Saturday, November 6, 2010

1940's Party!!

How awesome is this?! I went to this party last year and it was amazing. So many guys dressed up in old school military uniforms, even a couple of nurses, and the rest of us in 1940's style garb. Big band orchestra, and even dance lessons during the band's set breaks!

Not sure if I will be partaking this year due to my insanity of a work/school schedule, but if any of you are in the San Diego area you should definitely check this event out!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fiona Apple's classic cover is the cat's meow!

I first heard the song "After You've Gone" during the closing credits of the movie The Cats Meow (2001) which starred Kirsten Dunst. The movie, while not particularly good in script nor acting, was still an entertaining watch because of the stunning costumes, great soundtrack, and intriguing subject matter. It dealt with the conspiracy theories surrounding what could have happened aboard a getaway weekend on William Randolph Hearst's yacht in 1924, when movie producer Thomas Ince turned up dead.

Officially they say he died of heart trouble, but because of the fishy nature of his death and the fact that everyone aboard was sworn to secrecy, not to mention a couple of the ladies ended up on the payroll of Hearst, many thought he was accidentally shot and killed by Hearst himself. Rent the movie if you haven't seen it, again while not the best quality cinema it's still entertaining.

In any case, back to "After You've Gone". I really loved this tune playing during the closing credits, and turns out it was Kirsten Dunst herself who did the vocals for this version. Very nice set of pipes she's got! I ended up searching more about the song and came across this AWESOME cover done by the great Fiona Apple. She totally makes the song her own, I LOVE IT!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)...

... is on TV right now, and I'm totally crying at the part when Fred is sleeping at the family's apartment and having a nightmare about the war and he's crying while Peggy's comforting him. BWWAAAAAHHH!

I've seen this movie many times before so I don't know why all of a sudden I'm crying!

I think I'm PMS-ing hehe.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Gloria Stuart Dies at 100

She was a GORGEOUS actress, and personally I enjoyed her early films, even though apparently she grew tired of how she was typecast and eventually turned her back on her career and Hollywood.  Most will now remember her as the actress who played the older Rose in Titanic, but I still remember her as the beautiful blonde actress from the 30's, with my personal best memory being from Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm as we watched that movie many times over when we were kids.

Rest in peace Gloria, we sure liked your movies <3

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Thelma Todd - Suicide, Accidental Death, or Murder?

Cue thriller type music! I was obsessed yesterday looking up information about the silent/talkie film star Thelma Todd. I had been reading some article, I can't even remember where or what it was, but it was recent and made a reference to a movie that starred Thelma Todd. Google her I did as I was not too familiar with who she was or what she looked like. I found out that she died very young, at 29, of quite fishy circumstances.

She was found in the early morning hours of December 16, 1935 in her garage, slumped over in the driver's seat of her parked car. The police determined she had committed suicide, and then later changed that determination to accidental death by carbon monoxide poisoning. Something was afoot though.

For one they found her lip bruised and some blood on her face and dress. Also, in order for her to have reached her driveway she would have had to climb a large outdoor staircase on a hill which would have dirtied her shoes. The shoes she was wearing were clean. Other things such as the autopsy showing beans and peas in her stomach, when that's not what was served at the dinner she attended the night before, her connection to a mobster, a jealous wife of her lover, a fight with that lover that night, etc. just give more fodder to anything BUT an accidental death.

It just saddens me at how young she died, and if indeed she met her end through no fault of her own inebriation then it also makes me mad that someone got away with such an awful crime. I shall be adding some of her movies to my Netflix queue.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Big Parade (1925)

If you like films of the silent sort, definitely check this one out. It was on TCM the other day and caught my eye as the heroine was played by Renee Adoree who was a silent film star I had often heard of but hadn't actually seen any of her films yet. A long time ago her biography caught my eye as she passed away very young of tuberculosis, after having had a very successful silent film career that did transition well over to talkies. Her eyes are STUNNING and just jump off the screen!

The film was very moving, tells the tale of a young American man who ventures off to fight in World War I, experiences the atrocities of war, and also falls in love with a French woman. Lots of emotions involved here and then more showing his return home to his family having been also physically scarred from war. It's a touching film and apparently was a huge blockbuster back in its day and also was a big inspiration for many future war films. So much so that in 1992 it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

TCM the new AMC?

So lately I've been noticing a slightly disturbing trend on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) that is reminiscent of what American Movie Classics (AMC) did back in the day. More and more I'm seeing movies made post 50's being aired, and while I of course love all types of films they are not the reason I tune into TCM. Give me my black and white flicks damnit!

I remember when I was in junior high/high school I used to watch AMC all the time. That is where I first started my romance with classic films after having been exposed to a few by my parents growing up. AMC was where I found out there was much more to that world than Singing in the Rain, My Fair Lady and Knights of the Rounds Table. Then I discovered another channel that provided the same types of films from the 20's-50's, TCM! Hooray! Two channels to gobble up old time cinema!

Then I remember noticing AMC was switching up their offerings. Movies like E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, and Jaws started popping up every now and again and eventually more recent "film classics" were all that was being shown. Again, I LOVE those movies but where was I to go if I wanted a good ol' fashioned black and white fix? I noticed those films were mostly being played at ungodly hours of the day when I just couldn't watch, and this was pre-DVR days. TCM however was still my hero!

That is until now. Sadness. Of course I'm still able to see a good ol' flick on TCM, but like AMC started doing those black and white classics seem to be airing less and less to make room for films that were made in the 60's and 70's. Before long will I not be able to see ANYTHING from the Golden Age of Hollywood?? I used to be able to turn on the TV and go straight to TCM to see what was playing and now I feel like every time I do I just want to change it because I'm just not interested in a film I could catch on any other channel.

I guess I should just start making good use of that DVR and hope that at least my black and white flicks will still be aired, even at those ungodly hours of the day!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Oh Mylanta!

I haven't posted in eons! First I got hit with the ridiculous workload of my spring semester Master's program, and then work has been kicking me up and down this whole summer, booo. I need to remember that taking time out for ME and what I want to do is also quite important. ;)

So just now I was listening to one of my favorite songs from back in the day, "Yes Sir! That's My Baby." I've heard a few versions, my most favorite is Cliff Edwards' rendition, but I also found this little ditty on YouTube by Lee Morse which I really dug. I recently acquired an accordion which I've been wanting to learn for a while, and I got the sheet music to this very song and can't wait to learn how to play it!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Costume party Roaring 20's style!

Went to a charity event the other night and it was Roaring 20's themed! Just up my alley not only because of the 20's theme but because I love any excuse to dress up in costume.  Alas I didn't have time to get an actual flapper costume going so I pieced together a little get up from what I had in my closet, but I think it turned out pretty well!

They turned a bar into an old school speakeasy, complete with gambling and booze! We spent most of our time at the roulette table playing with our charity chips, drinking and wondering if we'd get raided by the fuzz. Good food, good friends, my man was stylin' in his fedora... all in all a great time!

 Me, my man, and a couple of my good friends!

Drinkin' some bathtub gin, learning how to play roulette!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Radio Days (1987)

I first saw Radio Days when I was but a wee lass, as my dad is a big fan of Woody Allen films. It is definitely on my list of all time favorite movies as A) it's HILARIOUS and B) has one of the most amazing soundtracks.

It has a somewhat autobiographical feel; Allen's voice is the narrator and talks about memories he has as a child growing up listening to the radio. Various songs remind him of various occurrences in his childhood and the movie lets us in on the hilarious fun. Seth Green in one of his first roles plays the young and lovable scamp.

There are a few songs from this movie's soundtrack I would like to make note of. First is the song by the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra called "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You". I think it's just one of the prettiest pieces of music ever, and I love when it pops up. During a trip to Disneyland even, I was outside of the Tower of Terror ride, and they play 1930's style music. Lo and behold "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You" comes on and I was as happy as a clam!

Another song is a wartime era tune called "I Don't Wanna Walk Without You, Baby". In the movie it's sung by Mia Farrow's character to a group of military gents, and again it's just such a sweet and pretty tune that I end up with it in my head all day long. I think I heard a version of that song sung by Helen Forrest that I really liked.

A really fun tune that this movie introduced me to, and come to think of it haven't heard anywhere else, is "Pistol Packin' Mama" sung by Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters. "Oh lay that pistol down, babe, lay that pistol down! Pistol packin' Mama, lay that pistol down!" If memory serves, this song is played during a scene in the movie where the protagonist and his buddy are building a snowman outside of their school, and decide to use a carrot not for the nose but for the... ahem, specific part of the snowman's anatomy ;). So a teacher comes out, yells at them and shoo's them away, then proceeds to remove the carrot and then take a bite out of it, HA!

If you've not seen Radio Days definitely add it to your Netflix queue! Or at least check out its soundtrack.... xoxo!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Kathryn Grayson 1922-2010

Kathryn Grayson passed away yesterday at the age of 88.

"Trained as an opera singer from the age of twelve, Grayson was contracted to MGM and established a career in films from the early 1940s. Most of her films were musicals and after several supporting roles, she was given lead roles in such films as Show Boat (1951) and Kiss Me Kate (1953). " - From Wikipedia.

One thing that I had not known about Kathryn Grayson before was that she performed in many operas, including La Traviata which is my personal favorite. I am a huge lover of opera, and finding this about Ms. Grayson gives her another little soft spot in my heart.

Rest in peace, darling, and thank you for your lovely contributions to this world.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Scorcese - savior of films!

Wow, who knew?! Martin Scorcese has been quite involved in the preservation of classic films for a while now, and was in the news today in regards to his World Cinema Foundation. This foundation sets out to preserve international films, and Scorcese also started another foundation called The Film Foundation, which specifically works to preserve American film heritage. You GO, Martin Scorcese!! :)

The article can be found at:

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Musical Joys of I'll See You in My Dreams (1951)

I'll See You in My Dreams (1951) is one of my favorite movies, largely due to the fantastic treasure trove of music it offers. It is the biopic of lyricist Gus Kahn and stars Danny Thomas as Kahn and Doris Day as his wife Grace. Danny Thomas is BEYOND lovable in this role and seeing him in this film prompted me to seek out more of his work. Doris Day's voice was never lovelier than in this film, loved her!

The first time I watched this film I kept hearing songs that I immediately recognized from other films/commercials/covers/etc that I had seen throughout my life, and wonder of wonders they were ALL written by Gus Kahn. Vamp karaoke: "Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina in the mo-oh-ornin'!" More Vamp karaoke: "It had to be yoooouuuu, it had to be yoooooou, I wandered around and finally found somebody whooooo..."

Side note: I actually DID karaoke to "It Had to Be You" once and oh man I butchered it beyond belief. I'm glad Gus Kahn wasn't around to hear it.

In any case, these songs Kahn wrote were amazing, catchy, and really you do leave from watching this film with them in your head singing them for the rest of the day. I'm so glad that this movie came up on TCM as I might have never known all of these wonderful songs were penned by the same man. Here are just a few of the songs whose lyrics Gus Kahn wrote, which I'm sure many you'll recognize:

"Toot, Toot, Tootsie (Goo'Bye!)" (1922)
"Carolina in the Morning" (1922)
"It Had to Be You" (1924)
"I'll See You in My Dreams" (1924)
"Yes Sir, That's My Baby" (1925)
"Love Me or Leave Me" (1928)
"Makin' Whoopee" (1928)
"Dream a Little Dream of Me" (1931)

One of my favorite songs that Kahn wrote is the title song of this film, "I'll See You in My Dreams". That song has been covered by countless artists, but there is one rendition of it that I love especially. Cliff "Ukelele Ike" Edwards' version, which the following is a clip of. His is a sad story, which I may include in a future post but for now.... listen and enjoy! xoxoxo!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ginger Rogers: My Story - Full of Juicy Tidbits!

I'm currently reading this autobiography and am enjoying it immensely!! I've always been a big Ginger fan, but this book has officially without a doubt sealed that deal.

One of the things that I'll admit I love reading about is the super juicy gossip from back in that day! For example, apparently both Judy Garland and Katherine Hepburn were quite le bitches to Ginger Rogers. Judy once invited Ginger to a so-called cocktail party at her house. Ginger gets there and no one but the nanny is home, and she never heard from Judy again until years later. There were a bunch of rotten things Katherine Hepburn said/did but the one that has stuck out from the book so far was Ginger had just bought a new fur coat (btw I abhor the killing of animals for fashion!) and Katherine dumped a glass of water on her and said "If it's real fur it won't shrink!"

Another tasty tidbit I learned that I was super happy to was about Fred Astaire. Most of the things I had read up until this time about their relationship, from their own words, was that they were just dancing partners, just professional, etc. You know how you always have that desire as a fan to see the couple up on screen pair up in real life? So of course I was always disappointed that hadn't been the case, which for the most part is true. HOWEVER. Before Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire were ever "Fred and Ginger" they met on the Broadway circuit. And Fred asked Ginger out on a date. And they had a great time. And they ended up making out for 5 minutes in the back of his car. YOWZA! That was fun to read about. :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What's a good Jeanne Crain?

So I was watching Leave Her to Heaven again and I noticed something, or I guess I should say someone, I really hadn't paid much attention to before.  Jeanne Crain. I don't know why I didn't take that much notice of her or her radiant beauty in previous viewings of this film. Probably because you're focused more on the psychopathic antics of the ever-so-sexy-even-when-she's-homicidal Gene Tierney. In any case, for whatever reason Jeanne Crain just really stood out this time around and when I looked up her filmography I realized holy of holies I haven't seen hardly any of these!

I fail.

Does anyone have any especially good Jeanne Crain performances they can recommend?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Top 10 Actors

And now.... the sexy men! Same as the ladies, my top 2 favorites I have a tiny description for and for all I included my favorite movies of theirs.

1.) William Powell - This one leads the pack by a landslide for me. I think William Powell is beyond the bee's knees! The funny thing is that even though he's not your typical drop dead gorgeous type, his debonair vibe and suave sophistication just had me hooked the first time I saw one of his movies, which happened to be My Man Godfrey (1936). His acting is phenomenal, in my opinion, and for me he still had it all, that talent and debonair sexiness, in his later films such as Life with Father (1947) and How to Marry a Millionaire (1953).  I also loved, of course, The Thin Man (1934).

2.) Robert Walker - I was introduced to Robert Walker by his film See Here, Private Hargrove (1944). It was quite a funny film, mostly thanks to Walker's/Hargrove's antics and after watching this film I stalked TCM for any other Robert Walker films. I loved them all, and even though he played a bad guy in it I especially liked Strangers on a Train (1951). Eventually he took a soft spot in my heart for what I read about his personal life - how Jennifer Jones left him for David Selznick, and he never recovered from that blow and spent years in depression. Eventually he died because of it, having been given a sedative to calm one of his panic attacks but turns out he had an allergic reaction to it, so he died. He was only 32. :(

3.) William Holden - LOVED Stalag 17 (1953),  Sunset Boulevard (1950), Born Yesterday (1950), The World of Susie Wong (1960).

4.) Fred Astaire - Swing Time (1936), Top Hat (1935), Daddy Long Legs (1955), Ziegfeld Follies (1946).

5.) Ray Milland - The Major and the Minor (1942), Dial M for Murder (1954), Beau Geste (1939).

6.) James Stewart - Rear Window (1954), Made For Each Other (1939), The Shop Around the Corner (1940), The Glenn Miller Story (1953).

7.) Julius Henry "Groucho" Marx - A Night at the Opera (1935), A Night in Casablanca (1946), Animal Crackers (1930).

8.) Cary Grant - My Favorite Wife (1940), Bringing Up Baby (1938), Penny Serenade (1941).

9.) Clark Gable - It Happened One Night (1934), Gone With the Wind (1939), Red Dust (1932).

10.) Randolph Scott - Follow the Fleet (1936), Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1938), My Favorite Wife (1940).

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Top 10 Actresses

Everyone's got their list of favorites, so here is my post with mine. Let's start with the lovely ladies.... :) The top 2 are tied for me, I just can't pick between them as my all time favorite! I have a little description for them, and then for everyone else listed my favorite movies of theirs.

1.) Claudette Colbert - I absolutely adore Claudette Colbert. If a movie comes on TCM with her in it it will probably catch my eye more than most other actors/actresses. I think she's hilarious in her comedic roles and one of my all time favorite movies is Midnight (1939). I think that was one of the first classic films I bought, back when it was on VHS. She's stylish, sophisticated, and such a fine actress! Also loved It Happened One Night (1934), The Palm Beach Story (1942), The Sign of the Cross (1932), Imitation of Life (1934).

1.) Hedy Lamarr - My main love for Hedy stems from the fact that on top of being a drop dead gorgeous actress, she also had the smarts. She is credited along with a friend of hers for coming up with an early version of frequency-hopping, which is what modern wireless technology stems from. Beauty and brains, what a package! I also love that she wasn't afraid to do something risky with Ecstasy (1933). Other favorites are Samson and Delilah (1949), Ziegfeld Girl (1941), and Her Highness and the Bellboy 1945).

3.)  Ginger Rogers - The Major and the Minor (1941), Top Hat (1935), Stage Door (1937), Swing Time (1936).

4.)  Myrna Loy - The Thin Man (1933), The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), Manhattan Melodrama (1934).

5.)  Gene Tierney - Laura (1944), Leave Her to Heaven (1945), The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947).

6.)  Rita Hayworth - Gilda (1946), Cover Girl (1944).

7.) Mary Astor - Midnight (1939), The Palm Beach Story (1942), The Maltese Falcon (1941).

8.) Irene Dunne - My Favorite Wife (1940), Life With Father (1947), Penny Serenade (1941).

9.) Grace Kelly - Rear Window (1954), Dial M for Murder (1954).

10.) Carole Lombard - My Man Godfrey (1936), Made For Each Other (1939).

Friday, January 8, 2010

What's a girl gotta do to get a decent calendar?

I was looking through the stacks of 2010 calendars, get 'em while they're half off! :) I'm looking through the very few options they have as far as classic films go, and what's worse they don't know their Vivian Leigh from their Joan Crawford! Haha, oh man, I think I'm going to write the calendar company who made this one to let them know they made a tiny little boo boo.

The picture is pretty fuzzy as I took it with my not so snazzy cell phone, but that is DEFINITELY not Vivian Leigh as the calendar notes! What, neither she nor Clark Gable ever made any other movie than Gone With the Wind? *sigh*

xoxo! ;)

My new favorite voice

Jo Stafford. Just wow!

I had never really heard of her up until recently when one of her tunes rotated in to my 1920's Radio Network station. That voice is just perfect to me, not too shrill or operatic like some of her day. Not that I have anything again opera, I actually adore it and am a big fan, but when you're listening to certain songs it just doesn't do the trick. Jo Stafford has that perfect pure and creamy voice, in my opinion, and I'm surprised I hadn't been aware of her career before.

She started her career in the 30's and even delved into comedy work, for which she won a Grammy in 1961 for Best Comedy Album. I also admire her for having toured quite a bit with the USO to entertain troops overseas, and she even earned the nickname "G.I. Jo". CUTE!

She died just a couple of years ago, on July 16, 2008. I'm so glad I got to hear her voice, and now even have a Jo Stafford Station on my Pandora going! If you've never heard her stuff definitely check it out. Here is a video of a song she sang called "No Other Love." This song caught me as it's the melody of one of my favorite classical pieces "Etude Op.10, No.3 - Tristesse" by Chopin.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Welcome to me!

I have for most of my life been completely in love with the era of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. The films, the music, the styles... you name it. Being of a younger generation, born in 1979, there haven't been too many people I've come across that I could relate to in this regard.
Me: "My favorite channel is Turner Classic Movies."
Others: "BORING."


In searching around for some classic movie trivia I stumbled upon a goldmine... Dozens of blogs belonging to people my age who also love those decades! Blogs full of photos, movie reviews, and songs of artists I have come to love and I realized that I too could join this great collection of blogs as a means by which I can share some of my own favorites and opinions on things of that time, in addition to bonding with fellow classic nostalgia lovers. So here it goes!