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