Posted by R. Emmet Sweeney on August 4, 2015
Bebe Daniels was a born performer. She debuted on film at the age of nine as Dorothy Gale in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1910, a Selig Polyscope short), and went on to a long and varied career, from co-starring in Harold Lloyd comedy shorts to headlining Cecil B. Demille bodice rippers, before settling in England as a popular radio personality. In 1928 she was in the middle of an interesting run at Paramount/Famous Players Lasky, making subversive comedies in which she was taking on traditionally male roles (as Fritzi Kramer has noted at Movies Silently). She was the lead in Miss Brewster’s Millions (1926), re-booting the George Barr McCutcheon novel with a female lead, a Zorro-figure in Senorita (1927), and takes on a Valentino-esque persona in She’s a Sheik (1927). In 1928 the cast of She’s a Sheik (Daniels, Richard Arlen, and William Powell) was brought back together for Feel My Pulse (1928), a madcap hypochondriac comedy directed by the up and coming Gregory La Cava. La Cava was a cartoonist who was hired by William Randolph Hearst’s International Film Service to oversee their animations. After that business went kaput, he entered live action two-reelers and features, finally making his way to Bebe Daniels and Feel My Pulse. Anthology Film Archives recently screened a beautiful print preserved by the Library of Congress, which is 63 minutes of gags, a showcase for Daniels’ effervescent personality and La Cava’s comic strip punchlines.
Posted by Susan Doll on August 3, 2015
Today, the films of Adolphe Menjou are highlighted as part TCM’s Summer Under the Stars. Classic movie lovers know Menjou as the dapper, erudite gent with the cane, hat, and waxed mustache. In comedies, melodramas, crime stories, and historical dramas, he was the older suitor, the authoritative boss, the cultured crook, the aristocrat. He was such a fixture in Golden Age movies that it is easy to assume he always played supporting characters. That’s the assumption an entertainment writer for the McClatchy-Tribune Information Services made just a few days ago in an online article promoting Summer Under the Stars. The writer questioned TCM’s decision to include Menjou, Mae Clarke, Virginia Bruce, and Monty Woolley, implying they were never really stars. She also hints that perhaps these performers are too obscure to be true stars. The writer, who will remain nameless, commits the fatal error that many web scribes make: She failed to adequately research her topic, assuming that if her generation has not heard of these actors, they must be obscure. She is wrong about Menjou. He was indeed a star before he evolved into a well-respected supporting player; as a matter of fact, he was a romantic lead for almost a decade.
Posted by gregferrara on August 2, 2015
Tonight TCM airs one of my favorite films of all time, The Adventures of Robin Hood, directed by Michael Curtiz and William Keighly, and starring Errol Flynn in the role that truly cemented his status as a swashbuckling icon after earlier star-making successes like Captain Blood set the stage. Also starring cinematic greats Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone, Alan Hale, Sr., Eugene Pallette, and Claude Rains, The Adventures of Robin Hood stands the test of time despite the fact that Flynn is prancing around in green tights, not looking rugged at all. Or maybe because of that? Later renditions of Robin Hood, including that one with Kevin Costner, tried to make Robin appear, clothing-wise, more as he would have in real life, or so we’re led to believe. And to that I say phooey. Why is everyone so concerned with making everyone look so damn salt of the earth and rugged?
If you were so inclined, you could convincingly argue that Ernst Lubitsch’s Heaven Can Wait is a representative example of its time: a costume drama that luxuriates in period detail (playing to the strengths of 20th Century Fox); .a character study told with inventive narrative techniques and non-chronological structure (ike Preston Sturges’ The Great McGinty or Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane); in glorious Technicolor (surging to popularity in the wake of Snow White and The Seven Dwarves).
Except…this is Ernst Lubitsch we are talking about. He did not make movies like everyone else.
Posted by gregferrara on July 31, 2015
This morning on TCM, Suddenly, the 1954 thriller starring Sterling Hayden and Frank Sinatra, aired and if you didn’t see it, you missed a good one. The story is of an assassination attempt on the president of the United States who happens to be passing through the town of Suddenly, California. The secret service show up to check all the buildings and houses in the parts of the town that the president will be passing through and enlist the aid of Sheriff Tod Shaw (Sterling Hayden). The Benson house on the hill, overlooking the train tracks where the president’s train will pull into town, is owned by Pop Benson (James Gleason), a former secret service man himself, and his widowed daughter, Ellen, and her son, Pidge, live with him. Before the sheriff and secret service can check his house, though, three men posing as FBI agents show up and say they’re investigating the house instead. The “FBI agents” are led by John Baron (Frank Sinatra) who says they’re helping out the service but when Shaw and the secret service arrive, Baron and his men kill the secret service agent and wound Shaw. It turns out they’re hired assassins, there to kill the president. Baron will be the trigger man with a house full of hostages. Now Shaw, one of those hostages, has less than an hour to stop Baron before the president arrives.
Posted by Kimberly Lindbergs on July 30, 2015
My better half and I just celebrated our wedding anniversary by taking a leisurely road trip through the Sonoma backwoods and along the California Coast. On our return, we decided to make a stop in Bodega Bay where Alfred Hitchcock shot THE BIRDS (1963). I’ve spent time in Bodega before and it is one of the loveliest little coastal towns in Sonoma. It’s also extremely proud of its association with one of Hitchcock’s best and most celebrated films. While I was there I wandered along the wharf, visited some filming locations and spent time at the Hitchcock museum located inside the Bodega Country Store. The trip was a lot of fun and I snapped many pictures while I was there so I thought I would share my adventure in Bodega Bay with TCM’s blog readers.
Posted by Richard Harland Smith on July 29, 2015
Now that TCM Underground is taking a little summer break, I finally have a chance to get around to my mail. The latest issue of Shock Cinema dropped in over the transom so long ago, it seems to me, that I hope it’s still on the newsstands (you know, because it’s 1945 and you all still buy your magazines from newsstands) for you to pick up after my rave review! But I’m getting ahead of myself… [...MORE]
Posted by R. Emmet Sweeney on July 28, 2015
In the summer of 1956, Sam Fuller took a 50% stake in Globe Enterprises, an independent production company that would strike deals with RKO, Twentieth-Century Fox, and Columbia for financing and distribution. He received creative control over his projects, and though this setup only lasted through 1961, he made six strong films with Globe: Run of the Arrow, China Gate, Forty Guns, Verboten!, The Crimson Kimono, and Underworld U.S.A. His first Globe production, Run of the Arrow (’57), is now available on a long-overdue DVD from the Warner Archive, and reflects the unusual freedom Fuller secured himself in this period. It is a prickly, jumpy Western in which a post-Civil War Confederate loyalist named O’Meara (Rod Steiger) joins the Sioux in order to fight against the United States. It depicts America as a land of perpetual warfare, one in which race and cultural hatreds are reconfigured to justify the current battle, whether without or within. It is a film of jagged rhythms, its chase scenes broken into extreme long shots and close-ups, which are then followed by minutes-long takes of two-shot conversations. At no point does one feel settled or comfortable regarding a character’s motivations or their position in space, and that is how Fuller wanted it.
Posted by Susan Doll on July 27, 2015
TCM joins with Bonham’s auction house to present “Treasures from the Dream Factory,” a selection of high-profile movie memorabilia to be sold this November. This is the third year for the event, which is open to everyone. The first year, the statue from The Maltese Falcon sold for $4 million; last year, the piano from Casablanca was auctioned for $3.5 million. I am sure you have seen the video preview on TCM for this year’s auction. Among the items up for bidding is a Rosebud sled from Citizen Kane, which had been given to Herman Mankiewicz at the end of shooting, Dorothy’s gingham dress from The Wizard of Oz, a Golden Ticket from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and a variety of items from Natalie Wood’s estate. The video promises that most of the items for auction will be affordable to the average collector, despite these high-profile pieces.
The video for the auction prompted me to think about what pieces of movie memorabilia I would like to own. I discovered that my tastes run on a much smaller scale than iconic props and costumes from Hollywood’s most famous movies. However, Hendrik Wynands, the head of construction on Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory who provided the Golden Ticket, makes a good point in the video. He notes that people should collect what appeals to them based on the movies that touch them personally. That is where the true value lies. Memorabilia is more than owning a piece of the movie; it’s a tangible reminder of the meaning that the movie holds for the collector, and a trigger for the emotions behind that meaning. [...MORE]
Posted by Pablo Kjolseth on July 26, 2015
If you stay up past midnight tonight, TCM will be screening an influential supernatural film about a violent alcoholic who at one point will grab an ax to splinter down a door behind which can be found his terrified family. And, yes, ghosts are involved. And, no, it’s not The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980). The film in question is Victor Sjöström’s The Phantom Carriage, which was released in 1921. Fans of The Shining will be quick to notice that this is the same year printed at bottom of the iconic last shot of Kubrick’s film that shows us a black-and-white photograph with Jack Torrance frozen in time. [...MORE]
MovieMorlocks.com is the official blog for TCM. No topic is too obscure or niche to be excluded from our film discussions. And we welcome your comments on our blogs and bloggers.
See more: facebook.com/tcmtv
See more: twitter.com/tcm
3-D Academy Awards Action Films Actors Actors' Endorsements Actresses animal stars Animation Anime Anthology Films Art Direction Art in Movies Asians in Hollywood Australian CInema Autobiography Avant-Garde Aviation Awards B-movies Beer in Film Behind the Scenes Best of the Year lists Biography Biopics Black Film Blu-Ray Books on Film Boxing films British Cinema Canadian Cinema Character Actors Chicago Film History Cinematography Classic Films College Life on Film Comedy Comic Book Movies Crime Czech Film Dance on Film Digital Cinema Directors Disaster Films Documentary Drama DVD Early Talkies Editing Educational Films European Influence on American Cinema Experimental Exploitation Fairy Tales on Film Faith or Christian-based Films Family Films Film Composers Film Criticism Film Festival 2015 film festivals Film History in Florida Film Noir Film Scholars Film titles Filmmaking Techniques Films About Gambling Films of the 1960s Films of the 1970s Films of the 1980s Food in Film Foreign Film French Film Gangster films Genre Genre spoofs HD & Blu-Ray Holiday Movies Hollywood history Hollywood lifestyles Horror Horror Movies Icons independent film Italian Film Japanese Film Korean Film Literary Adaptations Martial Arts Melodramas Memorabilia Method Acting Mexican Cinema Moguls Monster Movies Movie Books Movie Costumes movie flops Movie locations Movie lovers Movie Reviewers Movie settings Movie Stars Movie titles Movies about movies Music in Film Musicals New Releases Outdoor Cinema Paranoid Thrillers Parenting on film Pirate movies Polish film industry political thrillers Politics in Film Pornography Pre-Code Producers Race in American Film Remakes Revenge Road Movies Romance Romantic Comedies Satire Scandals Science Fiction Screenwriters Semi-documentaries Serials Set design/production design Short Films Silent Film silent films Social Problem Film Sports Sports on Film Stereotypes Straight-to-DVD Studio Politics Stunts and stuntmen Suspense thriller Swashbucklers TCM Classic Film Festival TCM Underground Television The British in Hollywood The Germans in Hollywood The Hungarians in Hollywood The Irish in Hollywood Theaters Thriller Trains in movies U.S.S. Indianapolis Underground Cinema VOD War film Westerns Women in the Film Industry Women's Weepies