Sunday, February 28, 2010

Kids, you're geniuses!

I have a few odds and ends to take care of today.

First, I'd like to congratulate Millie, KC, Amanda, and Emma for being so clever! They all got the quote of the week correct! The quote was from After the Thin Man, said by Nick Charles. Well done, all of you! I really like the quote segment and I'm so glad people are responding to it!

Second item of business: poll results! In the pirate poll, regarding which is the cooler pirate, Captain Jack Sparrow or Captain Peter Blood, there was a tie!! Woohoo! For your participation, I'm rewarding you all with pictures of the beautiful winners:

There's still a poll going on about which inanimate dance partner is your favorite. Be sure to vote!

Oh, there was one final thing I wanted to mention. I made a new video last week. If you're interested, head on over to my YouTube channel and check it out! Thanks!

Friday, February 26, 2010

"Come on, let's get something to eat... I'm thirsty."

Quote of the week!

I didn't post last night as I'd planned. I'm afraid I've been having a pretty crazy schedule lately - no days off and my hours keep getting extended. The money's going to be nice but it's cutting into my free time something awful. I took a brief break yesterday but next week I'll be back on track with the spotlight on a musical number. In the meantime, guess which movie this quote is from:

"Come on, let's get something to eat... I'm thirsty."

Again, there no prizes and no punishments for this game. Just guess the movie. And there can never be too many guesses. So, even if everyone's already guessed the answer, go right ahead and guess it too! Have fun!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I was just a cowboy on a ranch in ole Wyoming...

So, I thought I had worked it out beautifully where February the 22nd would fall conveniently on the spotlight on a musical number post... but it didn't. Not only did I mix up Tuesday and Thursday somehow, but Tuesday is the 23rd not the 22nd. More's the pity. Ah well. I shall embed the song, "I Can't Tell A Lie" from Holiday Inn, wishing you all a belated Happy George Washington's Birthday and then continue to my count-up. (I'm sorry that the quality is so terrible!)

#17 in my count-up:
Thousands Cheer (1943)

I'm choosing this one, in part, in honor of the late Kathryn Grayson. I do hope you don't mind. I considered writing a post to honor her when she passed last week but I'm no good at things like that and I was afraid it was just sound... affected (for lack of a better word). For the record, if you'd like to read some touching posts written in memory of the lovely lady, I recommend visiting Millie, Amanda, SassyGinger, Harley, Vintage Vamp, and Laura. Most of the time when I'm depressed about something, I do the only thing I can think of to do - watch a movie. It seems appropriate, therefore, to discuss one of my favorites of Ms. Grayson's performances. She's so doggone cute in this movie. I love the relationship between her and Gene Kelly in this film. They're so playful, earnest, and funny.

The basic storyline is as follows: Kathryn Jones (Grayson) goes to stay with her dad, Colonel Bill Jones (John Boles) and boost the morale of the men in his camp. One private, Eddie Marsh (Kelly) refuses to have his morale boosted, however. He can't stand the army and wants to get transferred to the air corps. His friends convince him to befriend Kathryn so that she can put in a good word for him. He does and introduces her to his (adopted) family, a group of trapeze artists in a circus. Eddie and Kathryn fall in love but complications arise when Kathryn's mother (Mary Astor) requests for her to come home, when Eddie gets put in jail (or the military equivalent - I'm not sure what that is), and when the camp eventually leaves for war. The film is a morale booster, however, so the mood is pretty upbeat throughout. Also, because it's a morale booster, many major stars wanted to make cameos in it to show their support for the troops. As a result, there's a long revue towards the end of the film, stuffed full of movie stars (their names are on the movie poster).

My favorite part of the film, other than the first few scenes between Kathryn and Eddie (which are delightful, adorable, and hilarious!) is Gene Kelly's solo dance. So good!

Okay, that's all I have for today. There's still a poll up for best pirate. My poll for this week regards the scene I've embedded above in comparison to Fred Astaire's solo of a similar nature. Which inanimate dance partner do you like better? The hat rack or the mop? This could boil down to a Fred vs. Gene contest or it could be a movie preference, but that could get messy (particularly the former) so let's try and stick to the inanimate object: hat rack vs. mop.

P.S. If you find the title of this post a little strange, just watch the movie. That song will get so stuck in your head! No joke!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Push the button, Max!

I have a few items to address today:

First things first, thank you to all who voted in last week's poll! In the Great Race poll, 6 people voted. 4 voted Professor Fate as their favorite Jack Lemmon character in the film and 2 voted for Prince Hapnik. So yay! Thank you for voting!

Second things second, thank you to all who guessed in the quote of the week! Everyone who guessed was correct - the quote was from Singin' in the Rain, spoken by Cosmo Brown to Don Lockwood regarding Lena Lamont. So, congratulations to Wendymoon, Emma, and Amanda for guessing correctly! I'm very excited about the quote of the week segment and I'm very encouraged by the response to the first one. Hooray!

Finally, I have a question. I watched Ball of Fire last night for the first time. Loved it! Gary Cooper was adorable and absolutely endearing, Barbara Stanwyck was sexy and amazing, and the professors were so much fun to watch! I'd been wanting to watch another Stanwyck film after seeing her in Christmas in Connecticut and this one was just as enjoyable as I hoped it would be! Now, my question regards Dana Andrews. I've seen him in State Fair but my experience with his acting is very limited. After seeing him in this movie... let's just say, I'm in love. (don't worry, I won't try to steal him away from anyone) As I mentioned in my last bid for advice, the one regarding James Cagney, I really do prefer light movies. Are there any Dana Andrews movies that are light or at least have happy endings that you could recommend? I'd be ever so grateful!

Friday, February 19, 2010

"Well, haven't you heard? She's irresistible. She told me so herself."

Okay, time for my new segment: quote of the week. I'll be posting these up on Fridays or Saturdays, depending on my schedule. I'll write the quote in the title and, to avoid confusion with all the other titles that are quotes, I'll put the quote of the week in quotes. I'll give a hint in the post as well because hints are nice. I've been writing Sunday posts lately but I don't always do them so the answer will be either in the Sunday or the Tuesday posts. Again, there are no prizes in this, so you have nothing to lose (or gain) - it's just fun to guess at quotes. Here's the quote again along with the hint:

"Well, haven't you heard? She's irresistible. She told me so herself."

hint: from a '50s musical.

Check back on Sunday for the answer!
Oh, and I put a new poll up. Go check it out!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

It must be beautiful in Vermont this time of year... all that snow.

Happy belated birthday to Vera-Ellen!!

Amanda Cooper just wrote a beautiful write-up of the wonderful performer, whose birthday was two days ago. I can't put it quite as eloquently as Amanda did, but Vera-Ellen was an amazing dancer and a lovely actress. She is sadly overlooked as a performer these days despite her great talent. Because categories are fun, I'm going to categorize my favorites regarding Ms. Vera-Ellen.

Favorite role: Jessie in Three Little Words
Favorite duet: Definitely "The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing" with Danny Kaye from White Christmas, but the "Abraham" number with John Brascia follows as a pretty close second.
Favorite scene: Judy's proposal in White Christmas (this is also my favorite dress) The scene begins roughly after 7:30.
Favorite dance costume: the dress in "Come On Papa" in Three Little Words
Favorite dance moment: her entrance in "Choreography" (because this moment deserves its very own category)

Isn't that amazing?? I wish I could do that! (on an unrelated note, John Brascia's entrance in this song is also pretty neat - he leaps out of the floor!)

I also really love "Minstrel Number" from White Christmas, "Come On, Papa," from Three Little Words, and "Miss Turnstiles" from On the Town. What are your favorites regarding Vera-Ellen?

Just so you know, you can view a few of her movies in their entirety on IMDb. I'm bookmarking the pages right now for myself because there are a couple that I've never seen before!

I want to thank everyone who responded to my question regarding quotes! I'm really excited about starting the quote segment! I'm trying to figure out which day is best. But I will have one up soon!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

It's entirely innocent I am

I'm a little late in my posting today because I'm sadly under the weather today. I was a call-in at work and I actually called in for my call-in shift (my manager thought it was rather funny). Pretty much all I've done today is sleep, drink, eat a little, and watch You Can't Take It With You (for the first time, I'll have you know!). I'm trying to wait a bit before I go to bed because I have to get up earlyish for work tomorrow and I want to make sure I sleep the full night. I don't know if this logic actually makes sense or if it just makes sense in my head. At any rate, I've decided to write a post with #16 in my count-up:
Captain Blood (1935)

I should warn you before I begin that this post has a lot of photos. I simply couldn't resist. Errol Flynn is so incredibly good-looking, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to bombard the post with pictures. The one trouble with doing this post is that I could talk for days about this movie. I really love it! I have a hard time finding people to watch it with me because most people get uneasy about the whole slavery sequence (I do too. I always fast-forward the branding scene). But compared to The Sea Hawk, which includes slavery in a much more horrific depiction, Captain Blood is pretty easy to watch. But, like I said, I always fast-forward what I don't want to watch. Okay, back to the point: this movie has everything: romance, drama, adventure, humor. The basic plot is as follows:

Dr. Peter Blood (Errol Flynn) is arrested while attending to a wounded friend in the middle of a civil war. Despite his pacifist standing, he is locked up and finally stands on trial under a very unjust judge. The judge pronounces Peter guilty of treason even though Peter has done nothing but his job as a doctor. Meanwhile, King James decides to make money off all of these traitors by selling them as slaves in Jamaica. So, Peter is shipped off to Jamaica and is bought, on a whim, by the niece of a plantation owner, Arabella Bishop (Olivia de Havilland). Arabella gets Peter a job as doctor to the governor of Jamaica; his new freedom allows him to plot an escape for himself and his fellow slaves. When a Spanish pirate ship attacks the town, Peter and his friends board the ship and turn to piracy. Later in the film, the tables are turned when Arabella finds herself a prisoner on board Peter's ship.

Okay, so that was a pretty bad nut-shelling job, especially since I'm trying to not to give away the ending too much. I usually just tell people, "It's about a doctor who becomes a slave who escapes and becomes a pirate." I've gotten mixed results when showing this around to people. The best reaction was my aunt who, near the end of the film said, "Oh, that's wonderful! Now that they can get married!" and the worst reaction was my friends in middle school who all fell asleep (sigh). But, no matter what reactions I get, I love this movie. I loved the movie so much that I read the surprisingly long book by Rafael Sabatini - which is very good and adds some wonderful insights into the characters but is quite lengthy.

Now, to go into the trivia section of the post. I must warn you on this one, I'm spouting out this trivia from memory. I feel pretty confident that I'm quoting these facts correctly but I couldn't quote you the sources if I tried. I've acquired most of these facts during several of my Errol Flynn obsession phases, where I watched his movies non-stop, watched documentaries, and read articles. If, however, I have spoken incorrectly, please let me know! This movie is responsible for launching Errol Flynn into stardom, with Olivia de Havilland at his side. Flynn and director Michael Curtiz did not get along very well and Curtiz actually tried to tell the producer that Flynn was no good. The producer asked Curtiz to give Flynn a second chance and Flynn became a stronger actor, that some scenes had to be reshot. While Flynn did not get along with his director too well, he and his costar famously got along famously (that's not a typo, by the way; it's an attempt at cleverness. I'm not sure if it worked). Flynn and de Havilland shared a mutual attraction to each other and he even discussed the possibility of them getting married - but that happened during The Adventures of Robin Hood which is a different story.

An unrelated bit of trivia that I just read on a Basil Rathbone site was that Captain Levassuer's death had to be timed perfectly to correspond with the waves so that he would fall into the water, a wave would splash over him, and reveal him to be dead. Apparently, it was very hard for him to keep his eyes open with the saltwater splashing over him - understandably! That sounds awful!

I love Errol Flynn in this movie. He's so passionate and brooding. I like the way he sets his jaw during the trial scene, the intensity of his look when he's looking at Arabella. One of my favorite scenes in the film is the one where Peter finds his friend, Jeremy (played by Ross Alexander), strapped to a post, having been beaten by their owners. The scene is tender and intense and it really makes me wish that Ross Alexander had been in more films.
... I'm pretty sure I'm rambling at this point. I truly apologize. If you want to read a slightly more cohesive discussion of the film, you can go to a post I wrote a little while ago, comparing it to Pirates of the Caribbean (2003).

Now, I'll close with a quote and some links to a few of my favorite moments in the film:
"However far this slave may go, he won't forget... it's a characteristic we Irish have in common with the elephants!"
As for the film clips, I should tell you that you can see the whole film online. I highly recommend it. If you're at all wary, I'll tell you now that it has a happy ending, so you needn't worry on that point.
- the trial scene
- My favorite scene with Peter and Arabella, starts at 6:30.
- The scene with Peter and Jeremy, starts at 3:36.
- the ending! Don't watch this if you don't want a spoiler! Starts at 4:24.

Thank you for being patient with me. If you love Errol Flynn and this film as much as I do, I'd love to read gushing comments about it! I'd actually love to hear any comments about it, gushing or not.

Question: I'm always quoting movies and I really love movie quotes (You may have noticed that the titles of my posts are almost always movie quotes). I've been thinking of adding a new post a week that would solely feature a random quote and everyone could guess what movie it was from. Maybe including a hint? There would be no rewards for this game, unfortunately. Just fun. What do you think? Good idea? Would you guess if I posted a quote a week?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

You're a perfect lady. You're a regular guy. We should be together, you and I!

In January, I stated that I would like to a different list of favorites every month. I've already done Favorite Actresses and Favorite Actors. Now, in honor of February and Valentine's Day, I'd like to do Favorite Couples! I have a few disclaimers before I begin, however. First, there is a difference between a couple and a dance team. I'm specifically avoiding dance partners because I think they deserve a list all their own. So, these pairs are pairs because I like the way their chemistry while acting, sans dance (even if they happen to dance together, as is the case with #2). Also, I've carefully avoided doubling up on some actors. Each performer is listed only once (which is why you'll see no Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn, who I do actually like, but I prefer the Cary Grant pairing I have below). Instead of having ninth and tenth couples, I have two honorary mentions. That is, two pairings that I love that have only been paired together once. I'm also including the films in which I like the performers' chemistry best; in the first three choices, I'm including two films. If you like this list or this idea, please feel free to consider yourself tagged in this listing process. I'd love to see what couples you like!

#1. William Powell and Myrna Loy
The Thin Man and I Love You Again

#2. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers
Swing Time and Roberta

#3. Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland
The Adventures of Robin Hood and Captain Blood

#4. Cary Grant and Irene Dunne
The Awful Truth

#5. Gene Kelly and Kathryn Grayson
Thousands Cheer

#6. Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell
Footlight Parade

#7. Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee
That Funny Feeling

#8. Frank Sinatra and Betty Garrett
On the Town

Honorary Mentions:
#9. William Holden and Judy Holliday in Born Yesterday

#1o. Claudette Colbert and Don Ameche in Midnight

P.S. I'd like to thank Noir Girl for picking up the movie review chain! I can't wait to read her review!
P.P.S. Don't forget to vote on the poll! There are only two votes so far, which is making the competition a very slow neck-and-neck race.
P.P.P.S. Happy Valentine's Day!! I've picked one of my favorite onscreen kisses as a banner for the occasion!
P.P.P.P.S. (I promise, this is the last one!) Because it relates to the list and to the day, I'm going to do some shameless self-promotion and post one of my videos. I hope you like it! It features my top three couples! The song is written by and performed by the incomparable Emma Wallace of Emma's Music

Friday, February 12, 2010

Did you say something about scrambled eggs?

For this month's spotlight on a scene, I'd like to discuss a scene of one of my favorite on-screen couples, Nick and Nora Charles. The scene is from After the Thin Man (1936) when the couple is in bed (separated, of course). Nick is trying to fall asleep while Nora is anxious about the fate of her cousin, who is mixed up in a murder. The scene is hilarious because Nora keeps chatting to Nick and Nick keeps trying to fall asleep. I'm working through my copy on Leading Couples of the Studio Era and I finally got to William Powell and Myrna Loy. Frank Miller writes that the couple proved marriage could be "sophisticated, passionate, and fun." I think you can see some of that in this scene - the way Nora smiles at Nick, the fact that Nick sacrifices his sleep to scramble Nora some eggs, and their witty banter (particularly when they get into the kitchen). I'm embedding the scene below. I'll put two vids because the scene continues with the chase around the house. The scene begins at 5:30. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Two Kwakiutls in the same blanket... were warmer.

I fell behind in reading and writing blog posts in the past few days. I'm only now catching up! Phew! Some quick business before I launch into my post: Thank you again to all who voted in this week's poll! The results were a landslide, which rather surprised me, to be honest. In the question, who is your favorite regular in the Fred and Ginger series, Edward Everett Horton scored a whopping 64% of the votes (11)! Helen Broderick had 3 votes (17%), Eric Blore had 2 (11%) and Erik Rhodes had 1 (5%). I'm still brainstorming about this week's poll. I'll let you know at the end of the post what I've decided to ask.

I realized that I promised to theme all of my posts romantically but that hasn't really been happening, so I don't think you will mind too terribly when this next post doesn't quite fit into the Valentine's Day setting. The photo above may have tricked you into thinking this is an ultra-romantic post with a very clever tie-in to the insanely cold weather everyone has been having. Unless, of course, you recognize the photo, in which case, you weren't tricked at all and can probably guess what's next on my count-up of 100 movies:

#15 The Great Race (1965)

(There were several posters for this film but I picked this one because I think it captures the zaniness best. Just check out that list on the left-hand side! Classic!)

I rewatched this film the other day and fell back in love with it. I loved it years ago when I was a kid (although I suppose some would still consider me a kid), but this time around I appreciated the over-the-top, campy, crazy hilarity that is this film.

The basic plot is as follows: The Great Leslie (Tony Curtis) is a champion daredevil who constantly breaks records, wins lady loves, and wears white. His arch-nemesis, Professor Fate (Jack Lemmon), constantly (and unsuccessfully) attempts kill Leslie so that he, Fate, can be the champion, fails at all of his own daredevil attempts, and wears black. When Leslie suggests an automobile race stretching from New York to Paris, Fate is the first one to accept the challenge. Shortly behind Fate in rising to the challenge is journalist, suffragette, female emancipator, Maggie Dubois (Natalie Wood), who is out to prove that she can be any man's equal, particularly if the man is Leslie. Along for the ride are Leslie's assistant, Hezekiah (Keenan Wynn) and Fate's cohort, Max (Peter Falk). So, there you have it, in a semi-nutshell. A crazy race across the globe that includes everything from a sing-along song (complete with lyrics and bouncy ball) to a coronation (not to mention everything on the list in the poster!). If you have not yet seen this film, I highly and thoroughly recommend it. I'll link to the trailer here in case you need your appetite whetted (whettened?) even more.

The movie includes many hilarious lines. One of my favorites is in the title of the post.
Here are a few others:

Max: Come on, Professor, rise and shine!
Fate: Rise and shine?!
Max: Yeah. 7:30.
Fate: Then you rise, you shine!

Fate: Bury the hatchet.
Leslie: And we know who has the hatchet.
Max: He doesn't have a hatchet, I promise you.

Leslie: Are you a native of Boracho?
Lilly: I ain't no native! I was born here!

Prince Hapnik: Rah! Oh rah!

What are your favorite lines from the film?

I've been trying to make my 100 movies posts a little bit more interesting so I looked up some trivia for this one before I wrote it up. There were some very interesting bits and pieces but the most interesting ones, I thought, were the ones that involved the major pie fight towards the end of the movie. Here's what I found out:

- the pie fight is the largest one ever staged
- the pies used were real and contained real ingredients (including fruit, custard, and whipped cream)
- there were more than 300 leftover pies after the scene, which the crew proceeded to eat
- the running gag in this scene that Leslie walks through the kitchen and remains unblemished was pretty tricky to film (which is something I've always wondered). Tony Curtis had to change costumes several times when debris from other pies got on his suit and messed up the gag.

I really did go a bit overboard with the pictures this time, didn't I? But they were all so irresistible! Ah well. Pictures are fun. Now for the aforepromised poll. This will require you to have seen the movie, so if you haven't seen it, go see it so that you can vote! Jack Lemmon plays two characters in the film, the devious Professor Fate and the drunken Prince Hapnik. Which of these two roles do you like better?

P.S. I have a new banner at the top of my blog. Go check it out! The plan is to change it every week in honor of Valentines Day month.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

On how to be lovely, you've gotta be happy

First off, I'd like to thank everyone who voted in the Peter Pan poll. The results were a pretty significant landslide: out of 19 votes, 16 preferred the 1953 version (84%), 2 voted for the 2003 version (10%) and 1 voted for both (5%). There's another poll up regarding the regulars in the Fred and Ginger collection (I apologize again for forgetting Randolph Scott). And now get ready for a whole bunch of pictures because..

the awards continue! This probably wouldn't happen if I retagged the awards in a more timely manner. But I do believe I've learned my lesson (I hope!). Now, for the next batch:
Award #3:

The rules for this little ditty are:
1. Thank the one who gave it to you.
Thank you Fire and Music!
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
4. Name 7 things about you that people think are interesting.
5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.

Okay, 7 things. Raindrops on roses... oh wait. Those are nice things. Well, here are some potentially interesting ones:

1. I mismatch my socks. On purpose. I often like to match them by color schemes, but sometimes I don't even do that. I discovered a wonderful shop that caters to this zaniness and I now work there! Hooray!
2. I sometimes forget what my favorite color is. The truth is, it changes all the time. I do prefer jewel tones and neutrals but sometimes I sneak into pastel land with a nice dusty pink.
3. I think the Fast-Forward button was a brilliant invention. I tend to use it a lot. I don't generally watch movies all the way through when I'm watching them by myself. I skip to my favorite parts.
4. I'm trying to learn Portuguese but I don't have the courage to actually speak it so I'm always losing whatever I've learned. I've learned quite a bit, really, but I still can't quite carry on a full conversation.
5. I don't like going upside-down on roller coasters. People say that you can't tell that you're upside-down. I strongly disagree. I can tell.
6. I like flying. I really enjoy the taking off and landing parts. And whenever I land, I like to play a sort of game with myself and try to find people before the plane gets close to land. It's amazing how rarely people walk around outside when you're looking for them.
7. I've recently discovered that I love photos of people jumping:

Now, for the Kreativ Bloggers. I nominate:
A Cup Full of Sunshine
Hollywood Dreamland
L.A. La Land
Movie Viewing Girl
My Phoneography
Some Parade
Vintage Film Nerd

Award #4 Happy 101 (the final one) was bestowed upon me by A Cup Full of Sunshine.

Now, for 10 things that make me happy (and we'll go ahead and assume that old movies is a given. Also, family and friends make me terribly happy but I didn't want to post photos because I don't know if my family and friends would care for that). So, in no particular order:

1. Writing

2. Dancing

(Art by Kate Gabrielle. Click on photo for source.)

3. Disney movies

4. Old movie posters

5. A good book

6. Taking photos

7. Oldies

8. Glamorous photos of old movie stars

9. Going to Disney

10. Editing movies
I have a YouTube channel where I post all of my videos. Sorry, no picture for this. I was trying to upload a video to the post but it was taking a very long time.

Whew boy! That was fun! Here are the people that I'd like to tag for this one:
The Drifter and the Gypsy
A Noodle in a Haystack
Emma's Music
Silents and Talkies