Happy Birthday MGM

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MGM Studios 90th Birthday April 17th/18th tribute on TCM- make sure to watch their lineup.

Boy wonder, Irving Thalberg (husband of Norma Shearer), was known for his genius with money. Able to cut costs much to the chagrin of many extravagant directors, Thalberg was able to show Louis B Mayer he was the man for the job- something of which Mayer would be continually reminded and later resent. Thalberg also took a hand in ensuring success at the box office with diligent screenings, and exit polls at every film the studio produced. Continually driven by public sway, films would often be modified to please the public- a practice still in effect today.

Louis B Mayer on the other hand while responsible for the studio’s success was also responsible for many of its failures- usually at his own hand. Bringing doom and a squashed career to Erich von Stroheim, John Gilbert and Mae West proved he could destroy them as easily as he created them.

His hunger for power and his need to display it resulted in the Hays Code, as well as the creation of the Academy- wanting more reasons to get credit where credit was due. In fact Mayer alone held Veto Rights over the Oscars until 1941, until he made the mistake of passing over an astounding performance by Bette Davis, upsetting the Screen Actors Guild. After that measures were taken to make the Academy  fair, with formal nominations and a secret ballot for final vote.

The Grand Patriarch, Mayer would often comfort and punish his “children” as necessary.  Ruined careers was nothing compared to the protection you would get if you were favorite child, like Jean Harlow. In 1932 when Jean arrived home and found her husband had committed suicide the first person she called was Mayer, who immediately went to her, comforted her, and very quickly covered up the mess so her career could go on untainted.

In honor of the dysfunctional family glory we honor all things MGM on this their 90th Birthday. xoxo

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The Wizard of OZ

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The beauty of The Wizard of Oz could not have been achieved if not for Cedric Gibbons, who has appeared as Art Director on over 1500 films- though he had only worked on several- and claimed the title of the “Man who designed the Oscar.” The role of Dorothy was originally to be given to Shirley Temple, who lost out to Judy Garland, but it wasn’t in vain. The loss allowed Shirley to examine her fame as a child actor and the inability of the public to grow with her new career. She served as an example to future child stars who would be put under the same strains.

And while the film was definitely given the best of everything (actors, sets, design, sound, ), we love all the stuff you find in the backdrop- you know, those secrets people keep covered up, because when the film starts to roll, it must keep rolling. Find all of them here at the imdb.com trivia page

The PINK FLOYD Wizard of Oz coincidences from imdb.com.

There are a striking number of coincidences between events in the movie and musical cues (and lyrics) on the 1973 Pink Floyd album, “Dark Side of the Moon”. It is highly improbable that the band had a print of the movie with them at Abbey Road, and few attempt to claim it to have been deliberate (David Gilmour dismisses it as nonsense), but the coincidences are remarkable nonetheless. If you begin the album on the third roar of the MGM lion (using the NTSC version of the movie, not the 25 fps PAL version which runs a little over 4% faster) the coincidences include (but are not limited to):

  • The line “balanced on the biggest wave” comes as Dorothy balances on the fence.
  • The song “On the Run” starts as Dorothy falls off the fence.
  • “The Great Gig in the Sky” begins when the tornado first appears.
  • The song “Us and Them” is played when Dorothy meets the Wicked Witch of the West.
  • The line “black and blue” is repeated when they are talking to one another (Dorothy in her blue outfit, the Wicked Witch in black).
  • The line “the lunatic is on the grass…” coincides with Dorothy meeting the Scarecrow.
  • When we first see Miss Gulch on her bicycle, the song “Time” starts with its bells and alarms.
  • Dorothy asks Professor Marvel what else he sees in his crystal ball as the line “thought I’d something more to say” comes along in the song “Time”.
  • As the Scarecrow sings “If I Only Had a Brain”, Pink Floyd sing “Brain Damage”.
  • Side 1 of the original vinyl album (up to the end of “The Great Gig in the Sky”) is exactly as long as the black and white portion of the film.
  • As Dorothy listens to the Tin Man’s chest, the album ends with the famous heartbeat sound effect.

This phenomenon is known as “Dark Side of the Rainbow,” “Dark Side of Oz,” and “The Wizard of Floyd.”


TCM Film Festival 2014 DAY FOUR

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BIG SCREEN PIC OF THE DAY APRIL 13th, 2014

Gone with the Wind at 1:30pm was an obvious choice for us, mainly because we both love it- the grandeur, the color, the idea of an intermission.

Annstj: Day Four…I’m thinking I would be pretty exhausted by now but it would be a happy exhaustion. We would have started the day at 9:00 am with the absolute Classics of Hollywood The Adventures of Robin Hood at the Egyptian Theatre discussion with Craig Barron Visual Effects Artist and Ben Burtt Sound Designer. We like but would have missed, Sunday in New York, Easter Parade, Fiddler on the Roof, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and The Quiet Man. Then our last movie of the Festival would have been The Wizard of Oz. Woo hoo then off to the Official Closing Night Party.It would have been four days of meeting bloggers like ourselves that love the classics and the newest movies, don’t care if a movie is in color or black and white and if you mention a name like Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Olivia De Havilland, Leslie Howard, Hattie McDaniel, Ann Rutherford, Evelyn Keyes or Thomas Mitchell they know who you are talking about. People like host Robert Osborne that love our film heritage and want to keep it alive and preserved. People that want to hear from the likes of gutsy Kim Novak and Maureen O’Hara if not only to meet them but just to applaud them for their past performances and being who they are and show that they are still loved and remembered. It looks like we missed a great 2014 TCM Film Festival.


TCM Film Festival 2014 DAY THREE

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BIG SCREEN PICTURE OF THE DAY APRIL 12th, 2014

A Hard Day’s Night at 6:30pm. While there were so many great films to pick for today, the experience of A Hard Days Night seemed interesting for the mere fact that it may be in a theater without screaming teenagers- which is how annstj described her theater-going experience when it first graced our shores.

Annstj: The third day of the festival (if we were there) would have been a Hard Day’s Day trying to figure out what movie venue’s to attend. After scouring over and obsessing about the schedule I imagine we would have decided to make it an ‘El Capitan’ theatre Day. After watching Saving Mr. Banks earlier this year the first choice would have been Mary Poppins, discussion with Richard Sherman the other half of the Sherman brothers, the composers featured in ‘Saving Mr. Banks’. I imagine he has tales to tell of his experiences writing music for that award winning film (don’t tell Rochellelynn but I haven’t really watched all of Mary Poppins so it would have been a real treat for me to see it on the big screen). How Green Was My Valley plays next with Maureen O’Hara in attendance nothing would have been better than listening to and seeing her in person. Then of course back over to the IMAX to see the lads. As a teenager I wasn’t much of a screamer for the Beatles I was more of a weeper, the silent tears running down the cheeks type. I’m sure if I saw it again on the big screen nothing would be different except for the screaming, it would only be on the screen and not in the audience. Other choices of movies we would have missed: Father of the Bride, Stella Dallas, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Written on the Wind, Hat Check Girl, The Women discussion with Anna Kendrick, Bell Book and Candle discussion with Kim Novak and The Nutty Professor discussion with Jerry Lewis.


My Little Ponies: Friendship is Magic and Music Man

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Music Man plays at Club TCM at 8pm On TCM Film Festival DAY TWO, April 11th, 2014

My Little Ponies: Friendship is Magic, oddly incorporates a lot of Classic Film references throughout the show. There’s a Gone with the Wind scene, a Star Wars scene, and many more, including this one.

Proof that The Music Man is still relevant( not that we ever doubted)- See the similarities:)

My Little Ponies, Friendship is Magic: The Flim Flam Brothers Song

Music Man: Ya Got Trouble


TCM Film Festival 2014 DAY TWO

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optimized-asta-powell-loy-thin-man[1]BIG SCREEN PICK OF THE DAY APRIL 11th

Our TCM Film Festival Day Two pick is The Thin Man at 9am at the Egyptian Theatre. This is a film that we’ve seen oh so many times but couldn’t pass up the chance to see it on the Big Screen. We would of course watch the whole series and never leave the theater, but alas- TCM did not set it up that way.

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After The Thin Man we might have moseyed on back to the TCL Chinese IMAX for the 12:00pm showing of the 1958 Touch of Evil.

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Orson Welles was given a B-movie project, based on a pulp novel, with no expectations, and eight weeks to prepare. The miniscule budget allowed that outdoor scenes be filmed only during daylight, for lack of actual lighting or sets. Welles former glory as a Hollywood genius had been quickly overshadowed by his extravagance and unruliness, and he looked to friends to act in Touch of Evil. Thankfully, Marlene Dietrich, and Joseph Cotton pitched in as a favor alongside main actors Charlton Heston and Janet Leigh. Citizen Kane-like low-angle shots, raw off-screen audio interference, and the use of a crane and dolly to propel the camera where it was needed would be used again and again by the likes of Scorsese, Spielberg, De Palma and Hitchcock. Psycho, in fact borrowed heavily from Touch of Evil, even using a few of Welles production assistants for the thriller.  Pretty good for a film that only took 42 days to complete and came in under budget.

Annstj: I’m thinking that after Touch of Evil Rochellelynn and I would have returned to the Hotel Roosevelt for the rest of the afternoon to listen to scheduled conversations with: William Friedkin and Eddie Muller then Quincy Jones and Leonard Maltin at 6:00. Day two evening is a Friday night and ya know what that means? It means Trouble with a capital T, that rhymes with P and that stands for Pool.

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So I know where I would be at 8:00pm…in the hotel room fast asleep.  And Ro · chelle · lynn the Li · brar · ian would be at the Pool with a capital P at Club TCM watching that troublesome (with a capital T) pair Shirley Jones and Robert Preston in The Music Man.

Why do I keep thinking ‘My Little Pony’?

 

 


TCM Film Festival 2014 DAY ONE

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BIG SCREEN PICK OF THE DAY! April 10th, 2014.

If we were at the Film Festival our Big Screen choice would be Oklahoma at the renovated TCL Chinese IMAX Theatre and the discussion with Shirley Jones at 6:30pm. Rochellelynn and I both agree about watching Oklahoma on the big screen however I would be a little nervous about what Shirley would share during her Discussion before the movie. She gave a little TMI in her book: Shirley Jones a Memoir about her sex life. I would be hoping that all of the questions directed at Shirley would be about the technicalities of filming such a huge production as Oklahoma.

Check out our other favorites showing at the same time of Day One. Which one would you have chosen over Oklahoma at the TCL Chinese IMAX? Fifth Avenue Girl with Ginger Rogers and Tim Holt at the 7:00pm, or Cheaper by the Dozen with Clifton Webb and Myrna Loy at the 7:15pm showing at the Chinese Multiplex. Then when you finished watching Oklahoma and listening to the wind come sweeping off the plains which movie would you attend at 9:30pm Bachelor Mother with Ginger and David Niven or the 9:45pm showing of The Heiress with Montgomery Clift and Olivia; all screening at the Chinese Mulitplex? I would still be trying to make up my mind.


TCM Film Festival 2014

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CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD

from the TCM Press Release

The theme for the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival will be Family in the Movies: The Ties that Bind. Throughout the four-day lineup, the festival will showcase on-screen clans of all types – big and small, happy and imperfect, musical and dramatic. In addition, the festival will spotlight the first families of Hollywood and the filmmaking dynasties that have entertained generations. And it will explore the kinship that connects close-knit groups of professionals behind the camera, such as the stock companies of classic Hollywood.

We’ll be highlighting a few of our favorite films that they’re showing at the FILM FESTIVAL this year, and plan to be there next year, reporting from the barracks just for you.

Enjoy!

 


Deanna Durbin SPRING PARADE

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Waiting here at Classic Hollywood for the release of  Deanna Durbin’s long hidden film Spring Parade, we chose to contact Larry at the Library of Congress to see what was going on.

This is the DISAPPOINTING answer we got…

Spring Parade still sits on our shelves waiting for Universal Studios to release it. I have asked several times and recommended it to Turner Classic Movies. I recommend we write letters and post requests on the IMDB, TCM and Universal’s web site. If they see enough people want to see it, maybe they will put it out.

Help us to get this four Oscar nominations movie off the restoration shelves!

Mention it on at IMDB http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0033095/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

Suggest it on TCM http://www.tcm.com/suggest-a-movie/

Email Universal http://www.universalstudios.com/hvfaq.php

or post it on your own sites to drum up some talk!