Born to Be Bad (1934)
For the past year I have been saying if I got the chance to go to film school and study film history I would love to focus on 1930s Pre- Code and Screwball comedy films. I love Pre- Code films they usually had really good stories and it is so interesting to see actors and actresses who I am so used to seeing being good and in sweet stories with happy endings being all bad and risqué. Born to...
The Strawberry Blonde (1941)
“Hey fellas! Here comes the strawberry blonde!” One day a friend and I were walking around New York City and we were walking down this one street when this tall, skinny girl with long black hair and dressed like she wants to get attention comes in front of us. There were a few guys working on something and they were all breaking their necks to get a glimpse of this girl. All...
“Listen, you can write her off your next year’s income tax as an unavoidable” If you have seen a Norma Shearer film you have pretty much seen them all. Shearer was “Queen of the Lot” at MGM and what people wanted to see from The Queen was melodramas. And boy did movie audiences get their fill of Norma Shearer melodramas in the 1930s. But unlike many of her films at the...
The Perils of Pauline (1947)
The Perils of Pauline is based on the silent actress Pearl White and her famous serials “The Perils of Pauline”. The film tells the story of how Pearl (Betty Hutton) went from working in a garment factory to a stage actress to a famous screen actress to the ending of her serials when the genre went out of favor. Pearl works in a garment factory where she is none too happy. Her...
Annie Oakley (1935)
“Toby Walker, you’re supposed to be a sharpshooter and you can’t even see a woman gal under your own nose.” “I can see anything I’m aiming at.” A while back I watched Annie Get Your Gun with Betty Hutton and Howard Keel. From liking this film I found out that Barbara Stanwyck played the character in the 1935 version of Annie Oakley. I found Stanwyck’s...
“All our lives there has been too much left unsaid between us. Loving is the only thing that really matters, Charlotte. It’s worthwhile being hurt a bit to find that out.” Last summer my brother Anthony had to read Wuthering Heights for his AP English class. My mom read it too so she could help him out with the story and he could have someone to talk it over with. By...
Headline Shooter (1933)
“You gotta cold? No wonder you’re putting the freeze on me.” Headline Shooter is about a newsreel camera man Bill Allen (William Gargan). Bill is a lady’s man and a hot shot with his camera work. He is the guy who gets to where the news is happening before anyone else and gets the best shots by the time all the other cameramen come. He even goes where other cameramen will not...
Nothing But the Truth (1941)
“No, I don’t lose. That’s not a lie. That’s an opinion. If I said YOU were good-looking - That’d be a lie.” Nothing But the Truth is the third pairing of Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard. While The Cat and the Canary and The Ghost Breakers were in the same vain story wise Nothing But the Truth is a departure. Even though both of their previous films’...
Land of the Pharaohs (1955)
“Yes, he will be remembered. The pyramid will keep his memory alive” Ever since I was little I have had a great fascination with Ancient Egypt. I think it all started when I was little and I used to watch the Sesame Street video Don’t Eat the Pictures: Sesame Street Visits the Metropolitan Museum of Art where Big Bird and Snuffy have to help this little Egyptian kid who was...
A King in New York (1957)
“There are many things absurd these days…” A King in New York is one of Charlie Chaplin’s films that attest to his genius. Many filmmakers who want to make something meaningful that has happened to them in their lives more than likely will make a politically, emotionally charged film that can get out of hand and become annoying as they try their very hardest to gain...
No Time for Comedy (1940
“I write plays.” “Er, yes, I have a hobby, too. What I meant was, what do you do for a living?” “Write plays. Anything wrong?” No Time For Comedy captured my interest from its title and the pairing of its stars the very versatile and funny Rosalind Russell and James Stewart. I had a feeling this would be a comedy of sorts and it is. I did not know what to expect from the...
Top Secret Affair (1957)
“It’s against my religion. I’m a devout coward.” Dorothy “Dottie” Peal (Susan Hayward) is head of Peale Enterprises which include TV, radio, and magazine publishing. She’s a tough, determined lady who does not back down when she wants something. Her magazine has been campaigning for a friend of her father’s as chair for the Joint Atomic International Committee but...
The Heiress (1949)
“He’s grown greedier over the years. Before he only wanted my money; now he wants my love as well. Well, he came to the wrong house - and he came twice. I shall see that he does not come a third time.” I happened to find The Heiress on sale at Barnes and Noble a few weeks ago and of course I had to get it Olivia de Havilland is the star and she won an Academy Award for...
Cry Wolf (1947)
“Next time you hear some odd noise in the night, just follow the memorable custom of your sex and stick your head under the bedclothes.” Cry Wolf is a Noir (if it can be classified as a Noir) that is not very well known. It stars two of Hollywood’s most classic actors Errol Flynn and Barbara Stanwyck. I had never heard of the film before I typed in Stanwyck’s name on Amazon to...
They Died With Their Boots On (1941)
“To hell … or to glory. It depends on one’s point of view.” Hollywood loves to take stories from the pages of history and turn them into romantic mushed up love affairs or just totally mangle the way things unfolded. I think the only book or movie to ever mix both romance and history together perfectly was Gone with the Wind. At least Margaret Mitchell researched the...
Little Women (1933)
“If wearing hair up means becoming a lady, I’ll wear it down until I’m 100 years old” I can remember as a kid always watching the version of Little Women from 1994. I used to watch this movie a lot I can still remember some parts from the movie. Up until a few months ago I never realized that the 1994 version was the third telling of Louisa May Alcott’s story. The first...
Third Finger, Left Hand (1940)
It has been a while since I have posted about a Myrna Loy film. I recently went on a Myrna Loy binge on Amazon I bought Third Finger, Left Hand and Wife vs. Secretary along with her incredible autobiography Being and Becoming which I finally found for under thirty dollars (actually with shipping and handling it came out to less than twenty). Ever since I saw a clip of Loy from Third Finger, Left...
Of all the Ginger Rogers films I have seen I have generally like them all. Heartbeat I can say is the only film of Rogers’s that I did not like. She plays an eighteen year old girl (yes eighteen when she was thirty-five years in 1946!!!), Arlette, who has run away from her boarding school in France. Arlette has entered a school for pickpocketers where she receives room and board. On her first...
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
“How can all these things happen to just one person?” Bringing Baby Up is one of the ultimate Screwball comedies. The story is hysterically funny and with some of the best comedic dialogue ever written. The comedy never ends right from the beginning. You are either laughing, blushing, or smacking your palm to your forehead (or all three and at the same time) the characters are...
The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952)
“I wonder if there’ll be another time as good as this.” I love to watch films that are based off books. Usually what happens I will watch the film first and then read the book. Also usually I can tell if the book will be good by watching the film (my case in points Rebecca, Gone with the Wind, Laura). Let me just say I will never give Ernest Hemmingway a chance because I...
An American in Paris (1951)
“Maybe Paris has a way of making people forget.” “Paris? No. Not this city. It’s too real and too beautiful to ever let you forget anything” Goodness I am on a musical kick lately first with Annie Get Your Gun then The Band Wagon and now An American in Paris. Usually I watch musicals when I am in a foul and need something to cheer me up but I have not been in any sort...
Hold Back the Dawn (1941)
“You needn’t be afraid, Miss Brown. Not a bit. You see, we are like … two trains, halted for a moment at the same station. But we’re going in different directions. We can’t change our course, any more than we can hold back the dawn.” I am always a sucker for films with my favorite actors or actresses. I will watch any film by anyone I like. Hold Back...
Finishing School (1934)
“You’re supposed to do exactly as you please in this old ladies home for nice young gals. Just don’t get caught, that’s all” The first time I ever watched Finishing School was when TCM had Ginger Rogers as the actress of the month back in March. I always know when I love a film because I am left thinking about it and looking all over the place for pictures of...
The Band Wagon (1953)
“That’s Entertainment” MGM has always been known for their incredible musicals. Arthur Freed’s production team made some of the most memorable musicals ever created such as Singin in the Rain and An American in Paris. Keeping up with the successful roll of musicals in the early ‘50s, Freed’s unit produced The Band Wagon. MGM got all their top entertainers in their arsenal and...
Annie Get Your Gun (1950)
“You Can’t Get a Man With a Gun” The other night (and a few blogs before this) I had watched Insidious which scared the ever living hell outta me. To get my mind off of the creepiness and scariness (Go me, I am a twenty-four year old baby who hid behind my stuffed animal the whole time) I decided to watch a musical. To me there is nothing that makes me feel so much happier in...
Woman Wanted (1935)
“Say, are you the house dick, or am I?” No, this is not a 1930’s porn!!! Filthy mind! I just liked the quote I thought it was funny. A woman who works as a salesclerk is asking a house detective if he is supposed to be the detective or is she. So anyway… Woman Wanted is about a young woman named Ann Gray (Maureen O’Sullivan). She has just been convicted of...
The Vampire Bat (1933)
“Goodnight gentlemen. Don’t let the vampire get you.” Before you judge and laugh just looking at the title and think that it is a really bad 1930s “horror” let me assure you The Vampire Bat is not what you may be thinking. The story is actually pretty good. The town of Klineschloss has been turned upside down. Many of the villagers have been found dead from...
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
“I don’t want realism. I want magic! Yes, yes, magic.” The more I read a Tennessee Williams’ play or see a film based off his plays the more I cannot stand him. The same thing goes for Marlon Brando good God does this man drive me up a wall! So you may be asking yourself why if I do not like the playwright or the actor did I sit through A Streetcar Named Desire? Well...
Twentieth Century (1934)
“That’s the trouble with you, Oscar. With both of us. We’re not people, we’re lithographs. We don’t know anything about love unless it’s written and rehearsed. We’re only real in between curtains.” When learning about screwball comedies there are a few films that will always be the first mentioned: Theodora Goes Wild, The Awful Truth, His...
Together Again (1944)
“Oh, I knew if you came here something would happen” Together Again is an appropriate title for this film since it once again pairs Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer. Instead of being a romantic pair waiting months to be together they are complete opposites with not too much in common except that they each bring something out in the other. Anne Crandall (Dunne) is...
“This story is about a little girl. It could be about any one of those little girls playing there. But it isn’t. It’s about one in particular. Her name is Gigi.” Gigi is considered the last great musical MGM released. It is in the tradition of their greatest musicals from decades past with its extravagant sets, elaborate costumes, and excellent songs and score. ...
Payment on Demand (1951)
“Life has stones as well as flowers.” I am just going to start off by saying Payment on Demand was not my kind of film. I was a bit bored with the plot. Bette Davis plays Joyce Ramsey a very controlling, social climbing woman. Her husband David comes home one night all flustered and tells her that he wants a divorce. Joyce cannot imagine why David would want a divorce but...
Love Affair (1939)
“It’s the nearest thing to heaven.” Even if you have never seen this version of Love Affair you may have definitely seen it somewhere. Ever see Sleepless in Seattle or An Affair to Remember? Then you have definitely seen Love Affair in those two forms just without Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer. French playboy and painter Michel Marnet (Boyer) and nightclub singer turned...
You Gotta Stay Happy (1948)
“You gotta stay happy, don’t look for trouble.” You Gotta Stay Happy is adorable. It is a film where there is that mistaken identity thing going on for a while but everything else surrounding that bit of plot is so funny and amusing. The film is much in the vein of Screwball comedies from the 1930s. Joan Fontaine is an heiress named Diana Dillwood. She has...
Affectionately Yours (1941)
“Ever since they been married, she squawked at all his foreign assignments.” Affectionately Yours is not a good film. I had so many issues with this film it got almost unbearable to sit through. Ricky Mayberry (Dennis Morgan) is a foreign correspondent. He is a married man but he plays the field with pretty girls. While he is in Lisbon on assignment he gets a...
The Ambassador's Daughter (1956)
“Pride is a wonderful thing but it won’t keep you warm on a cold winter’s night” Mistaken identity is probably the most used plot device in classic films. Norman Krasna who wrote, produced, and directed The Ambassador’s Daughter used the mistaken identity plot in some of his previous films. In this film the plot does not get too dragged out and is actually very interesting to...
The Locked Door (1929)
The Locked Door is one of Barbara Stanwyck’s first films and her first talking film. Stanwyck plays a young girl named Ann. She has been taken to a boat twelve miles out to sea where prohibition is nothing but a word by her boss’s son Frank Devereaux. From the moment we see Ann she seems uncomfortable by the whole deal. Frank takes her to their own private room away from all the drunk people...
Theodora Goes Wild (1936)
“That adorable young thing is an unholy terror on wheels. There’s nothing in the world more deadly than innocence on the manhunt!” Theodora Goes Wild is one of the reasons why I love 1930s Screwball Comedy and one of the millions of reasons why Irene Dunne is one of the best actresses to have ever graced Hollywood. The small town of Lynnfield is shocked to...
Love is a Racket (1932)
Love is a Racket is an enjoyable pre-code film. Unlike most pre-code films this film is light, but of course there is a murder and the murderer never gets caught and there is a mystery involved. Douglas Fairbanks Jr. plays Jimmy Russell. Jimmy writes for the New York Globe for the theater section called “Up and Down Broadway.” The section is a gossip section for what is happening...
Lucky Partners (1940)
Good Luck! Lucky Partners has a cute premise: a man walking along one morning wishes his neighbor good luck. The two do not know each other he just says the term out of kindness. That day the girl has a lot of luck. Pushing her luck so to speak she plays a sweepstakes but she wants to go in on it with the man just so she knows she is not going crazy. The man is...
Today We Live (1933)
Today We Live is based off a book by William Faulkner of the same title. Faulkner himself even wrote the script. There are certain points of the film that are questionable from the acting, writing, and editing but the story holds up pretty well. The film takes place during The Great War in England and France. Richard Bogard (Gary Cooper) has traveled from America to England to...
Daisy Kenyon (1947)
“It’s a funny thing about being in love. Sometimes it’s easier to tell when you are than when you aren’t” I am not even sure how to begin this post about the Noir film Daisy Kenyon. This is one film that I am really on the fence about. The two main things I look for when watching a film are the story and the acting. With Daisy Kenyon I felt the...
Deadline at Dawn (1946)
“The Divine Being made many loathsome creatures but none so low as a woman with a cold heart.” Deadline at Dawn is a typical Noir: there is a murder, a young man is framed for the murder that he knows he did not commit but he is not sure since he blacked out, he meets a young girl down on her luck who helps him clear his name, and by the end of the film all is well and the boy...
Blood Money (1933)
“You know, people outgrow each other just like they outgrow clothes.” If I had a chance to go to film school to study film history and had to pick a specific period for films I would pick the 1930s because of the Pre-code years and the screwball comedies. Pre-code Hollywood came out with some of the greatest films such as King Kong, A Free Soul, The Divorcee, Three on a...
Trouble Along the Way (1953)
“Look this is a musical comedy college. No one could save it but Rogers and Hammerstein.” Trouble Along the Way is not your typical John Wayne film. There is not a horse or a cowboy or a desert in sight. Here Wayne is a regular guy named Steve Williams who struggles to make his way in the world. Steve is a single father who is not bringing up his daughter Carol in the best...
Four Faces West (1948)
I am not a big fan of westerns. I can never get into stories about dirty cowboys running around and shooting each other and robbing God knows what then being wanted by the law. Now I know all Westerns are not like that but the ones that I have seen were and they bored me to death. I did have to make an exception with Four Faces West. I adore Frances Dee I will sit through any film I can find...
Broadway Bill (1934)
“He has come to rescue the princess from the dark tower!” Broadway Bill is not a story about a man making it big on Broadway and winning the girl at the end. The film is actually about a horse named Broadway Bill and his owner breaking away from high society and winning a race no one ever thought the horse would win. Dan Brooks (Warner Baxter) is married to...
Morning Glory (1933)
“Youth has its hour of glory… but too often it’s only a morning glory, the flower that fades before the sun is very high.” Morning Glory tells the story about a young, aspiring actress named Eva Lovelace (Katharine Hepburn). She does not have a lot of experience on stage; she only played in some small parts in her local theater in her hometown of Vermont. Eva has...
Double Indemnity (1944)
“How could I have known that murder could sometimes smell like honeysuckle?” Double Indemnity is considered one of the quintessential Noir films. Everything about it screams Noir. Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) is an insurance salesman in 1938. One of his clients is a man named Dietrichson with a bored and lonely wife named Phyllis (Barbara Stanwyck). On the way...
Sidewalks of London/St. Martin's Lane (1938)
“Everything’s luck, see. And good temper. And if you can take a joke. The whole of life’s a joke.” St. Martin’s Lane better known outside the UK as Sidewalks of London is about a group of buskers or street performers. Buskers were people who would perform outside of London theaters entertaining the crowds as they wait on line to see a show. Charles Stagger (Charles...