Silents are Golden: A Closer Look at – Intolerance (1916)

Silents are Golden: A Closer Look at: Intolerance (1916)

Along with my “Silent Superstars” series, I thought it would be fun to dive into the history behind specific films. Let’s start with a look at one of biggest spectacles ever put on film–Intolerance!

It is one of the grandest, most epic films ever made, a massive multi-hour spectacle that can still inspire awe today–even though it’s been over a century since it was released. This is D.W. Griffith’s Intolerance (1916), which is even more stunning when you consider all the technological limitations of Edwardian film.

Intolerance (1916) set
The extravagant set of Intolerance

How did such an ambitious film get made in that long-ago era? The key to Intolerance’s existence is a much smaller film called The Mother and the Law. Starring Mae Marsh and Robert Harron (two talented young actors who had co-starred in Griffith films for years), The Mother and the Law was originally a three-reel drama about the plight of a poverty-stricken young couple whose lives are unfairly torn apart by authorities. The majority of it was filmed in the fall of 1914, directly after Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation (1915) had wrapped up. Work was interrupted, however, when The Birth’s success also spurred a number of controversies over its racial content (you may be familiar with those controversies yourself).

Once he got back to The Mother and the Law, a new idea had occurred to Griffith. Why not edit the smaller film and incorporate it into a grand spectacle revolving around the theme of “intolerance”? Despite what many think today, the new project would not be an “apology” for The Birth of a Nation–Griffith would actually be making an argument for more tolerance of varying viewpoints, as well as criticizing over-zealous “reformers” and other influential authority figures. He was also highly interested in competing with big-budget epics like Italy’s Cabiria (1914), positive that he could make an equally ambitious film.

Intolerance (1916) Scene
Trivia: The extras in the Babylonian scenes were supposedly paid $2.00 a day, per head, an astronomically generous sum at the time.

Intolerance would have four separate stories weaving in and out of one another: the “Modern” story with Marsh and Harron, the “Judean” story that examined the events leading to Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, the “French” story about the massacre of the Huguenots, and the final and grandest of them all, the “Babylonian” story about the fall of Belshazzar’s kingdom. Never mind that the history of ancient Babylon doesn’t make it a great candidate for being a “victim of intolerance”–Griffith simply had to have Babylonian spectacle, with a giant set and all.

D.W. Griffith on set

His cast–which, counting extras, totalled around 3,000–included Constance Talmadge (in a breakout performance as the tomboyish Mountain Girl), Lillian Gish, Alfred Paget, Bessie Love, and reportedly numerous now-famous names in small roles, such as Douglas Fairbanks, Erich von Stroheim, Wallace Reid, Tod Browning, and so on. Every detail of historic clothing, armor, vehicles, decorations, etc. was meticulously researched, especially the Babylon sections. Assistant director Joseph Henabery recalled: “I ended up with a shelf about fifteen feet long, crammed with books [on Babylon]. Griffith would ask me, ‘Now what kind of a chariot would we use for the year of Belshazzar’s Feast?’

Intolerance (1916) Chariot
“Now what kind of a chariot would we use for the year of Belshazzar’s Feast?”

All of the (very disparate) sets were meticulously designed. The jail during the Modern story, for instance, was based on San Quentin and on the dank San Francisco city jail, where Griffith and his assistant directors were given a tour by the warden. Paintings were an important inspiration–certain shots in the Babylon story were modeled after Romanticist paintings like Babylonian Marriage Market by Edward Long (1875), while the scenery and costumes in the Judea portions were inspired by James Tissot’s paintings of the Holy Land. One Morning at the Gates of the Louvre by Édouard Debat-Ponsan influenced a shot depicting the aftermath of the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre.

intolerance (1916) Jesus
Intolerance is selected by the Vatican in the “values” category of its list of 45 “great films.”

The famous Babylon set was, of course, one of the wonders of the cinematic world. Situated between Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset where the Vista Theater stands today, the sprawling set featured walls around 140 feet high and could carry the weight of a speeding chariot. Building that set was such a lengthy undertaking that shooting the Babylon scenes had to be saved for last. According to cameraman Karl Brown, the set designs were created by Walter L. Hall, who had a knack for combining different Babylonian styles into one cohesive-looking “Great Hall”–topped with those famous elephants. (Griffith absolutely insisted on elephants, although he wouldn’t greenlight any designs until someone finally found a reference to “elephants on the walls of Babylon” buried in a history book.)

The mighty elephant-topped columns we see in the film’s most famous shot were actually built in sections, which from the front appeared to be part of continuous walls. The famous tracking shot of the Hall was done by a camera platform descending on railroad tracks that were fastened to a tower. Megaphones were used to direct hundreds of extras and flares illuminated the complicated nighttime shots. To this day, the battle scenes with their thundering chariots and giant rolling towers are some of the most ambitious and exciting ever captured on film–in this writer’s opinion, unrivalled until Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. Modern viewers who haven’t seen Intolerance because they’re worried it’s “too long” or “old-fashioned” might be amazed to know it includes a giant, rolling flamethrower!

Intolerance (1916) Elephants
Stone elephants tower over the set

While Intolerance (subtitled as “A Sun Play for the Ages” and “Love’s Struggle Throughout the Ages”) was a hit at first, it proved too expensive to make a profit. Even its eye-popping spectacle couldn’t quite mask its flaws, which many discuss to this day. Some considered the jumping from one time period to another a bit puzzling too (although today we consider it ahead of its time). Griffith couldn’t even afford to tear down the famous Babylon set, which stood crumbing until 1919 (some wanted to designate it a cultural landmark, but sadly the efforts were in vain).

Intolerance (1916) Robert Harron and Mae Marsh
Robert Harron and Mae Marsh in Intolerance

But it remains an immense achievement filled with remarkable, timeless performances, especially by Marsh, Harron, and Talmadge. Some critics and historians go as far as to call it the era’s finest film. And this author just might agree.

–Lea Stans for Classic Movie Hub

You can read all of Lea’s Silents are Golden articles here.

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.

Posted in Posts by Lee Stans, Silents are Golden | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Cooking with the Stars: Audrey Hepburn’s Spaghetti al Pomodoro

Audrey Hepburn’s Spaghetti al Pomodoro

Audrey Hepburn

When I choose a star to write about each month for Cooking with the Stars, I usually try to have some sort of rhyme or reason behind the timing of my decision, such as a star’s birthday or a special holiday. However, I knew that this month was going to be different when my wonderful sister gifted me one of the Old Hollywood cookbooks that I’ve longed for ever since its release in 2015: Audrey at Home: Memories of My Mother’s Kitchen. Penned by Luca Dotti, it’s a loving memoir dedicated to his mother, Audrey Hepburn, that also includes a multitude of her delectable recipes. Receiving this book was more of a delight than I could put into words, and I knew that I had to make immediate use of this Holy Grail of a tome, even if Audrey’s birthday is still weeks away. While I could never be as dedicated of a fan of Audrey’s as many others are in the classic film community, I’ve adored her work ever since I became aware of vintage cinema. By this point I’ve seen the vast majority of her films, and after learning about the extent of her world travels during her childhood, her career as an actress, and beyond, I’ve always wondered about Audrey’s taste in different cuisines and her skills as a cook. Now that I had the opportunity, I knew that I couldn’t resist testing out one of her favorite dishes and honoring such a legendary star a little earlier than usual!

Audrey Hepburn as a baby in 1929, shown here with her, mother Ella Van Heemstra.

Audrey Hepburn was born under the name of Edda Kathleen Hepburn-Ruston on May 4, 1929 in Ixelles, a municipality of Brussels, Belgium. Her father, Joseph Ruston, added the surname Hepburn to his birth name due to his false belief that he was related to James Hepburn, the final husband of Mary, Queen of Scots. He was an honorary British consul in part of what is now Indonesia and worked for a variety of companies before marrying Audrey’s mother, Baroness Ella Van Heemstra, in 1926. After Audrey was born, her family spent a great deal of time traveling around Europe due to both her father’s job and her parents’ mutual cause: the British Union of Fascists, an emerging political party for which they recruited and collected donations. Audrey learned five languages as a result of their frequent journeys abroad. Meanwhile, her father became so involved in developing the Fascist party that he ended up abandoning his wife and daughter completely in 1935, which Audrey would later call “the most traumatic event of my life”. After Britain declared war on Germany in 1939, her mother relocated herself and her daughter back to her neutral hometown of Arnhem for their safety, but the move still didn’t spare Audrey from witnessing the horrors of the Second World War. In 1942, her uncle was unjustly executed by the Axis Powers as backlash towards his affluent Dutch family. Later, one of her half-brothers was sent to a German labor camp, and the actress even recalled seeing trainloads of Jewish citizens being transported to concentration camps.

Audrey Hepburn performing ballet for her role as Nora Brentano in Secret People (1952).

The situation became so dire for Audrey’s family during the German occupation that she was forced to rely on tulip bulbs as a source of food, and it was during these years that Audrey developed an array of health conditions brought on by malnutrition that would plague her for the rest of her life. In a period when all hope seemed lost for the teenager, Audrey found solace in ballet, using the skills that she developed to give performances and raise funds for the Resistance. Dancing was a passion that Audrey continued to pursue after the war ended, and in 1945 she began formal training with Sonia Gaskell, a premier teacher in Amsterdam, while her mother Ella worked as a cook and housekeeper for a wealthy family in order to make ends meet. Three years afterward, Audrey received a scholarship to attend Ballet Rambert in London while also appearing sporadically in roles as a film extra on the side, but her dreams of becoming a prima ballerina were shattered once she realized that her spindly frame and the ailments that she had lived with since the war would continue to stand in her way. Hence, Audrey made the decision to focus on acting, beginning in the theatre as a chorus girl and working her way up to minor parts in British comedies like The Lavender Hill Mob (1951). Her first significant part was as a ballerina in the drama Secret People (1952), for which Audrey performed all of her own dancing. From there, she was cast in Monte Carlo Baby (1952), a unique comedy filmed in both English and French.

Audrey Hepburn at the 26th Academy Awards with her Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance in Roman Holiday (1953).

It was on the set of this production that Audrey caught the attention of novelist Collette, who made the decision to cast her in the title role of “Gigi” on Broadway. With Hepburn in the role, the musical became a tremendous success, running for over a year across the nation. Her career skyrocketed as her charm and beauty allowed her to beat out the likes of established movie star Elizabeth Taylor for her American film debut as Princess Ann in the iconic Roman Holiday (1953). Her performance in the picture was so enchanting that costar Gregory Peck demanded that she receive billing above the title, and the newcomer miraculously won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Following the success of her first feature film, she was cast in the classic Billy Wilder comedy, Sabrina (1954), earning her second Oscar nomination and beginning a beautiful, yet tragic love affair with costar William Holden, ending the relationship after learning that he was unable to have any more children. Still, the actress’ success only continued as she earned the 1954 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play for her turn as a water nymph in Ondine, making her the second of only three women to earn an Academy Award and a Tony in the same year. On top of that, the play introduced her to actor Mel Ferrer, who became her first of three husbands on September 25, 1954, as well as her leading man in Audrey’s next picture, War and Peace (1956).

Audrey Hepburn at a UNICEF event in Madrid, c. 1964.

One could argue that nearly all of the films that Audrey Hepburn starred in over the next decade would go on to become classics, like Funny Face (1957), Love in the Afternoon (1957), and The Nun’s Story (1959), which earned Audrey her third Oscar nomination. Yet none of these have become so synonymous with the glamorous Hollywood productions that we all continue to adore than the film adaptation of Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), in which Hepburn made her mark in cinema history as the scatterbrained and stylish Holly Golightly. She dazzled audiences everywhere, beating out Capote’s choice of Marilyn Monroe for the part and earning yet another nod from the Academy. The same year, Hepburn tested the limits of her talents by trading her flirtatious demeanor and little black dress for a somber and genuine performance in The Children’s Hour (1961) with Shirley MacLaine, playing a pair of schoolteachers who are accused of being lesbians. The remainder of the sixties were particularly kind to Audrey, and she gave excellent performances in hit after hit such as Charade (1963), Paris When It Sizzles (1964), My Fair Lady (1964), How to Steal a Million (1966), and Two for the Road (1967). She earned one more Academy Award nomination for her first venture into the thriller genre, Wait Until Dark (1967), before effectively retiring in order to focus on her family. She returned to the screen for one more leading performance opposite Sean Connery in Robin and Marian (1976) but focused the majority of her later years on her humanitarian work, becoming a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1989. She traveled to Ethiopia, Turkey, Sudan, and beyond delivering food to starving children, and earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom as well as The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for her efforts to end world hunger. Audrey developed a rare form of abdominal cancer and passed away peacefully at her home in Switzerland on January 24, 1993. She is interred at Tolochenaz Cemetery in Tolochenaz, Switzerland, just a short distance away from her home.

…..

Audrey Hepburn’s Spaghetti al Pomodoro

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 3 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, cored and coarsely diced
  • 1 onion, peeled and left whole
  • 1 stalk celery, cleaned and left whole
  • 1 carrot, cleaned and left whole
  • 6 basil leaves, chopped, plus whole leaves for garnish
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  1. Add the tomatoes to a large saucepan with a lid along with the onion, celery, and carrot, and cook on a high heat for about 10 minutes to soften the vegetables.
  2. Remove the lid and continue to boil for another 10 to 15 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon.
  3. Turn the heat to medium-low and add basil and a drizzle of olive oil.
  4. Allow the sauce to thicken before removing the pan from the stove, also removing the largest chunks of vegetables.
  5. If desired, transfer your sauce to a food processor or blender, or use an immersion blender to create a smoother consistency.
  6. Add another drizzle of olive oil and adjust the bitterness with a pinch of sugar. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Cook your spaghetti until al dente, or just a minute earlier than the package requires.
  8. When cooked, add the pasta to the sauce. Toss well, and finish with a sprinkle of Parmigiano-Reggiano and a few torn leaves of fresh basil.
My version of Audrey Hepburn’s recipe for Spaghetti al Pomodoro.

The final result of this dish truly astonished me. I’m a pasta fanatic, and whenever I want to prepare some spaghetti along with a homemade sauce, my go-to recipe has always been Sophia Loren’s Spaghetti con Salsa al Pomodoro Semplice, or “Spaghetti with Basic Tomato Sauce”. As soon as I tasted Audrey’s delicious sauce, however, I made up my mind that it isn’t just one of the finest classic film star pasta recipes that I’ve tried, but one of the finest I’ve tried, period! I’ve had a good bit of experience making what I believed was the correct recipe for Audrey Hepburn’s Spaghetti al Pomodoro on weeknights, following Town & Country Magazine’s version of the dish until I knew it like the back of my hand. It wasn’t until I actually opened up my new copy of Audrey at Home: Memories of My Mother’s Kitchen that I realized that the magazine’s version contained almost all of the same ingredients but included canned tomatoes and simplified the preparation of the sauce immensely. For the average cook like me, I much prefer dicing everything up and cooking it all at once, without the hassle of coring and dicing three pounds of fresh tomatoes. They even have a delightful video that features fun facts about Audrey that I thoroughly enjoy! Still, it was nice to follow along to these authentic instructions straight from Audrey’s son himself. This is the epitome of healthy and appetizing comfort food, and what I admire most about this Spaghetti al Pomodoro is that I’m aware of every single ingredient that goes into it, and I can control the amount and the freshness of each vegetable myself. Sophia might still have my heart when it comes to pasta sauces (she does have the advantage of being Italian, after all), and I may just continue to follow the simplified style of Audrey’s sauce in the future, but if you care deeply about authenticity and enjoy putting in the necessary effort for a delicious and satisfying result, this is absolutely the way to go, and Audrey Hepburn’s Spaghetti al Pomodoro still earns a hearty five out of five Vincents from me!

Cooking with the Stars Recipe Rating – 5 out of 5 Vincents:

cooking with the stars ratingcooking with the stars ratingcooking with the stars ratingcooking with the stars ratingcooking with the stars rating

…..

–Samantha Ellis for Classic Movie Hub

Samantha resides in West Chester, Pennsylvania and is the author of Musings of a Classic Film Addict, a blog that sheds light on Hollywood films and filmmakers from the 1930s through the 1960s. Her favorite column that she pens for her blog is Cooking with the Stars, for which she tests and reviews the personal recipes of stars from Hollywood’s golden age. When she isn’t in the kitchen, Samantha also lends her voice and classic film knowledge as cohost of the Ticklish Business podcast alongside Kristen Lopez and Drea Clark, and proudly serves as President of TCM Backlot’s Philadelphia Chapter. You can catch up with her work by following her @classicfilmgeek on Twitter.

Posted in Cooking with the Stars, Posts by Samantha Ellis | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Noir Nook: Noir Good Guys

Noir Nook: Noir Good Guys

From the corrupt cop who covers up a murder to the gullible everyman who’s talked into a crime by a pair of lying lips, film noir is practically bursting at the seams with bad guys. But the gents in these gems aren’t all bad! This month’s Noir Nook takes a look at a quartet of hommes noirs who, while admittedly flawed, certainly wear the white hat and not the black.

Warren Quimby (Richard Basehart) in Tension (1949)

Audrey Totter and Richard Basehart in Tension (1949)
Audrey Totter and Richard Basehart in Tension (1949)

Warren is a bespectacled, mild-mannered pharmacist, with an undying love for his absolutely horrid wife Claire (Audrey Totter). No matter how much contempt drips from Claire’s lips, or how many times she tips out at night to go “to the movies,” Warren remains the faithful, devoted spouse. Until Claire leaves him for another man, that is, and then Warren concocts an elaborate plot in an effort to kill the guy. But don’t get me wrong – Warren’s innate goodness shines through, and he can’t carry out the deadly deed. At worst, Warren doesn’t think logically; as a result of his scheme – which, incidentally, involved his assuming a fake identity – he finds himself caught up in circumstances beyond his control. But at heart, he’s a good guy.

…..

Guy Haines (Farley Granger) in Strangers on a Train (1950)

Farley Granger in Strangers on a Train (1950)
Farley Granger in Strangers on a Train (1950)

Tennis star Guy Haines is stuck in a marriage to a shrewish harpy, Miriam (Laura Elliott). He wants out, but she’s digging in her heels – and to make matters worse, she tells him she’s pregnant. (Not with his child, but pregnant nonetheless.) Who could blame Guy if he wanted to see her gone? So when Guy encounters Bruno (Robert Walker), a charming, if slightly batty, fellow train passenger who proposes that he’ll kill Miriam if Guy will kill Bruno’s father – well, what’s a tennis star to do? Actually, Guy has no intention of killing anybody – even after Bruno actually does murder Miriam. In fact, Guy’s only crime is that he’s having an affair with a gorgeous senator’s daughter (Ruth Roman). That aside, he’s a good guy.

…..

Jeff Bailey (Robert Mitchum) in Out of the Past (1947)

Robert Mitchum in Out of the Past (1947)
Robert Mitchum in Out of the Past (1947)

A former private dick turned service station owner, Jeff Bailey (or Markham, if you prefer) knows first-hand what it’s like to have his past catch up with him. After he’s hired to find the girlfriend of refined gangster Whit Sterling (Kirk Douglas) – who shot him and lifted forty grand before going on the lam – Jeff winds up falling in love for the dame, Kathie (Jane Greer). But it’s not his fault – he couldn’t help himself. And if he lied to Whit about having found her, well, we can’t really blame him. After all, he does finally wake up, smell the coffee, and see Kathie for the lying, stealing murderess that she is underneath all that sensual gorgeousness. That’s because Jeff was really a good guy.

…..

Nick Blake (John Garfield) in Nobody Lives Forever (1946)

Geraldine Fitzgerald and John Garfield in Nobody Lives Forever (1946)
Geraldine Fitzgerald and John Garfield in Nobody Lives Forever (1946)

On the surface, it appears that Nick Blake isn’t such a stellar fella. He’s a notorious gambler who returns from the war and teams up with an old friend and a local hood, Doc Hanson (George Coulouris) to swindle a fortune out of a rich widow (Geraldine Fitzgerald). But the real Nick emerges when he falls head over heels for the widow, tries to back out of the plot by paying off the hood and then risks life and limb to save her when she’s kidnapped. If that’s not a good guy, then I just don’t know what is.

What noir good guys can you think of? Let me know . . . maybe they’ll get the star treatment in a future post!

– Karen Burroughs Hannsberry for Classic Movie Hub

You can read all of Karen’s Noir Nook articles here.

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:

Posted in Noir Nook, Posts by Karen Burroughs Hannsberry | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Silents Are Golden: Flapper Culture in the Films of the Roaring Twenties

Silents Are Golden: Flapper Culture in the Films of the Roaring Twenties

Having written about the famed flapper actress Colleen Moore in the past, I thought it’d be fun to examine 1920s screen flappers and the role cinema played in popular culture at the time. Hope you enjoy!

Of all the cultural trends of the 20th century, few have as much universal appeal as Roaring Twenties flapper culture. Bobbed hair, “short” skirts, jazz, hip flasks, the Charleston — we’re all very familiar with its many tropes, and there’s a good chance some of you reading this have even dressed up as a flapper for Halloween. (Or a tommy gun-toting gangster.)

But not everyone is familiar with how flapper culture evolved. Most just assume certain fashion trends and devil-may-care attitudes burst onto the scene with lightning speed around 1920, to the shock of all corseted, uptight Victorians, who were supposedly the norm but a single year hence.

Clara Bow Smile
Clara bow thinks that’s hilarious.

Nothing is that simple, of course. There were a number of factors that contributed to flapper culture, and I would argue that high on the list are moving pictures.

Some background: by the early 20th century, the U.S. had experienced the rapid growth of industrialization, communication, technology, and consumerism. Vast webs of railroads stretched to all corners of the country. People were increasingly moving to cities for work. The pace of life in general was speeding up, and young people — especially young women — were pondering what it meant to be “modern.”

Flapper fashion 1919
Fashionable ladies circa 1919.

Fashion was changing, too. The hourglass corsets of the 1890s had evolved into the “S-curve” silhouette of the 1900s, which in turn led to the looser waists and tapering skirts of the Edwardian era. A growing interest in sports (helped along by fitness models like Annette Kellerman) and the massive popularity of dancing encouraged the design of ever-shorter and looser dresses that became the norm by the 1920s. Famous ballroom dancer Irene Castle bobbed her hair in 1915, a daring “modern” look which eventually snowballed into a 1920s craze.

Irene Castle famous bob hairstyle
Irene’s famous “Castle bob.”

The word “flapper” itself, a 1910s slang term for an antsy teenage girl, became popular too, and was soon a recognizable stage “type.” And thus, it wasn’t long before these young flappers were beginning to show up in motion pictures, although it would take a few years to evolve into the bobbed young modern we recognize today. A good example is Olive Thomas’s The Flapper (1920), where young Olive still sports Mary Pickford-style curls but tries to adopt “modern” fashions to try and pass as “Ohhh, about twenty.”

One of the earliest actresses to be identified with the flapper type was Gladys Walton, who got her start in films in 1920 after being spotted by a talent scout. She soon specialized in “madcap” daughters, slangy shopgirls, and other impetuous young characters in dozens of features with names like Pink Tights (1920), The Guttersnipe (1922), and The Wise Kid (1922). Her studio advertised her as “The Little Queen of the Flappers.”

Gladys Walton in Motion Picture Magazine 1922
Walton in Motion Picture Magazine, July 1922.

Another actress who became strongly identified with flappers early on was the vivacious Marie Prevost, a former Mack Sennett Bathing Beauty. Flapper-themed films like Moonlit Follies (1921) and The Dangerous Little Demon (1922) and her work for the famed director Ernest Lubitsch in mid-1920s helped make her a major star of the Jazz Age. Other actresses considered early flapper types were Viola Dana, Dorothy Gish and Clarine Seymour (who unfortunately passed away in 1920).

Original flapper, Marie Prevost

1922 seems to have been a turning point for flapper culture. Awareness of these young “moderns” was then at a peak. They were widely discussed in newspapers and magazines, sometimes critically and sometimes glowingly. There were flapper cartoon characters, flapper-themed songs, and plenty of cheeky slang was entering the public lexicon. And, of course, the new youth culture was a hot trend in Hollywoodland films.

If we can point to one actress who was the biggest influence on the flapper genre overall, it was certainly Colleen Moore. An ambitious, optimistic young gal from Michigan, she got her start in Hollywood in 1917. After steady work playing a series of ingenues and love interests, she convinced her producer to buy the rights to the spicy popular novel Flaming Youth. Her performance as the “unconventional” main character Pat Fentriss–complete with Colleen’s newly-cut Dutch bob–made her a sensation upon the film’s 1924 release. F. Scott Fitzgerald himself would famously write, “I was the spark that lit up flaming youth, and Colleen Moore was the torch. What little things we are to have caused all that trouble.

Lobby card for Synthetic Sin (1929).

Hot on the heels of Moore’s success was Clara Bow, who also achieved major stardom in the mid-1920s after her breakout role in The Plastic Age (1925). Sexy, bubbly, and quick to sock any misbehaving swains, Bow’s screen image was the perfect embodiment of the modern flapper to her countless fans — she was even dubbed the “It” Girl. Her sparkling personality makes her an icon of the era to this day.

Clara Bow playing a game of tennis

Flapper films, from Walton’s The Wise Kid (1922) to Bow’s It (1927), had certain elements in common: flappers were confident, fun-loving, energetic, and loyal. They loved to dance and flirt, and they often put on a facade of being naughty but were usually good girls at heart. In Moore’s Why Be Good? (1929) her character Pert assures her mother: “Sure I’m good…but I have an awful time hiding it. I’d be disgraced if it were ever found out!”

Hand-in-hand with flapper flicks were college films, which depicted college life revolving around football games and dances with hardly a coursebook in sight. There were “society” pictures like Joan Crawford’s Our Modern Maidens (1929), featuring expensive parties in fabulous Art Deco mansions. And there were numerous spoofs of flapper culture too — in 1925 there was even a “Sheiks and Shebas” comedy series. You can’t help wondering whether films were imitating real-life flappers, or whether flappers were modeling themselves after what they saw onscreen.

Our Dancing Daughters (1928).

Flapper culture was arguably big business for Hollywood right up to the end of the Jazz Age, and Hollywood in turn certainly had a major influence on flapper fashions and popular pastimes. By the 1930s the fun-loving characters had evolved into the wisecracking working girls, cynical dames, and high-spirited screwball comediennes of the Depression era, and the Roaring Twenties flapper was considered out of date. But her unique style and zest for life continues to have wide appeal today, and her spirit certainly lives on in surviving silent films.

–Lea Stans for Classic Movie Hub

You can read all of Lea’s Silents are Golden articles here.

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.

Posted in Posts by Lee Stans, Silents are Golden | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Classic Movie Travels: Fay Bainter

Classic Movie Travels: Fay Bainter – Los Angeles CA and Provo UT

Fay Bainter Fur Headshot
Actress Fay Bainter was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on February 8, 1960.

American actress Fay Okell Bainter was a familiar face in many films throughout the 1930s and 1940s. Typically playing motherly figures while speaking in her signature husky voice, Bainter became a frequent presence throughout various stage and screen roles.

Bainter was born in Los Angeles, California, to Charles F. Bainter of Illinois and Mary Okell of England on December 7, 1893. Thanks to her mother, who pushed her into acting, she made her stage debut in 1908 as part of the cast of The County Chairman. The show was held at Morosco’s Theater in Burbank, California, where she was part of their stock company. Her Broadway debut would come in 1912 as part of The Rose of Panama. However, this play and a subsequent play — The Bridal Path (1913) — were not successes.

Bainter would have her first hit with a dynamic performance as Ming Toy in East is West at the Astor Theater, which established her as a major theatrical star. As her stage career progressed, she alternated between several comedic and dramatic roles.

Fay Bainter Young
A young, beautiful Fay Bainter

Around this time, Bainter met Lieutenant Commander Reginald Venable, who admired her from the first time he saw her on stage. They met in 1918 and were engaged for a year before getting married in 1920. They did not announce their wedding until the next year. Venable made news when he broke Navy regulations by using the destroyer of which he was in charge — the Ingram — for personal use. He redirected the destroyer’s course so he could be the first to meet Bainter’s steamer — the White Star liner, Olympic — which was returning from a voyage in Europe. The Navy secretary, however, was lenient and said that Venable was just “a young man courting.” Venable resigned from the Navy in 1925 and managed his wife’s business affairs in addition to becoming involved with real estate work. The couple had one son, Reginald Venable, Jr., who became an actor.

Bainter continued her stage work with various plays in New York, including The Willow Tree, Dodsworth, and It Happened One Day. In 1926, she appeared alongside Walter Abel in a Broadway production of The Enemy.

At the age of 41, she was offered a role in her first film — MGM’s This Side of Heaven (1934), alongside Lionel Barrymore. This was the first of many motherly portrayals she would carry out throughout the duration of her career. Critics applauded her performances in Make Way for Tomorrow (1937) and Quality Street (1937) but she would win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Jezebel (1938) thanks to her portrayal of a stern Aunt Belle against Bette Davis’s Jezebel.

In the same year, she was nominated for Best Actress for her role in White Banners (1938) but lost to Bette Davis. She was the first actress to have ever been nominated in both categories in the same year. Since then, only 11 actors have won dual nominations in a single year. In the following year, she would present the Best Supporting Actress award to Hattie McDaniel, making Academy Awards history once again.

Fay Bainter Jezebel (1938)
Fay Bainter and Bette Davis in Jezebel (1938)

Bainter appeared steadily in films including carrying out the roles of Mrs. Gibbs in Our Town (1940), Mrs. Elvira Wiggs in Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch (1942), Melissa Frake in State Fair (1945), and as Mrs. Mitty in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947), among many other roles.

By the 1950s, Bainter was alternating stage work with television work. However, she would secure one more Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress in The Children’s Hour (1961).

Bainter died from pneumonia at age 74 in Los Angeles on April 16, 1968. She and her husband are buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

…..

Today, there are few places of relevance to Bainter’s life and career. Morosco’s Theater, where she made her stage debut, has been demolished. The home in which she lived in 1900 at 629 Los Angeles St. is now a commercial property.

Fay Bainter Residence 1900, 629 Los Angeles St.
Bainter’s previous residence at 629 Los Angeles Street is now a commercial property

Furthermore, the home in which she lived in 1910 at 217 S. Spring St. in Los Angeles now has a parking garage in its place.

Fay Bainter Residence 1910, 217 S. Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA
Bainter’s previous residence, now a parking garage, at 217 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, California

Nonetheless, there is an oil painting of Bainter that exists to this day. Painted by Robert Henry in 1918, the portrait resides at the Brigham Young University Museum of Art. The museum is located at Campus Dr, Provo, UT 84602.

Fay Bainter painting by Robert Henry (1918) Brigham Young University Museum of Art
A portrait of Bainter painted by Robert Henry in 1918

Bainter’s career continues to be enjoyed by fans who view the many films in which she appeared.

…..

–Annette Bochenek for Classic Movie Hub

Annette Bochenek pens our monthly Classic Movie Travels column. You can read all of Annette’s Classic Movie Travel articles here.

Annette Bochenek of Chicago, Illinois, is a PhD student at Dominican University and an independent scholar of Hollywood’s Golden Age. She manages the Hometowns to Hollywood blog, in which she writes about her trips exploring the legacies and hometowns of Golden Age stars. Annette also hosts the “Hometowns to Hollywood” film series throughout the Chicago area. She has been featured on Turner Classic Movies and is the president of TCM Backlot’s Chicago chapter. In addition to writing for Classic Movie Hub, she also writes for Silent Film Quarterly, Nostalgia Digest, and Chicago Art Deco SocietyMagazine.

Posted in Classic Movie Travels, Posts by Annette Bochenek | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Western RoundUp: “B” Western Actresses of the ’30s

Western RoundUp: “B” Western Actresses of the ’30s

One of my favorite ways to spend a weekend is with a stack of “B” Westerns.

For me these films are “movie comfort food,” and there’s also a definite “thrill of the hunt,” enjoying coming across a short little Western which is unexpectedly stylish or original.

A “B” Western may have moments which give me a unique insight into history or the culture of the times in which the film was made, or it might simply provide some pleasant entertainment. There’s also the fun of spending movie time in familiar movie locations such as Lone Pine or Iverson Ranch.

I also love the way such films provide context for various actors’ careers; any number of well-known actors worked in “B” Westerns early in their careers, with one of the best-known examples being Robert Mitchum. It’s always interesting to see the work actors did when they were just starting out and stardom wasn’t a given.

While some think of Westerns as a male-dominated genre, I enjoy the opportunity to watch the work of favorite actresses in Westerns. Here’s a survey of some “B” Westerns I’ve recently watched with a trio of interesting leading ladies. Coincidentally all three actresses were born in 1917, and each of them graduated from dusty “B” Western locations to contracts at Hollywood’s most glamorous studio, MGM.

…..

Marsha Hunt in Thunder Trail (Charles Barton, 1937)

Thunder Trail (1937) Marsha Hunt, Charles Bickford, Gilbert Roland - Movie Poster
Movie Poster for Zane Grey’s Thunder Trail (1937)

Marsha Hunt spent the most significant years of her career at prestigious MGM, but her early career years at Paramount included starring as the leading lady in Westerns opposite actors who included John Wayne, Bob Cummings, and Larry “Buster” Crabbe. She was still a teenager when she appeared in Thunder Trail opposite Gilbert Roland and future three-time Oscar nominee Charles Bickford.

As it happens, the 58-minute Thunder Trail was a top-drawer “B” Western thanks to a strong Zane Grey story, an excellent cast, and attractive locations including Big Bear Lake, California.

Two young brothers (Gene Reynolds and Billy Lee) are separated when their wagon train is massacred by gold robbers. The younger Bob (Lee) is found hiding and impulsively adopted by the head of the robber gang (Bickford), who admires the little guy’s feistiness, while older brother Dick (Reynolds), who’d been hunting rabbits at the time of the robbery, staggers away through the woods and ultimately finds a father figure in kindly Rafael Lopez (J. Carrol Naish). Bob and Dick grow up to be played by James Craig (his first credited role) and Gilbert Roland, whose character acquires a Spanish accent from his adoptive father; it may seem unlikely but they make it work.

Thunder Trail (1937) Marsha Hunt - Movie Poster
“A thundering drama of the frontier days in the west!”

The lovely Hunt plays Amy, whose love for Bob is complicated by his adoptive father’s attempts to buy out her father’s land. Unbeknownst to Bob and Amy, his adoptive father is also behind an attempt on her father’s life! Eventually Dick puts the pieces together, realizes Bob is his little brother, and avenges their father’s killing.

Hunt had only been in films for two years but with Thunder Trail, released a few days after she turned 20, she already had a dozen movies to her credit. Her role is that of a fairly standard Western heroine, but she plays the part with attractive assurance. While Hunt appreciated Paramount putting her into leading roles from the start of her career, she yearned to play a greater variety of parts, opportunities she found at MGM from 1939 to 1946.

…..

Ann Rutherford in The Lonely Trail (Joseph Kane, 1936)

The Lonely Trail (1936) Ann Rutherford, John Wayne - Movie Poster
Movie Poster for The Lonely Trail (1936) Starring Ann Rutherford and John Wayne

Another future MGM actress, Ann Rutherford, also found ’30s Westerns to be a good training ground, including three films with John Wayne released in 1936. While one of those Wayne films, The Oregon Trail, is considered “lost,” The Lonely Trail and The Lawless Nineties survive.

Ann was 18 when she filmed the 56-minute The Lonely Trail, playing Virginia, a Texas girl whose romance with John (Wayne) ended when he fought for the North in the Civil War. When John returns to Texas he gradually realizes that Adjutant General Benedict Holden (Cy Kendall) is a “carpetbagger” who is cheating and killing the local citizens. John must overcome the townspeople’s distrust of him as a former Union soldier as he works to stop Holden.

Ann Rutherford, John Wayne and Etta McDaniel in The Lonely Trail (1936)

Rutherford’s Virginia is clearly delighted to see John when he arrives, though she attempts to hold on to her grudge against him for a while longer. She’s spunky, helping to hide John from Holden under the bar in a saloon, telling the customers present that John saved the life of her brother (Denny Meadows) and firmly stating “I rely on your honor” to keep quiet about John’s whereabouts. Everyone complies.

In an interview with Michael Fitzgerald and Boyd Magers for their wonderful book Ladies of the Western, Ann said of John Wayne, in part: “He was a very nice man. I liked him a lot and it didn’t surprise me when he became a big, big star. He was charming, and so attractive…John Wayne had about him an aura — a presence. The only other person I know who had that was Clark Gable… He was dearly loved by every member of the cast and crew… He was a special man.

The following year Ann began her five-year run as Polly Benedict in MGM’s Andy Hardy series opposite Mickey Rooney.

…..

Virginia Grey in Secret Valley (Howard Bretherton, 1937)

Virginia Grey hides with a gun in Secret Valley (1937)

Like Marsha Hunt and Ann Rutherford, Virginia Grey would spend several years at MGM, but in Secret Valley she was the 19-year-old leading lady in a modern-day 20th Century-Fox Western opposite Richard Arlen.

Virginia’s career began as a child actress before moving into bit roles and small parts.  Secret Valley gave her the opportunity to appear as a leading lady, a boost to her increasingly busy career. Virginia plays Joan, who flees to Reno hours after her wedding to Howard Carlo, aka Nick Collins (Norman Willis). It seems that after the ceremony she learned her new husband isn’t a respectable businessman, as she believed, but a gangster.

A crooked divorce attorney (Russell Hicks) refuses to help her and rats on her location to her angry hubby, but a more helpful lawyer (Jack Mulhall) comes to her rescue, including finding her a place to hide outside town, boarding on a ranch owned by Lee Rogers (Richard Arlen). Soon, however, a very mad gangster is on the trail of his runaway bride.

Virginia Grey and Richard Arlen in a poster for Secret Valley (1937)

This is a fun little 60-minute movie with some absolutely gorgeous locations filmed outside Lone Pine, California. I loved the beautiful shots filmed in the wide open spaces with Mount Whitney and Lone Pine Peak in the background. Joan’s character has some moments where she’s annoyingly dense, unthinkingly making life difficult for Lee and the ranch hands, but she’s also a good sport and gung-ho to pitch in with ranch chores. The mashup of Western and gangster movie works well, and I found it an enjoyable hour.

Grey continued to pop up in “B” Westerns into the mid-50s, opposite actors like Bill Elliott and Wayne Morris. She also occasionally appeared in more prominent Westerns, such as Republic Pictures’ Alamo movie The Last Command (1955) and Universal Pictures’ excellent Audie Murphy film No Name on the Bullet (1959).

I’ll be looking at additional leading ladies of the “B” Westerns here in the future!

 …

– Laura Grieve for Classic Movie Hub

Laura can be found at her blog, Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings, where she’s been writing about movies since 2005, and on Twitter at @LaurasMiscMovie. A lifelong film fan, Laura loves the classics including Disney, Film Noir, Musicals, and Westerns.  She regularly covers Southern California classic film festivals.  Laura will scribe on all things western at the ‘Western RoundUp’ for CMH.

Posted in Posts by Laura Grieve, Western RoundUp | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“Smile: How Young Charlie Chaplin Taught the World to Laugh (and Cry)” – Children’s Book Giveaway (now through May 4)



Charlie Chaplin Picture Book Giveaway
We have Ten Books to Giveaway This Month!

“Children meet Chaplin in this intimate biography of the iconic silent-film comedian… ” – Publisher’s Weekly

And now for something a little different… This month, we are thrilled to be giving away our first ever Classic Movie Children’s Book! We have TEN COPIES of “Smile: How Young Charlie Chaplin Taught the World to Laugh (and Cry)” to give away, courtesy of Candlewick Press! This is a charming picture book about the early life of Chaplin written by award-winning author Gary Golio and Caldecott Medal-winning artist Ed Young — a wonderful introduction to Charlie’s early years, and the origins of his beloved Little Tramp.

Smile: How Young Charlie Chaplin Taught the World to Laugh (and Cry)
Once there was a boy named Charlie…

In order to qualify to win one of these prizes via this contest giveaway, you must complete the below entry task by Saturday, May 4 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.

  • April 6: Two Winners
  • April 13: Two Winners
  • April 20: Two Winners
  • April 27: Two Winners
  • May 4: Two Winners

We will announce each week’s winner on Twitter @ClassicMovieHub, the day after each winner is picked at 9PM EST — for example, we will announce our first week’s winner on Sunday April 7 at 9PM EST on Twitter. And, please note that you don’t have to have a Twitter account to enter; just see below for the details…

…..

Smile Charlie Chaplin Childrens Book
Collage and Ink Art Illustrations
AND a flip book ‘Walking Charlie’ in the lower right-hand corner

…..

And now on to the contest!

ENTRY TASK (2-parts) to be completed by Saturday, May 4 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*:

Just entered to win the “Smile: How Young Charlie Chaplin Taught the World to Laugh (and Cry)” #BookGiveaway courtesy of @Candlewick & @ClassicMovieHub #CMHContest link: http://ow.ly/Xo5K30ogH6V

THE QUESTION:
Why do you want to win this book?

*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.

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…

…..

About the Book:  Once there was a little slip of a boy who roamed the streets of London, hungry for life (and maybe a bit of bread). His dad long gone and his actress mother ailing, five-year-old Charlie found himself onstage one day taking his mum’s place, singing and drawing laughs amid a shower of coins. There were times in the poorhouse and times spent sitting in the window at home with Mum, making up funny stories about passersby. And when Charlie described a wobbly old man he saw in baggy clothes, with turned-out feet and a crooked cane, his mother found it sad, but Charlie knew that funny and sad go hand in hand. With a lyrical text and exquisite collage imagery, Gary Golio and Ed Young interpret Charlie Chaplin’s path from his childhood through his beginnings in silent film and the creation of his iconic Little Tramp. Keen-eyed readers will notice a silhouette of the Little Tramp throughout the book that becomes animated with a flip of the pages. An afterword fills in facts about the beloved performer who became one of the most famous entertainers of all time.

…..

Please note that only United States (excluding the territory of Puerto Rico) AND Canada 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 the on amazon by clicking here:

 …..

–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

Posted in Uncategorized | 17 Comments

On the Road with Bob & Bing Blu-Ray Giveaway (now through April 27)

 

Celebrating Springtime with Bob & Bing!
Blu-Ray Giveaway, Each Winner wins 6 ‘Road’ Blu-Rays, yes SIX!

I’m sooooo excited to announce this very special Blu-Ray Giveaway, just in time for some springtime fun! We are happy to say that we will be giving away FOUR SETs of SIX ‘Bob & Bing Road’ BLU-RAYs courtesy of our friends at Kino Lorber!  So, each of our weekly winners will win one of each of these Blu-Rays: Road to Singapore (1940), Road to Zanzibar (1941), Road to Morocco (1942), Road to Utopia (1945), Road to Rio (1947) and Road to Bali (1952)!  That said, 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, April 27 at 10PM EST. However, the sooner you enter, the better chance you have of winning, because we will pick one winner 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.

April 6: One Winner
April 13: One Winner
April 20: One Winner
April 27: 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 10PM EST — for example, we will announce our first week’s winners on Sunday April 7 at 10PM EST.

Road to Rio movie posterRoad to Rio, 1947

…..

Each winner will win one each of all six of these Blu-Rays:

Road to Singapore: The 1940s’ hottest movie trio—Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour—chart a course for comedy, music and romance in Road to Singapore. Running out on his stuffy desk job and marriage-minded girlfriend, Josh Mallon (Crosby) links up with sailor-buddy Ace (Hope) and sets sail for the farthest point on the map: Singapore. On the exotic island of Kaigoon, they meet Mima (Lamour), a lovely young dancer on the run from her domineering fiancé. Josh and Ace rescue Mima, who moves into their shack, cooks, cleans, sings—and quickly becomes the object of their wise-cracking war for her affections. Road to Singapore was the initial entry in the legendary Hope-Crosby-Lamour Road series that delighted moviegoers for years to come. The Victor Schertzinger-helmed film was the top-grosser of 1940 and features Charles Coburn, Jerry Colonna and Anthony Quinn in key supporting roles.

Road to Zanzibar: In this second entry in the Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour Road series, Chuck (Crosby) and Fearless (Hope) are really in hot water—as guests of honor at a cannibal feast while stranded in the heart of Africa. American sideshow performers Chuck and Fearless are stranded in the jungle after their human cannonball act starts a fire that burns down the circus. They become entangled with a larcenous pair of entertainers from Brooklyn (Lamour and Una Merkel) anxious to separate them from their bankroll. Duped into accompanying the ladies on a safari, Chuck and Fearless soon find themselves in the clutches of savage tribesmen who pit Fearless against a gorilla in a wild wrestling match. A blend of jokes, zany adventures and songs, Road to Zanzibar became one of the top-grossing films of 1941. Directed by Victor Schertzinger, who also directed the first film in the series, Road to Singapore.

Road to Morocco: Like Webster’s dictionary, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour are “Morocco-bound” in the third and considered by most to be the best entry in the popular Road series. Survivors of a Mediterranean shipwreck, stowaways Jeff (Crosby) and Orville (Hope) paddle to a North African shore and hitch a camel ride across the desert to Morocco. In order to buy food, Jeff sells Orville into slavery—but Orville’s owner turns out to be the luscious Princess Shalmar (Lamour), who quickly offers to become his wife. Unfortunately, the true reason for the Princess’s proposal soon becomes clear. Her prophet has warned that her first husband will meet a violent death within days of their marriage, so she decided to marry Orville instead of her beloved Mullay Kasim (Anthony Quinn). Nominated for two Oscars® including Original Screenplay, Road to Morocco is highlighted by Bing’s rendition of one of his best-loved songs, the unforgettable “Moonlight Becomes You,” and the memorable title song by Hope and Crosby. Directed by David Butler (They Got Me Covered).

Road to Utopia: This fourth entry in the hilarious Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour Road series is a blizzard of laughs with Bob and Bing playing turn-of-the-century vaudevillians in search of Klondike gold. After stealing the map to a gold mine from two Alaskan killers, Hope and Crosby assume the identities of the bad guys, swagger into Skagway and meet saloon-singer Lamour. A series of misadventures ensue as the boys, Lamour, the killers and other crooked characters try to outwit each other, obtain the map and locate the mine. The recipient of a Best Original Screenplay Academy Award® nomination, Road to Utopia also features the world-renowned humorist Robert Benchley as an on-camera narrator who adds to all the fun with a running commentary on our heroes’ on-screen antics. Directed by Hal Walker (Road to Bali).

Road to Rio: In this fifth of seven “Road to” movies, Hot Lips Barton (Bob Hope, Son of Paleface) and Scat Sweeney (Bing Crosby, Road to Bali) stow away on an ocean bound ship to avoid being charged with arson after burning down a circus. Aboard the vessel, the duo fall for the beautiful Lucia Maria de Andrade (Dorothy Lamour, My Favorite Brunette). Lucia is under the spell of her evil aunt (Gale Sondergaard, The Life of Emile Zola), who has arranged a marriage for the young beauty to take over her inheritance. Just like its predecessors, Road to Rio is full of hilarious Hope and Crosby gags and wonderful musical sequences, featuring musical guests The Wiere Brothers and The Andrew Sisters. Beautifully shot by Oscar-winner Ernest Laszlo (Judgment at Nuremberg) with wonderful direction by Norman Z. McLeod (Topper) who went on to direct Hope in four more features and a screenplay by Edmund Beloin (The Lemon Drop Kid) and Jack Rose (Papa’s Delicate Condition).

Road to Bali: In this sixth of seven “Road to” movies, Bob Hope (Son of Paleface), Bing Crosby (Road to Rio) and Dorothy Lamour (My Favorite Brunette) team up in their only color film in the series. Hope and Crosby star as two out-of-work vaudeville performers who are on the lam. The two are hired by a South Seas prince as deep-sea divers in order to recover a buried treasure. They meet beautiful Princess Lala (Lamour) and vie for her affections. Of course, the boys run into the usual perils such as cannibals, a giant squid and numerous cameos from some of Hollywood’s biggest stars like Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Jane Russell and Humphrey Bogart. Director Hal Walker (At War with the Army) was no stranger to the three actors, having directed the trio in Road to Utopia. The seventh and final “Road to” picture, Road to Hong Kong, would be released 10 years later for another studio and co-starred Joan Collins with Hope and Crosby, with Lamour only making a brief cameo appearance.

…..

road to utopiaRoad to Utopia, 1945

…..

ENTRY TASK (2-parts) to be completed by Saturday, April 27 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 ‘On the Road with Bob and Bing SIX Blu-Ray Giveaway’ courtesy of @KinoLorber and @ClassicMovieHub #BobHope #BingCrosby #CMHContest link: http://ow.ly/scwi30ogAEL

THE QUESTION:
What do you love most about the ‘Road’ movies? And, if you’ve never seen one, why do you want to win them?

*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…

…..

road to baliRoad to Bali, 1952

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 , , , | 39 Comments

Win Tickets to see “TCM Big Screen Classics: True Grit” 50th Anniversary (Giveaway runs now through April 20)

Win tickets to see “True Grit” 50th Anniversary on the Big Screen!
In Select Cinemas Nationwide Sun May 5 & Wed May 8

“Most people around here have heard of Rooster Cogburn
and some people live to regret it.

CMH continues with our 4th year of our partnership with Fathom Events – with the 5th of our 14 movie ticket giveaways for 2019, courtesy of Fathom Events!

That said, we’ll be giving away EIGHT PAIRS of tickets to see “TCM Big Screen Classics: True Grit” – on the Big Screen — starring John Wayne in his Academy Award winning role as Rooster Cogburn!

In order to qualify to win a pair of movie tickets via this contest, you must complete the below entry task by Saturday, April 20 at 6pm EST.

We will announce the winner(s) on Twitter on Sunday, April 21, 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.

true grit 50th anniversary fathom eventsTrue Grit, 1969

The film will be playing in select cinemas nationwide for a special two-day-only event on Sunday, May 5, and Wednesday, May 8 at select times. 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 and/or screening times for each date)

ENTRY TASK (2-parts) to be completed by Saturday April 20 at 6pm EST…

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

THE QUESTION:
What is it about “True Grit” that makes it a classic? And, if you haven’t seen it, why do you want to see it on the Big Screen?

2) Then TWEET* (not DM) the following message:
I just entered to win tickets to see “TCM Big Screen Classics Presents: True Grit” 50th Anniversary on the Big Screen courtesy of @ClassicMovieHub & @FathomEvents – You can #EnterToWin here: http://ow.ly/sx5C30ogy4w

*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.

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…

John Wayne, True Grit, 1969, Rooster CogburnJohn Wayne as Rooster Cogburn

About the film: Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the classic Western that won John Wayne his first and only Oscar. The legendary movie star gives his most iconic performance as Rooster Cogburn, a drunken, uncouth and totally fearless one-eyed U.S. Marshall hired by a headstrong young girl (Kim Darby) to find the man who murdered her father. When Cogburn’s employer insists on accompanying the older gunfighter, sparks start to fly. The situation goes from troubled to disastrous when an inexperienced but enthusiastic Texas Ranger (Glen Campbell) joins the party. Laughter and tears punctuate the wild action in this extraordinary film featuring performances by Robert Duvall and Strother Martin. A true western classic for fans and first-timers, True Grit is a must-see on the big screen. This event includes exclusive insight from Turner Classic Movies.

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).

Good Luck!

…..

–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

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

Part Two: Exclusive Interview with Victoria Riskin, author of “Fay Wray and Robert Riskin: A Hollywood Memoir”

 

Part Two of our Exclusive Interview with Victoria Riskin, author of “Fay Wray and Robert Riskin: A Hollywood Memoir”

Today we’re sharing Part Two of our Exclusive Interview with Victoria Riskin (daughter of Fay Wray and Robert Riskin) about her new book “Fay Wray and Robert Riskin: A Hollywood Memoir” which is available in stores now. I was thrilled to be able to sit down with her for a special chat about the book. That said, another Big Thank You to Victoria for spending lots of time with me, and to Pantheon Books for making this happen!

This is Part Two of an exclusive 2-part interview with Victoria, in which she talks about the significance of the piggyback scene in It Happened One Night, what drew her parents to each other, her father’s war efforts and propaganda films, her father’s ‘common man’ theme, special memories of her parents, and much more.

If you enjoyed this interview, please feel free to check out Part One of the interview in which Victoria talks about the origins of the book, her parent’s early years in Hollywood, the filming of King Kong, the exploits of Merian C. Cooper and her father’s partnership with Frank Capra.

Hope you enjoy the interview. I know I did 

…..

–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

Posted in Interviews, Posts by Annmarie Gatti, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment