Saturday, 18 June 2011

The Best Years Of Our Lives (1946)

Watched The Best Years Of Our Lives a few weeks ago. W-O-W. It was just wonderful in every aspect. The direction was great (from none other than my main man, William Wyler) and all the performances were so touching. Weep-worthy for sure :'-(


This picture is perfect. Completely. This is William Wyler on a bike/scooter thing. Best picture. Ever.


The Best Years Of Our Lives (1946) Dir. William Wyler


Cast:


Plot Summary:


Three WWII veterans return home after the end of the war on a plane together to the same town, all to very different lives. Technical Sergeant Al Stephenson is returning home to his wife of 20 years, Milly and his two children, Peggy and Rob. As soon as he returns it is evident that he needs to take time to gell back in with them all, but they love him none the less. He was a banker before the war.




Captain Fred Derry returns home to his house to find out from his parents, who are living there, that his wife of only a few months had moved out and was working in a nightclub, last time they heard from her. He goes out searching for her and finally finds her in a new, considerably smaller apartment. She wishes he was still his "Glamourous Army Self" and their marriage is drifting d-o-w-n h-i-l-l... (first pic is of him and wife, the other is Al's daughter with him...)



Petty Officer 2nd Class, Homer Parish lost both of his hands in an incident whilst in the navy and now has special hooks that he has been trained to use as his hands. When he gets home, his girlfriend Wilma and Homer's own family find it hard to accept the fact that he has no hands and cannot adjust to the way he uses the hooks. Wilmer really does love Homer, but he finds it hard to believe that she would ever want him now that he has these hooks. {Just thought I'd mention that... HIS UNCLE IS HOAGY CARMICHAEL AND HE EVEN PLAYS "LAZY RIVER" ON THE PIANO IN HIS BAR!!!! OMG!}


Their lives become intertwined though, and they all soon come to realize that they have come back to a world very different from the one they were living in for the past few years...


The Verdict:
I have only ever seen Myrna Loy in The Thin Man and I completely thought that she was just amazing! The whole film was constructed very well and I always enjoy films like this where the whole family of the characters is brought in and introduced. And (to please my drama student-ness), it's such a great ensemble! I really love watching, and being, in ensemble pieces. It means that the whole cast has to work really hard together to make a winning combo and everyone in this cast certainly did! Yay!

Harold Russel who played Homer Parish is amazing too! He really was a war veteran and he used those hooks as hands always. He wasn't actually a professionally trained actor, and he became the only actor ever to win two academy awards for the same performance. How about that! But after the academy award buzz, William Wyler told him to go back to school and get an education because there, "weren't many roles for actors without hands." It seems he had a bit of a turbulent personal life, with his son ending up with a life sentence in jail.

The two other men in the movie, Frederic March and Dana Andrews are very good too. Particularly Frederic March, whose speech scene with Myrna Loy where he tells his bank that he wants to give out as much help to war veterans as possible was so amazing :'-). Yes. Happy tears. Dana Andrews was great too, but I think Frederic March and Teresa Wright upstaged him just a little.

Hoagy Carmichael. "Up a Lazy River". He can act too?!?! His album is played weekly (just on my iPod, not including my parents playing it, which happens a lot). How much cooler could Hoagy be? Really?


The camera guy who filmed the movie did the filming for Orson Welles' Citizen Kane too! How cool is that?

This is a definite must see for everybody. Particularly war movie-phobes. This could be a great intro to them, without all the war-talk. So glad we ordered it! Made a super-great evening family watch :-)

~Bette

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Photo Of The Day


"Ray Milland was Christened Reginald Truscott-Jones in Wales. Barbra Stanwyck was Christened Ruby Stevens in Brooklyn, New York. They each starred in about one hundred feature films and ended their careers as TV stars, she with a hit series that still re-runs, 'Big Valley' (1965-69) and he with two series 'Meet Mr. McNutley' (1953) and 'Markham' (1959). Milland and Stanwyck were very good friends, great admirers of each other's work, and both were really a kick to be around. They called each other by their given names, 'Reggie,' and 'Ruby.' Milland, who had an extra dry sense of humour, explained this habit by saying, 'We use our real given names out in public, so that our adoring fans will not recognise us.'
Despite Stanwyck's fame, she was rather reserved. After her marriage to Robert Taylor ended, she continued to live in their house on North Beverly Glen Boulevard in the Bel Air District of Los Angeles. The house was just a few doors south of Sunset Boulevard, on the southwest corner of which, as Beverly Glen, there was a fire station. On an assignment to photograph Stanwyck at home, I suggested that we create a photo opportunity by paying a call on the firefighters to bring some cookies and other treats. Her firm reply was, 'No, I'd rather not.' She didn't like the idea of PR as a 'set-up,' and she was uncomfortable at the thought of using firefighters as stage props. Her last words particularly startled me: 'I hate being on display. Attention embarrasses me.'"

Photo and exert from Hollywood Moments by Murray Garret.

~Bette

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Citizen Kane (1941)

I know most of you probably know the plot of the legendary and iconic classic film Citizen Kane. I have seen this film two times. The first time I was too young to understand it, but I re-watched it very recently and felt I could finally really appreciate it.


A reproduction of this poster is on my pin-board, "Everybody's talking about it!" Love.

Now, just for you people who haven't seen this film, I suggest you do one or both of these things before reading this review:
  • Go watch the movie
  • Read my very brief summary
As you will probably need the gist of the story to get the review.


Charles Foster Kane was the child of the owners of a boarding house with seemingly no future ahead of him, but when his mother comes into a small fortune she pays for him to be taken away and educated. After becoming already quite rich, he decides it would "be fun to run a newspaper." He becomes very well respected and one of the most wealthy men in the world. He has quite a troubled private life before becoming a recluse in his colossal estate Xanadu with his second wife until his dying day when he utters his last word, "Rosebud..." What did it mean? Could it uncover some of the secrets of one of the worlds most powerful men? Reporters from every newspaper were determined to find out.


Cast:

The film actually struck me as quite surrealist with it's odd and dark camera angles and strange sets. The set with all the different crates at the end was very interesting. Orson Welles is fantastic as Charles Foster Kane. He does the hard job of ageing the character from the dashing and inventive Charles at the beginning to the troubled recluse that he becomes later on.




Crazy Mischa-Auer-style mustachioed music teachers forever.

I also thought that Dorothy Comingore did a great job with the difficult part of Susan Alexander Kane, Charles's second wife. It just breaks my heart to see them both in that scene at the opera later. I looked her up and sadly she didn't do much after this as she was blacklisted in 1951 for alleged communist connections.


At the end it is announced that most of the principal players are appearing in their film debut as they have been acting with Orson (also in his debut in this picture) in the Mercury Theatre Company lead by Orson himself and John Houseman. I think that if you could find all of his filmography and stuff, you could get quite hooked on Joseph Cotten movies. I think he's great in Gaslight, The Magnificent Ambersons and The Third Man as well as this.


The music was composed by Hitchcock's favourite composer and conductor, Bernard Herrman. It's a very interesting score. It's big, but it fit's the film perfectly and compliments the direction.



It's usually between this film and Casablanca for the best film of all time, and I honestly don't think I could choose between them. I must admit that it is heavy duty watching, but definitely worth it. It's remarkable to think that this was Orson Welles's first ever film. It looks like the genius work of a seasoned director, and it is in a way, but a seasoned stage director.



This is definitely one of those "Prescribed Watching" films. You should most certainly see it at least once in your life. Well done Mr. Welles.


~Bette 


P.S. Disclaimer: I know I already have a note at the bottom of my page saying that images don't belong to me unless otherwise stated, but I just wanted to reiterate this seeing as there are lots of great graphics/images in this post. They aren't mine! They have been found in various places on the web. If one of these images is yours and you have a problem with it appearing in this - or any other - post notify me in a comment I will remove it.

Citizen Kane (1941)

I know most of you probably know the plot of the legendary and iconic classic film Citizen Kane. I have seen this film two times. The first time I was too young to understand it, but I re-watched it very recently and felt I could finally really appreciate it.


A reproduction of this poster is on my pin-board, "Everybody's talking about it!" Love.

Now, just for you people who haven't seen this film, I suggest you do one or both of these things before reading this review:
  • Go watch the movie
  • Read my very brief summary
As you will probably need the gist of the story to get the review.


Charles Foster Kane was the child of the owners of a boarding house with seemingly no future ahead of him, but when his mother comes into a small fortune she pays for him to be taken away and educated. After becoming already quite rich, he decides it would "be fun to run a newspaper." He becomes very well respected and one of the most wealthy men in the world. He has quite a troubled private life before becoming a recluse in his colossal estate Xanadu with his second wife until his dying day when he utters his last word, "Rosebud..." What did it mean? Could it uncover some of the secrets of one of the worlds most powerful men? Reporters from every newspaper were determined to find out.


Cast:

The film actually struck me as quite surrealist with it's odd and dark camera angles and strange sets. The set with all the different crates at the end was very interesting. Orson Welles is fantastic as Charles Foster Kane. He does the hard job of ageing the character from the dashing and inventive Charles at the beginning to the troubled recluse that he becomes later on.




Crazy Mischa-Auer-style mustachioed music teachers forever.

I also thought that Dorothy Comingore did a great job with the difficult part of Susan Alexander Kane, Charles's second wife. It just breaks my heart to see them both in that scene at the opera later. I looked her up and sadly she didn't do much after this as she was blacklisted in 1951 for alleged communist connections.


At the end it is announced that most of the principal players are appearing in their film debut as they have been acting with Orson (also in his debut in this picture) in the Mercury Theatre Company lead by Orson himself and John Houseman. I think that if you could find all of his filmography and stuff, you could get quite hooked on Joseph Cotten movies. I think he's great in Gaslight, The Magnificent Ambersons and The Third Man as well as this.


The music was composed by Hitchcock's favourite composer and conductor, Bernard Herrman. It's a very interesting score. It's big, but it fit's the film perfectly and compliments the direction.



It's usually between this film and Casablanca for the best film of all time, and I honestly don't think I could choose between them. I must admit that it is heavy duty watching, but definitely worth it. It's remarkable to think that this was Orson Welles's first ever film. It looks like the genius work of a seasoned director, and it is in a way, but a seasoned stage director.



This is definitely one of those "Prescribed Watching" films. You should most certainly see it at least once in your life. Well done Mr. Welles.


~Bette 


P.S. Disclaimer: I know I already have a note at the bottom of my page saying that images don't belong to me unless otherwise stated, but I just wanted to reiterate this seeing as there are lots of great graphics/images in this post. They aren't mine! They have been found in various places on the web. If one of these images is yours and you have a problem with it appearing in this - or any other - post notify me in a comment I will remove it.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Photo Of The Day




Fred Astaire in Ziegfeld Follies (1946). Scanned from my book, "Hollywood Colour Portraits" by John Kobal.

He looks so happy! Just look at that pink! I think Fred Astaire is possibly one of the most amazingly and utterly fantastic dancers/actors/singers. I read that his original screentest had these notes attached to it: "Can't sing. Can't act. Balding. Can dance a little." Boy those notes were wrong! I love all of his roles except I probably shouldn't really like Jervis Pendleton in Daddy Long Legs, a bit creepy.

I'm off to go and see Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and no doubt it'll be as random as they usually are, but I can think of worse ways to spend two and a half hours than watching Johnny Depp run around beaches and steer a ship as Capt. Jack Sparrow. 

~Bette