Twentieth Century (1934)

twentiethcentury4When I posted that photo of Carole Lombard the other day, I suddenly realized I haven’t talked about one of my very favorite screwball comedies, the hilarious Twentieth Century (1934). The plot, if you can keep up with it, goes as follows: John Barrymore plays Oscar Jaffe, a Broadway empresario, who is as crazy as a box of cats. He casts the lovely Lily Garland (Carole Lombard) in his newest show, which turns out to be a huge success, making Lily an overnight sensation. The hits keep coming in and, after a few months, she decides to board the 20th Century train headed for Hollywood. She becomes a big movie star as quickly as she’d become a big Broadway star. Jaffe, on the other hand, keeps producing flop after flop. As a result, he decides to get on the 20th Century and get Lily back. By pure coincidence, she boards the train with her boyfriend in Chicago the same night. And as you can probably imagine, it is going to be the craziest train ride you will ever see in a movie.

Directed by Howard Hawks, Twentieth Century is a classic screwball comedy, absolutely hilarious and absolutely insane. John Barrymore gives arguably the best performance of his career and one of the funniest of all time and Carole Lombard is amazing, as always. I saw this on the big screen and it was a marvellous experience. The theatre was packed and everybody loved it. I cannot recommend it enough.

Movie references in music

Chambalis-Upcoming-OST2.jpgMovies and music sometimes go together like a troll and a bridge. And so, every once in a while, I’ll listen to a song on my Ipod and squeal like a fangirl when a movie reference comes up. So, I’ve decided to do a list of my favorite movie references in some of my favorite pop songs. Get ready to have some awesome tunes stuck in your head!

Highschool Confidential by Rough Trade – ‘Anita Ekberg and Mamie Van Doren’ Killer combo. Rough Trade are MASSIVELY underrated, by the way. Check them out if you get the chance.

Celluloid Heroes by The Kinks – The whole song is a heartfelt love letter to old Hollywood. Ray Davies is my spirit animal, I tells ya.

Vienna by Ultravox – The whole song and music video were strongly influenced by The Third Man (1949) and film noir in general.

Key Largo by Bertie Higgins – This is one of the cheesiest songs ever, but I can kind of tolerate it, simply because of the line ‘We had it all, just like Bogie and Bacall’. Ahh, how lovely.

Notorious by Duran Duran – Named after the Hitchcock film. Also, there’s another song on the album called Vertigo, so we can safely say they’re Hitch fans

China Girl by David Bowie – ‘I feel a-tragic like I’m Marlon Brando’. I hope they’re both having a wonderful time together in Heaven

Wake me up before you go-go by Wham! – ‘You make the sun shine brighter than Doris Day’

What would Katharine Hepburn say? by Sparks – Sparks were a pretty cool band and I have a particular affection for this song

This Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore by The Smiths – The lyric ‘I’ve seen this happen in other people’s lives and now it’s happening in ours’ is a line from Alice Adams (1935)

And my all-time favorite movie reference:

Vogue by Madonna – If it wasn’t for that song, I wouldn’t have become a classic movie junkie. I’ve always been a huge Madonna fan and when I heard that song, I used to think ‘Who are those people she’s talking about?’. So I googled them, and the rest as they say…

So there you have it! There’s loads more but these are just some of my favorites. Hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to share some more in the comments.


Stars Blogathon – Sterling Hayden


A while ago, my friends Virginie and Crystal asked me if I’d like to participate in their upcoming Stars Blogathon. It’s about stars that we don’t know that much about or haven’t seen that many movies with. You know I love my blogathons so obviously I said yes. And so, I chose to do my article on Sterling Hayden. I’ve always felt that he was part of that group of actors who never got that much credit and were slightly underrated. So I decided to look up some of his movies that I hadn’t seen before. One of those was Naked Alibi (1954). That one caught my eye because it’s a noir and because Gloria Grahame is in it and I’ll watch anything with her. It’s a nice little noir about a man called Al Willis, played by Gene Barry, who has been accused of killing a cop. Hayden plays Joe Conroy, the police officer who is determined to bring him to justice. He is so absolutely convinced of the man’s guilt that he becomes pretty much obsessed with the whole case. He then goes to Marianna, Willis’ long-suffering girlfriend played by Gloria Grahame, and asks for her help in finding him. It’s not one of the very best noirs, but it’s good. Hayden’s performance, however, is great. He always had this trademark bitterness about him, and I think because of that, he was kind of stuck with playing these tough, down-on-his-luck type of characters. And boy, was he good at it! And like I said, I think he was a bit underrated as an actor. Nicknames like ‘The Most Beautiful Man in the Movies!’ or ‘The Beautiful Blond Viking God’ probably didn’t help, either. But what can you do!

Naked Alibi is worth checking out. It isn’t at the top of my movie recommendations list, but it is on the list and it has a cracking cast! And like I’ve always said, if there’s a movie left to watch, you have to watch it. It’s not much of a motto, but you get the point.

Little story

Did I ever tell you my Katharine Hepburn story? Well, my mom and I were roaming the streets of Venice a few years ago, when we came across the shop from the movie, where Jane and Renato meet for the first time. We noticed that they had this picture frame with a photo of Kate and Rossano Brazzi in it. (They are clearly very proud of the fact that Summertime (1955) was shot there.) Obviously that caught my eye right away. We went in and asked the lady there if we could have the photo. Just the photo. She said no, so this Italian man came up to us and he said ‘I’m going to buy a picture frame, I can get that one and then I can give you the photo.’ So he bought it and we got it. Very nice man, he was. Anyway, I just wanted to share that with you guys. Every time I watch Summertime, I think about that.