BIG SCREEN

I’m always envious when someone writes about seeing a classic movie on the big screen.

Well, I’ll be seeing a few at the 2017  Glasgow Film Theatre next month.

The following films are to be shown under the heading DANGEROUS DAMES. And the screenings are free. How can there not be a good turn-out!

Of course I’m never content. How can you have a Dangerous Dames theme and not include Lizabeth Scott in Too Late For Tears. Or Ann Savage in Detour.

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SID GRAUMAN (1879 – 1950)

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The great showman SID GRAUMAN will be forever known for his famous GRAUMAN’s CHINESE THEATRE on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles.

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I know the cinema’s name has been TCL CHINESE THEATRE IMAX  from 2012 (. TCL is a Chinese electronics manufacturer .)

Before that, it was known as MANN’S CHINESE THEATRE , reflecting the purchase of the theatre by Ted Mann in 1973.

But to fans it will always be Grauman’s, with its iconic forecourt showing  hand and footprints of Hollywood Greats since the 1920s.

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The Chinese opened in 1926, with fittings imported from China. The first screening was the premiere of KING OF KINGS.

Sid Grauman was not the sole owner. His business partners were Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and Howard Schenck.

In 1928, Grauman sold his share to William Fox’s Fox Theatres chain, but remained managing director for the rest of his life.

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Were the theatre’s staff dressed like this all the time in the early years?  Very colorful.

Sid Grauman started his show business career in San Francisco . He and his father, David  opened the Unique Theater and the Lyceum, with motion pictures and vaudeville acts.

I love the story that after the 1906 earthquake, they put a projector and some chairs in a tent and posted a sign,

Nothing to fall on you but canvas, if there is another quake.”

Father and son moved to Los Angeles in 1917 and opened the Million Dollar Theatre. They introduced live stage presentations before the film.

Million Dollar Theater

Million Dollar Theater

I presume the cinema was on the bottom half of the building.

Sid’s father died in 1921. Sid carried on their work and opened the Egyptian Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard  in 1922.

In its first 3 years, the Egyptian only had 4 movies in operation! ROBIN HOOD ran 5 months, then THE TEN COMMANDMENTS ,7 mths,  THIEF OF BAGDAD, and THE COVERED WAGON.

The Egyptian is now the home of the American Cinematique and the TCM annual Festival has screenings there.

In 1923 he opened Grauman’s Metropolitan Theatre, only a few blocks away from the Million Dollar Theatre.

The Metropolitan had a seating capacity of over 3,000. At one point it had three entrances. It was acquired by Paramount in 1929 and renamed the Paramount Theatre. It was demolished in 1960.

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The Metropolitan Theatre at 6th and Hill St.

 

Having celebrities’ foot and hand prints cemented in the Chinese forecourt was a brilliant idea – and there were variations – Harold Lloyd’s glasses, the knees of Al Jolson, the noses of Durante and Bob Hope, Betty Grable’s legs!

Al Jolson

Al Jolson (Sid Grauman on his right)

Looks like Al’s whole leg has gone in!

 

With Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks

With Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks

 

John Barrymore's profile!

John Barrymore’s profile!

 

19 Feb 1933, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA --- The four Marx Brothers join Sid Grauman's Hall of Fame in the forecourt of the famous Hollywood Chinese Theater. The four brothers are shown left to right, Harpo, Groucho, Zeppo and Chico as they make their hand impressions in the wet cement with Sid Grauman directing. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

1933. The fours Marx Brothers with Sid GRAUMAN

 

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Couldnt resist this one. Sid joining in the swirl of the kilts!

 

with Norma Shearer and Irving Thalberg

with Norma Shearer and Irving Thalberg

 

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Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland

 

Ginger Rogers

Ginger Rogers

 

 

Roy Rogers and Trigger

Dale Evans, Roy Rogers and Trigger

 

Betty Grable

Betty Grable, with a little help from the military.

 

Grauman himself had his own cement block in 1946.

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Laraine Day, Cecil B DeMille,Gary Cooper help Sid

 

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The Oscar Ceremonies were held at the Chinese for three years running – 1944, 1945 and 1946.

Grauman was awarded an honorary Oscar in 1949 for raising the standard of film exhibition. He was one of the founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

He lived at L.A.’s Ambassador Hotel for 35 years.

What a showman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ON THE SET. 29

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Going ON THE TOWN, Sinatra,Munshin and Kelly on location in New York.

 

 

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That’s Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotten in the window frame. PORTRAIT OF JENNIE

 

 

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Michael O’Shea waiting for his cue in LADY OF BURLESQUE. Michael      was known as Eddie O’Shea  on radio and the stage.

 

 

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That was a good swim. Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Hitchcock. TO CATCH A THIEF.

M. Vanel was a French actor in the film , playing Bertani. His full name  was Charles-Marie Vanel.

 

 

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Robert Taylor visits Barbara Stanwyck. Is he offering some advice to Mr. Cooper. BALL OF FIRE.

 

 

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Director Howard Hawks is deep in conversation. Barbara awaits the verdict. Or are they changing the sets. BALL OF FIRE.

 

 

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Charles Drake, Shelley Winters, Rock Hudson.  WINCHESTER 73.

I don’t suppose the famous rifle from the film survived.

 

 

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Director Douglas Sirk with his two stars, Jane Wyman, Rock Hudson. ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS.

 

 

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It’s Cary again, with  Howard Hawks. HIS GIRL FRIDAY?

TERRY MOORE IS 88

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Congratulations to TERRY MOORE who was 88 on 7th.January,2017.

Discovering “Shack Out on 101 last year got  me looking at the films  of Terry Moore whose career included an Oscar nomination for Come Back Little Sheba (1952) . She co-starred with Jimmy Durante, Victor Mature, Robert Cummings, Mickey Rooney, Audie Murphy, Tyrone Power and Fredric March.

 

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CAST A LONG SHADOW with Audie Murphy.

 

With Tyrone Power. KING OF THE KHYBER RIFLES

With Tyrone Power. KING OF THE KHYBER RIFLES

 

With Victor Mature. GAMBLING HOUSE

With Victor Mature. GAMBLING HOUSE

 

With Ben Johnson and Robert Armstrong.MIGHTY JOE YOUNG

 

Terry was in a movie that I have never heard of – MAN ON A TIGHTROPE (1953) which has a great cast – Fredric March (Terry plays his daughter), Gloria Grahame, Cameron Mitchell, Adolphe Menjou. Fortunately the film is available on dvd and I look forward to seeing it. Has anyone seen it?

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And Terry danced with Fred Astaire.

With Fred Astaire. DADDY LONG LEGS

. DADDY LONG LEGS

 

Terry appeared in many TV shows and had a recurring role in EMPIRE (1962-64).

With Ryan O'Neal, EMPIRE

With Ryan O’Neal, Denver Pyle .EMPIRE

 

With Eric Fleming. RAWHIDE

With Eric Fleming. RAWHIDE

 

As recently as 2014,Terry was in the final episode of TRUE DETECTIVE, with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson .

with Woody Harrelson, Mathey

 

Terry also attended a tribute to Audie Murphy in Greenville,Texas in 2015.

She was interviewed by Eddie Mueller in 2014 after a screening of Shack Out On 101 – she was great friends with Lee Marvin. When asked about her longevity, Terry said ,  no smoking or drinking, yoga twice a week, and she walks 10 to 15 miles at weekends!

With Dana Andrews. TOWN TAMER

With Dana Andrews. TOWN TAMER

 

With Glenn Ford. A DATE WITH DESTINY (1948)

With Glenn Ford. A DATE WITH DESTINY (1948)

 

The controversy over Terry’s  relationship with Howard Hughes continues. In a You Tube interview, Terry said they were married on a ship and there was ‘a log of their marriage’. She added that she, not Jean Peters, was the legal Mrs. Hughes. She also agreed that she was a bigamist ( as she had two subsequent marriages!)

She wanted the marriage kept secret because of her career. Terry met Hughes when she was 18 and she called it quits after 8 years. She and Jane Russell worked with Leonardo de Caprio on THE AVIATOR, in which De Caprio played Howard Hughes.

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Terry’s book about Howard Hughes

The Hughes estate paid an undisclosed sum to Terry in 1984.

 

with James Dean

with James Dean

 

At a premiere with Charlton Heston and Richard Widmark

At a premiere with Charlton Heston and Richard Widmark

 

With Richard Jaekel. come Back Little Sheba

With Richard Jaekel. Come Back Little Sheba

 

With Robert Wagner.BENEATH THE 12 MILE REEF.

With Robert Wagner.BENEATH THE 12 MILE REEF.

 

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With Frank Lovejoy.SHACK OUT ON 101

With Frank Lovejoy.SHACK OUT ON 101

 

With Lee Marvin. Shack Out on 101

With Lee Marvin. Shack Out on 101

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN”


 

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It seemed appropriate to re-watch SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN after Debbie Reynolds’ passing.

It’s such a glorious movie, full of song and dance and laughter as it takes us back to the dawn  of talkies.

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“Singin’ In The Rain”  began when legendary MGM musical producer ARTHUR FREED approached top screenwriters/lyricists BETTY COMDEN and ADOLPH GREEN and asked them to write a screenplay for a film to be called Singin’ In The Rain, using Freed’s  own back catalogue of songs.

Anxious Herb Brown, Arthur Freed

Nacio  Herb Brown, Arthur Freed

Arthur Freed and his composer partner, Nacio  Herb Brown were highly successful songwriters in the 1920s and 30s.

They wrote some of the most popular songs of the era – ‘The Broadway Melody’, ‘You Were Meant  for Me’,  ‘You are my Lucky Star’. Freed and Brown were there at the dawn of the talkies and wrote ‘Broadway Melody’ for THE BROADWAY MELODY OF 1929.

Betty Comden said, Our problem was getting all those songs into a coherent story…….we thought they would live most happily in that period of transition of Silents to talkies.”

Adolph Green, Betty Comden,Gene Kelly

Adolph Green, Betty Comden,Gene Kelly

 

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Donald  and Gene in  ‘Fit as a Fiddle’.

Arthur Freed originally intended to re-unite Gene with Oscar Levant from An American in Paris. But Gene decided he wanted a dancer for the role of Cosmo. Donald O’CONNOR was borrowed from Universal and teamed perfectly with Gene.

It was decided that Donald would have a solo number but no one could decide on any of the Freed/Brown catalogue. So, during the filming Freed and Brown wrote ‘Make ‘Em Laugh’ which Donald turned into a comic tour de force. ….that run up the wall and back somersault!

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The similarities of ‘Make ’em Laugh’ to Cole  Porter’s ‘Be a Clown’ from  THE PIRATE  was immediately obvious,  but no changes were made!

 

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The only non Freed/Brown was the tongue-twisting ‘Moses Supposes’ which Comden and Green and the film’s associate producer ROGER EDENS wrote.

 

CYD CHARISSE  said, “I wasn’t  supposed to  be in the film – Arthur Freed said to me, ‘How would you like to  be in the ballet at the end of the film ……I had two weeks of rehearsal……..we had a huge wind machine……we called it the crazy veil!”

 

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A spectacular number.

 

The one, the only Lina Lamont, hilariously brought to life by JEAN HAGEN. No voice coach was going to change Lina’s larynx ( though Kathleen Freeman tried!)

We’ll never forget hearing Lina say,

“If we bring a little joy into your humdrum lives, it makes us feel as though our hard work aint been in vain for nothing.”

You said it,Lina!

 

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Douglas Fowley, Gene Kelly, Jean Hagen.

 

The director of The Dueling Cavalier, Roscoe , is driven to distraction by Lina. Douglas Fowley is perfect as Roscoe.

Roscoe:” Lina,we’re missing every other word. You’ve got to talk into the mike.”

Lina: “Well, I can’t make love to a bush!”

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The game is up,Lina. You can’t sing!

 

‘Good Morning’ was originally sung by Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney. Here it becomes a marvellous song and dance for Debbie, Gene and Donald.

Debbie is alongside two very experienced dancers, and at the tender age of 19,   she holds her own. Arthur Freed saw the promise of the young Debbie who had never danced before.. Gene Kelly’s assistants, Carol Haney and Jeanne Coyne, worked with Debbie for three months.
(Jeanne Coyne had been married to the film’s co-director Stanley Donen from 1948 to 1951. She later married Gene Kelly in 1960 and they were together till her death in 1973.)

 

The filming of the title number took nearly three days and Gene Kelly had a fever while filming it.

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On the DVD release, it’s interesting to see the original Freed/Brown songs in their original settings .

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The Freed unit at MGM had an endless pool of talent and it is all up there on the screen when you see this glorious musical,

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AND THEN THERE WERE NONE

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First There Were Ten….And Then There Were None”, or so the poster says, but for  anyone who knows this AGATHA CHRISTIE thriller, a more accurate title would be And Then There Were Two!

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I always blamed Hollywood for changing the ending of the book on which the film is based.  No one was left alive at the end of the novel , but it was Agatha Christie  herself who changed the ending when she adapted her 1939 book for the stage in 1943.

The story goes that she wanted a more upbeat ending for audiences during wartime. She also changed the name of the character played by C.Aubrey Smith (General Macarthur in the book, General Mandrake in the film).

 

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On the boat to the isolated island off the coast of Devon. All strangers to each other and all invited by Mr.U. N. Owen – whom none of them know. But their host thinks they have committed crimes for which they escaped punishment.

The ferry has left the island and wont be back till after the weekend. There are no phones. The stage is set, and one by one, they are killed in various ways (though the deaths are not too graphic!). And each death bears some relation to the nursery rhyme, Ten Little Indians.

 

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Roland Young,June Duprez,Barry Fiztgerald,Louis Hayward,C.Aubrey Smith,Judith Anderson

 

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The centre piece of the dining table,ten little Indian figurines. One by one, after every death, they topple over. It’s eerie!

 

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Louis Hayward,C.Aubrey Smith,Barry Fitzgerald,Richard Haydn,Mischa Auer,Walter Huston

On arrival, Rogers the butler puts on a gramophone  record , and their crimes of murder  are laid out for all to hear. There’s some controversy over whose voice is heard on the record. I read that it was an actor called Victor Travers.

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June Duprez, an English actress whose career in Hollywood only lasted over the war years. She is best known for THE FOUR FEATHERS, THE THIEF OF BAGDAD and THE SPY IN BLACK.

French director Rene Clair also didn’t linger long in Hollywood. Long enough to make this great thriller and THE GHOST GOES WEST, I MARRIED A WITCH  and THE FLAME OF NEW ORLEANS.

 

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Is this the murderer? The doctor looks a little crazy.

 

 

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The devilish Christie twist in the plot. Fitzgerald and Huston are excellent.

 

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Emily Brent (Judith Anderson) doesn’t seem too concerned as she continues knitting. Judith’s character is minor and not really worthy of this actress.

 

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Richard Haydn brings some humour to the murder mystery,playing Rogers, the butler. Like the guests, he and his wife (Queenie Leonard) have never met their employer.

 

 

And Then There was None was an independent film by producer  Harry M. Popkin.

Lapsing into public domain, it has been out on DVD from various distributors over the years.

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My  recent copy is a Spanish Blu-ray from Cinema International Media. The quality is ok.

Even when you know the ending of the film, it is so well made , you want to watch it again – just not on your own on a cold, dark night!

I watched the recent BBC adaptation and wasn’t impressed. This is the one to watch. It has everything – red herrings, crashing waves,mystery,chills, deception,suspicion and a ton of suspense. It could only be in black and white.

And if you haven’t seen it, Bosley Crowther’s 1945 New York Times review ends with –

“As for the murderer’s performance, well, you must judge for yourself!”

BARBARA RUSH IS 90

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BARBARA RUSH was 90 on 4th January,2017.

I first remember seeing Barbara as Jane Wyman’s step-daughter in MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION and being impressed by her performance .

With Gregg Palmer. Magnificent Obsession

With Gregg Palmer. Magnificent Obsession

 

One of Barbara’s first films was PRINCE OF THIEVES, with John Derek.

Prince of Thieves

Prince of Thieves

 

Possibly best known for IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE(1953), Barbara worked steadily in films and television from the 1950s  to the 1990s. And was also a stage performer.

With Richard Carlson

With Richard Carlson

Married to Jeffrey Hunter from 1950 to 1955, she worked at a Universal, Fox and Paramount and costarred twice with Rock  Hudson in TAZA,SON OF COCHISE (1954) and CAPTAIN LIGHTFOOT  (1955).

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TAZA ,son of Cochise

TAZA ,son of Cochise

 

CAPTAIN LIGHTFOOT

CAPTAIN LIGHTFOOT

 

FLAMING FEATHER (1952) with Sterling Hayden.

With Sterling Hayden

With Sterling Hayden

 

Barbara played James Mason’s wife in the drama BIGGER THAN LIFE (1956).

Bigger Than Life

Bigger Than Life

 

A rare title I have never seen is WORLD IN HIS CORNER (1956), in which Barbara costarred with Audie Murphy.

With Audie Murphy

With Audie Murphy

 

Barbara costarred twice with FRANK SINATRA, in COME BLOW YOUR HORN (1963) and ROBIN AND THE SEVEN HOODS (1964) – in which she played ‘Marian’.

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With Jeffrey Hunter

With Jeffrey Hunter

 

Barbara attended the 2012 TCM Festival.

With Robert Osborne

With Robert Osborne