Friday, August 28

Cornel Wilde

I'll guess that you have not been thinking of Cornel Wilde this month but I have.  I just finished my piece on Betty Hutton, who, of course, was his leading lady in The Greatest Show on Earth.  But my Wilde thoughts started with the piece on Tyrone Power because both were known for those costume dramas where they dash about in tights (doncha hate that?) and brandish a sword.  Wilde was more or less a successor to Power or at least a backup and since they both worked at Fox, I'll further guess Wilde inherited some of those roles Power nixed.

Tuesday, August 25

Betty Hutton

The 1940s can lay claim to three famous Bettys.  The one who spelled her name differently was, of course, the drama queen, Bette Davis.  But we had two Bettys, both glitzy blondes, who were musical-comedy queens.  20th Century Fox staked its claim on Betty Grable, a wise choice, as she became the soldiers' dream girl and a top box office draw.  Across town Paramount had a fireball, the likes of which the screen had never seen before... or since.  Her name was Betty Hutton.  They called her the blonde bombshell.

Friday, August 21

The Directors: Henry Hathaway

I knew who he was when I was still a young kid because he directed Niagara, a movie that electrified me when I saw it in its initial release.  I was already paying attention to who directed the movies I saw.  And I made notes.  I learned to get pretty excited about his work mainly because he ventured into film noir and later in his career he steered a lot of westerns.  Need I say more?

Tuesday, August 18

Good 40s Films: Mildred Pierce

1945 Film Noir
From Warner Brothers
Directed by Michael Curtiz

Joan Crawford
Jack Carson
Zachary Scott
Ann Blyth
Eve Arden
Bruce Bennett
Butterfly McQueen

Friday, August 14

REVIEW: The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Directed by Guy Ritchie
2015 Action Comedy
1 hour, 54 minutes
From Warner Bros.

Henry Cavill
Armie Hammer
Alicia Vikander
Elizabeth Debicki
Luca Calvani
Jared Harris
Hugh Grant

Tuesday, August 11

Tyrone Power

It was the face that set millions of hearts a-flutter.  The entire face was flawless but I'm thinking it was those eyes that were particularly devastating... so dark and welcoming... the full brows... and eyelashes so long that those who knew him said they could cast shadows on that beautiful face.  Some may prefer the word handsome but I think beautiful is more fitting.  Irony arrives when we learn that he found his face to be a curse.  Oh, he knew it opened doors for him, always had, and many of those were bedroom doors.  But he felt it kept him from being respected, being taken seriously as an actor... and he wanted that more than anything in the world... more than any woman, more than any man.

Friday, August 7

RIP Coleen Gray

She was a doe-eyed, fresh-faced ingĂ©nue-type who graced the screen in several film noirs and then sequed into a number of westerns.  No wonder I liked her and followed her work.  It was lovely of her to take her final curtain at a time I am showcasing the 1940s because her best work was done in that decade.  By the 50s she was appearing in mainly B-westerns and then horror films.  As her film career ebbed, she turned to television, and lots of it, before retiring. 

Tuesday, August 4

Movie-Making in the 40s

We have concluded a year of discussing movies of the 1960s.  Now it's time for a look at the 1940s, a decade often and rightfully referred to as Hollywood's Golden Age.  Movies truly arrived in the 40s.  It was the shiny example of what a glorious goal looked like when it came true.  All that work... all the learning and fiddling... all the fretting and hoping... all the jockeying for positions.  Movies had come a long way.  In this decade the color process improved and outdoor adventures and musicals were something to behold.