When people hear that I love classic movies, they ask me what my favorite film of all time is. For anyone who is a classic cinema lover, you know that it is not a simple question. A person’s mind begins to reel as they recount which movies have left a lasting impression on them. One then must mull over which genre they must pick from in addition to a specific era. Movies that existed from a pre-code era are drastically different that films created in the 1940s. Even when I have it limited to a specific genre, I always end up having a top three or five. It is impossible for me to pick one quintessential BEST film. One pattern I have come across is that lesser known films can be the greatest gems. Everyone has heard of the film Some Like it Hot, but few have heard of We’re No Angels (1955) and It All Came True (two incredibly well-done comedies). Therefore, I am going to talk about some of my personal favorite classic comedies of all time.
“Although no sculptured marble should rise to their memory, nor engraved stone bear record of their deeds, yet will their remembrance be as lasting as the land they honored,” Daniel Webster. Many times during our lives, we lose sight of the ‘big picture,’ events within our lives. Memorial Day is not an exception. In the weeks leading up to this holiday weekend, how many advertisements did you witness directed toward the desires of the consumer? Everywhere a person looked, there were announcements for department, liquor and food stores. Never once during this period of time did I experience an ad illustrating the true meaning of this day. Nor did I see anything illustrating one explicit message that Memorial Day should represent…….freedom never comes free. We owe all our freedoms to men and women, past and present who gave up everything for their love and belief in the country. I came across an article this afternoon discussing certain little known facts about this holiday in particular. Beyond the Barbecues, by Samantha Grossman which appeared on Time NewsFeed. The contents of the article are listed below. Following this, are photographs of cinema icons that, when the time came, they out their occupations second and country first.
Most fans of classic cinema have a particular star that strikes a fancy within them. It can be due to many factors, some more obvious than others. Jimmy Stewart was one man whom millions worldwide related to. In his younger years, he came across as the boy next door. A guy who possessed handsome all-American ideals, without being so good-looking that he was placed on a pedestal. On film, he made each and every one of the characters that he portrayed relatable to the masses. One did not have to be a film critic to recognize that he put his heart into his performances. While many men and women in Hollywood during this time were constantly changing their romantic partners, Jimmy found his life partner, Gloria McLean. When World War II broke out, he never second guessed his choice to join the ranks of military flier. His career came second to the passion that he felt for his country. During his long and illustrious career, Jimmy made movies that touched, and brought laughter to millions of people across the world. It’s a Wonderful Life has become a quintessential Christmas tradition, while movies like Vertigo and Rear Window remain two Alfred Hitchcock’s most beloved film creations. Today marks the date of Jimmy’s birth, so this is my small tribute to a great man.
The name, Edith Head is synonymous with the ideals of classic Hollywood glamour. She created some of the most breathtaking costumes that ever graced the big screen. For decades, she was one of the most sought after designers in the land of film. This innovative and dedicated woman created outfits that remain unsurpassed in the decades since her passing. Drive and creativity allowed Edith to leave her make on an industry that she loved, and carved out a place for herself in film history. Below is an article written in 2009 addressing the Edith Head film series regarding her costume collection that was being featured at the Museum of Fine Arts. The article was written by Christopher Muther for the Boston Globe. Though, this exhibition has concluded, the article itself features unique highlights of her illustrious career. Following the article will be a select few of my personal favorites of the fashion genius….Miss Head.
Over the past few months, I have heard that Hedy Lamarr (known as one of the most beautiful women to ever grace cinema) played a critical role in developing technology that we still use today. This idea intrigued me, so I decided to delve into the topic further. Within the archives of the Huffington post, my answer was found. Sam Kean composed, “Hedy Lamarr Invented Precursor to Wireless Technology: Slate Reviews ‘Hedy’s Folly’ by Richard Rhodes,” on November 28, 2011. It is a fascinating article that examines the catalyst for Hedy’s involvement in this area of technology. Hedy was breathtakingly beautiful, incredibly intelligent, passionate and an amazing actress: was there anything she could not do? Thats up to you to decide!
While attending the third annual, TCM Film Festival this past April, one of the many pictures screened was Call Her Savage. One of the presenters was none other than David Stenn, the author of Clara Bow: Runnin’ Wild (a truly fabulous and enlightening biography). Not only did he provide background information on the film (a risque film, allowing her to make light of some of the outlandish allegations made against her during a scandalous period of time) but a he also initiated the first ever screening (approximately 3o seconds) of colorized footage of Miss Bow. The last film she ever made was in 1933, well before the color medium was being utilized. All together, it was one of the most memorable moments of the festival. Seeing Clara come to life in this film made me realize just how terrific her on screen presence was. No one in the audience could avert their eyes from her. It was then and there, that I decided I had to learn more about this iconic woman. Clara exuded a carefree, delightful, wistful persona, but in those all encompassing eyes of her, one could clearly see the heavy weight of sadness that lingered. Thanks to the fabulous site of maxwelldemille.com, I was able to obtain a three part personal interview (interviewer was Adela Rogers St. Johns) that Clara Bow partook in. These three segments were featured in the February-April issues of Photoplay in 1928. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did!!
Unfortunately, I have not been able to keep up with my blogging this past month, due to nursing finals consuming virtually every minute of the day. However, as of 2 p.m. today, my last final was complete and I now get to embark upon three months of freedom, also known as summer vacation. Therefore, today’s blog will be an eclectic reproduction of classic film stars enjoying their fun in the sun. I can upon the idea when I recalled a quote by F. Scott Fitzgerald. “And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”