Long before I had a real awareness of classic film, I was unknowingly exposed to it through Disney’s feature films of the 1960’s and 70’s. These movies introduced me to the fading stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age, names like Dorothy McGuire, Jane Wyman, Adolf Menjou, Maureen O’Hara, Karl Malden, Donald Crisp, Maurice Chevalier, Walter Brennan and David Niven. One of my favorite of these films was the musical The Happiest Millionaire. It features some of the most talented actors of decades past – Fred MacMurray, Greer Garson, Gladys Cooper and Geraldine Page in a story of a wealthy but eccentric Philadelphia family.
John Lawless (Tommy Steele) is an Irish immigrant fresh off the boat who arrives at the Biddle household to apply as a butler. He is invited to wait for Mrs. Biddle (Greer Garson) to approve his employment. But before she can arrive, he has a rather unconventional introduction first to Mr. Biddle (Fred MacMurray), then to his daughter Cordy (Lesley Ann Warren), his sons and the starchy family matriarch Aunt Mary (Gladys Cooper). He quickly becomes embroiled in the household while also acting as the narrator for the story. Continue reading “Fred MacMurray Blogathon -The Happiest Millionaire”
Today’s Topic: Back to School/Learning Freebie (in honor of school starting back up soon, come up with your own topic that fits the theme of school or learning! Books that take place at school/boarding school/during study abroad, books you read in school, textbooks you liked/didn’t like, non-fiction books you loved or want to read, etc.)
Hosted by: That Artsy Reader Girl
So, I’m sticking by the “freebie” idea for this week and not choosing a specific qualifier for my list. Some of my choices feature schools, others are about teachers or governesses. Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday -Back to School Themed Books”
When driving through a neighborhood, I’ve always been one who enjoys looking in the windows of homes, imagining the lives inside. People have always fascinated me, what shapes them, what drives them, who they are beyond what the eye can see.
Perhaps that is why I enjoy personal documentaries and biographies, particularly of classic film stars. In an era of studio control, glamour and polished public images, I’m always curious to learn the truth behind the persona, the person behind the characters they play on screen.
A young Ingrid
Continue reading “Ingrid Bergman Blogathon -Ingrid Bergman: Remembered”
Megan Jacobs always wished for a different heart. Her entire childhood was spent in and out of hospitals, sitting on the sidelines while her twin sister Crystal played all the sports, got all the guys, and had all the fun. But even a heart transplant three years ago wasn’t enough to propel Megan’s life forward. She’s still working as a library aide in her small Minnesota hometown and living with her parents, dreaming of the adventure she plans to take “once she’s well enough.” Meanwhile, her sister is a successful architect with a handsome husband and the perfect life—or so Megan thinks.
When her heart donor’s parents give Megan their teenage daughter’s journal—complete with an unfulfilled bucket list—Megan connects with the girl she meets between the pages and is inspired to venture out and check off each item. Caleb—a friend from her years in and out of the hospital—reenters her life and pushes her to find the courage to take the leap and begin her journey. She’s thrown for a loop when Crystal offers to join her for reasons of her own, but she welcomes the company and the opportunity to mend their tenuous relationship.
As Megan and Crystal check items off the bucket list, Megan fights the fears that have been instilled in her after a lifetime of illness. She must choose between safety and adventure and learn to embrace the heart she’s been given so that she can finally share it with the people she loves most. Continue reading “Book Review -The Heart Between Us”
I have always been a fan of romantic comedies. I can appreciate a good drama, mystery or even tragedy, but it is the romantic comedy which I found myself drawn to over and over again. Perhaps it’s because in a world of uncertainty and chaos, I love escaping into a film that can make me smile. I love knowing the ending will always be happy, even if real life isn’t.
Many classic film fans are familiar with some of the more famous examples of this genre. Titles like Bringing Up Baby, The Lady Eve, Pillow Talk, My Man Godfrey, His Girl Friday, It Happened One Night are instantly recognizable and re-watchable. But being a fan of classic rom-coms means I’m always on the lookout for unheralded, but just as enjoyable films. It’s always a risk watching a film I’ve not heard of before, but definitely well worth it when I discover a new favorite. I’d like to share some under-rated and lesser known classic rom-com films. Continue reading “Twenty of the Most Under-Rated Classic Romantic Comedies”
Today’s Topic: Books to Pull You Out of a Reading Slump
Hosted by: That Artsy Reader Girl
Um, would you believe me if I told you I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a reading slump? There have been times, when I’ve had less time for reading, sure. But ever since my mom first taught me to read at age four, I’ve been a voracious reader. Maybe, I’ve just been lucky. In any case, if I ever did find myself in a slump, these are the books that I feel certain would stir up my interest. Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday -Books to Break Your Reading Slump”
The Life of Robin Cavendish
If you have never heard of Robin Cavendish before, you aren’t the only one. If not for how he lived with a severe disability, most likely nobody ever would have. In 1958, two years into his marriage to Diana, Robin contracted polio and was paralyzed from the neck down. Initially given less than a year to live, Robin indicated his wish to die. But Diana refused to allow this. She entreated him to live for the sake of their son.
Robin gradually improved to the point that he could swallow and speak. But for the rest of his life he was dependent on the use of artificial respirators to help him keep him alive. Eventually, Diana and some hospital staff literally broke him out of the hospital against his doctor’s advice. At this time, no one with his level of disability had ever been released or survived outside of a hospital.
Over the next thirty years of his life, Robin and Diana became champions for disabled people. They also helped inspire and pioneer ways to integrate people like himself into everyday society. Some of these ideas include a mobile wheelchair with a built in respirator, a hydraulic chair lift for his van, as well as equipment that allowed him to perform simple tasks by moving his head. He was also instrumental in creating the first list of people who used iron lungs as well as in fundraising efforts to improve their quality of life. In their personal lives the two pushed Robin’s boundaries, living as adventurously as possible, while raising their son and remaining committed to each other.
To read my full review of this film, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.
GEORGE BRENT -AN UNDERRATED ACTOR
There are few groups more loyal than classic film fans. Many of us have our favorite movies, genres, actors and actresses and can passionately articulate what we love about each. Equal to our love is our dislike of those things that don’t live up to our standards or that we find disappointing. Actors and actresses particularly earn our derision, though we usually only discuss this within our own circles.
George Brent is an actor I’ve often heard mentioned with disdain. Many classic film fans denounce him as wooden, his performances lacking emotional depth. I won’t deny that he is compared unfavorably to his contemporary counterparts. But unlike some, I’ve always enjoyed Brent’s films. I believe he has been unfairly and too harshly judged. I’m here today to convince you of the same. Continue reading “In Defense of George Brent”
After the tragic death of her husband, Aven Norgaard is beckoned to give up her life in Norway to become a housekeeper in the rugged hills of nineteenth-century Appalachia. Upon arrival, she finds herself in the home of her late husband’s cousins—three brothers who make a living by brewing hard cider on their three-hundred-acre farm. Yet even as a stranger in a foreign land, Aven has hope to build a new life in this tight-knit family.
But her unassuming beauty disrupts the bond between the brothers. The youngest two both desire her hand, and Aven is caught in the middle, unsure where—and whether—to offer her affection. While Haakon is bold and passionate, it is Thor who casts the greatest spell upon her. Though Deaf, mute, and dependent on hard drink to cope with his silent pain, Thor possesses a sobering strength.
As autumn ushers in the apple harvest, the rift between Thor and Haakon deepens and Aven faces a choice that risks hearts. Will two brothers’ longing for her quiet spirit tear apart a family? Can she find a tender belonging in this remote, rugged, and unfamiliar world?
A haunting tale of struggle and redemption, Sons of Blackbird Mountain is a portrait of grace in a world where the broken may find new life through the healing mercy of love. Continue reading “Book Review -Sons of Blackbird Mountain”
Arsène Lupin -The Gentleman Thief of French Literature
The gentleman thief is a much beloved character in both literature and film. Arsène Lupin is one such character, first birthed by the pen of French writer Maurice Leblanc in the early 1900’s. Over the course of the next two decades Leblanc published many novellas, novels and even plays featuring his popular creation. These stories were contemporary with another, perhaps more famous, thief and master of disguise, that of the English gentleman Raffles. Without the underrated gift of classic film, I might never have heard of or been introduced to either.
The Arsène Lupin character also made appearances in television, stage and over twenty films. It is the pre-code 1932 version starring the Barrymore brothers, Lionel and John that I fell in love with. According to an introduction given by Dave Karger for this film on TCM, the Barrymore brothers were highly regarded by the two most important men at MGM during the early Thirties. Louis B Mayer believed Lionel to be one of the best actors of his time, while Irving Thalberg felt the same about John. When John’s contract with Warner Bros. expired, MGM snapped him up. He was cast with Lionel in Arsène Lupin, the first of five films in which the brothers would appear together in the years 1932-1933. Of those five only one would also star their equally famous sister Ethel. Sadly, after 1933 there would be no more films co-starring Lionel and John. Continue reading “Barrymore Trilogy Blogathon -Arsène Lupin (1932)”