#ReelInfatuation Blogathon: I’ll Follow the Old Man-Meditations on Dean Jagger as General Waverly in White Christmas

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.

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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

The Reel Infatuation Blogathon: An Origin Story

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:

John Payne as Fred Gailey

John Payne as Fred Gailey

Dean Jagger as Major General Thomas Waverly

Dean Jagger as Major General Thomas Waverly

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.

Clara Bow Reel Infatuation Banner

Clara Bow Reel Infatuation Banner

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!

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[The Great Villain Blogathon 2016] Dean Jagger in “Escape by Night”

I’m really excited about The Great Villain Blogathon 2016. The first two iterations were loads of fun, with dozens of bloggers sharing their ideas of what, exactly, makes for a standout movie villain. In 2014, I explained why Leave Her to Heaven’s Ellen (Gene Tierney) is the ideal film bad gal: she’s smart, beautiful, stylish, deceitful, and deadly. Last year, I made the case for the equally glorious and wicked duo of Blanche Fury (Valerie Hobson) and Philip Thorn (Stewart Granger) in Blanche Fury. These films are visually stunning, enlivened by impeccable color cinematography. The former is akin to a splendid nature travelogue (spiked, richly, with mayhem), the latter to a series of Gothic paintings come to moody life. The immoral main characters of both are driven by selfishness, jealousy, and single-minded passion. They need what they need and are willing to do whatever it takes to get it, everyone else be damned. Or killed.

The Great Villain Blogathon

The Great Villain Blogathon

This year, I’m leading you down a path to a different cinematic world. It’s not beautiful, grand, or sumptuous. Passion is absent, but there’s plenty of greed and power-tripping to step in as the source of rotten plot behavior. Follow me to a black-and-white landscape where night is day, and everyone wants the opposite of what they have…except for the villain, who just wants more of the same and then some. His name is James ‘Capper’ Regan, and you won’t soon forget him.

Dean Jagger as Our Villain

Dean Jagger as Our Villain

ESCAPE BY NIGHT (1937) (SPOILERS! SPOILERS! ALL THE SPOILERS!)

Escape by Night Lobby Card

Escape by Night Lobby Card

Left to right: Dean Jagger, Murray Alper, William Hall, Ward Bond, Steffi Duna

PART I: JUST A SMALL TOWN BOY

Tourists visit The Big City for many reasons. Some go there to shop or check out famous landmarks, others to see shows or dine out in fabulous restaurants that are beyond the scope of their smaller towns. Then there’s miner Nicholas ‘Nick’ Allen (William Hall), who simply wants to feel the sun on his face. Why he couldn’t do that closer to his Pennsylvania home is anyone’s guess, but, fortunately for our plot, he’s right in the line of trouble at the exact moment a damsel in some very real distress needs him. Continue reading

CAPA Summer Movie Series: 25 Classics on the Big Screen

The CAPA Summer Movie Series is one of the (many, many) reasons I am thrilled to be living in my hometown again. It’s the oldest still-running classic film series in the US.

Of this year’s line-up, I’m particularly excited to see the gorgeously photographed silent classic “Sunrise” (1927) blossom on a big screen. Bonus: Clark Wilson will be on hand at the Ohio Theatre to play the Mighty Morton organ.

2016 Summer Movie Series

Janet Gaynor, May 1931

Janet Gaynor, May 1931

I’ll definitely dedicate another post or two to the series. Until then…

Dorothy Lamour Blogathon: Day 1

We’re in the midst of a great blogathon!

Silver Screenings

Dorothy is dressed & ready for her Big Party. Image: Fine Art AmericaDorothy Lamour is ready for her Big Party. Image: Fine Art America

Hooray! We’re off to a great start with our “Dot” Blogathon! Today’s posts show Dorothy’s versatility as an actress, a singer, and a trend-setting fashion icon.

Bloggers: If you post later tonight, we will include your post in tomorrow evening’s recap.

Enjoy today’s contributions!

Dorothy Lamour Slightly French

Love Letters to Old Hollywood explains why Don Ameche wants Dorothy to be Slightly French (1949).

duryea-and-lamour

Mike’s Take on Movies asks if Dan Duryea is railroading Dorothy in Manhandled (1949).

lamour4

Christina Wehner looks at Dorothy’s incredible talent as a (torch) singer.

Annex-Hope-Bob-They-Got-Me-Covered_01

LA Explorer laments Dorothy’s lack of screen time in They Got Me Covered (1943).

mfb3

The Motion Pictures celebrates Dorothy’s parody of the femme fatale in My Favorite Brunette (1947).

lamour-crocodile-jungle-princess

Old Hollywood Films explores Dorothy’s role as a sarong-wearing fashion icon.

Check back tomorrow for more Dorothy love! For the full list of participants, click on the…

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Happy Birthday, John Gilbert!

John Gilbert, my favourite silent movie actor, was born on 10 July 1897.*

Let’s celebrate with some photos of the great matinée idol!

*I was born on the same day, nearly 80 years later.

[The Great Villain Blogathon] Blanche Fury: How the Beautiful People Dress

Blanche Fury certainly knew how to dress. She was always on point, whatever the  circumstance: from poor relation to lady of the manor, sexy adulteress to “grieving” widow, she had it going on. Her lover, Philip Thorn, was right there with her, looking fine. Fine. Here are some of the occasions when Blanche and/or Philip looked better than we ever could:

 

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♦Charlotte is our Fashion correspondent. Her dream closet consists of the collective wardrobes of 796 films.

The Great Villain Blogathon

Announcing the Great Villain Blogathon 2015!

We’ll be covering the murderous duo of Valerie Hobson and Stewart Granger in ‘Blanche Fury.’

Speakeasy

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The first Great Villain Blogathon in 2014 was such a fun and huge event that, in the tradition of the greatest movie villains, we threatened promised to return and wreak havoc again with another event celebrating cinema’s biggest cretins.

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We cordially invite you to participate in the Great Villain Blogathon 2015. Pick a movie villain to write about and join us in this dissection of the dastardly and depraved, this survey of the stinking and spiteful, this audit of hateful and heinous characters.

Your hosts are Ruth of Silver Screenings, Karen of Shadows & Satin and Kristina of Speakeasy, and The Great Villain Blogathon happens APRIL 13 – 17, 2015.

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You may write on any Big Bad from any era, country and genre, whether they were dictators, outlaws, criminals, politicians, mistresses, monsters, slashers, gangsters, mama’s boys, hammy and backstabbing actresses, artificial intelligence, aliens, wicked stepmothers, or any…

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