Wednesday, March 28, 2012
My Wild Irish Rose(1947) film directed by David Butler. cast: Dennis Morgan and Arlene Dahl. It was nominated for an Academy Award in 1948.
A fictionalized bio-pic of Chancellor Olcott, the film showcases the rise of an Irish-American tenor to stardom at the end of the 19th century and start of the 20th.
Olcott's original composition, of the same name, was included in the film's music, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Scoring of a Musical Picture.
Working, as a tugboat operator Chauncey Olcott, has dreams of making it "big" in show business. Soon finds a way into a dinner party in honor of the famous, Miss Lillian Russell, who tells him that he has a wonderful voice. With that Chauncey, decides to tell his mother, that he is ready to leave home to follow his dreams. His mother gives Chauncey his father's watch and asks him not to use his father's name until he can honor it with success. Chauncey, quickly pawns the watch to buy a banjo and using the stage name Jack Chancellor, travels around the country.
When his money for the watch runs out, he trades in his carriage for the lease on a bar. Later, he stops a runaway horse carrying Rose Donovan and immediately falls in love with her. It is not long before Chauncey learns, Nick Popolis, is the real owner of the bar is and demotes Chauncey to janitor and Rose is engaged to Terry O'Rourke.
Rose, Popolis, Terry and her father John, travel to New York to hear Chauncey sing. There, Terry learns of Chauncey's feelings for Rose and sends some of his friends to beat up the singer. After, Chauncey wins the fight with the help of his friends, Rose invites him to meet her and her father at church the next day, but Chauncey, finds himself behind bars. Several days later, Duke Muldoon, another member of the show, pays Chauncey's bail, but he has already lost his job.
Looking for work, Chauncey again meets Lillian Russell, who hires him to sing in her show. When, Rose hears the rumors of a romance between Lillian and Chauncey, she travels to New York to find out for herself. Rose misunderstands, what she finds, heartbroken she returns home.
After Lillian's show closes, Popolis, who manages the Irish singer William Scanlon, hires Chauncey to sing in the show. For the first time, Chauncey performs using his own name.
On St. Patrick's Day, Scanlon is unable to sing, and Chauncey takes his place. Disappointed the crowd is furious, until Chauncey's voice charms them. Scanlon wants Chauncey to be his successor and gives him a watch he received from the Prince of Wales. Will Chauncey win over Rose heart once again?
This very charming musical played beautifully by Dennis Morgan and Arlene Dahl his love interest. There are over 25 songs: Come Down My Evening Star; My Nellie's Blue Eyes; You Tell Me Your Dream; Wait Till The Sun Shines, Nellie; Will You Love Me In December?; By The Light Of The Silvery Moon; Minstrel Days; Polly Wolly Doodle; The Natchez and the Robert E. Lee; Miss Lindy Lou; If I'm Dreaming; Wee Rose of Killarney; Shake Hands; One Little Girl; A Little Bit of Heaven; Mary; Sweet Innescarren; Tiddely Um; When Irish Eyes Are Smiling; Mother Machree; The Kerey Fair; Room In My Heart; My Wild Irish Rose.
Although, the film only earned one Oscar nomination for Scoring. I also think it should have won one for Art Direction and Costume Design.
Dahl began her acting career in 1947. She reached the peak of her popularity and success in the 1950s. Some of her films include: Reign of Terror (1949), Three Little Words (1950), Woman's World (1954), Slightly Scarlet (1956), and Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959).
Friday, March 16, 2012
So Goes My Love(1946). Directed by Frank Ryan. Cast: Myrna Loy, Don Ameche. Comedy based on A Genius in the Family, the memoir of Hiram Percy Maxim, and focusing on the relationship between Maxim and his father, Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim.
Jane Budden, looking for husband, takes the money from selling the family pigs and travels south to Brooklyn, to follow her dreams. On her way to visit her cousin, Garnet Allison, Jane meets the eccentric handsome, Hiram Stevens Maxim, a poor inventor.
Garnet, invites several of the local matrons to her home to help Jane, find a suitable husband. They become concerned, when she says she does not really care who she marries just as long as he is, intelligent and wealthy. Hiram's landlady Mrs. Meade, warns him of the "designing woman" who is his new neighbor. Hiram, with flowers in hand, goes to visit Jane, to ask about why she moved to Brooklyn .
The next day, smoke is seen coming from Mrs. Meade's boardinghouse. The volunteer fire brigade, arrives but are unable to find the source of the smoke, which was caused from a curling iron, Hiram's latest invention.
Jane, soon becomes popular with many of the young men and while dancing, she notices Hiram, saying negative comments on each of her potential suitors. Especially, on Josephus, who, is a wealthy lawyer. When, Hiram attends Jane and Josephus, engagement party uninvited and predicts she will never be happy with Josephus. Hiram's predictions begin to become true when, Josephus asks Jane to sign a pre-wedding contract and how he expects her to behave. Jane, breaks off their engagement and goes looking Hiram and proposes to him. He accepts after warning her that he is poor and has nothing to offer her.
Soon, they have a son Percy and Hiram's inventions begin to become successful. The House of Science decides to honor Hiram as inventor and engineer of the times and ask that he sit for a formal portrait.
Jane, now pregnant with their second child, wants to see Hiram's picture along side other world famous inventors, but Hiram refuses. Jane hires a scatterbrained artist, Magel, to come to the house to do the portrait.
While Hiram's is having his portrait painted.. Jane, is chasing after Percy's dog who is wearing the new babies bonnet, falls and becomes seriously ill. Will Jane and the new baby recover?
I just finished watching this charming film. Ameche and Loy do a wonderful job with their light comedy roles, so much so that I could almost ignore that they were too old for the parts they were playing.
The Universal International back lot was used for the wagon ride scene. The two houses used in the film were constructed on stage 12. In 1950, the stock units from the sound stage sets were reconstructed on the new colonial street. The "Maxim house" was used in the movie " One Desire" (1955) and the "Allison Home" used in the movie "Harvey" (1950) In 1964 Universal studios tour guides called the sets the "Munster House" (Maxim house) and the "Harvey house" . Today the sets are located on Wisteria Lane - 4349 Wisteria Lane (Allison Home) - 4351 Wisteria Lane (Maxim house)
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Downton Abbey a Period drama. Created by Julian Fellowes. Written by Julian Fellowes, Shelagh Stephenson and Tina Pepler.
Directed by: Brian Percival
Downton Abbey is a television series, co produced by Carnival Films in the UK and WGBH Boston in the US. The series is set on the fictional estate of Downton Abbey in the North Riding of Yorkshire, and premiered on ITV on 26 September 2010 and on PBS on 9 January 2011.
Ratings were high and the first series won many awards and nominations after its initial run. It has become the most successful British costume drama since the 1981 television serial version of Brideshead Revisited, and in 2011 it entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the "most critically acclaimed English-language television show" for the year, becoming the first co-produced US/British show to be so recognised by the Guinness Book of Records.
Highclere Castle in Hampshire was used for exterior shots of Downton Abbey and most of the interior filming. The servants' living areas were constructed and filmed at Ealing Studios.
The village of Bampton in Oxfordshire was used for filming outdoor scenes, most notably St Mary's Church and the library, which serves as the entrance to the cottage hospital. The Yorkshire towns and cities of Easingwold, Kirkby, Kirkbymoorside, Leeds, Malton, Middlesbrough, Ripon, Richmond, Thirsk and York.
We begin the story by meeting the Crawley family and their staff, the day after the sinking of the Titanic in April 1912. The family is very concerned about finding a male heir to the Grantham estate and Lady Mary finding a suitable husband.
The family is near financial ruin and the family fortune was saved only when Earl, married a rich American heiress. The earl, had three daughters and no son, and arranged for his eldest daughter to marry her cousin, keeping both title and estate in the family. Both heirs were lost in sinking of the Titanic. The family brings in a distant cousin, from Manchester, to inherit everything.
I just started watching this series and so far, I have really enjoyed the story, costumes, characters, beautiful scenes and the grand detail in the social graces of the period..
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Vivian Leigh and Clark Gable, are possibly the best known classic movie couples and their performance in the film, Gone with the Wind(1939), is one of the most romantic stories of all time.
Rhett and Scarlett, first meet at the Wilkes Twelve Oaks Plantation barbecue. Rhett is "a visitor from Charleston" who was expelled from West Point and is not received by any family not even his own. Rhett's attraction with Scarlett begins when he overhears her telling Ashley how much she loves him.
They meet again after the death of Scarlett's first husband, Charles Hamilton, while she is staying with Charles' sister Melanie and their Aunt Pittypat in Atlanta during the war. Rhett, now a blockade runner, creates a scandal when he bids on Scarlett at a fund raiser dance.
As the Yankees are approaching Atlanta, Scarlett stays behind to help deliver Melanie's baby and begs Rhett to get them out of the city. Once they have escaped Atlanta, Rhett, having a change of heart, joins the withdrawing Confederate soldiers for their last stand against General Sherman. Before he leaves, Rhett wants a kiss from Scarlett, but she refuses.. he steals a kiss from her and she slaps him and tells him that she hopes he is killed. He leaves Scarlett behind to find her way home.
Several months later, Scarlett returns to Atlanta, hoping to receive money from Rhett to pay Tara's taxes, only to learn that he is in military jail. Scarlett pretends to be concerned about Rhett's life being in danger, when Rhett realizes that she is lying, he tells her that he has no money to give to her and she storms out.
She then meets Frank Kennedy(her sister Suellen's boyfriend) she sees that he has done very well for himself and then lies when she tells him that Suellen is married to someone else. After, they are quickly married and Frank, pays the owed taxes on Tara.
Later, Scarlett is shocked when she sees Rhett free from the Yankees and he is shocked that she has rushed into yet another marriage to a man she does not love.
Frank Kennedy, is killed during a raid on the shanty town after Scarlett is attacked and Rhett saves Ashley Wilkes and his group by making up a alibi for them.
While Scarlett is mourning Frank's death, Rhett comes with a marriage proposal and he tells her that he will win her love one day because they are both the same. Rhett secretly hopes that Scarlett will love him as much as he loves her..
After a honeymoon in New Orleans, Rhett promises to restore Tara to the way it used to be, while Scarlett builds the biggest mansion in Atlanta. They have a daughter named Bonnie Blue Butler.
Scarlett, still pining away for Ashley and now upset about gaining weight after having the baby, lets Rhett know that she does not want anymore children. In anger, he kicks open the door that separates their bedrooms to show her that a locked door will keep him out.
When visiting the mill one day, Scarlett comforts Ashley and Ashley's sister India, who hates Scarlett, walks in on them. She spreads a rumor about what she claims to have seen. Later that night, Rhett, having heard the rumors, forces Scarlett to attend a birthday party for Ashley dressed in a red dress. Melanie stands by Scarlett's side so everyone knows that she does not believe the rumors.
At home later that night, Scarlett finds Rhett downstairs drunk, where he tells Scarlett that he could kill her if he thought it would make her forget Ashley. He carries her up the stairs in his arms, telling her, "This is one night you're not turning me out." In the morning she wakes up happy but Rhett returns to apologize for his behavior and says that he will give her a divorce. Rhett decides to take Bonnie on an long trip to London only to find out, that Bonnie wants her mother. Rhett returns and Scarlett is happy to see him, but he continues to be distant. She tells him that she is pregnant again. They get into an argument and Scarlett, lunges at Rhett and falls down the stairs and has a miscarriage, Rhett is over come with with guilt. As Scarlett is recovering, their daughter, Bonnie, falls off a pony and dies.
When Scarlett's realizes that she is really in love with her husband, it is too late and he leaves her with his famous line: "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."
I can not imagine any one else playing Scarlett O'Hara, but the beautiful Vivien Leigh, who was at the peak of her career. Scarlett's love for Ashley foolishly takes over her life and keeps her away from Rhett, who truly loves her. I feel the same way about Clark Gable's performance as Rhett Butler. Even though he did the right thing in the end. I wished that he would have stayed with Scarlett.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Operator 13(1934). Romantic spy film set in the American Civil War. Director: Richard Boleslawski. Cast: Marion Davies, Gary Cooper and Jean Parker.
Early in the Civil War, after performer Gail Loveless performs a really cute number involving hats, she is recruited as spy "Operator 13." by her friend, Pauline Cushman, known as spy "Operator 27." Gail and Pauline's, first assignment together is to go to the headquarters of Confederate General "Jeb" Stuart. Disguised as a black maid and a weird voice, Gail meets Captain Jack Gailliard, a Confederate officer, when he rides by and ruins her clean laundry. When Pauline asks too many questions about Jack, who is a spy for the south, he and Captain Cornelius Channing become suspicious and have her room searched.
When a traveling medicine show run by Doctor Hitchcock, who is secretly a captain in the Northern army, come looking for Operators 27 and 13. Gail, gives him information that he wanted about Confederate troop, as Pauline is being arrested. Gail, is also suspected of being a spy, but when she is brought to testify at Pauline's trial, she says that her mistress "turned Yankee." Pauline is sentenced to death, but Gail and Hitchcock help her to escape.
Back in Washington, Pinkerton knows that Pauline can no longer spy for him, so he gives Gail the mission to learn more about the activities of Jack, whom Pinkerton suspects is working with "Copperheads,". To make herself believable, Gail, openly jeers at marching Union soldiers. She and a man posing as her father are then arrested. When the incident is reported in Southern newspapers, Gail now known as "Anne" becomes the guest of Mrs. Shackleford and her daughter Eleanor. Gail, also runs into Jack, who suspects that he has seen her before.
While at the Shackleford's, Gail is able to pass on information that results in a victory, but causes the death of Eleanor's fiance. Feeling guilty over John's death, Gail goes into the garden and accidentally meets up with Jack, who tells her that he loves her. She moves him out of the aim of one of her operatives who is spying on them. She gets away from Jack, dressed in a Confederate soldier's uniform, heads North after the operative tells her that the Confederates now know she is a spy and are out looking for her. As Jack and Channing, hot on her heals, chase her into the woods, they split up and Jack finds Gail asleep in a little house. He calls her a a traitor and says he is going to take her back for a court-martial. He handcuffs Gail, but as they leave the house, they see Union soldiers kill Channing. Gail and Jack, escape together and Jack heads South, while Gail goes North. Will they ever be reunited?
Operator 13, has a couple of entertaining musical numbers such as: the traditional Civil War era melodies sung by Davies, a campfire chorus and the Mills Brothers songs. Also, the battle scenes are very well done..
Although Curly Howard of The Three Stooges played the part of a Confederate Soldier in this film, most of his part was cut prior to release. However, he can still be seen briefly in one sequence.
Her other films include: The King's Vacation (1933) (her largest role, the female lead opposite George Arliss), Bureau of Missing Persons (1933), Private Number (1936), You'll Never Get Rich (1941), and Meet The Stewarts (1942). Gateson's film career faded in the late 1940s and she moved onto Television roles.
Monday, December 26, 2011
That Hamilton Woman(1941). British historical film drama produced and directed by Alexander Korda for Alexander Korda Films. Stars Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier were newlyweds at the time of filming and were considered a "dream couple". That Hamilton Woman is one of three films they made together. Their first film, Fire Over England, was also produced by Korda. In one scene Nelson (Laurence Olivier) says he has received orders from Admiral Hood; Olivier played Admiral Hood 43 years later in The Bounty (1984). That Hamilton Woman(1941)is said to be Winston Churchill's favorite movie. He claimed to have seen it 83 times.
In Calais, a destitute woman is caught stealing a bottle of wine and put in jail, where she tells Mary Smith, another prisoner that she really is, Lady Hamilton:
In 1786, young Emma Hart travels to Naples with her mother, Mrs. Cadogan-Lyon, to the palace of Sir William Hamilton and uncle of her lover, Charles Greville. Emma, is heartbroken when Hamilton, tells her that Charles, never intended to marry her and that he sent her to Naples, to pay off his debts. Hamilton, promises Emma a new life in Naples as his wife.
They are soon visited by Horatio Nelson, a British naval officer, who tells them that England is now at war with France. Nelson, has come to Naples wanting military support and Emma asks the queen to send troops.
After five years of war, they run out of resources and the support of the European countries. Nelson receives a visit from Emma, who can not believe that he has lost an arm and is blind in one eye. She tells him that the queen, promises to send more troops and Nelson goes on to defeat Napoleon in Egypt.
After winning the war he returns to Naples, Nelson is very ill and nursed back to health by Emma, with whom he falls in love. Nelson, who is married and leaves for Malta, but disobeys orders and returns to Naples when he learns that a revolution has broken out. He saves the royal family and the Hamiltons, which angers the British Admiralty, who order him to return to England.
While waiting for Nelson at a London hotel, the Lady Frances Nelson and her father-in-law, Reverend Nelson, are visited by Lord Spencer, who tell them that Nelson has arrived, with Emma. After Emma faints Lady Nelson, knows that Emma is pregnant, confronts her husband and promises never to divorce him. Reverend Nelson, tells his son to do the right thing and end his affair with Emma, but Nelson refuses.
After Emma gives birth to a daughter, Horatia, her mother thinks that she should go back to the very ill Hamilton, to protect her inheritance, but Emma refuses and is left penniless.
Nelson and Emma move to the country, where they live happily until 1805, when Nelson is called to defend England against Napoleon. Nelson leads his men to victory at the Battle of Trafalgar, but is killed. Captain Hardy, brings the sad news to Emma and years later, in the jail at Calais, she says that her life ended when Nelson was killed.
Vivien Leigh, is wonderful in the role that came not long after her success in the film, 'Gone With The Wind'. Her character Emma is flirty and scheming. The part of Nelson is performed by Laurence Olivier, and his performs the role perfectly. In supporting roles, Alan Mowbray and Gladys Cooper, also give excellent performances.
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Little Women (1949). based on Louisa May Alcott's novel of the same name. The original music score was composed by Adolph Deutsch. The film also marked the American film debut of Italian actor Rossano Brazzi. Sir C. Aubrey Smith, whose acting career had spanned four decades, died in 1948; Little Women was his final film.
This story takes place during the Civil War as Meg, Jo, Amy and Beth live with their mother, while their father serves in the Union Army. Marmee, thinks that it is important in giving to those less fortunate than themselves, especially during the Christmas Holidays.
Amy often complains about the family's lack of wealth and social status, Jo, an aspiring writer, keeps everyone entertained with her stories and plays, while the shy Beth, joins in Jo's productions with an out-of-tune piano. The spirited Jo, strikes up a friendship with Laurie, the grandson of James Laurence.
Later that winter, Jo impresses Mr. Laurence with her effect on Laurie, he invites the March sisters to a ball at his grand home. At the ball, Meg is courted by John Brooke and Jo dances with Laurie, while Amy and Beth view with wide eyes the scene from the staircase. Mr. Laurence, is charmed by Beth, who reminds him of the beloved granddaughter he lost. When he learns that she can play the piano, he offers her the use of his grand piano. The beautiful evening ends in disaster when Amy and Beth overhear a woman and her daughter gossiping about Marmee.
As the weeks pass, Laurie's falls for Jo and she lets him know that she will never marry. Jo, also tries the best she can to stop Meg's feelings for Mr. Brooke. When spring arrives, Marmee receives word that Mr. March has been wounded and sent to an Army hospital in Washington, D.C. Jo goes to her wealthy Aunt March to ask for Marmee's train fare, but quickly leaves after the two have a heated argument. Aunt March comes through for the family, but not before Jo has sold her long beautiful hair to pay for Marmee's trip. Beth becomes ill with scarlet fever and the sisters realize how much they depend on Marmee. Just as Marmee returns, Beth's fever breaks and the family is relieved.
Meg marries Mr. Brooke and Laurie asks Jo to marry him, but she turns him down, telling him that she wants to become a writer. Heartbroken, Laurie leaves for Europe and Jo, moves to New York to pursue her career. While boarding at the home of the Kirke family, Jo meets Prof. Bhaer, who introduces her to the arts.
Prof. Bhaer agrees to read Jo's stories, but Jo is devastated when he criticizes her work. Bursting into tears, Jo tells him that she feels abandoned by Laurie and hurt that Aunt March, who had promised her a trip to Europe, has taken Amy in her place. After consoling Jo, Bhaer advises her to write from her heart and Jo decides to return home. She returns to a nearly empty home, where Jo learns that her beloved Beth is dying and spends the next few weeks caring for her. After Beth's death, Jo begins writing a novel entitled My Beth, which she sends to Prof. Bhaer for his opinion.
Later, Meg, now the mother of twins, breaks the news to Jo that Laurie and Amy are planning to be married. Although, Jo is happy for the couple, she realizes for the first time how lonely she really is.
While celebrating the young couple marriage, Prof. Bhaer arrives with Jo's novel, which he has had published. However, when Laurie answers the door, Prof. Bhaer mistakenly believes that Jo has married Laurie and declines Laurie's invitation to come in. After Jo catches up to, Prof. Bhaer and they fall into each other's arms and Prof. Bhaer proposes marriage, Jo happily accepts.
What a fantastic cast! Everyone has their favorite of the many film versions of the Little Woman classic and this is mine.
The basket that 'Margaret O'Brien' carries around in this movie is the same basket that Judy Garland carried in The Wizard of Oz.
The snow in this movie was actually cornflakes.
In the novel, Amy is the youngest sister, but in order to use 'Margaret O'Brien' as Beth, Beth was made the youngest.
One of the three films June Allyson considered her personal favorites of her films.
In the scene where Beth (Margaret O'Brien) tells Jo (June Allyson) that she doesn't mind dying, June Allyson's tears were real. She was so moved by Margaret O'Brien's performance that she was sent home early, still crying, and had to pull over several times on her journey home as her tears rendered her unable to drive.
Peter Lawford and Janet Leigh narrated the trailer.
June Allyson was 32 when she played 15-year-old Jo March.
Brazzi died in Rome on Christmas Eve 1994, aged 78, from a neural virus.
We the Living (1942)
Little Women (1949)
Three Coins in the Fountain (1954)
The Barefoot Contessa (1954)
Loser Takes All (1956)
Legend of the Lost (1957)
The Story of Esther Costello (1957)
South Pacific (1958)
A Certain Smile (1958)
Count Your Blessings (1959)
Siege of Syracuse (1960)
Three Fables of Love (1962)
The Light in the Piazza (1962)
Rome Adventure (1962)
Dark Purpose (1964)
The Christmas That Almost Wasn't (1966)
The Bobo (1967)
Krakatoa, East of Java (1969)
The Italian Job (1969)
Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981)
The Far Pavilions (1984)