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!