Ahhh, the summer. There’s nothing better than kicking back, planning vacations and seeing them come to fruition.
This past summer I was fortunate enough to take a trip to D.C and tour through the National Mall. Between feasting on artisan burgers and sipping on bubble tea, I squeezed a trip to the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.
Initially I was a bit hesitant to visit this particular museum; seeing as though I’m a bit of a history nerd I wanted to see actual artifacts not necessarily art work.
I was hilariously wrong.
When I walked inside I was taken back at how many brilliant paintings and sculptures I saw. From Presidential portraits to Barbie figurines, the National Portrait Gallery is arguably the most underrated museum there is in the National Mall.
The thing that shocked me the most during my visit was Katharine Hepburn‘s Oscar collection.
After my squealing calmed down after 3 minutes I was able to bask in the history of these four statues.
OnGolden Pond, The Lion in Winter, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and Morning Glory are all represented here through Katharine‘s four Academy Awards.
We all know that Katharine Hepburn was one of a kind and it was pretty moving to see her awards in the flesh.
All four of the films that she won her Oscars for are absolutely brilliant, with Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner be a favorite of mine.
If you get a chance to visit America’s Nation’s capital I highly recommend stopping by the National Portrait Gallery, you never know what other classic Hollywood memorabilia you’ll find.
To read more entries into this blogathon, click: here.
Hope you’re having a wonderful Saturday, I, for one, am not.
Just yesterday I found out that my cable service Comcast has moved TCM to what appears to be a ‘More Sports and Entertainment’ package. Understandably I was absolutely livid when I found out about the decision.
TCM and I have been inseparable since high school, and to have it suddenly pulled from my daily viewing availability is…..quite infuriating.
Of course like any good late millennial, I immediately went to Twitter to see what other Comcast having, TCM viewers were going through.
Predictably, Comcast’s decision was met with a ton of upset customers and miffed streamers. It looks as if TCM tried to remedy the situation by replying to angry consumers with a link that leads them to other cable packages that cost significantly less than what Comcast is offering.
Comcast, naturally, attempted to fix the situation by frantically direct messaging anyone who tweets angrily about the situation.
How will this be fixed?
Well, either Comcast returns TCM to its basic cable package, or they’ll see a mass exodus of customers leaving to other cable platforms.
Paris has always been a city I’ve dying to visit for a long time; the art, the culture and the food would all make a trip to the French capitol worth while.
In 1957’s Funny Face starring Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire, Hepburn’s character Jo Stockton goes through a similar love affair with Paris as well.
Being plucked out of obscurity by fashion magazine editor Maggie Prescott, played by Kay Francis, in order to usher in a new era of “intelligent and beautiful,” Jo goes on a whirlwind makeover that see her go from mousy librarian, to high fashion cover model.
While undergoing her transformation she meets and slowly but surely falls in love with photographer Dick Avery, played by Fred Astaire.
Initially she treats him like any other woman would a man who made unwanted advances, but when Dick subverts her expectations she gradually lets her heart get carried away.
Luckily for Jo, Dick appeases her every whim and desire, even going as far as going to underground clubs to discuss the inner workings of the human psyche with philosophers.
Slowly but surely, Dick and Jo start to fall in love, and this coincides with Jo’s professional modeling career taking off.
Hell, there’s even a huge musical number celebrating their love for Paris in “Bonjour Paris!”
But, as always in typical Hollywood fashion….something goes a’muck. Jo and Dick get into an argument over something pretty trivial ( another man, what else is new) which causes the budding new relationship to strain.
As Jo and Dick continue to fight, Dick makes plans to leave the country due to Jo’s extracurricular escapades. Eventually Jo makes a complete 180 but not until Dick takes a taxi to the airport.
At his terminal, he runs into the man that Jo was with and he learns that Jo attacked him refused his advances and that’s when the light bulb goes of in Dick’s head.
Dick makes his way back to the year end fashion show where Jo is supposed to be wearing her statement piece. But according to Maggie, it’s revealed that Jo ran back to the place where they shared their first romantic moment: a church where Dick first photographed her in a wedding dress.
They inevitably make up while serenading each other with “S’Wonderful” thus erasing any bad blood between them.
Funny Face is absolutely an incredible movie. It’s visuals, acting and on location shooting makes for a wickedly entertaining ride.
Stanley Donen most definitely had the magic touch when it came to movie making. The film is every pre convieved notion you had about Paris and more.
The Bohemian intellectuals, the fashion, the art, and the food, all the while you fall in love with the person of your dreams.
What’s not to like?
If you get a chance be sure to give this flick another spin, you’ll probably catch some things you missed the first time!
I apologize for being MIA for a month and a half. School has been quite stressful and my job at the school’s newspaper has given me extra ‘food’ on my plate.
Since my time is starting to free up, I’ll be able to post a lot more regularly. This means more intriguting behind the scenes stores I can bring you all!
In Hollywood, it isn’t uncommon to find friendships that pleasantly surprise you.
One of these close duos happen to be the unlikely paring of Ava Gardner and Lena Horne.
Much has been heard about these two, and we all know about that infamous “battle” for a coveted role in Showboat. But, if you were to go behind the scenes and take a deep dive into these two women, you’ll see that they were quite possible the closest pair of friends you’d ever meet.
As part of the Summer Under the Stars lineup, TCM has dedicated two separate days for both LenaHorne and AvaGardner. Airing on the 6th and 8th respectively, Gardner and Horne have much more in common that most people would be led to believe.
After movie shoots, Ava and Lena would go to each other’s apartments, drink, laugh, and tell stories of sleazy co-stars that tried to hit on them.
Ava would tell Lena how difficult it was up-holding the status of being a sex symbol and Lena would open up about the struggles of being a light skin black actress in a notoriously prejudiced Hollywood.
There were even times where Lena, being the brilliant singer that she was, would help Ava sing her way through her own recordings in order to help her prepare for the role of Julie LaVerne in Showboat.
Both of these women have incredible bodies of work and I urge you all to check out at least a couple of their films. They both persevered and fought through the crazy system that was the Hollywood golden age.
If you know anything about classic Hollywood, then you know that on set romances are as common as chain smoking.
People made up, broke up and repeated the process all over again.
In the case of Joan Crawford and Clark Gable, they did all of things – and then some.
Perhaps the most infamous couple is Hollywood history (besides Brad and Angelina) Joan and Clark had a long history of lust filled glances, late night phone conversations, and on set dalliances.
It first started all the way back in 1931 with Dance, Fools, Dance. Crawford‘s star was quickly rising in Hollywood and Gable was struggling to find his footing on the silver screen. It wasn’t until Crawford specifically chose Gable to star alongside her that his career really started to kick into gear.
“it was like an electric current went through my body…my knees buckled…if he hadn’t held me by the shoulders, I’d have dropped.”
– Crawford on meeting Gable for the first time
The production of this movie went pretty swiftly, and after filming ended, Crawford wanted to work with Gable again.
The next project they worked on was 1931’s Laughing Sinners. It wasn’t a memorable film, but Gable and Crawford continued to get to know one another. I will say that it is an enjoyable film and I hope I get to watch it again someday.
For all the flirtatious looks they had on set with this movie, it doesn’t compare to the blazing fire that they sent into overdrive on their next movie, Possessed.
This is where Hollywood lore was made.
By this point, Gable‘s star was rising and he was a hot commodity. Crawford was a bonafide star, at this point she was dubbed the ‘Queen of Hollywood.’
So, what happens when you combine a handsome young actor with one of Hollywood’s biggest stars?
Well…, let’s just say that many things were exchanged between the two, in more ways than one.
Here’s a quote from Crawford on how she felt about Gable during this time:
“In the picture, we were madly in love. When the scenes ended, the emotion didn’t–we were each playing characters very close to our own.”
– Joan Crawford, from Clark Gable by Chrystopher J. Spicer
While filming Possessed their affair become public knowledge, and naturally the MGM studio higher ups weren’t too pleased with this. Gable and Joan‘s affair nearly turned Hollywood on its head
It got to the point where Louis B Mayer requested that the two stop their romance. Of course, they didn’t comply and Mayer then threatened to destroy their careers.
Eventually they did separate after enough pressing from studio heads, but they didn’t quit seeing each other.
According to some sources, they continued to fool around even while they were married to other people.
Not my cup of tea, but I digress.
In the end, the couple never stopped loving each other, and it shows when Joan talked about him after Gable‘s death.
“Lovemaking never felt with anyone like what it did with Clark.”
– Joan Crawford, from Joan Crawford: The Essential Biography by Lawrence J. Quirk & William Schoell
When I heard the news that Doris Day passed away, I initially believed it was a hoax.
The news was so baffling that I strangely thought that maybe it had been a mistake.
Unfortunately, it was very real and my heart couldn’t contain the heartache that it went through. Doris was one of the first actresses I got into when i first started watching classic films, so to hear that she finally went to be with the big guy upstairs hurt me quite a bit.
Her movies opened the door to a world of romantic comedies, and eventually this lead me to discover her music and discography. Not only was Doris extraordinarily charming on screen, she also had a lovely voice.
Most of Doris‘ movies were also horribly overlooked.
I actually remember reading on one TCM discussion board that someone didn’t bother checking out her movies cause they felt too “Saturday mornings at your grandmother’s house.”
Not only is this statement off base, I wish the user well, but that’s grossly misunderstanding the power of Day‘s movies.
She could act, very well, actually. Even though most of her movies were considered to be “friendly” they were never boring.
As you may know, Grace Kelly left Hollywood to marry Prince Rainier the third of Monaco. This decision was met with elation by many, but, there are also people who wonder: “what would’ve happen if Grace never left Hollywood?”
This popped into my head recently due to an assignment I had during my mass communications class at university.
We had to pick any person in history and ‘ask them’ ten questions that would provoke a breaking news headline.
Here are my 10:
What was it like on your wedding day?
Were you nervous marrying into a royal family?
Do you still keep in contact with any of your ex co-stars?
If so, who is the one you spoke with most recently?
Do you ever want to get back into acting?
Do you think about how your life may be different had you continued acting?
What would you do if Alfred Hitchcock gave you the opportunity to come out of retirement?
Would you accept his offer?
What if one of your three children wanted to go into acting?
How do feel about the shift in social attitudes since your twenties?
As you can tell, these are questions that I’m sure every classic film fan would love to hear the answers to.
I often wonder what it would’ve been like had Grace returned to the silver screen. But alas, all we have are pipe dreams and daydreams to keep us satiated.
I’ll leave with with this: a letter correspondence between Hitchcock and Grace when the former offered the role as ‘Marnie’ in the movie title of the same name.
When talking about the quintessential classic Hollywood femme fatale, I’d be remiss not to mention what is arguably the most recognizable character of the genre.
Released in 1946 and directed by Charles Vidor, Gildais with out a doubt, considered one of the best film noirs of all time.
With its shiny glamour shots and acting that would rival even the most dedicated method actors, Gilda will always have a place among the film noir greats. What makes this movie so memorable, is the dress wearing, hair flipping charm of Rita Hayworth‘s title character, Gilda.
Sultry, sexy, and dangerous are just a couple words to describe Rita in this role. A shy woman in real life, according to Rita herself, her performance as Gilda is one of the greatest of all time (don’t fight me on this, haha.)
In the film, Gilda is quite cunning, she has most men wrapped around her finger, there’s also a level of manipulation on her part as well. Her leading man in the film, played excellently by Glenn Ford, has this love hate relationship with her.
As the movie continues, we see that Johnny and Gilda had a history together and there are times where we see it get pretty volatile. Gilda openly flirts with men to get Johnny riled up, but on the inside she always loved him.
But, even at the end of the film, Johnny grows power hungry and uses his new found wealth and influence to hurt Gilda for everything she’s put him through.
Fortunately at the end, the pair reconcile, but Gilda essentially drives Johnny to go crazy – emotionally, physically and mentally. That’s the great thing about this movie. Not only does it look stunning, it also has some of the best acting of Hayworth’s career.
Gilda knew what she was doing, maybe to a fault, and perhaps that hurt her in the end.
If that isn’t a femme fatale, then I don’t know what is.
If you like to read more entries on this blogathon, click: here 🙂
Legendary actress Doris Day just recently celebrated her 97th birthday.
It’s an achievement for anybody to reach old age, it’s especially impressive when they’re 97 years young. To celebrate this, I’m going to discuss another side of Doris that, arguably, doesn’t get talked about enough.
As we all know, Ms. Day started out as a singer, eventually transitioning into acting later in her life. If you read up on the early days of Doris, it’s very apparent that her voice was quite the show stopper.
Doris began singing at an early age.
While recovering from an auto accident at a young age, Day began to sing with the radio, listening and humming along to the likes of Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, and Glenn Miller. Doris quickly discovered her hidden talent and eventually it grew into something more.
Doris‘ mother, Alma, put her in singing lessons where her talent proceeded to grow. Day‘s first true singing gig was with band leader Barney Rapp, then she moved on to work with the likes of Jimmy James, Bob Crosby, and Les Brown.
When working with Brown, Day managed to score her first hit with “Sentimental Journey,” and from that point on, her singing career took off.
During the 1940s, Day would go on to have six other top ten hits on the Billboard chart with songs like, “My Dreams Are Getting Better All The Time,” “Tain’t Me,” and “The Whole World is Singing My Song.”
Day always had a lovely singing voice, and its no wonder that even today her songs resonate well with listeners. From the classic like “Que Sera Sera” and “Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps” to her acting career, Ms. Day has always been a quintessential classic Hollywood figure.
I only hope that her next birthdays are as wonderful as this one was.
If you wish to read more entries in this blogathon: click here