February Movies to Watch For

Here are some films on Fox Movie Channel, Sundance and TCM for the month of February, 2013 that you might be interested in. Remember, these movies may be edited, time compressed, in the wrong aspect ratio, have commercial interruptions, or be pre-empted for a marathon of Tony Danza shows, the bad ones that only ran for half a season, not the good stuff like “Taxi.” You know how it goes. All times Eastern. FOX MOVIE CHANNEL At of the beginning of the year our cable package finally included FMC. Now that I’ve had a chance to see the channel, I can tell you that the evening movies are often edited and have lots of those advertising tags in the bottom right corner. For the most part, it appears the movies I’ll be featuring are on earlier in the day, when the channel uses less or no tags and probably doesn’t edit. However, be warned that movie channels, even our beloved TCM, can show really horrible prints or edits of films.   On the Avenue (1937) February 2, 8:00 AM Roy Del Ruth and Irving Berlin musical about a New York socialite satirized in a Broadway show. With Alice Faye, Dick Powell, Sig Ruman and Alan Mowbray.   The Story on Page One (1959) February 4, 9:50 AM Rita Hayworth and Gig Young as lovers involved in a murder, who hire fiery lawyer Tony Franciosa to defend them; written by Clifford Odets. This is a surprisingly good and little-known film that … Continue reading

Bette’s Got It All

After browsing through a few hundred of saved pictures of Bette Davis, as one often does in the wee hours of the morning, I stumbled across this little number labeled “unidentified:” Unidentified? Hardly! It’s a promotional still (in color!) of Bette’s turn in a 1959 episode of “Wagon Train” entitled “The Elizabeth McQueeny Story,” where she grits her teeth, shows off her gams and sweeps the cleaned-up Robert Strauss off his smarmy feet. Now is a good time to mention that all the previous Bette Davis Project posts have been moved over here, for your convenience and enjoyment. More are coming, and soon.

Happy Birthday, Charles Nelson Reilly

Charles Nelson Reilly Born January 13, 1931 Seen here during rehearsals for the 1964 Broadway production of Hello, Dolly! A plethora of terrific pictures from the production can be found here.

Happy Birthday to Monte Blue!

Monte Blue Born January 11, 1887 See more Monte Blue pictures at my Flickr gallery here Monte is one of my favorite character actors. He doesn’t get mentioned enough around these parts, but I hope to change that soon.

More of What We Need: Una Merkel

Una Merkel is terrific. Una is the savior of many a pre-Code musical and post-Code comedy, her sarcasm as wide as those big doe eyes of hers. Hollywood, especially the Hollywood Una resided in, was obsessed with glamour, and if a movie star wasn’t busy being fabulous they had better be singing or dancing, or, if energetic enough (and male enough) to be in a group of other like-minded men, many of whom had faces made for radio, a star could get by with being wacky. Una was different. It’s not that Una wasn’t glamorous, because she was, with that lovely skin and a figure designers were delighted to dress. And it’s not that she couldn’t sing or dance; she more than holds her own in 42nd Street with the hot new musical actress in town, Ginger Rogers. But Una’s true talent was in being a grounded, intelligent woman, simultaneously fun and stern. Her sarcasm was never for the sake of cruelty, but rather expressed the frustrations of the audience, probably once again caught in the midst of a madcap, unbelievable plot. Una was often the only voice of reason amongst a sea of beautiful people doing very silly things for the sake of a plot. She narrowed her eyes and pointed her finger at people who needed a good scolding; her good-hearted machinations kept plots moving right along; she never took an egomaniac seriously. Audiences needed and loved Una Merkel, and I do, too.

Serious Sport and Fair Play: The Footloose Heiress (1937)

A successful movie will necessarily have its imitators, and it would be disingenuous to claim The Footloose Heiress (1937) was anything but a quickie knock-off of the incredibly popular My Man Godfrey released less than six months prior. Yet rather than simply steal from the better, earlier film, Heiress borrows one aspect and essentially riffs on it, creating an almost fanfic-ish what-if scenario of a Godfrey world where the spoiled heiress gets her just and true comeuppance in the form of a sexually violent stranger. Craig Reynolds is Bruce “Butch” Baeder, one of those so-called hobos that were so popular in films of the late 1930s and early 1940s. Calling himself a “forgotten man” and immediately ingratiating himself with the first rich guy he sees — beleaguered ad exec John Allyn (Hugh O’Connell) — Butch is the magical Godfrey-esque answer to the wealthy Allyn family’s problems. And the problems are all allegedly the doing of willful teen daughter Kay (Ann Sheridan). Despite Mr. Allyn’s job difficulties — and despite his obvious incompetence at absolutely everything, all the time, without exception — Kay is considered the true troublemaker in the family. Truth be told, she does little to dissuade anyone of that opinion, engaging in the typical rich girl rebellious shtick that Hollywood had a mad love affair with during its Golden Age. The daughter, already called Kay “Madcap” Allyn by a press familiar with her antics, decides on her 18th birthday to engage in more madcappery and marry the decidedly … Continue reading

Phantom Creeps #12: “Now Let The World Beware My Vengeance!”

Welcome all to the final chapter of the exciting 1939 movie serial The Phantom Creeps! Begun over a year ago in October, 2011, SBBN has recapped this cinematic classic with witty banter and stunning detail, to the delight of thousands. Others would say that SBBN has bitched incessantly about this craptastic serial while a few people came along for the ride, laughing when we realized actress Dorothy Arnold was daydreaming about skullfucking her co-workers. Witty banter, skullfucking, either way is good. Before we begin the final chapter of something that should have ended many, many months ago, I want to thank you all for sticking with me. A new movie serial endeavor will be beginning shortly, my goal with that one to stick to a tighter schedule. I hope you’ll join me for the next series! Tonight’s thrilling conclusion is a Creeps classic, featuring terrible writing, horrible acting, stock footage of questionable taste, and some very sad actors who never worked in Hollywood again. The Phantom Creeps Chapter 12: To Destroy the World When we last left our intrepid heroes Plucky Girl Reporter and G-Man Bob, they were lounging by the catering table while stolen footage from The Vanishing Shadow starring Ada Ince and Onslow Stevens was doing all the work for them. Ada and Onslow, unwitting (and probably unwilling) stand-ins for PGR and Bob, are seen careening through a construction site in a British car — and by British I mean “the dinks in editing flipped the Shadow footage … Continue reading