Cary and Irene (THE AWFUL TRUTH)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Constance Bennett (1904 - 1965)

Noted for several screwball comedies including Merrily We Live, Topper, Topper Takes A Trip, and Ladies In Love. Constance was the older sister of Joan. And a fabulous comedienne. Her classy blonde looks, husky voice and unerring fashion sense gave her a distinctive style. In the 1940s she made fewer films, working in radio and theatre; shrewd in business, she invested wisely and started businesses marketing women's wear and cosmetics. Loving conflict, she feuded with the press and enjoyed lawsuits. Her last marriage, to a U.S. Air Force colonel, was happy and gave her a key role coordinating shows flown to Europe for occupying troops (1946-48) and the Berlin Airlift (1948-49), winning her military honors. Still young-looking, she died suddenly at age 60 shortly after completing the last of her 57 films. Happy Birthday Constance.

Woman of the Year (1942).

Woman of the Year (1942). Cast: Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn with Fay Bainter, Reginald Owen, Minor Watson and William Bendix. It was directed by George Stevens, produced by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and written by Ring Lardner Jr. and Michael Kanin. The music score was by Franz Waxman and the cinematography by Joseph Ruttenberg. The art direction was by Cedric Gibbons and Randall Duell and the costume design by Adrian.

As New York Chronicle sports columnist Sam Craig sits and listens to the radio quiz program.. Information, Please,  he can not believe it, when political columnist Tess Harding, misses a question about baseball. After Sam writes an article criticising her, Tess retaliates. Their editor, orders them to meet in his office and stop their scrabbling. They both become immediately attracted to each other and Sam decides to invite her to a Yankees game to teach her about baseball. Later Tess, invites Sam to a party held at her apartment, along with dozens of her international friends. Despite Tess's busy life, This "romantic odd couple" fall in love and decide to marry. Sam wants a traditional wedding, but because of Tess's busy schedule, the wedding must take place immediately .

Tess's diplomat father and her aunt, are only able to stay a few minutes and Tess is called away for an important call just after the wedding, leaving Sam behind. The wedding night, just as they are about to go to bed,  Yugoslavian political refugee Dr. Lubbeck, shows up with a group of his friends. Sam is not happy with how married life is going. Tess seems to forget how to be a wife and Sam begins to feel neglected. Will their marriage survive?

I always love to watch films which team Spencer Tracy with Katharine Hepburn. Most of all... it is fun, to see Hepburn, showing a sexy side, which we rarely see in her films.

Fay Bainter's, movie debut was in, This Side of Heaven(1934), the same year she performed in, Dodsworth on Broadway and the film: It Happened One Day(1934). Bainter, became the first performer nominated for both the Academy Award for Best Actress, for White Banners (1937), and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Jezebel (1938), winning for the latter. Since then, only nine other actors have won dual nominations in a single year. She was again nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Children's Hour (1961).

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bob Hope cuts loose in Nothing But The Truth (1941)

Bob is in rare form in this rarely seen comedy from 1941. In Nothing But The Truth he plays stock-broker Steve Bennett, who just took a job down in Miami for stockbroker head T.T. Ralston (the great Edward Arnold). T.T. has promised his niece Gwen (Paulette Goddard) to double any amount she can raise $20,000 for charity. But he connives so those she asks refuse to give her more than the $10,000 she's already raised. Gwen happens upon Steve who is blinded by her beauty and accepts the offer. This is the back story as the real story happens a few minutes later in a discussion with T.T., business partner Dick and client Van, about truth in business Steve bets the $10,000 that he can tell the truth for 24 hours. Having already accepted an invitation for a weekend on T.T.'s houseboat, Steve is subjected to 24 hours of attempts to get him to lie or divulge the bet, which would lose him (and Gwen) the $10,000. Hilarious comedy that lets Hope do his thing. Watching him try to not lie for 24 hours is priceless. It's much better here than when Jim Carrey did Liar, Liar 50 years later. Hope and Goddard continue their strong chemistry from The Cat and The Canary and The Ghost Breakers. And Paulette is such a breath of fresh air when she appears on screen. A sight to behold and she keeps up with Hope all the way. Treat yourself to a good time by watching Nothing But the Truth. Also look out for Helen Vinson as a scheming Broadway star wannabe. She is quite funny too.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Monkey Business (1952) is a hoot...

Cary Grant, Ginger Rogers and Marilyn Monroe

A wonderful comedy that re-teams director Howard Hawks and star Cary Grant. The duo have worked magic before in other screwball classics like His Girl Friday (my all time favorite movie) and I Was A Male War Bride. In this one, Grant is absent minded chemist Barney Fulton who discovers a fountain of youth potion that he has been testing on chimps. Well he accidentally takes it himself and reverts to being a teen-ager. Which includes spending time with his gorgeous secretary Miss Lois Laurel (played by Marilyn Monroe). Well Mrs. Fulton (a sharp and funny Ginger Rogers) takes an even bigger dose and reverts even further to a 9 year old and all kinds of chaos ensues. Monkey Business is a hilarious comedy that lets the stars just have all the fun they want. A must see.

Lois Laurel: [at her secretrial desk, responding to Barnaby's remark that she is at work early] Mr. Oxley's been complaining about my punctuation, so I'm careful to get here before nine.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Ghost Breakers (1940) is perfect viewing for this Halloween season...

A radio broadcaster (Bob Hope), his quaking manservant (Willie Best) and an heiress (Paulette Goddard) investigate the mystery of a haunted castle in Cuba. After the success of 1939's The Cat and the Canary, Hope and Goddard reteam for this hilarious comedy about haunted houses and a menacing zombie. Hope fires off zingers left and right. Gets great support from Best and Paulette is very good as well. Perfect movie for this Halloween season.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Twentieth Century (1934).

Twentieth Century (1934). A screwball comedy film. Much of the film is set on the 20th Century Limited train as it travels from Chicago to New York. The film was directed by Howard Hawks. Cast: John Barrymore, Carole Lombard, Walter Connolly, Roscoe Karns and Edgar Kennedy.

Theater impressario Oscar Jaffe changes the name of his new discovery, former lingerie model Mildred Plotka, to Lily Garland, and begins rehearsals for his play. On opening night, Oscar says that a true star belongs to no man and so begins their professional partnership, and a troubled personal relationship. Lily, driven crazy by Oscar's possessiveness, wants to end their relationship. Soon She becomes a star as Oscar seems to be on his way out, until he meets Lily once again, on the Twentieth Century Limited. Oscar tries to win her over, but Lily, wants to have nothing to do with him. The dialogue in this film is witty and the acting is perfect. Carol Lombard deserves to be called the queen of comedy and John Barrymore is equally as good.

Memorable quote:

Oscar Jaffe: I never thought I should sink so low as to become an actor.

Carole Lombard and Friend

Here is a wonderful photo of Carole and her friend that my very good friend Dawn found and posted first on the Noir & Chick Flicks Blog. I think it's one of the best photos I have ever seen. Just another reason why I love Carole Lombard so much.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Happy Birthday Carole Lombard (1908-1942)

Happy Birthday to my favorite actress of all time, Carole Lombard. I love Carole. She is awesome.

The 5' 2" beauty was a comedy hit during the 30s and 40s. Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana on October 6, 1908 under the name of Jane Alice Peters. Young Jane Alice loved the Friday night movie night with her family and would perform the night before's show in the morning. Her mother and her father divorced in October of 1914. Jane Alice, her two older brothers, and their mother, Elizabeth Knight Peters moved to Los Angeles. When she was 12 she had a small part in a silent film called a Perfect Crime. An executive in 1925 from FOX PICTURES asked her to do a screen test, which was a success, but the film, which was to be her first spy film, Marriage In Transit(1925), wasn't. Carole Lombard, the actress, was born. In early 1927 she was tested by the Mack Sennet Studio, who put her under contract, only this time it was a comedy, not a spy film. Lombard became the top comedienne at the studio as she molded herself into the comedy life. Paul Stei, a Pathe director, saw her in a Sennet comedy and immediately put her under contract for $150 a week. Several films later she took a side step when director, Cecil B. DeMille called for her and then changed his mind. When she left Pathe in 1930 at the age of 18 she returned to FOX. She soon signed with Paramount for $300 a week but after 6 years was earning the sum of $35,000 a week! In October 1930 she met William Powell and then eight months later they were married on the day of June 26, 1931. Carole age 23 and William age 39 were married for 23 months but divorced in 1933. They stayed friends and film partners. In 1937 in My Man Godfrey (1936) (with Powell) earned her an Academy Award Nomination.

 There was a new person now, the crowned King of Hollywood" Clark Gable. They had made one movie together No Man Of Her Own (1932) in 1932. They were married, in March 1939, after Gable was separated from his wife Rhea Langham. They bought and lived in a 20 acre ranch in San Fernando Valley. They weren't Hollywood Socialites; they weren't glamorous; they wanted a simple life out of Hollywood's bright lights. They nick named each other Ma and Pa and were role modeled as the ideal marriage. Tragedy struck on a war bond tour that Carole and her mother were on. The plane they were traveling in (TWA Flight #3) crashed. Her last words, in her home state of Indiana, to all the people were just before boarding the plane, "Before I say goodbye to you all - come on - join me in a big cheer- V for victory!" All 22 passengers died in the crash.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Poll Results...and the winner is Irene Dunne as favorite leading lady in screwball comedies

Last month I asked the question who is your favorite screwball comedy leading lady. The choices were Carole Lombard, Irene Dunne, Myrna Loy, Claudette Colbert, Constance Bennett and Jean Arthur. I had a big turnout of voters totaling 60. Now my personal favorite Carole came in 2nd with 15 votes and 25% of the total vote. Carole was pretty much neck and neck with Jean Arthur for the whole time. She edged out Jean by 1 vote. Myrna Loy grabbed 6 votes while Claudette and Constance didn't do that good. The winner and undisputed favorite screwball leading lady is Irene Dunne with a huge 21 votes and 35% of the total vote. That should make my friend Renata very happy as she is a big Irene fan. I am too, she is my 3rd favorite actress of all time. So I thought this turned out pretty well. I want to thank all those who stopped by and took the time to vote. I will have a new poll up shortly.

Who's That Lady?(1960)

Who Was That Lady? Comedy film. Directed by George Sidney and produced by Norman Krasna who also wrote the screenplay, based on his Broadway play Who Was That Lady I Saw You With? The music score was by Andre Previn and the cinematography by Harry Stradling. The costume design was by Jean Louis. The title song was written by Sammy Cahn.

Cast: Tony Curtis, Dean Martin, and Janet Leigh with James Whitmore, John McIntire, Barbara Nichols, Larry Keating, Larry Storch, Simon Oakland, Joi Lansing. Jack Benny appears as himself.

Ann Wilson walks in on her husband David, a chemistry professor at Columbia University, kissing one of his students. Heartbroken she runs out of his lab, yelling that she wants a divorce and wants David to move out of their apartment by 7 p.m.

Soon after, David's good friend, television writer Michael Haney, comes to the chemistry lab. David tells him about what just happened. Mike can not believe that Ann would be so upset over a little kiss. As David and Mike drink the alcoholic potion he has whipped up in the lab, Mike come up with a far fetched plan that would justify David's behavior. David should confess to Ann that he is an FBI agent and had to kiss the student, in the line of duty. Ann, excited about her husband's secret life, may not be able to keep her husband's occupation a secret. And when the real FBI get wind of their plans they may be able to use David to their advantage.

I just saw the film, Who's That lady(1960). Three major stars, close to their peak of fame at the time, make this a fun movie.