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Everything posted by neilelmhr

  1. Happy to say that the latest issue of "Classic Images" (March Issue $369) features my two-part article on OLIVIA DE HAVILLAND with seventeen gorgeous photos. Just thought I'd spread the word if this post goes through. Having trouble trying to post here and never know when I'll be able to or not. Neil
  2. No, not sold under "Outward Bound". Might be available at some retail outlets like Movies Unlimited. A google search under "hard to find films" should do it. There are quite a few outfits dealing in films not shown regularly on cable TV. Neil
  3. Fascinating film--always watch it when it's on TCM. So many fine performances from the all-star cast. I have no idea why this never made it to VHS or DVD. Neil
  4. Handsome production values and excellent performances. My only complaint is that the film has a running time that could have been cut by at least a half-hour. Bette Davis was wonderful throughout--especially convincing as the utterly vain Fanny Skeffington who never loved anyone better than herself. And Claude Rains, as usual, underplayed his role very effectively as the patient husband and father. Bette's decision to use a high-pitched voice for Fanny was a bit distracting at times but she really nailed the part beautifully. And Walter Abel gave another one of his excellent supporti
  5. Somehow, I could never work up much enthusiasm for ROBERT MONTGOMERY. Something about his persona always alienated me. I didn't like him in NIGHT MUST FALL (but then again, the whole film was a bit of a disappointment, too stagey and melodramatic in all the acting and direction). I did think he did some interesting films, like RIDE THE PINK HORSE, LADY IN THE LAKE and THEY WERE EXPENDABLE--but he never became one of my screen favorites. He gave a weak performance in a film he didn't want to do and announced to cast and crew that he would give nothing to the role--in RAGE IN HEAVEN.
  6. My two favorite railroad songs: "Chatanooga-Choo-Choo" and "On the Atchinson, Topeka and the Santa Fe" run through my mind a great many times. Memorable music moments from SUN VALLEY SERENADE and THE HARVEY GIRLS. When I worked with someone who never heard of "On the Atchinson", etc., I knew she wasn't a classic movie fan! Or a Judy Garland fan! Probably never heard of "The Trolley Song" either. Neil
  7. When I think of Fred and Ginger, the uppermost song that comes to mind is the one they did so beautifully from "The Barkleys of Broadway"--THEY CAN'T TAKE THAT WAY FROM ME. (A song they did in an earlier RKO musical). But this version was a class act all the way--sophisticated and smooth. And the othe number from Barkleys wasn't bad--"One and Only Highland Fling" showed them with a great sense of humor. Keep wondering how Judy Garland would have done that number with him. Right now, the songs that keep going through my mind are the ALW songs from "Phantom of the Opera"--catchy little
  8. I realized tonight that I'd never watched this screwball comedy--have been turned off by too many weak screwball comedies in the past. But this was hilarious! I found myself laughing out loud at Dunne and Grant--and Ralph Bellamy was terrific as a naive country bumpkin sort. Everyone had some good lines and the whole thing was delightful from start to finish. Irene Dunne was terrific--those expressions while trying to suppress her amusement were priceless. She and Grant really clicked as a team. Thanks to TCM for showing this timeless comedy. I'm just surprised that Grant didn't get
  9. Am I the only one reeling from all those swirling camera movements at the top of the Empire State Building? Talk about vertigo. I needed dramamine pills to get through KING KONG. Not that I didn't love it! Especially the first hour with such realistic glimpses of New York as it must have looked in the early '30s. What detail! Amazing. My only complaint was that at least 45 minutes could have been cut from the repeated scenes of prehistoric creatures fighting over and over again. Got a bit repetitious after awhile. But I'm sure the film is going to do fine at the box-offic
  10. AFI's list was missing several that deserved to be on the top 50. Most obvious, OLIVIA de HAVILLAND. I love Jack Matthew's (critic of the N.Y. Daily News) who wrote: "Ava Gardner, but not Olivia de Havilland! Are they nuts?" Olivia continues to be the most underrated of all the great actresses, despite her two Academy Awards. Neil
  11. Personally, a little bit of June Allyson is all I can take at one sitting. I did like her very much when she was cast in musicals like GOOD NEWS or TILL THE CLOUDS ROLL BY. But otherwise, her acting always leaves me unimpressed. She tried hard as Jo in LITTLE WOMEN but--while not a bad adaptation of the Alcott novel--somehow it didn't really work. Too artificial. Neil
  12. Why does Ben always look like a guy who just got off a motorcycle? Somehow, you don't expect him to have an intimate knowledge of films--whereas Robert Osborne (who has written several informative books on films) seems the perfect host, in my opinion. Always so informative, genial and well-mannered with a polished technique for introducing films. Neil
  13. I'd love to see a box set of her best films. A dream box set would include: Strawberry Blonde, Hold Back the Dawn, To Each His Own, The Dark Mirror, The Snake Pit, The Heiress, My Cousin Rachel and Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte. Thankfully, the Errol Flynn box sets include some of her best films with him. About time she's getting a tribute from the Academy. I should think Kennedy Center Honors would be next--but I'm grateful for the Academy tribute. Neil
  14. First of all, I wouldn't compare the ALW musical version of PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (2004) to the 1925 Lon Chaney original, because it didn't set out to be a horror film at all, but a MUSICAL version of the story. Comparisons to the Lon Chaney film are simply unfair and unreasonable. It's a musical! Secondly, I did see KING KONG because I just saw the old RKO version ('33) and I'm still fond of it. But the big screen remake is extremely well done except that it could have been trimmed by at least 45 minutes--especially the Scull Island scenes involving various insects, bugs and prehistoric
  15. It's definitely TO EACH HIS OWN, the film that re-ignited Olivia's career after her long battle with Warner Bros. and winning her first Oscar. By the way, she doesn't reunite with her son until the film's final scene when her son's marriage is arranged by her well-meaning friend. He doesn't realize she is his mother until the film's final scene with the line: "I think this is our dance, mother.". Both her son in wartime London of 1944 and her wartime lover of 1917 were played by John Lund. Neil
  16. Handsome actor. Enjoyed watching him as one of Loretta Young's brothers in THE FARMER'S DAUGHTER and as Marilyn Monroe's boyfriend in CLASH BY NIGHT. Always thought his career should have been much stronger, since he showed so much promise in all of his early roles. May he RIP. Neil
  17. I really only know her from LITTLE WOMEN and the screen test she did for Melanie in GWTW. She seemed sweet and gentle. Never did see any of her later films, including THE GUNFIGHTER with Greg Peck. May she RIP. Neil
  18. Does anyone think she intends to publish her autobiography any time soon? Supposedly, it's been in the works since the 1970s. Is she going to have it published posthumously for reasons known only to her? Does anyone know? Of course, I think she richly deserves the long overdue tribute from the Academy. Neil
  19. There's an attitude problem with him. And something awfully smarmy about the way he talks about the films, often neglecting to bring out some pertinent facts but instead going off on a tangent to pursue his own agenda about the film. Neil
  20. I was sure it would make the AFI list of "Most Inspirational" films, but I don't believe it has. I think it deserved to be. Another Jennifer Jones film did make the list of nominees: The Song of Bernadette. Neil
  21. I think from some of the disparaging remarks, some of us have to get over the idea that this is a film that only appeals to women--a "chick flick". If that were so, it would never have become the biggest box-office hit of all time--and remain so for decades upon decades of the movie-going public keeping it as the top ticket-seller of all time. The latest survey shows that with inflation considered, it tops even films like "Titanic" and "The Godfather" for having been seen by more people than any other film in show biz. It was an enormous achievement back in 1939 and is still so popula
  22. It's not the same theater. I believe the Oscar theater is the new Kodak Theater. The Samuel Goldwyn theater is where the Academy holds all its special events aside from the Oscars. Seats about 1,200, very elegant looking. Neil
  23. I was disappointed they didn't include NOT AS A STRANGER ('55) among the Mitchum films with that wonderful all-star cast and Bob Mitchum as the dedicated doctor who doesn't become a human being until he makes a fatal error. Nobody seems much aware of NOT AS A STRANGER. Olivia de Havilland, Robert Mitchum, Frank Sinatra, Gloria Grahame, Broderick Crawford, Charles Bickford, Lon Chaney, Jr., Harry Morgan, Lee Marvin and a slew of well-known character actors/actresses. Mitchum and de Havilland had some wonderful scenes together during some heated arguments. It was Stanley Kramer's fir
  24. I loved him and Basil Rathbone, two of the classiest villains of all time, ever since, as a kid, I first saw them in THE ADV. OF ROBIN HOOD ('38). Claude went on to even bigger and better roles, but I always think of him in that scene from ROBIN HOOD where he talks sarcastically about King Richard deserting the country and "leaving all of England to my tender care." He also managed to steal DECEPTION from Bette Davis and Paul Henried.
  25. I agree that she keeps a low profile, but she does like to come to the U.S. for award occasions like the Academy celebration next year in honor of her career and last year's Premiere magazine "Icon Award". She's been more active lately on DVD, giving extensive interviews on the Errol Flynn Signature Collection and the Gone with the Wind DVD ("Melanie Remembers"), so I think the organizers of these events know they can depend on her to show up. And she did come all the way from Paris the year of the 2003 Oscars where she presented 59 of the past winners on stage. As for her autobiogr
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