The Cary Grant Blogathon: My Favorite Wife (1940)

“Make up your mind old man. You’re not allowed to have two wives, you know”…

Like many Classic Movie fans, I just adore Cary Grant — and I just adore about every film that he ever made in his 30+ year film career. He can play anything from suave, sophisticated and sexy — to befuddled, nervous and downright goofy. He can easily weave comic elements into his dramatic roles, and can play comedy with such a straight-laced seriousness, that it’s endearing. But what I love most about Cary Grant, is that he is simply mesmerizing on the screen — you just can’t take your eyes off him…

That said, I have lots of Cary Grant films on my favorites list — - Arsenic and Old LaceBringing Up BabyHouseboatMr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, and North by Northwest just to name a few — so you would think that it would be extremely difficult for me to pick just one Cary Grant film to cover for this Blogathon… and yet, it was extremely easy for me to choose — my choice was set in stone from the get-go…

My Favorite Wife movie poster

My Favorite Wife is one of my all-time favorite movies, not to mention one of my ‘desert island picks’ — but it’s even more than that… It’s also my ‘go-to’ movie when I’m feeling ‘down in the dumps,’ or sick, or stressed — or if I I simply need to relax and set aside some time for a guaranteed laugh…

So, why do I adore My Favorite Wife?  Well, it’s the delightful screwball comedy plot and the wonderful cast, as well as the witty repartee between Cary Grant, Irene Dunne and Randolph Scott… But most of all, it’s Cary Grant’s portrayal of the frantic and frazzled Nick Arden as he reacts to the crazy (and unforeseen) circumstances that have descended upon him… And, it’s probably no surprise that Grant plays the role to perfection, as he pivots from astounded newlywed – to nervous bigamist – to jealous husband – to annulled and ‘confused’ spouse.

The Plot in a Nutshell: Ellen Arden (Irene Dunne) who was shipwrecked on an island for seven years and presumed dead, returns home on the day of her husband Nick’s (Cary Grant) second marriage. Awkward Honeymoon aside, complications arise when Nick finds out that Ellen wasn’t alone on that island for all those years!

The Featured Cast:

  • Cary Grant: Nick Arden
  • Irene Dunne: Ellen Arden
  • Gail Patrick: Bianca (Nick’s new wife)
  • Randolph Scott: Steve Burkett (the gorgeous man stranded on island with Ellen for all those years!)

A Few Fun Facts:

  • The film was loosely based on the Alfred Lord Tennyson poem Enoch Arden about a fisherman presumed lost at sea who returns home to find that his wife has remarried.
  • Cary Grant and Randolph Scott were good friends and long-time roommates.
  • This is the second of three films that starred Cary Grant and Irene Dunne: The Awful Truth, My Favorite Wife, Penny Serenade.

And now for some of my favorite scenes and quotes:

Cary Grant, the ‘astonished husband,’ upon seeing his wife Ellen for the very first time in seven years — at the hotel, on his Honeymoon with new wife Bianca.

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Cary Grant My Favorite Wife

As the ‘nervous bigamist’ — with lots on his mind!

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As the ‘jealous husband’ — with quite a cause to be, upon seeing Steve Burkett for the very first time!

Lady by Pool: Young man, is that Johnny Weissmuller?
Nick: No, I wish it were.

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my favorite wife courtroom sceneAs the annulled and ‘confused’ spouse — who must now ‘make up his mind’ :)

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And, what does Nick finally decide? Will he move on with his new wife and life, or will he  reconcile with his true love??? Well, I won’t tell, but perhaps you’ll remember this famous image from the end of the film…

Cary Grant as Santa in My Favorite Wife

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A Big Thank You to Phyllis Loves Classic Movies (@Solidmoonlight) for hosting this wonderful event! There are so many more wonderful Classic Bloggers participating in this Blogathon so please be sure to check out the other entries.

–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

Posted in Blogathons, Posts by Annmarie Gatti | Tagged | 4 Comments

5 Things You May Not Know about Busby Berkeley

 

5 Things You May Not Know about Busby Berkeley

 BERKELEY, BUSBY

Like that today is his birthday. Happy 121st Birthday to the legend Busby Berkeley!

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1) He was a performer and a fighter

 set-picture-for-kidI couldn’t find a a picture of him as kid, so enjoy this behind the scenes photo instead!

At least that’s what I gather from his childhood. His mother was an actress and this led the young Busby to appear in a few small stage productions as a kid. However, he received most of his formal education at the Mohegan Lake Military Academy in the Hudson Valley region of New York. Which means he trained more as a solider than a creative performer. Which brings us to fact number 2…

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2) His started his career as a choreographer in the army

my-forgotten-manHis military experience clearly seen in this number, Remember My Forgotten Man from Gold Diggers of 1933

That’s right, I said the army. Berkeley served as a field artillery lieutenant in World War I, where he was in charge of conducting and directing military parades. After a cease-fire was declared between the warring nations, he was then tasked with putting on stage camp shows for the military men. Considering how his choreography was all about losing the individuals dancers into the complex whole of the number, it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that military drills were some of his earliest inspirations.

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3) He was a doctor

docBerkeley lookin’ pretty “doctor-y” in this photo, tho.

OK, so he wasn’t an actual doctor. During his time working on Broadway, Berkeley wore many different hats: director, stage manager, producer, dance, director, etc. He often served multiple roles in a single production and was damned good at it. He was so good, in fact, that people referred to him as a “show doctor,” a person who could turn a failing production into a profitable hit. So, I guess that’s close enough to a real doctor, right?

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4) He never took a single dance lesson

on-setNo dance lessons, no problem

For a man who revolutionized the musical number, it’s amazing that he never took a dance lesson in his life. This was basically unheard of at the time, but that didn’t stop Berkeley. Because of his lack of dance training, Berkeley had a unique approach to creating musical numbers. He would often have elaborate sets built and sit in them for days on end, thinking about how best to utilize the space for dance numbers.

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5) His numbers are subject to intellectual analysis

geometicYup, there’s people in them shapes

Since the beginning of the academic study of film, Berkeley’s numbers have been analyzed by film scholars everywhere. Many view his numbers, with their emphasis on how a group of individuals can create something greater than the parts, as a celebration of the collective, and much in the spirit of Roosevelt’s New Deal Program. Berkeley, however, states he had no lofty political ideas in mind when creating his dance numbers. His goal was simple: innovation and creating something that the soundstage had never seen before.

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Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub

Posted in Birthday Legends, Legends Tribute, Posts by Minoo Allen | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Children of Divorce (1927) DVD/Blu-Ray Giveaway Contest (via Twitter in December)

Children of Divorce DVD/Blu-Ray Giveaway Contest 
1927 Classic Starring Clara Bow, Gary Cooper and Esther Ralston

Okay, it’s time for our next Giveaway! In celebration of its December 6th release date in just a few short days… CMH will be giving away FIVE COPIES of  the newly-restored 1927 silent classic, Children of Divorce on DVD/Blu-Ray, courtesy of Flicker Alley via TWITTER (plus ONE more copy via Facebook and this Blog, details to follow later this week).

Children of Divorce 1927

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Before we move on to the Contest, I just want to say that I had the pleasure of seeing this film on The Big Screen at Capitolfest earlier this year, and it is a gem! I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it (as did my cohorts), and was amazed to see how incredibly beautiful the stars were, including a very young Gary Cooper who is captivating onscreen… Here is a sneak peak trailer:

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Okay, here we go…

In order to qualify to win one of these prizes via this contest giveaway, you must complete the below entry task by Saturday, December 31 at 8PM EST. However, the sooner you enter, the better chance you have of winning, because we will pick a winner on five 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.

  • December 3: One Winner
  • December 10: One Winner
  • December 17: One Winner
  • December 24: One Winner
  • December 31: One Winner

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 8PM EST — for example, we will announce our first week’s winner on Sunday December 4 at 8PM EST.

If you’re also on Facebook, please feel free to visit us at Classic Movie Hub on Facebook for additional giveaways (or check back on this Blog in a few days) — because we’ll be giving away ONE MORE copies via Facebook/Blog as well!

Children of Divorce, Clara Bow, Gary Cooper, Esther Ralston

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ENTRY TASK (2-parts) to be completed by Saturday, December 31 at 8PM 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 “Children of Divorce” #DVDBluRayGiveaway courtesy of @flickeralley and @ClassicMovieHub

THE QUESTION:
Why would you like to win this DVD/Blu-Ray? 

*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.

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.

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About the Release: Almost 15 years after the release of its first publication, Flicker Alley, in partnership with the Blackhawk Films® Collection, is proud to celebrate 50 fully-published titles with the Blu-ray/DVD world premiere of Children of Divorce, starring Clara Bow and Gary Cooper. The film begins in an American “divorce colony” in Paris after the First World War, where parents would leave their children for months at a time. Jean, Kitty, and Ted meet there as children and become fast friends. Years later, in America, when wealthy Ted (Gary Cooper) reconnects with Jean (Esther Ralston), the two fall deeply in love, vowing to fulfill a childhood promise to one day marry each other. But true love and the most innocent of plans are no match for the scheming Kitty—played by the original Hollywood “It” girl, Clara Bow—who targets Ted for his fortune. After a night of drunken revelry, Ted wakes up to find he has unwittingly married Kitty. This unfortunate turn of events, however, carries with it the traumatized pasts of the three players, whose views of marriage have been shaped as children of divorce. Sourced from the original nitrate negative held by the Library of Congress, as well as their 1969 fine grain master, this new restoration of Children of Divorce was scanned in 4K resolution, and represents over 200 hours of laboratory work by the Library of Congress in order to create the best version possible. Though some deterioration remains, this is the first time the film has ever been released on home video, allowing audiences to enjoy a rare viewing of classic performances from two of early cinema’s most recognizable stars. Flicker Alley is delighted to reach the milestone of its 50th publication with Children of Divorce. This Blu-ray/DVD dual-format edition features a new score by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, and was made possible thanks to the Blackhawk Films® Collection, Paramount Pictures, and the Library of Congress.

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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!

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–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

Posted in Contests & Giveaways, Posts by Annmarie Gatti | Tagged , , , , | 22 Comments

James Stewart: The Truth Behind the Legend Book Giveaway (December)

The Life and Legacy of One of Hollywood’s Most Iconic Talents
James Stewart: The Truth Behind the Legend Book Giveaway

Calling all James Stewart fans! This month we’re very happy to say that we’ll be giving away TEN COPIES of James Stewart: The Truth Behind the Legend by Michael Munn, courtesy of Skyhorse Publishing.

James Stewart: The Truth Behind the Legend, biography by Michael Munn

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Before we start, I’d like to include my synopsis/review here, which I am privileged to say, is also included in the book, and which I think will give you a good idea of what the book covers — and also give you a sense for how much I enjoyed it (I read it in two days, just couldn’t put it down)…

“James Stewart is undoubtedly one of the most beloved stars in classic movie fandom.   During his 50-year career, he became known for his distinctive drawl and down-to-earth persona, embodying the American ‘everyman’ on screen. But that’s not all… To many fans, Stewart’s persona transcended the screen, making him a bona fide symbol of honesty, integrity, determination and patriotism — securing him a unique place in classic movie history as well as in the hearts and minds of his many fans.

James Stewart: The Truth Behind the Legend chronicles the key aspects of Stewart’s life and career, but more importantly, allows readers ‘inside access’ via first-hand interviews with Stewart, his wife Gloria, and best friend Henry Fonda, among others.  We learn about Stewart’s childhood and lessons learned from his father, his first barnstorm flight and lifelong passion for aviation, his years at Mercersburg Academy and Princeton University – and how his affinity for the accordion sparked his acting career. We are taken through his early years performing with the University Players, his start on Broadway, and his ultimate move to Hollywood to pursue his film career. Along the way, we are treated to stories about his ladies’ man reputation, his ‘lean’ years with room-mate Henry Fonda, his lifelong affection for Margaret Sullavan, and his superstar Hollywood romances before meeting Gloria, his wife of 45 years (thanks to Gary and Veronica Cooper). Additionally, we are given insight into his collaborations with Frank Capra, Anthony Mann and Alfred Hitchcock, and we hear about Stewart’s personal experiences while working on some of his most famous films including Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and The Philadelphia Story (if you ever wondered how Stewart got that raspy voice for the iconic Mr. Smith scene, here’s your chance to find out). We also get a real sense of Stewart’s deep patriotism, as he recounts his active pursuit to enlist in the US Army (even at the expense of his film career), and his relentless campaign to secure approval to fly combat missions during WWII. Upon Stewart’s return to the US as a decorated war hero, we learn about his struggles to re-ignite his film career, maintain relevancy among a new generation of actors, and ethically navigate working as an ‘undercover’ agent for the FBI.

All told, this book is an interesting and enjoyable read which brings us a little closer to the real James Stewart through conversations with the man himself, and the people that knew him.”

–Yours Truly :)

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Jimmy Stewart: It's a Wonderful LifeStewart’s first film after the war, It’s a Wonderful Life, with Donna Reed, was a flop in its day, but now it’s the quintessential Christmas film (1946, RKO)

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And, now that said, let the contest begin!

In order to qualify to win one of these wonderful books via this contest giveaway, you must complete the below entry task by Saturday, December 31 at 9PM EST. However, the sooner you enter, the better chance you have of winning, because we will pick two winners on five 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.

  • December 3: Two Winners
  • December 10: Two Winners
  • December 17: Two Winners
  • December 24: Two Winners
  • December 31: Two Winners

We will announce each week’s winner on Twitter @ClassicMovieHub and/or right here on this Blog in the comment section below (depending on how you entered), the day after each winner is picked at 9PM EST — for example, we will announce our first week’s winner at 9PM EST on Sunday December 4.

James Stewart, Mr. Smith Goes to WashingtonIn Frank Capra’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Stewart was pitched against the nasty men of power (including Claude Rains), this time in the American Senate (1939, Columbia)

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ENTRY TASK (2-parts) to be completed by Saturday, December 31 at 9PM 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 (if you don’t have twitter, see below):
Just entered to win the “James Stewart: The Truth Behind the Legend” #BookGiveaway courtesy of @ClassicMovieHub & @skyhorsepub

THE QUESTION:
What do you love most about Jimmy Stewart? 

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.

*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.

Click here for the full contest rules and more details. 

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).

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jimmy stewart and gloria weddingJim and Gloria were married on August 9, 1950 at Brentwood Presbyterian Church, Los Angeles. Their 600 guests included stars such as Spencer Tracy, Gary Cooper and Ray Milland.

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About the book: Many stars of the silver screen in twentieth-century Hollywood became national icons, larger-than-life figures held up as paragons of American virtues. However, the private lives of actors such as John Wayne, Henry Fonda, and Errol Flynn rarely lived up to the idealistic roles they portrayed. James Stewart was known as the underdog fighter in many of his films and in real life. He was highly decorated for his bravery as a bomber pilot during World War II and was adored for his earnest and kindly persona. But there was much more to the man. In this New York Times bestseller, the many sides of Stewart are revealed: his explosive temper, his complex love affairs and his longstanding marriage, his service as an FBI agent, his innate shyness, and his passionate patriotism. Munn’s personal touch shines through his writing, as he was a friend of Stewart and his wife, Gloria, and interviewed them as well as their colleagues and friends. This definitive biography reveals the childhood ups and downs that formed this cinema hero; explores the legendary Fonda-Stewart relationship; and recounts Stewart’s experiences making such acclaimed films as The Philadelphia Story, Rear Window, Anatomy of a Murder, It’s a Wonderful Life, and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

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If you don’t want to wait to win, you can purchase the book by clicking here:

Good Luck!

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–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

Posted in Books, Contests & Giveaways, Posts by Annmarie Gatti | Tagged , | 32 Comments

Film Noir Review: The Hitch-Hiker (1953)

“Nobody ever gave me anything, so I don’t owe nobody!”

With the Interstate Highway Act of the 1950s, film noir became mobile. Vehicles filled driveways, four lane freeways lined the country, and big city predators were given free reign to explore rural America. Previously resigned to the city, con men could now swindle the folks who still believed in common decency, and someone like Billy Cook, Jr. (no relation to Elisha), a 22 year-old punk, could go on a killing spree in late 1950. Dubbed ‘The Hitch-Hiker’ for his practice of flagging down cars and shooting the drivers, Cook killed six people before his arrest near the Mexican border. When asked to explain his motives, all the killer had to say is: “I hate everybody’s guts and everyone hates mine.” If that isn’t noir ideology, I don’t know what is. Cook was executed in San Quentin two years later, but not before signing his likeness over to Filmmakers Inc. for a Hollywood treatment.

As a noir, The Hitch-Hiker mirrors its rotten source accurately. “This is the story of a man and a gun and a car” so warns the title credits — a list that director Ida Lupino wastes little time checking off. The opener follows a faceless figure as he kills a roadside couple and rummages their bodies for cash. Transition to another highway and another victim, and this time a single man, suffers the same fate. By refusing to show faces, Lupino enhances the anonymity of these brief attacks — the next victim could be anyone and anywhere, including us.

The Hitch-Hiker Nicholas Musuraca's moody camerawork.Nicholas Musuraca’s moody cinematography

The killer, renamed Emmett Myers (William Talman), continues his crime spree after hitching a ride with Roy Collins (Edmond O’Brien) and Gilbert Bowen (Frank Lovejoy). A couple of war buddies on a fishing trip, neither pay much mind to the closed-off fellow they just picked up. Until, of course, Myers states his intentions by taking them hostage at gunpoint. “Keep driving!” he barks. The cinematography (courtesy of Nicholas Musuraca) here is gorgeously unnerving, as Myers’ face remains hidden until the pivotal moment he leans into the front seat. A brilliant, if isolated (in an otherwise bright film) use of noir’s visual language.

From there, Lupino and co-writer/husband Collier Young take their lead trio down a tense, often times emasculating, road. Myers gets a perverse kick out of mocking his hostages, calling them “soft” and complaining that they’ve always had it easy in life. He preys on their sense of manhood while he’s at it, knowing good and well his ferocity (and firearm) will prove him the victor. Those asking why Myers doesn’t simply shoot them like his previous victims, are given an answer in the form of increasingly sadistic games. In one tense scene, the killer forces Bowen to prove his rifle skills by shooting a soda can out of Collins’ hand. Noir had seen its fair share of psychotics in the past (Kiss of Death, Dial 1119) but never had it so focused on the psychology between a captor and his hostages. The combination makes for quite the rocky road trip.

The Hitch-Hiker: Myers forcing his hostages to play along.Myers forcing his hostages to play along.

At 38, William Talman was noticeably older than Cook, but his unrelenting portrayal makes it work. He is a force to reckoned with in the role, playing a man with no depth or redeeming qualities. Anger seethes from his every line, while a deformity that forces him to sleep with one eye open remains his creepiest trait — one never knows if Myers is resting or simply waiting to pounce. Talman had already played noir heavies in Armored Car Robbery (1950) and City that Never Sleeps (1953), but as Myers, he strikes the perfect note of pure evil without overacting.

In front of the gun, Edmond O’Brien and Frank Lovejoy give differing takes on how to deal with imminent doom. Collins falls hook line and sinker for the “soft” guy schtick, and is left bearing the brunt of Myers’ cruelty as a result. While his stout build certainly doesn’t do him any favors, it’s the inability to handle pressure that ultimately leads to his mental breakdown. O’Brien gives a brave performance here, playing a guy that most would people relate to in this situation, whether we want to admit it or not.

The Hitch-Hiker The film's promotional poster.

The film’s promotional poster.

Bowen doesn’t fall for these games as easily. He’s fully aware that any physical aggression will play into Myers’ desires, and spends the bulk of the film forming other escape plans. In the film’s most touching moment, Bowen leaves his wedding band on the gas pump of a filling station. Nicely underplayed by Lovejoy (as is his specialty), he knows it will either be vital to their rescue or a last memento for his wife. He also completes the film’s Freudian trifecta: Myers the impulsive id, Collins the unnerved ego, and Bowen the calm superego. It’s a nice little subtext that’s there to explore.

Behind the camera, Ida Lupino provides minimal direction. Brought in as an 11th hour replacement for Elmer Clifton, Lupino ditches the melodrama of past works (Never Fear, Outrage) for the formula of her Warner Bros days: economic, tough, and fast. The Hitch-Hiker is not a sexy picture, but it is an effective one; constantly switching between vast deserts and claustrophobic car interiors. It’s so devoid of the city, in fact, that when the trio arrive in Baja for the finale, the sleepy border town feels downright cosmopolitan. Sadly, Lupino would return to melodrama before the year was out (The Bigamist); leaving Hiker her only official noir. She may have made history as the first female director to do so, but it’s still a shame we were never given a sophomore effort.

The Hitch-Hiker Ida Lupino behind the camera.

Ida Lupino behind the camera.

Paddling around in public domain purgatory, The Hitch-Hiker is one of the most easily accessible noirs on the market. Unlike many of its peers, however, it  stands the test of time as a tense hostage thriller. To praise the film solely on the grounds of Lupino’s gender is to do it a great disservice — it’s as sparse and muscular as anything noir has to offer. B+

TRIVIA: Daniel Mainwaring contributed to the script, but due to his HUAC involvement, his name was stricken from the final product.

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–Danilo Castro for Classic Movie Hub

Danilo Castro is a film noir enthusiast and Contributing Writer for Classic Movie Hub. You can read more of Danilo’s articles and reviews at the Film Noir Archive, or you can follow Danilo on Twitter @DaniloSCastro.

Posted in Films, Posts by Danilo Castro | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Happy Thanksgiving from Classic Movie Hub!

A Very Happy Thanksgiving to All!

Thank You for all of your camaraderie and support… We love being part of this wonderful community and have made many friends here along the way. We soooooo enjoy being able to talk Classic Movies all day long with you, every day throughout the year.

That said, we wish our US friends a Happy Thanksgiving, and our non-US fans a simply Wonderful Day!

Happy Thanksgiving from Classic Movie Hub…..

–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

 

Posted in Holiday Tributes, Posts by Annmarie Gatti | Tagged | 2 Comments

5 Things You May Not Know about Harpo Marx

 

5 Things You May Not Know about Harpo Marx

 Harpo Marx

Like that today, Nov. 23, is his birthday. Happy 128th Birthday to legend Harpo Marx!

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1) Hair wasn’t really his thing

Harpo Marx without wig

Harpo: au natural

When you think Harpo, you think: harp, top hat, long trench coat and curly blonde hair. Well, much like Groucho’s insanely fake mustache, Harpo’s hair was also fake: in reality he was as bald as his brother!

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2) Art, however, was this thing

dali-and-harpo

This looks like my kind of party…

Harpo was a huge art lover and had an extensive collection that included pieces by Joseph Hirsch, George Grosz, and LeRoy Nieman. He also was good friends with Salvador Dali, who once gifted Marx a unique piece of art: a harp with barbed wire for strings and spoons for tuning knobs, wrapped in cellophane. Needless to say, Harpo loved it.

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 3) He was all about adoption

Harpo Marx and his children

They take after their father, I see…

Harpo and his wife, Susan Fleming, adopted four children: Bill, Alex, Jimmy, and Minnie. Harpo was once quoted as saying: “I’d like to adopt as many children as I have windows in my house. So when I leave for work, I want a kid in every window, waving goodbye.” I guess he only had four windows…

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4) There’s a reason he didn’t speak

The Marx Brothers with tuba

Harpo and the bros

As most of you probably guessed, Harpo wasn’t actually mute: he just played one on TV (or, really, the movies). However, Groucho did write in his memoirs that Harpo wasn’t the best at memorizing lines. So, instead of forcing him to do something that he wasn’t good at, the Marx Brothers used it to their advantage and simply made Harpo’s character mute. Because, ya know, something about life and lemons and lemonade.

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5) About that reading music thing

harpo_marx_playing_the_harp

Stay classy, my friend

Despite the fact that the crux of his character was about being a harp player, Harpo couldn’t actually read music. Heck, he didn’t actually even play the Harp right. He was completely self-taught and played in a way that placed far less tension on the strings. To his credit, he did eventually try and learn the correct way to play. But whenever he took lessons, his teachers just wanted to watch him play because they were fascinated by his self-taught method!  I hope you didn’t spend too much money on those harp lessons, Harpo!

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Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub

Posted in Birthday Legends, Legends Tribute, Posts by Minoo Allen | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Happy National Adoption Day! Nine Classic Movie Parents and Their Adopted Kids


Happy National Adoption Day!
An Ode to Adoptive Parents in Classic Hollywood

You may not know this, but every Saturday before Thanksgiving is National Adoption Day. And, in case you’re wondering, yes, that means today. Adoption is a wonderful thing that can help transform a child’s life — and their new parents’ lives — for the better. Many times adoptive parents take kids out of unfortunate circumstances and provide them with opportunities that they may not have gotten from their biological family – think Colin Kaepernick. And other times, they adopt the children of their new spouses and thus create a new family from the old – think Bill Clinton.

So, today, in honor of National Adoption Day, I want to celebrate the adoptive parents of Classic Hollywood by sharing a list of some ‘classic’ adoptions. If you want to share your own favorites, please do so in the comments section below, because I’d love to hear about them!

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1. Nat King Cole

nat-king-cole-carole-natalie-singing

Nat King Cole and his wife, Maria adopted two children, daughter Carole in 1944 and son Nat Kelly in 1959. Carole, shown above singing with little sister Natalie, was the daughter of Maria’s sister who had died of lung cancer.

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2. Gracie Allen and George Burns

george burns and gracie allen with their adopted children Sandra Jean and Ronald Jon

After finding out they not conceive on their own, the funniest couple this side of Lucy and Desi adopted two children, Sandra Jean and Ronald Jon.

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3. Julie Andrews and Blake Edwards

Julie Andrews and Blake Edwards and their adopted two infant girls, Amy and Joanna

Julie Andrews and hubby Blake Edwards adopted two infant girls, Amy and Joanna, from a Vietnamese orphanage right before the Fall of Saigon.

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4. Joan Crawford

joan-crawford-kids

Probably one of the most controversial figures of motherhood, Joan Crawford adopted four children throughout her life:  Christina, Christopher (originally named Phillip Terry Jr.), and the twins, Cathy and Cindy. Crawford had adopted another child in the 1940s but he was reclaimed by his mother.

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5. Linda Darnell

linda-darnell

After Linda Darnell and her first husband, Peverell Marley, learned that they could not have children, they adopted their only child, Charlotte, in 1948. Look at that proud new mother!

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6. Bette Davis

bette-davis

Bette Davis and then-hubby, Gary Merrill, adopted two children. First was Margot in 1951, followed by Michael a year later. Looks like it was the beach for the Merrill-Davis family.

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7. Jane Fonda

jane-fonda

This story of adoption is particularly interesting because Jane Fonda never formally adopted Mary Williams. The two met while Mary was part of the Laurel Springs Children’s Camp, a summer camp for disadvantaged kids that Fonda helped found. The two got to know each other over the years, with Fonda becoming aware of the incredible hardships the young women faced. When Mary was 14, Fonda invited the young women to come live with her. She did, and in the process, gained a whole new family.

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8. Helen Hayes

helen-hayes-james-macarthur-hawaii-5-0

In 1939 Helen Hayes adopted her son, James MacArthur. And like mother, like son, James became an actor and starred in the television series Hawaii Five O. And to make things even cuter, Hayes guest starred on the show! Pictured above is them on set.

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9. Harpo Marx

harop-marx

Harpo and his Wife, Susan Fleming, adopted four children: Bill, Alex, Jimmy, and Minnie. He was once quoted as saying: “I’d like to adopt as many children as I have windows in my house. So when I leave for work, I want a kid in every window, waving goodbye.” I guess he only had four windows. :)

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Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub

Posted in All in the Family (Family Connections), Holiday Tributes, Posts by Minoo Allen | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“TCM Big Screen Classics: From Here to Eternity” Movie Event Ticket Giveaway (November 18 – December 3)

Win Tickets to see “From Here to Eternity”
on the Big Screen!
in Select Cinemas Nationwide December 11 & December  14!

CMH is thrilled to announce the next round of our monthly movie ticket giveaways this year, courtesy of Fathom Events! That said, this month, we’ll be giving away EIGHT PAIRS of tickets to see “TCM Big Screen Classics: From Here to Eternity” on the Big Screen!

The film will be playing in select cinemas nationwide for a special two-day-only event on Sunday, December 11 and Wednesday, December 14 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. local time. (check theater listings here; please note that there might be slightly different theater listings for each date)

That said, here’s how you can enter to win a pair of tickets:
In order to qualify to win a pair of movie tickets via this contest, you must complete the below task by Saturday, December 3 at 10PM EST.

We will announce the winner(s) on Twitter on Sunday, December 4, 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.

TCM Big Screen Classics: From Here to Eternity

TCM Big Screen Classics: From Here to Eternity

ENTRY TASK (2-parts) to be completed by Saturday, December 3 at 10PM EST…

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

THE QUESTION:
What do you love most about the film “From Here to Eternity”?

2) Then TWEET* (not DM) the following message:
Just entered to win tickets to see “From Here to Eternity” on the Big Screen courtesy of @ClassicMovieHub & @FathomEvents #TCMBigScreen

*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.

About the film: Refusing to join the company boxing team gets Robert E. Lee Prewitt (Montgomery Clift), a soldier in Sgt. Milton Warden’s (Burt Lancaster) outfit, ostracized by his fellow soldiers save one, Pvt. Angelo Maggio (Frank Sinatra). While Prewitt falls in love with prostitute Alma Lorene (Donna Reed), and Warden carries on an affair with Karen Holmes (Deborah Kerr), the wife of their company commander, Maggio goes AWOL and is brutally beaten before dying in Prewitt’s arms. In retaliation, Prewitt angrily kills the man responsible for Maggio’s death and then finds sanctuary in Lorene’s arms — until Pearl Harbor is bombed and he’s killed while trying to rejoin Warden and their company to defend the islands.

IMPORTANT NOTE for all prizing: This is a special two-day-only event at select theaters nationwide on Sunday, December 11 and Wednesday, December 14 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 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

Can’t wait to win? You can buy tickets here:

Fandango - Movie Tickets Online

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–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

Posted in Contests & Giveaways, Fathom Events, Posts by Annmarie Gatti, TCM Big Screen Classics | Tagged , | 30 Comments

5 Things You May Not Know about Veronica Lake

 

5 Things You May Not Know about Veronica Lake

veronica_lake-portraitLike that today, November 14, would have been her birthday. Happy 94th Birthday to Hollywood legend Veronica Lake!

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1.) Her signature hair, that was an accident

Veronica Lake 1945So, are we not going to talk about that “peek-a-boo” panther?

Her iconic hair-do was an accident created on set. While filming I Wanted Wings, a piece of her hair fell in front her face, obscuring her right eye. Her character was drunk, so she didn’t feel the need to correct it. The look stayed and soon the “peek-a-boo” style would be copied by millions of women in America.

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2.) She wanted to be a surgeon

veronica_lake-flesh-feastHer character would have made any ‘evil doctor’ proud

Because of her great beauty, Lake was picked up by Hollywood at a fairly young age. However, her dreams were in the medical field. While she was still living in New York, Lake attended McGill University for a year studying pre-med. Although she never met her dream, she did play a Nazi scientist in the 1970 film Flesh Feast. So, I guess that was close enough.

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3.) Hollywood just wasn’t her favorite place

veronica_lake-portrait-2Part of it was because of this…

Despite the fame and fortune that Hollywood brought her, Lake wasn’t the biggest fan of Hollywood. She thought it was a shallow industry that often changed people for the worst. The final straw for Lake was being typecast in sex-symbols roles. So, in 1951 she packed her bags, grabbed her children and left.

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4.) She didn’t need any pity

veronica_lake-olderWhat poverty looks like???

After leaving Hollywood, Lake’s personal life took a hit and by 1962 she was living at the Martha Washington Hotel. Stories began to circulate that she was living in extreme poverty and fans began sending her money. She sent it back because, well, she wasn’t poor… She had a job as a waitress at a cocktail lounge that she was actually quite happy with, and she was able to pay all of her bills.

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5.) She was on the shorter side

veronica_lake-short5’5 Paulette Goddard and Dorothy Lamour for scale.

As we all know, the old Hollywood studios liked to embellish a bit when it came to their stars. So, obviously no one questioned when they said that Lake’s height was 5’2”, the lower side of average in the 1940s. In reality, she was about 3 inches shorter, standing at about 4’11”. Another fun little face: That’s how tall I am.

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Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub

Posted in Birthday Legends, Legends Tribute, Posts by Minoo Allen | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments