Happy New Year!

NewYear

I want to wish everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year. Let’s hope it’s a good one. I also want to thank everyone for stopping by and taking a look at my ramblings and joining in the conversation. A few highlights included the chance to interview authors Jacqueline T. Lynch and Michelle Morgan during the publications of their respective biographies on actresses Ann Blyth and Thelma Todd. Both books rank up there on the best film bios of the year. I myself was interviewed, and quoted, by Chicago Tribune writer, Nina Metz, in an article she wrote about Chicago and the gangster film back in late April.  For 2016, I have a few things in the works that hopefully come to fruition and  will be sharing. Of course, the reviews and articles with continue. First up, my annual Top 10 List of Classic Films I Watched for the First Time which will appear here tomorrow.

I know these days there are a lot of blogs out there, much more than eight and half years ago when I began this little adventure. So once again I thank you.

Lady on a Train (1945) Charles David

 

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   Deanna Durbin spent the majority of her short career, she retired in her late twenties, at Universal where she made a series of light, but popular musicals that made her one of the top stars of the time. However, like many artists, Durbin wanted to do something different. In 1944 and 1945, she got her chance with the film noir, Christmas Holiday and the following year with the comedy/mystery film, Lady on a Train. Neither film did well at the box office. Durbin soon returned to her musicals until she retired, married her third husband, director Charles David, and moved to France where she lived for the rest of her life. Continue reading

12 Days of Classic Movies: #Pay Classics Forward for Christmas

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Aurora from ONCE UPON A SCREEN came up with a great and fun way to spread the holiday cheer and for folks to take a break from the rushing around during this joyous, but sometimes, stressful Christmas season.  Share some favorite films and #PayClassicsForward on your blogs, by noting your recommendations in the comments or sharing across social media.The challenge is to select movie recommendations to the “12 Days of Christmas” theme with choices that will hopefully appeal to non classics fans.  So here we go… Continue reading

It Happened in Brooklyn (1947)

Happened5   Before Elvis, before The Beatles, before Michael Jackson and before whomever the latest pop star of the day is…there was Frank Sinatra. The teenage girls of the day swooned, screamed and peed in the panties uncontrollably  when Sinatra sang on stage at theaters like the Paramount theater in New York City. By the late 1940’s though Frank’s career was in a downward spiral. His film career up to this point was mediocre. There was the occasional big hit like Anchors Aweigh, On the Town and Take Me Out to the Ballgame, but more often there were second-rate films like The Kissing Bandit, Double Dynamite and It Happened it Brooklyn. More importantly for his career, his popularity on the record charts was also spiraling downward. Frank, of course, would rebound in the early 1950’s in both film and his music, but things were shaky for the future Chairman of the Board during the post war years. So why write about one of Sinatra’s less important films? There was a personal connection, well sort of, that attracted me to watch.  Continue reading

Short Takes: In Theaters Now

Spotlight

Spotlight

   Spotlight may just be the best film of the year, or it at least comes damn close. It’s certainly the best film on investigative journalism since, though not quite as good, ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN. The film draws you in early on and keeps you locked in while managing not to exploit sensitive subject matter. SPOTLIGHT is intelligent filmmaking and a superb look at heroic journalism against powerful forces. Continue reading

In Cold Blood (1967) Richard Brooks

incold.png   They were cold blooded senseless murders. Truman Capote had read about the 1959 killings of Herbert Clutter and his family which consisted of his wife, Bonnie, and two teenage kids, Nancy and Kenyon. Clutter was a well to do farmer in Holcomb, Kansas. After learning about the murders, Capote decided to travel to Holcomb to write an article about the crime. He took along with him his childhood friend, fellow author Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird), working as his assistant. Neither one knew it at the time, but they would spend the next four years or so interviewing, recording, and writing hundreds and hundreds of pages of notes turning it into a bestselling and stunning piece of investigating reporting. The killers, caught six weeks after the murders, were two life-long losers named, Richard ‘Dick’ Hickock and Perry Smith. Continue reading

Book Review: The First King of Hollywood: The Life of Douglas Fairbanks

King   Except for his best friend, Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks was the biggest and best known superstar of silent films. He basically established the swashbuckler sub-genre with films like The Mark of Zorro, The Thief of Bagdad, The Three Musketeers and Robin Hood. Before Errol Flynn, before Tyrone Power ever picked up a sword, Fairbanks and his acrobatic style brought new adventures and thrills to early film audiences. Continue reading