Hollywood at Play: Photo Favorites Exclusive Guest Post by Author Mary Mallory

Hollywood at Play: Photo Favorites

Before the advent of television and the internet, motion picture studios relied on publicity stills published in magazines and newspapers to sell entertainment to filmgoers. The studios shot millions of photographs to fit any kind of topic or story journals could conceive, providing them freely to these outlets. Mostly black and white, but occasionally glorious color, the images oozed glamour, humor, or innocent sensuality to sell movies and personalities. Since such a huge number were produced, most remained unknown or little seen, even from the time of release.

Realizing that so many movie publicity photographs are rare, we thought about organizing a book of such stills to showcase stars relaxing off-camera and around Hollywood, in a simpler era when they could just be themselves without worrying about paparazzi chasing them around town. Donovan Brandt, owner of Eddie Brandt’s Saturday Matinee, one of Hollywood’s oldest collectible stores, opened his giant treasure trove of more than a million photos to provide just a small sample of some of these unseen images. His father acquired them decades ago from two defunct regional offices of the National Screen Service, which distributed advertising materials from the studios to distributors across the United States.

We often found it difficult to let go of a favorite image, especially since we could include only so many in this book. All three of us love different stars, genres, and eras as well, making the selection process a bit of a challenge. We tried to cover a wide range of classic Hollywood, from its scintillating galaxy of stars, favorite watering holes, and even evolving photography styles. Hopefully we can follow this up with a sequel of other exciting photos!

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Humphrey Bogart and his dog playing chessBogie playing a little chess while his canine friends watch

We all adore animals, so selecting those of stars with pets just seemed right. One still that captivated all three of us was the image of a pensive Humphrey Bogart playing chess by himself as his two Scottie dogs watch, probably shot just before he became a big star. Most male stars hated posing for publicity shots, particularly those for holidays or something somewhat goofy, so it was often up to the photographer to figure out a shoot that could wrap quickly and easily. Many ended up being sessions shot at home, posing stars with whatever they could find around them. Another one of Donovan Brandt’s favorite that features animals is one of Lon Chaney Jr. in makeup for the filmThe Wolf Man with his German Shepherd “Moose” helping him learn lines.

Matthew “Stymie” Beard Jr. posing in his wonderful custom roadster truckMatthew “Stymie” Beard Jr. and his roadster

Steve Sylvester and I love the still of Matthew “Stymie” Beard Jr. posing in his wonderful custom roadster truck with a sweet grin on his face. He looks so happy and contented. Both of us wonder what it meant to him, was it just a moment of fun, or something unique and really special in a life that had to be difficult, starring in two-reel shorts with a range of multi-cultural kids, but prevented from living in the same neighborhoods or traveling and staying in the same hotels with them? The sad pat is that studios shot less publicity stills of people of color and often they did not receive as wide a distribution as that of white stars, so finding a still like this is doubly rare.

Elizabeth Taylor in green bathing suit by the poolElizabeth Taylor in her modest green swimsuit

I find the still of Elizabeth Taylor posing in her modest green swimsuit in front of the still green water of the swimming pool so elegant and lovely, well composed for color and composition and so emblematic of the more modest 1940s and 1950s. Cheesecake stills of leggy, scantily-clad female stars or beefcake images of shirtless hunks were very popular illustrations for fan magazines, collectible items for fans who wished they might be dating these attractive celebrities.

Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis in a speed boatJanet Leigh and Tony Curtis, summer love

The vivid color photo of Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis cuddling together in the speedboat in their swimsuits is a perfect emblem of summer love, showcasing two attractive young people at the height of romance and star power. It’s sensual without being risque, something that could appeal to both men and women. Color publicity stills were very rare before the 1950s, special shoots for fan magazines or major periodicals like Glamour, Life, or the Saturday Evening Post, because the vast majority of newspapers and magazines printed in black and white even into the 1980s.

Groucho Marx dancing with Audrey HepburnGroucho Marx with dance partner Audrey Hepburn

Just for goofy appeal, we all find the photo of Groucho Marx and Audrey Hepburn dancing together at a publicity event such a lark. Hepburn is biting her lip and looking a bit bemused about having Groucho’s arm around her. It’s a unique way to tie old and new Hollywood together, with one of Paramount’s earliest stars, Marx, squiring its new princess, Hepburn, around the dance floor. We also get a good laugh out of Marx doing the hustle with Diana Ross.

Hollywood at Play: The Lives of the Stars Between TakesAnnette Funicello posing with her surfboard on the cover of Hollywood at Play

Our delightful cover image is another favorite, eye-catching on many levels. It features attractive, young Annette Funicello during her successful Beach Blanket Bingo days posing with her surfboard, the perfect emblem of sun-drenched Southern California. It’s colorful, slyly sexy, and so perfect in how it captures the essence of both fun and our nostalgia for the simple, glamorous life of classic Hollywood celebrities.

For us, Hollywood at Play is a refreshing and lighthearted look at the golden age of Hollywood, a sunny respite from our more challenging and complicated times.

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–Mary Mallory for Classic Movie Hub

Mary Mallory is a film historian, photograph archivist, and researcher, focusing on Los Angeles and early film history. She is co-author of the book Hollywood at Play: The Lives of the Stars Between Takes (with Stephen X. Sylvester and Donovan Brandt) and writes theatre reviews for The Tolucan Times and blogs for the LA Daily Mirror. Mallory served on Hollywood Heritage, Inc.’s Board of Directors, and acts as a docent for the Hollywood Heritage Museum. You can follow her on twitter at @mallory_mary.

Books by Mary Mallory:

               

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Silents are Golden: “But They’re So Primitive!”– Some Common Misconceptions About Silent Films

“But They’re So Primitive!”
Some Common Misconceptions About Silent Films

It’s a conversation that fans of silent film are all very familiar with. You tell someone you love watching silents. They laugh. Then it dawns on them that you aren’t kidding, and they put on a serious expression as you valiantly try to explain just why you love that unique, creative, historic era of cinema. Maybe your explanation intrigued them. Or maybe (and more likely) they said, “Huh, well that’s neat,” and changed the subject.

Rudolph Valentino in The Sheik 1921 But...but what’s not to loveBut…but what’s not to love? (Rudolph Valentine, The Sheik, 1921)

Of all the eras of cinema, the silent era is perhaps the most stereotyped and the least understood. Even classic movie fans with an encyclopedic knowledge of 1929-1960 films will balk at watching silents–and they’re no strangers to defending old movies, I might add.

Why are silents so misunderstood? Well, there’s simply a lot of widespread misconceptions about them. Let’s take a look at four of the most common ones:

Myth #1. Silent films were very primitive.

A Trip to the Moon 1902 Georges Meiles They were basically all this (although this is awesome, by the way)They were basically all this (although this is awesome, by the way). (A Trip to the Moon, 1902)

Many assume that silents were clumsy embarrassments right from their humble “curio” beginnings in 1888 up until sound finally burst in around 1927, liberating them from the oh-so-sad tyranny of silence.

Now, next to today’s technological marvels it’s true that something like Roundhay Garden Scene (the earliest surviving motion picture) is going to look pretty rough, as are films like George Melies’s The Haunted Castle (1896) or the animation Humorous Phases of Funny Faces (1906). However, cinema evolved very quickly from these roots–so quickly, in fact, that your standard 1910s drama was shot, paced, and edited pretty much the same way it is today.

The sophisticated serials Les Vampires (1915-16) and Judex (1916-7) by Louis Feuillade are some excellent examples, as are Biograph shorts like The Unchanging Sea (1910) and The Battle at Elderbrush Gulch (1913). Delightfully fluid line animation can be seen in cartoons like How a Mosquito Operates (1912), and underwater photography was showcased in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1916). And if you ask me, the immense scale and brilliant editing of the Babylon battle scenes from Intolerance (1916) can sweep away even the most jaded modern viewer.

Intolerance 1916 And so can the scale, all by itself.And so can the scale, all by itself. (Intolerance, 1916)

Lighting reached artistic heights during the silent era, from the delicacy of Broken Blossoms (1919) to the dramatic shadows and angles of Pandora’s Box (1929). So did the art of in-camera effects blending miniatures, special mirrors, matte shots, dissolves, multiple exposures, etc., as showcased in noted masterpieces like Napoleon and Sunrise (both 1927). And these are but a handful of examples I could give right now.

In short, the filmmaking vocabulary was grasped very early on and silents became a sophisticated art form of its own, not an “awkward stage” that was endured until talkies came along.

Myth #2. Fine, maybe silents were okay technically, but most of them were hokey melodramas.

The General 1926 Dramatic Buster objects to your sneers.Dramatic Buster objects to your sneers. (The General, 1926)

Sure, there were lots of melodramas back then, even hokey ones, but the world of silent film was much bigger than we think.

Following the Victorian period of modest one-shot films, cinema all over the world ballooned into dozens of different styles and genres. There were comedies, westerns, nature documentaries, newsreels, satires, animated cartoons, war pictures, serials, romances, historical epics, and so on. European film became known for its mature dramas and grand spectacles like Cabiria (1914). Filmmakers like Georges Méliès and Segundo de Chomón made whimsical fantasies with stage and in-camera effects. Studios like Vitagraph and Biograph made heart-tugging dramas and light comedies. Slapstick was churned out by famous studios like the Keystone Film Company.

There was also a rise of political films such as A Corner in Wheat (1909) and The Cry of the Children (1912), addressing working-class issues. Modern art trends resulted in films like the German Expressionist The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) and the avant-garde Ballet Mechanique (1924). It was an era of immense creativity, attracting comedians, poets, and intellectuals alike.

So in reality, there was far more to the silent era than just melodrama. And when they were well done, some of those melodramas could even be masterpieces–Tol’able David (1921) and Way Down East (1920), for instance, are considered classics today.

Myth #3. Well, at any rate, the acting in silent films was ridiculously exaggerated.

It was basically ALL this still of King Baggot in The Bridal Room 1912It was basically ALL this still of King Baggot in The Bridal Room. (1912)

Yes, there’s certainly some silent acting that’s ludicrous to our eyes today. Some of it can be blamed on lackluster actors. However, there was more than one style of acting in the silent era–some being more “of their time” than others.

As you might guess, film acting derived from the theater, where actors tended to “play to the back rows.” Many stage actors had a hard time adjusting their gesture-heavy performances for the camera. Plus, it was common for early films to shoot full-length figures, making at least some gesturing necessary to keep the story clear. It wasn’t until closeups became common in the mid-1910s that actors realized they could focus on subtler displays of emotion.

It’s also important to remember that some exaggerated acting had to do with style. Comedy acting, especially in 1910s slapstick, could be deliberately cartoony. Stylized Expressionist films like Faust (1926) and Metropolis (1927) featured equally stylized acting as part of the experience.

But for every stylized or admittedly bad silent actor, there were a host of wonderfully naturalistic ones. Mary Pickford, Asta Nielson, Louise Brooks, Buster Keaton, Ramon Novarro, Sessue Hayakawa, Florence La Badie, and Richard Barthelmess are just a few that spring to mind. Many of their performances are as effective as they were a century ago, and can still inspire young actors today.

Myth #4: Silents are still mainly of interest for hardcore film history nerds…right?

The Wind 1928 Dramatic Lillian Gish begs to differ.Dramatic Lillian Gish begs to differ. (The Wind, 1928)

Wrong! Profoundly wrong. Because of the wide range of genres and styles, I believe it’s a rare individual who couldn’t enjoy some sort of silent film, whether it’s early silent horror like Nosferatu (1922) or flapper flicks like It (1927). Comedies by Chaplin or Harold Lloyd are entertaining for any age, and for the artsy crowd there’s always Victor Sjöström’s character studies or Eisenstein’s famous montages. There is truly something for everyone

So if you’re a silent film “newbie,” don’t let these four common misconceptions fool you. Consider sitting down to enjoy a few of the films that probably delighted your great-grandparents–I can almost guarantee you won’t regret it.

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–Lea Stans for Classic Movie Hub

Lea Stans is a born-and-raised Minnesotan with a degree in English and an obsessive interest in the silent film era (which she largely blames on Buster Keaton). In addition to blogging about her passion at her site Silent-ology, she is a columnist for the Silent Film Quarterly and has also written for The Keaton Chronicle.

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Noir Nook: Noir Talk

Noir Talk

One of my favorite aspects about film noir is the words. They’re not just your garden-variety lines; noir serves up the kind of dialogue that makes you laugh out loud in sheer delight and complete appreciation.

And sometimes it even makes you think.

There are many quotes from noir that are familiar to most classic film lovers, like “The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter,” from The Maltese Falcon, or from Mildred Pierce: “Personally, Veda’s convinced me that alligators have the right idea. They eat their young.” But this month’s Noir Nook takes a look at those lines that aren’t quite as well known, yet are just as deserving of their moment in the shadows (if you will). And if you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing the movies that feature these quotes – what are you waiting for?

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CMH_NoirTalk_William Bendix in The Glass KeyThe Glass Key, 1942

“I’ve got just the place for me and you. A little room upstairs that’s too small for you to fall down in. I can bounce you around off the walls – that way we won’t be wasting a lot of time while you get up off the floor.” William Bendix in The Glass Key (1942)

“The next time you must indulge your hot, Spanish passion for dramatics, put on a uniform with polished boots and stomp around your wife’s bedchamber. Do not attempt brilliant decisions.” Luther Adler in Cornered (1945)

“If you’re smart, you can be a hero. If you’re dumb, you can be dead.” Ted deCorsia in The Enforcer (1951)

“Half-drunk, I got better wits than most people. And more nerve.” Brad Dexter in The Asphalt Jungle (1950)

CMH_NoirTalk_Zachary Scott in Danger SignalDanger Signal, 1945

“Face it – if you’re smart enough, you can get just about anything you want. If you can’t get it one way, you can get it another.” Zachary Scott in Danger Signal (1945)

“You seem like a reasonable man. Why don’t we make a deal? What’s it worth to you to turn your considerable talents back to the gutter you crawled out of.” Paul Stewart in Kiss Me Deadly (1955)

“I wouldn’t touch you with sterilized gloves.” Victor Mature in I Wake Up Screaming (1941)

“Is this what you folks do for amusement in the evenings? Sit around toasting marshmallows and calling each other names? Sure, if you’re so anxious for me to join in the games, I’d be glad to. I can think of a few names I’d like to be calling you myself.” Orson Welles in The Lady from Shanghai (1947)

CMH_NoirTalk_Neville Brand and Broderick Crawford in The MobThe Mob, 1951

“I’d fit into your gang perfectly. I could maim and disfigure people for you, and shoot up the ones you don’t like.” Broderick Crawford in The Mob (1951)

“When an impoverished character, unendowed with any appreciable virtues, succumbs to a rich man’s wife, it must be suspected that his interest is less passionate that pecuniary.” Clifton Webb in The Dark Corner (1946)

“Nothing kills me. I’ll die in Stockholm like my great-grandfather, age 93. I’m not scared of anyone. Including you.” John Hoyt in The Big Combo (1955)

“Listen, I got a bullet in my gut and a fire in my brain. It wouldn’t take much for me to let you have it right now.” Dick Powell in Johnny O’Clock (1947)

CMH_NoirTalk_Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles in The Third ManThe Third Man, 1949

“I’m only a little fool. I’m an amateur at it. You’re a professional.” Joseph Cotten in The Third Man (1949)

“Matrimony is a state I don’t recognize. It’s not love – it’s pots and pans and a conversational fistfight every Saturday night, with a paycheck as the purse.” Howard Duff in Shakedown (1950)

“My old man always said, ‘Liquor doesn’t drown your troubles – just teaches ‘em how to swim.’” Gene Lockhart in Red Light (1949)

“The biggest mistake I made before was shooting for peanuts. Five years have taught me one thing: any time you take a chance, you better be sure the rewards are worth the risk, ‘cause they can put you away just as fast for a ten dollar heist as they can for a million dollar job.” Sterling Hayden in The Killing (1956)

CMH_NoirTalk_Richard Conte in New York ConfidentialNew York Confidential, 1955

“Take a look around you. See that busboy over there? He steals from the waiter. The waiter steals from the owner. And the owner gyps the government. Nobody’s handing out any free lunches in the world.” Richard Conte in New York Confidential (1955)

“All you smart guys are prize suckers and I don’t have to be too bright to trip you up. All I have to do is watch and wait. Sometimes not too long, either.” Regis Toomey in Cry Danger (1951)

“It’s a rich world. It hates to give. You gotta take. Somewhere out there, someone owes you something. All you gotta do is have the nerve to collect.” Paul Stewart in Edge of Doom (1950)

“You’d sell your own mother if she was worth anything.” John Garfield in The Breaking Point (1950)

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– Karen Burroughs Hannsberry for Classic Movie Hub

Karen Burroughs Hannsberry is the author of the Shadows and Satin blog, which focuses on movies and performers from the film noir and pre-Code eras, and the editor-in-chief of The Dark Pages, a bimonthly newsletter devoted to all things film noir. Karen is also the author of two books on film noir – Femme Noir: The Bad Girls of Film and Bad Boys: The Actors of Film Noir. You can follow Karen on Twitter at @TheDarkPages.
If you’re interested in learning more about Karen’s books, you can read more about them on amazon here:

 

 

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Anne Bancroft’s ‘Noir’ Side: Exclusive Guest Post by Author Douglass K. Daniel

Anne Bancroft’s ‘Noir Side’

In her twenties actress Anne Bancroft had just what a film noir needed, the kind of smoky beauty a guy would take a bullet for. She turned up in a handful of movies in the 1950s that might qualify as “dark films,” usually nifty little crime pictures made on a low budget but with a good cast.

I watched all those films as I researched her career for my new biography, Anne Bancroft: A Life. They provided yet another side of Bancroft most of us haven’t seen. Mrs. Robinson seems a lifetime away in these films.

Anne Bancroft in Don't Bother to KnockBancroft plays a lounge singer in Don’t Bother to Knock

In fact, Bancroft’s very first movie, Don’t Bother to Knock (20th Century-Fox, 1952) has a nourish quality to it. Leading the cast is Richard Widmark, one of the best noir actors around. But the movie is best remembered for Marilyn Monroe in her first dramatic leading role. Bancroft is a supporting player – Widmark’s love interest, a lounge singer. The most interesting role is Monroe’s, a psychotic babysitter hired to watch a child whose family is staying at a New York hotel.

Bancroft had been musical all her life, singing as a child for whoever would stop and listen. She sang in variety shows in high school, too, so the idea that she could play a lounge singer struck me as reasonable. Then I found out that she was dubbed by a singer named Anne Marley. Bancroft admitted she couldn’t hit the high notes. Nevertheless, hers was a good debut – and is available all these years later thanks to the Monroe following.

Anne Bancroft and Ricardo Montalban in A Life in the BalanceMurder brings together Montalban and Bancroft in A Life in the Balance

It wasn’t until six pictures later that Bancroft took another step toward noir city. A Life in the Balance (20th Century-Fox, 1955) was filmed in Mexico City with a Mexican crew and studio, all part of the cost-savings of Fox feeder company Panoramic Productions. Bancroft was billed behind Ricardo Montalban, who scored a rare dramatic leading role. Also in the cast was up-and-coming bad guy Lee Marvin as a serial killer whose latest victim is linked to Montalban’s character.

The location shooting included a trip to the recently completed University of Mexico campus. Its striking murals and modern architecture are on display ruing the final confrontation between the killer and the innocent man accused. A half-century later the United Nations designated the campus a World Heritage Site.

Anne Bancroft and Richard Conte in New York ConfidentialIn New York Confidential, mobster’s daughter Bancroft falls for gunman Richard Conte.

New York Confidential (Warner Bros., 1955) has noir written all over it. Bancroft plays the daughter of a volcanic syndicate boss (Broderick Crawford) who is ashamed of her crooked dad. Not only does father know the worst kinds of people, he has to deal with family troubles while there’s a mob war going on. And his daughter is falling for his top torpedo (Richard Conte). It’s a pretty grim tale and Bancroft gets to chew some scenery.

Off-screen, Bancroft began to realize for the first time that her training as an actress had its limits. The script called for her to tilt toward the suicidal, but she didn’t know how to empathize with a young woman on the verge of killing herself. (She had enjoyed the love and support of a close-knit family.) After 33 takes for her big scene, director Russell Rouse either got what he wanted or just gave up. And Bancroft concluded that she had much more to learn but still wasn’t sure how to get there.

Anne Bancroft and Anthony Quinn in The Naked StreetFamily ties: Quinn and Bancroft are siblings in The Naked Street

Bancroft must have had a hint of deja vu when she read the script for The Naked Street (United Artists, 1955). In the story, the sister of a New York mob boss finds her family problems crossing over into her brother’s business. This time, instead of playing a daughter who could go toe to toe with her father, Anne appears as a timid if loving sister who can’t believe her brother is a bad man. At least she was in good company again: Anthony Quinn plays her brother and Farley Granger her homicidal boyfriend.

Granger was top billed, thanks to his work in the Hitchcock films Rope and Strangers on a Train. Yet Quinn was already an Oscar winner by then, for Viva Zapata! Granger wasn’t happy with the script and later called it “preachy, trite and pedestrian.” For Bancroft, it was more experience and exposure – and she was working alongside good actors.

Anne Bancroft and Aldo Ray in NightfallAldo Ray enlists Bancroft as he tries to stay alive in Nightfall

Easily the best of the “dark films” Bancroft made in the 1950s was Nightfall (Columbia, 1956). It had a script from whirlwind writer Stirling Silliphant, camera work by Oscar winner Burnett Guffey, and direction from Jacques Tourneur, whose Out of the Past might be the best noir ever. Alongside Bancroft were Aldo Ray, Brian Keith and James Gregory. The movie – a guy minding his own business ends up being chased by two deadly hoods – earned some nice reviews but little box office.

Here’s the problem facing Bancroft in Nightfall and so many of the movies she made in the 1950s: She’s tangential to the story, playing the woman who helps the guy and basically stands back as the male characters have at it. The New York Times called her “decorative and understanding.” She earned some solid notices, too, but Nightfall would never get much attention, and that was clear before the cameras rolled. I think the problem was that TV was providing plenty of mysteries and crime stories for free at that point.

Anned Bancroft and Lex Barker in The Girl in the Black StockingsBancroft and Lex Barker play murder suspects in The Girl in Black Stockings.

Tossing in some lurid details might have given people a reason to turn off the TV and go to the theater to see The Girl in Black Stockings (United Artists, 1957). Shot over the summer at a resort in Kanab, Utah, the black-and-white film placed Anne’s character among several suspects in a young woman’s brutal murder. Some of the major papers didn’t even bother to review it.

The Girl in Black Stockings and another B movie, the Western The Restless Breed, wrapped up Bancroft’s first decade in the movies. Like most of what she did during that period, her noirs were average entertainments – usually worth seeing for a little bit of escapism but nothing memorable.

Bancroft found herself making more money as those years went by but getting less and less satisfaction. That drove her to leave Hollywood and return to New York for a reassessment of her talents and ambitions. What awaited her was her first Broadway role and then another – and those successes would change everything for her.

Anne Bancroft on the cover of TIME, Dec. 21, 1959Bancroft on the cover of TIME, Dec. 21, 1959

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–Douglass K. Daniel for Classic Movie Hub

A journalist and biographer, Douglass K. Daniel is the author of Anne Bancroft: A Life, just published by the University Press of Kentucky.

Books by Douglass K. Daniel:

          

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Pre-Code Corner: The Puzzling Case of Phyllis Barry

The Puzzling Case of Phyllis Barry

In March 1933, Film Weekly reported on Samuel Goldwyn‘s newest discovery, Phyllis Barry, the British newcomer who “achieves the next best thing to actual stardom (a leading ladyship to Ronald Colman)” in Cynara (1932). The publication went on to write: “It is difficult to say, from her performance in ‘Cynara’ alone, whether she will go far in films… but for the present, at any rate, she has arrived.”  

Barry may have arrived, but she didn’t hold Hollywood’s attention for long.

Phyllis Barry and Ronald Colman, Cynara movie poster That’s not Kay Francis in the boat. Meet: Phyllis Barry.
Phyllis Barry and Ronald Colman, I was Faithful movie posterCynara‘s title was changed to I Was Faithful upon re-release. In some advertisements, like the one above, Barry jumped from an idyllic boat ride to straight up vamp.

Cynara enticed with its main attractions, Colman and Kay Francis as the married couple, but what stuck out to me was third-billed Barry as the shopgirl who comes between them. Who was this Ruth Hussey-Mary Wickes look-a-like? Why hadn’t I heard of her? A cursory search of Barry’s credits didn’t take me far: Cynara appeared as her first talkie, and by and large, Barry’s parts of any substance clustered around the pre-Code period; in fact, from 1935-1947, the bulk of her film appearances went uncredited. This warranted some digging, but I uncovered so few facts about Barry that the effort felt somewhat perfunctory. I’m certain there’s more information out there, but for now, here’s some intriguing details and discrepancies I stumbled upon relating to the life and career of the mysterious Phyllis Barry.

1. Trades publicized that Barry had no film experience when Goldwyn discovered her

Which isn’t technically true. Barry possessed some familiarity with the medium… on the other side of the Earth: Australia. Born into a family of English musical comedy troupers, Barry trained as a dancer and then journeyed to Oz, where she performed in cabarets, stage productions, and two Australian silent films, Painted Daughters (1925) and Sunrise (1926). In the US, she joined Fanchon and Marco, the famed brother and sister producing team whose lavish prologues partially inspired 1933′s Footlight Parade, and traveled west with the group. She caught Goldwyn’s eye in California.

2. Following a camera test, Goldwyn hired Barry to appear in The Kid from Spain (1932) with Eddie Cantor, but she never did

Film Weekly reported that: “It was only when they got her into the studio and started experimenting with her that they realized she was physically and temperamentally ideal” for the role of Doris in Cynara instead.

A smitten Phyllis Barry as Doris in CynaraA smitten Phyllis Barry as Doris in Cynara.

3. With considerable screen time and what appeared to be a complex character, Doris could have been a breakout part for Barry. Not to mention, she was surrounded by prolific names. So, what happened?

Cynara didn’t perform well at the box office, and critiques ranged, though many leaned towards positive, especially for Colman, Francis and director King Vidor. While Barry also received laudatory notices – Variety applauded her handling Doris with “sensitive shading… accessible to just the right degree” -  her reviews noticeably veered towards the negative end of the spectrum, though this wasn’t entirely her fault. Writing in The Chicago Tribune, Mae Tinee claimed that, yes, Barry could act, but “never for a moment does she ‘get over’ ” as Doris and, basically, she was to blame for the picture’s weakness: “I reluctantly accuse Miss Barry of being the fly in the ointment.” Film Weekly also extolled Barry’s talent, but commented that she was “handicapped” because her role “is never very clearly defined, perhaps through fear of censorship.”

hyllis Barry and Henry Stephenson in CynaraIt’s all fun and games… until the man behind you introduces you to a married gentleman, Jim (Ronald Colman), and falling in love destroys you.

While Barry adequately handled Doris’ evolution from an innocent girl reluctant to steal a man’s hat on a dare to a woman who does not hesitate to steal another’s husband, her effort didn’t come across as convincing or effective, in my opinion. As I believe she possessed the necessary talent, I think fault lies heavily in a feebly constructed character and story. Could weak material and potential miscasting in her Hollywood debut partly account for Barry’s stalled career? Perhaps, but I can’t be sure.

Phyllis Barry and Ronald Colman in Cynara 1932The expressions really say it all here.

4. Following Cynara, Barry’s promise faded fast

Barry’s next roles in What! No Beer? (1933) opposite Buster Keaton and Jimmy Durante and Diplomaniacs (1933) with Wheeler and Woolsey, both showcasing her comedy chops, earned her some recognition, but nowhere near enough to catapult her to stardom. In fact, Barry’s billings through 1935 oddly vacillate – considerably. For instance, in Marriage on Approval  (1933) Barry played a supporting part; she was credited as “Party Guest” in 1934′s Long Lost Father; weeks later in Love Past Thirty (1934) she appears to have seized a co-starring role; later that year she was ‘The Brunette Chambermaid’ in Where Sinners Meet; and then she bounced up to a lead in 1934′s The Moonstone. (Studios behind these projects ranged from RKO to poverty row Monarch to a company called Paul Malvern Productions.  Malvern produced that last title, in which Barry was the female star.)

Extremely limited mentions of Barry in trades and movie magazines from the mid 1930s onward confirm the severe decline of characters of substance for the actress. It appears she returned to the English stage sometime in the early-mid 1940s and even popped up in the “Theatrical Cards” for the gentlemen section of The Stage  in December 1945: “Harold Waller and Phyllis Barry. At liberty for first-class Rep. Experienced all lines.” However,  I failed to find references to her in periodicals after 1946, and this even includes any indication of her passing several years later.

5. Sadly, life imitated art for Barry, and she followed Doris’ fate from Cynara

Commenting on Barry’s casting in Cynara, The Los Angeles Times observed in 1932: “Phyllis Barry’s newly won part and its action more or less parallels her own self and career so far as grilling work and hardships are concerned.” And how unfortunately prophetic that parallel turned out to be. In Cynara, Doris, dejected over losing Colman to Francis, ends her life with poison. In real life, Barry, despondent over her failed film career, committed suicide in 1954 at the age of 45 by overdosing on medication. A heartbreaking end for a talented woman who showed considerable promise during the pre-Code period.

Phyllis Barry in Cynara 1932Doris waving goodbye to Jim, off-screen. Unfortunately, this will not end well.

If you happen to have more insight on Barry’s career and/or life, please feel free to share in the comments.

…..

–Kim Luperi for Classic Movie Hub

Kim Luperi is a New Jersey transplant living in sunny Los Angeles. She counts her weekly research in the Academy’s Production Code Administration files as a hobby and has written for TCM, AFI Fest, the Pre-Code Companion, MovieMaker Magazine and the American Cinematheque. You can read more of Kim’s articles at I See A Dark Theater or by following her on twitter at @Kimbo3200.

Posted in Posts by Kim Luperi, Pre-Code Corner | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Kino Lorber ‘Western Round-Up’ Blu-Ray/DVD Facebook/Blog Book Giveaway Contest (September)

Celebrating Westerns All-Month Long with Kino Lorber!
DVD/Blu-Ray Giveaway, Winner’s Choice of 5 Western Classics

Okay, now it’s time for the Facebook/Blog version of our Kino Lorber Classic Westerns Giveaway Contest! This time we’ll be giving away two Kino Classic Westerns via Facebook and this blog, courtesy of Kino Lorber. Each of our two winners will be able to choose their prize from the five titles listed below. And, remember, we’re also giving away EIGHT MORE DVDs/Blu-Rays via Twitter this month as well, so please feel free to enter that contest too…

In order to qualify to win this prize via this Facebook/Blog contest giveaway, you must complete the below entry task by Saturday, September 30 at 10PM ESTWe will pick our two winners via a random drawing and announce them on Facebook and here on this Blog the day after the contest ends (Sunday October 1).

If you’re also on Twitter, please feel free to visit us at  @ClassicMovieHub for additional giveaways — because we’ll be giving away EIGHT MORE Kino Classics there as well! PS: you don’t even need a twitter account to enter! (Click here for twitter contest details as well as more information about the book.)

Audrey Hepburn and Burt Lancaster, The Unforgiven (1960, John Huston)
Audrey Hepburn and Burt Lancaster, The Unforgiven (1960, director John Huston)

…..

ENTRY TASK to be completed by Saturday, September 30 at 1oPM EST —

1) Answer the below question via the comment section at the bottom of this blog post

THE QUESTION:
What is one of your favorite westerns and why? 

NOTE: if for any reason you encounter a problem commenting here on this blog, please feel free to tweet or DM us, or send an email to clas@gmail.com and we will be happy to create the entry for you.

…..

ALSO: Please allow us 48 hours to approve your comments. Sorry about that, but we are being overwhelmed with spam, and must sort through 100s of comments…

…..

Clint Eastwood, The Good the Bad and the Ugly
Clint Eastwood, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966, director Sergio Leone)

Winner’s choice of the five titles below, on either DVD or Blu-Ray:

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (50th Anniversary Edition): For three men the Civil War wasn t hell… it was practice! By far the most ambitious, unflinchingly graphic and stylistically influential western ever made, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is a classic actioner shot through with a volatile mix of myth and realism. Screen legend Clint Eastwood (A Fistful of Dollars) returns as “The Man with No Name,” this time teaming with two gunslingers to pursue a cache of $200,000 and letting no one, not even warring factions in a civil war, stand in their way. From sun-drenched panoramas to bold hard close-ups, exceptional camerawork captures the beauty and cruelty of the barren landscape and the hardened characters who stride unwaveringly through it. This 50th Anniversary Special Edition includes the 4K restored versions of both the 161-minute original theatrical cut and the 179-minute extended cut. Hailed as “pure cinema” by Robert Rodriguez and “the best directed movie of all time” by Quentin Tarantino, this epic masterpiece was directed by the great Sergio Leone (For a Few Dollars More) and co-starred Lee Van Cleef (Death Rides a Horse) as Angel Eyes and Eli Wallach (The Magnificent Seven) in the role of Tuco. Music by legendary composer Ennio Morricone (A Fistful of Dollars, Navajo Joe).

They Shoot Horses Don’t They: Screen legend Jane Fonda (Coming Home) stars in this vivid, fascinating film as a woman driven to seize her last best chance during the very worst of times. A brilliant achievement by director Sydney Pollack (The Scalphunters), They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? is a stunning period piece recognized as one of the most highly acclaimed films of its time. In Depression-era America, desperation spawned a bizarre fad: the dance marathon where couples competed to stay on their feet for thousands of hours, and audiences flocked to watch. But Gloria (Fonda) doesn’t think of herself as a spectacle. She is a fierce, unforgiving contestant in a battle she’s determined to win. At stake is much more than the $1,500 prize; the event is her only hope for dignity, accomplishment and salvation. The stellar cast includes Michael Sarrazin (The Reincarnation of Peter Proud), Susannah York (The Killing of Sister George), Gig Young (Five Miles to Midnight), Red Buttons (The Poseidon Adventure), Bonnie Bedelia (Die Hard), Bruce Dern (The Laughing Policeman), Michael Conrad (Monte Walsh) and Al Lewis (The Munsters). Nominated for nine Academy Awards including Best Actress (Fonda), Supporting Actress (York), Director (Pollack), Screenplay (James Poe, Robert E. Thompson) and winner of Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Young).

The Unforgiven: Mastered in HD – Indian by birth, but secretly adopted by whites, Rachel Zachary (Audrey Hepburn) soon becomes the target of lawless racism and brutality when her true identity is revealed. The Indians want her back, the local whites want her dead, and her only hope for survival is a man (Burt Lancaster) who must face the most terrifying fight of his life-to save the woman he loves! Legendary director John Huston (The Misfits) is “at the top of his form” (Time) with this “powerful, exciting” (The Film Daily) tale of forbidden love set against America’s most rugged and ruthless frontier. Co-starring Lillian Gish, Audie Murphy, John Saxon and Charles Bickford. Featuring a script by Ben Maddow (The Asphalt Jungle), The Unforgiven is a “tough, Texas saga filled with pride, prejudice and passion” (Video Movie Guide)!

Elmer Gantry: Handsome. Opportunistic. Immoral. Traveling salesman Elmer Gantry (Burt Lancaster, Run Silent, Run Deep) is all this and more. So when he stumbles into a revival meeting and discovers that he can hustle money in a tent-show as easily as in a saloon, Gantry converts to evangelism. Joining forces with Sister Sharon Falconer (Jean Simmons, Spartacus), he delivers demon-bashing oratories that bring him fame and fortune. But when an old flame (Shirley Jones, The Partridge Family) re-appears, Gantry is forced to confront demons of a more worldly order — long-buried secrets that will make his “saintly” life a veritable Hell on Earth! Wonderfully directed by Richard Brooks (In Cold Blood) and based on the bestselling novel by Sinclair Lewis (Dodsworth). Winner of 3 Academy Awards including Actor (Lancaster), Supporting Actress (Jones) and Adapted Screenplay (Brooks).

The Missouri Breaks: In their only cinematic pairing, screen legends Marlon Brando (The Godfather) and Jack Nicholson (One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest) are a dynamic star combo who set the screens ablaze in this intense and startlingly realistic western classic from director Arthur Penn (Bonnie and Clyde). Montana Badlands rancher David Brazton is a self-made man, through years of tireless effort and determination; he has transformed his vast and rugged land into a thriving, prosperous empire. So when his livestock, fortune and family are threatened by a ruthless horse thief (Nicholson), Braxton takes matters into his own hands by hiring a sadistic bounty hunter (Brando) to track down the outlaw. Braxton intends to liberate the territory from crime, but what he initiates instead is a complex series of events that result in brutality and savagery far beyond anything he ever thought possible. Co-starring Randy Quaid (The Long Riders), Frederic Forrest (Hammett), John P. Ryan (Avenging Force) and Harry Dean Stanton (Paris, Texas), scripted by Thomas McGuane (92 in the Shade) and shot throughout majestic Montana, the Missouri Break is every bit as powerful and affecting as its dynamic leading men.

…..

You can visit Kino Lorber on their website, on Twitter at @KinoLorber or on Facebook.

Please note that only Continental United States (excluding Alaska, Hawaii, and the territory of Puerto Rico) entrants are eligible.

And — BlogHub members ARE eligible to win if they live within the Continental United States (as noted above).

For complete rules, click here.

And if you can’t wait to win any of these titles, you can click on the images below to purchase on amazon :)

         

Good Luck!

…..

–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

Posted in Contests & Giveaways, Posts by Annmarie Gatti | Tagged | 11 Comments

Anne Bancroft: A Life: Facebook/Blog Book Giveaway Contest (September)

“Anne Bancroft: A Life”
Book Giveaway 
via Facebook and this Blog

Okay, now it’s time for the Facebook/Blog version of our “Anne Bancroft: A Life”  Giveaway Contest! This time we’ll be giving away one copy of the book via Facebook and this blog, courtesy of University Press of Kentucky. And, remember, we’re also giving away FIVE MORE copies via Twitter this month as well, so please feel free to enter that contest too…

In order to qualify to win this prize via this Facebook/Blog contest giveaway, you must complete the below entry task by Saturday, September 30 at 10PM ESTWe will pick one winner via a random drawing and announce him/her on Facebook and here on this Blog the day after the contest ends (Sunday October 1).

If you’re also on Twitter, please feel free to visit us at  @ClassicMovieHub for additional giveaways — because we’ll be giving away FIVE MORE books there as well! PS: you don’t even need a twitter account to enter! (Click here for twitter contest details as well as more information about the book.)

Anne Bancroft: A Life biography

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ENTRY TASK to be completed by Saturday, September 30 at 1oPM EST —

1) Answer the below question via the comment section at the bottom of this blog post

THE QUESTION:
What is your favorite Anne Bancroft film and why? And if you’re not familiar with Anne Bancroft’s work, tell us why you’d like to win this book.

NOTE: if for any reason you encounter a problem commenting here on this blog, please feel free to tweet or DM us, or send an email to clas@gmail.com and we will be happy to create the entry for you.

…..

About the Book:  In the first biography to cover the entire scope of Bancroft’s life and career, Douglass K. Daniel brings together interviews with dozens of her friends and colleagues, never-before-published family photos, and material from film and theater archives to present a portrait of an artist who raised the standards of acting for all those who followed. Daniel reveals how, from a young age, Bancroft was committed to challenging herself and strengthening her craft. Her talent (and good timing) led to a breakthrough role in Two for the Seesaw, which made her a Broadway star overnight. The role of Helen Keller’s devoted teacher in the stage version of The Miracle Worker would follow, and Bancroft also starred in the movie adaption of the play, which earned her an Academy Award. She went on to appear in dozens of film, theater, and television productions, including several movies directed or produced by her husband, Mel Brooks. Anne Bancroft: A Life offers new insights into the life and career of a determined actress who left an indelible mark on the film industry while remaining true to her art.

Click here for the full contest rules. 

Please note that only Continental United States (excluding Alaska, Hawaii, and the territory of Puerto Rico) entrants are eligible.

And — BlogHub members ARE eligible to win if they live within the Continental United States (as noted above).

Good Luck!

And if you can’t wait to win the book, you can purchase it on amazon via the below link (click on image):

Good Luck!

…..

–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

Posted in Books, Contests & Giveaways, Posts by Annmarie Gatti | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Win Tickets to see “TCM Big Screen Classics: The Princess Bride (30th Anniversary)” (Giveaway runs September 8 – September 30)

Win Tickets to see “The Princess Bride” on the Big Screen!

In Select Cinemas Nationwide Sunday, October 15 & Wednesday, October 18!

“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

CMH is thrilled to announce the 12th of our 14 movie ticket giveaways this year, courtesy of Fathom Events!

That said, we’ll be giving away EIGHT PAIRS of tickets to see “TCM Big Screen Classics: The Princess Bride” – the timeless classic starring Cary Elwes and Robin Wright— the way it was meant to be seen — on the Big Screen!

In order to qualify to win a pair of movie tickets via this contest, you must complete the below entry task by Saturday, September 30 at 6 PM EST.

We will announce the winner(s) on Twitter on Sunday, October 1, between 6PM EST and 7PM EST. If a winner(s) does not have a Twitter account, we will announce that winner(s) via this blog in the comment section below.

The Princess Bride TCM Big Screen Classics Fathom Events

The film will be playing in select cinemas nationwide for a special two-day-only event on Sunday, October 15 and Wednesday, October 18 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. local time. Winners will be responsible for their own transportation to the Event. Only United States entries are eligible. Please click here before you enter to ensure that the Event is scheduled at a theater near you and that you are able to attend. (please note that there might be slightly different theater listings for each date)

About the film:  

Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles… Director Rob Reiner’s charming fantasy-adventure is a fairy tale like no other, a movie that is as beguiling to adults as it is to children, infused with magic and beauty. Robin Wright stars as Princess Buttercup, with Cary Elwes as her dashing Westley, and Mandy Patinkin as the revenge-seeking Inigo Montoya. The perfect cast also includes Christopher Guest, Wallace Shawn, Andre the Giant, Peter Falk, Billy Crystal, Carol Kane and, as the young boy who gets the best bedtime story ever, Fred Savage.

ENTRY TASK (2-parts) to be completed by Saturday, September 30 at 6PM EST…

1) Answer the below question via the comment section at the bottom of this blog post

THE QUESTION:

“The Princess Bride” may not be a classic-era Classic Movie, but what is it in your opinion that makes it classic? And, if you haven’t seen it yet, why do you want to see it on the Big Screen?

2) Then TWEET* (not DM) the following message:

Just entered to win tickets to see “The Princess Bride” on the Big Screen courtesy of @ClassicMovieHub & @FathomEvents #TCMBigScreen

*If you don’t have a Twitter account, you can still enter the contest by simply answering the above question via the comment section at the bottom of this blog — BUT PLEASE ENSURE THAT YOU ADD THIS VERBIAGE TO YOUR ANSWER: I do not have a Twitter account, so I am posting here to enter but cannot tweet the message.

NOTE: if for any reason you encounter a problem commenting here on this blog, please feel free to tweet or DM us, or send an email to clas@gmail.com and we will be happy to create the entry for you.

Please note that only United States residents are eligible to enter this giveaway contest. (see contest rules for further information)

BlogHub members ARE also eligible to win if they live within the Continental United States (as noted above).

You can follow Fathom Events on Twitter at @fathomevents

Good Luck!

–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

Posted in Contests & Giveaways, Fathom Events, TCM Big Screen Classics | 17 Comments

The Lost World (1925) Blu-Ray Giveaway Contest (via Facebook/Blog in September)

The Lost World (1925) Blu-Ray Giveaway!
Qualifying Entry Task for Facebook/Blog

Okay, now it’s time for the Facebook/Blog version of our The Lost World Blu-Ray giveaway contest, courtesy of Flicker Alley, in which we’ll be giving away ONE COPY of this silent classic. And, don’t forget, we’re also giving away FIVE MORE copies via Twitter this month as well, so please feel free to enter that contest too…

In order to qualify to win this collection via this Facebook/Blog contest giveaway, you must complete the below entry task by Saturday, September 30 at 8PM ESTWe will pick one winner via a random drawing and announce the winner on Facebook and on this Blog the day after the contest ends (Oct 1).

If you’re also on Twitter, please feel free to visit us at  @ClassicMovieHub for additional giveaways — because we’ll be giving away FIVE MORE copies there as well! (Click here for twitter contest details as well as more information about the blue-ray.)

The Lost World 1925 BluRay …..

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ENTRY TASK to be completed by Saturday, September 30 at 8PM EST…

Answer the below question via the comment section at the bottom of this blog post

THE QUESTION:
What is it about Silent Movies that intrigue you? Or, if you’ve never seen a silent movie, why do you want to win this particular one?

NOTE: if for any reason you encounter a problem commenting here on this blog, please feel free to tweet or DM us, or send an email to clas@gmail.com and we will be happy to create the entry for you.

…..

This is the world-premiere Blu-ray edition of Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, the most complete version of the film ever released. This visually stunning 2K restoration, accomplished by Lobster Films, features newly-discovered scenes and special effect sequences, incorporating almost all original elements from archives and collections around the world. Renowned silent film composer Robert Israel contributes a new and ambitious score, performed by a full orchestra in 2016.

The Lost World 1925 film, dinosaur in front of building

 …..

Please allow us at least 24 hours to approve (and post) your comment, as we have an unprecedented amount of spam to sift through…

…..

Click here for the full contest rules. 

Please note that only Continental United States (excluding Alaska, Hawaii, and the territory of Puerto Rico) entrants are eligible.

And — BlogHub members ARE eligible to win if they live within the Continental United States (as noted above).

Good Luck!

And if you can’t wait to win the DVD/Blu-Ray, you can purchase it on amazon via the below link (click on image):

Good Luck!

…..

–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

Posted in Contests & Giveaways, Posts by Annmarie Gatti | Tagged | 8 Comments

Kino Lorber ‘Western Round-Up’ Blu-Ray/DVD September Giveaway Promotion (via Twitter)

Celebrating Westerns All-Month Long with Kino Lorber!
DVD/Blu-Ray Giveaway, Winner’s Choice of 5 Western Classics

This month we celebrate Classic Westerns courtesy of our friends at Kino Lorber! We are happy to say that we have EIGHT Classic Western DVDs/Blu-Rays to giveaway on Twitter this month, winners’ choice of five classic titles. But please stay tuned because we’ll also be giving away TWO more DVDs/Blu-Rays via a separate Facebook/Blog giveaway this month too. That said, here we go…

Clint Eastwood, The Good the Bad and the UglyClint Eastwood, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966, director Sergio Leone)

In order to qualify to win one of these prizes via this contest giveaway, you must complete the below entry task by Saturday, Sept 30 at 10PM EST. However, the sooner you enter, the better chance you have of winning, because we will pick two winners on four different days within the contest period, via random drawings, as listed below… So if you don’t win the first week that you enter, you will still be eligible to win during the following weeks until the contest is over.

  • September 9: Two Winners
  • September 16: Two Winners
  • September 23: Two Winners
  • September 30: Two Winners

We will announce each week’s winner on Twitter @ClassicMovieHub (or this blog, depending how you entered), the day after each winner is picked at 10PM EST — for example, we will announce our first week’s winners on Sunday September 10 at 10PM EST.

…..

Here are the titles up for grabs:

         

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (50th Anniversary Edition): For three men the Civil War wasn t hell… it was practice! By far the most ambitious, unflinchingly graphic and stylistically influential western ever made, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is a classic actioner shot through with a volatile mix of myth and realism. Screen legend Clint Eastwood (A Fistful of Dollars) returns as “The Man with No Name,” this time teaming with two gunslingers to pursue a cache of $200,000 and letting no one, not even warring factions in a civil war, stand in their way. From sun-drenched panoramas to bold hard close-ups, exceptional camerawork captures the beauty and cruelty of the barren landscape and the hardened characters who stride unwaveringly through it. This 50th Anniversary Special Edition includes the 4K restored versions of both the 161-minute original theatrical cut and the 179-minute extended cut. Hailed as “pure cinema” by Robert Rodriguez and “the best directed movie of all time” by Quentin Tarantino, this epic masterpiece was directed by the great Sergio Leone (For a Few Dollars More) and co-starred Lee Van Cleef (Death Rides a Horse) as Angel Eyes and Eli Wallach (The Magnificent Seven) in the role of Tuco. Music by legendary composer Ennio Morricone (A Fistful of Dollars, Navajo Joe).

They Shoot Horses Don’t They: Screen legend Jane Fonda (Coming Home) stars in this vivid, fascinating film as a woman driven to seize her last best chance during the very worst of times. A brilliant achievement by director Sydney Pollack (The Scalphunters), They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? is a stunning period piece recognized as one of the most highly acclaimed films of its time. In Depression-era America, desperation spawned a bizarre fad: the dance marathon where couples competed to stay on their feet for thousands of hours, and audiences flocked to watch. But Gloria (Fonda) doesn’t think of herself as a spectacle. She is a fierce, unforgiving contestant in a battle she’s determined to win. At stake is much more than the $1,500 prize; the event is her only hope for dignity, accomplishment and salvation. The stellar cast includes Michael Sarrazin (The Reincarnation of Peter Proud), Susannah York (The Killing of Sister George), Gig Young (Five Miles to Midnight), Red Buttons (The Poseidon Adventure), Bonnie Bedelia (Die Hard), Bruce Dern (The Laughing Policeman), Michael Conrad (Monte Walsh) and Al Lewis (The Munsters). Nominated for nine Academy Awards including Best Actress (Fonda), Supporting Actress (York), Director (Pollack), Screenplay (James Poe, Robert E. Thompson) and winner of Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Young).

The Unforgiven: Mastered in HD – Indian by birth, but secretly adopted by whites, Rachel Zachary (Audrey Hepburn) soon becomes the target of lawless racism and brutality when her true identity is revealed. The Indians want her back, the local whites want her dead, and her only hope for survival is a man (Burt Lancaster) who must face the most terrifying fight of his life-to save the woman he loves! Legendary director John Huston (The Misfits) is “at the top of his form” (Time) with this “powerful, exciting” (The Film Daily) tale of forbidden love set against America’s most rugged and ruthless frontier. Co-starring Lillian Gish, Audie Murphy, John Saxon and Charles Bickford. Featuring a script by Ben Maddow (The Asphalt Jungle), The Unforgiven is a “tough, Texas saga filled with pride, prejudice and passion” (Video Movie Guide)!

Elmer Gantry: Handsome. Opportunistic. Immoral. Traveling salesman Elmer Gantry (Burt Lancaster, Run Silent, Run Deep) is all this and more. So when he stumbles into a revival meeting and discovers that he can hustle money in a tent-show as easily as in a saloon, Gantry converts to evangelism. Joining forces with Sister Sharon Falconer (Jean Simmons, Spartacus), he delivers demon-bashing oratories that bring him fame and fortune. But when an old flame (Shirley Jones, The Partridge Family) re-appears, Gantry is forced to confront demons of a more worldly order — long-buried secrets that will make his “saintly” life a veritable Hell on Earth! Wonderfully directed by Richard Brooks (In Cold Blood) and based on the bestselling novel by Sinclair Lewis (Dodsworth). Winner of 3 Academy Awards including Actor (Lancaster), Supporting Actress (Jones) and Adapted Screenplay (Brooks).

The Missouri Breaks: In their only cinematic pairing, screen legends Marlon Brando (The Godfather) and Jack Nicholson (One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest) are a dynamic star combo who set the screens ablaze in this intense and startlingly realistic western classic from director Arthur Penn (Bonnie and Clyde). Montana Badlands rancher David Brazton is a self-made man, through years of tireless effort and determination; he has transformed his vast and rugged land into a thriving, prosperous empire. So when his livestock, fortune and family are threatened by a ruthless horse thief (Nicholson), Braxton takes matters into his own hands by hiring a sadistic bounty hunter (Brando) to track down the outlaw. Braxton intends to liberate the territory from crime, but what he initiates instead is a complex series of events that result in brutality and savagery far beyond anything he ever thought possible. Co-starring Randy Quaid (The Long Riders), Frederic Forrest (Hammett), John P. Ryan (Avenging Force) and Harry Dean Stanton (Paris, Texas), scripted by Thomas McGuane (92 in the Shade) and shot throughout majestic Montana, the Missouri Break is every bit as powerful and affecting as its dynamic leading men.

Audrey Hepburn and Burt Lancaster, The Unforgiven (1960, John Huston) Audrey Hepburn and Burt Lancaster, The Unforgiven (1960, director John Huston)
…..

ENTRY TASK (2-parts) to be completed by Saturday, September 30 at 10PM EST — BUT remember, the sooner you enter, the more chances you have to win…

1) Answer the below question via the comment section at the bottom of this blog post

2) Then TWEET (not DM) the following message:
Just entered to win the “Classic Westerns” #DVDGiveaway courtesy of @KinoLorber and @ClassicMovieHub

THE QUESTION:
Which of the above films would you like to win and why? 

*If you do not have a Twitter account, you can still enter the contest by simply answering the above question via the comment section at the bottom of this blog — BUT PLEASE ENSURE THAT YOU ADD THIS VERBIAGE TO YOUR ANSWER: I do not have a Twitter account, so I am posting here to enter but cannot tweet the message.

ALSO: Please allow us 48 hours to approve your comments. Sorry about that, but we are being overwhelmed with spam, and must sort through 100s of comments…

…..

You can visit Kino Lorber on their website, on Twitter at @KinoLorber or on Facebook.

Please note that only Continental United States (excluding Alaska, Hawaii, and the territory of Puerto Rico) entrants are eligible.

And — BlogHub members ARE eligible to win if they live within the Continental United States (as noted above).

For complete rules, click here.

And if you can’t wait to win any of these titles, you can click on the images below to purchase on amazon :)

         

Good Luck!

…..

–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

Posted in Contests & Giveaways, Films, Posts by Annmarie Gatti | Tagged | 33 Comments