Saturday, October 30, 2010

Betty Hutton.

ON TCM: Nov. 3, 2010. Betty Hutton Tribute. They are celebrating Betty Hutton, with the films listed below:

Short Film: Vincent Lopez And His Orchestra With Betty Hutton (1939) . Musical short showcasing the talent of Vincent Lopez, his orchestra and Betty Hutton. Instead of playing their usual theme, the band insists on playing new material. Cast: Vincent Lopez, Betty Hutton, Fred Laury.

Stork Club, The (1945). A hat-check girl gets rich when she saves a millionaire's life, which causes problems with her love life.. Cast: Betty Hutton, Barry Fitzgerald, Don DeFore. Dir: Hal Walker. Fun Fact: The movie, included as a character Sherman Billingsley the owner of the real stork club. During the movie, he talks to Danny, Judy's fiance telling him that his wife and two daughters were the only women in his life. This is contradictory to the real life Sherman, who had a longtime affair with Ethel Merman. A very predictable fluffy movie, worth watching if you like Betty Hutton.

Perils Of Pauline, The (1947). The world's worst actress rises to stardom as Pearl White. Cast: Betty Hutton, John Lund, Billy De Wolfe. Dir: George Marshall. This movie, is a wonderful showcase for Betty Hutton's talent.

Red, Hot And Blue (1949). An actress's career is threatened when she finds a dead gangster in her apartment. Cast: Betty Hutton, Victor Mature, William Demarest. If you like Betty Hutton, you will enjoy this film. It isn't as key a film in her career as "Annie Get Your Gun," "The Perils of Pauline," or "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek," but it does showcase her wonderful talent.

Annie Get Your Gun (1950).Musical biography of sharpshooter Annie Oakley. Cast: Betty Hutton, Howard Keel, Edward Arnold. Dir: George Sidney. Fun Facts: Judy Garland and Frank Morgan, who appeared together in The Wizard of Oz (1939), were scheduled to reappear together in this film. Garland was fired because of health problems, and Frank Morgan died shortly after filming began. As a result of this, Betty Hutton took over Judy Garland's role as Annie Oakley, and Louis Calhern succeeded Frank Morgan as Buffalo Bill.

Howard Keel broke his leg during filming when a horse fell on it.

thought Betty Hutton was wonderful in this film. She may not have been the singer that Garland was, but she did a excellent job with her performance, as Annie with her amazing personality and humor.

Friday, October 29, 2010

This Month on Singin' and Dancing back in Time: Ginger Rogers.

For the Month of November, Monty and I are going to celebrate Ginger Rogers, one of our favorite actress. I hope you will enjoy what we have planned.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Viva Las Vegas (1964)

Viva Las Vegas (1964). Cast: Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret. This movie is best know for is noted for the on-screen attraction between, Presley and Ann-Margret.

Lucky Jackson, goes to Las Vegas, Nevada, to enter in the city's first annual Grand Prix Race. Unfortunately, his race car, an Elva Mk. VI, needs a new engine. Lucky raises the money in Las Vegas, but looses it in the pool when he flirting with swimming instructor, Ms. Rusty Martin. Soon, Lucky's competition arrives by the name of, Count Elmo Mancini, who wants to win the auto race and his girl.

Viva Las Vegas, has many wonderful, "song-and-dance scenes" in this fun film.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Pirate(1948)

The Pirate(1948). Cast: Judy Garland and Gene Kelly.

Manuela Alva, lives in the small village of Calvados, she dreams of being swept away by, Pirate, Mack "the Black" Macoco. Her aunt and uncle, have plans that she marry the town mayor, Don Pedro.

Before her wedding, Manuela visits, Port Sebastian. A traveling circus is performing that night. one of the performers named Serafin, flirts with all the girls while he sings the song, "Nina." When he meets Manuela, he falls in love at first sight with her. That night, Manuela cannot sleep, and she sneaks out to go see Serafin's show.

At the show, Serafin hypnotizes Manuela,hoping that she will admit she is in love with him. Instead, she sings and dances about her love for "Mack the Black." Serafin awakens Manuela with a kiss, and she runs off.

On Manuela's wedding day, the traveling circus arrives in Calvados. Serafin asks Manuela to join his show and asks her to admit that she loves him. Don Pedro, hearing noise coming from Manuela's room, rushes in and asks Manuela to go away so that he can teach Serafin a lesson.

Serafin recognizes Don Pedro as Macoco. He blackmails Pedro with this information, swearing to tell it to Manuela if Don Pedro keeps the performers from performing. Serafin then decides to pretend to be Macoco in order to win over Manuela. He lets everyone believe that he Macoco, then asks Manuela if she will come with him, she still refuses. Still, watching from her window as "Macoco" dances, she begins to daydream about the pirate. The next day, "Macoco" threatens to burn down the town if he cannot have Manuela. Finally, she agrees to go with him.

One of Serafin's men lets on Serafin's plan to Manuela. To get her revenge, she first pretends to seduce Serafin, then attacks him. She accidentally knocks him out, then realizes that she loves him, and sings "You Can Do No Wrong."

Don Pedro convinces the viceroy that Serafin is the real Macoco and should hang for it. He plants treasure in Serafin's trunk to make him look like a pirate and he is arrested. On the night of Serafin's hanging, Manuela finally gets to look at the false evidence, and recognizes a bracelet with the same design as the wedding ring that Pedro, gave her and she now knows that Pedro, is the pirate.

Will Serafin be hanged for his crimes?

To me this was a fairytale come to life on the movie screen. The performers are all amazing. I thought Kelly performance was one of his best. I love his partnering with the Nicholas Brothers in "Be a Clown," as well as the "Pirate Ballet".

Fun Facts:

Gene Kelly helped invent a device which allowed the bulky Technicolor cameras to shoot from low angles.

At one time this movie was going to star Cary Grant and Greer Garson. When that project fell through it was turned into a musical.

The torrid romance enacted by Judy Garland and Gene Kelly in the song-and-dance number "Voodoo" so enraged MGM chief Louis B. Mayer that he demanded the negative be burned.

Film debut of Lola Albright.

The second of three movie musicals in which Judy Garland and Gene Kelly starred in together, though they did appear separately in other movies and features.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Words and Music(1948)

Words and Music(1948) is a movie loosely based on the lives of composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist Lorenz Hart. Cast: Mickey Rooney, Tom Drake, Janet Leigh, Betty Garrett, and Ann Sothern and is best remembered for the final scene with, Rooney and Judy Garland.

Vera Ellen and Gene Kelly.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Sound of Music (1965).

The Sound of Music(1965). Directed by Robert Wise. Cast: Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. The film is based on the Broadway musical The Sound of Music, with songs written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, and with the musical book written by the writing team of Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. Ernest Lehman wrote the screenplay.

The musical originated with the book The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria von Trapp. It contains many popular songs: "Edelweiss", "My Favorite Things", "Climb Ev'ry Mountain", "Do-Re-Mi", "Sixteen Going on Seventeen", and "The Lonely Goatherd", as well as the title song.

The movie was filmed on location in Salzburg, Austria and Bavaria in Southern Germany, and also at the 20th Century Fox Studios in California.

Maria, who is always in trouble with the nuns, life changes when a widowed navy captain, Georg von Trapp needs a governess for his seven children. Mother Abbess, unsure of Maria's suitability, asks her to take the position on a temporary basis.

Maria finds that the captain keeps his household in strict shipshape order. While the children at first very hostile to her, they warm to her when she comforts them during a thunderstorm . Liesl, who is Sixteen, sneaks into Maria's window, after a secret meeting with the messenger boy. At first she insits that she doesn't need a governess, but, Maria instead offers to be her friend.

Later, the Captain entertains, Baroness Elsa Schraeder, a wealthy socialite from Vienna, along with Max Dettweiler, who is looking to find the perfect musical act for the, Salzburg Music Festival.

The Captain becomes aware that Maria has been taking the children on a boat on the lake. Maria, standing up in the boat, loses her balance the boat capsizes, throwing everyone into the water. He sends the children home and orders her to return to the convent.

When he hears the children singing “The Sound of Music” for the Baroness, he changes his mind. Maria has brought music back into his home, and he asks her to stay. Maria and the children perform a puppet show ("Lonely Goatherd"). Max announces that he has entered the children in the Salzburg Festival.

At a dance held in Schraeder's honor to celebrate her engagement to the Captain, Maria sees eleven-year-old Kurt trying to dance and tries to teach him the steps. The Captain cuts in and he Maria perform the dance perfectly. Maria breaks off and says something about not being able to remember any more. The children perform “So Long, Farewell” to say goodnight to the guests, and the Baroness, jealous of Maria, convinces her to return to Nonnberg. Will Maria ever return to the Von Trapp family?

This is a beautiful musical. From the cinematography,
acting, costumes, music, choreography. The film is family friendly and a sweet story.

Dame Julia Elizabeth Andrews, is an English film and stage actress, singer, and author. She is the recipient of Golden Globe, Emmy, Grammy, BAFTA, People's Choice Award, Theatre World Award, Screen Actors Guild and Academy Award honours. Andrews was a former British child actress and singer who made her Broadway debut in, My Fair Lady(1954) and Camelot, and in musical films, Mary Poppins (1964), for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress, and The Sound of Music (1965).

Andrews big comeback was in the films: The Princess Diaries (2001), its sequel The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004), and the Shrek animated films (2004–2010). In 2003 Andrews revisited her first Broadway success, this time as a stage director, with a revival of The Boy Friend at the Bay Street Theatre, Sag Harbor, New York (and later at the Goodspeed Opera House, in East Haddam, Connecticut in 2005).

Andrews is also an author of children's books, and in 2008 published an autobiography, Home: A Memoir of My Early Years.

Monday, October 11, 2010

South Pacific.(1958)

South Pacific(1958). Based on James A. Michener's Tales of the South Pacific. The film was directed by Joshua Logan. Cast: Rossano Brazzi, Mitzi Gaynor, John Kerr and Ray Walston.
The movie also features, Juanita Hall, a musical theatre and film actress. She is remembered for her roles in the original stage and screen versions of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals: South Pacific, as Bloody Mary and Flower Drum Song, as Auntie Liang.

The film begins when Marine lieutenant Joseph Cable, is sent on a mission to set up camp in Japanese territory, along the coast, in order to keep track of enemy. Meanwhile, Sailor Luther Billis, is trying to sell grass skirts to Bloody Mary, the island trader. Billis does not like the fact that the island of Balai Ha'i, is off limits to his enlisted men.

While, waiting for the war in the South Pacific, one of the nurses finds herself having to choose between love and prejudice.

Rodgers and Hammerstein have given us some truly wonderful music scores, and the movie South Pacific has many of them.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Vicente Gomez Blood And Sand - Flamenco Scene 1941

Vicente Fernandez Gomez, a Mexican singer, producer and actor. Known as (The King of the ranchera song) throughout the Latin world. Vicente Fernández, started his career singing for tips on the street, has recorded more than 50 albums and contributing to many movies. These are a couple of scenes from one of my favorite movies, Blood and Sand(1941).

Blood and Sand (1941). Directed by Rouben Mamoulian. Cast: Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell, Rita Hayworth, and Alla Nazimova. It is based on the Spanish 1909 novel Blood and Sand by Vicente Blasco Ibanez.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Ricardo Montalban.

Ricardo Montalban's,first leading role was in the film, Border Incident (1949). He was the first Hispanic actor to be on the front cover of Life magazine on November 21, 1949.
Later, many of his early roles were in Westerns where he played Indians or as a "Latin Lover". Next he went on to play a Cape Cod police officer in the film, Mystery Street(1950).

From 1957 to 1959, he starred in the Broadway musical Jamaica, singing several numbers with Lena Horne.

Montalban starred in radio program, "Lobo del Mar" (Seawolf), in which he was cast as the captain. This weekly show aired in many Spanish-speaking countries until the early 1970s. In 1972, Montalban co-founded the Screen Actors Guild Ethnic Minority Committee with actors Carmen Zapata, Henry Darrow and Edith Diaz.

Montalban's best-known television role was that of, Mr. Roarke in the television series Fantasy Island, which he played from 1978 until 1984. For a while, the series was one of the most popular on television. Another of his well-known roles was that of, Khan Noonien Singh in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, in which he reprised a role that he had originated in the 1967 episode of Star Trek titled "Space Seed".

Montalban appeared in many films including: The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!, Planet of the Apes and Spy Kids series. He also performed in the musical, The Singing Nun(1966).

During the filming of, Across the Wide Missouri(1951), Montalban was thrown from his horse, knocked unconscious, and trampled by another horse, resulting in a painful back injury that never healed.

Ricardo Montalban, is one of my favorite actors/dancers.
My favorite Ricardo Montalban movies are:
1947 Fiesta
1948 On an Island with You 
1949 Neptune's Daughter
1953 Latin Lovers 
1962 Ernest Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man
1964 Cheyenne Autumn
1972 Conquest of the Planet of the Apes
1973 The Train Robbers
1974 The Mark of Zorro
Please click on Ricardo Montalban's name located in the tag line at the bottom of the article to read movie reviews with videos..
I posted the first of five videos of a wonderful Ricardo Montalban, interview.

Video: Ricardo Montalban - Eufemia.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Scottish Ballet Dancer: Moira Shearer

Moira Shearer,was born Moira Shearer King in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland, the daughter of actor Harold V. King. In 1931 her family moved to Ndola, Northern Rhodesia, where she received her first dancing lessons under a former pupil of Enrico Cecchetti. She returned to the United Kingdom in 1936 and trained with Flora Fairbairn in London for a few months before she was accepted as a pupil by the Russian teacher Nicholas Legat. After three years with Legat, she joined the Sadler's Wells Ballet School. She made her debut with Mona Inglesby's International Ballet in 1941 before moving on to Sadler's Wells in 1942.

She came to international attention for her first film role as Victoria Page in the film, The Red Shoes(1948). The film was so powerful that she went on to star in other films and worked as a dancer for many years

Shearer retired from ballet in 1953, but she continued to act, performing in, A Midsummer Night's Dream at the 1954 Edinburgh Festival. She worked again for Powell on the controversial film Peeping Tom (1960).

In 1972, she was chosen by the BBC to present the Eurovision Song Contest when it was staged at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh. She also wrote for The Daily Telegraph newspaper and gave talks on ballet worldwide.

Moira Shearer List of Films:

The Red Shoes (1948). A British feature film about ballet, written, directed and produced by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. The movie is a story within a story, being about a young ballerina who joins an established ballet company and becomes the lead dancer in a new ballet called The Red Shoes, based on the fairy tale, "The Red Shoes" by Hans Christian Andersen.

The Tales of Hoffmann (1951), received two Academy Award nominations in 1952, both for Hein Heckroth, for "Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color" and "Best Costume Design, Color.Powell and Pressburger were nominated for the Grand Prize of the 1952 Cannes Film Festival,and won the Exceptional Prize. They also won the Silver Bear award for "Best Musical" at the 1st Berlin International Film Festival.

The Story of Three Loves (1953.)Romantic film made by MGM. It combines three loosely-linked stories, "The Jealous Lover", "Mademoiselle", and "Equilibrium". The film was produced by Sidney Franklin. "Mademoiselle" was directed by Vincente Minnelli, while Gottfried Reinhardt directed the other two segments. The screenplays were written by John Collier ("The Jealous Lover", "Equilibrium"), Jan Lustig ("Equilibrium", "Mademoiselle"), and George Froeschel ("Equilibrium", "Mademoiselle").

"The Jealous Lover" stars Moira Shearer and James Mason; "Mademoiselle" features Leslie Caron, Farley Granger, Ethel Barrymore, and Ricky Nelson; Pier Angeli and Kirk Douglas headline "Equilibrium".

The music score is by Miklós Rózsa. The soundtrack featured the 18th Variation from Sergei Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, performed by the pianist Jakob Gimpel for "The Jealous Lover".

Other Moira Shearer films:
The Man Who Loved Redheads (1955)
1-2-3-4 ou Les Collants noirs (Black Tights) (1960)
Peeping Tom (1960)
A Simple Man (1987) (TV)

Personal Quote:
Isn't it strange that something you've never really wanted to do turns out to be the very thing that's given you a name and identity?...The Red Shoes ruined my career in the ballet. They (her peers) never trusted me again.

Fun Fact:
Fred Astaire wanted Moira to perform with him in the film, Royal Wedding (1951)and Gene Kelly asked for her for his movie, Brigadoon (1954), but she turned them both down, preferring the classical stage. She went on to play Titania in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in her Broadway debut and the title role in "Major Barbara".

Friday, October 1, 2010

A movie I would love to see: The Red Shoes (1948)

The Red Shoes (1948) is a British feature film about ballet, written, directed and produced by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. The movie is story within a story, about a young ballerina who joins an  ballet company and becomes the lead dancer in a new ballet called The Red Shoes, itself based on the fairy tale, "The Red Shoes" by Hans Christian Andersen. Cast: Moira Shearer, Anton Walbrook and Marius Goring, Robert Helpmann, Léonide Massine and Ludmilla Tchérina, renowned dancers from the ballet world, as well as Esmond Knight and Albert Basserman. It has original music by Brian Easdale and cinematography by Jack Cardiff. Filmmakers Brian DePalma and Martin Scorsese have named it one of their all time favorite films.

Loosely based on the Andersen story, it was also said to have been inspired by the real-life meeting of Sergei Diaghilev with the British ballerina Diana Gould. Diaghilev asked her to join his company, but he died before she could do so. Diana Gould later became the second wife of Yehudi Menuhin.

Dee Turnell ( uncredited).

Dee Turnell is the dancer on the right. She has performed in so many wonderful movies, you wonder why she never made it "BIG".

List of Dee Turnell Films:
The Opposite Sex Showgirl (uncredited)
1955 Kismet Harem Showgirl (uncredited)
1954 Deep in My Heart Bride in 'Louis XIV' (uncredited)
1954 Brigadoon (Ann)
1953 The Band Wagon Barbara (uncredited)
1953 The Girl Who Had Everything Guest in Town House (uncredited)
1952 The Bad and the Beautiful Linda Ronley (uncredited)
1952 The Return of Gilbert & Sullivan (short)
1952 Singin' in the Rain Chorus Girl (uncredited)
1951 The Strip Dancer (uncredited)
1951 An American in Paris Fury (uncredited)
1951 Show Boat Minor Role (uncredited)
1951 Royal Wedding Dancer in Haiti Number (uncredited)
1950 Tea for Two Chorus girl (uncredited)
1949 Neptune's Daughter Minor Role (uncredited)
1949 The Barkleys of Broadway Blonde (uncredited)
1948 Easter Parade Dancer (uncredited)
1948 The Pirate Louisa - 'Nina' Showgirl (uncredited)
1947 Cass Timberlane Hat Check Girl (uncredited)
1947 Copacabana