Movie Marathons!

We all love our movie marathons. Movie fanatics will have a marathon for every occasion: someone’s birthday, anniversary of their death, anniversary of a movie’s premiere, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, what have you. I always have a Kate Hepburn and a Billy Wilder marathon on their birthdays and occasionally, I’ll have an actor-director one as well, so, for instance, Hitchcock and Cary Grant.

But recently, I started a new kind of marathon that I hadn’t even thought about before: a marathon based on years. So, I’ll watch 3 or 4 movies from the same year in one day. So today, the year will be… drum roll please… 1954: Rear Window, On the Waterfront and Dial M for Murder. Off I go!

See you cats on Monday!

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Rear Window (1954)

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Rear Window (1954), as I’m sure I’ve already  told you, has always been my favorite Hitchcock movie. Mind you, it’s a big list and the top 10 changes every once in a while. But Rear Window is always at the top. I love everything about it. The plot, the characters, the sets, the music and, of course, Grace Kelly’s outfits! Oh my God, they’re a thing of beauty. Also, the way her character makes her entrance is completely legendary. There’s a big close-up of her gorgeous face as she kisses Jimmy Stewart and then the camera reveals her full body as she turns on the lights and says her name (Lisa…. Carol… Freemont…). Fantastic.

I think this is probably Hitchcock’s most cleverly made movie. Because it’s set in one place, so he really had to be creative here. We’re in Jeff’s apartment the whole time, watching his neighbors with him. His girlfriend Lisa comes over every day and she is much more interested in him. Their relationship is a bit rocky, because, apparently, ‘she’s too perfect’, as he points out to his nurse Stella (Thelma Ritter).

The stories going on in the other apartments are just as entertaining as Jeff and Lisa’s relationship. A ballerina ‘juggling wolves’; a lonely woman and her endless loneliness; a frustrated piano player who can’t seem to finish his song; a newlywed couple who very much behave like a newlywed couple indeed; an elderly couple with their dog; and of course, the Thorwalds, the married couple who can’t stand each other. All of them seem to be a representation of what Jeff and Lisa could be.

Then, of course, there’s a murder. Naturally. The final scene (which I won’t spoil for the 3 people in the world who haven’t seen it) is probably my favorite scene from any Hitchcock film. It really does keep you at the edge of your seat, and that’s not just a cliche. Ten minutes or so of unstoppable suspence. Genius.

*heavy sigh*

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This right here. If you, like me, are always at a loss for words when people say things like that, show them this. Someone posted this on Facebook and I’ve been ‘sharing’ it ever since. Because, you know, the things I want to do to people who think like that are illegal, anyway. This is much better.

You’re welcome.

Lady of Burlesque (1943)

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My friends Crystal and Virginie from The Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood and The Wonderful World of Cinema  blogs have invited me to participate in the Barbara Stanwyck blogathon. I said yes, of course. How could I not? I absolutely love her! I think she was unquestionably one of the greatest actresses who ever lived. Certainly the most versatile. She’s done everything you can possible think of: noir, screwball comedy, romantic comedy,  melodrama (including THAT soap), westerns… And she was always fantastic.

And so, I’m not going to go for the obvious Double Indemnity (1944) or The Lady Eve (1941), even though I LOVE them both. I decided to write about one of her lesser-known films, Lady of Burlesque (1943), directed by William A. Wellman. It’s not a ‘classic’ or a ‘masterpiece’, but it is indeed a charming movie. It’s a mix of murder mystery, comedy, musical, what have you. It doesn’t really fit into any genre and that’s what’s so great about it. You don’t know what to expect!

The plot revolves around the murders of two strippers in a burlesque theater in New York City. It starts off as a charming, lovely film that quickly turns into a great murder mystery and a very surprising ending.

Written by James Gunn, based on the novel The G-String Murders by Gyspy Rose Lee, Lady of Burlesque is quite a unique movie, that frankly should be a lot more famous. I’m not saying it’s one of the greatest movies ever or anything, but it’s really quite good and if you’re like me, and you’ll watch ANYTHING Barbara Stanwyck is in, you should get your hands on this, if you haven’t seen it already.

Fallen Angel (1945)

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Until last week, Fallen Angel (1945) had been on my endless to-watch list for like a million years. My friend Gillian recommended it to me on one of our movie groups on Facebook, and I finally got the chance to see it. And I loved it. I knew I would.

Fallen Angel is often considered to be a noir, when actually I think it’s more of a romantic melodrama with shadows and a femme fatale. It’s like if Douglas Sirk had directed a noir. He didn’t though, Otto Preminger of Laura (1944) and Anatomy of a Murder (1959) fame directed this one. He teamed up with Dana Andrews again, and the result was great: Andrews plays Eric Stanton, a con-man who, after arriving in a small town, falls in love with Stella, the waitress of the local cafe, played TO PERFECTION by Linda Darnell. Through a series of mishaps, twists and turns, he ends up marrying goody two-shoes June (Alice Faye), for her money. All’s well until Linda Darnell turns up dead. Uh-oh.

I won’t spoil the ending for you, because your jaw will hit the floor at least 3 times, but, basically, all I can say is you have to watch this movie. If you like your melodramatic noirs and Linda Darnell’s seductive eyes, this will be a treat.

Classic movie blogs and Facebook pages I recommend

These are just some of the blogs I follow and FB pages I’ve ‘liked’ and am a member of. I will leave some of them out (don’t take it personally!) simply because most of the people that follow my blog also follow those blogs and pages.

BLOGS:

Shadowsandsatin – My personal favorite. I think I’m obsessed with it.

The wonderful world of cinema

The Motion Pictures

BnoirDetour

The Hollywood Venue

***4 Star Films ****

In the good ol’ days of Classic Hollywood

Once upon a screen…

Journeys in Classic Film

Cinema Crossroads

Criteron Blues…

The Blonde at the Film

Backlots

Travalanche

Everythingnoir

crackedrearviewer

 

FACEBOOK PAGES

Hollywood Confidential – Oh my God, the photos! As you can imagine, this page is about candid, exclusive, behind-the-scenes Hollywood photos that you’ve probably never seen before. It’s so awesome!

Cinema Classico – Loads and loads and loads of photos! With over 100 albums!

Classic Hollywood Los Angeles Times – Photos and trivia. TV shows included.

Classic Film Lovers’ Haven – This is a really famous group. It’s not a photo page, it’s a group where people talk about the classics

Classic Noir Lovers’ Haven – Same thing, but about Film Noir

Spellbound – This is a group about all movies, although most of its members do have a preference for the classics

Katharine Hepburn. With an ‘A’ – For Kate fans

 

Take a look at these pages and ‘like’ them if you… like them. For fans of classic Hollywood, these are a treat!

Goodbye Ziggy <3

1933727_10207201388547260_2102849446062174943_nYesterday was a bittersweet day. It was my mom’s 60th birthday AND the great David Bowie passed away. Well, actually, he passed away on the 10th, but the world only learned about it yesterday. I refused to believe it at first (‘it’s just one of those Facebook hoaxes’), but it wasn’t. I cried all morning while listening to his songs. Ever since I heard Rebel Rebel for the first time years ago, he has been my favorite. As I said on my Facebook page, I don’t think anyone was ever as influential in the music scene as Bowie. Not Elvis, not Michael Jackson, not even Madonna. Anyone who started making music after, say, 1975, will inevitably list him as their top hero. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you about his many personas or his ever-changing music style, because his legacy lives on and speaks for itself. But it is overwhelming to think about the fact that he released an album practically every year of the 70’s and they were all so completely different. How in the world did he do it?! Just think, Hunky Dory, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, Aladdin Sane, Diamond Dogs and Young Americans were all released back to back, in the order. Isn’t it amazing? And this there’s the movies. Who doesn’t love Labyrinth or The Man who fell to Earth?

Facebook was of course filled his photos, videos, interviews, tributes… The whole world is in mourning. Understandably so. My mom and I had dinner at the Hard Rock Café last night (I was wearing my ‘Ziggy Played Guitar’ top, of course), and they played his videos, and we just sang along and talked about him. Because there’s so much to say!

Goodbye David Bowie 1947 – 2016, we love you ❤

Crossfire (1947)

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1947 is a killer year in noir world: Crossfire, Out of the Past, Born to Kill, Kiss of Death, Nightmare Alley, among many others… The classic that is Out of the Past is undoubtedly the most well-known and beloved of all of those. Crossfire is the second. Edward Dmytryk’s noir, based on the novel The Brick Foxhole by Richard Brooks, deals with anti-Semitism in a way that few movies had up until that point. Interestingly enough, the year’s Best Picture, Gentleman’s Agreement, also deals with the same subject. But back to Crossfire. The murder of Joseph Samuels (Sam Levene) is the main focus of the film, and every character is a suspect, since all of them were with him at the local bar the night he died. Inspector Finlay, played by Robert Young, is called to investigate the case. Meanwhile, Sergeant Keeley (Robert Mitchum) decides to do a little investigating himself, since he suspects his friend Mitch (George Cooper) might be the prime suspect. The film is told in flashback, and every character recounts the events of that fateful night to Finlay and Keeley. Among them are Montgomery (Robert Ryan), Ginnie (Gloria Grahame) and Floyd (Steve Brodie). All of them were seen with Samuels and all of them have something to say about it. One by one, the pieces of the puzzle fall into place and the killer is exposed in a climactic ending. Robert Ryan gives arguably his best performance and the best performance in the film, which isn’t easy when you’re in a noir with Gloria Grahame. Crossfire was nominated for Best Picture (the first B movie to receive such an accolade), Best Director, Best Screenplay (John Paxton), Best Supporting Actor (Robert Ryan) and Best Supporting Actress (Gloria Grahame). Get your hands on this beauty and enjoy!

Time machine…

10653550_1013977678663407_5080614958976624565_nWhy don’t we start off 2016 by talking about going back in time? That seems appropriate. Now, like everyone else who loves classic movies, I wish I had a time machine. In fact, we all say that all the time. I’ve actually googled how to build a time machine and whether it’d work or not. Well, not really, I didn’t actually google it, ‘cause that’d be weird, even for me. But I did hear that it wouldn’t work. But let’s imagine it would. Obviously, 1940s Hollywood is the very first stop. But which year, specifically? After much deliberation, I’ve settled for 1942. And here’s why: that’s the year Casablanca came out, so I would have loved to go to the premiere; it’s also the year the very fantastic Carole Lombard died in that plane crash, so I’d like to think I could have stopped her from boarding the plane; and like Casablanca, I’d love to have watched Woman of the Year for the first time on the big screen when it premiered. In fact, the first encounter between Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy (which was actually in 1941, but hey) is the historic moment I’d love to have witnessed the most. Everyone goes on about JFK’s assassination, or The Beatles performing on The Ed Sullivan Show, or Charles and Diana’s wedding. No, no, no. Call me shallow, but give me Kate and Spencer any day of the week. Oh, and 1942 is also the year Bette Davis and John Garfield founded the Hollywood Canteen, so I’d love to pop in and have a swell time with all those movie stars! Ah, if only.

 

Happy New Year!

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Marilyn and I wish you a very, very wonderful 2016. And don’t forget to do your resolutions.

And remember the 7 Cardinal Rules in Life:

  1. Make peace with your past, so it won’t affect your present
  2. What others think of you is none of your business
  3. Time heals almost everything, give it time
  4. Don’t compare your life to others
  5. Stop thinking too much
  6. No one is charge of your happiness but you
  7. You don’t own all the problems in the world
I read this online, so it must be true. *Leonard from Big Bang Theory holds up a card that says ‘sarcasm’*
Be happy, people. Love you all ❤