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About dogpaddle

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  1. Mike's right in his idea that the UFA films of the 30's and 40's - especially the musicals - are packed with plenty of potential entertainment value for a retro-focussed audience like TCM's. Production values were generally of a pretty high standard. And certainly the best of the stars still shine pretty powerfully . Marika Rokk sparkled in a string of backstage musicals - she was usually a sort of peppy chorus girl,dancing like Eleanor Powell, wise-cracking like Joan Blondell and fully ready to hit a high C when she had to - manoeuvering her way through all kinds of musical-comedy scrapes en route to a tuneful final reel triumph. HALLO JANINE, HAB' MICH LIEBE and DIE FRAU MEINER TRAUME (in color) are all loads of fun. Anyone who likes Garbo or Dietrich is likely to succumb to glamorous Zarah Leander. Even the name's alluring. Like Dietrich's films, Leander's tended to be dramas with the odd song tossed in. But what songs they are! And how she sings them! As a matter of fact, any vintage musical fan's likely to be pretty amazed at the sheer number of catchy, melodious songs that pop up in the UFA musicals -sweet,syncopated, irresistible. It's like discovering a Tin Pan Alley Atlantis. English born Lilian Harvey and matinee idol Willy Fritsch starred in a string of buoyant 30's operettas that made them every bit as popular in Europe as Macdonald & Eddy were in America. DIE DREI VON DER TANKSTELLE(The Filling Station Trio) from 1930 is astonishingly good - with lively, creative camerawork way beyond the level of most early American talkies. DER KONGRES TANZT from ' 31 is another winner. Charismatic coloratura Marta Eggerth -an early 30's box office sensation in Europe, Asia and South America - was the kind of leading lady operetta composers dreamed of. DIE BLONDE CARMEN she was called (and that was the title of one of her hit films) Like Lilian Harvey - she gave Hollywood a brief fling but never got the American showcase she deserved. The bad news in all of this is that none of these are likely to turn up on TCM. The've been nicely restored and reissued on DVD in Europe - but strictly in German, no English subtitles. And - though even without a knowledge of German - one can still respond to the musical sequences and the general glittery air of stars and settings, it's still not on the cards that an American broadcaster would see it as practical to run unsubtitled foreign language films. The DVD company Kino issued one Leander film LA HABANERA with subtitles - and it's well worth seeing. Plus a few non-musicals like TITANIC and MUNCHHAUSEN, which TCM has programmed. Otherwise, I suspect UFA's 30's and 40's films are going to remain largely off the radar in North America. A loss for movie musical lovers who think they've already seen everything worth seeing. They're wrong. Message was edited by: dogpaddle
  2. William Lundigan was also a Fox contractee at the time. So in that respect he and Hugh Marlowe were playing on an even field. And - yes - I hadn't thought of Nina Foch. She definitely had the qualifications to be an Eve Harrington finalist.
  3. I'd say almost every role in the picture is perfectly cast. What would I change? William Lundigan was short-listed for the role of Celeste Holm's playwright husband - and I definitely think he'd have brought a lot more spark to the role than Hugh Marlowe. And - although I like her in several other films - I'm just not onboard with Baxter's Eve. Too transparent in the early stages, too mannered in general (which isn't to say she didn't have some fine moments). And I don't think it's true that that there weren't any realistically viable candidates around in 1950 to replace her. Patricia Neal wouldn't have had any trouble even then - in her early 20's - capturing the steely authority of the evolved Eve. Presenting herself as Little Girl Lost near the beginning may have been more of a challenge. The marvelous Eleanor Parker was the right age at the time. She could've been imposing in the film's later stages - and pulled off a more convincing "innocence" near the beginning. Her evolution from babe in the woods to hard-boiled cynic was pretty compellng in CAGED the same year That performance earned her a well-deserved Oscar nomination in direct competition with Davis and Baxter).Certainly, it would have been interesting to see Parker's take on the part. My first - and favorite - choice for Eve, though, remains Nancy Olson.
  4. Here's an alternative casting idea for the role: http://canadianken.blogspot.com/2007/02/recasting-all-about-eve-1950.html
  5. TCM will be showing "The Kissing Bandit" a few hours from now. And the film is coming out on DVD this Tuesday -both individually and as part of a deluxe Sinatra set. As a result - over the next little while - lots of people are going to get the chance to re-evaluate the picture or to see it for the first time. So I figured now would be the right moment to resurrect this particular thread. And find out whether many people agree with the thrust of my original post i.e. that "The Kissing Bandit" is lots of fun and definitely doesn't deserve the bad rap it's been getting for decades.
  6. Here's an article related to this topic. http://canadianken.blogspot.com/2007/02/recasting-all-about-eve-1950.html
  7. Screenwriter Joseph Dougherty put out a lovely book a few years back called COMFORT AND JOI. Not really a biography of the actress (though it certainly includes biographical details) but more a mix of thoughtful speculation and warm appreciation. I think it's a tribute that would have pleased the beautiful Joi. You can still buy it at amazon.com.
  8. Sorry - I said "The Wedding Planner". I meant "The Wedding Singer"
  9. JOHN in "Beloved Rogue"."Svengali" and "Grand Hotel" ETHEL in "The Paradine Case" and "The Farmer's Daughter" DREW in "Ever After" and "The Wedding Planner" LIONEL in nothing
  10. Above all, I'd love to see Jeanne Eagels in THE LETTER. I never have. It was announced as a bonus feature on Warners' DVD of the Bette Davis version a couple of years ago. Then cancelled at the last minute. Some kind of rights problem I think. But details were sketchy. I HAVE seen Eagels in MAN WOMAN AND SIN(1927) with John Gilbert - and she was terrific. A great beauty and a great actress. A showing of THE LETTER, an early talkie, would give us a rare opportunity to see and HEAR this famous Broadway legend. Eagels was Oscar nominated for the role. One of her co-stars in the film is Herbert Marshall, who also appeared in the 40's version. It's really too bad the actress never had the opportunity to do a screen recreation of her most famous stage role - Sadie Thompson in "Rain". She was still in her 30's when she died in 1929. Things I HAVE seen and enjoyed from '29 include: PICCADILLY (with fine performances from the forgotten Jameson Thomas and the still revered Anna May Wong) BULLDOG DRUMMOND (notable for Ronald Colman's amazing talkie debut; when the public heard him speak, they immediately elevated him from star to superstar ) THE VIKING (rarely discussed - but highly entertaining - swashbuckler with a nearly forgotten lead pair (LeRoy Mason and Pauline Starke) THE WILD PARTY (one of several charming talkie performances from Clara Bow: it's too bad her career didn't extend through the 30's. She still had plenty of IT) Message was edited by: dogpaddle
  11. "Centennial Summer"'s one of my favorites too - and criminally under-rated. Set against the backdrop of the Philadelphia Exposition of 1876, it stars Jeanne Crain and Linda Darnell as sisters - and both actresses are brimming with youthful charisma and beauty. I seem to recall that it was initially planned as a non-musical. But the success of MGM's "Meet Me in St.Louis" made Fox decide to add songs. Jerome Kern supplied the score - his last, I think. And it's a beauty. "All Through the Day" and "In Love in Vain" were hits in their day, I believe. And the "Cinderella Sue" number (with Avon Long) is a real charmer - echoes of "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" in the melody. But my favorite tune from the score would have to be the lilting "Up with the Lark", which ranks with "Can't Help Singing" "It's a Most Unusual Day", and "It's a Grand Night for Singing" as one of the 40's great waltz songs. Production values for the film are terrific - and unlike Fox's usual period musicals, which tend to rely on a procession of what amount to stage-bound vaudeville turns - this one has a wonderful open-air feel, with many numbers nicely integrated into the action. I believe director Otto Preminger once indicated he barely remembered making it. But it certainly lingers fondly in the memories of those of us who saw and loved it.
  12. During the past decade James Darren has released two excellent (and still available) CD's of standards on the prestigious Concord Jazz label - THIS ONE'S FROM THE HEART and BECAUSE OF YOU. Looking good and sounding better than ever. His son is the well-known CNN correspondent Jim Moret.
  13. It's CAGED(1950) directed by John Cromwell. The movie was released on DVD earlier this year. It's loaded with great performances (Eleanor Parker and Hope Emerson were Oscar nominated) and still packs a punch.
  14. You might enjoy checking out these items on alternate casting for: SOUTH PACIFIC http://canadianken.blogspot.com/2007/02/recasting-south-pacific-1958.html and THE KING AND I http://canadianken.blogspot.com/2007/02/recasting-king-and-i-1956.html
  15. Glamorous ARLENE DAHL in full Universal Desert Film glory. {DESERT LEGION - 1953} http://www.bertc.com/subsix/stars/dahl.htm Message was edited by: dogpaddle
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