Fur & Factor

It’s the middle of the holidays, so a little light blogging seems in order. Blackglama furs has a fun little site where you can see previous ads from their iconic advertising campaign which features a lot of Hollywood royalty. Click here and go to “Campaign” to see more. The website has just the photographs, not the photos as used in advertising, and they’re kind of small to boot. Google is kind enough to lead us to scans of the actual advertisements. Here’s Bette: A couple more favorites. Barbara Stanwyck, 1970: Tommy Tune, 1994: Here’s Judy in her 1968 ad, less than a year before she died. Warhol later used the image in the 1980s for a series of artwork and revamped advertisements for Blackglama. Speaking of Judy, here’s an ad of hers I’ve always loved. I first saw the actual ad, apparently cut out of a vintage magazine and framed, in our local Applebee’s, which used to have movie related items nailed to the walls. A few years ago they took it all down and replaced it with generic sports crap, and I always wondered who got this ad. Judy looks so beautiful here. From about 1945. The above scan from The Glam Guide’s excellent post on the recently-departed Max Factor. Check out the other ads in the entry! Here’s another Judy Max Factor ad, using the same picture from the above ad but with a different surrounding design. Pic from The Max Factor Museum: Another Judy ad. She looks … Continue reading

Recently Watched: A Christmas Carol (1984)

“A Christmas Carol” is a story so overdone that it’s beyond my weak powers of prose to fully describe how trite and cliche it is. I counted to 35 on the IMDb’s list of films and made-for-TV versions made of Charles Dickens’ story before I gave up. Every U.S. sitcom that lasts more than two seasons is apparently forced by law to do at least one “Christmas Carol”-based special during its run. (“WKRP” was the best.) But a few months ago I recalled seeing a TV version with George C Scott as a kid. When Edward Woodward died recently, I moved the film to the top of my Netflix queue and finally got it this weekend. My memories of it from watching it 25-ish years ago are pretty vague. I recall being apprehensive because George C Scott scared the ever-loving hell out of me in the 1970s in the Hallmark TV version of “Beauty and the Beast”, and the character Scrooge usually scared me silly anyway, thanks to Alastair Sim’s death-like appearance in the 1951 film. But I was determined to see the Scott version because Edward Woodward was the Ghost of Christmas Present and my favorite show was “The Equalizer”. Guess that means I saw a rerun, since “Christmas Carol” was released a year before “The Equalizer” began. Of the versions of the story I’ve seen, this one is by far the best. They didn’t take any risks with the overall presentation, sticking closely to the same visuals that … Continue reading

Night Parade (1929)

TCM, your one-stop shop for early morning pre-Codes, recently showed the almost completely unknown Night Parade (1929). It’s not so much a pre-Code as a very early talkie, however, and sadly, it stinks on toast. It tries hard to be a full entertainment experience by including song, dance, extended boxing scenes, gorgeous sets and beautiful costumes, but it falls completely flat because the acting and dialogue are so poor. Night Parade has all the usual traits of a poorly-produced early talkie: stiff acting, improper and sometimes hilarious diction, actors glancing off camera, over-penciled eyebrows, and a thin plot that is shamefully stretched far beyond its maximum capacity. One gets the impression that early talkies based on stage plays took out the best parts and tried to breathe life into the piecemeal remains by shouting all the dialogue. Shouting is an emotion! Scenery is delicious! I have no idea if this is true or not, but it seems as though the really daring, outrageous art deco sets didn’t appear in Hollywood until the talkies came in. Despite the art form officially beginning before talking pictures, I haven’t yet seen any of these intense, urban designs appear in silents, although Metropolis comes close. One of the only good things about Night Parade is the evil, naughty, bad lady’s apartment. Paula, played by Aileen Pringle, is in with the mob and seduces a young boxer to get him to throw a bout. Much of the film takes place at a gala affair in … Continue reading

TCM Remembers 2009

The TCM Remembers memorial for 2009: Another really difficult year. I think that every year, but when I first saw the memorial last night I just lost it, and I continue to lose it on repeat viewings. The song is “To Live is to Fly” by Steve Earle, off his 2009 tribute album to Townes Van Zandt entitled “Townes.” If you like Earle’s version, I recommend Townes’ as well; they’re both beautiful. UPDATE: As astute observer James Neibaur told me today, the clip for Dorothy Coonan is actually a clip of Ann Hovey! He’s absolutely right, of course, it is Ann Hovey. UPDATE x2: As of December 18th, TCM has an updated TCM Remembers with Jennifer Jones added to the montage. She appears just between Edward Woodward and Sam Bottoms, replacing some scenery shots. Which is better than last year, when they removed Roberta Collins for Van Johnson; I’m very happy that they did not delete someone this year when the same situation arose. Thank you, TCM. Thanks to ForsceDesign at YouTube for uploading (and keeping me from having to learn how to edit a video and upload my own copy), and to Marysara at the TCM forums for identifying the song.

Bette Davis Project #6: The Rich Are Always With Us (1932)

Ruth Chatterton is Caroline Grannard, the daughter of a fabulously wealthy tycoon and wife of handsome businessman Greg (John Miljan). Caroline often lunches with Julian Tierney (George Brent), a handsome journalist who is in love with her, but while she enjoys his company she makes certain he knows she’s not interested in an affair. Tierney has been living an adventurous life traveling in China and writing articles. In 1932, China was ostensibly under the control of the Kuomintang government led by Chiang Kai-Shek, although many areas of China were ruled by warlords and some were under the rule of Mao Zedong’s Soviet forces. Chiang Kai-Shek sensed threat from Mao Zedong and began a series of Encirclement Campaigns against Zedong’s forces which lasted until the mid-1930s. It’s likely Julian was in China to cover some of these campaigns, although it’s never explicitly said. Things at lunch are immediately complicated by pretty, flighty Malbro (Bette), who is obviously in love with Julian while he cannot stand her at all. Elsewhere in the same restaurant are Caroline’s husband Greg and young blonde Allison (Adrienne Dore), and Caroline is immediately suspicious that they’re having an affair. Later at one of those decadent early-30s parties the rich always give in Hollywood films, a party where Caroline has hired a professional (and formerly convicted) con artist and gambler to gamble against the rich guests for sport, Caroline is confronted by Allison. Allison insists Greg divorce Caroline so she can marry Greg instead. Caroline reminds them that … Continue reading

Isle of the Dead (1945)

D for Doom and I got to talking about the film “Isle of the Dead” (1945) in the comments of my last post, plus of course today is the last day of the Boris Karloff Blogathon, so I thought I’d post a few pictures. One day I may get around to actually writing about the film. Further Reading: Review from Ferdy on Films Review from Only the Cinema Igloo of the Uncanny’s entry  

The Devil Commands (1941)

Frankensteinia has been holding a Boris Karloff Blogathon all week, which I discovered a couple of days ago thanks to Ivan at Thrilling Days of Yesteryear and W.B. Kelso at Scenes from the Morgue. Now keep in mind this post isn’t part of the blogathon, I just had this post ready to go and it coincided with the blogathon. My husband and I love watching old Karloff flicks, the ones from the mid-30s to the mid-40s especially, because they’re often short, low-budget affairs that can occasionally surprise you. “The Devil Commands” has moments, but ultimately it sucks on ice. I love the concept of this film, just absolutely adore it beyond measure, which may have been why I was so disappointed when the film failed to deliver. Yet concepts aren’t always as they seem; another Karloff film, “The Black Door”, is the basic unimaginative good twin/evil twin plot executed with a complexity and intrigue that turns it into a really great film. Edward Dmytryk directed “The Devil Commands” but it’s early in his career and he isn’t quite at the “Murder, My Sweet” level of ability. Karloff has a really great look — think psychotic stock broker — and Anne Revere gives a tight, impressive performance. But there’s really only about 25 minutes in the middle of this film that are worth watching, and the supporting cast of dull, lifeless performers almost ruin the good parts. Amanda Duff especially stands out as awful, which is unfortunate as she’s the narrator … Continue reading

Diana Dors

Last month I watched two 1955 Diana Dors movies on TCM: “As Long as They’re Happy” and “An Alligator Named Daisy”. To be honest, I watched ALaTH but could only make it through the first 20 minutes of “Daisy” before giving up completely. While these movies are usually billed as Diana Dors movies, she’s not the star. Jeannie Carson is the rightful star of both movies. In ALaTH, Carson plays one of three daughters of uptight British businessman John Bentley (Jack Buchanan). All three daughters are driving their father mad with their romance-based shenanigans. The youngest daughter tricks a big American singing star to come to the Bentley’s home and musical hijinks ensue. The American singing star is Bobby Denver, played by singer Jerry Wayne. His gimmick is that he cries while he sings, which makes the girls swoon in a very hormonal way. His character reminded me that, as a kid, my parents once told me about an American 50s singer who really did cry when he sang. Now I have to wonder if they saw this movie and thought Jerry Wayne cried when he performed in real life, or if Wayne’s character is based on a real person, or what. John Bailey, the father, is played by the ultimate stage professional Jack Buchanan. His role is to fulfill a standard British comedy element: “It’s not funny until the old guy gets hurt.” He does some dancing in the film and while he is a little stiff, he’s not … Continue reading

Recently Watched: Two Thrillers

October — for me, anyway — was a big month for horror films and thrillers, and now that I have some time on my hands (as I mentioned over on technoknob, although I got the impression said post went over like the proverbial lead balloon) I can finally blog about a few films I watched. Wait Until Dark (1967): This is a film I first saw back before there was such a thing as TCM and, knowing how much my husband loves Alan Arkin, decided to rent it so he could see it, too. Boy, had I forgotten a lot about this film! A tense, engaging thriller, it features criminals who spend their time screwing with a blind woman just because they can. It would have been easier for them to tie her up and search the apartment for the missing MacGuffin, but that’s not their style. Hepburn plays Suzy Hendrix, a woman who has been blind for about a year after a fiery car accident. After her accident she met Sam (Ephram Zimbalist, Jr.) and married him, despite the little fact that he’s a huge raving asshole. While he shows sympathy for the girl next door who has to wear glasses, he scolds and cajoles and manipulates Suzy into being “the World’s Champion Blind Woman.” Suzy, we find, is a lot stronger on her own than Sam gives her credit for, as is the troubled girl next door. Sam, on the other hand, is so dim as to take … Continue reading

The Marie Prevost Project

Edit 07/06/2013: For anyone interested in doing their own project on Marie Prevost, due to problems over the years, you need to know a few things: 1) You can use my blog posts for sources, but they must be credited in footnotes or bibliography (as should any book, blog, magazine, or other source). You cannot just cut and paste sections of my blog into your own work. Please know that I will not just ignore copyright infringement, should it occur. 2) There may be errors in my blog posts. You’re responsible for doing your own research and verifying anything you read. 3) I will not help you with your Marie Prevost research. Please don’t ask. 4) I own some memorabilia, photos, archival docs, etc., but I do not lend them out for any reason. Please don’t ask. 5) Despite any claim you may have heard to the contrary, I have not assisted nor collaborated with anyone in their book or article on Marie Prevost. For more details, read here. This post originally appeared at http://www.shebloggedbynight.com/2009/11/marie-prevost-project-1.html and a copy at the Internet Archive can be found here. *** Happy Birthday to Marie Prevost, born November 8, 1898. Maybe. Some sources say 1895, some say 1893. Since she was born in some crazy place called Canadia, I suppose we’ll never know. As I hinted a few months ago nearly a year ago during the Twenty Actresses Meme, one of my new obsessions is actress Marie Prevost. Since I’m a glutton for punishment, … Continue reading