About CineMaven

I am a Capricorn and a native New Yorker who has loved classic films for as long as I can remember. My favorite film? Alfred Hitchcock's “VERTIGO.”

DORIS DAY ~ VERSATILITY SQUARED

It has happened.

I know it had to. And it has. I’m not quite understanding how sunshine will happen without day. Doris Day passed away Monday, May 13th at the age of 97.

I needed a few days to process this news and I’m still shaking my head. You might think this crazy but 90’s is not so very old, for classic film fans. Social Media blew up like a volcano with this devastating news. It was sad but wonderful to read the great outpouring of love and admiration for a woman who was top box office for a decade, had a great career as a singer, was a big animal activist and seemed to be regarded by all as a genuinely nice person.

When I’m feeling sad or bummed out, I can throw on a Doris Day movie or think about one of her films and it’ll perk me up. I had to take an MRI about a year and a half ago, and going into that machine proved more irrationally daunting than I expected. The technicians hooked up my iPhone in to their room’s headphones, which I could wear to drown out the noise of the machine. The movie I had on was “My Dream Is Yours.” It helped calm me. She pulled me through what I couldn’t get through myself. Doris Day was so pretty, had a great smile, a cute little figure, a great sense of style…and an infectious laugh. Simply put, she makes my heart smile. 0kay okay…if you want me to get technical about it, she was quite the talent. So versatile. I found her believable in the movies. Those who chalk her up to the “virginal girl-next-door” are most certainly and lazily missing the point of her screen persona. At her core, she was a good decent person you rooted for. On top of that, she could do anything: comedy, musicals, drama, she could dance and sing. See…versatility squared. And boy could she sing. ( My Dad says so! )

She could switch up styles with ease. You want her peppy, raucous, lush & romantic or swoony…or jazzy? Yeh, she could swing jazz too. One of her idols was the great Ella Fitzgerald. What’s your pleasure? She had the chops to do it all. To talk of Doris Day’s music career would need a post unto itself.  While today’s singers flit up and down the scales like jack-rabbitting acrobats, Doris’ voice is warm and controlled. Oh no doubt she could be raucous ( see “Calamity Jane” ). And she could belt it out and ramp it up with the best of ’em. But when she gives with a soft romantic song her voice is like a caress; it’s a whisper brushing against your ear…your heart. Her voice was transparent like clear clean spring water;  not a lot of embellishments. But she also had the lush consistency of maple. No, I don’t mean saccharine. I mean full, rich…it coats you. I don’t sense pain in her voice ( though she’s had her share of it in her life ). No, I’d say there is longing, poignancy; a confession only to you. 

With her acting career, how lucky was she to have worked with all sorts of top Hollywood leading men, and compliment their style. Maybe make them even better. She fit so well with Gable, Grant, Stewart, Hudson, Douglas, Garner, Niven and Cagney  just to name a few. And again, she could wear different persona and be believable in any one of them: sassy, rowdy, warm, sensuous, playful, terrorized, professional, maternal, a Woman. And if you think it’s only Audrey Hepburn or Kay Francis who have a sense of style, then check out GlamAmor’s blog chronicling Day’s outfits in Pillow Talk,  Please Don’t Eat the Daisies and That Touch of Mink.

I’ve been lucky enough ( or old enough?! ) to have seen some Doris Day films when they were originally released. My earliest memory of her is my family going to the Bronx’s Whitestone Drive~In in 1964 to see Doris Day and Rock Hudson in “Send Me No Flowers” which is imprinted on my cinematic DNA. When she does comedy, it’s impossible to leave her films without a smile on your face. She’s wholly under~rated as an actress. Now, I’m not quite sold on the idea she could have played Mrs. Robinson in “The Graduate” and be that type of cougar. But here are my choices of five bite~sized descriptions of my favorite films of Day’s showing different sides of this talented woman. What’s not to like?  

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

“MY DREAM IS YOURS” ( 1949 ) ~ Warmth, Quiet Ambition

I prefer this Doris to her very first film ( “Romance on the High Seas” ) because she’s a bit toned down and sweeter in this one. But no doubt she did make a vivacious splash in that film. “My Dream…” is sort of a meta-version of Day’s own story. A young woman alone trying to support a child and herself on her own while breaking into the show business. ( Big bands ). She’s so engaging in this; warm, hopeful, disappointed and in love with the wrong man. With a normal wardrobe ( and not the over-the-top concoctions of ‘Romance…’ ) you can really see she’s just like you and me. I love this film. It’s the first of her movies where she plays a mom. Right off the bat the studio is not afraid to portray her as a Mother, and her scenes with her movie son are adorable. She works well with hail fellow well met Jack Carson. Her next movie:It’s a Great Feeling.”

In the same vein ~ singin’ & dancin’: Romance on the High Seas” “Tea For Two” “It’s A Great Feeling” “Lullaby of Broadway” “The Pajama Game

* * * * * * * * * * *

“CALAMITY JANE” ( 1953 ) ~ Bombastic, High Energy

We all know movie biographies’ accuracy are suspect. And I doubt the real Calamity Jane sang or did any of the things Day does in this movie besides shoot off her gun. But that don’t hardly matter, pardner. Just sit back and let her loose. Day owns the screen with this film, running and jumping and whooping and hollering it up. She totally never breaks character. The film she did before this was “By the Light of the Silvery Moon.” As Clam, she boasts she can bring a fancy dance hall girl to town, which only causes Day’s character to become painfully aware of her lack of femininity by contrast. But with all her loudness and competitiveness, she’s really a girl in love. She just has to realize the right man she’s in love with. She does a great job in this one and is supported by that attractive, big ol’ 6’4″ baritone Howard Keel. In this film, Day is part tomboy / part lady / all talent. Her energy is off the chart. She should have been nominated for an Academy Award for this performance. Her next movie:Lucky Me.”

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“LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME” ( 1955 ) ~ Serious

Here’s the test, straight drama… standing toe-to-toe opposite one of the screen’s already legendary tough guys: James Cagney. Could YOU do it? Doris does…and passes with flying colors. Hollywood goes the bio route again, this time with 20’s songstress Ruth Etting. Day plays a tough slightly calculating cookie to get the breaks she needs in this sea of men; she walks the line this side of pretty much flat out using petty gangster Cagney, to get the career she wants. Day is serious in this film, nothing playful or cutesie about her. She’s got a killer figure and shows it off in her skillfully done dance numbers. I don’t know Etting’s voice, but I’ll wager Day sounds nothing like the famed singer of a generation before. Day has her own style. See—> “Ten Cents A Dance.” Her singing that song is my favorite moment in the movie. She clasps her hands in hopeful prayer when she sings the line: “Sometimes I think, I’ve found my hero…”. But it’s mostly her rigid stance, steeling herself against the men who only need a ticket to dance with her, planting her feet firmly on the stage that rivets me. With hands on her hips and slightly swaying her fringed dress, hearing her say: “Come on big boy…” is worth the price of admission. Her next movie:  “The Man Who Knew Too Much

In the same vein ~ serious & dramatic: Storm Warning” “Young Man With a Horn” “Julie” “Midnight Lace

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“PILLOW TALK” ( 1959 ) ~ Sexy RomComs

I think this is the “official” ushering in of the sexy romantic comedy. Doris Day and Rock Hudson are absolutely perfect in this comedy on the cusp of the sexual revolution. Smartly written, the premise has an interior decorator ( Day ) and a womanizing songwriter ( Hudson ) share a telephone party line. Hudson pretends to be someone else in order to wine, dine and trick her into romance. Shenanigans ensue. These two were on their own very different career paths when they were teamed here, and this is a match made in heaven. I think “virginal” is a misnomer. She’s a successful career woman with standards. She’s got a fierce wardrobe ( GlamAmor: Pillow Talk ). See her fabulous apartment? Doesn’t look like she’s a hermit. She’s sexy as hell. Day and Hudson are just perfect together: timing, good looks, chemistry. They tried the formula two more times, having Tony Randall round off the threesome’s trilogy. This is a wonderful film. In fact, I’ll be watching it with three friends this Friday and it’ll be a good time!! Her next movie:Please Don’t Eat the Daisies.”

In the same vein: That Touch of Mink” “The Glass Bottom Boat” “Lover Come Back” “Teacher’s Pet

* * * * * * * * * * *

“PLEASE DON’T EAT THE DAISIES” ( 1960 ) ~ Maternal / Wife

Doris has her hands full with four sons, a giant dog, a new dilapidated house in the country and a husband who’s trying to navigate the world as a Broadway theatre critic. From the beginning of her career, Doris has off and on played a Mom. Well here she sure has her hands full and it’s totally natural and believable. She’s no coddler, she shoves ‘em around, talks to them on their level. I like seeing her with sons. Now dealing with her husband is a different matter. She’s got the Continental sophisticated David Niven as a husband ~ not bad, girlfirend ~ He’s somewhat Americanized. They love each other and are loving to each other ( uhhhh, four sons, hulloohhh! ) but are having just a bit of a rough patch. Doris is worried about her marriage and her husband getting too big for his britches in the theatre world. It’s a comedy, with a tinge of drama to it. You know on paper, I wouldn’t have put Niven and Day together. L0L! Shows ya what I know. They fit each other nicely. I enjoy seeing Doris maneuver between three rough and tough boys, one precocious toddler…and still be a loving partner to Niven. Her next movie:Midnight Lace.”

In the same vein ~ Married but comfortably sexy:The Thrill of It All” “Move Over Darling” “Send Me No Flowers

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

There’s a small hole in my heart. I loved Doris Day. She is the one movie star who singularly makes me happy. RIP.

 

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MY PICKS FOR THE 2019 TCM FILM FESTIVAL

posted ~ Monday, April 1st, 2019

It’s a time-honored tradition for bloggers ~ and anyone, really ~ to let folks know their choice of films they’ll see at the 2019 TCM Classic Film Festival. Well who am I to buck tradition.

So, for better or for worse…in sickness and in camaraderie and quixotic drunkenness, this is my “Master Plan” for how I’ll spend the 2019 TCM Classic Film Festival.

…Unless I change my mind.

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THURSDAY ~ APRIL 11th, 2019

GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES

May I be candid with you? Perfectly candid? There really is only one way to see Marilyn Monroe…on a big screen, a large canvas, in all her gloriously majestic glory. She, is an icon. She, is an era. She, is under~rated. She, is Mount Rushmore …important like that. I am prepared and look forward to being overwhelmed and drown in the Technicolor image of Marilyn and Jane Russell as they stride across the screen with a sexual confidence that is off the chart. I love their friendship and camaraderie in this. They enter that club like they are entering the gun fight at the O.K. Corral. They are Woman.

THE BACHELOR AND THE BOBBY SOXER

What a fun movie. Shirley Temple’s no longer on the good ship lollipop. She’s all grown-up and crushing hard. Myrna Loy is as beautiful, adept and regal as she ever was delivering those straight lines keeping everyone in check. But it’s Cary Grant, man. He’s the consummate movie star. And a good actor. He’s not afraid to be silly. He’s an actor who can be dead serious in “Suspicion” “Notorious” “Mr. Lucky” “None But the Lonely Heart and then go screwy in ( Bringing Up Baby ) bananas
( Arsenic and Old Lace ) or just adorably silly. Sit back. This is going to be fun.

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FRIDAY ~ APRIL 12th, 2019

MERRILY WE GO TO HELL     VANITY STREET                    OPEN SECRET         

This trio of films will be a new discovery for me. I’m pretty much going in blind. I’ll come out learning something. 0oooh, look how young everyone looks.

 

SUNRISE

I’m told this is the apotheosis of Silent Film; it is all a Silent Film could be and more, being on the cusp of talkies and directed by the master, F. W. Murnau. I’ve seen bits and pieces of this movie, and have an idea of what it’s about. I look forward to watching it in one fell swoop. My friend Wendy promised I will be amazed. So I’ll let HER tell you her take on the movie after the screening.

DESERT HEARTS

Generally I’m not a fan of “newer” movies at the festival, but this wonderful 1985 movie is a total exception. I saw it when it was originally released and I wholeheartedly recommend this quiet loving film, but I know…I know. There’s stiff competition in its time slot: ( Do the Right Thing” “Road House ~ a Nitrate print, dammit…Winchester 73”  “Goodbye Mr. Chips and The Opposite Sex” ~ which I know has a cadre of fans ). The director and its stars ( Donna Deitch, Helen Shaver and Patricia Charbonneau ) will be at the screening. I actually met all three during the film’s thirtieth anniversary screening in NYC.

The film is soft and warm and kind. It takes place at the end of the 50’s where two women are trying to find themselves and their place in the world…and find each other. Audra Lindley does a great job in this movie. Whatever side of the ‘fence’ you’re on, love is love is love…see this film and let it put a string of lights around your heart.

SANTO vs THE EVIL BRAIN

I’ve never even HEARD of this movie before. But who cares, I’ll be with my roomies and the Midnite movies at the TCMFF are a lotta fun. Where can I get some No-Doz?

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SATURDAY ~ APRIL 13th, 2019

WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE ( not “Collude” )

Noah’s Ark, sci~fi style. I love sci~fi…and I’m all in for Barbara Rush.

 

 

 

LOVE AFFAIR

TCM’s theme this year is “Love” and this is a great love story. Nice chemistry between Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer. Can a shipboard romance last on dry land? Just watch where you’re walking when you’re in love…and crossing the street.

 

BLOOD MONEY

Frances Dee…full stop. Frances Dee. Well what’s your reason for living?

 

 

 

 

INDISCREET

Ingrid’s back and Cary’s got her. He never left her. This is one of the first Hollywood films Bergman did after “La Scandale”; you know, the Rossellini thing. And what a return. In this sparkling comedy, these two are having an affair but can’t marry because his wife won’t give him a divorce. Thing is Bergman doesn’t know…he’s not married. They’re a dazzling couple and this is a great comedy. Check out the Guest Essay in my blog by my Texas pal, Christy Putnam who writes about this film. I’m looking forward to checking them out on th…hold on!

THE BAD SEED

Hold on…THIS is a poolside screening? And actress Patty McCormack will be there? And it’s competing in the same time slot as “Indiscreet”???

OHHHHH NOOOOO! TCM has done it again. They’ve ruined my life by making me make a choice. I’m pretty torn on this one.

Eileen Heckart’s big scene will tear your heart out. Nancy Kelly’s edginess keeps me unsettled throughout the entire performance as we watch her realize her daughter has “issues.” McCormack gives an astoundingly compelling performance as a Murderer-In-Pigtails. Which screening should I do? Shall I go glossily romantic or dark and disturbing and cocktails in hand?

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SUNDAY ~ APRIL 14th, 2019

HOLIDAY

This conflict of scheduling made me literally groan OUT LOUD!! You think this is a slam dunk? Au contraire mon frere! I was in physical pain at this one.

For one thing…YAY! Cary Grant is featured in several films at the festival. “Holiday” is a good movie on the serious side and this is my favorite teaming of Grant and Hepburn, in their third of four pairings ~ two superstars of classic film. I think Grant’s acting is underrated. Perhaps it goes unnoticed because he wears his characters like a glove. And if Kate is sometimes deemed too “actress-y”, she’s not here. They’re beautiful…they have chemistry. I find a sadness in them here. No doubt they are big game. 

MAD LOVE

BUT WAAAAAAIT!!! In that same Sunday time slot is “Mad Love.” Don’t you know the sick twisted thing that is “Mad Love”? Damn I want to see the great Peter Lorre on that big screen, with a packed audience at the Egyptian, going balls to the wall crazy, twisted, obsessively in love…maniacally laughing as he walks up the stairs in this get up, totally giving in to the euphoria and mania of his madness. Who among us hasn’t gone a little mad when we couldn’t have the person we wanted. I still haven’t decided which of these films I definitely want to see. Two different type of movie experiences. Damn.

MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION

This glossy re~make of the 1935 Irene Dunne Robert Taylor movie is a solid hit. Playboy causes a woman to go blind in an accident and spends his time trying to find a cure. Rock Hudson and Barbara Rush are gorgeous to look at. Hudson’s believably paired with Oscar-winner Jane Wyman who holds it all together. This should be a good romantic screening.

A WOMAN OF AFFAIRS

From out of the past, we see the luminous Garbo screen teamed again opposite ill~fated leading man, John Gilbert. The time told tale focuses on two men in love with one woman. Those odds usually don’t work out…for Garbo. 

We’re goin’ high~brow with a live orchestra conducted by Carl Davis. Kevin Brownlow ( this year’s recipient of the Robert Osborne Award ) will be there too, along with Leonard Maltin. Garbo… at the Egyptian.

THE DOLLY SISTERS

One of the brightest stars of the 1940’s was the beautiful Betty Grable. Here she is in her absolute element:

*  Music
* Costumed to the hilt with those gorgeous legs
* Technicolor ( she was made for it )
* 20th Century Fox doing what they do best.

And June Haver is no slouch either. I’ve never seen this film. This bio-pic of the Hungarian stars is sure to be inaccurate fun. Seeing this means my festival experience is over. If it has to end…let it end on a high note of music and fun.

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Let me give a shout-out to some fellow bloggers who are in the same predicament I’m in…what films to see at the 2019 TCM Classic Film Festival:

Angela over at The Hollywood Revue: https://hollywoodrevue.wordpress.com/2019/03/23/my-choices-for-tcmff-2019/

Aurora aka @CitizenScreen of Once Upon A Screen: https://aurorasginjoint.com/2019/03/24/my-picks-for-tcmff-2019/ 

Chris Sturhann of Blog of the Darned: https://chrissturhann.blogspot.com/2019/03/tcmff-madness-baby-2019.html 

Danny of Pre-Code.Com:
http://pre-code.com/tcmff-2019-full-schedule-posted-and-where-youll-find-me/

Diana of the Flickin’ Out Blog:
https://flickinoutblog.com/2019/03/29/dim-the-house-lights-my-picks-for-the-2019-tcm-classic-film-festival/

Em of The Vintage Cameo:
http://www.thevintagecameo.com/2019/03/tcmff-2019-schedule-picks/

Jay Patrick of Thirty Hertz Rumble:
https://thirtyhertzrumble.com/high-fiving-2019-tcm-film-festival-preview/ 

Jocelyn of Classic Film Observations & Obsessions: https://classicfilmobsessions.blogspot.com/2019/03/planning-my-schedule-sort-of-at-10th.html

Joel of Joel’s Classic Film Passion:
https://joelrwilliams1.blogspot.com/2019/03/2019-tcm-classic-film-festival.html 

Julia Ricci of Cinema Crossroads:
https://cinemacrossroads.wordpress.com/2019/03/24/my-picks-for-the-10th-annual-tcm-classic-film-festival/

Keisha of Cinema Cities:
https://cinemacities.wordpress.com/2019/03/26/my-picks-for-tcmff-2019/ 

Kellee of Outspoken & Freckled:
Top Picks for 2019 TCM Film Festival

Kim of I See A Dark Theater:
https://www.iseeadarktheater.com/tcmff-2019-preview

Laura of Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings: http://laurasmiscmusings.blogspot.com/2019/03/the-2019-tcm-classic-film-festival.html 

Nikki of The Way We Watch: https://www.thewaywewatch.net/blog-1/2019/3/24/its-here-my-our-tentative-tcmff-2019-schedule

Samantha of Musings of a Classic Film Addict:
https://musingsofaclassicfilmaddict.com/2019/03/22/my-picks-for-the-2019-tcm-classic-film-festival/

StanfordClark of Movies Past and Present:
 http://moviespastandpresent.com/current-plan-for-the-2019-tcm-classic-film-festival/

 

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MY ‘NICK’ and ‘NORA’

Folks, I want to introduce you to Andrea and Richard Rosen who I met at the TCMFF a few, scant years ago. They are a delight, have great camaraderie and friendship for each other ( even though they are married ) and if I may be sooooo bold…I call them MY own Nick and Nora Charles. I’ve asked, and they were kind enough to offer me their thoughts of TCMFF’18. I’ve even kept them up hours into the night with talk of movies. Yeah…guilty as charged. Take it away Nick and Nora…er–Andrea and Richard:

It’s August which means the frenzy is about to begin – when will the TCMFF dates be announced? What will be the theme? Might Angela Lansbury return? This is now the reality for my Husband Richard & me…but I wouldn’t have it any other way, this stuff is thrilling!

Thinking of our last TCMFF this past April 2018, I was just daydreaming about our favorite experiences, every day of the festival is like waking up on Christmas morning!

For me, I love sharing a film I’m obsessed about w/Husband Richard because I love his reactions as a 1st time viewer – this year that film was “LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN” (‘45). Frankly I was a little jealous because Richard got to see it for the first time on the big screen. Exiting the theatre he was still enthralled, his reactions ranged from: “The colors were so vibrant!” “She’s crazy!” “Did the brother have to die?” “Is it a Noir?”

Our together discovery is definitely the pre-codes. TCMFF ’18 gave us “FINISHING SCHOOL” (’34), where footsteps filling up w/snow denoted the passage of time and overnight untoward behavior. That film was delicious!

The fun never ended, we met Cicely Tyson – we attended an intro of Nancy Olson’s for “SUNSET BOULEVARD” (‘50)…she is one Dame I could listen to all day & night. If you ever get to hear Nancy Olson speak, do not miss that chance (oh, I hope she’ll be back in ’19…yep, getting excited already). And of course, my favorite is Eddie Muller – only Eddie could get us into a theatre at 9am but that’s the power of “The Czar of Noir.”

So those are just a few of my musings…Richard, what do you think?

Me? I try to be a person of few words, but not about this. Everything Nora (you dubbed her that, Theresa; Nick here) wrote is spot on. We are pre-Code crazy. Give us the celluloid. And I am silenced by the guest stars (Andrea met them, I smiled and bowed my head in honor of being in the same room, much less a foot away).

But the best thing for me is the friends who we have made, some of whom we have come to call family, and the conversations (with cocktails, of course) we have had – sometimes until 3 in the morning (and you know that, Ms. Brown) – about movies / themes / directors / actors / leitmotifs I never knew I could discuss with anyone outside of film class or PBS documentaries or mi’lady Andrea. And then, of course, there’s at the pool with Alicia, breakfast with Dave, drinks with Eddie and everywhere with Ben. We are lucky. TCMFF creates the best party.

Mic dropped.

♠ ♣ ♥ ♦

Andrea and Richard ( BROOKLYN  in the House )

  

Rest In Peace, Dear Lady.

 

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