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.”

APEX ( 1962 )

Terence is at it again. He of “A Shroud of Thought” is hosting his fourth annual “FAVOURITE TV SHOW EPISODE BLOGATHON.” This “is a blogathon in which bloggers write entries about their favourite episodes of their favourite classic television shows.” If you’re interested in seeing everyone’s favorites ( don’t use a “u” ~ I’m an American ) please click on “The Saint.” I participated in this popular blogathon once before with the iconic and poignant “Twilight Zone” episode “Walking Distance” starring Gig Young. But now for something different. Everybody should know by now that Hitchcock’s my boy. He’s left his mark of chilling suspense on movies and tv. Thanks to the MeTV channel, I get to watch Hitchcock’s tv program nightly and this episode is one of my faves.

Here are the title cards for tonight’s episode. I apologize for the UNclarity of the screen caps. Watch along with me. I’m going to walk you through it with my impressions and observations. It will have spoilers, but it won’t have the main spoiler I will leave out. Wait, I’ll put it on another page. This is Season 7 Episode 24 of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. I would say sit back and relax, but hey…this IS Alfred Hitchcock.

The lovely Patricia Breslin set this nice homey little domestic scene with handsome Mark Miller of tv’s “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies” fame. ( He’s also the dad of actress Penelope Ann Miller ). Patricia Breslin reminds me of Barbara Rush and Dana Wynter. And here she is, your typical 50’s/60’s scene, talking about refurnishing…and sending her man off to work.

      

What’s he stopping for, a quick smoke? Oh snap…he lives next door? WIFE? He’s married?! I see what he did…he checked the window before going into his own house. Having an affair right under his wife’s nose. And lies to her face.

        

Wait, his mistress is friends with his wife? ( Oooh, that never works, trust me! ) What a reveal. This has been going on for over a year? Woweeee! The wife is played by Vivienne Segal. She’s warm and friendly. I feel bad for her.

Margo: “Clara, is something wrong?”
Clara:   “No. Nothing.”
Margo: “Are you and Claude having trouble?”
Clara:   “Not Claude. Just me. And I haven’t a     thing to go on. No mysterious phone calls. No handkerchiefs with lipstick on them. But I think he’s seeing another woman.”
Margo: “Clara, I can’t believe you.”
Clara:   “You can’t? We just had our seventh wedding anniversary. That’s when the itch is supposed to set in.”
Margo: “But you know how much Claude loves you.”
Clara:   “I know how much he says he loves me. Oh Margo, never marry a man who is even a little bit younger or poorer than you.”
Margo: “Well it’d be kind of hard to find anyone poorer.”

She owns the company, like the Countess DeLave owned Dandee Gelatine in “The Women.” There’s a veiled threat he won’t own any part of the company if they divorce.

    

Clara: “Dear it’s getting late and I’ve got to go   to the bakery. I promised Claude we’d have cream puffs for dinner tonight. He loves creampuffs. Don’t pay any attention to me. I’m being ridiculous.”

Margo: “You’re having creampuffs for dinner.”
Claude: “That’s nice.”
Margo:  “You were right.”
Claude: “About what?”
Margo:  “She suspects you.”

Even though it’s just dessert, hearing Margo reveal to Claude he’s having cream puffs feels like such a betrayal to me. Here is Clara, confiding her marital insecurities to Margo, and she goes and tells Claude. I feel bad for Clara. This is not looking good for her.

 

Margo lets him know might be in danger of losing the money AND her. Not wanting to lose either, he’s gotta kill his wife.

  

Claude: “I just couldn’t do it. I could hire someone to do it, but doing it myself…”
Margo:  “Maybe, let me take care of this.”
Claude: “No no. I don’t want you to have anything to do with it. I’ll arrange it.”
Margo:  “If I leave it to you, I’m afraid it’ll     never get done darling.”

He can’t do it. And we see yet ANOTHER REVEAL. Margo’s playing him. Look at her thinking…how to get him back on track. ( She did say she was poor, remember? She’s been working him a year ). Leave it to a man, huh? He can barely find his socks. 

     

Girls, if you want something done right you have to do it yourself. What the hell has Margo up her sleeve?

Margo: “Remember the Rose Petal Tea you said you and Claude had in Tahiti on your honeymoon.”
Clara:   “Yes.”
Margo: “Was it Magruder’s Jasmine Oriental Rose Petal Tea?”
Clara:   “Why yes.”
Margo: “Well stay right where you are. Have I got a surprise for you.”

Uhhh boy. I see where this is going. Run, Clara!!! Run.

This was a close call here. Margo’s about ready to dope the tea when Clara busts in on her.

Margo: “Clara, you’ve gotta snap out of this. It’s just your imagination.”
Clara:   “He left his office at 10 this morning and hasn’t been back since. Is that my imagination?”
Margo: “Well, he probably had some business appointments.”
Clara:   “Then why doesn’t his secretary know about them.”
Margo: “Did you try his club?”
Clara:   “Yes. He hasn’t been there all day.”
Margo: “Well I’m sure there are a dozen explanations for it.”
Clara:   “It’s the real one that worries me.”
Margo: “I’m not saying what you’re afraid of could be possibly be true. But I do know once you decide to be suspicious of a man, you can find a million reasons for it.”
Clara:   “Margo, it’s more than suspicion. I know.”
Margo: “How do you know?”
Clara:   “I just do.”

The phone rings and Clara goes to answer it. Margo can now finish “preparing” the tea.

Clara’s mind is at ease now that she’s hearing from Claude. He was at his club meeting an old friend and tells Clara he’s sending a caddy over to the house to pick up an envelope for him.

It’s now tea time. Poor Clara.

Margo keeps Clara chatting distractedly as Clara continues to drink the bitter tea of General Yen. If it tastes bitter why are you still drinking it. C’mon man. Sloppy plotting. Quit drinking. Jesus! 

Nope, she’s drunk it all…down to the last drop!!!! It’s quick acting. She’s down. She begs for help.

Margo’s takes her sweet time pretending to help. But she’s not helping. She listens to Clara dying. Damn, Margo’s cold. She wants that money. Poor Clara. She seemed like a nice woman. Margo’s pretty methodical with the clean up of finger prints and tea cups. Cool cookie this brunette. She’s about to get away but the doorbell rings. 

There are more great entries to this blogathon if you click on the Maverick Brothers. And surely you have favorites of your own. Leave a comment in the space below. Thank you Terence for giving us a chance to share these.

And IF anyone is interested on exactly HOW this episode of “Alfred Hitchcock Presents ends…you need only to click on the photo below for the SPOILER. THANKS so much for joining me on “the couch

 

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VERTIGO: CLASSIC FILM’S RUBIK’S CUBE

I wonder if this is a movie that MUST be seen FROM the second time around?

 

I won two free movie tickets via a contest held at the CLASSIC MOVIE HUB website
( Yaaay! and THANK YOU Annmarie ). I grabbed dear old Dad and Sunday night off we went to the movies, for Fathom Events’ screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 classic, “
VERTIGO.” The trailer:

 

Last Friday night when I mentioned to a bar~drinking, classic film~loving buddy of mine that I was going to see the movie, she said: “Noooo. It’s my least favorite Hitchcock. If you’re going to kill me, you’re going to have to do it on the ground. I am NOT going up those stairs!!”  What am I missing? “VERTIGO” is my favorite movie. But could I be wrong? Have I been had…been took? Had I been hoodwinked? Bamboozled? Led astray? Run amok? Does this movie warrant my father’s “Thumbs Down” during the screening?
( WHAAAT? DADDY!!! ) I swore to myself I would watch the movie objectively, this time. I would see if the pieces logically and rationally fit together in a way that makes sense. I wasn’t going to give Hitch a pass. I would not get caught up in Bernard Hermann’s sublime romantic score. That was the plan. I had my popcorn and Raisinets as a buffer between me and my emotions. Now…show me, Hitch. SHOW ME, dammit! 

There might be spoilers as I ramble on the Couch here, because this really is a motion picture all classic film fans should have seen already. Not that you may like the film, but you should have seen it. So as the story begins in earnest, this is a straight~up detective mystery thing; one last job for a friend before John ‘Scottie’ Ferguson truly throws in the towel. ( JAMES STEWART’s Scottie has developed vertigo, you see, and can no longer chase bad guys ). Gavin Elster gives him the back story on his wife; trances…reincarnation…portals of the past. He needs evidence before he can have her institutionalized. We see Scottie’s reluctance:

“I’m supposed to be retired. I don’t want to get  mixed up in  this thing.”

But Scottie agrees to go to Ernie’s ( the San Francisco restaurant ) to check out Elster’s wife before he decides if he’ll take the job or not.

Madeleine Elster glides into frame for her full~on, Bernard Hermann’d~underscored, breathtaking close~up.

Yep, I’m a goner.  I go down the rabbit hole.

 

Gloriously, hopelessly, quietly deliriously and unapologetically I spiral down into the plot. I’m hooked. Now it’s NOT that I lost my resolve, mind you. But hell, I can’t fight my OWN theory…if you don’t fall for KIM NOVAK, the movie won’t work for you.

Here you go Wendy Merckel ~ your “Wizard of Oz” shot ~  SCOTTIE openS the door from the DARK alley INto wondERMENT JUST LIKE you told me

 

It is the following of her and vesting your emotion in her mystery that’s ~ ( at least to me ) ~ the initial lynch pin in this whole mesmerizing story. I s’pose you don’t have to fall for Novak. Be that way. There’s more twists in this tale to keep you on your toes. 

Elster dangles the puzzle and mystery of Madeleine in front of Scottie and us. Scottie follows Madeleine thus we get the scenic drive through San Francisco. As we drive with Scottie watching Madeleine, it’s as though we are watching a movie. In fact, Madeleine IS a movie.

We follow her like we follow a movie, not knowing what’s going on, but we follow to find out. And like a good director, Elster manipulates this ‘Madeleine Movie.’

 
My friend Lynn says Madeleine’s wet gloves make her look like a ghost.


Garbo comes to mind with Madeleine for some reason. Bear with me while I stretch my movie metaphor a tad more. All those silent movies that fans watched of Garbo’s…not hearing her voice, silently move about on screen…and then in
1930…we hear her for the first time. That’s kind of what we do with Madeleine. We hear all about her. She doesn’t come into the movie until maybe about 40~minutes in for her close~up. We silently follow her around, as I said…she is her own movie. Twenty minutes after thatabout a full hour into the film, she’s steps OUT of her movie, and INTO Scottie’s living room…in his robe. The anticipation has been built, and there she is. That sly dog Hitchcock gets around the censors by showing her wet clothes drying in Scottie’s kitchen. When Madeleine wakes from her near~drowning we finally hear her voice…that distinctive low, husky, whispery voice of Kim Novak’s:

“What am I doing here. What happened?”

( Uhhhhmmm, you DO know Madeleine was really aware she was being disrobed, right? She is a movie at first. And movies are a voyeuristic experience. And we watch movies. So tell me, what makes us any better than Scottie? ) We get to ‘know’ a little more about the mystery woman. She doesn’t know why she does what she does because she doesn’t know what she does. That’s the hook.

 

You see, Scottie’s never been in love before and when it hits him, it’s truly like a ton of bricks.

My father says to me:

“But he’s going to fall in love with another man’s wife? What mess is that? The guy’s supposed to be his friend and he wants his wife?”

ME: “Daddy, how many movies have you seen where people have affairs? We see it all the time. You say that like that’s an unusual thing in movies. But I give you this, Scottie didn’t think this all the way through. Is he going to tell Elster ‘I love your wife, so don’t put her in an institution?’ No, he didn’t think it all the way through, but an affair is not an unusual thing.”

Yes, there IS the warm, attractive Midge ( BARBARA BEL GEDDES ). She’s competent, confident, independent and maybe the death knell to romance: comfortable. She holds no mystery.  But you do see what you’re getting with her, and that’s a GOOD thing. Scottie is acutely aware of the difference between the two women.


You’re a big boy now                           Baby won’t you drive my car  

I get a little miffed at Scottie when he’s slightly prickly because Midge leaves a note for him under his door when she can’t reach him. But Madeleine does the same and he’s fine with that.

 

She protects him…he protects her.

And there’s that quite heart~wrenching scene ( for me ) when Midge teasing Scottie painfully backfires. No coming back from that. He’s already too far gone.  

Scottie’s Mr. Fix-It. He’s solved the mystery of her dreams and shows her this very real place indeed, the mission down in San Juan Bautista. Now that Elster has hooked Scottie, he’s got to make Scottie climb those stairs of the bell tower. Curiosity alone won’t get him up. Madeleine has made Scottie fall in love with her. And that love will make him go up those stairs, in spite of his fear of heights. Elster and Madeleine have made Scottie go outside his fear to try and save this woman he’s fallen for. By this point in the movie, I (almost) forget Scottie even HAS vertigo. But up the stairs he goes; at least he tries. Elster has played dirty pool. That’s the dastardly thing about all this. Elster and Madeleine use Scottie’s fear and love against him. Perfect.

Madeleine’s gaze into the distant past masks what she really sees.

SCOTTIE: “I love you Madeleine.”
MADELEINE: “I love you, too. Too late.”
SCOTTIE: “No no, we’re together.”
MADELEINE: “There’s something I must do.”
SCOTTIE: “There’s nothing you must do. There’s nothing you must do. No one possesses you. You’re safe with me.”
MADELEINE: “No it’s too late…

It’s a great scene at San Juan Bautista BECAUSE Scottie and Madeleine talk past each other. We won’t understand that yet, but we will. And when we do, it will be a Wow! Hitchcock gives us two different movie experiences with “VERTIGO.” One is the “came~the~dawn” experience when things are revealed and we go“Ahhhhhhhh!” The second comes with us knowing all the pieces; the film becomes more suspenseful because we know things the characters don’t know yet.

MADELEINE: “You believe I love you.”
SCOTTIE: “Yes.”
MADELEINE: “And if you lose me, then you’ll know I, I loved you and I wanted to go on loving you.”
SCOTTIE: “I won’t lose you.”
MADELEINE: “Let me go into the church. Alone.”

What the heck does THIS mean? We won’t understand that yet…either. The twist is Madeleine has fallen for Scottie. And THAT is not part of the Grand Elster Plan.

♣ ♣  ♣ ♣

At this point you’re sad about the movie. Scottie loses Madeleine. He couldn’t save her. She jumps to her death. Scottie goes before an inquiry and you get the cold hard facts from the Inquisitor…

“He did nothing. The law has little to say on things left undone.”

…I mean the Coroner ( Henry Jones ). He breaks down the movie for you in the coldest, most dispassionate, judgmental, “just~the~facts~ma’am” kind of way imaginable. It is like cold water in the face; ice cube, tray and all. ( I know…I know: “SNAP OUT OF IT!” ) With that commercial break at the Inquest, and Scottie now off his rocker, Hitchcock brings us to the last third of the movie. This is the part you won’t like. Maybe you’ve obsessed over someone, or they over you and the memory embarasses you. This is the part you won’t like if think with your head instead of your heart. You’ll find it crazy and creepy and edgy and disturbing because you won’t allow for someone to lose control in his quest for love. You might be right. But you’re missing the heart of his movie.

♣ ♣  ♣ ♣

Hitchcock does two things with “VERTIGO.”

(  1. ) He makes an UN~love story Love Story. He deconstructs Love. What is love? Who do we love? Why do we love? Why do we love who we love? What would you do for love? What does it take to get someone to love you? Who says the logical choice in love is the most fulfilling? But if you wanna know the truth about it, he’s not showing you Love. He’s showing you Obsession. Is that two sides of the same coin? No. But I don’t have to tell you how macabre Hitch is.

(  2. ) Hitchcock takes the myths of Osiris and Isis and Orpheus and Eurydice and puts his spin on it. In both these myths, people want to bring loved ones back from the dead…only Hitch has it all take place in beautiful San Francisco. 

[ I’ve Been Waiting For A Girl Like You To Come Into My Life ]

“…Because I remind you of her?”   

“If I let you change me, will that do it? Will you love me?”

The Dream

♣    ♣

We’re all pretzel’d up in the second half of the movie. I won’t go into all the details because you already know what happens ( don’cha )? And if you don’t, I want you to find out on your own. It gets crazy y’all. It gets wild. We can psychologically handle this now, but 1958…not so much. Scottie spirals out of control as this romance movie turns into a dark, film noir suspense thriller. ( Too many genres?? Ha!! ) Little things we didn’t understand, now come to light. No doubt it is disturbing. Scottie’s and Madeleine’s lives unravel.

MADELEINE: “I was safe when you found me. There was nothing that you could prove. When I saw you again I, I couldn’t run away I loved you so. I walked into danger, let you change me because I loved you.”
SCOTTIE: “It’s too late. There’s no bringing her back.”

And like Eurydice sucked back into Hell when her lover Orpheus turns to look at her,  too soon, so does Hitchcock pull the rug out from under us. It feels like a punch in the stomach. The air is sucked out of the room. The movie ends as it began…abruptly. It’s over.

MGM’s youthful, good~natured, affable Jimmy Stewart does some interesting work in his middle~age playing complex men. In “VERTIGO” on the steps of that bell tower, he’s angrier and more insane and pitiable than I’ve ever seen him. But Stewart’s a proven and accepted legend.

It’s Kim Novak who is the revelation for me especially seeing the movie on the big screen. Yeah, I’m a fan, but putting that aside, she does do a phenomenal job playing these two disparate women in a performance I think is still under~rated. Click here to see the Academy Award~nominees and winners for 1958. Novak shows the skill, nuance and smarts to put this over. She gives an amazing performance, and is absolutely stunning to look at.

Thanks to Fathom Events for featuring the 60th anniversary of this complicated, disturbing and mesmerizing film. It’s a movie about emotion, illogic, abandon, losing control. I think “VERTIGO” is classic film’s Rubik’s Cube with all the pieces you have to maneuver. I love it’s ins and outs and twists and turning in on itself. But this isn’t everyone’s cuppa. And I’ll have to be okay with that. Sorta.

After all, some puzzles are not meant for everyone to solve.

 

 

[     H  O  M  E     ]

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THE SHANGHAI GESTURE (1941)

Heck yeah I’m jumping out before the rest of the gang. When you see the entries for my blogathon this upcoming Saturday, you won’t want to read what little ol’ me has to say about “THE SHANGHAI GESTURE.” But you’re here with me now. I’ve got you! And I have a lot to say. It’s von Sternberg…so sit back, relax and pay attention, kids! I’m going to take you on a wild ride. I promise NOT to give away plot spoilers. Read on MacDuff –

I find “THE SHANGHAI GESTURE” to be…one heckuva movie. It doesn’t have the relentless driving energy of Night and the City but it is one of the great roller coaster movie rides I’ve ever had. It has more extras than Ben-Hur” “GWTW andThe Ten Commandments combined. Or perhaps it just seems like it since there’s a lot going on in the casino setting. 

The film is directed by that madcap, zany JOSEF VON STERNBERG of Dietrich fame and cinematic excess. It is an opulent, overloaded, overcooked, three-ring circus and I love it! This was directed near the end of his illustrious career and von Sternberg fills the screen with interesting characters and character actors. Wild! There’s a strange halting way people converse with each other in this movie…like there’s an added beat between each person speaking. Whatever that is, and I fear I’m not describing it adequately here…it does add to the off-kiltered nature of the movie.

“The Shanghai Gesture” makes a number of commentaries on the power of racial privilege, relationships and imperialism. Some points hit us over the head, while others are subtle. Some of these points include:

  • Horrid pidgin-English spoken by actors NOT Asian. ( Hey, the Asian actors speak just fine ).
  • Racial stereotypes spin on its head in the scene between Mother and Poppy:

MOTHER: “Behave yourself Poppy. You’re in China and you’re white. It’s not good for us to see you. You’ll bring discredit to your race if you continue.”

POPPY: “Don’t preach to me.  And let my race take care of itself!!”

  • Relationships are generally not treasured, but used as bargaining chips.  

Look, there’s a whole lotta shakin’ going on in this movie, but at its core, it’s the story of revenge. Let’s take a look at the cast of characters.

♠  ♠    ♠  ♠

THE CASINO AS CHARACTER 

This is the wildest casino I’ve EVER seen in a movie. ( Some casino movies include: Casino” “Diamonds Are Forever” “Croupier” “The Cooler” and “The Honeymoon Machine” ). So much goes on in von Sternberg’s casino. It is hustling, bustling and alive with extras. And the spinmeister…with eyes in the back of his head, and tentacles  reaching for chips and money and jewelry: MARCEL DALIO, Hollywood’s ultimate croupier. You know I swear, I would put him up against any real croupier from the best casino in Monte Carlo. From the overhead shot, “The Shanghai Gesture” casino looks like the seven rings of hell or a snake pit. And in any case Toto, you know we’re not in Vegas anymore.

I contend this set rivals Hitchcock’s “Rear Window.” The casino’s uncaring, unblinking eye witnesses the buying, selling and gambling of souls. Peoples’ valued possessions are appraised, bartered and devalued simply for just…one…more…spin…of…the…roulette… wheel. It’s a pulsating living thing, with people the life’s blood gambling through its veins.

♥ ♥  ♥ ♥

THE ORIENT MEETS BROOKLYN:

I love PHYLLIS BROOKS in “The Shanghai Gesture.”

Brooks plays chorus girl Miss Dixie Pomeroy. Can you get anymore Brooklyn or any more chorus-y than that? She is so delightfully out of place here, with nothing really to do but be very American. She sashays through scenes and rolls her eyes like a younger version of Mae West. With big round eyes and blonde hair in a sea of brunettes, she stands out in Shanghai.

I love her flat twangy voice, while all around her e-nun-ci-ate ev’ry syllable. She and her American colloquialisms are joyfully discordant and brings us back to Earth in this exotic setting. She’s not afraid to stare down the hoity toity Poppy Smith or playfully remind the high and mighty Sir Guy Charteris where they met before. She’s got Dr. Omar’s number and can rub elbows with the high society types summoned to this dinner party, all the while keeping it real.

When she’s told how the casino owner would eat her up like a cat would a mouse, her reply…

“Yeah? That only makes me more hungry. When do we eat?”

In fact, nothing seems to frazzle the sassy brassy Miss Dixie Pomeroy. And Phyllis Brooks plays her to the hilt.

♣ ♣  ♣ ♣

SAMSON WEARS A FEZ

VICTOR MATURE ~ Dr. Omar. Just don’t look for any medical degree unless his sheep skin is in his pants. 

Mature has great fun with this part. It is only his fifth or sixth motion picture. He doesn’t play it for laughs but he knows it’s all a joke. Listen to the way he says: “my sweet” “my little one” “…my little broken-footed antelope.” 

Mature is sooo sensuously serpentine and tactile in this movie. Watch how he fondles Poppy’s dress when he talks to her:

“In short, I’m a thoroughbred mongrel. I’m related  to all the  earth. And nothing that’s human, is  foreign to me.”

Hmmmmm….mmmm…that covers “lots” of things. He hypnotizes and bathes her with his attention:

POPPY: “Then may be you can explain how our friends just vanished.”
OMAR: “We were alone since I first saw you.”

Oh hell…he could talk to me, anytime. Dr. Omar is self-deprecating, weaves a wicked tale and is strangely truthful if you’re really hearing what he’s saying. His exoticism is mesmerizing:

“My birth took place under a full moon on the  sands of Damascus. My father was an Armenian  tobacco dealer and was far away. And my  mother  the less said about her the better. She  was  half-French and the other half is lost in the  dust of  time.”

The signpost to Poppy’s undoing is signalled when Omar tells her:

“I wonder how you’d look with your hair down.”

See, that’s how it always starts, when you let your hair down. If you’ve seen the movie you know what I mean. When you see the movie, you’ll know what I mean.  Poppy is no match for him. You see, Omar has no problem stringing women along until they are strung out…then drops them. He’s a master of manipulative opportunism.

I think Victor Mature has been under-rated as an actor, probably because of his beefcake status. He was a big good-looking man. ( That’s a crime? ) No, he’s not everyone’s cup o’ tea, but when I see him I believe him, whether he was a gladiator or cowboy; caveman or cop. I believe him in the arms of Delilah and I thought he was perfect in this movie.

Being a gigolo doesn’t seem to hurt his manhood in the least:

POPPY: “Were you paying for the drink or was she paying for them?”

OMAR: “I can say with pride I’ve never paid for anything in my life.”

POPPY: “Do you think you can keep up that enviable record?”

OMAR: “Why not?”

And von Sternberg gives Mature a nice close-up when he gets a glass of water thrown in his face. Wet or dry, and working his cape like nobody’s business, Dr. Omar is not above being bought and paid for. Buyer beware.

♦  ♦    ♦  ♦

DODSWORTH TAKES A WRONG TURN & FINDS A FORTUNE COOKIE IN THE SIERRA MADRE

WALTER HUSTON ~ Sir Guy Charteris. Dang, he was just too cool for school wasn’t he? In “The Shanghai Gesture” I have to admit I found him handsome, distinguished, cold, imperious and loved him. I loved the sound of his voice and his slow measured way of speaking. He has deep set eyes and the way he’s lit, you sometimes couldn’t see them.

As Sir Guy Charteris, he is a man who’s used to getting what he wants. When he’s sitting in his chair going over his plans with his secretary, the phone rings. He’s not 12~inches from the phone, yet when it rings he tells her to pick it up. ( I had to laugh ). He wheels and deals without second-guessing himself. Everyone does his bidding. He holds your life in his hands…you’re just a name on his bulletin board. He’s confident and certain about everything. ( How can this be the same actor who will win an Academy Award as a grizzled old prospector in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre? ). He walks up to Mike Mazurki roughly handling his jacket because Mazurki’s nothing but a “coolie” to him. ( Their term not mine ). But no one ‘handles’ Mike Mazurki and he firmly moves Sir Guy’s hand from touching him. ( What a career this former wrestler carved out for himself ). Even that doesn’t phase Sir Guy. I loved his certainty about things. He has one weakness though…his daughter, Victoria. He’s a single parent. And with her, he’s the Rich Doting Daddy. Ev’ry girl should have one. 😉

“It’s not unusual of me to be solicitous about you.  You’re all I have Victoria. And I’ve spent a good  deal of my life trying to protect you from anything  that could possibly hurt you.”

When he has to chide her, he’s not ranting and raving. He still uses that same flat measured tone letting her know what he EXPECTS of her.

His reaction is priceless when he sees his daughter again. But that’s later, later in the film.

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BELLE WATLING TRADES THE OLDEST PROFESSION…FOR A PAIR OF DICE, AND LOTSA HAIRSPRAY

“I always pay my debts…a hundred fold.”

Where do you go after you’ve played a Madame in the biggest, most prestigious movie of the entire 1930’s? ( GWTW”, need you ask? ) You work with the director that made Dietrich a legend. ONA MUNSON is Mother Gin Sling.

She is amazing as the woman who runs the gambling casino. Gambling casino…brothel. What’s the diff? She runs rings around Rick’s Cafe Americain. She is described as:

“The most cold-blooded dragon you’ll ever meet.  She’ll devour you like a cat swallows a mouse.”

Oh boy!!

Her entrance is heralded by a gong and music swelling. She comes through beaded curtains ( Is there any other way? I guess as every good “Asian” actress must in the 30’s & 40’s) and we soak her in. Munson stands: almond-shaped eyes made up to heighten their shape; hair coiffed high in its lacquered Medusa hairstyle ( a la Patti LaBelle ), gowned covering her from head to toe wrapped like a mummy’s shroud. She stands at the top of the landing surveying her casino resembling something out of Dante’s inferno; a casino you know she just built out of blood, bribes, sweat and tears. She descends into hell, the seas part for her as she walks down the steps. Her gait is slow…she glides. 

ONA MUNSON is the best thing about “The Shanghai Gesture.”

She is just as strong as Sir Guy and has as much business savvy as he.  But she does have a slight heart; she deigns to give a losing gambler more money. But she is not above bribing the police or possibly having someone killed. ( Look, you don’t have Mazurki around just for rickshaw work ). 

She’s confident. And Mother Gin Sling is just as determined to stay open as Sir Guy is about closing her place:

“Every so often Shanghai decides to clean itself like  a swan in a muddy lake. I shall not move and  I certainly shall not close.”

The gauntlet is dropped.

She doesn’t suffer fools lightly. When Eric Blore gets squeamish about her list of dinner party guests, she tells him:

“Stop behaving like a disabled flamingo and put  down Sir Guy Charteris.”

Ha! Hokey. But I’m buying whatever Mother Gin Sling sells.

Again, the voices…the voices. I’m loving the way she speaks. Short staccato clips (am I explaining that right?) Munson gives it her all. As Mother Gin Sling, she doesn’t back down from confrontation either. When Poppy Smith, the snippy little whipper snapper, comes off antagonistically to Mother Gin Sling, she doesn’t back down. When Poppy makes fun of Mother’s name, she replies:

“There was a girl called Whiskey Soda too. And  another one called Miss Martini. And one called  Scotch Hi-Ball and another Benedictine. In other  places I might’ve been called Rose or Violet or Lili  or even…Poppy.”

BURN! Mic drop. Mother Gin Sling tells her confidante:

“Find out who that Smith girl is. I like her. She has  spirit.”

Poppy’s got spunk. Mother likes spunk! I think she realizes she’s met her match with this junior league debutante. Poppy will probably use her visit to the Orient as fodder for cocktail conversation at 21. Here, she can add notches to her belt before she marries a nice staid “Wall Street” type. (Did you get a load of her escort at the bar?)

But Poppy is small~fry. Mother Gin Sling’s big battle is with Sir Guy. And she’s “got” something on him she’ll use to keep her place open.

“You’re plotting your revenge like an engineer.”

They do say “revenge is a dish best served cold.” By the by…Ona Munson looks positively STUNNING dressed in all white in that dinner party scene!! That whole scene is a wonderfully bizarre extravaganza of food and wealth. 

Mother Gin Sling is a complicated woman. She’s not just the one-note playing of a daughter of Fu Manchu. Nor is she The Inscrutable as Hollywood would have it. Ona Munson plays her cold and calculating but also gives her a soft spot. She gives sage advice to Poppy:

“Fortune can’t be forced. You know, there’s such a     thing as good fortune.”

Poppy’s not listening.

When Mother Gin Sling unleashes her revenge on Sir Guy, her words fire like a machine gun. Anger, hurt, tearfulness are all mixed in her voice when she says:

“Do you know what the China Sea looks like to a  boat filled with passengers without hope? Told to  laugh and be gay and kicked into not weeping.  The soles of my feet cut open with pebbles sewn  inside to keep me from running away. I don’t  know what kept me alive unless it was the hope of  a nice social evening like this one!”

She’s hard, she’s soft. She spits out each port of call she was taken to like daggers; one memory more degrading than the next. It was embarrassing to watch her revelation done in front of all those guests. But she doesn’t care. She has one more thing up her sleeve.

I IMDB’d Ona Munson—> http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0613262/bio. And no, I do not mix her name up with Osa Massen or Ilona Massey. Yes, I must confess I have only seen three of her movies, Five Star Final being the third one besides “Shanghai…” and “GWTW”. Munson has presence, bearing and style; I’m sorry to read she ended her own life. She helps makes “The Shanghai Gesture” much more fun for me. Her look is so over~the~top, but Munson doesn’t play it for laughs. She is utterly magnificent as Mother Gin Sling.

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Now if you want to see a spectacular performance, I’m saving the best sole reason to see “The Shanghai Gesture” for last…

BEFORE BRITNEY, PARIS, LINDSAY and KIM…THERE WAS POPPY

Gene…GENE. GENE TIERNEY plays Poppy Smith. Perfectly coiffed…impeccable manners… the class and bearing of someone with money. She speaks well, wears her beauty like Mona Lisa, a little cold…and…unattainable.

“THE SHANGHAI GESTURE” would be Tierney’s sixth motion picture. Audiences couldn’t know what her screen persona would evolve to, so maybe I’m cheating talking from the future of 2018 rather than the past of 1941. See, I’ve seen her in future ( Laura” ( 1944 ) / Leave Her to Heaven” ( 1945 ) / The Ghost & Mrs. Muir ( 1947 ),  etc. ) before I saw her beginning ( …Frank James 1940 ). I saw the cool, composed, sophisticated, classy persona she would grow to become, first. Shock and revelation overcame me seeing Tierney come unglued. We watch the spectacular downward spiral of debutante Poppy Smith in this very showy role for young Gene. She’s haughty, over-confident, demanding, throws tantrums, besotted by love and ends up a hot glorious mess. Yes, this movie belongs to Mother Gin Sling, but Tierney’s ‘Poppy Smith’ gives her a run for her yen.

She starts off very polished, bejeweled, hair in tight curls in an upsweep ‘do. She looks at the casino with school girl fascination:

“The other places are like kindergarten compared  to this. It smells so incredibly evil. I didn’t think  such a place existed except in my own  imagination. Has a ghastly familiarity like a half- remembered dream. Anything could happen here. Any moment.”

When all the men’s attention turns to her, I love the way von Sternberg quickly dollies into a c.u. of her eyes as the camera quickly tries to focus. She has a glacial beauty that’s heart~stopping. ( Let me cut in here with a quick memory of Tierney in The Pleasure Seekers with 60’s blonde, brunette and red-haired sex kittens: Carol Lynley, Pamela Tiffin and Ann-Margret. Their beauty combined could not touch Gene Tierney’s in the 1940’s). But I digress…back on the roller coaster–

As Dr. Omar makes his move on Poppy, I don’t think she’s ever felt the feelings he’s getting from her. She’s mesmerized, doesn’t take her eyes off of him. Her eyes are half-closed. ( Tierney’s eyes are deadly ). She’s enticed to gamble and she wins. She says those fateful last words uttered by all addicts:

“There’s one thing you should know about me. I  can stop whenever I want.”

So of course, she starts to lose.

And in her losing, she gets careless, argumentative (you know, the veritable angry drunks). But she still carries this air of entitlement even as her losses mount. She even challenges Mother Gin Sling (a big mistake!):

POPPY:      “You’re not going to ask for credentials too?”
MOTHER: “You asked for 50,000.”
POPPY:      “And why not? I might’ve asked for more.”
MOTHER: “If your credit is good, any sum you wish is at your disposal.”
POPPY:      “My credit is at least as good as yours.”

Oh Poppy…Poopy…Poppy. Wazzup with the attitude, yo? How much of this youthful hubris is racist leanings???

Her luck changes ~ for the worse ~ her behavior changes ~ for the worse ~ and Omar keeps egging her on to continue.

When we see Poppy again, she wears her hair loose. She’s losing heavily and gets jealous to boot when she sees Dixie and Omar. Jealousy and losing are not a good combination:

   

POPPY: “You’re not going to make me jealous, are you?”

OMAR: “Don’t make a scene. How can you be jealous of a little chorus girl who doesn’t own the clothes on her back.”

POPPY: “Don’t play with me. I won’t stand for it! Been watching you both for an hour.”

OMAR: “That’s why you lose. Why don’t you watch the game.”

Her “don’t play with me” line sounds very today, very contemporary and rings very true to me. She starts to cause a scene in the casino and Mother Gin Sling has to take her in hand:

“Behave yourself Poppy. You’re in China and  you’re white. It’s not good for us to see you. You’ll  bring discredit to your race if you continue.”

D’ya think Poppy cares?

“Don’t preach to me. And let my race take care of  itself!!”

There’s the dialogue I quoted earlier, in context. Yikes! She’s losing all comportment. Omar sticks with her…but just barely. You can see he’s tired of her rants and raves and dwindling finances. She bores him. When Poppy tries to get Omar to see him, he won’t let her in his apartment. ( He’s just not that into you ). She cries and screams and acts and like she’s hurt her leg. I’ve never seen Tierney let loose with such abandon. ( If you have, please… cite the movie for me ). And von Sternberg lets that scene play out (maybe just a little too long–but I guess directors took their time back then). As I said before, when she feigns her leg injury in the staircase she really looks like ice skater Nancy Kerrigan to me. When she gets inside his apartment she alternately yells / screams / begs / pleads for Omar’s sexual forgiveness. She is a junkie…strung out on gambling and the good doctor Omar.

We she returns to the movie, she’s a dutiful daughter. She’s pulled herself together to see her father. But she’s not ready to give up her experiences here in Shanghai. Not by a long shot. When Poppy is presented at the dinner party. She is disheveled, her hair is wild. I love the pale lipstick she wears (this also gives her a very contemporary look ). She is a hot mess! And she is ravishing. She does seem to have some sense of self-awareness about her situation when she says:

“I owe Lady Shylock over there twenty thousand  English pounds. And I haven’t much to show for it  except that dressed up clown.”

I wouldn’t say she is embarrassed but more disgusted; disgusted with Omar and disgusted with herself. Look at the false bravado and brave front she tries to put out there as she makes Omar recite yet another poem, trying to hold her head up high ~ “The moving finger writes, and having writ, moves on… ~ but she is a mess!

“This is the poet laureate of Shanghai. Some day  I’m going to kill him!!”

Her degradation is gloriously complete.

She’s disgusted and contemptuous. She’s petulant and tantrum-y. Von Sternberg coaxes a performance of complete abandon from Tierney. How did he know she could do it, so young and early in her career…or did he just pick her for her beauty? I haven’t seen all of Gene Tierney’s movies, but I’m certain in “The Shanghai Gesture” she’s all the things that I’ll never see her be again in her career.

At the risk of spoiling the movie I shall end here. But I would like to give a couple of final shout~outs as even von Sternberg would approve:

1 ~ The great Albert Basserman. ( Hes only slightly younger than C. Aubrey Smith! ) Von Sternbergs close~ups of Basserman’s wizened face were beautiful. And even when he didn’t speak, his expressions spoke volumes. Look at his face during Lady Blessington’s “faint.”

2 ~ Roland Lui, who played Kim Chee is absolutely gorgeous; if this was a different time, he could surely play cute boys-next-door. This is my hubba hubba moment and von Sternberg gives him a nice close-up too. He was in The Letter” (1940) and runs to tell Herbert Marshall “Mr. Hammond is DEAD!”

3 ~ To those lovely little handmaidens that helped out at the dinner party. See them standing behind the lead actors. They floated in and out like little fairies and tried to keep a straight face when Lady Blessington is told (in no uncertain terms) to ”SIT DOWN!” and does a slight faint. Watch the girls in the background. They are cracking up and they cracks me up.

~ Mother Gin Sling has a confidante who I just love. I’m sorry I don’t know the actor’s name but he’s about as Asian as I am. He talks of his Wives Trouble ( Wives as in more than one wife ) and he and Gin Sling have a relationship that’s based on mutual respect. He’s like her Consigliere. And he has great reactions.  

If you haven’t seen “THE SHANGHAI GESTURE” I really urge you to find this one. I don’t know where you think this might fit in in Von Sternberg’s canon of work…but you’ll never see another roller coaster ride like this one.

I hosted a blogathon which includes a variety of topics from bloggers you’re gonna wanna read. Set aside some time to check them out here:

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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

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. )

 

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SILVER SCREENINGS has written about THE HITCH~HIKER which might serve well as a companion piece in her guest essay over at CineSuffragettes.

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Again, I want to thank all the bloggers who participated in my blogathon. I hope you have time to read all the entries submitted, make comments on their blogs…and share this directory with your own readers. I’ll be traveling to California for TCM’s annual film festival in April. I’ll be carrying all your posts with me and reading them as I cross the country. This will make the hours fly by like minutes. Thank you for that, too!

 

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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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