The talented and lovely Joan Fontaine was born on 22 October 1917. I love the WWII-era hair she is sporting in this photo from 1943:
Greta Garbo was born on 18 September 1905. Here she is in a publicity photo from Anna Christie (1930).
You can buy a reproduction poster here:
I dig this image of Lillian Gish, and I thought you might enjoy it, too.
THE EMANCIPATION OF OSSI OSWALDA: I DON’T WANT TO BE A MAN (1918)
“You are a dream; I hope I never meet you.”-Sylvia Plath
Reliable biographical information on German silent movie actress Ossi Oswalda is scant. Even worse, the crumbs that do exist often conflict with one another. To be blunt: facts are on particularly unreliable ground here. Matters are further gummed up by the early-film habit of naming characters after their actors. Ossi was often Ossi, or, to add variety, Össi. Who was who was who? Does it matter? Fortunately, since the focus of this essay is on her incredible comedic performance in I Don’t Want to Be a Man (1918), I’m not particularly concerned with the trajectory of her personal life, or to what extent her true personality coursed through the veins of her screen selves. Even though her off-screen circumstances, opportunities, and choices undoubtedly affected her career, an understanding of them is not a fundamental component to enjoying her remarkable gifts. It would benefit us to take a page from her delightful films, and, at least for the duration of this piece, leave the logical, workaday world behind in favor of the magical hinterland of the imagination. Let’s travel to a place, then, where time and reality don’t matter, where Our Heroine, in her various fictional disguises, is forever brave, scampish, and determined to grab every experience within her reach.
To sheltered twenty-first century viewers, Ossi Oswalda can seem like a young woman ahead of her time. Her screen characters embrace values that we chauvinistically claim as exclusively ours: they are full of physical courage and a feminist resolve to be treated as equal to all comers, have spicy senses of humor, are confidently attractive, take chances as if they were made for risk, and rebel against the mundane as a matter of principle.
Silent film fans know better. Continue reading
Thanks to all who participated in, read, shared, or otherwise engaged in the inaugural #ReelInfatuation Blogathon!
You know who you are, and you’re ALL the best (especially our co-hostest with the mostest).
Here’s a round-up of all five fabulous days:
Although we plan on doing a second Reel Infatuation Blogathon, you don’t have to wait that long to join in the fun. The character crush conversation will continue on our website, Facebook, and Twitter accounts. Stay tuned for more info.
Move over, Jackie and Lee. The unofficial (and totally made-up) title of The Most Stylish Sisters of 1954 goes to Betty and Judy Haynes. These savvy and sensational showbiz siblings prove the veracity of the famous Coco Chanel quote: “Fashion changes, but style endures.”
Their styles are different, but, as befits a sister act, complementary. Betty (Rosemary Clooney) is chic but serious; this perfectly suits her role as the
mother hen elder sister. Judy (Vera-Ellen), the irresponsible kid sis, is kicky and fun on-stage and off; her wardrobe definitely fits her attitude. They both know how to dress, with panache, elegance, and personal style, for any occasion that presents itself. Proof of this can be found in the following fashion show… Continue reading
The focus of this whole thing is, of course, Dean Jagger as General Waverly. I took care of that in Part I. Part II is just an overview of the film itself, which is so well-known as to be part of our cultural fabric. Part III will cover the amazing fashions featured in the film.
Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) and Phil Davis (Danny Kaye) are two entertainers serving in the Army in WWII. They’re not very good soldiers, but they are worth their weight in songs. Continue reading
Disclaimer: This essay is about the character Major General Thomas F. Waverly as played by actor Dean Jagger. For an overview of the full plot of White Christmas, please read the follow-up post.
I just fell through the looking-glass and somersaulted my way into the cinematic world of Pine Tree, Vermont. It is December 1954, and you can call me Mae in Wonderland.
There’s fresh snow on the ground, it’s very Vermonty, and I’m better dressed than I was two hours ago.
Unsurprisingly, everything looks better in Technicolor. Continue reading
I’m kind of obsessed with Christmas films. For many people, Thanksgiving marks the start of the decorating or shopping season. I, on the other hand, take it as the sign to begin watching as many holiday flicks as possible. I’d do it around the clock if I could. My husband thinks this is really strange, but he leaves me to it with nary a head shake. He’s a good man.
Sometime in mid-December of last year, after watching both White Christmas (1954) and Miracle on 34th Street (1947) a few too many times, I had a mild personal epiphany.
I realized that my two biggest film character crushes are on these guys:
I’ve been crushing on this holiday duo since my teen years, thus my insight was embarrassingly belated. Once I had this figured out, it was an easy leap in nosiness to wondering which film characters other people–family, friends, total strangers–think are exciting, sexy, intriguing, or, well, just plain hot.
So, basically, my two main character crushes came together and, aided by a healthy dose of curiosity, planted the seed of an idea that, with the help of my co-hostess with the mostest, Ruth of Silver Screenings, grew up to be the Reel Infatuation Blogathon.
That was the easy part. Deciding which of my celluloid honeys to write about was truly difficult. In the end, though, there was one clear winner: Dean Jagger as Major General Thomas Waverly in White Christmas. I cannot wait to share my character crush with you, or to read all about yours.
Let’s get this party started!
The mesmerizing and incredibly accomplished Douglas Fairbanks the elder was born on 23 May 1883.
Pro Top: The First King of Hollywood: The Life of Douglas Fairbanks by Tracey Goessel is a fantastic book.