My Obsession With…..the ending of White Heat (1949)

source: Warner Bros

Usually recognized as Hollywood’s resident tough guy in the 30s and early 40s, one could argue that seeing a 50-year-old Cagney, “yucking it up” in a throwback gangster flick from his early days could get a little old. But in James Cagney‘s chase, he aged as well as a fine wine.

White Heat, directed by Raoul Walsh and considered one of the “best gangster movies of all time,” is a gritty film noir about one man and his apparent mother issues. Now, having a problem with a parent doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll turn into a vindictive, sadistic killer, but in “Cody” Jarret’s case, it was bound to happen.

The film follow “Cody” and his goal to ,well, just cause havoc.

Aided by wife, cohorts and importantly his mother, “Cody” and company botch a train robbery which sees the tyrant accidentally shoot an investigator. Knowing this madman needs to be stopped (or else,) the authorities send in an undercover plant to ‘catch Cody’s hand in the cookie jar,’ so to speak.

Luckily, and fortunately, “Cody” turns himself in for a lesser crime that sees his prison shortened.

That doesn’t leave him off the hook, though.

source: Warner Bros.

Throughout the rest of the film, we see “Cody” get sent to jail, punch a prison guard, and cause general havoc during his jail time. Eventually cavalierly hurting everyone around you won’t get you anywhere, and ultimately, “Cody” gets cornered.

The finale…oh boy, where does one begin?

The ending of the film is perhaps the most memorable thing (aside from Cagney‘s acting) in the entire movie.

Not only do we see Cagney at his best, but we also get to see a piece of classic Hollywood history. With all of its fire, angst, and drama, in 2003 White Heat was added to the National Film Registry for being
“culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

Meticulously crafted, and incredibly acted, the ending was inevitable.

Cody Jarret went out the same way he lived: slightly mad, crying for his mother, and surrounded by fire.

To see the scene for yourself, click: here

Advertisements

Merry Christmas, from AGaM!

Christmas with Audrey sounds wondeful..

Hello all! This is Alex from Anybody Got a Match!

It’s been a very, very, very long year.

There have been ups, there have been downs, there have even been periods where I didn’t write on this blog for long stretches of time, and for that, I apologize. I have been extremely busy with school work, my new newspaper job, and life in general.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been attending to this blog like I would have liked to, I miss watching classic films and writing about them, and I hate to say it but, this year I was not able to do it as much as I liked.

Lucklily, this upcoming year, my schedule will clear up signifcantly and I have the opportunity to get to doing what I love – exploring the world of vintage films.

So, I’d like to thank everyone who read my work this year, and I hope you look forward to a big 2019.

Thank you all! I love you!

~ Alex

The Best of M-G-M: The Women (1939)

The Women 1939

source: MGM

In 2018, there has been a lot of hubbub surrounding the role of women in the world, especially the entertainment industry.

Films like Ocean’s 8, Girl’s Trip and many other female-centric movies have flooded the market over the past two years or so, but, the concept of women-focused movies isn’t new, however.

Back in 1939, the brilliant cinematic mind of George Cukor coupled with the manpower of Metro Goldwyn Mayer produced one of the greatest female-centered films of all time.


The Women, starring an all-star cast that included Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell, and Norma Shearer is perhaps the most wildly entertaining film of 1939, and it still holds up 79 years later. It may have not passed the Bechdel Test, but the film is unique in that there isn’t a single man in sight.

The-Women-1939 2

source: MGM

Norma Shearer plays Mary Haines, a rather homely woman with a heart of gold. She and her daughter “Little Mary,” live a nice life riding horses, loving life, and just general happiness shared between the two.

In comes Mary’s husband, Mr. Haines.

The cool thing about this film is, there isn’t a single man that’s present during the duration of the movie. This means that the object of Mary’s affections, and the main subject of the picture, does not show up at all throughout the film’s runtime. Due to this, we get 133 minutes of pure ‘unfiltered’ womanhood.

On to the movie’s (unseen) subject, Mr. Haines.


In typical classic Hollywood fashion, Mr. Haines appears to be cheating on Mary, much to the surprise of no one considering the fact that all of her friends and “close acquaintances” including Sylvia Fowler (played by Rosalind Russell,) knew about it before she did.

Here’s where it gets interesting.

The woman in Mr. Haines’ life isn’t his wife at all, it’s actually a 5’5 brunette by the name of Crystal Allen (played by Joan Crawford,) and when, eventually, Mary and Crystal meet, let’s say that….it doesn’t go over too well.

the women 2

source: MGM

The scene in question is quite a doozy.

Crystal and Mary finally meet at Crystal’s job in the dressing rooms, surrounded by their closest friends, and foes.

Mary ends up confronting Crystal at Sylvia’s insistence and what we have is possibly the wittiest scene in classic movie history.

The two tussle back and forth, spewing all the things that they’ve always wanted to say to each other: Crystal tells Mary to get a divorce and Mary tells Crystal that she’s a hussy (in 1939 terms.)

It really is quite an intense scene. When I initially viewed this I was shocked at the pettiness that stemmed from the two ladies. To be quite frank, I’m not sure why it surprised me, I was just startled at how well the scene was acted.

I suppose that’s why this film is so great. Not only is it unique for its time period, but it also gave the chance for women to flourish on the silver screen during a time where opportunities were few and far between. Knowing that it makes my enjoyment of the film 10 times greater.

Fall CMBA Blogathon – Outlaws…

the petrified forrest

source: Warner Bros.

When discussing notorious gangsters, one name usually comes to mind.

From his buzzcuts to his scars on face, Humphrey Bogart, the man with the famous lisp, was, for a time, the world’s most threatening man.

Before marrying Bacall, and flirting with Audrey Hepburn on camera, Bogart was Hollywood’s resident tough guys; cracking wise, smooching dames, the guy did it all.

The film that best portrays Bogart in this “tough guy” light is 1936’s The Petrified Forest.


Directed by Archie Mayo and co-starring a talented cast of Bette Davis, Leslie Howard, and Dick Foran, The Petrified Forest tells the story of a man, a wanderer, to say the least, the goes by the name of Alan Squier.

He’s a failed writer, a poet – a broken man. Couple that with his Great Depression woes, and that makes a perfect recipe for someone, specifically Alan, to go and bother a homely barkeep and his daughter.

petrified-forest 2

source: Warner Bros.

After getting fed and clothed, Gabrielle (Bette Davis) and Alan start to get on swimmingly.

It’s quite cute, actually. This homely, rather socially awkward (this hits too close to home,) young lady being absolutely enthralled with this mystery man’s presence is, frankly, one of the more underrated parts of this film.

So, the two of them get along very well, and everything appears to be going splendidly for them.

In walks Bogart and company.


Duke Mantee, a gangster, a cheat, an all-around bad guy walks into their bar with a gun in one hand and a point to prove.

After holding hostage a wealthy couple in order to evade police, Duke strolls into this bar looking his girlfriend that he was supposed to rendezvous with.

Duke is a pretty intimidating guy and is precisely the reason why he was picked for this blogathon.

When you initially view this film, especially when you’re used to the “cleaned up” Bogart, his appearance comes as a shock.

Dirtied, 5 O’Clock shadow, and stained clothes galore, this is Duke Mantee in his entire glory.

petrified forest 3

source: Warner Bros. 

What makes him so scary is his lack of control.

Duke has a very quick temper and any little thing (or person) that he perceives to mess up his plans will more or less be caught in his line of fire.

This kept me on edge throughout the entire film.

When he’s holding everyone captive inside that bar, you could feel the tension. One false move and, potentially, your life could be over. Just thinking about it again makes my skin crawl. What a wonderful performance that Bogart put on, absolutely outstanding.

Classic movie buffs could argue that this is the film that put Bogart on the map, and they’d be right.

This was Bogart‘s first major screen role, it essentially put Humphrey‘s acting abilities on the map, not only for the public eye but also in the offices of every major movie studio during that era.

If you haven’t had the chance to see this film, I strongly suggest you do so. You’ll not only enjoy performances from Bette Davis and Leslie Howard, but you will also be able to see Bogart at his career inception and, arguably,  in his very best role.

 

If you’d like to read more entries in this blogathon, click: here

 

 

Thank You for 100 Followers, from AGAM!

tumblr_p2r46qhcdg1qk2y5po6_500

gif source: Doses of Grace Tumblr

Well, well, well….how time flies.

About a year ago, I started this blog. I wasn’t really expecting much to be honest with you. AGAM was more of a place to vent some inner thoughts I had about most of the classic films I’ve seen. Never have I imagined that it would grow to be this big. Even though 100 followers doesn’t seem like much, I very much appreciate the time all of you take to read through my writing.

So, I’m thanking you for all of this. The ups and the downs, and everything in between.

Here’s to 100 more!

The Deborah Kerr Blogathon…

hucksters1947

source: MGM

Released in 1947, MGM’s The Hucksters is a rather unique film.

Starring Clark Gable, Ava Gardner, and our blogathon’s star, Deborah Kerr, the movie is particularly unique because it was the American silver screen debut for the Scottish actress.

Directed by Jack Conway, MGM specifically imported Kerr to play the role of Kay Dorrance, which I believe was a brilliant move.

Kerr‘s performance in this movie was a solid one, one that most classic film viewers would very much enjoy.

Like most British actresses, Kerr made the rounds in British films before Mayer decided she should be plucked from obscurity and plastered on every movie screen in the United States.

To get acquainted with her coworkers, Kerr’s husband, a former airman, greeted Clark Gable with great gusto. Seeing as the both of them met during the war, it took no time for not only the Kerr‘s but also Gable to become very comfortable around the both of them.

This pre-production meeting set the tone for the rest of the film, with Kerr and Gable both being standouts.


As for the movie itself, Kerr was absolutely magnificent in the role. The movie was a joy to watch. I don’t want to play spoiler so I won’t describe in detail for you.  But it’s safe to say that the director and the cast did not disappoint.

From Gardner to Gable, and Kerr to Greenstreet, The Hucksters is not only a solid Clark Gable flick but also a perfect way for Kerr to start out her American film journey.

 

If you would to read more entries in this blogathon… click: here.

The Second Lauren Bacall Blogathon…

Lauren Bacall Applause

source: Lauren Bacall performing in Applause (1970)

Lauren Bacall.

A classic Hollywood legend, an icon, a woman of character, and one of the greatest actresses to ever live. Most people know her as Humphrey Bogart‘s wife, the “Slim” to his “Bogie,” but classic film fans know that Bacall had a rich, and wonderful career, even without the Bogart connection.

This is especially true, even after Bogart‘s death in 1957.


When Bogart and Bacall met, it was the stuff of legends. She was young, he was a mentor who turned into something more. Fast forward a couple of months and they start dating, fast forward even further and they’re getting married – much to the chagrin of Bogart‘s ex-wife, Mayo Methot.

A couple of years and two children later, the Bogart‘s relationship was progressing quite nicely.

The same can’t be same for Lauren‘s career, however.

Designing Woman 1

source: MGM

When Bogart died in 1957, it was as Bacall describes it, “the worst night of her life.”

Left alone with two kids and a dwindling (more or less) acting career, what was Lauren supposed to do? Well, throw herself into work, of course.

The first film Bacall did after the death of her husband was 1957’s Designing Woman, a nice romantic comedy co-starring Gregory Peck. Not to be confused with the tv series, Designing Women, the movie about two newlyweds from polar opposite worlds and their attempt to conform to each other’s quirks.

It’s a cute film, I recommend you check it out, actually. It gives you a look at post-Bogart Bacall in all of her glorious form.

The thing about Lauren was that her voice was so deep and velvety smooth that you worried about the number of cigarettes she smoked per day. Some may say she had a voice for the theatre…

Lauren Bacall Applause 3

Lauren in Applause (1970)

After a myriad of films that include The Gift of Love in 1958, North West Frontier in 1959, Bacall moved to the theatre in the 1960s and 70s.

Starting on Broadway with 1959’s Goodbye, Charlie and starring in plays like in Cactus Flower and, of course, Applause, Lauren slowly made the transition from screen to the stage.

Naturally, she would dabble in a few films as well with the highlight being Murder on the Orient Express, but the majority of her work was set on the stage.


In the end, Bacall would enjoy a successful career after her husband’s death.

I see too many people writing her off after his death and I think it’s fair, Bacall had such a solid career in the late 50s through the 70s. Even though we tend to equate Bacall with Bogart, Lauren had a brilliant career all on her own.

 

 

 

To read more entries, click here.

Classic Film Reviews: Indiscreet (1958)

Indiscreet 1958

source: Warner Bros

Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant are a pair to be reckoned with.

From Notorious to the duo’s incredible friendship, Bergman and Grant have always been two of classic Hollywood’s greats.

So, when I viewed the film, Indiscreet, I was in absolute heaven.

It may very well be a simple romantic comedy, but, I believe there’s more to it.


At this point in Bergman‘s career, she was essentially blacklisted from Hollywood.

From being denounced by the Catholic Church for her affair with Roberto Rossellini, to having the majority of her foreign films flop at the box office, Bergman was treading on thin ice.

In walks her good friend Cary Grant.

Indiscreet1958 2

source: Warner Bros

Friends for decades, co-workers for several movies, and close confidants, Grant has always stood by her side, even accepting her Oscar Award for Anastasia in 1956 when she couldn’t attend.

In a way, Indiscreet makes for perfect a movie. The film has two very likable leads, and the plot has quite an acquired taste. Think of Indiscreet as an Americano, something you only drink when you’re desperate for coffee, except it’s sweeter and has a richer taste.

Directed by my favorite filmmaker, Stanley Donen, the movie tells the story of Anna Kalman, played by Ingrid Bergman, a London based actress who has given up on finding love.

Through her brother in law, played by Cecil Parker, she meets Phillip Adams, played by Grant, an economist with a taste for the theatre.

Anna and Phillip eventually start dating, and everything appears to go well until Phillip reveals his secret.

All the while the couple were in their “honeymoon” stage of their relationship Phillip conveniently forgot to tell Anna that he actually wasn’t a married man.  Anna believed that she was having an affair, so when Phillip told her the news, she didn’t take it too well.

Indiscreet1958 3

source: Warner Bros

The rest of the film sees Anna attempt to get back to Phillip, which she does with much hilarity and fanfare, inevitably deciding to get married in the end.


The movie isn’t too well known in the classic movie sphere, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t mean it fails to make a lasting impression. The coupling of Grant and Bergman not only made for a truly entertaining movie, it made sense.

If you were to look at the script and synopsis of the movie, it does have rather mature themes. I don’t think there could be another duo, besides Grant and Bergman, that could’ve taken these roles.

Donen did an incredible job with not only the script, but, the direction as well. The feel, mood, pacing and acting in this film, gives you a sense of real richness. Meaning, that it feels mature, this isn’t your typical classic Hollywood romance – it’s a romance for the older generation.

I suppose that’s what makes it so special.

Salvador Dali Questions Our Sanity in Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound (1945)

Dali Hitch

source: United Artists

When we think of Alfred Hitchcock, there are certain qualities and buzzwords that are synonymous with his name: brilliant, genius, crazy and a multitude of others.

What happens when you pair a crazy, pedantic genius, with a hairbrained painter with a mustache? A wildly fascinating dream sequence in 1945’s Spellbound.


In 1945, the acting talents of Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck joined forces with director Alfred Hitchcock to create a rather underrated movie in Hitchcock‘s filmography.

Spellbound is a peach of a movie, combining romance and psychology with the intrigue of forgotten memory.

Bergman and Peck play psychoanalysts Constance Peterson and Anthony Edwardes, respectively.

In classic Hollywood fashion, the pair ends up breaking every professional rule in the book and inevitably have an affair.

Naturally, when you fall in bed love with someone, especially as quickly and passionately as having an affair, you enter a “honeymoon phase” where you notice every single tiny detail of your object of affection.

spellbound 2

source: United Artists

This is where Constance picks up on Anthony’s strange habits. She finds out that not only does he have a fear of parallel lines on white backgrounds, he’s also not who he claims he is. Constance deduces that he might be an imposter, based on a number of things that Anthony has told her.

From killing the real Dr. Edwardes, having bouts of amnesia, to having a guilt complex, Constance overlooks these GLARING issue to get this poor man (one she doesn’t know very well, mind you) the help he needs.

When Edwardes sneaks away from Constance’s grasp, due to fear of, well, everything – she tracks him down and attempts to use her psychoanalytic techniques on him. These methods prove to be unsuccessful, and eventually, she takes him to upstate New York, where they meet two doctors who proceed to psychoanalyze his many stray thoughts.

DALI-SPELLBOUND2

source: United Artists

In steps Salvador Dali.

In 1945, Dail moved specifically to Hollywood to work on this film. Hitchcock wanted a scene that portrays the surrealness of Edwardes’ dreams and Dali was the only artist to bring Hitch‘s madcap imagination to life.

In order to capture this, accurately and as demented as possible, Hitchcock gave Dali free reign to shape, and mold this world to his liking. This is how we get a rather, disturbing, and incredibly unsettling dream scene smack dab in the middle of the film.

Dali and Hitchcock wanted us to feel that way, they wanted us to squirm in our seats and crane our necks away from the television (or movie screen in this case.) This 3-minute sequence, unfortunately, is probably the most memorable part of the film, however, it’s almost certainly the most important scene as well.

This dream sequence sets the tone for the rest of the movie. As an audience member, we get a feel for how “Edwardes” thinks, feels and acts. Thanks to the creativity and forward thinking of Hitchcock, and the expansive mind of Dali, we were blessed with perhaps the greatest dream sequence ever to be put on the silver screen.

Hidden Gems: Yesterday, Today, and Tommorrow (1963)

YTT 1963

source: Embassy Pictures

When first getting into classic films, particularly as an American, you tend to stick with what you know: romantic comedies, slapsticks, westerns and those glorious MGM musicals etc.

Every once and a while you’ll stumble upon a film that features a “foreigner” for lack of a better word. From Brigitte Bardot to Gina Lollobrigida and even Yves Montand, we’ve all seen them costar alongside our favorite American stars, but there’s most certainly one actress that stands out from the rest.

Standing at 5’9″, blessed with sunkissed skin and with a personality as charming as a coffee date at 6 PM on a rainy day, Sophia Loren (whether you like it or not) is everyone’s classic Hollywood crush.

In no other movie is this best exemplified than in 1963’s Leri Oggi Domani, otherwise known in English as Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.

YTT 1963 2

source: Embassy Pictures

A rather experimental three-part comedy, directed by none other than Vittorio de Sica, himself, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow is a hidden classic film that most people aren’t too aware of.

Staring the Italian duo of Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren, the movie tells three stories of various couples in several situations.

Starting with ‘Adelina of Naples’ progressing into ‘Anna of Milan’, then finally ending with ‘Mara of Rome’, as the movie continues you get a different feel for each couple and how the city they’re located in effects their relationship.

In Naples, we have Adelina.

Set against the backdrop of cobbled streets, beautiful architecture and relative poverty, Adelina helps out her struggling family and husband by selling black market cigarettes.

The entire sequence is quite hilarious, honestly. At one point she keeps forcing Mastroianni‘s character (her husband) to get her pregnant so she doesn’t have to go to jail for transgressions. Poor guy gets so exhausted he has to quit his job, it’s a very funny situation and a fantastic start to the picture.

yesterday_today_tomorrow photo 3

source: Embassy Pictures

The second story is fairly interesting, it tells the tale about a wealthy Milanista and her lover Renzo. They take a drive out into the countryside where they discuss a myriad of things, including their relationship, her marriage, and the Rolls- Royce they traveled in.

The woman, Anna, gets tired of Renzo not succumbing to every one of her whims, so he tells her off, which, understandably, upsets her a great deal.

She has two options in front of her: continue her wealthy lifestyle with her husband, or proceed with the affair she’s been having with Renzo.

The rest of the story sees he contemplate these choices as Renzo also reassess his life choices.

The third and final story is, perhaps, the one that most classic film lovers are familiar with.

YTT 1963 photo 4

source: Embassy Pictures

Mara is a prostitute who lives in a tiny one bedroom apartment on the outskirts of Rome. She has a proclivity to sleep with high profile clients, that’s how she met Augusto, a son of a wealthy Bologna industrialist.

To be quite honest with you, this is probably my favorite story out of all three of them, and I don’t want to particularly spoil it. That being said, the rest of it plays out very unexpectedly and if you ever get the chance to watch this, I can guarantee you’ll be just as shocked as I was.

In the end, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow is a film ahead of its time. With de Sica‘s gorgeous shots of Italy, incredible acting by Mastroianni and Loren, and a coherent plot to keep the audience involved for hours, ‘YTandT‘ is a picture that deserves more praise that it has received.