Tuesday, May 18, 2010

MARY, MARY


"I'm past the stage in which noise is a stimulant" -- Mary Astor to Doro Merande on Alfred Hitchcock's TV show

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Somerset Maugham's Architectural Digest


"It was indeed an amazing room. The paper on the walls, the cretonne of the curtains and on the upholstered furniture were of the same pattern; on the walls were oil paintings in massive gold frames that the Bradleys had evidently bought when they were in Rome. Virgins of the school of Raphael, Virgins of the school of Guido Reni, landscapes of the school of Zuccarelli, ruins of the school of Pannini. There were trophies of the sojourn in Peking, blackwood tables too profusely carved, huge cloisonne vases, and there were the purchases they had made in Chile or Peru, obese figures in hard stone and earthenware vases. There was a Chippendale writing-table and a marquetry vitrine. The lamp-shades were of white silk on which some ill-advised artist had painted shepherds and shepherdesses in Watteau costumes. It was hideous and yet, I don't know why, agreeable. It had a homely, lived-in air, and you felt that that incredible jumble had a significance. All those incongruous objects belonged together because they were part of Mrs. Bradley's life."
-- W. Somerset Maugham, The Razor's Edge

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

ALL AT SEA


We're mad about classic ocean liners, especially great pictures of classic ocean liners. We're also mad about out-at-sea pictures that put you there. Here, the combination of the grand Queen Mary and the melancholy waters she's crossing, whisks us away in reverie.

Friday, April 16, 2010

AS I WAS SAYING TO THE POPE THE OTHER DAY...


"I don't go to church. Kneeling bags my nylons."
-- Jan Sterling in ACE IN THE HOLE

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

GIG YOUNG

No excuses, but in one afternoon we found ourselves watching Gig Young back to back, courting Joan Crawford in "Torch Song" and Katharine Hepburn in "Desk Set." Both these pairings must have tested the powers of suspended disbelief even back in the 50s. But at least in "Torch Song he is clearly identified as Crawford's boy toy, getting through his duties in a haze of liquor and self-deprecating quips. In one scene she lets him know he's "useless...but beautiful" (which can also be subtexted a complaint for services not rendered.)

In "Desk Set" he's a fast-rising executive stringing Hepburn along, hinting at make-out sessions and marriage. The subtext here is that sex and romance lie elsewhere for him but, darn it, that Hepburn would sure make the kind of wife that would boost his career.

Born Byron Elsworth Barr, we loved Gig Young and the good looks and killer charm he used on his leading ladies and the audience. We sensed that he was not happy as an actor, always playing the guy the girl dumped for another.

At least he was given an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 1969 for "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" And that's the way we want to remember him.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

MAIRA KALMAN MAKES A MOVIE

Click above to see, uhhh, the movie

INDIAN EPIC (1959)

Beautiful Debra Paget, an inspired costume, a bad papier mache cobra and a little Fritz Lang magic.

POST MORTEM EPIPHANY

THE BLIND LEADING THE BLONDE

Party time: Gloria Swanson and Diana Dors

Monday, March 29, 2010

BANANAS A LADY DON'T MAKE

TIME OF THE MONTH QUIZ

(Click on the image for a larger view
-- and then click again for larger still)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

THINK TWICE? LIKE, UH, WHO?

"Remember Lillian Roth, whose big voice made her a movie musical queen back in the late twenties and early thirties? She's back in Hollywood seeking a career as a straight dramatic actress. Her book [I'll Cry Tomorrow], telling why her star dimmed, will be hitting the stalls soon. It's a female version of The Lost Weekend and will make many stars think twice"
--Motion Picture magazine, June 1951

Monday, March 22, 2010

TANTALIZING TERRY


"I was shocked with the stunt Terry Moore pulled recently at Las Vegas in her night-club appearance. I have always thought of Terry as the girl-next-door type, but no girl next door would wear a dress like the one Terry appeared in. I think she wore it to get back at the people who made her leave her fur bathing suit at home. I think this is a cheap trick for a little publicity."
-- Shirley Modabauth, Des Moines, Iowa.
-- Letters from Photoplay magazine, 1954

Saturday, March 20, 2010

CIGARETTE ME. MATCH ME.

CATHERINE DENEAUVE

LUCILLE BALL

LOUISE BROOKS

LINDA DARNELL

TIPPI HEDREN

BETTE DAVIS

JEANNE MOREAU

BRIGITTE BARDOT

Sunday, March 14, 2010

LANITA

We never got over watching AUNTIE MAME in Spanish. We will investigate if IMITATION OF LIFE has language options too. We can't wait to hear Lana say "Soy una actriz! Y de las buenas!"

WHERE THERE'S SMOKE...SOMEBODY'S SMOKING A CIGARETTE





Sunday, March 7, 2010

LEFTOVER PATTI

The Patti Andrews, from the Broadway Wigs collection, NYC

Saturday, March 6, 2010

THE MISCHIEVOUS MR. MAUGHAM


" In twenty-five years Mrs. Garstin never invited anyone to dine at her house because she liked him. She gave large dinner parties at regular intervals. But parsimony was as strong in her as ambition. She hated to spend money. She flattered herself that she could make as much show as anyone else at half the price. Her dinners were long and elaborate, but thrifty, and she could never persuade herself that people when they were eating and talking knew what they drank. She wrapped sparkling Moselle in a napkin and thought her guests took it for champagne." -- The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maughan

Thursday, March 4, 2010

CREPUSCULO BOULEVARD

We have no problem imagining Gloria Swanson belting her closing line in Spanish: "Estoy lista para mi close-up, SeƱor DeMille!"

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

PATTISERIE

PATTY McCORMAK
PATTI LUPONE
PATTI AUSTIN

PATTI LABELLE

Friday, February 19, 2010

STRITCH SPEAKS


"My feeling for [the theatre] hasn't changed. But my feeling is for the memories. I hate how casual it is now. I loved the specialness of going to a Broadway show, the sense of a big treat that you dressed up for. Popcorn is OK for the movies, but for the theater it should be pearls."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

YOU'RE SOAKING IN IT

If we'd been Ginger Rogers we'd have been less concerned about the implications in this publicity shot with Doris Day for STORM WARNING (1951) than the resemblance of her hands to those of the Wicked Witch of the West.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

INA CLAIRE, AS IN FLAIR


The stylish comedienne Ina Claire gets off some of the juiciest lines in NINOTCHKA, a movie loaded with juicy lines:

"I know how you feel, my dear. The morning after always does look grim if you happen to be wearing last night's dress. Don't be embarrassed by my presence, though. You couldn't have found anybody more sympathetic to your condition. I remember once in Petrograd when I felt exactly as you do. I had to bow from a balcony to the crowd. My dear, the masses have no understanding of the feelings of a lady before noon. Don't you find this true?"
                  

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

LIFE GOES TO A PARTY


A night out at El Morocco in 1936,
as reported by LIFE magazine.
  • Broadway was represented by personable Ina Claire, the only American actress who is altogether persona grata in Cafe Society. She was accompanied to El Morocco by Writer {sic} Carl Van Vechten and Edward Wassermann of the Seligman banking family.
  • Hollywood luminaries were Mr. and Mrs. Jack Warner whose new home in California is embellished with suede-covered walls and a velvet-covered ceiling in bedroom. A New Orleans girl, Mrs. Warner sported a tremendous cabochon emerald.
  • Mrs. Orson D. Munn, who won fame in a limited circle by wearing a foxtail for a hat at the Colony Restaurant, drops in at El Morocco several times a week, is known for the spirited way she dances the rhumba with her remarkably agile husband.

Monday, February 1, 2010

ADIOS, OLGA SAN JUAN


We are remiss not to note the passing of Olga San Juan at 81 on January 3rd. Born in Brooklyn, she started early on radio and in the 1940s appeared in several movies with titles like "Are You With It?" and "The Countess of Monte Cristo." On "Variety Girl", which featured just about everyone on the Paramount lot, she played an endearing ditz trying to crash the movies. She retired in the early 50s to raise her family. She was once married to Edmond O'Brien.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

IT'S JOHN O'HARA'S B-DAY



"Acting is the last thing you did after everything was ready, and you did that for two minutes at a time. Then they glued those two minuteses together until they had eighty minutes that made sense -- and then they put you in another picture. She could not understand how people got an impression of you from this collection of two-minute, one-minute, thirty-second snatches, but they did, and if they liked you that was all that mattered. Of all the girls she had known in Santa Ana she was the only one who could say, 'I'm going to get a new LaSalle,' at eleven o'clock at night and be sure that it would be delivered to her the next afternoon. She was certainly the only Santa Ana girl who had been kissed by Robert Taylor, and Garbo had smiled at her. Life was funny."
-- Natica Jackson by John O'Hara

Friday, January 29, 2010

THE ROAD ONCE TAKEN


THEY DON'T MAKE TROUBLED WOMEN LIKE HEY USED TO

The silky dark version of the Matt Dennis/Earl Brent classic torch in a surprising saloon turn by Bruce Springteen. (A tip of the hat to C. Schneider.)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

KAYE PASSED IT ON TO MARY TYLER MOORE

When Kaye Ballard signed on in 1967 to share top billing with Eve Arden in NBC's "The Mothers-In-Law", she claims she got the best advice of her career from Vivian Vance: "Use your name as the character's name. Don't let them call you Helen or Barbara or Dot. I've spent most of my life being called Ethel Mertz wherever I go. Don't let this happen to you." The series went into ER at the end of the first season, but was given a second chance. At the end of the second season the body was pronounced dead. Produced by Desilu and with the same writers that created "I Love Lucy", it must have been a matter of bad timing.
We have mixed feelings to learn that MPI Home Video will release the complete series on DVD. Vivian Vance
Kaye Ballard

ROCK AND A HARD PLACE


Allegedly, this is a picture of Rock Hudson on his way to have a lobotomy. Universal Studios had deemed it a necessary last recourse, in view of the actor's increasingly indiscreet hi-jinks with other men.
Lawyers for Hudson tried to intervene, even though there was a clause in his contract that allowed Universal to re-arrange the content of his brain without explanations (it had been said Universal also threatened to re-arrange the contents of Deanna Durbin's brain when she balked at renewing her contract.)
Rock Hudson was saved in the nick of time when his lawyers found another clause in his contract that would cancel re-arranging the content of his brain if he agreed to stop having hi-jinks with other men and married a woman.
Reportedly Hudson called his secretary, Phyllis Gates, and asked her to find a woman to marry in a hurry. Gates suggested herself and the two were wed in November 1955. The union lasted 3 years.
According to rumor, Phyllis Gates threatened to spill the beans to every newspaper and magazine if she was to receive only $250 a month in alimony. It's also rumored that Universal threatened to re-arrange the content of her brain if she so much as opened her mouth. Gates agreed when her lawyers arranged for the money to be paid for a 10-year period.
Rock Hudson died at 60 in 1985. Phyllis Gates died at 80 in 2006.

Friday, January 22, 2010

A TWO-SOME WAY TO START AND/OR END THE WEEKEND!


For the first time, these two Hollywood legends on one CD. These recordings were made in 1957, when both women were at the top of their game.
24 tracks include: After You’ve Gone • Another Year • Always • The Last Time I Saw Paris • You’ll Never Know • My Man • Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries • Summertime • Everybody’s Doin’ It Now • Where Or When • Let’s Fall In Love • Wayfaring Stranger • Ballin’ The Jack • Let’s Be Buddies • You’re Mine You.
If you click on this here link you can hear audio samples.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

LOUISE BROOKS EXPOSED


Venus de Milo was noted for her charms,
But strictly between us,
You're cuter than Venus,
And what's more you got arms.

-- Love is Just Around the Corner, originally made famous by Bing Crosby. Written by Leo Robin and Lewis E. Gensler

Monday, January 18, 2010

THOSE CHAIRS ARE SO 2001!

PUT BACK THE MASK


Innocence and an over supply of testosterone were at play way back, when we thought the Creature from the Black Lagoon was pretty hot fish. No one had abs like that in those days. No one has abs like that today. Of course, we never shared this minor obsession with anyone, anyone who already thought a minor obsession with Aldo Ray was suspiciously queer. And now that we see the man behind the mask, well, we wished we had left the ball at the stroke of midnight with our illusions intact.