Tuesday, January 31, 2012

AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER (1957)

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox

Producer: Leo McCarey & Jerry Wald

Director: Leo McCarey

Awards: It was nominated for best cinematography, costume design, original song, scoring. It was also nominated for the DGA award and the Golden Laurel. It did win the Photoplay award. 

Interesting Fact: Deborah Kerr played both lead actress in this film and in the King & I the year before. Both of these roles were played by Irene Dunn in the original adaptation of each film. They also used the same singer, Marni Nixon, to dub over Kerr's voice in both films.

My Favorite Scene: Any scene on the boat is my favorite. From the time they bump heads in the pool to the camera being thrown overboard.

A rich playboy is about to tie the knot until he meets a woman on board a cruise ship who changes his mind. To make it even worse the lady is engaged but seems to find her courtship difficult to return to. In desperation they set a date for six months to meet again on the Empire State Building. Will absence make the heart grow fonder or will a return to their initial love shake them back into reality.

-And all I could say was, "hello."




Monday, January 30, 2012

RANDOM HARVEST (1942)

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Producer: Sidney Franklin

Director: Mervyn Leroy

Awards: It was nominated for seven Oscars: Best Actor, Actress, Picture, Director, Writing, Music & Art Director.

Interesting Fact: The lead actor, Ronald Coleman, actually suffered from shell shock in the Battle of Ypres in 1914 during WWI.

My Favorite Scene: Who can deny that the ending of this film brings chills down your spine. This scene is definitely my favorite.

A WWI veteran suffers from amnesia and falls in love with his a woman who finds him and cares for him. After having a child he leaves for the big city still unaware of what he was before his injury. While he is in the city he suffers another accident that reverts him back to his former life and causing his new life to now be forgotten. With a wife and child in another life he pursues business freely and may never discover the love he once had.

-Smithy... Oh smithy... Oh darling.
-Paula!

*Here is the original movie trailer.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

THEME OF THE MONTH (ROMANCE)

As we enter the month of February, it is only fitting to have the theme around romance. Below are my favorite top ten vintage romance films. It was a lot harder to make than I thought. Feel free to comment on your favorite romance films, I may be intrested in watching it.

#1 Random Harvest
(1942)
#2 An Affair to Remember
(1957)
#3 Pillow Talk
(1959)
#4 Brigadoon
(1954)
#5 It Happened One Night
(1934)
#6 New Moon
(1940)
#7 The Thrill Of it All!
(1963)
#8 Casablanca
(1942)
#9 Sabrina
(1954)
#10 Meet Me in St. Louis
(1944)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

MORMON LEGENDS OF HOLLYWOOD

Before I finish off this week, I thought I would pick an interesting minority to cover. So I decided to end with some of the Mormon actors of Hollywood. The most interesting is Dean Jagger who originally played Brigham Young in the film "Brigham Young" (1940). After this film he continued to play in other big pictures. You may recognize him most in "White Christmas" (1954) as General Waverly. It wasn't until 1972 that he converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints.

Here he is, along with some of the others Mormons of early Hollywood.

Friday, January 27, 2012

EPISCOPALIAN LEGENDS OF HOLLYWOOD

As I researched into the Episcopalian influence on Hollywood I found a little excerpt from the "Los Angeles Times" that compliments the theme I've been going with on the Production Code.

It seems each post has built on itself. I mentioned earlier that those who had founded the major studios of Hollywood were of Jewish decent. Every film that they made from the early 1930's to the late 1950's was regulated by the censorship board which included Catholics and Presbyterians. Now we are into the Episcopalian audiences. Here is the excerpt:

"The Episcopal Committee views with favor the renewed efforts of the organized industry to discharge its responsibility of issuing only such motion pictures as may conform with reasonable moral standards. The Committee believes that the Production Code, if given enforcement, will materially and constructively influence the character of screen entertainment. Hence it is disposed to render encouragement and cooperation to these efforts which it hopes will achieve the promised results." (Los Angeles Times, June 22nd 1934).

It took me a couple times to read it before it made sense. This was the support the Production Code needed to establish the censorship. If you take a step back and realize the evolution here, it is breathtaking. Religions that had fought each other with either words or swords, have put aside their differences and now came together to form an organization that would forever better mankind.

Here are some of the more famous Episcopalians of Hollywood.


Actors, Actresses & Directors

Thursday, January 26, 2012

PRESBYTERIAN LEGENDS OF HOLLYWOOD

Will H Hays (1879-1954)

Before the Censorship code, in 1934, was the "Hays Code", named after it's founder Will H. Hays. Already an Indianapolis Politician and a devout Presbyterian, he was asked to head this new organization and to end the immorality seen in many of the earlier films of the 1920's.

Though the Code itself was not accepted by most studios in it's time, it was a major precursor to the new code which in a way replaced it. His movement protected Hollywood from an eminent Government run censorship and helped clean up the scandals which plagued the newspapers. He later became known as the motion picture "Czar."

He, and many other Presbyterians, has been apart of the history of Hollywood. As I have said before, those shown below may have lapsed in their life or have been converted into this faith. I did not include John Wayne, who was born and raised Presbyterian, but then married and raised his children in the Catholic church before being converted himself right before his death.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

CATHOLIC LEGENDS OF HOLLYWOOD




Joseph I Breen (1888-1965)


One of the greatest contributions from the Catholic community came from Joseph Breen. He was the head of the "Production Code Administration" (PCA) established in 1934. This Code stood during the golden age of Hollywood until it was replaced by the new rating system in 1968, which is still in effect today. It's standards and censorship sought to keep all audiences happy and the directors and producers on their toes.

In fact it was greatly due to Breen's influence that the movie "Casablanca" (1942) ended the way it did. He made it strictly understood that the character of Ricky & Ilsa must remain apart in order to avoid an adulterous affair. This left then no question on how the surprise ending was to play out.

Carmen Miranda (1909-1955)

Something else you may have never noticed. The women in those days were not allowed to show their belly button's on film. Even with the famous Brazilian dancer Carmen Miranda no exceptions were made, as you can see. No matter the scene, no matter the costume, you will never see that belly button, even if is covered with only a simple jewel.

Though the Producers were in a larger sense Jewish, it was through the censorship run by Catholics that the films had a more Catholic theme as in "Boys Town"(1938) "Going My Way" (1944) "I Confess" (1953) and so on.

Some of the Catholics shown below, like Gary Cooper, were converts while others may have lapsed a little throughout their life.



Actors
Actresses


Directors

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

JEWISH LEGENDS OF HOLLYWOOD

As I started this week with studying the religion of the entertainers of yesteryear, I decided to start off strong with those either of Jewish decent or conversion. I quickly became overwhelmed, more than I had anticipated, by how many of our talented artists came from Jewish families, many of them refugees.

In fact I read something that I felt summed it up, "Hollywood was ran by Jewish executives who made Catholic movies for a Protestant Country." As I continued my research, I was surprised, though, by the amount of inaccurate facts and prejudices. One site had listed Charlie Chaplin as a Jew which is quite incorrect.

Another interesting find was a book being sold on Amazon titled, "An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood". Here, they displayed a connection to the film, "The Jazz Singer" (1927), as well as the moguls of Hollywood. The story of the character, Jackie Rabinowitz and his separation from the culture of his ancestors, is similar to the real lives of each of the producers shown below.


Their talents are intertwined, not just into the creation and performances of the cinema, but into the musical composition and even the television media. The collages I've created below reflect these different areas. I apologize if I have left some of your favorite individuals out. As I said before, I had no idea on the extent of research needed to uncover these great men & woman.


Actors & Actresses
Comedians

Television Stars
Musicians


Sunday, January 22, 2012

THEME OF THE WEEK (RELIGION)

Since the theme of the month is Inspirational, why not dedicate a week to what has inspired the stars of Hollywood. For each day of the week, I will cover a different religion. Under each religion, I will list some of the more famouse Actors, Actresses, Directors, Screen Writers, Musicians and beyond. Hopefully this can be an additional tool to show what they had in common with others. As I go through the week I am open to suggestions on which religions to cover. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

LEADING ACTORS TIMELINE

Since I didn't grow up in the early days of Hollywood, I find it hard to remember what stars were big and at what times. To make it easy for me, I created this timeline of my favorite "Leading Actors."

The years shown represent the span from their first film to their last. The space in front, represents their life before the cinema, while the separation at the end is their retirement years. You may notice that some actors do not have any space after their films. For them they either died shortly after their last film or passed away before it's release like Clark Gable.


Some of the time lines were real eye-openers. I had no idea how long some actors had or have been acting. I also never realized how early some of them started their career and how early others retired. What is also interesting to see is that all of the actors listed were all acting within the the five year span from 1955-1960.

Hopefully this will be a helpful reference aid to you as it has been for me.




Friday, January 20, 2012

VICTOR FLEMING (1889-1949)

VICTOR LONZO FLEMING

Born: February 23rd, 1889 (California)

Died: January 6th, 1949 (heart attack)

Marriage: Lucile Rosson (1933-His death)

Children: Two children.

Success: He is most known for his two biggest pictures: "The Wizard of Oz" (1939) & "Gone with the Wind" (1939).

Interesting Fact: He entered the filming industry as a stunt driver for the Flying A Studio in Santa Barbara. 

Awards: He won the best director Oscar for "Gone with the Wind" (1939). He also has two walk of fame's and was nominated in the Cannes Film Festival for the "The Wizard of Oz" (1939).

Hidden Gems: "The Good Earth" (1937), "Captains Courageous" (1937), "The Wizard of Oz" (1939), "Gone with the Wind" (1939), "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1941), "A Guy Named Joe" (1943), "Joan of Arc" (1948).


Thursday, January 19, 2012

MOVIE NIGHT

Since I began this Blog last month, I have tried to keep to a schedule while also building up my posts. With a post each day and a specific theme to follow there isn’t much time to share some of my recent experiences or thoughts on what I have watched. But after I watched this particular film last night, I feel compelled to comment on it.

My wife decided to go through some of our newly purchased movies and popped one in. Being in the other room at the time, I came in where the old movie music was playing. Not knowing the title, genre or actors, I sat down to investigate.

The film was based in 1940 around the conquering of France. Yes it is Hollwoodized and needed a love story to succeed. This love story, however, was a compliment to the mood of the film, not a distraction from it. As I watched the film I kept thinking, "Why have I never seen this movie before?"

Most of the war films I've seen are about the battles or soldiers who fought in them. Very few films show, instead, the struggles of the civilians through the war itself. The film was "Reunion in France" with Joan Crawford & John Wayne. It was like watching a history movie about an era that I never took time to think about, but at the same time so pivotal to just pass by.

Here you see how the socialistic ideas of Hitler poured into the upper class as they enjoyed a now vacant city all to themselves. It was eerie watching scenes as the streets were now empty in what was once a bustling city.

So many questions were answered that I didn't even know I wanted to ask: Why were the French conquered so easily? What was it like to live in a Nazi occupied country? Were people allowed to roam the streets or were they shut up in an attic like in "The Diary of Anne Frank?" Can you image your country now conquered and being expected to enjoy life as if nothing had happened?

Now, setting all of this aside, there is still another aspect to ponder on. Given it was made in 1942, the war was uncertain as America joined the ranks, and years had passed since France had seen any sign of hope. Watching with this, and other historical facts in mind, may help bring more out of the movie while also aiding you to feel what it was like watching it in the theater for the first time. It is a powerful story with a certain truth you don’t see in other films on the same topic.

This is a must see for any WWII fan as well as any Joan Crawford or John Wayne fan, since both had amazing performances.

*Here is the trailer.

WILLIAM WYLER (1902-1981)

WILLI WYLER

Born: July 1st, 1902 (Germany, now France)

Died: July 27th, 1981 (heart attack)

Marriages: Margaret Sullavan (1934-1936), Margaret Tallichet (1938-His death).

Children: He had five children: Catherine, Judy, David, Melanie Ann & William Jr..

Success: He has directed over seventy films and produce twelve of them.

Awards: He has won the Best Director Academy Award for: "Mrs. Miniver" (1942), "The Best Years of Our Lives" (1946) & "Ben-Hur (1959) along with another specialty Oscar. He was also nominated for eleven other Oscars. He has also received fifteen other accomplishments along with twenty-seven additional nominations.

Interesting Fact: In 1944, he permanently lost the hearing in his right ear while filming a bombing mission from a B-17.

Hidden Gems: "Mrs. Miniver" (1942), "The Best Years of our Lives" (1946), "Roman Holiday" (1953), "Friendly Pursuasion" (1956), "The Big Country" (1958), "Ben-Hur" (1959).

Timeline:


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

FRED ZINNEMANN (1907-1997)

ALFRED ZINNEMANN

Born: April 29th, 1907 (Austria-Hungary)

Died: March 14th, 1997 (heart attack)

Marriage: Renee Bartlett (1936-His death)

Children: Tim Zinnemann (film-director)

Success: He directed forty-six films, many of which are stil very popular to date.

Awards: He's won four Oscars: Best Documentary for "Benjy" (1951), Best Director for "From Here to Eternity" (1953), and Best Director and Picture for "A Man for All Seasons" (1966). He has also been nominated for Best Director five other times for: "The Search" (1948), "High Noon" (1952), "The Nun's Story" (1959), "The Sundowners" (1960) & "Julia" (1977). "The Sundowners" was also nominated for Best Picture. In addition to his Oscars, he received thirty-one other awards and was nominated for an additional twenty-eight accomplishments.

Interesting Fact: He directed the film debuts of Montgomery Clift, Marlon Brando & Meryl Streep.

Hidden Gems: "The Seventh Cross" (1944), "The Clock" (1945), "High Noon" (1952), "From Here to Eternity" (1953), "Oklahoma!" (1955), "The Old Man and the Sea" (1958).

Timeline:


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

HAROLD S. BUCQUET (1891-1946)

HAROLD SPENCER BUCQUET

Born: April 10th, 1891 (London)

Died: February 13th, 1946 (Illness)

Marriage: Louise Fremery Howard (1920-?)

Children: Unknown

Success: Directed twenty-eight films and co-directed an additional twenty-three like the 1932 version of "Smilin' Through."

Awards: His picture "Torture Money" (1937) won an Academy Award for best short subject.

Interesting Fact: Played as an extra in films.

Hidden Gems: "On Borrowed Time" (1939)

Timeline:

Monday, January 16, 2012

CLARENCE BROWN (1890-1987)

CLARENCE LEON BROWN

Born: May 10th, 1890 (Massachusetts)

Died: August 17th 1987 (kidney failure)

Marriage: Pail Herndon Pratt (1913-?), Ona Wilson (1922-1927), Alice Joyce (1933-1945), Marian Ruth Spies (1946-His death).

Children: One daughter named Adrienne.

Success: Directed over fifty films.

Awards: He was nominated six times as best director for the following films: "Romance" (1930), Anna Christie" (1930), "A Free Soul" (1931), "The "Human comedy" (1943), "National Velvet" (1944) & "The Yearling" (1946). He also won two walk of fames and the Mussolini Cup in 1935 for his picture "Anna Karenina" (1935).

Interesting Fact: He was a fighter pilot in WWI.

Hidden Gems: "Anna Christie" (1930), "Romance" (1930), "Ah, Wilderness" (1935), "Edison the Man" (1940), "The Human Comedy" (1943), "Angels in the Outfield" (1951), "Plymouth Adventure" (1952).

Timeline:


 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

DIRECTORS OF THE WEEK (FICTIONAL INSPORATION)

Each week of the month I have covered a different aspect of the films I've listed for my favorite inspirational movies. The first week was about the movies themselves. The second was on the leading actors. And now for the third I will cover the directors of the films.

For the directors I have created something a little bit different. With each profile I have created a film timeline of some of their greatest pictures and how they coincide with the events of when they were made. As always, I hope you enjoy.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

FREDDIE BARTHOLOMEW

FREDERICK CECIL BARTHOLOMEW

Born: March 28th, 1924 (London)

Died: January 23rd, 1992 (emphysema)

Marriages: Maely Daniele (1946-1953), Aileen Paul (1953-1977), Elizabeth (? - His death)

Children: Two children.

Success: Freddie is known for the acting  in his youth and starred in many hit movies.

Interesting Fact: He was abandoned by his parents as a baby and was raised by his Aunt. When he became famous his parents sued for 6 years of royalties.

Awards: Winner of two walk of fame's.

Hidden Gems: "David Copperfield" (1935), "Little Lord Fauntleroy" (1936), "Captains Courageous" (1937), "Kidnapped" (1938).

His success as a star unfortunately did not transfer into his manhood. Even though his acting career changed and left him no choice but to produce for television, his performances as a youth are only surpassed by Shirley Temple. His transformation from spoiled to humbled, in "Captain Courageous" (1937), is my favorite performance of his.

*Here is a scene I've shown before from "Captains Courageous" (1937)

Friday, January 13, 2012

CHARLIE CHAPLIN (1889-1977)

SIR CHARLES SPENCER CHAPLIN

Born: April 16th, 1889 (London)

Died: December 25th, 1977 (Natural Causes)

Marriages: Mildred Harris (1918-1921), Lita Grey (1924-1927), Paulette Goddard (1936-1942), Oona Chaplin (1943-His Death)

Children: He had a total of eleven children. Norman (Lived three days), Charles Jr., Sydney, Geraldine, Michael, Josephine, Victoria, Eugene, Jane, Annette & Christopher.


Success: He is most known for his his portrayal as "The Little Tramp" and played this character, while also directing at times, in thirty-five films. He is the most pivotal star of the silent screen.

Interesting Fact: When Chaplin came to America with his understudy Stan Laurel, they lived in a boarding house that didn't allow cooking. While Laurel was frying food, Chaplin would play the violin to cover the sound.

Awards: Though he never received an Oscar for his acting alone, he did, however, win two Oscars for his contributions to the cinema, and another for the musical score in "Limelight" (1952). He has also received sixteen other awards in addition to being knighted in 1975. He had footprints at the Grauman's Chinese Theater but it was stolen in the fifties.

Hidden Gems: "The Kid" (1921), "The Gold Rush" (1925) "The Circus" (1928), "City Lights" (1931), "Modern Times" (1936), "The Great Dictator" (1940), "Limelight" (1952).

While Chaplin's life itself was full of suprising tragedy, he was the best entertainer in the business. While others were struggling through the sound years, the "Tramp" kept him busy making silents. His first talkie was "The Great Dictator" (1940), though he re-released some silent pictures with his own voice as the narrator. He was also a composer and wrote the music for many of his films.

To me, Chaplin is timeless. He created a new type of Comedy, involving sympathy, that is greatly used today. His silent pictures are the most entertaining to me, though I enjoy a Keaton and Lloyd now and then.

* Here is the famouse table ballet in "The Gold Rush" (1925).


Thursday, January 12, 2012

GREGORY PECK (1916-2003)

ELDRED GREGORY PECK

Born: April 5th, 1916 (California)

Died: June 12th, 2003 (bronchial pnemonia)

Marriage: Greta Kukkonen (1942-1955), Veronique Passani (1955-His Death)

Children: Five children: Stephen, Carey, Tony, Cecilia & Jon.

Success: After his first few films it was rare to see him as anything other than the leading man. He appeared in over fifty films.

Interesting Fact: He met his future second wife, shortly after his heartbreaking divorce, in France during the filming of "Roman Holiday" (1953).

Awards: He won two Oscars, one for "To Kill a Mockingbird" (1962) and the other for his humanitarian service. He also received four nominations for the following films: "The Keys of the Kingdom" (1944), "the Yearling" (1946), "Gentleman's Agreement" (1947) & "Twelve O'clock High" (1949). In addition, he received twenty-eight other wins in other areas of acting, along with sixteen other nominations. His greatest award was the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Lydon B. Johnson in 1969.

Hidden Gems: "The Keys of the Kingdom" (1944), "Spellbound" (1945), "Gentleman's Agreement" (1947), "Twelve O'Clock High" (1949), "Roman Holiday" (1953), "The Big Country" (1958), "The Guns of Navarone" (1961).

Peck was a hero on the screen and off, and is a favorite among fans everywhere. What I love most about him is the way he pauses to think out an event. Even though there is no dialogue, the audience can understand what he is feeling if he allows them too.

One example of his level-headed patrotism was his views during the Viet-Nam War. Though he actively protested the war itself, he did not wain in the pride for his son, who had enlisted in the Marines at the time.

*Here are some commentaries on "Roman Holiday" (1953)
by Gregory Peck & Audrey Hepburn.

*Peck receiving his first acadamy awards after 18 years as an actor.
Look closley at the emotion on his face as he walks to the stand.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

SPENCER TRACY (1900-1967)

SPENCER BONAVENTURE TRACY

Born: April 5th, 1900 (Wisconsin)

Died: June 10th, 1967 (heart attack)

Marriage: Louise Treadwell (1923-His Death)

Children: John Tracy (Deaf) & Louise Treadwell "Susie" Tracy

Success: Appeared in over 75 films and was quite successful while with MGM.

Interesting Fact: Tracy was offered the role of Penguin in the TV series "Batman" (1966), but said he would only take it if he was allowed to kill Batman.

Awards: Seven nominations, with two Oscar wins back to back. One for "Captains Courageous" (1938) and the other for "Boys Town" (1939). He also won countless other awards including two walk of fame's.

Hidden Gems: "San Francisco" (1936), Captains Courageous" (1937), "Boy's Town" (1938), "Edison, the Man" (1940), "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1941), "A Guy Named Joe" (1943), "The Seventh Cross" (1944), "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo" (1944), "Father of the Bride" (1950), "The Old Man and the Sea" (1958), "Judgement at Nuremberg" (1961).

Tracy is a very versatile actor, from Manuel to Thomas Edison to Father Flanagan and so on. Each role he's had, he has successfully shown the audience the inner feelings of the character. What I love about Tracy is his quiet comedy and, in contrast, his stirring expressions. Only a handful of performers have successfully pulled off more than one type of role, and Tracy is definitely on the top of that list.

* One of my favorite scenes from "Edison the Man" (1940)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

LIONEL BARRYMORE (1878-1954)

LIONEL HERBERT BLYTHE

Born: April 28th, 1878 (Pennsylvania)

Died: November 15th, 1954 (Heart Attack)

Marriage: Doris Rankin (1904-1922), Irene Fenwick (1923-Her Death in 1936)

Children: Had two girls that both died at infancy: Ethel & Mary. He is also the Great-Uncle of Drew Barrymore through his brother John.

Success: Lionel has been an actor on the screen, stage & radio. He has also been a composer, author, director & artist. He is most know for his portrayal as an ancient patriarch, whether lovable or intolerable.

Interesting Fact: Due to his depiction of Ebeneezer Scrooge on the Radio, he became a prime candidate for Capra's film, "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946) as Henry F. Potter.

Awards: Oscar winner for his leading role in "A Free Sole" (1931) with a nomination for best director in "Madame X" (1929) He also received two walk of fame awards.

Hidden Gems: "Ah, Wilderness" (1935), "Captains Courageous" (1937), "You Can't Take it with You" (1938), "On Borrowed Time" (1939), "A Guy Named Joe" (1943), "Since You Went Away" (1944).

Lionel has a true gift for the arts. As listed above, he wasn't content with just his films. He was interested in expanding his talents no matter his age.

If you were unaware why he appeared so often in a wheelchair, he actually suffered from arthritis along with a hip injury in life which disabled him from standing while acting. In fact, if you look closely at the man who is standing at the end of "On Borrowed Time," you will notice it is a double. When they show his face he is waddling back and forth on crutches to portray walking.

My favorite role that he did was as Grampa Vanderhof in "You can't Take it With You" (shown below).

* A clip from "You Can't Take It With You" (1938)

Monday, January 9, 2012

MICKEY ROONEY (1920-LIVING)

JOSEPH YULE JR.

Born: September 23rd, 1920 (New York)

Died: LIVING

Children: Nine Children

Marriages: Ava Gardner (1942-1943), B. J. Baker (1944-1949), Martha Vickers (1949-1952), Elaine Devry (1952-1958), Carolyn Mitchell (1958-1966), Carolyn Hockett (1969-1975), Jan Rooney (1978-Present)

Success: Starred in over 350 films, and most popular with his Andy hardy series with Judy Garland.

Awards: Four nominations for Oscars in: "Babes in Arms" (1939), "The Human Comedy" (1943), "The Bold and the Brave" (1956) and "The Black Stallion" (1979). He did, however, receive two honoree academy awards in recognition of his memorable performances, along with over fourteen nominations and wins from other organizations.

Interesting Fact: Having appeared in movies from 1926-2011 (85 years) he now has the longest career in cinema history replacing Lillian Gish.

Hidden Gems: "Captains Courageous" (1937), "Boys Town" (1938), "Babes in Arms" (1939), "Young Tom Edison" (1940), "The Human Comedy" (1943), "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World" (1963).

Here is the definition of movie star. Though his successes have been sporadic and sparse, every time he has delivered with amazing talent. I was ecstatic to see him in "Night at the Museum" (2006). As I've gone through some of my favorite movies, I've forgotten how many of them he's in. From comedy, to drama, to musical, to dancing, he has no limits. I would love to meet him someday, and thank him for his performances that shaped me as a boy.

*Here is Mickey Rooney on "What's My Line" in 1957.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

ACTORS OF THE WEEK

Going with the theme of Inspirational Movies, this week I will cover some of my favorite actors in the films I've listed. Hopefully it will be a fitting tribute to their performances and talents.

As always, if you like what I'm doing and wish to see more or even different things, feel free to comment on your ideas. They are gratefully appreciated.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

#7 CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS (1937)

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Producer: Louis D. Lighton

Director: Victor Fleming

Awards: Best Actor win for Spencer Tracy with three other nominations in the fields of Writing, Picture and Film Editing

Interesting Fact: Tracy was not excited about curling his hair for the picture. To add to this Joan Crawford nicknamed him 'Harpo Marx.'

Here is an amazing story of becoming less selfish and more caring. The movie itself impacts the audience so well as to have the same effect. This has been a favorite of mine since I was a little boy and it still touches my soul every time I see it. This is also Barrymore's last movie where he could still walk.


"I bet I know a lot of things you don't know. I know that's not french your singing."
"That's right. About ten million people know it's Portuguese."
"I bet you can't speak French."
"Right now, I sorry I speak English."

'Harvey' is a spoiled rich little boy who has always had his way. Suddenly on a cruse he falls over board and is rescued by a humble fisherman 'Manuel' (Spencer Tracy). Before he can return to land, the fishermen need to finish their work, which makes the boy even more upset. As a punishment Manuel is to care for the boy and teach him to work if possible. As the weeks and months past, the hard-hearted boy starts to soften and he begins to idealize his new master.

*Here is a scene to show the cruelty of little Harvey.


Friday, January 6, 2012

#5 THE GREAT DICTATOR (1940)

Studio: Chaplin Studios

Producer: Charlie Chaplin

Director: Charlie Chaplin

Awards: Nominated for best Actor in leading and in the supporting roles along with best musical score, picture and story. There was one other nomination in other awards with four wins.

Interesting Fact: Chaplin was haunted by his similarities with Hitler's looks and childhood background. He said concerning the matter, "He’s the madman, I’m the comic. But it could have been the other way around."

Who else could make a movie about the rise of Hitler and have everyone laughing at the end? Who could have you laughing one moment and tingling the next with patriotism?.. only Chaplin. This movie goes on my top ten for two reasons: one for the nature of the topic and the other for the guts of Chaplin to stand up to one of the cruelest rulers in our time.

Here is a comedic satire on the rise of Adolf Hitler with a simple twist of a lowly barber living in the ghetto, sharing the same physical features. As the barber learns to adapt to this new life, 'Hynkel' is commanding legions to oppress and attack. By chance, their identities are mistaken and the once barber now finds himself ready for a speech to his new army. What would be said by one of the subjects if the emperor was thought to be him? How different would the world have been if such a miracle occurred?

*The classic scene at the barber showing off Chaplin's talent with music

*The final speech made by the mistaken dictator

Thursday, January 5, 2012

#4 THE BIG COUNTRY (1958)

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Producer: Co-Produced by William Wyler and first time producer Gregory Peck

Director: William Wyler

Awards: Best Actor in a supporting role Burl Ives including a nomination for the musical score. Three other nominations and two other wins in other award designations.

Interesting Fact: President Dwight Eisenhower called it "simply the best film ever made. My number one favorite film."

Being a huge fan of John Wayne westerns, I watched this movie with a little skepticism. The movie pulled me in and I was a fan from the beginning. Here is a movie where the city dude teaches the cowboys a few things. Rather than quickly give in to the customs of the land, he held to what he learned on sea and resisted any challenge thrown his way that would make him a lesser man.

"Did you ever see anything so big?"
"Well yes."
"You have? What?"
"A couple of oceans."
"Well I declare."

James McKay, (Gregory Peck) now a retired sea captain follows his fiance to the big land of Texas. Soon he finds himself in between a large family fued over a sought after water hole called 'Big Muddy.' On top of this he is not easily provoked to prove his manhood, which causes tension in the engagement with his future wife. Finding no other alternative, but to try and end this war, he seeks to resolve the issues before a final battle occurs between the two family patriarchs.

*The musical score by Jerome Moross

*Charlton Heston interview on "The Big Country"

*I couldn't pass up on this one.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

#3 THE SEVENTH CROSS (1944)

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Producer: Pandro S. Berman, Edwin H. Knopf

Director: Fred Zinnemann

Awards: Nominated for best actor in a supporting role for Hume Cronyn

Interesting Fact: Hume's wife, in the film, was played by his real-life wife, British actress Jessica Tandy, making her first American film appearance. She went on to star in "The Birds" (1963), among others.

My favorite genre of all is World War II; whether it is on a battle field or in a concentration camp. Though this film does not have many tactics and escape plans, it digs deeper into the struggle within the mind & soul under such a time. Here is a movie that shines a light for all those who are afraid to overcome themselves.

Placed in 1936 at a concentration camp in Nazi Germany, seven men escape. Upon this discovery, the commander builds a cross for every man with the orders that each is to be filled. One by one, the crosses are occupied by another prisoner as the search continuous for the rest. Among them, the most unlikely survivor, George Heisler (Spencer Tracy), a beaten man, fearful to seek help from anyone. In order to survive, he is forced to face his fears leaving behind him hopefully a path of inspiration and an empty seventh cross.

*Here is an intense scene near the beginning of the movie.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

#2 ON BORROWED TIME (1939)

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Producer: Sidney Franklin

Director: Harold S. Bucguet

Awards: No nominations since it came out in 1939

Interesting Fact: As seen in the post I gave earlier, Lionel Barrymore said that this movie, to him, proved to himself that he had not wasted 30 years of acting.

If "The Human Comedy" is my favorite, "On Borrowed Time" runs a close second. As I read the reviews online for this movie, they all have the same theme. Everyone is surprised that it is not as popular as any other picture of the year. A possible reason for this is that it came out in 1939, the year that the academy nominated 10 films for the best picture award. Among them were "Gone with the Wind," "The Wizard of Oz" & "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."

Julian Northrup (Lionel Barrymore) finds himself now as a father figure to his grandson 'Pud' after the sudden death of his parents. Soon he encounters death himself in the form of a 'Mr. Brink' but is too stubborn to go. Shortly after he makes a simple wish that if anyone climbed his apple tree they couldn't come down until he said so. When Mr. Brink visits again he tricks him into getting an apple. Death is now trapped in his tree and no one can die until he is released by Gramps. This movie is for anyone who is ready to laugh, cry or be inspired. A true family classic!

*Here is the scene where Gramps cheats death.

Monday, January 2, 2012

#1 THE HUMAN COMEDY (1943)


Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Producer: Clarence Brown

Director: Clarence Brown

Awards: Academy Award for "Best Story" and nominated for "Best Actor," "Best Cinematography," "Best Director" & "Best Picture"

Interesting Fact: Louis B. Mayer suggested that this was his favorite film.

This is my all-time favorite movie and I have never really had the opportunity to discuss it with many people. At one of my previous jobs, a co-worker and I would exchange our movies to watch. I handed him this movie, on VHS, and he came in the next day very solemn. He told me that it was the best picture he had ever seen.  Immediately after, he watched it again with his whole family.

Here is a movie that covers every aspect of life from the curios discoveries of a little boy to the old man whose looked back at his life and is afraid he hasn't achieved great things. The story itself centers around Homer, a teenage telegrapher, working to support his mother after the passing of his father and while his brother serves in the war. Each scene is packed with emotion and truth as it's added on to the next and the next. This is a movie for the whole family!

The movie was just released on DVD and is also available on youtube.com under "HmnCmdy A" - "HmnCmdyL" here is a commentary from Van Johnson and another touching scene.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

THEME OF THE MONTH (INSPIRATIONAL)

For the first month of 2012, I would like to cover the movies that have inspired me every time I watch them. I have found that there are two categories under inspiration: Fiction and Non-Fiction. This month I will cover the Fiction.

This first week I will post on the movies themselves and rather than cover some of the more well-known ones, I want to cover those that most likely are new to you.

Here are my top 10 Hidden Gems:

1. "Human Comedy" (1943)



2. "On Borrowed Time" (1939)



3. "The Seventh Cross" (1944)

* The Trailer is at the end

4. "The Big Country" (1958)



5. "The Great Dictator" (1940)

*Fan made

6. "Penny Serenade" (1941)

*A clip from the movie

7. "Captains Courageous" (1937)

* A Clip from the movie

8. "3 Godfathers" (1948)



9. "You Can't Take it with You" (1938)

*Clip from the movie

10. "Random Harvest" (1942)