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Guest Alix

I Just Saw....

268 posts in this topic

Guest Lorusso, Ed

Alice White---Just saw Widow from Chicago (1930) again and am still amazed her, how good she was, and how fast her career dumped. She was a true transition star, a rising silent player who got the big push when talkies came in. She did comedy, drama, and musicals but by 1934 was a supporting player. Certainly an interesting career for this Goldie Hawnish, Betty Boopy star.

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Guest Lorusso, Ed

Alice White was so good in this underrated film (Widow from Chiacgo)...party because she got to play the protagonist, not just the leading-lady type role... just as Davis and Stanwyck and Crawford so often did. And Edward G. Robinson, one of the MOST UNDERRATED actors of the 30s was also good. Too bad Warners threw away White's career on 2nd rate musicals and B films. She had a lot of talent even if she was pretty much limited to Noo Yawk types.....

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Guest son, jery

Just saw "Dinner at Eight," on TCM again and realized that this is a movie we'll be watching l00 years from now--and no one will be able to recall hardly anything being released today (except that marvelous, never-to-be-forgotten work of art, "Pootie Tang").

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Guest Lorusso, Ed

Well, maybe WE won't, but someone will---lol!!! It's a truly great film--one of the best!!! Fab cast. Dressler and Harlow are riots! Lionel Barrymore also wonderful. Hell--I even think May Robson and Louise Closser Hale are wonderful in this film! They just cannot make them like this anymore..... not even close..... Still **** at TCm, however, by the inability to POST THESE IN A TIMELY MANNER!!!!!!

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Guest Alix

One of my all-time favorites! I absolutely adore Marie Dressler in this movie. She takes the cake! Like you, I also think Jean Harlow was wonderful in this one as "Kitty Packard." She and Wallace Beery were great as the social climbers--and I'm no fan of Beery's! One question...in the movie a geletanous wiggling thing in the shape of a lion called an aspic is dropped on the floor right before the big dinner. What in the heck is an aspic made of? It looked like tomato juice jello giggling there on that plate. Can anyone enlighten me?? Gourmets....???

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Guest Marilyn

that's a tomato aspic. It's made with tomato juice and gelatin and poured into a mold of one's choice--in the movie's case--shaped like a lion. This is served along with dinner. It was quite a nice accent for a formal dinner party, very colorful and goes with anything. You don't see them much anymore, but they are in all the old cookbooks from the 20's through the 50's. I have plenty of these cookbooks and aspic was quite popular. Not just tomato juice, but several other varieties as well.

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Guest son, jery

"West Point"! Wow, Billy Haines knocked me out! Fabulous! No wonder this adorable party-boy was such a fave with Marion Davies, Gloria Swanson, etc.The director seemed to have let Billy do his own thing. He was so beautifully natural and likable. And his little side-kick! And those great close-ups of Haines! So gorgeous looking. What a shame Louis B. Mayer kicked this brilliant guy off the set and black-balled him--all because he was as frisky as everybody else was in Hollywood during that time. At least Billy stayed faithful to his boyfriend--which is a hell of a lot more than you can say about those puritanical moguls like Mayer!

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Guest Alix

Thanks Marilyn! So I guess I wasn't too far off when I said tomato juice jello, was I? Every time I see that thing on the plate I just want to roar with laughter! Can you imagine getting the head on your plate? Or it's butt? Ewww! Give me a tossed salad any day!

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Guest son, jery

"Dinner at Eight" parties were all the rage after the movie came out in the early 30s. I went to one in the Village back in the late 70s. A real hoot. Drag queens played the parts of Billie Burke and Carlotta Vance (Marie Dressler). One running gag: Billie Burke kept shrieking, "Don't touch my ****-pic! Has anybody seen my ****-pic!...You ruined my ****-pic!" and so on and so on. A marvelous drag queen played Marie Dressler. Another one was "Kitty Packard"--the Jean Harlow clone!Ya shoulda seen those jools' n' furs!

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Guest Lorusso, Ed

Two Seconds, a little Warners films from 1932, offered 3 fabulous performances: Edward G. Robinson, Preston Foster, and Vivienne Osborne. Neat little film gives all 3 a chance to shine. Anyone else see it? Robinson's last scene is a killer of great acting, his plea before the judge....

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Guest Alix

Oh yes, Ed. I have this one on tape, and I'm sweating like that cub reporter by the end of the movie. Robinson is awesome, as usual, and the whole movie lasts, what, 60 minutes? It reminds me of THREE ON A MATCH, packing in the action. Vivienne Osborne also impressed me, what a schemer she was in this one. On my tape, it has the "ratings," and it's listed as "M" for mature audiences. I was a little worried they were actually show him in the chair, getting the juice for a minute or two!

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Guest son, jery

just caught one of the worst MGM musicals ever made. "Bells are ringing" showed yesteday on TCM. HOrrible squawking from Judy Holiday. Even worse croaking from a soused-looking Dean Martin. And don't mention the wardrobe. The absolute pits! I couldn't believe Vincente Minelli directed this l,000 pound turkey!Judy sounded like Francis the Talking Mule on a bad hair day.The script was from hunger. I really wondered if Ed Wood had filmed this wondrous piece of lead.

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Guest Lorusso, Ed

Penrod and Sam (1931) was a little gem. The kid actors, Leon Janney, Junior Coghlin, and Billie Lord were all good and Zasu Pitts and Elizabeth Patterson were hilarious. Nice little film with a little grit to go with the humor and NOT the gunk MGM churned out later in the decade......

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Guest son, jery

I just saw the l937 version of "Show Boat" starring Irene Dunne and Alan Hale. This is the version our snobbish critics at the NYTimes always hails as the very best. No way. It was okay but can't hold a light to the memorable l950, gorgeously Technicolored version that starred Kathryn Grayson and Howard Keel. Ava Gardner stole the show as the tragic Julie.

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Guest Lorusso, Ed

Boy do I disagree!!! The 50s version is flat and boring. The Irene Dunne version, with outstanding work by Paul Robeson, Hattie McDaniel, Helen Morgan, Helen Westley, Charles Winninger, Sammy White, Queenie Smith and Allan Jones (not Hale)is by far the most complete (if quick-paced) version of the great musical. It's also the only really non-PC (save me from PC) version of the show, one that gives Robeson and McDaniel something to do. I saw the acclaimed traveling Broadway version in Denver a few years back, and even that cut several numbers because they were deemed offensive. Take the show in the context it was meant to be seen and heard in. Anyway, I love the James Whale-directed version; it has a vitality (thanks mostly to Miss Dunne) that the moribund 50s version doesn't come close to. Ya, it's pretty but empty-headed. I've never seen a bad Dunne performance, even in lousy films, and she is quite glorious in the 30s Show Boat. Too bad, however, the budget hadn't been bigger and the film allowed more time. Editing seems choppy in places, and I despise the no-talent "daughter" at the end of the film (Sunny O'Dea?), who must have been sleeping with somebody!!!! I did check out Universe, however, Jery and thanks for the tip!!!!!

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Guest son, jery

Ed,the best of luck in finding a publisher for your book. It sounds exactly like the kind that would be a big hit, not only with us fan fanatics, but the general public as well. This is an era of film history that's been shamefully ignored. Here's another tip: have you tried McFarland books? They specialize in non-fiction books of old Hollywood. They've also got a website: www.mcfarlandpub.com.

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Guest K, Sandy

I watched WESTWARD PASSAGE (1931) this morning on TCM. An entertaining little movie about a charming, selfish writer (Laurence Olivier) and his saintly wife (Ann Harding) who quarrel and have a child, quarrel and break up, wife seeks solace with old flame, husband tries to win her back, etc. What is the deal with Ann Harding, though? There is something about her that just seems so OLD to me. She is like an old woman in a young woman's body.

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Guest son, jery

Sandy, I am so with you on Ann Harding. I never saw the big attraction. She had a bleak, washed-out look because she was so blonde. I remember her in some 30s movie and thought she must be the grandmother. she turned out to be the love interest! I remember her hair as being straggly, barely any make-up, that white, bleached look. I always thought Frances Farmer looked the way Ann harding should have looked.

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Guest Lorusso, Ed

They didn't post my publishing response to Jery. What a pain. Anyway, I always kinda like Ann Harding especially because she played down the blonde bit. She was sleek and elegant without being trashy, even when she played tarty/trashy parts. There's one where she is a Dr who abandons her career for love and then is still not happy. Harding may have played the martyr too many times because by the mid30s she was on the skids. Also, Irene Dunne (see above) was on the rise and played the same kinds of genteel parts. Harding had one Oscar nomination for the original Holiday--a film Katharine Hepburn remade 5-6 years later. Have never seen it; wonder if TCM has the original Holiday in its dusty and crowded vaults ?????

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Guest Alix

I want to get in on this Ann Harding thing. My favorite Ann Harding movie is ANIMAL KINGDOM with Leslie Howard. In this one, she plays a "modern" artist who lives with her lover (Leslie Howard). She loses him to Myrna Loy, but Howard and Loy simply aren't compatible, and he comes back to her in the end. This is a great movie. Don't you think one of the things that make her look so old, even though she was young, was that hairdo of hers? The "bun" look really didn't do much for her. I think she'd have been very cute in a long, page boy type bob. Hair makes all the difference!

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Guest Lorusso, Ed

But that was part of Ann's serious actress look. She often played sexy roles but never look the part (like Jean Harlow) because she was a New York stage actress and wanted to be taken seriously. Sometimes it worked (Ladies Who Meet) but often it did not and she was just plain incongruous. Animal Kingdom was good (Leslie Howard was always worth watching) but most of her "liberated women" roles ring false now, because they really weren't liberated at all---just phonies masquerading as intellectuals. Ruth Chatterton did much better with really liberated women roles.....

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Guest son, jery

Yes, Alix, that horrible "bun" hairdo she wore is what made me think of her as being old. I always wondered how she'd look if her hair was worn loose and natural. She was a natural beauty but I just wished she had more color or something going for her.

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Guest son, jery

Just caught that Technicolor delight, "Down Argentine Way", (1940) with Carmen Miranda, Alice Faye and John Payne. What a dazzling eye-opener. Carmen's costumes were knockouts and those tutti-fruiti hats she wore! One scene worth waiting for: John Payne wears just pajama bottoms for one split second before throwing on his bathrobe. I nearly fainted. Such a gorgeous guy--adorable macho personality. John Payne, I'm in love!

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Guest K, Sandy

I have DOWN ARGENTINE WAY on tape somewhere-for some reason I thought it was a Betty Grable movie! I'll have to dig it out and watch it again. Aren't the Nicholas Brothers in it?

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Guest K, Sandy

Hmm..I'll have to check out some of these other Harding films. I, too, wondered why she wore her hair in that dowdy bun. A bob probably would've looked pretty on her. I would LOVE to see her version of HOLIDAY! I really like the Grant-Hepburn version. I just can't picture Ann Harding as a quirky heiress.

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