TCM’s ’50 States in 50 Movies’ Spotlight

MAP

……this is such a brilliant idea

The U.S is a great country, I don’t care what anyone says.

No country is a large and diverse as these 50 different states in the union.

From the golden coasts of California to the Rocky Mountains of the Appalachians, the United States is truly a sight to behold – especially when you have time to burn during the summer.

It’s only fitting that movies and traveling fit together. Turner Classic Movies, better known as ‘TCM’ has begun this fantastic new film spotlight that focuses on ’50 Movies from 50 different states.

Starting in New England, then making its way down to New York City, then with a quick stop down South, then onward toward Florida, going back up to the midwest, then down the Missippi River, all the way out to the Wild West, then eventually ending on the sun-kissed coasts of California.

Every Monday and Tuesday this July, you will be able to enjoy your favorite classic movies while exploring the great open roads of the United States.

monument-valley TCM

source: Lonely Planet

With films like Key Largo, The Philadelphia Story, and High Society to thrillers and dramas like Anatomy of a Murder and A Summer Place to westerns like the iconic Giant, this TCM spotlight has something for everyone.

If you’d like to clear the cobwebs when it comes to catching up on your favorite movies, there’s literally no better time to do this.

So, sit back grab a drink, pop some popcorn, put on your fuzzy slippers and take a tour around the United States – TCM style.

If you’d like to read more about the lineup, click: here

 

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Thank You, TCM

TCM logo1

source: Turner Broadcasting Company

It’s been awhile.

Life continues on, whether you like it or not. Despite that, I want to take the time out to write about something that’s changed my life – for the better.

In 2013, I was fairly young, high school aged to be exact. I had no clue what I wanted to do with myself.

I didn’t want to be a doctor or a lawyer like my fellow classmates, I just wanted to coast through and enjoy life. I had no plans, I liked living, I liked watching soccer and generally being a nuisance.

This all changed when I was required to take a high school elective on cinema appreciation


It was in this class that I was exposed to numerous films that would influence me for the foreseeable future:

and yes…

LoA

source: Columbia Pictures

There were others, of course, but these were the ones that stood out in my mind the most. They formed me, they helped me understand that there’s more depth to movies that I had originally expected.

So, I started digging.

Thanks to TCM, I found a treasure trove of classic pictures that shaped who I am. From Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant to James Cagney and Ginger Rogers, I was absolutely enthralled with what I was seeing.

I discovered the magic of classic films, I immersed myself in this world. I loved them, breathed them, and dreamt of them.

Because of this, I started to carry myself with a lot more confidence, I dug into the past of these actors and actresses. I learned about the backgrounds of these people and I lived through them. It affected the way I looked at life.

I thought to myself, “if the glitz and glamour of Hollywood could cover up some of the trials and tribulations that these actors and actresses were going through why can’t I keep my chin up during hard times?”

In summation, my love for history and classic films had a direct correlation to how I saw myself.

Isn’t that what movies are about?

Whisking you away for a couple of hours to forget about life?

Thank you, TCM, I really mean it.

 

 

The 4th Annual SEX! Blogathon…

Gilda 1

source: Columbia Pictures

You can’t discuss great classic Hollywood movies without talking about the actors that made them.

There have been plenty of leading pairs throughout the years that have been seared into the movie-going public’s mind; Day and Hudson, Bacall and Bogart, Rogers and Astaire – the list goes on.  One couple that doesn’t nearly get enough attention is the superb twosome of Glenn Ford and Rita Hayworth.

Starring in 5 films together during the course of their careers, Hayworth and Ford, in the eyes of the average classic film fan, looked like they were great friends. They were, to a certain extent, but, there’s a reason why I chose them for this blogathon.

In 1946, Gilda was released to moviegoers around the globe to critical acclaim. The sleek production, the angsty storyline and the underlying hate/sexual tension between the two leads made for a thrilling film experience.

GILDA 2

source: Columbia Pictures

I suppose that’s what made Gilda so successful.

Not only is Gilda and Johnny’s relationship one of the main driving point of the picture, it also helps when Hayworth and Ford made the romance seem so unforced.

Scrolling around the internet for hidden classic Hollywood tidbits, I stumbled upon this interesting article about some letters of correspondence between Rita and Glenn.

According to ‘Stars and Letters‘, the pair kept in touch with each other for many years, even inviting one another to each other’s houses for drinks and general fraternizing.

What may look like an innocent conversation to you, may look awfully suspicious to folks with a more keen eye towards covert romance.

Here comes the fun part!

Glenn Ford‘s son, Peter Ford, recently (and by recently, I mean 7 years ago) released a biography that insinuated that his father and Rita had an affair that lasted years. 

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source: Columbia Pictures

The funny thing about this is, Peter alleges that Rita even got knocked up with Glenn‘s love child and was more or less pressured to get it aborted for the sake of their careers.

Now, let’s put two and two together.

If the younger Ford alleges that his dad had an affair with Hayworth, then it’s pretty obvious during the production Gilda, clearly – something – was going on between the two.

That explains why their relationship in the movie worked so well. It was built on top of something that was already real and very passionate.

The looks they shared, the way they interacted with each other, and the tender emotional moments all give the movie an extra added layer of sensuality and lust that we see in modern movies like Unfaithful and Mr. and Mrs. Smith.


Gilda will forever be one of the greatest movies of all time but discovering that the two leads were involved make the love scenes even more enthralling.

 

To read more posts in this blogathon, click here.

The Second Annual Judy Garland Blogathon…

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source: Warner Bros.

A lot has been written about Judy Garland.

Whether it be about her life, death or anything in between, you can’t deny that Garland‘s career has left a lasting mark on Hollywood.

There was a period of time where Garland was treated as a laughing stock. Ridiculed and mocked for her many problems, she was all but finished by the time the 1950s rolled around. Luckily, that all changed with one script, a world-class director, and dream that wouldn’t die.


In 1954, Garland had the best year of her life. Coming back from being banished by the film industry, she had a triumphant return to form with her starring role in A Star is Born.

Critically and commercially acclaimed, Garland was thrust back into the limelight with her heartbreaking performance as aspiring singer Vicki Lester.

This was it, with that role, Garland’s comeback would cement her legacy as one of the greatest of all time.

But, before that could happen in walks in a 25-year-old Grace Kelly.

grace Kelly 1

source: Paramount Pictures

As a wrote before, Grace Kelly was quite the peculiar figure. Dubbed an ‘Ice Queen’ by many, in reality, Grace just wanted to be taken seriously as an actress and a performer.

Fortunately for the Philadelphia native, she had her feelings confirmed by the academy when she was nominated and won her Oscar for The Country Girl.

What about Mrs. Garland, you ask?

Well, that’s where the fun really begins.

As you may know, Garland was the favorite for the Oscar that year. Everyone and their mother believed that she would take it home- and rightfully so.

Grace won it based on two things: her popular and the sheer amount of films she made that year.

In 1954, Kelly starred in 5 films, some of them include, Rear Window, Dial M for Murder, and Green Fire. MGM worked the poor girl to death, and perhaps the Academy felt the need to repay her.

Kelly‘s body of work that year may have outshone Garland‘s powerful performance, and eventually cost Judy the Oscar.

That’s not to say that Grace‘s role in The Country Girl wasn’t great, it was more than great, it was wonderful, but Judy‘s was out of this world.

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source: Warner Bros.

I think it’s fair to say the reason why Grace received the Oscar that year was the same reason why Leonard DiCaprio won his award a few years ago, same could be said with Julianne Moore – a great body of work, above average role.

In the eyes of the Academy, your body of work is more influential than whoever had the best performance that year. Unfortunately, for Judy, her ‘snub’ was the first in long line of Academy Award blunders.

 

 

 

If you wish to read more entries in this blogathon, click: here.

Hidden Gems: Goodbye Again (1961)

goodbyeagain

source: United Artists

Picture it, Paris 1961.

The wind is cool, the coffee is warm and bitter, and you’re a businesswoman falling in love with the son of one of your clients who is 15 years younger than you.

Cute? Yes!

Difficult? Maybe.

Taboo? In 1961, it absolutely is.

Directed by Anatole Litvak (try saying that three times in succession) and co-starring Ingrid Bergman, Anthony Perkins, and Yves Montand, the film – based on the French novel Amiez Vous- Brahms? tells the story of a 40-year-old woman who takes on a younger lover to spite her longtime boyfriend who also has a penchant for affairs.

It’s an interesting film, in that two wrongs don’t make a right, but in this movie, it’s excusable.

Is infidelity justifiable (rewardable, even) when both parties partake in it? In Goodbye Again‘s case, Litvak certainly implies.

Goodbye Again 1961 1

source: United Artists

Frustrated by the fact that her boyfriend of 5 years won’t propose to her and his incessant affairs, Paula Tessier (played by Bergman) takes cautiously takes on a younger lover, hoping to free herself from the mental and emotional prison that’s been hounding her for years.

What makes this picture fascinating is that her beau, Roger (played by Montand) is very open about his affairs, but it doesn’t seem to trouble Paula.

Roger seems like the kind of guy to keep his options open, therefore he sees taking on another lover as nothing serious. Paula, on the other hand, is obviously hurt by this, but she dutifully keeps her mouth shut, only venting to her maid Gaby (played by Uta Taeger.)

When she sees the chance to “get back” at Roger, she’s hesitant, but eventually, she falls prey to her younger lover’s advances.

Phillip Van Der Besh (played by Anthony Perkins) is an attentive, charming and obsessive young man who worships the ground she walks one. At first, she takes his advances in stride, but as the film progresses and Roger shows no signs of slowing down his affairs, Paula’s feeling towards both men become more convoluted.

Goodbye-Again-1961-2

source: United Artists

This, “love rectangle” goes on for a couple of weeks until Roger goes on a business trip and by this point, Paula’s already made up her mind. Sick and tired of her boyfriend’s lack of attention and consideration for her feelings, she allows Phillip to move in with her.

Hurray, for true love!

Except, Roger takes offense to being cuckolded and proceeds to call up every woman he’s ever laid eyes and sleeps with them, hoping – praying, even to forget about heartbreak he just experienced.

While he does this, Paula remains unbothered, happily in love/lust with her newest boyfriend.

Roger realizes that he loves and misses Paula and finally, finally, decides to propose to her, begging for forgiveness. Stupidly, she takes him back and accepts his proposal. Naturally, this leaves Phillip heartbroken and confused.

Running from her apartment, by the time the movie ends, with Phillip is only a memory in Paula’s fickle mind and Roger continuing his playboy lifestyle.


Goodbye Again is your typical French movie, but with an “American” (I use that term loosely) cast. Loaded with angst, romance, and sensuality the picture plays out like a warm tea that soothes your throat after a cold day.

Bergman, stunning as usual, was fantastic in her starring role. She carried her heart on her sleeve, unfortunately, in the end, she ended up being scorned- again.

Goodbye Again 1961 3

source: United Artists

Anthony Perkins played the perfect “Dustin Hoffman” to Bergman‘s Anne Bancroft. He was calm, cool, collected, and petulant. His character, Phillip seemed like a reasonable guy. All he wanted to do was be the man he knew he could be for Paula, but it appeared she couldn’t let go of her comfort zone, even if Roger truly didn’t love her.

I supposed that’s the sad thing about this film.

Roger wanted the comfort of Paula without all of the commitment. Phillip wanted to take care of her like a proper lover, but Paula can’t get over the age gap.

In the end, insecurity wins out.

Eh, C’est la vie.

 

 

 

 

 

The Legend of James Dean

Jimothy

source: Photo by Richard Miller

A lot has been written about James Dean.

Whether it be about his sexuality, his legacy or his many, many many, adventures into method acting, people seem to be absolutely enthralled with the sandy-haired actor.

Is the public infatuation with James Dean similar to the reason why Marilyn Monroe is held in such regard? Did his early death cause the movie-going public to look at his 3 films with rose-tinted glasses?

If these things are true, is it possible that because of his death, Dean‘s acting ability is, dare I say, overblown?


Dean, born February 8th, 1931, was a shy boy, always getting into trouble with authority figures in some way or another. The only person who really understood him was his mother, saying that she was the only one who was, “capable of understanding him.”

After his mother died in 1938, Dean was sent to live with his grandparents in Fairmount, Indiana where he would live out the rest of his childhood.

Fast forward to July 1951.

Dean was finally getting his big break as an actor.

James Dean 2

source: Sanford Roth

Starring in a multitude of TV series, Dean honed his craft and eventually in 1953 got his ‘big break’ in the Elia Kazan drama East of Eden.

Inevitably, his performance as Cal Trask gained him attention, which led to other roles in films like Rebel Without a Cause and my personal favorite 1956’s Giant.

Sure, these are fantastic movies and while various critics sang his praises, were Dean’s performances any good?


I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with James Dean. I appreciate all that he’s done as an actor, but part of me believes that his acting ability was way overblown.

*gasp*

Yes, I will get some flack, but hear me out.

Dean was known for his method acting. He was very good at what he did, but he wasn’t the best at it. Compared to fellow actors Montgomery Clift, Marlon Brando, or even Paul Newman, Dean seemed to have a tendency to overdo it at times.

Take Rebel Without a Cause for example. Truth be told, Sal Mineo was the better actor in that film. I found Dean to be melodramatic and a bit too extra at times. Even Natalie Wood (a woman whose movie I don’t particularly care for) acted circles around him.

Take this scene for example. You catch my drift?

James Dean 3

….maybe next time, Jimmy.

This isn’t the case with all of Dean‘s movies.

I absolutely adore Giant, it’s one of his best roles. For some reason, he’s much more subdued in that role compared to his other films. Perhaps it has to do with him having a  director like George Stevens, or maybe it was Dean maturing into his acting.

Who knows?

But, the difference between these two films is staggering. Dean‘s quality in Giant makes me forgive him for overacting in RWaC.

No offense to Dean‘s legacy or his avid supporters, but maybe, just maybe, if he started out easing his way into his acting style instead of throwing all his chips on RWaC I would enjoy him a lot more.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.

The MGM Musical Magic Blogathon…

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source: MGM

It’s typical for most Esther Williams‘ films to start with some sort of swimming number.

The film doesn’t necessarily need it, but since Williams was an ex-swimmer it’s shoehorned into the film anyway.

On an Island With You is no different.

Directed by Richard Thorpe, and co-starring a talented cast that boasts the likes of Cyd Charisse, Peter Lawford, Richardo Montalban, Leon Ames, and Xavier Cugat, On an Island With You is your quintessential MGM musical.

With a flowery set, endless musical numbers and an impromptu cameo from a bandleader, the movie tells the story of a swimming star Rosalind Reynolds (Williams) and her efforts to film a movie in the lush jungles of Hawaii.

Stringing along her fiancé, Ricardo Montez (Montalban), on the island (hehe) the movie’s technical director, Lt. Lawrence Y. Kingslee (Lawford)  falls in love with her instead. If the plot can’t get any wackier, Rosalind’s best friend, Yvonne Torro (Charisse) gets enamored with her friend’s almost husband, thus leading to a love rectangle, of sorts.

on an island with you 3

source: MGM

The rest of the movie sees Lawrence attempting to wine and dine Rosalind despite her being very involved with another man.  It isn’t until he kidnaps her on a prop jet, whisking her away to different Hawaiian island that the plot really starts to kick into high gear.

While this is happening, Rosalind’s fiancé and the search party he brings together gets kidnapped by a group of cannibals who inhabit the island Lawrence took Rosalind on. Luckily, by the time Lawrence confesses his feelings for Rosalind and her fiancé finds them, in traditional classic Hollywood fashion, the problem gets fixed in the end.

Yvonne gets involved with Ricardo and Lawrence finally has his love reciprocated by Rosalind.


To be quite frank, when I initially watched this film, I really enjoyed it. Re-visiting it 3 years later, it didn’t leave the same impression it did a couple of years earlier.

I will admit, it’s a great movie, but compared the classic MGM greats, it’s hard to have On an Island with You stick out in your head.

Of course, there are people who enjoy the film, I can’t say I’m one of them. That’s not to say this movie doesn’t have great moments – because it does. Peter Lawford, for example, is a great actor. I’ve always loved him in whatever role he took on, this film is no different.

All in all, On an Island with You has a great premise but fails to make any lasting impact. Maybe, I’ll revisit it again in the future, who knows?

 

To read the rest of the entries click: here.

The Classic Comfort Movie Blogathon…

mclintock 1

source: United Artists

“George Washington McLintock,” is the name that Katherine McLintock wistfully whispers to herself as she comes face to face with estranged husband of 2 years.

Standing eye to eye for the first time in 730 days, the McLintock’s are reuniting for a rather important moment in their lives – the finalization of their divorce.

Spearheaded by Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne, McLintock! is a film that may be overlooked compared to other Wayne/O’Hara collaborations.

Action packed with slapstick comedy, romantic tension, and witty dialogue by James Edward Grant, the film is a refreshing take on the western genre.

It may star John Wayne, but it isn’t your typical “shoot em’ up cowboy” movie.

Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, McLintock! is a family friendly, comedy romp starring two Hollywood legends.

It tells the story of George McLintock as he struggles both professionally and personally to overcome various obstacles in his life.

Whether it be his ex-wife returning to his ranch to beg for their daughter’s custody, Native Americans fighting him for a piece of his land, or local townsfolk harassing him for no good reason, the predicaments that George gets himself into makes for a hilarious movie.

McLintock 2

source: United Artists

One of the more memorable scene from the film was the giant mudslide fight about halfway through the movie.  The scene, which lastest a grand total of 10 minutes is an absolute ‘gut buster.’ It had me rolling on the ground for a good 5 minutes, my lungs were very sore after that ordeal.

O’Hara, often known for her grittiness and willingness to do action sequences, did all of her own stunts in the scene. As a woman, I’d have to say that was very commendable, and it’s probably something I would’ve done as well.

Lastly, and perhaps the funniest scene of the picture is its finale. It sees a half naked (not really, she was wearing bloomers) O’Hara soaking wet and soiled running away from an irked and disgruntled John Wayne.

When he finally catches up with her, it culminates in Wayne taking O’Hara over his knew and smacking her into submission.

McLintock 3

source: United Artists

Hilarious? Yes.

Sexist? A tad bit.

Is it in line with the movie’s plotline? Absolutely!

That’s why I believe McLintock! is the perfect comfort movie. It’s not the best Western out there, but it doesn’t attempt to be.

It does it its job perfectly.

It’s entertaining, nostalgic, and the excellent film to watch when you want to unwind from a long day at work.

What more could you ask for?

Classic Movies Are Food For the Soul

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source: MGM’s 20th Anniversary Celebration

When I first got into classic films 5 years ago (I can’t believe it’s been that long) I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

Naturally, like any bratty, snotty-nosed teenager, I turned my nose up at those “black and white snoozefests.” It wasn’t until I took a mandatory ‘Cinema Appreciation’ class that I started to *ahem* ‘appreciate’ classic films.

A couple weeks, I began to watch to The Asphalt Jungle. About halfway through, I got unbearably tired and I just had to go to bed.

The next morning I check the TCM on demand (the app is truly God-sent, I highly recommend you download it) to see if the film was still there, lo and behold, it had an expiration date.

Crushed.

I have to admit, I was pretty disappointed, but then I realized the movie served its purpose.

The Asphalt Jungle 2

source: MGM

At the time, circumstances in my life were pretty overwhelming. My college courses weren’t going to plan, the weather down here was dire, and I was struggling with life in general.

That hour of The Asphalt Jungle immediately put me in a better mood. I may not have finished it, but the film took my mind off of my current problems.

This show the power of classic films, I may not have finished it, but it gave me pleasure in another way – emotionally.

And for that, I thank them.

A Year With Anybody Got a Match?

AGAM

source: Warner Bros.

Time flies when you’re having fun.

It’s officially been a year since I’ve started sharing for love of classic films.

I started doing this because I believed having a personal blog, separate from my main freelance work, would be some sort of stress reliever – and it is.

I’ve met some wonderful people, been apart of some incredible blogathons, and got to watch some unbelievable movies that I wouldn’t have watched otherwise.

I never thought that I would amass such a following ranting and raving about my favorite films.

So, thank you.

Here’s to another year.

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