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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Update: Film Screenings in 2013, Chicago, IL

Chicago, IL—According to the new film series schedule from the Northwest Chicago Film Society, films starring Olivia deHavilland and Joan Fontaine are on the calendar.

First, Hold Back the Dawn with Olivia and Charles Boyer will be screened in February, and in April, The Bigamist with Joan and Ida Lupino. Both movies will be shown in 35mm at the historic Portage Theater.

Hold Back the Dawn will be screened on Feb 27, 2013 at 7:30 PM

1941. Directed by Mitchell Leisen. Starring Charles Boyer, Olivia DeHavilland. 116 min.

The Bigamist will be screened on April 10, 2013 at 7:30 PM

1953. Directed by Ida Lupino. Staring Ida Lupino, Joan Fontaine, and Edmond O'Brien. 79 min.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

1987: Olivia wins Golden Globe for "Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna"

Here's a clip I found from the ceremony on January 31, 1987: Olivia accepts the Golden Globe award for her performance in the made-for-television mini-series Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna, which aired on the NBC television network in December of 1986. 

The award was for "Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV"

Olivia was nominated for an Emmy for the same role, but did not win. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

[Photo] Olivia De Havilland, Laurence Olivier, and Vivien Leigh

Dining at the Trocadero Supper Club
on Sunset Boulevard (Hollywood, California)
1947  1939

Monday, October 22, 2012

[Photo] Joan Fontaine relaxing poolside at her home in Beverly Hills, 1947

(Photo taken at The Hollywood Museum)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Gone With The Wind memorabilia at the Hollywood Museum (Hollywood, CA)

Visited the Hollywood Museum this weekend at 1660 North Highland Avenue in Hollywood CA. The building is where Hollywood's "makeup king" Max Factor had his studios. Read more about the museum here at Discover Hollywood.

There are three levels of memorabilia spanning 100 years of films - enough for several blog posts.

I'll focus this post on GWTW...

(Click on images for larger views)

Here's a section devoted to GWTW movie props: bugle, glass, necklace, hat

GWTW Autographs

The museum has the largest collection of autographs I've ever seen. The collector was Joe Ackerman (1916-2002), a self-proclaimed "autograph hound" who got just about every star you can imagine to sign their name on something. 

The GWTW players....

...including Olivia de Havilland!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Coming Soon to DVD and Blu-Ray: Letter From An Unknown Woman

DVD News

ClassicFlix has announced that Letter From An Unknown Woman
will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray on October 16, from
Olive Films.  

No word yet if any special features are included.  

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Celeste Holm (1917-2012) story |  LA Times story | The Guardian UK story

Celeste's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame


1946 Three Little Girls in Blue
1947 Carnival in Costa Rica
1947 Gentleman's Agreement  (won Oscar)
1948 Road House
1948 The Snake Pit
1949 Chicken Every Sunday
1949 A Letter To Three Wives
1949 Come To The Stable (Oscar nomination)
1949 Everybody Does It
1950 Champagne for Caesar
1950 All About Eve  (Oscar nomination)
1955 The Tender Trap
1956 High Society
1962 Bachelor Flat
1967 Doctor, You've Got to Be Kidding!
1973 Tom Sawyer 
1976 Bittersweet Love
1977 The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover
1987 Three Men and a Baby

(CNN) -- Oscar-winning actress Celeste Holm died at her home in New York on Sunday at the age of 95, her niece, Amy Phillips, confirmed.

Holm, a star of the Broadway stage and movies, was admitted to New York's Roosevelt Hospital a week ago, but her husband took her home to her Manhattan home on Friday, Phillips said.

"She passed peacefully in her home in her own bed with her husband and friends and family nearby," she said.

Holm won the best supporting actress Academy Award for "Gentleman's Agreement" in 1947. She was nominated for the same honor in 1949 for "Come to the Stable" and 1950 for "All about Eve," according to the Academy database.

Celeste Holm in The Snake Pit

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ann Rutherford (1920-2012)

Ann Rutherford's filmography includes classic favorites such as Orchestra Wives, Pride and Prejudice, The Andy Hardy series, and Gone with the Wind, where she portrayed Scarlett O'Hara's sister. 

If you have a chance, the blog Laura's Miscellaneous Musings has a lovely tribute to the late Ann Rutherford.  Go to the post 

Also, read Dawn's tribute here. 

Do you have a favorite Ann Rutherford movie, scene, or memory?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Charles Higham dies at 81; controversial celebrity biographer

From the Los Angeles Times: "Charles Higham, a poet, critic and prolific celebrity biographer who found political and sexual intrigue in the lives of Hollywood icons such as Cary Grant, Marlene Dietrich and, most controversially, Errol Flynn, died April 21 at his Los Angeles home. He was 81."

Read The Los Angeles Times obituary

Higham also wrote "Sisters: The Story of Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine" which we reviewed on the blog a few years ago. 

Read Shelbi's 3-part Book Review of
"Sisters: The Story of Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine" (1984) by Charles Higham
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Not As a Stranger (1955)

Not As a Stranger,  from 1955, is a medical drama starring Olivia deHavilland and Robert Mitchum. The directorial debut of Stanley Kramer, Not As a Stranger features an excellent supporting cast--- Frank SinatraGloria GrahameBroderick Crawford, and Charles Bickford.

Ambitious, self-righteous Luke Marsh (Robert Mitchum) is a medical school student.

Luke's financial status isn't the best, though, and in order to make extra money, he cleans the pathology lab.  Even with that job, though, he is behind on his tuition payments.  A trip to his drunken father gets him nowhere---not only does his dad not have any money for him, but he also tells Luke that he will never be a doctor because brains are not enough...he has to have a heart...and that he does not have.  Luke is aware that should he not come up with the $400 payment, he will be out of school, so he asks one of his instructors and one of his friends for some help.  Still, though, Luke is short, and he is told that he has 30 days in which to make the payment or else he's out.

One of the nurses at the hospital, Christina Hedvigson (Olivia deHavilland), an unsophisticated Swedish girl, invites Luke and his friend Al (Frank Sinatra) to dinner at her apartment.  Through their dinner conversation, Luke discovers that Christina has put into savings half of every paycheck and that she has a sizeable nest egg available to her.  The wheels begin turning, and before long, though he is not attracted to her, Luke begins dating Christina.  (One fun thing about their date---they went to a movie---the Humphrey Bogart/Ava Gardner flick, The Barefoot Contessa.  I always think it's fun to see other classic movies showing up in a classic movie.)  Knowing that Christina loves him, and wanting use of her money, Luke tells Christina he loves her and asks her to marry him.

Because he knows Christina's gauche, unsophisticated ways are not for Luke, Al realizes Luke is marrying her for her money, and he calls him on the carpet for that.  Luke responds that Christina will never know he doesn't love her, and he goes through with the marriage. He seems disgusted on their wedding night, though with himself for marrying a woman he doesn't love, or whether with Christina's lack of sophistication, is not clear.

Able to pay his tuition, Luke completes medical school, all the while being argumentative and arrogant.  He is intolerant of mistakes...he blasts anyone who is not as perfect as he is.  Even one heated argument, he lets her know that he thinks she's stupid.

Eventually, Luke begins practicing with a small-town doctor, and it is there that he begins an affair with a young widow (Gloria Grahame).  Christina, however, has had enough---the cheating, the condescending attitude, the intolerance of anything less than perfection.  She wants nothing more to do with Luke, and it is only afterwards that Luke understands that he, too, is imperfect, that he, too, is capable of making a mistake.

Does Luke ever get down off his high horse and humble himself?  Does Christina take him back?  These are the questions which will play out in this film.

Not As a Stranger is a bit on the long side---over two hours and fifteen minutes---and there were a couple times it dragged a tiny bit. However, that dragging wasn't enough to change my opinion of the film.  I thought it was a powerful story, with good acting by both leads, especially Olivia deHavilland.  It was a bit odd hearing her talk with a Swedish accent; and it was even more odd to see her as a platinum blonde.  Another funny thing in this film are the hospital scenes.  Patients smoking in their hospital beds never cease to amuse me.  Definitely, a dated movie in that regard.

Anyhow, I think this film is a very worthwhile couple of hours, so I hope you get a chance to see this.  I caught it on TCM a couple years ago, but I do believe it is available on DVD.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Olivia as Melanie [colorized photo]

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Irish In Us (1935)

Pat O'Brien, Jimmy Cagney, and Olivia are
caught in a love triangle
Released in 1935 - 77 years ago - The Irish In Us is a hilarious romantic comedy starring James Cagney and Pat O'Brien who play brothers. Cagney is a slick-talking boxing promoter and O'Brien is a policeman.  They live at home with their hilariously feisty Irish mamma (scene-stealer Mary Gordon) who says things like "you'll eat your eggs and like it!". There is a funny sequence in the beginning where Danny brings home a gruff, drunken boxer (Allen Jenkins) who asks mamma to feel his biceps. She refuses, and says "Oh, I'll just take your word for it!" in her Scottish accent.

At the breakfast table one morning, Pat announces that he has a new girlfriend -  the strict Police Captain's daughter (Olivia de Havilland). Mamma wants to meet her, and wants her to come to dinner. Pat begs mamma to make sure the other brothers know their manners so they don't do anything embarrassing.

The funniest part of the movie is when Olivia comes over and meets  uncooth brother Frank McHugh. Danny also comes over with the gruff boxer, and hilarity ensues.

The movie ends with a boxing match and a funny gag that will leave you smiling.

The police captain is played by J. Farrell MacDonald. He had a famous scene in Its A Wonderful Life where his grandfather's tree is smashed into by a car. There's a funny scene where her father gives her an allowance and says, "now run along so you can spend it all". "Thanks dad!" she replies.

TRIVIA TIDBIT: In a dance sequence, the background music played by the band is "Lullaby of Broadway", which was used in at least two other Warner Brothers movies that year: Special Agent and The Gold Diggers of 1935.  

Olivia de Haviiland  and Jimmy Cagney fall for each other in The Irish In Us

Friday, January 13, 2012

Born to Be Bad (1950)

Born to Be Bad, from 1950, is a fabulously entertaining melodrama starring Joan Fontaine, Robert Ryan, and Zachary Scott.  Directed by Nicholas Ray, this film features Joan Leslie and Mel Ferrer in supporting roles.  From the very beginning, the "bad" in this film is Joan Fontaine.  In a dramatic turnabout from her vulnerable roles in Suspicion and Rebecca, in Born to Be Bad, she is a manipulating, riches-seeking, people-using schemer.

The niece of a publisher, orphaned Christabel Caine (Joan Fontaine) arrives in town and worms her way into the party (and the life) of Donna Foster (Joan Leslie).  Donna is engaged to Curtis Carey (Zachary Scott), and Christabel very quickly seeks to undermine their relationship.

Though Christabel has caught the eye of novelist Nick Bradley (Robert Ryan), her eye is on the wealthy Mr. Carey.   Oh, she'll carry on with Nick and even tease him into thinking she loves him in return...

...but her whole goal is to snag Curtis for herself.  Lying, playing innocent, and hurting others matter little to Christabel.  As long as she gets what she wants, she doesn't care who she steps on or pushes out of the way.

Born to Be Bad is a very interesting, entertaining film, and I must admit, I enjoyed seeing Joan Fontaine take on this kind of role.  She was very good...not at all what I'm used to with her...but it was great to see just how capable an actress she was.  I am a mega-huge Robert Ryan fan, and while I think he excelled at playing the unlikeable, villainous man, I appreciated seeing him in a more likeable role for a change.  I don't believe the film is out on DVD, though it is on VHS, so if you have a working VHS player, you can catch it that way.  Additionally, it is on TCM's January 30th schedule.

By the way, there is a 1934 film of the same name, which stars Loretta Young and Cary Grant.  However, this 1950 film is not a remake of that.  They are two completely different films.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

My Cousin Rachel (1952)

Admin note: Today's post is written by our newest team member Patti from They Don't Make 'em Like They Used To!

My Cousin Rachel, from 1952, is a suspenseful romantic drama starring Olivia deHavilland and Richard Burton.  Based on the Daphne duMaurier novel of the same name, this story has elements in common with another of the author's works—Rebecca—namely, a large manor house, the English coast, and a mysterious death.  This film, though, takes place during the early 1800's.

Phillip Ashley (Richard Burton), having lost his parents when he was but a few months old, has lived with his wealthy cousin/guardian, Ambrose, all his life.  Though the two get along extremely well and are more like father and son than cousins, when Phillip reaches his twenties, Ambrose departs coastal England for the warmer temperatures of Italy.  While there, he meets and marries his distant cousin Rachel (Olivia deHavilland), informing Phillip of the marriage through a letter.

Ambrose seems happy enough, but shortly after the first letter, another letter arrives, this one referring to Rachel as "his torment" and indicating that she is trying to kill him.  Concerned, Phillip heads to Florence to see for himself what is going on.  By the time he arrives, though, Ambrose has already died and been buried, and Rachel has left town.  Although Phillip is informed that Ambrose had been suffering from a brain tumor which had resulted in delusional thoughts, he still believes Ambrose had, in fact, been in danger from his wife.  After vowing to Ambrose's grave that he will repay his cousin Rachel, Phillip returns to England.

Not long afterwards, Rachel, who is younger and more beautiful than they expected her to be, makes a visit to the Ashley Estate. As Phillip and Rachel spend time together, Phillip comes to believe that there was absolutely no truth to Ambrose's letters...that they really were the result of a delusional mind...that Rachel had never done his cousin any harm. Completely in love with Rachel, Phillip refuses to believe stories which indicate she is not what she appears to be.

Since Ambrose's will made no allowance for a wife, but left everything to Phillip, could it be that Rachel is stringing him along?  Perhaps she really did murder Ambrose and will, very soon, find a way to get her hands on the estate and murder Phillip as well.  These are the questions that play out in this mildly suspenseful Gothic drama.

My Cousin Rachel is interesting and entertaining, and while not of the same caliber as Rebecca, it is, nevertheless, a very solid 3-star film. Olivia deHavilland gave a superb performance. She really had a broad range of ability, and I have enjoyed discovering that she was far more than simply sugary-sweet Melanie Hamilton. Richard Burton's performance was "so-so" to me. I never—not even for a moment—felt that his love for Rachel was real. He just seemed lukewarm to me, his passion forced; however, despite Burton's less-than-believable performance, I was interested enough in the outcome to keep on watching.

To my knowledge, this film is not out on DVD, but it is available in its entirety on YouTube (above).