Caught in the Draft

overman-bracken-lamour-hope-caught-draftAnother Bob Hope classic, Caught in the Draft includes Eddie Bracken and Dorothy Lamour.

Bob Hope plays Don Bolton, movie star, reluctant to enter the Draft-as required of all those men 18-32. Just 32, he concocts a plan to woo Tony( Dorothy Lamour) and get married, thus releasing him from having to join the army. But when he finds out the draft will only include men up to the age of 31, he reneges on his proposal and she gets wise. Unfortunately a quick turnover in legislation raises the age to 35 and all his efforts are worthless. In classic comedic fashion Don and friends take on a series of mishaps trying to prove to Tony that he’s worthy, while trying not to get killed.

Another gem in the Bob Hope lineup this film most struck me as yet another example that Bob, while wise cracking and jovial, seems to quickly win over every actress he worked with. Here with Dorothy the chemistry is great, and you don’t even try to understand why that the most beautiful woman on the planet is interested in a guy like Bob. Seriously folks, it doesn’t even feel like they’re acting. Great stuff.

The Ghost Breakers

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I’m not one for scary movies— at all. Annstj will tell you that straight out. I don’t really love tragedies, sad things, war, amputated limbs, anything that shows the “dark side” of humanity or anything with blood(unless there is a cute doctor involved).
So needless to say when a Bob Hope film starts with talk of Cuban zombies and a creepy castle, I tend to zone out and think about Christmas instead.

But then this was another Bob Hope/Paulette Goddard installment, and I can’t get enough of these two together so I stuck it out. Besides… I was sort of intrigued by the Zombie element. Mainly because my sister had created this Halloween Trivia Game for our Annual Halloween Party and one of the answers involved how “real” zombie-ism is in Cuba. Whaaaaaat? I had never heard of this before and previously had only subscribed to the Warm Bodies version of zombies, where you turn into a zombie because you haven’t gotten or given enough love. That felt real to me.But apparently there is a huge issue with Zombies in Cuba.

The combination of voodoo magic, sanitaria, and a variety of other things have shown that people can come back from the dead- but without any personal will. This is the storyline that The Ghost Breakers adopts when explaining a variety of deaths at the family castle Mary Carter is about to inherit.

Luckily for Mary, Larry Lawrence Lawrence( yep three times) is there to help her survive the night at yet another house she is inheriting( just like The Cat and Canary). The zombie attacks, he hides in armor, he’s totally welcome to stay at this castle. And the comic relief provided by Larry’s valet Alex ( Willie Best) makes the film worth it. Another one I wish I would have had in my Halloween lineup, there’s enough fun here to have any time of year.

 

 

The Cat and the Canary

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This is what I like about The Cat and the Canary.

-A creepy old mansion on the Bayou, with hidden paths and passages
-A 10 year delay in the reading of a WILL
-A hidden necklace that was presumed stolen
-Spirits that warn you of imminent danger
-Paulette Goddard playing the wide eyed heroine, and Bob Hope as the clumsy guy who tries to be brave.
-That a well placed rubber eraser solves the crime

This movie felt scary enough to watch in October with all the other haunted films, but lighthearted enough that I may actually want to watch it again to see if I missed any of the clues the first time.

With psychic gongs that tell the inhabitants of the old mansion how many people will still be alive by morning, it amazes me that any of those involved were brave enough to attempt sleeping- but yet they all keep attempting throughout the film. Luckily the feistiness inherent of Paulette Goddard( and most of her characters) keeps her and her distant relative Wally( Bob Hope) determined to figure out who is trying to kill her( to get the money of course), what happened to that stolen necklace, and if they can outsmart that escaped lunatic from the nearby asylum known as the “The Cat”.

The chemistry between Bob and Paulette here is great. Funny lines, a good plot, and excellent direction all make this an absolute favorite for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TCM FILM FESTIVAL 2015

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Passes for the TCM FILM FESTIVAL 2015, go on sale today!

History told through movies. Already we’re seeing some featured titles: Apollo 13, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Spartacus, Steamboat Bill Jr. , and there are sure to be more coming soon. The theme History According to Hollywood is something that rings true with all of us. In fact we probably reference film more than history books on a daily basis. And if your honest, know that the way Hollywood tells it is probably closer to the truth than some like to admit. From an archivists perspective long after all of us are gone, humanity will be understood through our films, thank god we have Classic Hollywood to tell is straight.

Pride of the Marines

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Two of my favorite Warner Brothers actors John Garfield and Eleanor Parker portray real life characters in Pride of the Marines the story of Al Schmid a Marine machine gunner during a battle at the Tenaru River on Guadalcanal August 21, 1942. Dane Clark another favorite portrays LeRoy Diamond, Al’s fellow gunner they both receive the Navy Cross for their actions during this battle.
This movie is more than an action film though; it is also the story of the romance between Al and his girlfriend Ruth. And the adversities they overcome from Al’s steadfastness and tenacity under extreme duress during wartime. It is also a buddy film, because when you are a marine you always look out for your buddy, oo-rah and Semper Fidelis to all of you Marines on this Veterans Day celebrating your 239th year November 10, 1775.

Bob Hope Entertainer of the Century

 

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TCM honored Bob Hope on November 4th, reminding me why this man was an icon in film. While I’ve had many a pretty-boy phase in Classic Hollywood, I never ventured over to Bob Hope Land… until now. Just one film into the Bob Hope Collection and I was hooked, so I’ll be sharing some his films through the month in hopes of spreading good cheer and laughter to you all in preparation for Thanksgiving.

Richard Zoglin also honored Bob Hope on November 4th with the release of this new biography HOPE: Entertainer of the Century. Make sure to get some laughter in before the holiday rush starts stressing you out!

Enjoy!

The Sheik

TCM’s Silent Sundays gives us access to a plethora of great silent films.

The Sheik was the film that propelled Rudolph Valentino into super stardom as the first sex god of the screen. Watching it the other evening, I was reminded by how much was not shown in these old films. Sure, you get some scandalous stuff in early films bearing see through shirts and underwater scenes with a well placed branch… but what you get in The Sheik is a drawn curtain, and an assumption. The assumption of rape.

A no holds barred storyline has the Sheik holding an English beauty Lady Diana( Agnes Ayres) captive, and pretty much doing whatever he wants with her. We’re only given glimpses of the relationship through some horrific close-ups of Valentino’s eyes, and the dismay felt by the close friend of the Sheik’s (Adolphe Menjou) when he sees the savagery the Sheik has succumbed to. Every thing else is behind the scenes. So behind the scenes in fact that we’re hardly given the idea that Lady Diana is indeed falling in love with her captor, and as all good Classic Hollywood films go the truth is finally revealed at the end.

Valentino died at 31, his last film The Son of the Sheik had him in dual roles as son and father. His death caused riots and suicides. If you want to see what the commotion of Valentino was all about make sure to catch him on TCM this month.

 

 

 

 

The Archaeology of Hollywood

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The Archaeology of Hollywood is a perfect book to read on All Souls Day. The book is a spot-on example of introducing a child to the wonders of the historical Architecture of London and Paris. Then introducing that child in remembering those who have passed not only family members, but historical figures as well, visiting cemeteries is a visual way of recollecting, reminiscing, and reflecting on our past.

Paul G. Bahn a freelance archeologist and author has written a compelling and interesting book which remembers our Classic Hollywood roots. Where the Studio bosses, the stars, the character actors worked, lived, played and where their final resting places are located. I was impressed reading a sentence where the author referred to Roscoe Arbuckle as ‘Roscoe’ and not fatty. After doing my own cursory research I only wish I knew what has happened to Cousin Al (Roscoe’s acrobatic nephew) St. John’s ashes. Where they are or who is in possession of them. I worry that his ashes weren’t properly distributed or interred.

This book is a fascinating read for all of us Classichollywood followers who were bitten by the archeology and cemetery bug as a child and have carried that love over into adulthood. My Uncle Jack once told me I am more concerned with dead people than I am for the living…perhaps that is true on some level but someone has to remember our past whether it is for passed relatives or even if it is for Silent or Classic Hollywood.

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