Monday, December 26, 2011

That Hamilton Woman(1941).

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.

Dame Gladys Constance Cooper(18 December 1888 – 17 November 1971). In 1913 she performed in her first film, The Eleventh Commandment, going on to make many silent films. Cooper found success in Hollywood performing in character roles playing disapproving, aristocratic society woman, although she sometimes played approachable types, as she did in Rebecca (1940). She was nominated three times for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performances as Bette Davis's domineering mother in Now, Voyager (1942), a nun in, The Song of Bernadette (1943) and Rex Harrison's mother, Mrs. Higgins in, My Fair Lady (1964). Other well known film performances include, The Green Years (1946), The Secret Garden (1949), Separate Tables (1958) and The Happiest Millionaire (19670.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Little Women (1949)

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.

Fun Facts:

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.

Rossano Brazzi (18 September 1916 – 24 December 1994). Brazzi was born in Bologna. He became famous with his role in the film, Three Coins in the Fountain (1954), followed by, Summertime (1955), opposite Katharine Hepburn. His other well known films include: The Barefoot Contessa (1954), The Story of Esther Costello (1957), South Pacific (1958), Count Your Blessings (1959),The Light in the Piazza (1962), and The Italian Job (1969).

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)
Summertime (1955)
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)
Redhead (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)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Emma (1996).

Emma (1996). Period film based on the novel of the same name by Jane Austen. Directed by Douglas McGrath. Cast: Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeremy Northam, Toni Collette and Ewan McGregor.

When her governess, Miss Taylor, gets married to Mr. Weston, Emma, believes that she brought the couple together. Her father and George Knightley, disapproves of her making any more matches, but she ignores their wishes and begins making plans setting up the minister, Mr. Elton with her close friend Harriett. What she does not know is that Harriet is being courted by a farmer, Robert Martin. When Mr. Martin proposes to Harriet, she wants to accept, but Emma persuades her to reject his proposal.

Mr. Elton has become interested in Emma and gives her a book of riddles written by Harriet. Emma misinterprets this as interest in Harriet, but when Mr. Elton and Emma are alone, he declares his love for Emma and she realizes her mistake. She rejects him and he later marries another woman, who competes with Emma for status in the community.

Emma, hurts Miss Bates feelings during a picnic, after which Mr. Knightley gives Emma a piece of his mind and leaves town. She doesn't realise she loves him until Harriet shows interest in him. When Mr. Knightley returns, he and Emma cross paths and have a conversation that begins awkwardly but ends with him asking her to marry him and her accepting.

The news of their engagement upsets Harriet, who avoids Emma for a while, but returns a few weeks later, engaged to Mr. Martin. The film ends with Emma and Mr. Knightley's wedding.

If you're looking for a film that you can watch with the whole family, or looking for a romance for yourself, Emma is the movie for you. With a beautiful setting, wonderful costumes and an outstanding cast.

Fun Facts:

Mrs. Bates and Miss Bates, mother and daughter in the film, are played by real-life mother and daughter Phyllida Law and Sophie Thompson (who are also real-life mother and sister to Academy-Award-winning actress and screenwriter Emma Thompson).

Emma and Mr. Knightley's dance is called "Mr. Beveridge's Maggot" (to the tune of the same name). (A "maggot" is "a whimsical fancy.") This same tune and dance were previously used in Pride and Prejudice for Elizabeth Bennet's dance with Mr. Darcy at the Netherfield Ball.

The yellow embroidered gown Greta Scacchi (Mrs. Weston) wears to dinner at Hartfield is the same costume worn by Priscilla Morgan (Mrs.Bennet) in Pride and Prejudice, and by Lucy Robinson (Mrs. Elton) at Hartfield in Emma.

The blue striped dress with long sleeves Gwyneth Paltrow (Emma Woodhouse) wears at Hartfield is the same gown worn by a guest at the Towers in the opening scene of Wives and Daughters, and by Mali Harries (Ann Rood) for her wedding in Byron. The same costume is also worn by one of the maids at Chawton Cottage in Miss Austen Regrets, and by Laura Pyper (Jane Fairfax) while reading a letter in Emma.

The blue gown with sheer, white sleeves Polly Walker (Jane Fairfax) wears in the final scene is the same gown Tanya Samuel wears to dinner in The Regency House Party, Abigail Thaw (Jane Osborne) wears to dinner in Vanity Fair, and Amanda Hale (Mary Musgrove) wears at Camden Place in Persuasion.

The dot-patterned beige muslin day dress with puffy sleeves Greta Scacchi (Mrs. Weston) wears at Randalls is the same costume Joanna David (Mrs. Gardiner) wears at the Inn at Lambton in Pride and Prejudice, Barbara Flynn wears at the Towers in the opening scene of in Wives and Daughters, and Georgia King (Pet Meagles) wears on the ship in Little Dorrit.

The teal velvet bonnet Greta Scacchi (Mrs. Weston) wears in the final scene is the same one worn by Felicity Dean (Mrs. Clay) to visit Lady Dalrymple in Persuasion, and Emma Pierson (Fanny Dorrit) wears to visit Mrs. Merdles in Little Dorrit.

The tan striped gown with teal scallop trim at the hem Greta Scacchi (Mrs. Weston) wears in the final scene is the same costume worn by a guest at the Easter Ball in Wives and Daughters, and by Emma Pierson (Fanny Dorrit) to visit Mrs. Merdles in Little Dorrit.

The fuzzy cloak Gwyneth Paltrow (Emma Woodhouse) wears to the Christmas gathering at the Weston's is the same costume Julie Cox (Annabella Milbanke) wears after her wedding in Byron.

The green velvet pelisse Juliet Stevenson (Mrs. Elton) wears to church is the same costume Natasha Little (Augusta Leigh) wears to visit Annabella in Byron.

The teal blue goddess gown Juliet Stevenson (Mrs. Elton) wears to dinner at Hartfield is the same costume Pauline McLynn (Mademoiselle Clairwill) wears to see the play in Quills.

The striped muslin day dress Toni Collette (Harriet Smith) wears reading Mr. Elton's charade is the same costume worn by Helen Fraser (Mrs. Morland) at Fullerton in Northanger Abbey, Kate Ashfield (Ella, the Worrell's maid) in Princess Caraboo, Sophia Myles (Susan Price) at Portsmouth in Mansfield Park, and by Charity Wakefield (Marianne Dashwood) when Edward calls at Mrs. Jennings' London house in Sense & Sensibility.

The gold overdress Juliet Stevenson (Mrs. Elton) wears at the Box Hill picnic is the same costume worn by a guest at the London party where Byron meets Annabella Milbanke in Byron, and by one of the dancers leaving the theatre while Amy waits for Fanny in Little Dorrit.

The red and white muslin gown worn by a wedding guest is the same costume worn by Catherine Walker (Eleanor Tilney) to greet Catherine and Henry when they return from Woodston in Northanger Abbey.

The red plaid Spencer worn by Toni Collette (Harriet Smith) at Ford's in the rain is the same costume worn by an extra in the Highbury Market Day scene in Emma.

Gwyneth Paltrow (born September 27, 1972).  Paltrow became well known for her performances in the films: Se7en (1995) and Emma (1996), Sliding Doors (1998), A Perfect Murder (1998), Shakespeare in Love (1998), for which she won an Academy Award for Best Actress, a Golden Globe Award and two Screen Actors Guild Awards, for Outstanding Lead Actress and as a member of the Outstanding Cast.

Paltrow has performed in many supporting and lead roles in films: The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), Shallow Hal (2001), and Proof (2005), for which she earned a Golden Globe nomination as Best Actress in Motion Picture Drama. In 2008, she performed in the highest grossing movie of her career, Iron Man (2008), and then reprised her role as Pepper Potts in its sequel, Iron Man 2 (2010). Paltrow also has been the face of Estée Lauder's Pleasures perfume since 2005. In the same 2011 weekend as winning her Emmy Award she appeared in the film, Contagion.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Mrs. Parkington (1944).

Mrs. Parkington (1944). Which tells the story of a woman's life, told in flashbacks, from hotel maid to society matron. The movie was adapted by Polly James and Robert Thoeren from the novel by Louis Bromfield. It was directed by Tay Garnett and starred Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon.

Susie thinks back to a time when she was working as a chambermaid. It was there that she met the wealthy Major Augustus Parkington and after her mother's death they marry. Shortly after the marriage Susie is introduced to Baroness Aspasia Conti, a French aristocrat and close friend of Augustus, who helps Susie pick out her clothes and their house. Susie, soon grows tired of her interference in her marriage and announces that she is pregnant. Augustus holds a ball to celebrate, but his happiness is short lived when most of his guest refuse to attend because of Augustus feud with a wealthy businessman. His disapointment upsets Susie, and when she runs after her husband she stumbles and miscarries their baby. In his anger Augustus blames his neighbours for Susie's miscarriage and vows to get revenge.

Four years pass and Augustus has put many of their neighbours out of business. After one of their neighbours, Mrs. Livingstone, pleads with her to speak to Augustus about putting her husband out of business, Susie leaves her husband and moves in with Aspasia. Augustus,asks his wife to return home, telling her that he can not put the Livingstones out of business. Susie then tells him that she has been financially supporting the Livingstone's business and his vendetta with their neighbours has got to stop.

Their troubles continues when the Parkingtons' son Herbert dies. Susie becomes a recluse for a year and Augustus moves to their country home in England. Aspasia talks Susiein into fighting for her marriage. When Aspasia, shares that she will be moving back to Paris because she is dying. She also tells Susie that she has always been in love with Augustus, which is no surprise to Susie.

Susie realises her problems with her family will never be solved so she decides to return to her childhood home.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Pride and Prejudice(1940).

A film adaptation of Jane Austen's novel of the same name. Robert Z. Leonard directed. Cast: Greer Garson, Mary Boland, Maureen O'Sullivan. The film begins when the girls are out shopping for new dresses when they see two gentlemen and a lady in a beautiful carriage. They learn that the men are Mr. Bingley, who is renting the estate of Netherfield and Mr. Darcy, both wealthy, eligible bachelors. After the Bennets return home, Mrs. Bennet tries to talk Mr. Bennet, into seeing Mr. Bingley, but he refuses, saying that they have already met.

At the ball, Elizabeth overhears Mr. Darcy talking about not wanting to dance with her. She also meets for the first time Mr. Wickham. It turns out that Mr. Darcy does ask her to dance, but she refuses, when Mr. Wickham asks her right in front of Darcy, she accepts.

The Bennets' cousin, Mr. Collins, arrives, looking for a wife and sets his sights on Elizabeth. Mr. Darcy, sees her distress and asks her to dance. After seeing the obnoxious behaviour of her mother and younger sisters, he leaves again. The next day, Mr. Collins asks her to marry him, but she refuses. He then asks her best friend, Charlotte Lucas, to marry him.

When Elizabeth visits Charlotte in her new home, she is introduced to Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and also sees Mr. Darcy there. Later, he asks her to marry him, because she believes he stole Wickham's fortune, and also because he broke up the romance between Mr. Bingley and Jane, she refuses.

When Elizabeth returns to Longborn, she learns that Lydia has eloped with Wickham. Mr. Darcy tells her that Wickham will never marry Lydia and that Wickham had tried to elope with his 15-year-old sister, Georgiana. Elizabeth, realizes that she is in love with him, but believes he will never see her again because of Lydia's disgraceful elopement. Lydia and Wickham, do return home married. Lady Catherine, tells the family that Mr. Darcy found Lydia and forced Wickham to marry her. Darcy and Elizabeth proclaim their love for each other.

Greer Garson, did a wonderful job playing the feisty, high spirited.. Elizabeth.

Laurence Olivier ( 22 May 1907 – 11 July 1989) career as a stage and film actor spanned more than six decades and included a wide variety of roles: Shakespeare's Othello and Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night to the sadistic Nazi dentist Christian Szell in Marathon Man and the Nazi-hunter in The Boys from Brazil. A High church clergyman's son who found fame on the West End stage, Olivier became determined early on to master Shakespeare, and eventually came to be regarded as one of the foremost Shakespeare interpreters of the 20th century. He continued to act until the year before his death in 1989. Olivier played more than 120 stage roles: Richard III, Macbeth, Romeo, Hamlet, Othello, Uncle Vanya, and Archie Rice in The Entertainer. He performed in nearly sixty films, including: William Wyler's Wuthering Heights, Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca, Stanley Kubrick's Spartacus, Otto Preminger's Bunny Lake Is Missing, Richard Attenborough's Oh! What a Lovely War, and A Bridge Too Far, Joseph L. Mankiewicz's Sleuth, John Schlesinger's Marathon Man, Daniel Petrie's The Betsy, Desmond Davis' Clash of the Titans, and his own Henry V, Hamlet, and Richard III. He also preserved his Othello on film, with its stage cast virtually intact. For television, he starred in The Moon and Sixpence, John Gabriel Borkman, Long Day's Journey into Night, Brideshead Revisited, The Merchant of Venice, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and King Lear, among others.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939).

A British film based on the novel of the same name by James Hilton. It was directed by Sam Wood. Cast: Robert Donat, Greer Garson, Terry Kilburn, John Mills, and Paul Henreid.

The movie begins when 83 year-old Mr. Chipping, a retired schoolteacher stays home because he is feeling under the weather and he falls asleep and his life is shown in a flashback dream:

When young Charles Chipping, first arrives to teach Latin to the Brookfield students, he becomes a target to their practical jokes. He becomes a strict disciplinarian as a result, making him respected, but not very well liked and he worries about his future as a teacher. His friend German teacher, Max Staefel, invites him to vacation with him in Austria. While hiking on the mountain, Chipping "rescues" Kathy Ellis, while she is out riding her bike.

They meet again in Vienna and dance to the Blue Danube Waltz. Max shares with her that the Danube River appears blue, only to those who are in love. As Chipping looks at the river, he notices that it is blue. They marry and return to England, where Kathy becomes well liked by everyone. During their very short marriage, she dies in childbirth, along with their baby. As the years pass, Chips becomes a much loved teacher, with several generations of students. Chips, retires at age 65, but is asked to fill in as headmaster, because of the shortage of teachers during World War I. He remembers his wife Kathy's prediction, that he would become headmaster one day. During a bombing attack by a Germans, Chips and the boys keep on working on their studies.

Now.. on his deathbed he overhears the men talking about him not having any children. He tells them, " I have thousands of them ... thousands of them ... and all boys."

She received her first Oscar nomination for the role in this film, but lost to Vivien Leigh for Gone with the Wind.

Greer Garson is wonderful as always in her role as the intelligent, free spirit "Mrs. Chips". The film is charming and sentimental and you certainly will need a box of Kleenex while watching this amazing film.

Lyn Harding (12 October 1867 – 26 December 1952). Was a Welsh actor who spent 40 years on the stage before performing in British silent films, talkies and radio. He had an imposing and menacing stage presence and was cast as the villain in many films, notably Professor Moriarty in the Sherlock Holmes stories.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Heiress(1949).

The Heiress(1949). Directed by William Wyler. Camera: Leo Tover. With Olivia de Havilland, Montgomery Clift, Ralph Richardson, Miriam Hopkins, Vanessa Brown, Betty Linley, Ray Collins, Mona Freeman, Selena Royle, Paul Lees, Harry Antrim, Russ Conway, David Thursby, Donald Kerr, Harry Pipe, Una Mortished, Ralph Sanford, Lester Dorr, Franklyn Farnum, Douglas Spencer, Jack Chefe.

A wealthy widowed physician Austin Sloper, does not understand why his socially awkward daughter Catherine, does not have all the wonderful qualities of her beautiful mother, even with all her schooling and training. Austin, asks his sister, Lavinia, to come stay with him to help teach his daughter social graces.

That night at a party, Austin's sister, Elizabeth and her husband Jefferson, announce the engagement of their daughter Marian to Arthur Townsend. Arthur's handsome cousin Morris, asks Catherine to dance. Although, she has two left feet, Morris does not seem to notice and asks if he could see her again. Morris, makes frequent visits to her home the following week, her father seems surprised that someone has taken any interest in his daughter.

One night, Lavinia pretends to have a headache and when she leaves Morris and Catherine alone together, he proposes. Catherine accepts, despite the fact Morris is unemployed, uneducated and squandered away his inheritance in Paris.

Catherine, who can not wait, announces her engagement to Austin, who then calls for Morris' sister, Mrs. Montgomery to come visit. She confirms Austin's suspicions, that Morris is after Catherine's substantial inheritance. Austin, convinces Catherine to travel with him to Europe for six months, and Morris promises to wait for her.

While Austin and Catherine are in Europe, Morris visits Lavinia and settles in to a luxurious life style. Austin, soon realizes that Catherine still still in love with Morris, and they return to New York. Where Austin, tells his daughter that because she is homely and dull, her only attraction is her money, and the only thing she does well is her neat embroidery work. Shocked by her father's feelings for her, Catherine plans to elope with Morris that night, and tells Morris her father's threat of disinheriting her. Catherine, is packed and ready and waiting, but, Morris never shows up. Lavinia, who agrees that Morris is a fortune-hunter, feels that he at least offered Catherine a small chance at happiness.

A week later, Austin becomes ill and Catherine learns that Morris has moved to California. Catherine, is heartbroken, and she refuses to see her father when as he lays dying.

Years later, Morris returns to see Catherine. Although she refuses to see him at first, she changes her mind when she hears his voice. Morris, then asks for her forgiveness and tells her the reason he left was so she would not loose her inheritance. Morris, proposes again, saying that he needs her love, and Catherine encourages him to elope that night. Will they now marry and live happily ever after?

Fun Fact:

Montgomery Clift learned to play the piano for the scene where he sings, "The Joys of Love" to Olivia de Havilland.

Olivia De Havilland's, performance from a naive girl to a bitter woman is perfectly believable. Montgomery Clift, performance was just right for his part as a fortune hunter. It is hard to know which side to root for.. You might agree with Dr. Sloper's thoughts about Morris and only wants to protect his daughter. Morris could be a fortune hunter, or he could be a man who could make her happy. A wonderfully told story.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Sisters(1938).

The Sisters(1938). Directed by Anatole Litvak. The screenplay by Milton Krims is based on the best-selling 1937 novel of the same title by Myron Brinig. Cast: Errol Flynn, Bette Davis, Anita Louise and Ian Hunter.

The story begins during the 1904 presidential election, sisters Louise, Helen and Grace, all plan on attending A ball held on the same evening. Tom Knivel, is about to propose to Louise when Frank Medlin,from San Francisco, asks her to dance.Later Frank at Sunday dinner in the Elliott home announces he and Louise plan to marry and the couple leave for San Francisco. Grace marries the jilted Tom and Helen marries Sam Johnson.

Louise and Frank are having a hard time making a living, when she becomes pregnant and she decides to keep her condition a secret. But.. the truth comes out when Louise suffers a miscarriage and her heartbroken husband begins to drink heavily. Frank's writing suffers as a result of his drinking and he loses his job. Louise finds a job at a department store.

Frank leaves San Francisco, to work on a ship bound for Singapore. When Louise arrives home, she finds a note from Frank and rushes to the docks, where a policeman mistaking her for a prostitute arrests her. By the time she is released, Frank's ship has left.

A few hours later, Louise's apartment building, is destroyed by the 1906 earthquake. When her father has not heard from her, he travels to San Francisco to look for her and finds her staying with her friend Flora Gibbon in a bordello.

Two year shave passed and things have gotten back to normal will Frank ever find his way back home?

This is a charming movie featuring Errol Flynn and Bette Davis. Davis gives a wonderful performance as the less fortunate of three sisters who is determined to stand by her man.

Fun Fact:

Several people are in studio records/casting call lists as cast members, but they did not appear or were not identifiable in the movie. These were (with their character names, if any): Edwin Brian (Newsboy), Rosella Towne, Susan Hayward, Paulette Evans and Frances Morris (Telephone Operators), John Harron, Lew Harvey, Richard Bond and Mira McKinney. The 4 telephone operators were possibly among a group seen only from the rear and are not recognizable.

Anita Louise (January 9, 1915 – April 25, 1970), made her acting debut on Broadway at the age of six, and within a year was performing in Hollywood films. By her late teens she was being cast in leading and supporting roles in major productions.

Among her film successes were: Madame Du Barry (1934), A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935), The Story of Louis Pasteur (1935), Anthony Adverse (1936), Marie Antoinette (1938), The Sisters (1938), and The Little Princess (1939).

By the 1940s, she was reduced to minor roles and acted very infrequently until television in the 1950s, which provided her with further opportunities. In middle age she played one of her most widely seen roles as the gentle mother, Nell McLaughlin, in the CBS television series My Friend Flicka from 1956–1957, with co-stars Johnny Washbrook, Gene Evans, and Frank Ferguson.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Jezebel (1938).

Jezebel (1938). Drama film directed by William Wyler.Cast: Bette Davis and Henry Fonda, supported by George Brent, Margaret Lindsay, Donald Crisp, Richard Cromwell, and Fay Bainter. The film was adapted by Clements Ripley, Abem Finkel, John Huston and Robert Buckner, from the play by Owen Davis, Sr.

The story is about a headstrong, controlling, young woman named Julie Marsden, who is engaged to a sucessful banker, Preston Dillard. Wanting to get even with Preston, for not dropping his work to help her shop for a dress, she orders a beautiful red dress to wear to ball. It was the custom for all the proper unmarried women to wear white dresses and no one could say anything to change her mind.

Preston and Julie's, entrance is met with disapproval by everyone at the ball. She is embarrassed and begs Preston to take her home, angry he forces her to dance with him. All the other dancers leave the floor, leaving them alone. When, the orchestra stops playing, Preston orders them to continue and they finish the dance.

Preston breaks off their engagement, not before Julie slaps him in the face. Aunt Belle Massey, tells her to go after Preston and beg his forgiveness, but she refuses, believing that he will come back to her. He leaves town and heartbroken Julie, closes herself off from the world.

A year later, Preston returns, to help Dr. Livingstone, try to prevent an outbreak of yellow fever. Julie goes to him and begs for his forgiveness. That is when Preston, introduces her to his wife Amy, who he married while away. Heartbroken, Julie has a skilled duellist Buck Cantrell, challenge Preston, but the plan backfires. Preston's brother Ted, is the one who accepts the challenge.In a twist of fate, Ted wins.

A epidemic of yellow fever hits the city and Preston becomes ill and is quarantined on an island. While Amy, is making plans to go to care for him, Julie stops her and begs to go in her place.

This is a wonderful period film.. This maybe one of Bette Davis' best and most memorable performances. Fay Bainter, gives a wonderful performance as Aunt Belle. Henry Fonda, performance shows a hint of his future as a Hollywood star.

Fun Facts:

Has been called a black-and-white version of Gone with the Wind (1939), which was in its pre-production stages at the time.

Some scenes were filmed around Henry Fonda, to allow him to be with his wife as she gave birth to their daughter Jane Fonda, including scenes with the sometimes-prickly star, Bette Davis. As the star of the film Davis was within her rights to insist that Fonda remain until their scenes were finished, but she allowed him to complete his shots and leave.

Margaret Lindsay (September 19, 1910 - May 9, 1981). She was best known for her supporting work in films of the 1930s and 1940s such as: Jezebel (1938) and Scarlet Street (1945) and her leading roles in "B movies" such as the, Ellery Queen series in the early 1940s.She is best known for her performance in the film, The House of the Seven Gables(1940) .

All This and Heaven Too (1940).

All This, and Heaven Too (1940). Drama film directed by Anatole Litvak. The screenplay was adapted by Casey Robinson from the novel by Rachel Field. The music was by Max Steiner and the cinematography by Ernie Haller. Cast: Bette Davis and Charles Boyer with Barbara O'Neil, Jeffrey Lynn, Virginia Weidler, Helen Westley, Walter Hampden, Henry Daniell, Harry Davenport, George Coulouris, Montagu Love, Janet Beecher and June Lockhart. Rachel Field's novel is based on actual people and events.

While teaching at a New York girls' school, a teacher shares her romantic story with her students on how she became known as "Mademoiselle D ".

Her story begins as Henriette Deluzy-Desportes, voyages from England to France to work as governess for the family of, Duc de Praslin. She quickly learns of the Duchess's jealous love that she has for her husband, the Duc. Feeling bad for the children, who have emotionally abused and neglected, Henriette wants to give them the love that they have never known. It soon becomes obvious that the Duc, does not love his wife and He and Henriette become close friends. When this friendship causes gossip, the Duc stops seeing Henriette and goes back to his jealous wife.

He visits Henriette and the children at his family estate in Melan. After a few days, the Duchess and her father, the Marechal Sabastiani, arrive and dismiss Henriette with the promise of a letter of reference. Of coarse the letter is never sent and Henriette, unable to find a job lives in poverty. As the love between the duke and Henriette continues to grow, it leads to a tragic ending.

I though Bette Davis and Charles Boyer had wonderful on screen chemistry, in their only film together. Barbara O'Neil, who the year before had played Scarlett O'Hara's mother in "Gone With The Wind", gives an amazing performance as the jealous wife.

Fun Facts:

Warner Bros. erected 67 sets for this movie, a record at the time.

Bette Davis' 37 costumes cost $1,000 each.

Reportedly, Bette Davis had an affair with director Anatole Litvak while he was still married to Miriam Hopkins. This led to a life-long mutual hatred between the two actresses and added to their on-screen chemistry in their two films together, The Old Maid (1939) and Old Acquaintance (1943).

Contrary to his screen image, 'Charles Boyer' was short, paunchy and had a receding hairline. When Bette Davis first saw him, he was out of costume, so she did not recognize him and tried to have him removed from the set.

The Scandal revolving around the case of Choiseul-Praslin's murder of his wife was one of the contributing factors to the 1848 Revolution.

In the film, the Duc and Duchess have four children, while the real Duc de Choiseul-Praslin and Duchess had ten children together.

Henriette Deluzy-Deportes is an ancestor of Rachel Field, the author of the book the movie is based on.

Barbara O'Neil was extremely unhappy with how her character was portrayed on screen; she felt that the Duchess should be less glamorous and much older looking so that it would make more sense that her character would have more reason to be jealous of the much younger Henriette.

The budget for this film was ridiculously high for a Warner Brothers production; Warner Brothers was famed for releasing films with low production costs. Jack Warner wanted a film that would be similar to "Gone with the Wind" and spared no expense in trying to achieve his goal.

The murder of the Duchess de Praslin contributed to the outbreak of the French revolution.

A snow globe features in the movie. Snow globes are thought to have originated in France in the early 1800s and contained many tiny chips of fine porcelain.

Was June Lockhart's second film, and first credited role. Out of the four children starring in the movie, she was the only one to continue acting in to adulthood.

Reportedly it took forty minutes to dress Bette Davis each day in her historically accurate costumes with several layers of under garments and corsets to help her maintain the correct posture and movement

There are over 150 different paintings featuring in the movie. Set building and set decoration took nearly 70% of the film budget.

Barbara O'Neil (July 17, 1910 – September 3, 1980), debuted in the film Stella Dallas(1937) and in 1939 she was cast in the role of Ellen O'Hara, Scarlett O'Hara's mother, in Gone with the Wind, after the role was turned down by Lillian Gish. The following year, she performed in the film, All This and Heaven Too; she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role. Her later films include: Shining Victory (1941), I Remember Mama (1948), Whirlpool (1949) and The Nun's Story (1959).

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Little Foxes(1941).

The Little Foxes(1941). Directed by William Wyler. The screenplay by Lillian Hellman is based on her 1939 play of the same name.

The story is about how Southern aristocrat Regina Hubbard Giddens, fights for wealth and Independence in a time when a father sons only could be legal heirs. Regina's, brothers Benjamin and Oscar are wealthy, while she depends on her sickly husband Horace for financial support, who has been away being treated for a heart condition.

Oscar along with Benjamin, want to build a cotton mill. They meet with their sister to ask her for $75,000 to invest in their idea. Oscar proposes a marriage between the first cousins, his son Leo and Regina's daughter Alexandra, but they are repulsed by the suggestion. When Regina asks Horace for the money, he refuses and she tells him his refusal is not important since he will die soon.

Ben and Osca, pressure Leo into stealing Horace's railroad bonds from the family business to obtain the money needed to start the mill. Horace tells Regina what her bothers did and she comes up with a plan for larger share of the mill by blackmailing her brothers about the theft.

Hurt and angry, Horace changes his will leaving Alexandra everything except the railroad bonds. Regina is forced out of the deal, her brothers will have to go on with their plans without her.

Regina tells Horace that she has always had contempt for him and when he suffers a heart attack she makes no effort to get him his medicine. This is one of the scenes you will not soon forget because of the shocking nature of it. Regina cold demeanor is terrifying, while you watch Horace fighting for his life. Horace dies without anyone knowing his plan, now Regina is free to blackmail her brothers. Will the price she pay for her evil plan leave her wealthy but completely alone?

Who better to play the evil Regina than... Bette Davis, who gives another Oscar worthy performance, leading a perfect cast through this amazing film.

Fun facts:

Bette Davis and William Wyler fought a during filming. Disagreements ranged from Davis's interpretation of the character to the appearance of the house, to her appearance. Davis walked out of production, but returned when she heard rumors she was going to be replaced by Katharine Hepburn or Miriam Hopkins.

Teresa Wright's debut and her first Oscar nomination.

Patricia Collinge debuted in film, The Little Foxes(1941), she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Other films include: Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Teresa (1951), Washington Story (1952), and The Nun's Story (1959).

According to the featurette included in the DVD of, Shadow of a Doubt, Collinge rewrote the scene between Teresa Wright and MacDonald Carey in the garage. Hitchcock was delighted and used her rewrite. Collinge also worked with Hitchcock's wife Alma Reville and Ben Hecht (all uncredited), on the screenplay for Hitchcock's next film, Lifeboat (1944).