Tag Archives: Dana Andrews

An Interview with Patricia Hammond, part 2

Yesterday, I brought you the first half of my interview with Patricia Hammond, The Canadian Nightingale. Today I have the conclusion for you where Patricia and I compared notes on dressing vintage, fixing vintage hairstyles, finished up our chat about classic film stars and looked back on childhood memories.

–:–:–Continued from Interview With Patricia Hammond, Part 1–:–:–

You also like Lizabeth Scott, I have to say, I think she’s amazing. She’s my favorite Noir person.. The Strange Love of Martha Ivers.

Ohh yes! Well, isn’t that Barbara Stanwyck?

Yes, it’s Barbara Stanwyck, but Lizabeth Scott just, I think she steals it.

Yes, she does, it’s true!

I love it, she’s so feral. She’s so like a little wild animal. She talks like a kind of old man.

[laughter]

It’s true, sort of out of the side of her mouth a little bit?

Yes! “I’ve got a bus to catch…”

[laughter]

She sang, she was dubbed in a lot of these films, but she actually sang and I think she released an album.

I didn’t know that!

Oh yeah! I think she appears on- not the Ed Sullivan show, but one of those variety shows, actually singing from her album. And it’s a very different voice from what usually dubs her.

Oh my gosh. See I could never understand the point of dubbing actors and actresses who really could sing.

Yes, I know! There was this famous man – Dana Andrews?

Yes, Dana Andrews!

He’s on your list!

[laughter] Yes he is!

He was in, was it State Fair?

Yes, it was!

He was a professional baritone, and yet he was dubbed. And somebody said, “Why on earth, with your ability would you ever let that happen?” And he said, “Oh, the guy probably needed the money.”

Yes, he didn’t want to take to the job away.

Isn’t that sweet?

It is sweet! He was a great guy. I do wish he had been able to sing it though.

Oh, I know isn’t it a shame.

I notice for the photos on your website you are all dolled up in vintage attire. Do you actually wear vintage clothes, like everyday?

Well, this is what I think is so great about what you do. You actually make up clothes from vintage patterns.

Yes!

Which is brilliant, I think that’s wonderful because then you can actually wear them like they would have in the day. If you’re wearing something vintage, I don’t know about other people, but I fear for them. I think, “Oh this thing has made it unscathed more or less through 70 years and here I am wearing it on this filthy bus!”

Precisely.

I don’t want anything to happen to it, it’s an old survivor. But if it’s a replica, I can live a normal life in these wonderful clothes. But yeah, I wear a lot of replicas. I like some Betty Page. It’s made in Las Vegas.

Yes, I know, isn’t it neat?

Yes. I’m not one for the big crinoline thing, that’s too late for me. There’s one here called Silk and Sawdust. Kind of expensive, but they are all handmade by this girl. I wish I was like you and could make my own clothes.

It’s very fun. Because you get to pretend that you’re back in the 40s making it, saving your pennies.

Exactly, when choosing the material was where you got excited.

Yes!

It’s so wonderful to have that concept of going to a shop and saying, “Ooh I like this calico! I like this calico here.” It’s like the Little House Books!

You’re right, it is!

Oh I love those books, especially the first one. The Little House in the Big Woods. And yeah, precisely that happens. They go to the big town and Ma gets really excited about the bolts of fabric. It’s a great process.

Yes, it really is. And it makes you think more about your clothes. Why you are making it, where you’re going to wear it. It’s not so much of an impulse buying thing.

Yes, you really think about it. Having said that, places like TopShop and H&M are really into vintage. They literally copy old patterns now. I think it’s pretty official that they do that. So, if you really steel yourself and go there and get over the idea that the clothes are made in China under pretty bad working conditions, you can pick up some pretty convincing clothes.

When I perform my pre-war or first world war stuff I wear dresses by this lady in California called Nataya – they are really convincing. I don’t think she sets out to be a replica dress designer, but she certainly is taking her inspiration from that time.

Do you wear hats, too?

I love hats!

I do too!

Oh, hats are great. Do you ever find that it’s much easier to match the dress to the hat, than the hat to the dress?

YES.

[laughter]

Yeah, a really nice hat, there is nothing like it. But I don’t tend to perform in them because I think they obscure the facial expressions. They kind of make me feel less free with the song somehow.

Do you have a vintage hairstyle, as well?

I have a couple of vintage wigs.

You do?

Confessions, confessions! Here in East London, there is a street near Finsbury Park tube station which is basically a street of wigs. It’s loads of wigs. And I found this wonderful 20s bob made of real hair which is so convincing. And when you have a 20s bob in real life, you’re kind of stuck with it.

Yeah.

That’s it. But it’s so good. Just to be able to stick that on your head and not worry. Because it’s got bangs. And also, snoods are really useful.

Oh, yes! I have snoods too.

Oh, gosh! Because when you are doing a vintage hairstyle, it’s always the ends. It has to be all sort of packaged in there and all smooth. And you cannot have stragglers really, to be truly authentic and that’s a real drag.

It is! That’s the hard part.

So, a snood just answers all of that. You stick your hair in there and there it is!

Yup, and you’re done and it’s really easy and fast.

Yes, stick a flower in if you’re being fancy. And hairpieces are really, really useful. They used them at the time, as well. Those kind of clip-in, kind of braided buns.

And actual curls and things that they would put on top of their head.

Yes, yes, yes. The main thing I find is the fringe – I keep saying fringe, but you say bangs!

Oh, yes!

That was my first kind of- when I moved over here from Canada it was my first thing that I had to change. Bangs to fringe.

Did you change a lot of your phrasing when you moved?

A few things. Lift instead of elevator. Interval instead of intermission. But yeah, I had to change quite a few things. Oh yeah – thong, say flipflop instead. Because thong is actually a skimpy undergarment.

[laughter]

Did you have trouble growing up with the other kids not wanting to hear about your love for vintage music?

YES! Yes, yes. Absolutely. Did you?

Somewhat. I kind of distanced myself from people who didn’t agree with me.

Good for you! Did you go to a school that was large enough that you could find a few friends?

Yes, I had a little group of one or two.

Elementary school, I went to a school with like 90 kids in it.

Oh wow.

Yeah, that was tough because there was nobody else. Absolutely nobody else who was interested in old things. I got teased horribly for dressing in thrift store clothes. Oh that’s another: English to American or American to English, is charity shop and thrift store.

Oh yes! I love charity shop, I think that sounds better.

[Laughing] Sweet. But I was teased for dressing in thrift shop clothes, which it was a financial necessity in my case. It wasn’t so much of a conscious decision, but then it became a conscious decision.

Yeah, it’s very popular to do right now.

Yeah! It it sounds like with your friends, the same thing. When I went to high school and there were more kids, there were a couple of punks and they absolutely respected my desire to be different. It wasn’t different in the way they were different, but because it was different in itself, it was laudable. So that was good. I’m kind of a vintage punk in a way.

Well, at least you were able to find somebody who could understand it on some level!

Yeah, yeah yeah! Do you have scene where you are?

Well, we have a small vintage dancing culture, but it’s not at all like the vintage world you have in England. You’re so lucky to have the clubs and the stores. It’s amazing. We don’t have anything like that here.

It’s really caught on here, it’s funny because when I was in Vancouver in the mid-nineties, there was all this huge swing dance, burlesque, vintage scene and that was back in the mid-90s and then it kind of faded away. And then it came to London – kind of. Like, sort of 2003, 2004 and now everywhere you look there is burlesque, there’s vintage, there’s reenactors – everything. There was always a big reenactor scene, I think with vintage cars and that sort of thing, but yeah, it’s really caught on.

Yeah, here in America, all we really have are the cars and the people who know about the cars. There’s never really anybody who dresses up in the era and does anything, except for maybe like actual World War II military reenactments sometimes.

Yeah, that’s what we’ve always had. Yes. I think that always is going to be there. But it’s interesting the different layers of nostalgia. But it’s funny that musically, there usually it’s “Oh yes, we’ll have a vintage DJ!” But actually having a genuine band is much more rare then you might imagine.

I hope that with this CD, it will bring forward another genre, another kind of thing. It’s not classical, it’s not jazz, it’s not crossover. It’s its own thing.

Yes, it’s a whole entire style in and of itself.

Yeah, it is exactly that. And it’s hard to define. Old songs, nostalgia. I just like to say it’s just songs.

Yes, truly good songs, sung by a lady who really knows how to sing!

Awwww! Wow! I like this!

Well that’s so rare now, to have people who can actually sing.

Well, it’s funny – you don’t want opera singers to do it because they’ll sort of strangle the life out of it. They’ll make it so arch and big and you lose all the intimacy.

Right, you can’t understand the lyrics.

Yeah, and modern singers kind of bring their own modern sensibility to it and it turns into something different. Though I wouldn’t like to think that I’m kind of stuck away in another world or stagnant in any way. I just like to think that this is how, when I look at the old music, it kind of jumps out at me. And then I work with these musicians who are amazing. The two who did the arrangements for the album, Matt Redman and Nick Ball. These young guys – they are so clever and are really very good at looking at what’s on the page and saying, “Oh I hear a flute there,” or “I think this could really have an early ragtime kind of feel.” then bringing out, say, a mandolin and a pair of spoons! It’s just fleshing out the bones and I hope there’s a lot of flesh.

Yes, I think there is! It has a great sound, a really full-bodied sound and it draws you in. It’s the sort of thing- I was listening to it this morning – you kind of can’t do anything else while you’re listening to it. It’s so captivating.

Ohhh! Oh that’s wonderful! Well, I’d like to think that people can.

Well, at least on the first listen, you have to stop and really listen to all of it, because there is just so much to hear.

Oh that’s marvelous! That’s really wonderful!

Thank you so much for giving me the chance to talk with you, Patricia. I had a wonderful time!

Well, likewise! I wish you lived nearby, we could watch the Strange Love of Martha Ivers!

I wish I did, too! I would love to come and watch you perform. If you come to America, I’m definitely coming to see you!

Oh, I hope we’re coming to America. That would be fantastic!

–:–:–:–:–:–:–:–:–:–:–:–:–:–:–:–:–:–:–:–:–:–:–:–:–:–:–:–

I’d like to extend my sincerest thanks to Patricia and her publicity team for giving me the chance to talk with her. And I urge all of you to head over to her website and check out the tracks from her new CD! And after that check out her new blog!

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Filed under Classic Movies, Music

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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Filed under Film Bloggers, Tags & Awards

Frivolities: The Mash Game

mash quiz

This little game has been floating about in the blogosphere, and being a person who loves a bit of silliness, I’m playing along. Kate has one at Silents and Talkies, which is totally hilarious because of her hatred for Randolph Scott (I’m totally with you on that one, Kate). It looks like Kate is destined to end up with Dana Andrews, and I think they’ll be very happy together.

As for me, I’m going to marry Robert Taylor. Take that! ;) Our fabulous house in England will be out in the country, with a thatched roof and a fence all around the front garden. It may just be painted white, if I can get Bob to paint it for me when we move in. Mash says we’re going to have 21 kids… this may be one point on which I’ll have to take control of my own future, because I know I’d be lost with 21 kids.  I’ll just slice one of those numbers off and make it 2. One boy and one girl. That’ll suit me perfectly. The orange Duesenberg disturbs me a little, as orange is the color I hate most in all the world. Well, maybe Bob can paint that, too. And of course, I’ll be a graphic designer working on nifty logos and promotional material for all the farmers living around us. And we’ll all live happily ever after.

If you’re curious about what I entered into the boxes to get such a lovely future, here’s a screenshot:

mash quiz 1John Garfield is my Randolph Scott (yuck), as Kate likes to say. I think ending up with him would be a torment, mostly because he was always such a jerk. How could anyone like a man who stole Priscilla Lane away from Jeffrey Lynn? He’s just a bad lot.

I had some trouble remembering the brand names of the cars, but I did pretty good. And California is my “place I’d never want to live,” at least for right now anyway. I probably don’t need to explain which job is my dud. Thinking about it now, though, it’s a job that doesn’t even exist anymore!

Now, go check out all the other bloggers who MASHed:

Mrs. Dana Andrews (aka Kate Gabrielle)

Mrs. Tyrone Power (aka Millie)

Mrs. Richard Conte (aka Ginger Ingenue)

Mrs. Rudolph Valentino (aka Elizabeth)

Mrs. Gower Champion (aka Nicole)

Mrs. William Holden (aka Wendymoon)

and the lone man to play so far… Mr. Myrna Loy (aka C.K. Dexter Haven)

So… why not MASH for yourself?

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Filed under Film Bloggers, Pick-me-ups