Follow Friday

Click on the images below for links to classic movie articles or blog posts throughout the web that may be of interest to you.

For regular links to fascinating classic movie information, visit  Laura's Miscellaneous Musings
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Watching The Birds via Once Upon a Screen...
The Birds (1963) Performance September 19, 2012 via Out of the Past




Bing Crosby Golf Lesson via The Bing Crosby News Archive


Stranger on the Third Floor via Classic Film Freak

Wake Me When the War is Over (1969) - Comedy with Eva Gabor and Ken Berry

Misery (1990) MEETS  "Hogan's Heroes" (1965-1971)



The title of "Most Bizarre Comedy Involving World War Two and Eager Females Ravaging Captive Males Who Do Not Bother to Defend Themselves" is now in competition.

Previously the champion was, without question, Bees in Paradise (1944) - a musical about women who kill husbands after mating. Now Wake Me When the War is Over (1969) is vying for the prize.



Wake Me stars Ken Berry as Lt. Roger Carrington , a member of the US Air Force who accidentally parachutes into the German countryside during WWII. A baroness (Eva Gabor) hides him in her mansion and lies to the Nazis who are searching for him (including Werner Klemperer who reprises a hint of his famous Colonel Klink role for this film ).

The war is soon over. To keep her boy toy, the baroness fibs to him about the progress of the war, even paying former German soldiers to march about her house to keep the man in terror.

This is comedy.

About five years go by, and a new maid (Danielle De Metz) decides to tell Roger the war is over. However, since he speaks only English and she speaks only German they have difficulty communicating. Somehow he cannot understand the basics of another Germanic language despite being surrounded for five years by books, newspapers and radio programs exclusively in that language. Presumably he also has a problem deciphering pictures of the Axis surrendering and the Allies celebrating.



The latter half of the film focuses on the maid's quest to be understood; Roger just thinks she's flirting with him. Of course he does. Because when a woman with a serious expression, shouts and waves her hands about frantically she is always saying "Marry me, I'm yours." What else could she possibly mean? Oh, something about that pesky war you're in, perhaps? Nooo.

What has the baroness done to this man?! Have so many kisses been planted on his face he can't see what's right in front of him? To be fair, he is a silly man even before he lands on her property, so the baroness has a malleable mind to manipulate.



Speaking of asinine characters, Klemperer's role as Roger's romantic and ideological rival is completely superfluous - the baroness and Roger's own outrageous behavior are bigger threats to Roger's safety.

V&A Museum Displays Hollywood's Memorable Costumes


The Victoria and Albert Museum will display Hollywood's most memorable costumes October 20, 2012 - January 27, 2013.

The exhibition includes Dorothy's blue gingham dress from the Wizard of Oz and Holly Golightly's black Givenchy dress from Breakfast at Tiffany's.

From the V& A Museum

This ground-breaking exhibition includes over 100 of the most iconic and unforgettable film characters from a century of Hollywood filmmaking, 1912–2012.... These galleries are filled with cinema costumes that have never left the private and archival collections in California. Most of these clothes have never been publicly displayed and have never been seen beyond the secure walls of the studio archives.

Read more



Quote of the Day: Mary Astor

At Metro, you practically had to go to the front office if you wanted something as real as having your hair mussed. . . All automobiles were shiny, a picture never hung crooked, a door never squeaked, stocking seams were always straight and no actress ever had a shiny nose.

- Mary Astor, Actor

Two Sisters from Boston (1946) - Comedy with June Allyson, Kathryn Grayson, Peter Lawford, Jimmy Durante



You have to watch this film! It is well-made, well played and well-aged.

Two Sisters from Boston (1946) is a period comedy at the start of the 20th century. Abigail Chandler (Kathryn Grayson) deceives her Beacon Hill relatives by telling them she sings in the opera in Manhattan when she actually sings in a cafe in the Bowery. Scandal! When her sister Martha (June Allyson) discovers the ruse, the two sisters work with Abigail's employer Spike (Jimmy Durante) to make the dream a reality before the rest of the family discover the truth.

Durante and Grayson in the Bowery
This is a funny film all about the skeletons in everyone's closet! Durante is in top form here. As part owner of a Bowery cafe managing to manipulate the upper crust into divulging their dirtiest secrets, his shenanigans are reminiscent of that of the Marx brothers.

Durante teaching dance steps

A great quote from Spike:"Ain't nothing dirty down here like there is in the opera! There are no murderings and wife-stealings and people killing themselves in our numbers like there is in the opera. We're clean down here!" I nearly bust a gut every time I hear him say that!

Peter Lawford shows up as June Allyson's romantic lead. (Natch.) He's absolutely hilarious as the bookish son of an opera house owner who mistakenly believes that Abigail is having an affair with his father! Of course, he must keep this a secret from the rest of his family and joins the quest for Abigail's career to keep her quiet.

Lawford and Allyson listening to Grayson sing
Lauritz Melchior is on hand to give us a performance or three. Melchior plays an opera star (Of course!) who is another roadblock to Abigail's career.


Ben Blue plays the uptight butler to Lawford's family who, on the side, frequents Spike's cafe when he's inebriated. If the butler can remember anything after his drunken stupor, he might bring the entire scandal out in the open.
The opera star's dog hears his master's voice on a recording!

With all the whizzing about, don't look past a lovely, if brief, scene with Durante and Grayson on the subject of friendship that really tugs at your heartstrings.

Allyson and Grayson share a moment

It has comedy, romance, period costumes, perfect pacing, songs and dances. Two Sisters from Boston is must-see entertainment!

Follow Friday


Click on the images below for links to classic movie articles or blog posts throughout the web that may be of interest to you.

For regular links to fascinating classic movie information, visit  Laura's Miscellaneous Musings
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My Momentary Celebrity Obsession: Marlene Dietrich via MacGuffin Movies
Classic Chops: Silent Films via Large Association of Movie Blogs
Interview with Elton Hayes via Walt Disney's Robin Hood blog




Tom Conway- The Nice George Sanders via Classic Movie Chat

Bees in Paradise (1944) - A Bizarre Musical Comedy


The Most Dangerous Game MEETS The Women MEETS Pin Up Girl.

Bees in Paradise (1944) is the tale of an island of women who live as bees do - in a matriarchal society which disposes of males after mating with them.

It's a comedy.

Counter to what happens in an actual bee hive, the queen of this group is not the only one mating. The workers also get their chance to snatch any male who happens by the island. Just as in a standard wartime musical, most of the women look no younger than 18 and not a day over 21, wear uniforms, perform jobs traditionally reserved for men, and sing a lot.

                               

Unlike your standard 1940s musical, and more like the sadistic tale of a man who hunts humans in Dangerous Game,  these ladies make sure their men die! The doomed lads for this story are British aviators with His Majesty's Royal Air Force who parachute out of a failing plane and land on the island.


Our leading man, Peter (played by Peter George Wellesley Graves) often stands around with his hands in his pockets as if he has nowhere to go and he's bored. Bored? You are a WWII aviator who has parachuted onto a mysterious, uncharted island with a gaggle of gals who are not only anxious to mate with you, they also kill "drones!"

                      React, man! React!    


Aren't you desperate to save your own life? Aren't you concerned your family may never find you? Aren't you at least inquisitive as to how no one knows about this group? How did this colony begin? And what about your mission for the war effort?

Where's your pulse?!


Instead we get a slow, plodding love scene with a worker "bee" in the moonlight. As if this is the most meaningful relationship Peter has ever had.


Dude, it's no secret that men die in this place!  Run!



There's at least one man who does high tail it (or tries to) - our comic foil, Arthur (Arthur Askey). Usually the guy with the wise cracks in this kind of the movie is the most annoying person in the room. But this time, the second banana is the one who responds as anyone would - running away from the murderers and trying to get off the island.



This is the most bizarre musical comedy I have ever seen.  Despite a few flaws, it has an intriguing premise which keeps you guessing right up to the end.






Right. There's also a crocodile hunter subplot that goes nowhere. Very strange movie.


6 Insects Named for Classic Movie Stars

Baeturia laureli and Baeturia hardyi are species of cicada named for comedians Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.

 
 
Norasaphus monroeae is a species of trilobite named after Marilyn Monroe for its hourglass shape

 A species of gall wasp uses Elvis Presley's last name (the genus Preseucoila) and his hit song "All Shook Up" (the species imallshookupis)


Rostropria garbo a diapriid wasp described as "a solitary female," is named for Greta Garbo, she of the famed "I want to be alone" line.


 Campsicnemius charliechaplini is named after Charlie Chaplin. These flies tend to die with their legs up in a bandy-legged position, similar to Chaplin’s signature stance.

A series of giant Hawaiian linyphiid spiders are named for Orson Welles.  Four are named for the actor's famous roles: Orsonwelles othello, Orsonwelles macbeth, Orsonwelles falstaffius and Orsonwelles ambersonorum.



More celebrity species

Quote of the Day: Louis Armstrong


A lotta cats copy the Mona Lisa, but people still line up to see the original.

- Louis Armstrong, Musician

Quicksand (1950) - Drama with Mickey Rooney

Mickey Rooney gives a stirring performance in this tale about a man who makes one poor decision which might lead to his demise.

In Quicksand (1950), Rooney plays a mechanic who steals twenty dollars from the company cash register to take a woman (Jeanne Cagney) on a date. To replace the money he pawns a watch that does not belong to him. To replace the cost of the watch, he robs a man.  In the next forty-eight hours, everything gets worse from there.
Cagney and Rooney caught up in greed and crime

Peter Lorre is on hand to lend his signature menace as an arcade owner who blackmails Rooney, adding another layer to the twisted tale. I was shocked at how real their fist fight seems.

Lorre and Rooney having it out
This was a period of transition for the star. Rooney had parted ways with MGM and was an independent contractor.  According to an AP story from March 25, 1949, in an interview on location for Quicksand, Rooney became a bit restless at the mention of one of his more famous MGM roles.

Click to enlarge
From the Meridian Daily Journal:
"They make me sore," he said, referring to film reviewers and other critics. "They're always harping on Andy Hardy. You'd think that was all I had ever done. What about Boys' Town, Young Tom Edison, Babes in Arms, National Velvet?
 "Why don't they let Andy Hardy die? I haven't done one in three or four years. I'm an actor, not just an Andy Hardy." 

Rooney proves his acting chops once again for Quicksand. This film is a riveting morality tale of poor judgment, greed and deception.

Trapped by Television (1936) - Comedy with Mary Astor

In Trapped by Television (1936), the inventor of a television (Lyle Talbot) needs financial backing. Mary Astor has the ear of a venture capitalist (Thurston Hall). Can the matchmaker meet the needs of both parties while finding  a love interest  for herself? Of course, she can.





 This is a film that’s light on invention and heavy in romance and comedy.  The best bits are any time that Ms. Astor is onscreen and allowed to run with the dialogue. Her biting deliver had me in stitches.

Trapped by Television is not an unpleasant movie to watch, and a must-see for Mary Astor fans.

Follow Friday


Click on the images below for links to classic movie articles or blog posts throughout the web that may be of interest to you.

Of course, for regular links to fascinating classic movie information, visit  K.C.'s A Classic Movie Blog and Laura's Miscellaneous Musings

 
Damon and Pythias (1962) via Classic Film and TV Cafe
Who's Your Mommie Dearest? via Classic Film and TV Cafe
Saratoga Trunk (1945) via Noir and Chick Flicks
The Adventures of Sir Galahad via Thrilling Days of Yesteryear

Pages from the Past: Mary Astor in Court

After Mary Astor finished with Trapped by Television, which was released in June 1936, the actress had other things on her busy schedule that summer, including appearing in court.

The fight for custody of her daughter with former husband Franklyn Thorpe made the news. It was known informally as the Diary Trial, since Thorpe used evidence in the actress' diaries to alleged his ex-wife unfit for raising a child.

Below is an AP story in The Evening Independent on July 28, 1936, complete with excerpts from Astor's diaries.


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