WHO WEARS THE PANTS…


I’m going to steal, plagarize, imitate ( yeh, that’s the ticket… ) ~ …no, better yet: PAY HOMAGE to a feature from one of my favorite bloggers’ set-pieces: FRIDAY FOTO FOLLIES. And since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I hope my friend approves.

What Aurora over at ONCE UPON A SCREEN does, is post a lot of photos that illustrate a theme. She does all manner of these. Click on Audrey and see what I mean.

We have seen some of the most beautiful women in classic Hollywood wearing designs fit for a Queen…gowned by Edith Head, Irene, Givenchy, Orry-Kelly, Yves St. Laurent et al. But I’m a jeans and boots girl. Casual is my speed. I think slacks are the most comfortable, freeing thing to wear. Taking a page from Once Upon A Screen, my post is self~explanatory: WHO WEARS THE PANTS. Here are some of my favorite actresses in outfits either from a movie, photo~shoot or just lounging around. Some of you might think this look is very unfeminine. But you’d be wrong.

I’ll start with the Patron Mistresses of Pants…Dietrich and Hepburn. And Garbo. Can’t forget Garbo. Comfort Queens.

  
Dietrich                                                     Hepburn


Hepburn wears this beautiful smoking jacket lounging outfit in “Woman of the Year
( 1942 ) and it’s one of my absolute favorites.

  

Androgyny, much?

   
Top hat, white tail and tails. No one wears this better. Alright…if you must count Fred Astaire.

The Great Garbo

Ninotchka” “Anna Karenina” “Queen Christina” and for me, her greatest performance… “Camille” ~ Garbo reigned supreme in classic films of the silent and talkie era. Her mystique is unique. She wore a lot of exotic styles in her films and could carry them off. Not glamorous here, but I love her casual look:


Comfort over style

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Here are some other actresses wearing the pants off…pants.


When I was a kid and watched her in tv’s “Bewitched” I probably had little idea of the fabulous career she had as a leading character actress. My favorite performances of AGNES MOOREHEAD are “Dark Passage” “Caged” and “Magnificent Obsession.” She can cut you to the bone ( “Citizen Kane” ) ~ She wasn’t afraid to be what her character needed her to be. But she also could be a friend. Doesn’t Aggie look marvelously relaxed and youthful here?

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She didn’t care for the name, but ANN SHERIDAN was the Oomph Girl and with good reason; she had it in spades. She was Warner Bros’ glamor girl, but if they gave her half a chance, she showed ’em she could act. Whether comedy or drama, Sheridan could handle both with equal aplomb. She’s pictured here with her director Vincent Sherman, who did two pictures with her: “The Unfaithful” and “Nora Prentiss.” Look at those shades and the hair…do a pair of slacks look like it deters Vinnie? He’s at her feet. 

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Here’s my petite Force of Nature…the Queen, BETTE DAVIS. She built many a soundstage at Warner Bros. from the box office success of her films. Seeing her in pants was such an unusual thing because it’s all about dresses for women back then. I like her riding outfit in “Dark Victory.” For me, that look is prognosis positive. Oooh look, Cora Witherspoon who could play to the manor born or W.C. Fields’ wife. I also like Davis’ outfit in “The Great Lie” when she was keeping Mary Astor company while waiting for “their” baby to be born.

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CAROLE LOMBARD ~ 1930’s icon. She was much more than a screwball comedienne. See her in “Vigil in the Night” “In Name Only” or “Made for Each Other.” But gosh darn it, it’s “My Man Godfrey” and “Twentieth Century” that cements her in our memory almost ninety years later. Looks like she’s talking to the great Lubitsch and comfortable doing it. Could it be… or not to be?

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CLAUDETTE COLBERT could wear the hell out of clothes with that petite little figure of hers. ( Her wedding gown in “It Happened One Night” is to die for! ) She had a great career in film ( “The Palm Beach Story” “Midnight” and “Since You Went Away“…to name a few ) but look at her here at home, chilling out…just as you’d expect from Cleopatra.

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One of my all~time favorite movie stars is DORIS DAY. I am just over the silvery moon about her. Pretty nautical here in her decidedly 1940’s stylized look. What a career she’s had ( comedy/drama/sing/dance ) working with some of the great leading men in Hollywood like Rock Hudson, Cary Grant, Clark Gable, David Niven, Jack LemmonKirk Douglas…and three guys name Jim: Garner ~ Cagney ~ Stewart. She could also wear her clothes, without them wearing her, whether she’s Calamity Jane or a suburban housewife.  She could do anything. Really. 

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There she is, A girl’s best friend. The great EVE ARDEN who comes in a movie with five minutes of screen time and out she memorably exits, screen left. Here she is in her “Stagedoor” chill. The woman can wear anything. She’s as statuesque as a super model and as sharp as a laser beam. See “Mildred Pierce” if you need proof.

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GINGER ROGERS ~ She could do comedy, drama and dance her *** off. She can put on the glam with the best of ’em ( have you seen her outfits w/dance partner Fred Astaire? ) Doesn’t she look great in these wide legged pants? I always found her to be a natural onscreen.

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HARLOW in satin…is a dream. In slacks…sort of like you and me. I mean, if you and me were glamorous movie star bombshells being relaxed. My favorite films of hers are “Bombshell” and “Libeled Lady” and of course, “Dinner At Eight.” Harlow…you were gone too soon.

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This is my favorite look of IRENE DUNNE’s. She’s on set of “A Guy Named Joe.” She had a nice slacks outfit in “The Awful Truth” too. Never over the top, her talent is always under the radar.

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JENNIFER JONES looks rather pensive. A far cry from her “Portrait of Jennie” “Duel in the Sun” “Madame Bovary” looks. People blow hot or cold over Jones, but I think she’s a fine underrated actress able to exhibit wells of emotion. Her trying to retrieve her love letters from a burning fire brings me to tears. xoxoxo these pants and boots!

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KEEPING UP WITH THE JOANS ~

   

Blonde in the 30’s, brunette in the 40’s. The great underestimated JOAN BENNETT. She can fit any place: on safari or a scarlet street or be the mother of a bride. Yes her sister Constance is known as THE fashion plate. But little sister Joan’s not bad. She’s stylish as diamonds with attitude for days. Whew!!

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She looks like she stepped out of 2018 with those shades and jumpsuit. What can I say about her. No one wore clothes like her. They say no one loved being a movie star more than JOAN CRAWFORD. Well if you’re going to be good at something…

Her career spans decades. I’m partial to her Oscar-winning role in “Mildred Pierce.” But she was good in “Rain“, “Daisy Kenyon” and with Gable. Hell, she’s a STAR!

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“THE LOOK”

You know how to whistle don’t you? LAUREN BACALL is worth whistling for. She was known as “The Look” in her modeling days, and boy she had it. She was never the frilly feminine type. Very tailored. Pants suit her, don’cha think? I like her in “Dark Passage” and “Written on the Wind.” I dunno…I kind of think she was never really given a chance to bloom as an actress. Perhaps not getting good scripts. Perhaps overshadowed by her more famous husband. Perhaps there was more to Life for her. In movies, she always seems down~to~earth, no nonsense; a little intimidating. If you approach her, you’d better bring it. 

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You can’t get more doe-like, more feminine than Loretta Young. Even in this staged photo shoot, she’s a vision. ( Pssst! See her strong performances in “The Stranger” and “Midnight Mary.” )

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For this flaming redhead, comedy or drama, gowns or slacks…LUCILLE BALL could do and wear it all with ease. Yeh, I love Lucy.

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This is MERLE OBERON playing George Sand in “A Song to Remember.” And I have to tell you, I’m floored by this costume. Isn’t it smart? Merle, a unique looking beauty, hasn’t made movies were so memorable other than the towering “Wuthering Heights.” ( I personally like her and Dana Andrews in “Night Song” ). My claim to fame is when I went to see the throngs of stars attend the premiere of “The Godfather” ( 1972 ) back in NYC, I saw Merle Oberon with Robert Wolders. Very few people were excited by seeing her. Boy, I was.

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One of my favorites…PAULETTE GODDARD walks with her beau, Charlie…swinging her shades. Looking sassy, stylish, comfortable and nonchalant. I understand her collection of jewels and paintings is unparalleled in Hollywood. Another actress with not a stellar filmography, her role in “The Women” is a standout. My friend Wendy writes a wonderful essay for my blog on Goddard I urge you to read.

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The Love Goddess is looking mighty casual here in a pair of slacks. Hell, I confess…I don’t care WHAT  RITA HAYWORTH  wears.

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MY STANY!!!!

These are my two favorite fotos of Stany. One she looks younger than one remembers her, and the other she’s so disheveled in “My Reputation” ( 1946 ), her hair and plaid jacket just kill me. 

    

But the theme is pants…

Her career is legendary. But get a load of that blouse, the belt, those leopard print shoes, her attitude. That’s BARBARA STANWYCK alright. See her hand in her pocket? Damn, she’s ready to kick ass, and she ain’t takin’ names either. Elegant.

     

Thank you all for perusing my Friday Foto Follies. I might try this again in the future with another theme I’ve gathered along my way. Once again, I tip my hat to Aurora over at Once Upon A Screen who can REALLY show that a picture is worth a thousand words. Check out her photo galleries by clicking on this photo of 40’s horror Queen, Evelyn Ankers:

…and this?  Oh…it’s just my indulgence. I’m an Evelyn Ankers fan:

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CLASSIC FILM REMINDERS ~ 2017

My blog’s FOURTH birthday is today. Yippee! Yay!!  

I want to extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to those of you who’ve followed and shared my blog or have stumbled upon my site in your internet travels. THANK YOU!!

~ In the course of the past three years I’ve hosted my own blogathons ~ 

  

~ Flatttered to have co~hosted two ~

  

~ and participated in several ~

      

whether they’re frivolous, serious…or my blind passion. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed my take.

         
 Mr. Muckle              The Canterbury Tale                      Vertigo

I want to share my love for classic films with you all who love these films as I do, or are just a little bit curious. I hope I’m an easy read…and that you’ve enjoyed yourself here. THANK YOU!

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NOW…to start off my fourth year, I give you this:

ANA EIRE sent me this message. Click photo for her CLASSIC FILM REMINDERS

So with this, I’ll start my new year by showing you some Classic Film Reminders I ran into on my travels in 2017.

If you wish, check out the classic film reminders I saw in 2015 and 2016; you know…things you pass along your travels that remind you of classic films. Well below are reminders I had in 2017. Hope you’ll follow along with my blog in its fourth year and hope it continues to be entertaining for you.

Look at these photos. See if you can guess the Classic Film connection I made when I saw this. Then click on the photo and see the connection. I’ve been having fun doing this blog. It’s kept me outta trouble. Thank you for joining me.

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Do you see what I see in this pile of garbage at this construction site. It caught MY eye.

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I went to this bar in Williamsburg to hear my musician friend play. 

As I am want to do when I’m in a bar, I ordered a drink. HA! To my surprise, I see a classic film actor’s name on the menu. Do you see it? Click above pix to get closer. 

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My friend and I ate at this nice little Mediterranean restaurant in Williamsburg. Yes, hummus was involved.

There was a bookshelf near our table, and to my surprise…

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Passing the syrup display at my local supermarket, I stopped and smiled.

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This one is probably pretty obvious. I saw this protest sign when I went to the Women’s Protest March the day after the Presidential Inauguration Day 2017. I howled when I saw this very clever sign.

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These two are pretty self-explanatory. I just hadn’t expected to see them in IKEA.

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Brooklyn is the borough of brownstones. On the weekend, people put clothes and books out on their stoop for the taking. One of these books caught my eye.

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I was walking through Chelsea and saw a giant poster that…

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I saw this restaurant in Chelsea and thought—-> THIS.

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They’re going to renovate this neighborhood movie theatre in Windsor Terrace Brooklyn, and I smiled at the marquee.

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My friend and I passed by this burger joint and  HEY! I stopped dead in my tracks.

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I was walking crosstown in Manhattan on 34th Street ~ see the Empire State Building in the background  ~ when an image inside this parking garage caught my eye.

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I’m here in Greenwich Village walking crosstown on Christopher Street when I pass this church. What?! What the …

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I’m walking down West 8th Street here in the Village when I pass this big poster of West 8th Street in the old days. The old days of 1944. How do I know the year? Oooh look…a movie marquee. What’s playing?

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Here’s the Fountain Pen Hospital where my friend works. As I was about to enter this City Hall~area store, I saw a display in the window that made me say: “Hey…”  V is not just for Victory.

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I was walking through my neighborhood school’s playground this rainy day. School’s closed for the Christmas / New Year holiday. It’s so quiet and empty. But what’s that paper?

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THE FREE FOR ALL BLOGATHON

Hi there…and a very HAPPY NEW YEAR to you and your family. Wishing you all the best in 2018. 

In the world of classic film blogathons, there are sooooo many themes and topics covered.

              

It’s pretty tough to come up with something unique that bloggers might WANT to join. They’re a pretty busy lot maintaining their own blogs. So I came up with this idea that looks like appealed to many.

Bloggers were invited to write about ANYthing their little hearts desired for this one day event. I am happy and grateful for their contributions. I’ve even made some fancy schmancy banners to highlight their work. It’s still pretty nippy in certain parts of the country. So if you’re staying inside to be warm and cozy…cuddle up to these blogs below.

THANKS SO MUCH, BLOGGERS!!

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BLOG ENTRANTS

( Well yeah, I’m gonna start off with my own entry. )

 

CINEMAVEN’S ESSAYS FROM THE COUCH  ~  “THE SHANGHAI GESTURE”

ANYBODY GOT A MATCH? ……………………………THE KING AND HIS SANDWICHES

BLOG OF THE DARNED…………………………………… Seven Decades, Seven Great Science Fiction Films:“INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS” “PLANET OF THE
APES” “ROLLERBALL” “THEY LIVE” “12 MONKEYS”MOON” “THE SHAPE
OF WATER”

CAFTAN WOMAN ………………………………………..“HANGOVER SQUARE”

CINEMATIC SCRIBBLINGS ……………………………….LE NOTTI BIANCHE

CRACKED REAR VIEWER ………………..“NEVER GIVE A SUCKER AN EVEN BREAK

CRÍTICA RETRÔ ………………………………… FASHION IN FILM    

FLAPPER DAME ……………………..UNDER~RATED GEMS IN CLASSIC FILMS

IN THE GOOD OLD DAYS OF CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD …… KAREN CARPENTER

LOVE LETTERS TO OLD HOLLYWOOD…………“WHAT A WAY TO GO!

MADDY LOVES CLASSIC FILMS………………………….“THIS HAPPY BREED

MIDNIGHT DRIVE-IN, THE ……………………….MOVIES YOU DIDN’T KNOW EXISTED

MOON IN GEMINI …………………………………………..10 FAVORITE MUSIC SCORES

OLD HOLLYWOOD FILMS ………………………….“THE HITCH-HIKER

A PERSON IN THE DARK …….JAMES CAGNEY THERAPY IN TIMES OF TURMOIL

PHYLLIS LOVES CLASSIC MOVIES……………… ROBERT RYAN

PORTRAITS BY JENNI……………………………..“OUR VINES HAS TENDER GRAPES

PURE ENTERTAINMENT PRESERVATION SOCIETY…….“CASABLANCA

REEL WEEGIE MIDGET REVIEWS ………………………….“SLEUTH

SILVER SCREENINGS……………………………………“PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE

THE STOP BUTTON ………………………………“THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES

TAKING UP ROOM ……………………………..“THE DOUGHGIRLS

TOP 10 FILM LISTS………………………………….“L’ATALANTE

TRUDY RING …………………………………………………“OUT OF THE PAST

VIEWER’S GUIDE TO CLASSIC FILMS, A…………..“YOJIMBO” “SANJURO
ZATOICHI MEETS YOJIMBO

WHIMSICALLY CLASSIC…………………………………..BIRDS IN FILM

WOLFFIAN CLASSIC MOVIES DIGEST ……… TRIBUTE TO CLASSIC SERIALS

WONDERFUL WORLD OF CINEMA, THE………….. HOW CLASSIC FILMS INFLUENCE
MY EVERYDAY LIFE

 

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BLOGATHON DIRECTORY ~ 2017

One way to publicize your blog…one way to publicize others’ is by holding a blogathon. Here is a directory of many of the blogathons that took place this year.  Some perennial favorites return, and some new ones appear on the horizon. Click here to see how 2017 shaped up in the world of classic film blogging. If I’m missing any, please comment below with your link. I’ll gladly you include you. Hope 2017 was a good one for you. If not, you’ll have a fresh start this Monday. Thanks! ~ CineMaven

carole-lombard-blogathon-116-182017  0canada-i   sidney-poitier-218-20-2017 movie-of-the-week-blogathon-2-20-2017  john-garfield-3-35-2017favorite-tv-show-blogathoni-324-262017   bette-davis-ii-324-26-2017 jack-lemmon-blogathon-330312017              

  

    

                       

               

  

 

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TOUCHEZ PAS AU GRISBI (1954)

I will trade Delon, Belmondo, Trintignant, Aumont, Jourdan, Montand, Chevalier, Boyer…and maybe even Jeanne Moreau for one night with JEAN GABIN. I’ve never heard of this film. And I came away from it saying “Viva La France!!” “Viva GABIN!!”

 

The film is TOUCHEZ PAS AU GRISBI. My review is one of the happy participants in Debbie Vega’s IT TAKES A THIEF Blogathon over at her blog ~ Moon In Gemini. Crime does not pay. At least that’s what Hollywood WANTS us to believe. With my pick for this blogathon, I look at what happens AFTER the crime. Moreso than just “honor among thieves”, this movie is the story of friendship.

She’s there for him before, during…and after

The head of the gang is MAX played by Jean Gabin. Nope, he’s not the pretty boy~type in the Delon / Jourdan mold. He’s not handsome at all by Hollywood-standards. He’s a man; a ruggedly beautiful and masculine man. You know he knows what to do…on a heist or in the bedroom. The movie shows us Max’s life and how he walks through his world. He’s a take-charge-take-care-of-business kinda guy. Nothing phases him. He moves with assurance. The other men look to him as their leader. He walks confidently through the underworld. ( …And dashingly wears the hell out of double breasted suits. ) The thrust of the story is he’s pulled a job netting a couple of thousands in gold bullions; but his friend and partner is kidnapped by a rival gang and Max must pay a ransom to get him back…those gold bullions. 

Max and the gangsters are middle~aged men. At first blush I thought “what do these old guys ‘think’ they’re going to do with these young girls.” Silly me…it’s Jean Gabin. And these ‘old guys’ are just fantastic! The crux of the story is the friendship between Max and his dear impetuous friend of twenty years, Riton ( poignantly played by René Dary  ), a man who perhaps is trying to hold onto his youth with his affair with a young chorus girl. She’s too young, and too pretty for him, but he wants her.

The Foley artists must have had a ball doing this movie; I felt like I had superhuman hearing. Every footstep on cobblestone…every bottle uncorked, every French bread torn in half was pronounced. The sound guy made me hungry. And the movie took its time. No one walked fast or talked fast. There was a leisureliness to the whole film. And director Jacques Becker wasn’t afraid to take his time either in letting scenes play out. We see Max make a snack for him and Riton…getting the sheets and blanket for bed… brushing his teeth…spitting out the water. We would have never seen that in an American film of the 40’s; taking the time to show the whole procedure; and especially not today. Nothing going on? Ha! This quiet scene of two friends together says EVERYTHING about them. I liked their friendship. Max discusses they are old men. Time to retire. Time to face that. Riton has other ideas: Josy.

                                 Josy has other ideas herself…

Jeanne Moreau plays Josy the chorus girl. And Moreau is dynamite. Oui oui, the cotton candy that’s Bardot would shortly be around fame’s bend. But for now we’ve got Moreau, and she commands attention in even this small early role. I remember my friend Wendy ( who has an essay or two here on my blog ) saying:

“I could not take my eyes off of Jeanne Moreau. It’s funny, I saw her name in the credits, but I was absolutely sure she was in a bit role. So as I watched Josy, I said to myself:  “She just draws the camera to her! I wonder who she is? I’m going to have to look her up after the movie.” Duh.”

Yeah…Moreau.

Friendship. Friendship. It’s the perfect, blendship… I enjoyed watching Max’s and Riton’s friendship. I believed it. Max loves Riton, even if he’s a pain in his neck, bailing him out of scrapes. They probably were together as young men robbing and stealing. The only one who Riton trusts completely IS Max. There’s a point in the film where Max telephones Riton and tells him NOT to go with the guys in his room. Riton doesn’t question it, he just immediately does as Max says. Max is the only one who could tell him Josy is NOT for him. Ev’ryone has that one friend that tells you the tough stuff; the stuff you don’t want to hear.

 

..And you take it

When Max needs to get some answers, he gets some answers. He doesn’t get all wound up like our Cagney, Bogie or Eddie G. Not a lot of talk…he just bitch~slaps you right in the kisser. They all put him in a predicament. Now he’s got to get out of it and they’d better talk. As I said, I loved the friendships and loyalties in this movie.  

Max and his young henchman Marco ( Michel Jourdan ) kidnap one of the rival gang members who has kidnapped their friend Riton.

 

He’s taken down to the basement of their local restaurant to be questioned by another mature gent, Pierrot ( Paul Frankeur ). Pierrot manhandles, tying him up like an S & M dominatrix to work him over until they get answers.

These guys may look sedentary, but they move like Baryshnikov when they have to get going. When bad guys come to Max’s apartment he escapes out a window down a chimney over a rooftop down a staircase up a fire escape through a…well, he didn’t actually do all that. But he sure does hightail it outta there quick fast and in a hurry. Jean Gabin is thoroughly watchable; in command…sexy, loyal. In fact, we get to know each one of his allies, even if for the briefest of moments. This is such a gem of a movie. We’re watching a family of friends. 

Thanks for reading! If you want to read more entries about how ‘It Takes A Thief’ you merely have to click on this photo above. Hell…it’s a lot easier than robbing a bank!

 

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CREPÚSCULO aka TWILIGHT (1945)

Since 2014 Once Upon A Screen’s Citizen Screen has been celebrating the contributions of the Latino community in classic films with her annual “HOLLYWOOD’S HISPANIC HERITAGE BLOGATHON.” And that time is upon us again:

Now listen, if we leave it to Hollywood and our old ‘Good Neighbor Policy’ you may see a whole array of Latino cultures represented by nothing but big sombreros, bullfights and banditoes. Whole civilizations were built without Hollywood’s and America’s help. If one takes a gander of different Latino cultures from their OWN vantage point and film industry, that is a whole different kettle of frijoles. ( Ugh!! ) A few years ago MoMA ( the Museum of Modern Art ) presented their “Mexico At Night” series of Mexican film noir from Mexico’s Golden Age of Cinema. I went a couple of times, seeing the staggering beauty of Dolores Del Rio in her native language, and the force of Nature that is María Félix who blew me out of my seat. For my entry this year, I’d like to write just a little about 1945’s “Crepúsculo”. 

This movie is more melodrama than film noir. And with my third screening at the MoMA I was becoming more and more familiar with the 40’s Mexican stars. Arturo de Córdova brings a smile to my face and I’m beginning to know him. He’s a good solid leading man who probably wasn’t going to get those chances opposite Hollywood’s elite leading ladies. I looked forward to seeing what scrapes he’s going to get into with THIS film. ( I write of another of his films here ).

In “Crepúsculo” ( aka “Twilight” ) de Córdova plays a successful surgeon tortured by a guilty conscience. Told in flashback, de Córdova troubles begin when he goes to a sculptor’s studio before his European trip to meet his good friend, and becomes mesmerized by a statue…but when he sees its live human model, he’s a complete goner. ( Things happen instantaneously in Mexican films…they don’t waste time, boy. ) Lucía, the model ( played by the beautiful Gloria Marín ) winds up becoming the wife of his good friend Ricardo ( actor Manuel Arvide ).

  
The Wife                                           The Best Friend

De Córdova has done nicely to resist temptation. ( If nothing else, these movies teach me no one can resist a Mexican woman ) but to no avail. He wants her and they have an affair.

“Because I can’t bear the torture of seeing you and of not seeing you. I don’t know which of the two is more intolerable.”

De Córdova: “What I can’t believe is that you fled from me that day.”
Marín:           “I did it so that our love would be perfect…after that perfect night. You don’t know that by losing you, I hoped to win you forever.”
DeCórdova: “You destroyed my life!”
Marín:         “I destroyed myself as well.”

Lucía has a younger sister, Cristina ( ~ Lilia Michel with Hollywood girl-next-door looks ) who develops a crush on the older de Córdova. This is the hornet’s nest de Córdova  walks into when finally fulfilling a social obligation to spend the weekend at his friend’s house. He’s been trying to stay away from Lucía, but she’s not having that and wants to risk every thing.

  

Aye yi yi.

  
[ Sheesh! The lovers do a poor job of hiding their guilt. ]

Something’s gotta give, and does during that weekend. Desire, resistance, recriminations, pregnant pauses, crashing music and a lot of cigarette-smoking take place in this movie. De Córdova’s got it bad…and that ain’t good. Neither de Córdova nor Marín can keep the guilt to themselves which makes her husband suspicious. All three have voice-overs and close-ups letting us know just what’s going on inside them.

…And the husband has a plan of his own.

How will this all play out. I’ll not spoil anything for you. You can see the movie for yourself.

We shouldn’t wait for the once~a~year annual reason to explore Mexican cinema, or acknowledge the contributions of creativity throughout the Hispanic diaspora in movies. Aurora at Once Upon A Screen offers a great guide, with these blogathons to get you started:

 

[    H   O   M   E    ]

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THEY WON’T BELIEVE ME ( 1947 )

“I discovered what went with orchids was a game  of hide and seek with fate played in off-beat night-clubs, out of the way bars, remote restaurants.  A game I never had a chance of winning.

GREER YOUNG HAYWARD

It’s 1947 and the movie is told in voice-overs and flashbacks. You know what THAT means: our hero’s fate is sealed. He is doomed. This time he’s not the bland and vanilla dad, smoking a pipe and wearing elbow-patched sweaters, dispensing fatherly advice In Father Knows Best. Nor is he the long arm of the law, underplaying his role in Crossfire so much that he almost disappears. Nope. Here, Robert Young is a suave ‘playa’ in THEY WON’T BELIEVE ME.

My review has the teensiest bit of spoilers, but really not enough to ruin the film for you. See the movie, watch how it all plays out. I’m here to help you.

I found him sexy here as the mendacious philanderer, Larry Ballantyne. And I’m as shocked as anyone to write – “sexy” and “Robert Young” – in the same sentence. I first got an inkling of my attraction to him in my tentative baby steps towards liking Laraine Day. ( She appears with Young in Those Endearing Young Charms and he really caught my eye ). But I get the full monty here. In this movie, he’d have been happy to stay married if his wife would just let him do what he wants to do. How unreasonable can a wife be? I couldn’t hate him though. I wanted to, but I couldn’t. ( Maybe movies give me permission to like scoundrels ). Young was like Peck’s Bad Boy, just wanting what he wants. I found him likable even though he treated women scandalously. See the movie and compare him, if you will, to our dear boy, George Sanders. If Sanders had played the part, the women would have been scorched forever, and Sanders is not a very likable cad. Robert Young doesn’t put that kind of a blow torch to these women’s hearts because he doesn’t burn hot like that. But they do get hurt all the same. I kind of chuckle when he describes the “jail sentence” his marriage is:

“I understand alright. It was a contract just as if it had been typed, signed and notarized. No more Sa-turday afternoons, no Wednesday nights. No tele-phone calls, no cocktails at back tables. I was private property, covered with signs marked ‘NO TRESPASSING.” I admit I felt like a heel for a couple of weeks. When I married Gretta I kidded myself I was in love with her. But, by this time, I knew it was the money.”

Oh brother. Poor poor Larry.

Just who are the three faces of Eve in his life that he tries to juggle?

THE WIFE:

      RITA JOHNSON (  as Gretta   )

RITA JOHNSON

“I must have lost my self-respect the day I married you. I can make all the moves but the one that has any meaning.  I can’t walk out, Larry. You’ll have to do the walking.” ~ Gretta

I liked and felt sorry for Gretta. Mostly I was happy that the movie didn’t portray her as a shrilly shrewish harridan as most movie wives are portrayed; come on…you know the type…those shrewish homemakers that movies give us permission to hate to make it easier for us to root for our hero to hook up with his ‘true love.’  ( Johnson kept making me think of Maureen O’Sullivan. Ha! They were both in “The Big Clock.” Don’t you just love movie trivia? ) The Wife is rather understanding…a perfect businessman’s wife who’s attractive, a perfect hostess and non~complaining. She catches him dead to rights several times throughout the proceedings. Her blasé nature about packing his bags for him to go off with another woman made me laugh out loud. Apparently he’s done this before. In fact, I think she outright used reverse psychology on him. MY version of the dialogue is this:

HE:    Hey, don’t put the blame on me if I want to leave you.
SHE: I don’t darling, it’s my own fault. By the way, I bought you a partnership in the family business. You want it?

Next thing you know he’s on a train out west with his wife, and his girlfriend’s been unceremoniously dumped.

Is The Wife passive? Hmmmm, I don’t think so. Enabling? More like it. Does she buy him? Yeah kind of. But he didn’t have to be bought. She does offer him his freedom, sans her money and position. He should have boldly written NO SALE” with his shaving cream a la Gloria Wandrous. But he doesn’t have the character to leave.

< ( Sigh! ) > A girl’s best friend is her palomino anyway. Gretta’s horse was more loyal to her than her husband ever was.

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THE MISTRESS:

       JANE GREER (  as Janice  )

JANE GREER

I’m no ‘Saturday afternoon’ girl. I’m an ‘all-or-nothing’ girl. ~ Janice
(But is she going to drink that ice cream float?!)

I must’ve dropped a hint or two around the Internet movie groups that I’m a big Jane Greer fan. That’s my girl, folks. And here she is, 180-degrees different from her most famous role as Kathie Moffet. She’s still got those deadly killer eyes, but she’s uses them here for love, not profit. She’s ratcheted down her vamp quotient as Janice, with her upsweep hair-do and just a touch of Mary Beth Hughes-plumpness. She’s a woman in love. She’s a working girl, smart, independent, with a healthy enough self-esteem to walk away from a no-win situation with a married man. ( If only I had been that smart ). I loved that about her; she puts in for a job transfer…takes an extensive vacation tour to get away from what wasn’t going to be good for her. ( If only I had been that smart ). I love her because she was able to walk away even though she cared about him.

When he runs into her many months later, their exchange made me smile:

HE:     I’ve been meaning to look you up.
SHE:   What for?!

D’0hhhh!!! That’s tellin’ him Kathie, I mean Janice! He’s at a loss for words. When I discover he hadn’t taken her calls I thought to myself: Let me add CAD to his stellar character traits.  He’s such a coward. I could even forgive Janice still loving him. But he didn’t deserve her.

MOVIE TRIVIA ALERT: Almost twenty years later Jane Greer appears with Susan Hayward in that lovely soapy potboiler: Where Love Has Gone which you ought to see for some good campy fun. But alas, they’re only in one scene together. Hey, and speaking of Susan Hayward…

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THE OTHER MISTRESS:

       SUSAN HAYWARD (   as Verna   )

SUSAN HAYWARD ( Believe Me )

She looked like a very special kind of dynamite, neatly wrapped in nylon and silk.” ~ Larry

That she does! She’s a little spitfire. Fellas, I advise you, do NOT mess with SUSAN HAYWARD unless y’know what you’re doing…Or you like playing with fire. OR you are Dana Andrews! She plays the other Other Woman: Verna. She’s another working girl, an efficient, proactive secretary. ( She gets Larry out of a jam with his business partner ). She’s cold and calculating…thinks with her head and bank account.  She goes after what she wants ( …orchids” ) and puts a name on it: “golddigger. If he wants her, it’d have to be on her terms.

But she turns female, just like every other woman does. She switches up. The money doesn’t matter. She wants him… even without his financial meal ticket. She’s pretty much an old-fashioned girl. ( This is the 40’s…remember? ) They run into Janice  in a nightclub and I like how the two women size each other up. They get all the information they need about each other in under thirty nanoseconds. Verna’s on the level, she wants Larry.

He now wants to head for the hills as fast as his *P.F. Flyers can take him.

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ROBERT YOUNG ( Trial )

Ultimately, Robert Young’s Lawrence Ballantyne is a coward. A weak, lying coward who sold his heart and self-respect at every turn. I don’t think Jane Greer was the first and I don’t think Susan Hayward’d be the last. He makes me shake my head in disbelief at his actions. He’s such a weasel.

ROBERT YOUNG ( Believe Me )
Character actor Frank Ferguson questions Robert Young

Young’s character’d be content to string a girl along until she gets too demanding; he’d pull the old my-wife-won’t-give-me-a-divorce card and then VOILA! It’s off to greener, prettier and more available pastures. He’s a coward who runs away from facing the consequences of his actions. His actions put baaaad things in motion. I know you know movies. So do I. But I still heartily recommend this one if you haven’t seen it yet.

It will air on Noir Alley this Sunday ( October 8th ) on TCM, hosted by Eddie Muller. It’s not your ordinary run-of-the-mill love ’em and leave ’em drama. There’s enough bobbing & weaving to keep you interested. See what happens when a not-so-bad guy, lies and cheats and is dragged down by what he’s done. See what happens when a man tries to avoid his fate. Robert Young does a very good job as this type of man. And yes, I think he’s sexy.

Cine-Moral #630: When a man’s mistress finds outhis wife is richer than he is, all bets are off. Expect to be dumped.

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A LITTLE ABOUT THE DIRECTOR AND CAST:

I’ve been thinking about THEY WON’T BELIEVE ME off and on for a few days now, happy TCM is showing it. This was a good solid role for all four main cast members, and it made me curious about where these stars exactly were in their career at this point; the beginning…middle…the end?? I wanted to see what movie came just before and just after “…Believe Me. Success was ahead for some, obscurity for another and cinema immortality for yet another. Info directly quoted from IMDB:

IRVING PICHEL  ( 1891 – 1954 )

IRVING PICHEL ( Director )   IRVING PICHEL

He not only directs, but he’s Dracula’s daughter’s personal assistant.

Pichel does a great job in weaving this tale. Using flashbacks and a voice-over of a man on trial for murder, I love all the twisty turns movie takes. He has Hitchcock’s tv producer Joan Harrison in his corner to produce a wonderful film, well-cast and well-told. Pichel is very capable.

Temptation” 1947
“They Won’t Believe Me” 1947
Something in the Wind 1947

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ROBERT YOUNG ( 1907 – 1998 )

ROBERT YOUNG ( Older ) ROBERT YOUNG ( Young ) ROBERT YOUNG ( Middle-Aged )

His movie career consisted of playing characters who were charming, good-looking–and bland. In fact, his screen image was such that he usually never got the girl. Louis B. Mayer would say: ‘He has no sex appeal,’ but he had a work ethic that prepared him for every role that he played. His patented shyness and painful insecurity turned his social drinking into a chronic alcohol problem during his MGM years that lasted nearly three decades. He recovered with the aid and encouragement of his wife Elizabeth and through spiritual metaphysics (Science of Mind), not to mention Alcoholics Anonymous. He often held AA meetings in his home. Young attempted suicide in 1991 as a result of a chemical imbalance and while battling Alzheimer’s disease and heart problems. ( You can read about the ‘dark side’ of Robert Young in this Movie Morlocks article by Jeff Stafford. )

LADY LUCK
“THEY WON’T BELIEVE ME” ( 40 y.o. )
CROSSFIRE

…To my shock and surprise whIle I was watching some of Lew Ayres’ films on TCM? I saw Robert Young in “Rich Man, Poor Girl” ( 1938 ) where the actress who plays his sister….is Rita Johnson.

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RITA JOHNSON  ( 1913-1965 )

RITA JOHNSON ( Glam-II )  Rita Johnson-1941-Hers Comes Mr Jordan

Unfortunately, her career came to an end in 1948 when a hair dryer fell on her head causing brain damage. Brain surgery was performed, but  her screen time was still very limited. ( See Frances Gifford ). The doctor noted that apart from her current injuries there were a number of old bruises on various parts of her body. Detectives investigating the injuries, however, reported nothing to indicate it was anything other than an accident. Rumors continued but were never confirmed that she was romantically involved with a gangster who had beaten her. Previous beatings, it was alleged, had caused the old bruises. She died in Los Angeles County General Hospital on Oct. 31, 1965. Miss Johnson was only 52 years old.

MICHIGAN KID
“THEY WON’T BELIEVE ME” ( 35 y.o. )
SLEEP MY LOVE

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SUSAN HAYWARD  ( 1917 – 1975 )

SUSAN HAYWARD ( Glam-I ) SUSAN HAYWARD ( Glam-II )

In 1958 she gave the performance of her lifetime as real-life California killer Barbara Graham in I Want to Live! (1958), who was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in the gas chamber. Susan was absolutely riveting in her portrayal of the doomed woman. Many film buffs consider it to be one of the finest performances of all time, and this time she was not only nominated for Best Actress, but won. A two-pack a day smoker with a taste for drink, Susan was diagnosed with brain cancer in March of 1972. On 14 March 1975, after a three year struggle against the disease, Susan died at her Hollywood home. Susan Hayward was laid to rest in a grave adjacent that of her husband Eaton Chalkley in the peace of Carrollton, Georgia where they had spent several happy years together in life. She was 57.

SMASH-UP: A STORY OF A WOMAN
“THEY WON’T BELIEVE ME” ( 30 y.o. )
THE LOST MOMENT

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JANE GREER  ( 1924 – 2001 )

JANE GREER ( Glam-I )  THEY WON'T BELIEVE ME ( Jane Greer )

As a baby, she was winning beauty contests; as a teenager, with good looks and an attractive contralto voice, she was singing with big bands.She claimed that it was through facial exercises to overcome the paralysis that she learned the efficacy of facial expression in conveying human emotion, a skill she was renowned for using in her acting. Quickly married crooner Rudy Vallee after fleeing a possessed Howard Hughes, who discovered her on a WWII poster and kept her virtually a prisoner during her first few months. An enraged Hughes pressured her and ruined the marriage. She returned to Hughes and her contract. Achieved screen immortality with ‘Out of the Past‘.

Personal Quote:  I love making movies, but I was ready to rationalize being only a mother if my career never got back on track.

SINBAD THE SAILOR
“THEY WON’T BELIEVE ME” ( 23 y.o. )
OUT OF THE PAST

…And one little extra bonus for those fans of the obscure and lost women of Hollywood. Janet Shaw ( YAY!! ) is in this movie for one brief scene with Robert Young. ( You can read about some other Lost Women of Hollywood here. ) Wait…you don’t know her?

                     JANET SHAW ( Believe Me )

                                      Sure you do…see:

                             JANET SHAW ( Believe Me )

Cine-Moral #2: What Kind of Fool I Am“<—– Sammy Davis can tell you. What I would say is:

* Fool me once, shame on you.
* Fool me twice, shame on me.
* Fool me three times, everybody’s gettin’ a beatdown up in here!

Read an enjoyable write-up—> here <—from the blogosphere’s QUEEN of Film Noir, Karen of Shadows and Satin or at Arthur’s CinemaCafe.

Now…enjoy the movie.

( H O M E )

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