Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Mary Pickford receiving an Honorary Oscar®

Mary Pickford

Mary Pickford (1892-1979)... was a talented actress and creative producer, who helped shape the film industry as we know it today.

Her first film director was D.W. Griffith and she went on to work with many of the greats of her era such as: Cecil B. De Mille, Allan Dwan, James Kirkwood, Marshall Neilan, Sidney Franklin, Maurice Tourneur and Ernst Lubitsch.

Her career was supported by cinematographer Charles Rosher and the screenwriter Frances Marion.

Between 1912 and 1919, Mary Pickford  worked for many of the top studios. but... risked her acting career by joining Douglas Fairbanks, D.W. Griffith and Charlie Chaplin to form United Artists. The head of the studios described their feelings by quoting... “The inmates have taken over the asylum".

Mary, would risk her career again the following year when stars were told they could not be divorced and still be big box office. Mary divorced Owen Moore and married Doug Fairbanks in 1920.

But instead her popularity and that of her new husband, was described in the fan magazines as a storybook marriage. They lived in their Beverly Hills home, known as Pickfair, until she filed for divorce in 1933.

By then, Mary was working behind the scenes as a producer and a board member of United Artists. She was a founder of the Society of Independent Motion Picture Producers in 1941 and she was the last of the original United Artists founders to sell her interest in the mid-1950s.

Her final film as an actress, Secrets (1933). The same week that President Roosevelt declared a bank holiday, closing down all financial institutions at the height of the Depression.

She had already established herself as one of the most successful actresses of all time, won an Academy Award for her first “talkie,” Coquette, and went on to receive an honorary Oscar for her contribution to motion pictures in 1976.

Mary Pickford, also worked in the film preservation movement and supporter of creating a museum devoted to the art of movie-making.

Mary, was always there to help her friends or friends-of-friends in need. It was when she was selling war bonds in 1918 that she first learned how she could use her influence and popularity to inspire others to give.

She was a hands-on contributor to organizations supporting the creative community. She was one of the original founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and a founder and first vice-president of the Motion Picture Relief Fund.

In 1932, before the creation of the Screen Actors Guild, Mary spearheaded the Payroll Pledge Program which financed the Relief Fund by deducting one half of one percent from the salaries of those making over two hundred dollars a week.

A decade later, she was there to break ground for what would be the Motion Picture and Television Country House and Hospital.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Love in the Afternoon(1957).

Love in the Afternoon(1957). Romantic/comedy produced and directed by Billy Wilder.

Ariane Chavasse, is eavesdropping on a conversation between her father, private detective Claude Chavasse and his client, "Monsieur X". After learning of his wife's affair with Frank Flannagan, Monsieur X says he plans to shoot Flannagan later that day. When Ariane cannot get the police to go warn him, she decides to go tell him herself.

Lise Bourdin was born on November 30, 1925 in Néris-les-Bains, Allier, France. She is an actress, known for Love in the Afternoon (1957), The River of Three Junks (1957) and The River Girl(1954).
When Monsieur X breaks into Flannagan's hotel suite, he finds Flannagan with Ariane, not his wife. Flannagan wonders why girl, refuses to give him her name. So.. he decides to call her the, "thin girl".

The shy girl pretends to be a femme fatale to interest him. She agrees to meet him the next afternoon and ends up becoming his lover for the evening until his plane leaves.

After a year, Flannagan returns to Paris. The two meet by chance at an opera and start seeing each other again. This time, she comes up with stories of imaginary lovers based on her father's cases. Flannagan, is not to sure whether he believes her or not. Flannagan, decides to hire Ariane's own father to investigate. It does not take long for Chavasse, to realize the mystery woman is Ariane. He informs his client that his daughter made up her love life. Will Flannagan, return to Paris or will he stay and marry Ariane?

One of the things I loved about this film was the beautiful, black and white photography of Paris. Filming locations included the Château of Vitry in the Yvelines, the Palais Garnier (Paris Opera), and the Hôtel Ritz Paris.

At first the age difference is obvious, with Cooper seemingly mis-cast as a womanizer, but, I dunno.. he is so charming that he kind of grows on you. Given how much older Gary Cooper(56) was than Audrey Hepburn(28), you have to wonder: How, exactly did he land this role? According to Charlotte Chandler's biography of director Billy Wilder (and as cited by Wikipedia), Cooper won the role because he and Wilder had similar tastes and Cooper would be "good company" during scene shoots in Paris.

I thought Hepburn, gave one of her best performances first as a shy innocent girl, who turns into a charming femme fatale . I also enjoyed the a cute narration epilogue by, Chevalier, which he explains to American movie goers the lovers got married... just so you didn't have to worry about the characters living in sin. It was 1957 after all. Although Wilder objected to the addition, he was forced to include it to stop complaints.

Music, also plays an important role in the film. Much of the prelude to the Richard Wagner opera Tristan und Isolde is heard during a scene in the opera house, and Gypsy style melodies play in Flannagan's many love scenes. Matty Malneck, wrote three songs for the film, including the title song. Also heard are "C'est si bon," "L'ame Des Poètes" by Charles Trenet, and "Fascination," which is hummed through out the film by Ariane.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Pawsome Pet Pictures: Actress Phyliss Gordon out shopping with her pet cheetah, 1939.

Phyllis Gordon (October 17, 1889 – October 16, 1964). She performed in 50 silent era and sound era motion pictures between 1911 and 1941. She was born in Suffolk, Virginia, and died at age 74 in Sonoma, California.

Gordon was photographed walking a pet cheetah on a London shopping street.

Best Known Films: Calamity Anne's Beauty (1913), In the Secret Service (1913), The Werewolf (1913) and Another Thin Man (1939).

Sunday, August 17, 2014


Homecoming(1948). Romantic/drama starring Clark Gable and Lana Turner. It was the third of their four films together: Honky Tonk, 1941, Somewhere I’ll Find You, 1942, Betrayed, 1954.

In each film, they were each others on again, off again romantic interest. Another common theme to all four movies: where an injured, dying, or gravely ill Lana, is comforted by the very handsome Clark.

A fun fact in the film Betrayed, is Lana not a blonde, it is also the only technicolor movie of the collection.

Also, during filming of Somewhere I’ll Find you, Carole Lombard was killed in a plane crash. She was racing home to California from a War Bond drive to a make sure that, her husband, Gable, would not fall under the spell of, Lana Turner.

The movie Homecoming(1948), begins as a war weary American surgeon Ulysses Johnson, just returning back from World War II. Sitting on the transport boat waiting to be taken home, when he is asked about his experiences during the war. Johnson, begins to think back....

To when he worked as chief surgeon at a hospital and decides to join the Army. At cocktail party with his wife Penny, Dr. Robert Sunday, accuses Johnson of being a "floor flusher".

Still upset from the argument the previous evening.... Johnson, boards a transport ship, where he meets Lt. Jane "Snapshot" McCall . They start off on the wrong foot and he is surprised to learn that she is going to be his nurse..

After taking a trip to bathe, Johnson and Snapshot come back to the base to find that Sergeant Monkevickz, is dying from a malaria. Johnson, then remembers back to his argument with Dr. Sunday, who informed him that people in Chester Village, were dying from malaria and were not being properly taken care of. Johnson, being over worked tells Snapshot that he felt he could have done more to help save his life..

Because of what Penny, has read in her husbands letters, she becomes jealous of Snapshot and believes that Johnson and Snapshot are having an affair. The truth is... Johnson and Snapshot have grown closer and when she is reassigned to a different post, she and Johnson kiss good-by.

They meet again in Paris, but leave to rescue the 299th division, which has fallen under attack of enemy fire in the Battle of the Bulge. Will they survive to return home to their past lives and loved ones?

I really enjoyed Lana Turner's, performances in the unglamorous role of Jane "Snapshot" McCall. Very different from other roles she had played in the forties. Also, a more serious role for Cark Gable. Anne Baxter starred with husband John Hodiak, as he played her friend who listened to her concerns over Snapshot and her characters husbands relationship. (pictured below)