No matter what entertainment medium you favor, you can find family acting dynasties. The Fonda family is one which is well known to those who enjoy Hollywood films. Henry Fonda is the patriarch of this family of actors which includes his son Peter Fonda and grandchildren, Bridget Fonda as well as Troy Garrity. But it is Jane Fonda who I would like to focus on today.
Regardless what you think of her politics, Jane has made a name for herself outside the shadow of her father. With a career now spanning over five decades, fifty film credits, seven Oscar nominations (with two wins) she remains an active participant in the film community today.
Jane is also known for her many exercise videos, with her first one, Jane Fonda’s Workout becoming the highest-selling VHS ever. She has been married to a director (Roger Vadim), an activist (Tom Hayden) and a billionaire businessman (Ted Turner) and has two children. Continue reading “Fondathon – Sunday in New York”
When discussing talented or famous film actresses of the classic film era, Jean Simmons is not a name that comes up as often as it should. Often those with larger screen personas get all the attention. I myself have been guilty of overlooking her work. And yet, she appeared in some very successful films, was twice nominated for an Oscar and continued working until she died in 2010 racking up almost one hundred film credits. So I’m absolutely thrilled that she is receiving some well deserved attention with the Jean Simmons Blogathon.
In choosing one of Jean’s films to write about, I discovered that I have seen more of her movies than I realized. Despite being a beautiful woman, she has the talent of disappearing into her roles. What’s amazing is that she accomplishes this without any drastic changes to her appearance. Instead she actually BECOMES her character.
I have a few personal favorites among her pictures, and she has several famous film titles to her credit. But I wanted to choose one that I had not seen and also which I felt is a bit more obscure among her fans. That is how I found myself watching the 1963 film, All the Way Home. Continue reading “Jean Simmons Blogathon – All the Way Home (1963)”
Barbara Stanywck is one of my top five favorite actresses. There was no role or genre she didn’t do well, from film noir, to comedy to historical dramas to weepies and more, she brought authenticity to all of her films.
AMONG THE BEST
Starting out in film she had a similar background to contemporary Joan Crawford. Like Crawford she often played working class girls . But unlike Crawford whose characters clawed their way into wealth and respectability, often through their relationship with men, Stanwyck’s characters achieved their goals through their own grit and independence, while also displaying vulnerability. Continue reading “Barbara Stanwyck Blogathon – Lady of Burlesque (1943)”
Alfred Kralik is the longest serving employee at Matuschek and Company in Budapest, Hungary. Personally taken under the wing of Mr. Matuschek, Kralik has worked his way up the ladder to become the store’s top sales clerk. He is joined by his four other fellow employees Vadas, Flora, Ilona, his good friend Pirovitch and the errand boy Pepi who have all formed a special camaraderie with each other. They aren’t just co-workers but a family of sorts.
But things begin to change and upset Kralik’s life of routine. First, Matuschek hires the beautiful but snippy young Klara Novak. Kralik and Klara do not get along. She constantly challenges his authority and he resents her rudeness to him. Then, Kralik’s formerly close relationship with his employer shows some fractures. He cannot fathom why Mr. Matuschek is suddenly treating him so coldly. The one bright spot in Kralik’s life is his growing closeness with his anonymous female pen pal. Though he has never met her, he begins to fall for her, recognizing her as a kindred spirit. Just when Kralik believes he is getting a raise, he is unexpectedly fired instead. On the same night, he goes to meet his pen pal and discovers Klara waiting in the same restaurant. Things look pretty bleak for him. But Christmas is a time when anything can happen.
So, this year was an extremely productive year for me when it came to watching films. I watched over 180 new to me classic films. Wait, what? That’s right almost 200 films. I honestly don’t even know how that is possible, especially considering I also read over 120 books while working as well. That number of course doesn’t include the new releases, documentaries, television series, Hallmark movies etc. which I didn’t bother to keep track of.
This year’s classic film binge included me filling in my filmography gaps for stars like Rita Hayworth, William Holden, Robert Mitchum, Elizabeth Taylor, George Brent, Ava Gardner, Marlon Brando and others. I watched my first Esther Williams films and finally found one I liked. And I finally discovered why Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni are considered a great pairing. Continue reading “2018 Film Year in Review”
Three wealthy but lonely older men invite strangers into dinner on Christmas Eve. Displaced Texan James Houston and Jean Lawrence, a teacher join not only George, Chad and Michael, but also their housekeeper, former Russian countess Madame Tanya for a surprisingly merry Christmas. The three older men form a strong bond with the young James and Jean and act as matchmakers for the new couple.
As months pass, those bonds grow tighter and transform not only the lives of the elderly men, but also Madame Tanya. They become a family of love if not blood. When the three men pass away, they continue to watch over Jean and James from the here after, determined to see them happy. But James rise to instant fame as a singer brings with it many temptations and challenges his relationship with Jean. Will the men’s supernatural guidance be enough to keep them together? Continue reading “Classic Film Review – Beyond Tomorrow (1940)”
Have you ever watched a movie that took you by surprise? Perhaps, it turned your expectations on end? Or maybe, you went in knowing nothing about the film and found yourself responding to it rather strongly? Such was the case for me with Nurse on Wheels, a British comedy starring Juliet Mills, daughter of John Mills and sister to Hayley.
I grew up with the Disney films of Hayley Mills and hold very fond memories of them. It was for this reason alone that I took a chance when I saw Nurse on Wheels show up in the TCM schedule recently. I had never seen Juliet Mills in a film before and knew absolutely nothing about Nurse on Wheels. I expected I might like it, but didn’t guess that it would be my favorite film discovery of the year.
My Fair Lady is my very favorite musical. I’ve seen it countless times on screen and stage. It never fails to entertain and delight me with its’ ageless story.
Based on a story in Greek mythology of a sculptor who wishes to bring his creation to life, Pygmalion has seen several reincarnations on both stage and screen. Perhaps none is so famous as the film adaptation My Fair Lady.
Eliza Doolittle is the poor Cockney flower seller whose life is turned upside down due to the bet of a stranger. Professor and phoneticist Henry Higgins brags to his peer Colonel Hugh Pickering that his skills are such that he can transform the undeserving Eliza into a lady of grace and poise. Eliza dreams of rising above her station and bettering herself. She seizes the opportunity, little realizing how much will be demanded of her.
Over the years, I’ve seen several movies starring Rock Hudson. The Douglas Sirk melodramas, comedies with Doris Day and the Texas epic Giant, among others. As much as I’ve enjoyed these films, it is always someone else’s performance which catches my eye. So when the opportunity arose to view Tarnished Angels I chose to watch it for Dorothy Malone. But then I got the surprise of my life – Rock Hudson can act!
Tarnished Angels is based on the novel Pylon by William Faulkner. According to Faulkner, it is the best film adaptation of all his works. Aside from perhaps Tennessee Williams, no one could write a Southern potboiler like this native author. As usual, certain plot points of the story were toned down for the screen due to the Code. The film reunited director Douglas Sirk with Rock Hudson, Robert Stack and Dorothy Malone two years after working together on Written on the Wind. Continue reading “Rock Hudson Blogathon -Tarnished Angels (1957)”
Don’t you love a good serendipitous moment? I wasn’t sure I would participate in this blogathon as much as I love the concept of it. The month of November is already pretty busy for me, and I wasn’t sure that I would have time to watch two films for one blogathon. But then I happened to watch a movie I wouldn’t have normally been interested in. I went into the viewing of She’s Working Her Way Through College knowing nothing at all about it, only to discover it is a loose musical remake of The Male Animal. Well, with the stars all aligned, I realized that now I HAD to participate in Phyllis of Phyllis Loves Classic MoviesThe Remade What? Blogathon!
The source of this story was a hit Broadway play written by James Thurber and Elliott Nugent titled The Male Animal. The basic premise of both films feature the trials of an underpaid and underappreciated English professor who teaches at a midwestern university. The university’s financial and spiritual reverence of the sports department is a thorn in the professor’s side. The professor believes some of the school’s resources should be shared with the education departments. He butts heads with the head of the school board over this. Continue reading “They Remade What?Blogathon: The Male Animal (1942) & She’s Working Her Way Through College (1952)”