Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Step Lively(1944).

Step Lively(1944). A musical film directed by Tim Whelan. Cast: Frank Sinatra. Step Lively was based on the play Room Service, by Allen Boretz and John Murray.

Gordon Miller, is rehearsing a musical comedy in the penthouse suite of Gribble's hotel...on credit. The trouble really begins when playwright Glen Russell, arrives.

This musical showcases a 19-year-old Gloria DeHaven and a 29-year-old Frank Sinatra, both in perfect voice. The songs are perfect: Where Does Love Begin (and where does friendship end), Some Other Time (I could resist you), Ask the Madam (she knows it all), and the Come Out (wherever you are). This is a film to watch just for the pure joy of it.

Gloria DeHaven (born July 23, 1925). Is the daughter of actor-director Carter DeHaven and actress Flora Parker DeHaven, both former vaudeville performers.

She began her career as a child actor with a bit part in Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times (1936). She was signed to a contract with MGM Studios, but despite featured roles in such films as, The Thin Man Goes Home (1944) and Summer Stock (1950), she did not achieve film stardom. She portrayed her mother in the Fred Astaire film, Three Little Words (1950).

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Strawberry Blonde(1941).

The Strawberry Blonde(1941). Directed by Raoul Walsh. Cast: James Cagney, Olivia de Havilland, Rita Hayworth, Alan Hale, Sr., Jack Carson and George Tobias. It was nominated for an Academy Award in 1941 for Best Scoring of a Musical Picture. The film features songs such as "Bill Bailey", "Meet Me in St. Louis, Louie," and "The Band Played On".

In this wonderful period film, New York dentist Biff Grimes, remembers past wrongs done to him, after he receives a telephone from Hugo Barnstead, asking him to pull his bad tooth:

Their rivalry begins when both men fall in love with the same woman named, Virginia Brush. Hugo, makes plans to meet Virginia in the park. Virginia, decides it is best to bring her outspoken friend, Amy Lind and Hugo brings his friend, Biff. When they arrive by carriage, Hugo pairs off with Virginia, leaving Biff with Amy.

The following week, Biff dates Virginia, taking her to all the expensive places in town. When he asks her for another date, she turns him down, but.. Biff keeps trying and Virginia finally agrees to meet him in the park. When Biff hears that Virginia and Hugo eloped earlier that day, he is devastated and Amy does her best, to make him feel better.

Eventually, Biff and Amy fall in love and marry. One evening, Virginia invites Biff and Amy to have dinner with her and Hugo. Hugo spends the evening bragging and offers Biff job. Biff accepts his offer, but.. is disappointed when he finds his only job is to sign his name to papers. His place in the firm becomes clear when Biff, is held responsible for Hugo's crimes and Hugo goes free.

Just when Biff does not think things could be any worse, his father, who is working on one of the firms projects, is killed when a building collapses because of the use of inferior materials. Biff, is once again held responsible and is sent to jail.

By the time he is released, he has completed a correspondence school course in dentistry. Meanwhile, Hugo has gone on to a career in politics. Will Biff, get even with Hugo, for all he has done to ruin his life?

Fun Fact:

Even though it is for only a few seconds, we hear Rita Hayworth sing with her own voice. This is believed to be the only time in a film when this happens.

The film has a wonderful turn of the century atmosphere and a wonderful tribute to American culture.

Una O'Connor (October 23, 1880 – February 4, 1959). For many years, she worked in Ireland and England as a stage actress in, The Starlight Express at the Kingsway Theatre in London (1915–1916). She performed in Alfred Hitchcock's, Murder! (1930). She had not attracted much attention until she perform in, Cavalcade (1933).

O'Connor's, best remembered roles are:  The Invisible Man (1933), Bride of Frankenstein (1935) and The Informer (1935).

Monday, October 17, 2011

Happy Birthday: Rita Hayworth!

Rita Hayworth, one of the great beauties of her era, was also a very talented actress, dancer, and comedian. She started her performing career partnered with her father, in a dancing team called, "The Dancing Cansinos". At that time Hayworth, was not of legal age to work in the California's nightclubs and bars, so.. she and her father traveled across the border to the city of Tijuana, Mexico, a popular tourist spot of the 1930s.

It was at the Caliente Club where Hayworth was first spotted by the head of the Fox Film Corporation, Winfield Sheehan. Hayworth, found herself in Hollywood making a screen test for Fox. Sheehan, signed Hayworth to a six-month contract.

There Hayworth, performed very small roles in five pictures. By the end of her six-month contract, Zanuck decided not to renew her contract. Judson, found a place for her in lead roles with Columbia Pictures. Studio head Harry Cohn, signed her to a long-term contract.

Cohn, thought Hayworth looked too Mediterranean, which caused Hayworth to be cast into Hispanic roles. She decided to undergo electrolysis to broaden her forehead and accentuate her widow's peak. When Hayworth returned to Columbia, she was a redhead.

In 1939, Howard Hawks wanted Hayworth, for a small but important role in the film, Only Angels Have Wings, where she played the wife of disgraced flier Richard Barthelmess and one of Cary Grant's old flames.

Fun Fact:

When Rita Hayworth couldn't play her drunk scene well enough, Hawks told Cary Grant to throw a bucket of water on her head, dry her hair, and to only say his lines.

Cohn, next put Hayworth in the films:

Music in My Heart (1940). This has to be one of the most underrated of Rita's films. A musical, which gives Rita's fans a chance to watch her dance. A wonderful 'boy meets girl' story, which begins when their cabs crash into each other, changing both their lives.

The Lady in Question(1940). This film is full of drama and smiles. The story begins when, Brian Aheme, a bicycle shop owner who wants to become a juror in a court case of Natalie Roguin. Andre Moestan, manages to talk the jury into setting her free. Andre, gives her a job in his bicycle shop and lets her live above his shop. Pierre Moestan, the son of Andre, falls in love with Natalie. It is great seeing a young Rita just starting out in her Hollywood career.

Video: Rita's first romantic scene with Glenn.

Angels Over Broadway(1940). Drama, in which a hustler, a showgirl, and an alcoholic playwright trto help an embezzler win back the money he stole.

Video: Full movie.

Rita Hayworth, is wonderful in her part and was later, loaned out to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to perform in the films:

Susan and God(1940), with Joan Crawford. Rita Hayworth, has a small role as a young actress who married producer Nigel Bruce for her career. You just know that she was going to be a huge star from her performance in this film.

On loan to Warner Brothers, Hayworth performed as the second female lead in, The Strawberry Blonde (1941), opposite James Cagney and Olivia de Havilland.

Ann Sheridan, was originally cast as Virginia Brush, but had a salary dispute with Warner Brothers. The studio borrowed Rita Hayworth from Columbia.

Jack L. Warner, liked her work so much in this film that he used her in another romantic comedy, Affectionately Yours(1941).

For me the best part of this fluffy film, is the love triangle, which at times it's hard to follow.

Her success in the film led to an even more important role in one of my favorite films, Blood and Sand (1941), with Tyrone Power and Linda Darnell. Rita Hayworth, performance as Dona Sol, launched her career as sex symbol. Her dance scene with Anthony Quinn, for me is one of the sexest dances on film.

Video: Juan has fallen under Doña Sol's spell as he neglects his wife Carmen. Although Carmen defends her husband against his detractors, she leaves him after she visits the doña to discuss the situation and sees Juan kissing her.

She returned to Columbia Pictures and was cast in the musical, You'll Never Get Rich (1941), with Fred Astaire in one of the highest-budgeted films Columbia had ever made. Astaire, plays a dance director who becomes attracted to dancer Hayworth, but is drafted into the Army. All of their dances are sensational. The 'big number' is the finale, the "Wedding Cake Walk". There is a dance number at the start of the film called "Boogie Barcarolle." The other number is Astaire and Hayworth's dress rehearsal "So Near and Yet So Far," a beautiful dance which showcases Hayworth in a sheer black gown.

Their follow-up film, Rita's Favorite of her own films, You Were Never Lovelier(1942), is full of romantic complications and more beautiful dance numbers, performed by Fred Astaire, Rita Hayworth, and Xavier Cugat and his orchestra. The story is about, an American dancer who runs out of money while on vacation, in Buenos Aires and tries to get a job with hotel owner, Adolph Menjou. He soon meets Menjou's beautiful daughter Hayworth and compares her to the inside of a refrigerator. Trying to speed things along, Menjou starts sending his daughter orchids. Hayworth, believes that Astaire sent her the orchids and they fall in love. As a team, They only did two films together. This film includes the title song "I'm Old Fashioned", one of the most romantic dance numbers ever performed.

Hayworth, was the first dancer to partner with both Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly on film.

In 1942, Hayworth performed in two other pictures:

Tales of Manhattan. This movie leads us through many ups and downs all based around a tuxedo which seems to be jinxed. Charles Boyer, is drawn to beautiful Rita Hayworth. Thomas Mitchell, as the husband with a few ulterior motives of his own. The movie composed of 5 unrelated short stories.

In the film, My Gal Sal. Studio head Darryl F. Zanuck originally wanted Carole Landis to play Sally Elliot, but she refused to dye her hair red and insisted she'd play it as a blonde. She was put in a secondary role and Rita Hayworth, borrowed from Columbia, since Alice Faye, expecting her first daughter, could not take the part.

Rita Hayworth's dancing partner in the number, "On The Gay White Way" is choreographer Hermes Pan.

The plot is fluffy and charming and you will love Rita Hayworth and Victor Mature, in this Gay 90s film..

It was during this period that Hayworth posed for a famous pin-up in Life Magazine, which showed her in a negligee perched seductively on her bed. When the U.S. joined World War II in December 1941, Hayworth, became one of the top two pin-up girls of the war years, the other being Betty Grable.

In 1944, she made one of her best-known films the musical, Cover Girl (1944), with Gene Kelly. The film established her as Columbia's top star of the 1940s.

A wonderful story about a girl named Rusty Parker, who dreams of being on Broadway which means she would have to leave the small theater where she works with Danny and Genius. Every Friday night, they go to a local bar where they order oysters so they can look for a pearl. Rusty, learns that fame is not all that it is cracked up to be. The movie showcases the amazing talents of Rita and Gene Kelly.

During the middle of shooting Rita Hayworth eloped with Orson Welles. Coincidentally the film's wedding scene was shot that day.

Cohn, continued to showcase Hayworth's talents in films:

Tonight and Every Night (1945). Rita, was pregnant during production. So the musical numbers were filmed first, before the pregnancy began to show. As filming progressed, they did everything they could to hide her growing belly with muffs, furniture and purses.

The movie is set during the air attacks on London about a theater that never missed a performance. Many musical numbers are mixed in with the story involving Rita being romanced by Eagle Squadron RAF, Lee Bowman. Even though she's warned by her best friend Janet Blair, that Bowman's a wolf in Eagle Squadron uniform. Dancer Marc Platt, is also interested in her.

Her sex appeal was most notable in the film noir. Gilda (1946), with Glenn Ford, this film found some difficulty with censors, because Hayworth, performed a one-glove striptease. Hayworth's, performance is stunning and unforgettable. Put the Blame on Mame, is one of film history's more memorable scenes. Also, look out for the famous "hair-toss" scene.

Video: First of 10.

Down to Earth (1947). This comedy/fantasy story begins when, performer/producer Larry Parks, begins planning a musical comedy that is a satire of the Greek Gods. A Greek Muse, is not to happy that liberties are being taken with her relations so she comes down and lands the dancing lead to straighten things out. Rita Hayworth, is at the height of her screen fame when this film was made.

She delivered one of her most famous performances in, The Lady from Shanghai (1947). Its failure at the box office was blamed on Hayworth's famous red hair cut off and dyed blonde for her role. This was done without Cohn's knowledge or approval and he was furious over the change.

Her next film, The Loves of Carmen (1948), again with Glenn Ford, was the first film co-produced by Columbia and Hayworth's own production company, The Beckworth Corporation (named for her daughter Rebecca).

Video: Dance scene.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

SINGIN' IN THE RAIN captures The Favorite Classic Musical Film Crown

In the final match top seed Singin' in the Rain easily over-powered Meet Me in St. Louis 16-4 to win favorite classic musical film. It was an exciting tournament that I was more than happy to do for my friend Dawn. Thanks to everyone who voted and for my money, I think the right film won.

Donald, Debbie and Gene are all tired after this exciting tournament..but happy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

It's SINGIN' IN THE RAIN vs MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS for all the marbles...

We finally made it to the final match of the favorite classic musical film tournament. What started with 64 films a month ago, has now come down to the final two films to decide the one winner. Overall tournament top seed Singin' in the Rain defeated 30's era champion Swing Time 13-6 while third seed and sentimental favorite Meet Me in St. Louis upset 60's era champion The Sound of Music 10-8. So now Rain will face St. Louis for bragging rights of favorite classic musical film. The match begins immediately and will run thru Saturday 8 pm EST. Good luck to both films.





Saturday, October 8, 2011

THE FINAL FOUR is now set as The Sound of Music beats Mary Poppins to win the 60's Era

The Sound Of Music beat Mary Poppins 12-8 to win the 60's era and become the final film to make the final four of the favorite classic musical film tournament. It became the second top seed to make it to the finals. The other top seed being Singin' in the Rain. So here are the two matches that will begin today. These matches will run thru Tuesday 7pm EST.





5 SWING TIME (1936)






Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thank You Monty!!

Betty Boop Glitter Graphics | GraphicsGrotto.com

I want to tell you "Thank you,"
But it doesn’t seem enough.
Words don’t seem sufficient--
"Blah, blah" and all that stuff.

Please know I will never
Forget your generous act.
I really appreciate you;
You’re special, and that’s a fact!

Your Friend, Dawn.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

It will be Julie Andrews vs Julie Andrews in the 60's era final match

Good news for Julie Andrews fans as her two films, The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins will face each other in the final match of the 60's era. The winner earns the last spot in the final four. Both films won by identical scores. Music beat Funny Girl 13-6 while Mary Poppins beat The Music Man 13-6. This reminds me of what Judy Garland did in the 40's era round as her two films Easter Parade and Meet Me In St. Louis battled one another. Anyway Julie will have one of her films make it to the final four. The question is, will it be Sound of Music or Mary Poppins? Me..I gotta go with Mary. The match starts immediately and runs thru Saturday mid-day EST. Good luck to both films.




Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Semi-Final Matches (60's Era) are set...

Three of the four top seeds advanced to the semi-final rounds and one really interesting match. First the recap: top seed The Sound Of Music crushed Viva Las Vegas 17-2. Second seed My Fair Lady defeated Bye Bye Birdie 14-4. Third seed Mary Poppins overwhelmed The Music Man 14-5. And the one upset occurred when fourth seed West Side Story was edged out by Funny Girl 10-9. That last match should make Desiree very happy.

Anyway the semi-final matches set up like this: The Sound of Music will face Funny Girl. While My Fair Lady faces Mary Poppins which is the more interesting match I think. There is history between these two films as Julie Andrews was close to doing My Fair Lady before the producers went with Audrey Hepburn. Well Julie landed Mary Poppins and an Oscar to boot. So this should be a very interesting match. Voting begins immediately and runs thru Wednesday night 7 pm EST. Good luck to all four films




5 FUNNY GIRL (1968)



2 MY FAIR LADY (1964)