reasons why it works. He’s adorable! I had no idea I could love a chimpanzee so much. Monkeys are usually not my cup of tea.

So! Many thanks to Kate for tagging me and Elizabeth for creating such a twister of a tag. :) You made me work hard for these answers, and now I’m just a little bit smarter about silent films, so thank you very much for that, too!

If you have a couple minutes you really should click through the links above and read the other responses to the tag. They’re marvelous! Happy day, my dears and I hope to have a new post for you soon!

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Marilyn Monroe {180 Tag}

My friend Kate of Silents and Talkies started a tag last week that I think is pure genius.  I liked the idea so much, I’ve decided to tag myself with it.

Here’s Kate’s criteria: “Name an actor, actress or director that you started out despising (or just really not liking) but ended up loving. Or vice versa, someone you started out loving and ended up despising (or just really not liking) — and explain why.

I’m sure I’m going to shock some people with my choice for this tag, but I love shocking people so here goes – My choice is Marilyn Monroe, “a star I started out despising and ended up loving.”

“But how can you dislike Marilyn?” you cry incredulously, the indignation rising. I’ll try to explain.

When I was a budding early teen film fan, I saw snippets of Marilyn in Bus Stop and Clash By Night. I don’t think I ever watched either film totally through until much later. I did make it through Some Like It Hot, and while boosting my crushes on Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis, it did nothing to alleviate my prejudice against Marilyn.  When I saw Marilyn on screen, her sexy whisper grated on my nerves like nails on a chalkboard. The dumb blonde image she often embodied offended me to no end.  The entire idea of Marilyn as nothing more than a sex symbol put me off in every way. I’m a modest creature by nature (probably very modest according to modern standards) so at the time, the whole “in your face” sexuality Marilyn oozed just made my skin crawl. She reminded me too much of the modern culture I was vigorously fighting against.

After many years of living in “Marilyn Despisal,” I had my epiphany last year. The Film Noir Classic Collection box sets were on sale at Amazon, so like a good Noir fan, I snatched them up right away. Looking over the films included in each set, I saw Clash By Night was in Volume 2. It was disappointing, not only because it wasn’t a favorite of mine, but because I couldn’t understand how it was considered Film Noir. Despite these objections, I bought it anyway. My mom and I made our way through each box set, one by one. When it came time to watch Clash By Night, I wasn’t expecting much but decided to give it chance. The result was a complete turnaround on my views of Marilyn.

Maybe it happened because I have matured, maybe I was just in a weak moment, or maybe it was just my time to become a Marilyn fan. No matter what the reason, Marilyn disarmed me with her fresh honesty, sweetness, and down to earth manner. Marilyn was gorgeous, but she acted like she didn’t know or care. She was (or at least seemed) blissfully ignorant of her physical beauty. It’s a truly remarkable quality found in few. I get so annoyed with modern female film stars who walk around virtually screaming “Hey, look at me, I think I’m drop dead gorgeous!” And, it’s practically never true, anyway.  Marilyn comes up tops against them all.

Clash By Night is one of my favorite Marilyn films for all the reasons I’ve already mentioned plus one more.  The chemistry she has with Keith Andes is electric. If you ask me, Marilyn and Keith steal the whole film from Barbara Stanwyck and Paul Douglas (I say this even as a huge Paul Douglas fan). It’s obvious Marilyn and Keith’s characters have a strong physical attraction to each other, but they also share a meaningful friendship which allows them to kid around and just be silly. It’s easy to imagine their characters having a successful marriage, still being able to laugh with each other even 50 years on.

So, now as a Marilyn Monroe convert, I seek out every film she made, finding that each and every one has merit of some kind and is a wonderful film. She’s one of those actors who guarantees the success of a picture by her very presence. I recommend all of her films I have mentioned in this post. Her whisper has grown on me over time, and I now see it as a reflection of her shyness. The dumb blonde cliche which offended me so much before now only serves to remind me of the real Marilyn, who was not dumb at all. In fact, she was smart enough to figure out a way to escape her type-casting that studio heads would be forced to accept. And while I can recognize the image of Marilyn as a sex symbol, I have learned to look past it and see her as the kind hearted, fragile person she actually was. I suppose, in the end, Marilyn has the last laugh on me. And you know what? I don’t mind a bit.

And with that, I hereby tag the following bloggers with the 180:

Nicole at Classic Hollywood Nerd

Laura at Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings

Matthew at Movietone News

(Have you ever noticed how I tag a lot of the same people? I hope they don’t get mad at me!)

If you would like to do a 180 of your very own, go ahead! Don’t be shy: write it up, post it and let me know. I’ll link it for you here as one of my tag-ees.

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Filed under Film Bloggers, Noir, Tags & Awards

Splashed!

I’ve been nominated for a Splash Award by Matthew Coniam over at Movietone News!

I’m so excited because it is my very first blog award!  Matthew made the nomination even more fun by leaving me a cryptic comment simply saying: “Movietone has splashed you…”  Of course, even though I was swamped in work at the time (and actually still am) I had to drop everything and find out what he was talking about.  He wrote a very nice little summary about Noir Girl in his post (Thanks Matthew!).

Okay, now for all the officialness, copied from Matthew’s post:

The Splash award is given to alluring, amusing, bewitching, impressive, and inspiring blogs. When you receive this award, you must:
1. Put the logo on your blog/post.
2. Nominate up to 9 blogs which allure, amuse, bewitch, impress or inspire you.
3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have been splashed by commenting on their blog.
5. Remember to link to the person from whom you received your Splash award.

Oh dear! Nine blogs!  Almost everyone I know has already been nominated, but I’ll have a go anyway…

1.  Laura of Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings – Laura is always ahead of the curve on the classic film news.  She’s like the roving reporter of the classic film community.  She’s a terrific writer, too and offers up a new film review almost every day.  She also is a die hard fan of all things Disney and is an amazing source of information in that field, too.

2. Tany of Couture et Tricot – Tany was (and still very much is) a major source of inspiration to me.  She was one of the first bloggers I read before I had my own corner of the blogosphere.  She is a phenomenal sewer and knitter.  Her handmade garments are always flawless and full of amazing details.  Tany gave me the courage to push my own sewing skills and take on the Vintage Vogue suit a few months ago.

3. Millie of Classic Forever – Millie has a delightful blog where she posts a photo of one (or several) classic film stars every day.  I’ve got a pretty large collection of classic film photographs, but Millie’s dwarfs mine by a mile.  She’s in Africa at the moment helping people in need.  I wish her a safe rest of her trip and a trouble free return!

4. Jen of Pretty Little Pictures – Jen’s regular outfit posts are always inspirational.  She has an amazing knack for finding incredible treasures in thrift shops.  Her latest find is a darling green pinstripe cropped jacket.  I’m very much wishing I had one like it!  She also writes about adventures from her life that are fascinating.

5. Ashley of Decor Amor – Ashley is a student photographer, and a terrific one, at that!  Her lovely photos are well composed and full of inspiration.  Her blog is a mix of home decor ideas, fashion inspiration and amazing photos.  Her post about a month ago on recreating the outfits of Audrey Hepburn is still with me.  I’m plotting my own version of one of the outfits for the summer. :)

Well, 5 out of 9 isn’t too bad, right?  I hope Matthew won’t mind if I use his method for notifying my recipients.  I give him full credit for the great idea, and I think the mystery of it made the whole process of winning much more fun.

Please don’t take offense if you’re not on this list.  I love all you’re blogs and right now I’m wishing I had 3-4 hours to spend reading all of them and leaving you comments.  I’d love to have made it longer, but redundancy and time constraints are restricting me.

I promise, I’ll have a new “real” post up soon.  It killed me all weekend to not be able to write my usual Sunday morning post.  I truly did need the time for my project, though.  I wasn’t just sitting on a chaise lounge eating bon bons. ;)

Happy Wednesday, my dears!

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Filed under Pick-me-ups, Tags & Awards