Book Review – Miriam Hopkins: Life and Films of a Hollywood Rebel by Allan R Ellenberger

Apart from hardcore classic film fans, actress Miriam Hopkins is not often  mentioned, which is a great shame in my opinion. She was an electric screen presence who achieved her greatest film success during the Pre-Code era. As a fan of her work, I’ve always wanted to know more about her and after eyeballing her biography for several years, finally made the time.

Though I’ve never encountered any of Allan R Ellenberger’s work before. he has written a handful of books on other film celebrities. Using multiple source materials he fleshes out a full-bodied portrait of the actress that has been sorely needed. Right away he sets the tone for his subject in his title choice, naming Miriam the Hollywood rebel that she was. Allanberger paints a portrait of a cunningly intelligent, often appealing woman whose independence and determination helped her succeed in a difficult business while also occasionally alienating people along the way. Continue reading “Book Review – Miriam Hopkins: Life and Films of a Hollywood Rebel by Allan R Ellenberger”

Thirty-Six Overlooked Films of Classic Movie Stars

It’s rather easy to rattle off the most well-known films of famous silver screen stars. And I’m rather glad those movies are still bringing attention to faces who are no long with us, but who contributed greatly to the popularity of moving pictures.

However, it would be a shame not to dig deeper into the filmography of these stars as there is much of their work that is just as deserving of attention. Some, because of the quality of the production and others simply for great entertainment value.

I made my own list of classic films that I feel are overlooked and worth highlighting. Obviously, it’s rather subjective and definitely not comprehensive. So if I’ve left out one of your favorites or you disagree with my choices, I’d love to hear from you! Continue reading “Thirty-Six Overlooked Films of Classic Movie Stars”

Book Review – John Gilbert: The Last of the Silent Film Stars by Eve Golden

It’s only in recent years that I’ve developed an appreciation for silent film, much less for the people who made up of the world of early Hollywood.

John (“Jack”) Gilbert was one of silent film’s success stories but also one of Hollywood’s great cautionary tales. He was a real star. But not the kind affixed in the firmament. Gilbert was more like a shooting star; a man who toiled unnoticed for years, slowly climbing his way up, until he flashed brilliantly across the screen for a handful of years before experiencing a sad descent. Continue reading “Book Review – John Gilbert: The Last of the Silent Film Stars by Eve Golden”

Book Review – Memoirs of a Professional Cad by George Sanders

George Sanders was one of classic Hollywood’s most popular character actors who was occasionally cast as the leading man. He often played elegant, suave villains whose acerbic wit made his performances memorable.

It turns out that famed onscreen wit was an extension of Sanders himself. It is also what has made his autobiography one that many reviewers rave about. I have long meant to read his Memoirs of  a Professional Cad and finally made time to do so. Continue reading “Book Review – Memoirs of a Professional Cad by George Sanders”

Book Review – A Twist of Lemmon by Chris Lemmon

Can you believe that it is only in recent years that I have gained a deep appreciation for Jack Lemmon’s skill as an actor? And yet despite my new found sense of awe, I really don’t know much about the man himself.

You would think this would lead me to discover more about him through a typical biography or documentary, but no. Instead,  I picked up a book written by his son Chris Lemmon.

A Twist of Lemmon is exactly the type of book I love to read about a celebrity I respect. Just about anyone willing to diligently research can write a good biography. But it is rare to get the personal perspective from the subject’s friends or family, which is exactly what I’m interested in. And it is a quick little read at under two hundred pages. Continue reading “Book Review – A Twist of Lemmon by Chris Lemmon”

James Garner Blogathon – The Castaway Cowboy (1974)

I grew up with old school Disney. Though I never understood the appeal of Mickey Mouse, I adored Donald Duck. And thanks to a well-stocked local video store, I also watched many of Disney’s live action movies from the 1950’s on. Films like Shaggy Dog, Pollyanna, Swiss Family Robinson, The Apple Dumpling Gang, The Monkey’s Uncle and others offered wonderful family entertainment for a girl whose mother was very careful about what she was allowed to watch. To this day these films also hold a high nostalgia factor for me. Which is why when choosing a film for the James Garner Blogathon, I had to pick The Castaway Cowboy.

The Castaway Cowboy is a movie I’m certain I’ve seen before, but couldn’t recall a thing about.  It’s the rare combination of Hawaiian meets Western. Continue reading “James Garner Blogathon – The Castaway Cowboy (1974)”

Carole Lombard Memorial Blogathon – A Tribute to Carole as a Dramatic Actress aka How Carole Lombard Won Me Over

Carole Lombard is much lauded for her skills as a comedienne, but not as much so for her dramatic performances. Perhaps, it is for this reason, that it took a while for her to grow on me.

Photo Source – Film Noir Photos

Screwball comedy is my favorite genre, and Carole is one of its’ heroines. But when I viewed her popular films, like My Man Godfrey, Twentieth Century and Nothing Sacred, I felt I must be missing something important. To me, her performances were shrill, occasionally manic and sometimes painful for me to watch.  And yet, everyone raves about her talent.

That many people can’t be wrong. So, I kept at it. I continued to work my way through her films. And along the way I discovered something. I must be a bit contrary, because I appreciate Carole most in her dramatic roles and her less popular comedies. Continue reading “Carole Lombard Memorial Blogathon – A Tribute to Carole as a Dramatic Actress aka How Carole Lombard Won Me Over”

#PayClassicsForward Christmas Challenge 2019

Once again Aurora over at Once Upon a Screen is challenging everyone to pay it forward this Christmas by choosing classic film recommendations utilizing the Twelve Days of Christmas theme.

I’ve decided to stick as close to that theme as possible by creatively interpreting the lyrics of the song. I didn’t have as much time as I would like to elaborate on all the films and actors who are named in this post. But hopefully, they will pique your interest enough to discover them for yourself. Continue reading “#PayClassicsForward Christmas Challenge 2019”

Clark Gable Blogathon – But Not For Me (1959)

Second only to Cary Grant, Clark Gable is my favorite actor. As such, I’ve made it a point to a watch as many of his films as I can. I had seen every one of his credited films with the exception of But Not For Me.  As much as I wanted to be able to say I had seen all of his movies, I put off watching this particular title, because my expectations of it were very low. However, when the Clark Gable Blogathon rolled around this year, I knew now was the time to complete my exploration of Gable’s filmography. Fortunately for me, it was a better experience than I anticipated.

ABOUT THE FILM

After a long, successful career as a theater producer, Russ Ward is considering retirement. Because along with a string of hits, he also has a long list of expenses which include alimony to his ex-wife, a fancy apartment he has no time to enjoy and the renovation of a theater which is not likely to recoup his investment. His latest theatrical endeavor is foundering, thanks to his friend Jeremiah, a burned out, washed up, alcoholic playwright.

When he breaks the news to his long-suffering, faithful, young secretary Ellie, she decides to finally confess her love for him.  Her earnest sincerity sparks Russ’ creative imagination. Using their relationship and her words, he convinces Jeremiah to re-write their play in a situation of art imitating life. Though Ellie is happy that she finally has Russ attention (and the leading role) all is not smooth sailing. Russ still has to manage Jeremiah’s reluctant come-back and his ex-wife’s financial demands and verbal zingers, while securing financing for the play. In addition, Ellie has her own admirer who is cast in the role of leading man on stage but who also wants to be leading man of her life. Continue reading “Clark Gable Blogathon – But Not For Me (1959)”