Synopsis: Ricky tries to keep Lucy away from auditioning for a TV show, but when a clown becomes unavailable, Lucy takes his place!
Synopsis: Ricky tries to keep Lucy away from auditioning for a TV show, but when a clown becomes unavailable, Lucy takes his place!
There are a variety of Three Stooges Cardboard Standups on Amazon for those of us who absolutely love them to distraction. There’s one of the boys golfing (actually, they’re posing, but I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt, here) that I love. There’s also a “graduate” stand up and a really great-looking one of them in tuxedos. Curly isn’t featured in the tuxedo one, so it’s kind of out for me.
Can you tell my favorite Stooge? Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk….
Click through the link above to have a look at each of the stand ups.
However, it’s the rare bird that would include We’re in the Money on their list. While it wouldn’t be the first time I could be described as a rare bird (or even odd duck), this delightful and fun movie would make my list. I absolutely love it – front to back and all moments in between.
Plot: Two beautiful and lovable gold-diggers, Ginger (Joan Blondell) and Dixie (Glenda Farrell) work as process servers for an eccentric (downright nuts!) lawyer Homer Bronson (played to absolute perfection by Hugh Herbert). The girls have decided to quit the thankless, stressful job but when they go to Bronson’s office to do so, he has a big fat reason for them to reconsider. Actually he has 1,000 reasons as in $1,000. All they have to do is serve 4 separate subpoenas in a “breach of promise suit” against the ridiculously wealthy playboy C. Richard Courtney. The rub is this: Ginger has fallen madly in love with a man “Carter,” who she met on a park bench. Turns out Carter and C. Richard Courtney are one and the same.
Each time I watch this wonderful movie, I’m struck by the great loss the world suffered when Ross Alexander took his own life when he was only 29. In this film (two years before he shot himself), Mr. Alexander is a scene-stealer in every sense of the word. You find yourself zeroing in on his expressions and smiling every time he delivers a line. There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that if he had not taken his own life, he’d be a household name today. He was simply amazing.
In fact, the entire cast is.
Joan Blondell and Glenda Farrell are as talented as they are beautiful and they obviously had a great time with these roles. The chemistry they have onscreen is a rarity and is just delicious to watch. I wish they’d made A LOT of movies together.
I hope you’ll find a copy of the movie (I’m looking for the dvd, myself, so I can watch it any and every time I feel like it!) or watch for it on TCM. It’s just a ridiculously fun little movie that epitomizes what having a strong cast does for a film.
But what about the equally talented stars who didn’t quite achieve this level of notoriety? It’d be my great honor to keep these stars shining just as brightly, so I’m going to begin spending a lot more energy on these wonderful men and women. I’m anxious for all of us to get to know them a little better.
First up (Marjorie Main) is a random one, I’ll admit, but I’ve always enjoyed her so much. Marjorie just seems like a perfect place to start for several reasons. For one thing, she falls into a category that a lot of these non-household names fall into. The category where we end up saying things like, “Wait a minute…. I know that face… I know that voice… where have I seen her/him from…. Gunsmoke? Andy Griffith? I Love Lucy? Was it a Western? Was it a Musical… nah, I don’t think they could sing…. Where do I know that face from?!?!”
Marjorie Main is a classic example of this because I pretty much went through the entire series of questions above recently when she showed up on an episode of Wagon Train I was watching. She was the title character in the episode “The Cassie Tanner Story.” For whatever reasons, when I’m trying to identify a face, my “go to” options are Gunsmoke (after all, who didn’t guest star on this series at some point?!), musicals, westerns, or screen time with Lucy or Andy.
As Cassie Tanner (with her adorable hat) kept looking at me from my tv, it finally hit me… Ma Kettle, it’s you!
The 5’7″ actress was born Mary Tomlinson in Acton, Indiana (basically Indianapolis). Her father was a minister which is undoubtedly why – after she joined vaudeville – she changed her last name to keep from “embarrassing” the family.
Ma and Pa Kettle on Vacation Trailer (1953):
The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer is a movie that kind of epitomizes WHY I’m so obsessed with old movies. For one thing, everything was so much simpler then – there was an innocence in the world that’s more than a little alluring. While we’ll never get that innocence back, it’s a joy to visit as often as possible.
I’m also crazy in love with seeing old clothes, cars, houses, furniture, buildings, etc. I actually record most of the movies I watch on the DVR (if I don’t own them on DVD, that is) because I’m always wanting to rewind to take a closer look or to relive a favorite scene.
I did this A LOT of times in The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer because of the fashion and cars – and also a few times because this particular role really gave Cary Grant the opportunity to ham it up… an opportunity he embraced with both arms!
As a huge (go ahead and pronounce that yuuuuuuuge) fan of the Golden Age of Hollywood, there are few things I love as much as cuddling up with a classic movie. However, snuggling up with a star’s biography (or autobiography) is right up there – especially when it involves one of my personal favorites. When it comes to Cary Grant: A Biography, I think it’ll be almost as good as watching one of the legend’s movies.
From Amazon: Rigorously researched and elegantly written, Cary Grant: A Biography is a complete, nuanced portrait of the greatest star in cinema history. Exploring Grant’s troubled childhood, ambiguous sexuality, and lifelong insecurities, as well as the magical amalgam of characteristics that allowed him to remain Hollywood’s favorite romantic lead for more than thirty-five years, Cary Grant is the definitive examination of every aspect of Grant’s professional and private life and the first biography to reveal the real man behind the movie star.
One of the things I love most about Hollywood biographies and autobiographies is this: You not only get to take an intimate look into the star on the cover’s life, you’re able to get up close and personal with the stars who were in their circle. That’s actually one of my favorite parts of these books- learning what sort of relationship different stars shared. You just never know what name will turn up in the pages or what they’ll be doing when they turn up!
As soon as I read Cary Grant: A Biography I’ll review it here on Hollywood Yesterday. I know it’s really going to be something special.
Book Reviews on Hollywood Yesterday:
I Know Where I’m Going (A Personal Katharine Hepburn Biography)
For example, a few who are firmly on my lists of favorites that are (somehow!) not on her’s are Olivia de Havilland, Veronica Lake, Gene Tierney, Ida Lupino, Abbott and Costello, Clint Eastwood, Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, and Lauren Bacall.
There were also a couple of her “absolute favorites” who didn’t quite make my list: Grace Kelly, Laurence Olivier, Myrna Loy, and Ingrid Bergman. Not that I don’t like them, mind you.. .they simply aren’t my favorites. I mean, they can’t ALL be, right??!
Because she is one of my absolute TOP favorites, I had to question her about not listing the beautiful and talented Olivia de Havilland. I had a feeling that I KNEW the reason, but I wanted to interrogate her to be sure. As I’d suspected, she’d only seen her in Gone With the Wind.
That’s the only explanation there could be.
Melanie was a lovely character in one of the greatest movies of all time, but the role did very little to showcase Olivia de Havilland’s talent, beauty, and personality. The same can certainly be said for Leslie Howard as Ashley. The characters of Rhett and Scarlett were written larger than life and they were directed in a manner to loom larger than the rest of the cast – although, in my personal opinion, Hattie McDaniel and Butterfly McQueen – along with Clark Gable – were the ones who truly stole the show. Melanie and Ashley were vital to the story but were never meant to outshine the stars.
While their performances were, obviously, wonderful, they didn’t show all they have to offer. This is especially true (in my opinion) with Olivia de Havilland. The actress is a real force to be reckoned with – ironically, she has a great deal of “Scarlett O’Hara” fire in her… certainly more Scarlett than Melanie.
Her personality is as large as her face is beautiful – and that’s saying a great deal.
A few of my favorite Olivia de Havilland roles:
I’ll leave you with the same words I left my fellow “Old Hollywood” lover with… If you’ve never seen Olivia de Havilland in anything besides Gone With the Wind, DO SO! She is about as far from Melanie as you can conceivably get. The vast majority of her roles are filled with passion, fire, personality, and fun. To give you an idea of the type of personality we’re talking about here, when she was nine years old, Olivia made a will in which she stated, “I bequeath all my beauty to my younger sister Joan, since she has none”.
Wonder what Melanie would think about that?!
Facts About Olivia de Havilland:
“Here, you wanna play with those…”
I could watch Jonathan Winters 24/7… I’d need to be hospitalized for the pain from laughing, but still.
The Naked Spur with James Stewart and Janet Leigh
I recently re-watched The Naked Spur for probably the 12th time in my life. How could I not? James Stewart is one of my all-time favorites and Westerns are my jam… and jelly… and toast.
I have a ridiculous confession to make concerning this movie. Like 85 percent of Westerns I’ve seen, my first experience with them was as a child. My dad lived for Westerns, so they were pretty much on 24/7 in our home. Cowboys, “Indians,” saloon girls, deputies, and sheriffs were like family.
When growing up, whenever my dad had The Naked Spur on tv, I had the same three initial reactions each time:
So I never watched it in it’s entirety. I had a problem getting past Janet Leigh for some reason. As a young girl, my ideal leading lady in Westerns (as well as tv and other movies) looked closer to the dolls I played with. She needed the flowing brunette, red, or blonde hair and pretty clothes. Janet Leigh, with her sassy short hair and decidedly “boy clothes” didn’t amuse the child version of me any more than angry “George Bailey” did.
Fortunately little girls grow up. When I was older, I watched the movie past the 10 minute mark (all the way to the end) and wondered how I could have been so wrong. James Stewart was, of course, wonderful in the role (the range of this actor is amazing) and as for Janet Leigh… gorgeous.
The kid version of me couldn’t get past the clothes, the adult version of me can’t get past the face. Seriously, this is the exact face you’d expect angels to have. She was a stunning actress and doesn’t get enough credit for being one of the loveliest and most talented actresses ever. Although she doesn’t smile often in the movie, when she does it lights up the screen. Her’s is one of the most beautiful smiles to grace any screen, small or large.
Although I love Westerns as much as anyone and probably more than most, I’ll be the first to admit that the “story” isn’t always the star. In fact, many times (after watching a Western), you’ll find yourself asking, “Okay, what was the plot exactly??” The Naked Spur has a creatively-written plot – an actual story, if you will. The characters are all flawed to a certain degree, which makes it even more entertaining.
The Oscar-nominated story stars Academy Award-winner James Stewart (“It’s A Wonderful Life,” “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” “Vertigo”) as a ruthless (or as I always thought of him, an “angry George Bailey”) bounty hunter (Howard) who’s looking to bring in an outlaw (Ben) portrayed by Oscar-nominee Robert Ryan (“Crossfire,” “The Wild Bunch,” “Bad Day at Black Rock”). The bad guy’s beautiful co-traveler is Lina, played by Oscar-nominee Janet Leigh (“Psycho,” “Touch of Evil, “Little Women”).
The film also stars Ralph Meeker (Roy) and Millard Mitchell (Jesse). Mitchell’s Jesse is my personal favorite character in the movie. Little greedy, but you know what, I’m going to go ahead and forgive him for that.
Filmed in the gorgeous Rocky Mountains, The Naked Spur is considered by many as one of the best westerns ever made.
When watching The Naked Spur, you, of course, have to keep in mind that it was made in 1953. Going in, expecting more than should be expected from this period will rob you from enjoying the movie as it should be enjoyed. Then again, that can be said of all the wonderful movies we celebrate here on Hollywood Yesterday.
The film is beautifully done and perfectly cast. It’s one of those films that I would (and do) watch every time it’s on television.
Did You Know?
The Official Trailer for The Naked Spur
The movie is (MUCH) better than the trailer – although it’s a hoot in spite of itself.
Okay, first of all, I know the legendary actor’s name as well as anyone – Sir Laurence Olivier. Many people (I’m not among them I’m afraid) consider him to be the greatest actor of all time. Don’t get me wrong, he was magnificent and I certainly believe he is “one” of the best ever… even if I hesitate to give him the title “the best.”
The man’s name is synonymous with fine acting and for good reason.
Oddly enough, however, the name Marilyn Monroe is synonymous with beauty and sex appeal (again, for good reason) but it’s the rare bird who’d associate her with good acting, let alone great acting.
I’m the rarest of birds.
Marilyn Monroe was so much more than just a beautiful face. Some was good (her intelligence, beauty, and talent) and some was horrible (apparently she was notorious for holding up and inconveniencing others on set and let’s not even get into the whole JFK fiasco). Her intelligence led to her ability to bring so much to each character she portrayed. She simply knew what each character would feel and how they would react to everything and everyone around them.
The Prince and the Showgirl is one of my personal favorite Marilyn Monroe performances, which kind of sucks because Laurence Olivier’s performance makes me cringe. I understand he’s portraying royalty, here, but I’d have preferred royalty with a pulse!
The performance is one of my least favorites in any movie, to be honest. Leslie Howard in Gone With the Wind is right up there too. The thought of both characters being appealing to ANYONE is hard to buy into.. and yet both characters had beautiful ladies fawning over them.
Somehow, in spite of a lackluster, stiff performance by one of the greatest actors of all-time, The Prince and The Showgirl is still a pretty cute and enjoyable movie. It is, of course, primarily thanks to MM and her adorable portrayal of the “showgirl.” In fact, the entire rest of the cast did a fine job – even those who had only one or two scenes.
I’ve read that MM and LO did not get along at all – he took all kinds of exception to her consistent tardiness and “moods.” I don’t want to believe that this affected his performance, however, because he was the very definition of a professional. Their relationship actually makes me want to read “The Prince, the Showgirl, and Me: Six Months on the Set With Marilyn and Olivier” by Colin Clark.
Book Description: When Colin Clark left college in the 1950s, he got a job as a gofer on the set of the movie The Prince and the Showgirl, starring Marilyn Monroe and Laurence Olivier. The film should have been a box office smash, but even before cameras rolled, things began going wrong–and Clark recorded it all in this beguiling, fly-on-the-wall diary.
New and used copies are available on Amazon, so I’m going to order one SOON.
I recently re-watched The Prince and The Showgirl and came away with the same thing I think each time…. “Why is he making his character so painful to watch?!?! Is he trying to win her over or bore her to tears?!”
Marilyn is so fun, lively, and energetic – she makes the screen sizzle and pop when she’s on it. Then, here he comes.
If you’ve never seen the movie, I hope you’ll watch it soon and see what you think. As I’ve said a million times, old movies and old performances are worth watching even when we don’t love or even like them. There’s always something good or worthwhile about every single movie and in this particular movie, MM and a very strong, lively cast make it worth watching.
In spite of that one.
See James Dean Fleece Blanket for more information. This blanket is just beautiful!