31 July 2009

Movies! Movies! Movies! and Gal of the Week

I'm going away to college soon, and still I've no idea which movies to take. I wanted at first to take my entire collection, but shudder at the thought of packing them away under my bed or something. They need to breathe. ;)

There are certain films in my possession that I view just once, but others I go to again and again-- even if I watch only certain scenes.

I wonder what the difference is, of those movies. Instead of analyzing it (which would probably be somewhat interesting but rather difficult and time-consuming), I'm going to make a list of some movies I can watch over and over again. Less interesting for you maybe, but infinitely more fun for me.

1) Auntie Mame

I don't know what it is about this movie (actually, I suppose I do-- Ros Russell)'s not my favorite film in the world, but it has this unique quality to it that makes it incredibly re-watchable. Which means it's grand in my book.

2) Sybil

Oh the script! So much to choose from-- so many lines to quote!
My personal favorite? "They were Sybil's tonsils, but my throat hurt too."

3) Paper Moon

This is the most dependable movie I one I've ever shown it to has disliked it. Thank goodness.

4) Love with the Proper Stranger
Steve McQueen is just adorable, especially near the end. Sometimes (and I don't blame her one bit) Natalie Wood is too much for me, but not in this one.

5) What's Up Doc?

The first Barbra Streisand movie I ever saw. Which means it still holds a special place in my... collection. ;)

6) Easter Parade

Judy. Fred. Not to mention (though I'll do so anyway) the songs by Irving a gazillion of 'em.
7) Stage Door

The movie that started my Ginger obsession. Oh, I owe it all to this one. Kind of odd that Kate and Mr. Menjou look so close on the poster.

8) Gone With the Wind

I don't even think I'm capable of explaining my love for this movie.

9) Wait Until Dark

When I was littler, Audrey Hepburn was tops as far as I was concerned. This one and Charade made me fall for old movies.

10) The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane

For this list, it was a toss up between this and Freaky Friday. Guess I'm feeling dark today, huh?

11) Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte

Might just be a matter of opinion, but this one's oodles better than What Ever Happened to Baby Jane, yeah?

12) Romance on the High Seas

Doris Day's first movie, also with my hero, Oscar Levant, who once said he knew Doris "before she was a virgin."

13) Laura

Never tire of this one. Clifton Webb's performance near the end always freaks me out tremendously. I think I like it.

14) Clueless

C'mon, there had to be one pick on here like this, right?

15) The Heiress

Each time I watch it, I'm more impressed with Olivia de Havilland's performance. Good stuff.

As for the gal in the title of this post, this week it's...

Julie London

1) Because Amanda Cooper from A Noodle in a Haystack mentioned her in a post and

2) ...because who else has such groovy (yeah, groovy) album covers?

That was a rhetorical question, by the way. ;)

27 July 2009

Now with 50 percent more needless pictures!

Louise Brooks: Pistol Packin' Mama

I learned two new words yesterday..."garrote" and "kabal." Also did some research on Erica Jong, who is a psycho, and Marge Piercy, who is not. Then I was reminded of Looking for Mr. Goodbar (for some reason, shady feminist writing almost always makes me think of Diane Keaton), thus spent some time researching that as well. All in all a productive day, as far as summer days go. I adore days like that...just reading about arbitrary topics and learning. I think William Desmond Taylor is my favorite go-to topic, but the gal who offed herself on TV --Christine something-- gets an honorable mention. Even when I was little I enjoyed researching...mainly conspiracy theories and Jim Jones and all that contentious jazz. Ah well, it passes one's time.

Esther Williams and her sisters. Or maybe not.

Speaking of attempts to pass the time, I've been trying to write another short story. But it's always difficult to start, because names are so terribly hard to invent. Either you're trying too hard or not hard enough. My names always sound put-on, almost too perfect...detectives names from the forties or something (think: Sam Spade).

I'm not sure either if it should be a girl or boy, man or woman, etc. If it's a female, people will automatically assume it's me. If it's a guy, they'll take it that I'm doing one of those gender swap deals...y'know, putting one's traits to the opposite sex. There's no winning...or perhaps I'm just paranoid. It's because of that quote, that anything in art is a narrative, whether we want it to be one or not. That really has influenced the way I write (or don't write, ha-ha). I was toying with the name Rue, but it's too unique. No one in life is named that, only people in stories. People in life are named Jessica or something. Ho hum.

Jean Harlow about to get whacked by Anita Loos.

I don't really know what'd make me happy now. I'm restless, but don't want to go anywhere, do anything. I want to be still...sit, write. Forget about whatever. But the thing is-- I've nothing to forget, not really. I'm not troubled or plagued by any malady, physical or otherwise. What's a normal girl to do?

Fred, Ginger, and Judy...judging by costumes, about 1948.

Oh! I know...I was thinking earlier (oh really?) and tried to make a list of things (actors and actresses, what have you) I've never really "gotten into," as they say. Funny thing is, I can totally see myself becoming interested with these names in say, a year or so. But I guess I shall have to wait and see.

First off: The Marx Brothers. Hear me out...I've been willing...wanting to see something of theirs, but every time I ask someone what would be best to start with, I get a different answer. I was thinking Duck Soup, but then some chump down the street told me A Night at the Opera was better. Then, another kid gave me the idea to start with a lousy one (well, not lousy, but you know) so all the others'd seem better by comparison. So I thought maybe The Big Store. It does have Virginia O'Brien after all. But that one doesn't seem to be available. So I ask you...which would be best?

Next is Ingrid Bergman. Sorry, I know she's "mahhvelous," I just never knew why. Then again, I've only seen the more famous stuff she's done plus The Bells of St. Mary's. I've never disliked her, just haven't gone wild over anything she's done either. And for that I blame Christopher Andersen, the guy who wrote An Affair to Remember (the book, not the movie) about Tracy and Hepburn. He said some things about Bergman that didn't rub me in quite the right way, so there you have it. As I said earlier, though, I'm sure my mind will soon as I watch the right movie. In fact, I can see the Ingrid thing turning into a full blown obsession.

Then there's Myrna Loy, though I can see now she won't be on this list very long. As soon as I thought of her, I YouTube'd (Is that a verb? I'm making it a verb.) her name...she seems likeable enough, but I have a feeling I'll have to view some of her earlier stuff before I make up my mind. I've always liked the Thin Man series, but more for William Powell than anything. We'll see, I suppose. :)

Marlene Dietrich finishes off the list...for now, at least. I've seen her in Judgment at Nuremberg, Witness for the Prosecution, and Destry Rides Again. 'Fraid I know who's influenced me in this case too-- Judy Garland. Judy made me like oh so many people....Jack Jones, Martha Raye, even Mickey. Fortunately, she's only made me dislike two. Unfortunately, however, one of those two is Marlene Dietrich. But like I said, I can be quite fickle about stuff like this, so maybe The Blue Angel will change my mind. Your guess is as good as mine. Close, anyway.

Took this little quiz and got 26 correct. And no, I didn't look 28 up, you silly online quiz-judge, you.

26 July 2009

Obsession is not too strong a word...

I've been trying (oh, alright, I've just started trying) to think up the people I'm more or less (more! more!) obsessed with. Ouch, prepositions can hurt, huh? I'll try again.

I've recently attempted to create a list of people whom...with...oh dear. You get the picture, I think. People with whom I'm obsessed. Yeah?

Anyway, Judy Garland was first, natch. Then Ginger, William Powell, Barbara Stanwyck, Bette Davis, and Sally Field (just humor me for a second, 'kay? ;) )

And then, of course, there are the people who have very little (or nothing) to do with movies. Edith Beale the younger, Dorothy Parker, Patty Hearst, and Tiny Tim. That made ten... a nice, round number.

So darn it all, Linda just had to make it eleven, didn't you?

I'm afraid it took me 19 long years to see A Letter to Three Wives, though I shouldn't count the first ten or so...I wasn't really conscious until age nine or ten, I think.

Anyway, I saw it last week. And again he next day. And then I watched that nice, if extraordinarily depressing A&E bio of Linda Darnell. And I was hooked (Ask Amazon-- they know). Oh well, I guess I could always clear more shelf room.

(Psst..does anyone know the deal between Linda and Otto Preminger?)

EDIT: Evidently Preminger gave Darnell a hard time on Forever Amber...but that's still too vague for me. :)

EDIT 2 (A P.P.S., if you will)

21 July 2009


So, today I am tired, and therefore this blog post will take neither time nor effort. Cool, huh?

Ginger plays the accordion. Who knew? ;)

Veronica Lake at her home in Baltimore. Ah, fooled ya. It's a publicity shot from I Married a Witch, which was the first movie with Miss Lake I had the pleasure of seeing.

Hat of the Day.
This one, worn by the generally chic Leslie Caron.

Random picture. Yes, that's me. With a knife. Don't worry, kids, I'm harmless. Unless you resemble bread.

Psst...I used'ta confuse Kay Francis with Kay Medford, aka the mom in Funny Girl. Oops?

18 July 2009

Musings, vol. II

You know, I think in the long run, writers are the only ones with any job security. Really...seems robots could do anything else. I mean, hopefully it never gets to that point, but still. Which stinks, because I could never write good fiction. It always feels as if I'm giving someone's secrets away. It seems the only true point of view is limited. But I mean limited. Knowing no one's thoughts at all. Because that's how it is in life, right? I don't know his thoughts-- or hers, or his. It would be my thoughts endless journal entry. And that's no fun for anyone.

Judy with a very large postcard. Yeah, that's my caption.

Yesterday I watched Ladies of Leisure for the first time. I liked it all, but the beginning was especially marvelous, like when Barbara Stanwyck pulls a fish face. I'm constantly making fish faces. Hopefully everyone knows what that means, because I'm nearly positive I couldn't do it justice by describing it here.

Stany in a dress. Oh boy, I really need to get more info on these pictures, huh?

I can hear William outside, probably getting ready to pounce on one of my cats. That's my neighbor's 7-year-old. Also the name of a kid I went to grade school with. Also my kindergarten teacher. Technically, that was her last name. I didn't much like her-- she took her hair off once on April Fool's Day. Also she was mean. Mainly to this kid named Brittany. I walked with Brittany at my kindergarten graduation. I tripped. The the end. I remember having to draw self-portraits with my class then, and mine being the only one with skin-colored skin. All the others' were green or blue or something. I thought that showed a terrible lack of realism in them...probably just meant I had no taste for the abstract at age six.

Jeanette MacDonald, Sally Blane and Joyce Compton in Annabel's Affairs. Can you say "pre-Code"? ;)

...But I must have liked it, for I drew a yellow train, which --according to Hattie the gal who sat next to me-- don't exist. Must be something in the name Hattie, for she was quite like Mrs. Dorsett, I suppose..."Chickens...aren't...purple...stupid." Of course, Mrs. Dorsett was right, albeit a tad cruel in her way of showing it. A purple chicken is perfectly absurd, but then again the kid was like four...

Doris Day rehearsing a number in I'll See You in My Dreams. The blackface was part of the number, not a personal preference. Pretty sure.

PS. I'm pretty sure the makers of The Simpsons based Nelson's laugh on Ginger Rogers'. You know..."HAa-ha." Who's with me? ;)

Good thing they don't still print neat pictures like this on cigarettes, or I'd be an addict.

13 July 2009

X of the Day

Today I finally convinced (guilted, convinced-- same difference) my sister to watch The Scar with me. It was my birthday, so that helped I suppose. She liked it, which isn't much of a surprise, because it's great. I'm not sure why she was so apprehensive, as I've never led her astray (this month we've seen Stage Door, Marked Woman, Meet John Doe, and I Married a Witch together and she's not been disappointed yet).

Anyway, if I had to make a list --I don't, mind you, so I won't bore you with that-- The Scar would be one of my top ten movies of film noir. Fun stuff, huh?

I'm in a picture-posting mood, so today there's to be a person, hat, and photo of the day, you lucky kids, you.

Let's start with photo, shall we?

Ginger Rogers showing her Nixon support in 1960.

Nifty, huh? I especially like the boy's face in the backseat.

Yeah, yeah,'s not really a hat. So sue me. Peanuts aren't really nuts. ;)
And now, ladies and gentlemen, the person of the day.

Her name is Tallulah.

When I was younger, I always knew Tallulah Bankhead was famous, I just never knew what for. Was she a singer, actress, dancer? I'd no idea. Some time ago I decided to remedy this situation. I googled her.

The answer quickly came, but not in terms I could understand. It said online that Tallulah was a "bon vivant." I knew this meant, of course, a person of rather epicurean ideals. Howeveer, I did not understand why this would make someone famous. So I did more research. I discovered she was an actress, and a rather good one at that. She was also in the Algonquin Round Table with my hero, Dot Parker and the also-cool Edna Ferber.

It's odd-- I've looked everywhere for a quote (and there are plenty around), but I wouldn't dare print most of them, and if I'd "clean them up," so to speak...they wouldn't quite be sentences anymore. Finally, I came across this one, which seems to capture some of Tallulah's spirit.

“The only thing I regret about my past is the length of it. If I had to live my life again I'd make all the same mistakes - only sooner.”

12 July 2009

Psst!, Pictures, and Peggy Lee

Whenever I'm bored, say, in a waiting room or something, I like to make up new names for Sally Field movies-- all revolving around Gidget. I'm saying this knowing how incredibly silly it sounds, but it's one of my more unassuming idiosyncrasies, so I thought I'd share.

Examples? Sure. Well, Norma Rae becomes "Gidget Fights the Man." Sybil turns into "Gidget Gets Multiple Personality Disorder" (among other more unsavory things), and --my personal favorite-- Absence of Malice becomes "Gidget Hooks Up with Paul Newman." Yeah okay, say what you will, but it makes me plenty happy. :)

For some reason I've had "My Name is Tallulah" stuck in my head all day. And in that odd, adenoidal voice they used to dub Jodie Foster. Odd, but not entirely unpleasant.

Speaking of Ms. Foster (and who isn't?), I read a while back that she's to direct, produce, and star in a biopic about Leni Riefenstahl. How grand is that? I mean, as far as Nazi filmmakers go, Leni was the tops-- who else are ya gonna choose? Disregarding Leni's lovefests with Hitler (now that would make a good title), her work's actually not bad at all. Junta from The Blue Light is quite possibly my hero.

And I can actually picture Jodie Foster as Leni. They both have a sort of falcon look going for 'em. Beaky, some might say. In a good way, of course. Which is not the case with Anne Hathaway and Judy Garland. Bad casting if you ask me. Cast a Panabaker (or two), if you ask me. And maybe throw in Elizabeth Perkins or Tammy Blanchard and have them dubbed, if you ask me. But did anybody ask me? Did I get a midnight call from Harvey Weinstein saying, "Juliette, oh Juliette-- I need you now." No, I certainly did not. Ah well, I'll still be standing in line for tickets. Because that's just who I am. Ho hum.

Instead of doing a hat of the day, it's gonna be Peggy Lee-- person of the day. Aside from having a marvelous singing voice (I've had "Mr. Wonderful" on repeat for hours), Peggy Lee was also a gifted actress and songwriter. Duke Ellington once said, "If I'm the Duke, then Peggy's the Queen." Plus, she was the voice of the Siamese cats in Lady in the Tramp. It doesn't get any cooler than that.
Peggy with her first husband Dave Barbour.

Scratch that earlier statement-- this is the hat of the day. And these are the gloves of the day, too. :)