Bette Davis Project #1: “Fashions of 1934”

William Powell plays Sherwood Nash, a con artist who fails at one con and, when he stumbles into newbie fashion designer Lynn Mason (Bette Davis), is inspired to create a new con: knock-offs of original fashion dresses. Nash’s true motivation is to irritate legitimate designers so they will hire him as a consultant to steal Paris’ fashions in the same way he stole theirs. Bette is completely out of her element here. She’s put in ridiculous wigs (or so much Dippity-Do that it makes her real hair look like a wig), heavy make up and clumpy false eyelashes. She’s in the role of subservient, meek little girl who literally sits on the sidelines while the action goes on. She even alters her voice to mimic the upper class voice of early 30s starlets. Bette looks really lovely in the gowns, though, and while they’re not exactly her style, she certainly has a terrific figure. Thanks to the whims of fashion, though, her bosomy figure wasn’t the style in 1934. Speaking of figures, this movie was one of the last pre-code films to come out before the July 1, 1934 enactment of the newer, harsher code. There are tons of girls in their underwear, including a surprisingly well-endowed Bette, and all the girls in the Busby Berkeley ostrich feather number are practically nude. There are a lot of double entendres, and the resolution of the trouble involves the fake duchess’ birthmark in a very intimate spot. Not a bad film, but … Continue reading

Counting Down the Zeroes: The House of Mirth (2000)

Ibetolis of Film For the Soul has taken on the monumental task of counting down the years of 2000-2009 — the Zeroes — in film. Guest reviews and commentaries celebrate the decade as it’s coming to a close. I cannot recommend the posts in the series highly enough; they are insightful, intense, and remarkable. You can read them at Film For the Soul or at their own dedicated blog at Counting Down the Zeroes. Ibetolis kindly allowed me to participate with a post about one of my favorite films, “The House of Mirth”, as part of the year 2000 series of reviews. The post originally appeared here at Film for the Soul. *** The film “The House of Mirth” (2000) is a remarkable cinematic representation of Edith Wharton’s 1905 classic. Somewhat whittled down, of course, and with more of a focus on sexual energy and jealousy between the characters, it is a beautiful film, easily one of the best of 2000.   Director Terence Davies adapted the book for the film and did a fine job creating dialogue that did not appear in the novel, or appeared only as narration. Davies said in the film’s commentary track that he felt he succeeded in being “imitative” of Wharton’s style. However, I was amused with two of his specific examples. His first example was the line “It’s stupid of you to be disingenuous, and it isn’t like you to be stupid”. It certainly is imitative: It’s practically a direct quote! The only … Continue reading

The Bette Davis Project (and set your recorders!)

Before I get to the meat of the post, I want to do tell you that “Cabin in the Cotton” will be on TCM on June 7th at 4:30 AM Eastern time. This is a very hard to find movie, one that was released on VHS years ago but hasn’t been seen much since. I requested the film sometime last year, and every time TCM shows a movie I requested, I pretend they’re doing it just for me. So nice of them! But that’s Stacia World talk. For those of you in the Real World, just remember that TCM will be showing this in a couple of months. Set your recorders! If 2009 is the year of anything for me, it will be the year of movie projects. The first project I have started on is The Bette Davis Project, inspired by my 20 Favorite Actresses post and posted today because it is Bette’s 101st birthday – Happy Birthday, Bette! You’ve been gone 20 years and are still scaring the shit out of men who can’t handle strong women! My project is simple: Watch every Bette Davis movie I can find, including the made-for-TV ones if I can grab a copy somewhere. Here is a text-only list of the films I have yet to see along with my own notes on where to get a copy. Don’t read the list unless you’re deeply curious. If the film isn’t on the list, that means I’ve already seen it. A few of … Continue reading

3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain (1998)

This post contains adult language inappropriate for kids and spoilers for the movie “3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain.” Parents, do not let your children read this post. I tell you this because I am your friend. “3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain” is the fourth and last movie in the “3 Ninja” franchise. Rex Reed allegedly said “The kids will love it!”, but keep in mind I can find no confirmation of such a thing being uttered from Mr. Reed’s lips. He may be completely innocent. Please do not judge him. The actors from the original film play the grandfather and parents, but all new kids were cast in the title roles. The youngest of the 3 brothers, Tum Tum, is played by James Roeske II. His mother Ellie owns Burbank Family Martial Arts, where son James and daughter Emily are also instructors at the school, as is fellow actor Michael O’Laskey who played middle brother Colt. The eldest brother, Rocky, was played by Mathew Botuchis, and had only a few years of karate training. In some scenes the kids do their own stunts, but many stuntpersons are employed as well. Adult stuntpersons who are often a full or more taller than the actors they stand in for, I should note. Roeske as Tum Tum had his stunts finagled with the use of a really hilarious disembodied mannequin leg. Oh, did I forget to mention that this is my entry in Lucid Screening’s 3rd Annual White Elephant … Continue reading