Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My Wild Irish Rose(1947).

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.

Arlene Dahl (born August 11, 1925). is an actress and former MGM contract star, who achieved notability during the 1950s. She is the mother of actor Lorenzo Lamas.

 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).

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

Downton Abbey a Period drama. Created by Julian Fellowes. Written by Julian Fellowes, Shelagh Stephenson and Tina Pepler.

Directed by: Brian Percival
Ben Bolt
Brian Kelly
Andy Goddard
James Strong
Ashley Pearce

Hugh Bonneville
Jessica Brown-Findlay
Laura Carmichael
Jim Carter
Brendan Coyle
Michelle Dockery
Siobhan Finneran
Joanne Froggatt
Thomas Howes
Rob James-Collier
Rose Leslie
Phyllis Logan
Elizabeth McGovern
Sophie McShera
Lesley Nicol
Amy Nuttall
Maggie Smith
Dan Stevens
Penelope Wilton

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

Gone With The Wind(1939)

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).

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..

Fun Fact:

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.

Marjorie Gateson (January 17, 1891 - April 17, 1977), made her film debut in 1931 character roles as women of wealth and breeding. She is perhaps best known for her roles as the society matron who attempts to stop Mae West's plans for social climbing in the 1935 film, Goin' to Town and for a kinder socialite who Harold Lloyd teaches to box in 1934's The Milky Way.

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.