Happy Birthday, Doug Sr.!

The mesmerizing and incredibly accomplished Douglas Fairbanks the elder was born on 23 May 1883.

Douglas Fairbanks, 1924

Douglas Fairbanks, 1924

Pro Top: The First King of Hollywood: The Life of Douglas Fairbanks by Tracey Goessel is a fantastic book.

[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] Welcome to the Old Stars’ Retirement Home: Murder, She Wrote Edition

It is a winter morning in New York City. Sidewalks are tightly stamped with greyish footprints from the previous night’s snowfall. The air is still, but figures fly by in an intricate choreography of mufflers and coats, hats and gloves. They whirl in shades of red or blue, black or orange. They are humans–city humans late for work. Office jobs, retail jobs, factory jobs. A variable soundtrack accompanies their undulating moves: honks, whistles, screams, grunts. How nimble! How determined! How practiced in the art of the commute. A typical day, then…

Winter in NYC

Winter in NYC

The sandy-haired gentleman rushing out of the corner store is having a typical day, too. But a typical day for him is, well, not so typical for even your average hardened New Yorker. Within 48 hours of this moment, he’ll almost get flattened by numerous vehicles whilst crossing an intersection, find the dead body of his boss, deal with an intrepid IRS agent accusing him of tax fraud, bumble his way through flirtatious encounters with a sexy secretary, meet with an eccentric client, encounter a “ghost”, and be arrested for and cleared of murder. Welcome to the life of Grady Fletcher, Mr. Hapless.
Continue reading

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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