Updates from August, 2020 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • mistermuse 4:00 pm on August 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: African Queen, Beat The Devil, , , , , , , , , , The Treasure of the Sierra Madre,   

    THE TREASURE OF JOHN HUSTON 

    Huston would have agreed with [Orson] Welles, who declared, “I’m awfully tired of old men saying they have no regrets. We’re loaded with, burdened with, staggering under, regrets.” –Jeffrey Meyers, from his biography JOHN HUSTON: COURAGE AND ART

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    I must admit that JOHN HUSTON (born August 5, 1906) is not the kind of human being I admire — however, he IS the kind of film maker I admire. Yes, he made his share of clunkers, but few directors made more of my all-time favorite films than he: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The Maltese Falcon, The African Queen, Beat The Devil — and yet, he had more than his share of things to regret, as he himself admitted (more on that shortly).

    But first, here are two classic scenes from THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE:

    The second scene features the great actor Walter Huston (father of John) doing his incomparable dance in the gold-flecked dirt of the Sierra Madre mountains:

    Getting back to John Huston’s regrettable qualities, Jeffrey Meyers (in his excellent bio) compares Huston to Ernest Hemingway: “Hemingway had four wives, Huston had five (and all of his marriages ended badly). Each married increasingly younger women and, while married, fell in love with a series of women even younger than their wives. Huston, however, [unlike Hemingway] was unashamedly promiscuous. Both had three children and were difficult, demanding and frequently absent fathers.”

    “In the last paragraph of his autobiography, Huston brooded over his guilty regrets about family, finances, alcohol, tobacco and matrimony. Huston could be noble, generous and kind, as well as selfish, callous and cruel. But he should be remembered for his intellect, his imagination and his charm.”

    I, of course, cannot remember him thusly because I did not know him. But I can remember him for his films, and so I do. Who could forget the black bird….

    ….or The African Queen:

    One of those clunkers I mentioned was THE BIBLE (1966), an ungodly bad epic which he both directed and starred in. But those can be forgiven in light of the above trinity of masterpieces. If that doesn’t Beat The Devil….

     

     

     

     
    • magickmermaid 4:33 pm on August 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      The Maltese Falcon and African Queen are two of my favourite films. Strange, but I’ve never hear of Beat the Devil. I always learn something new on your blog. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 4:51 pm on August 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Beat the Devil probably belongs in the category CULT CLASSIC, in that it’s not widely known but has a modest following of devoted fans. I haven’t seen it in years, even on TCM, which I watch regularly.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Rivergirl 5:40 pm on August 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Love those old Bogey films. But yes, Huston was an odd duck.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 6:16 pm on August 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Bogey may have been in more classic films than any actor I can think of, from HIGH SIERRA (screenplay by John Huston) and CASABLANCA to THE AFRICAN QUEEN and THE HARDER THEY FALL (his final film). There was only one Bogey!

        Liked by 1 person

    • calmkate 7:56 pm on August 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      what a trip down memory lane, always learn something new and enjoyed these clips!

      Liked by 1 person

    • D. Wallace Peach 10:11 pm on August 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I just watched The African Queen with my parents a few weeks ago. Huston was quite a good director, but I’m also glad I didn’t know him. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 12:26 am on August 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        I just read in another book that Huston was driving drunk in 1933 when he struck and killed a passerby, but it was hushed up and he never paid the consequences. So much for the farce that “no man is above the law.”

        Liked by 1 person

        • D. Wallace Peach 10:50 am on August 6, 2020 Permalink

          Ugh. Oh, to be rich and powerful. We see what happens when someone is above the law, don’t we?

          Liked by 1 person

        • mistermuse 11:32 am on August 6, 2020 Permalink

          Considering that Huston didn’t include that incident among his “guilty regrets” in his autobiography, he must have still thought of himself as a privileged character.

          Like

    • The Coastal Crone 6:18 pm on August 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Love all these old guys!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Elizabeth 6:01 pm on August 8, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I loved the trailer for “The Maltese Falcon.” Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 1:01 am on July 31, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Angela Lansbury, , Be A Clown, Bozo the Clown, clown history, , Danny Kaye, , , , , National Clown Day, , ,   

    CLOWNING AROUND 

    Tomorrow is NATIONAL CLOWN DAY and also marks the start of INTERNATIONAL CLOWN WEEK (August 1-7).  Clowns have a long and interesting history, as chronicled in this scholarly(?) introduction to the subject:

    No doubt you noticed in the above video (unless you were clowning around while it was playing) that the first clowns were court jesters.  In the Middle Ages — as can be seen in this scene from the middle of a bygone century — THE COURT JESTER* typically played the fool and looked uncannily like Danny Kaye:

    Who knew film — technicolor, no less — existed way back then to record such scenes? But nowadays, clowns have a farcical role model who is an amalgamation of Court Jester, Bozo the Clown, and Tyrant-osaurus Rex:

    https://imgflip.com/memegenerator/77899773/Donald-Trump-Clown

    The moral of the amoral story is that, if you asspire to the highest office in the land, you could hardly do worse than pattern yourself a-Round-Old Mc-Donald Trump. All Hail to the Cheat  er, Chief!

    ….so BE A CLOWN!

    *THE COURT JESTER is a 1956 feature film starring Danny Kaye as a fatuous faux court jester (co-starring Angela Lansbury, Basil Rathbone, and Glynis Johns, among others).

     

     
  • mistermuse 12:00 am on April 30, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Ball Of Fire, , Dixieland jazz, , Firehouse 5 + 2, Hotter Than That, , International Jazz Day, , , Old MacDonald Had A Farm, ,   

    INTERNATIONAL JAZZ DAY 

    April 30 is INTERNATIONAL JAZZ DAY. Mistermuse could write a book about jazz, but many books have already been authored by jazz writers more authoritative than he, so mistermuse will settle for doing a post — and on this post, he has a chick who can sing a lick here, scat a lick there, wing a lick everywhere:

    You may think that’s hotter than a chicken wing or a pig on a spit — but here’s a cat who can scat too, and when he blows his bugle, he’s even….

    Is your computer smoking yet? We don’t want to alarm the Firehouse brigade, so before your pc bursts into a

    ….let’s do one number more and stop at four, because….

     

     

     
    • calmkate 2:25 am on April 30, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      ah you managed to warm my heart on a cold wet winters day!
      Thanks Mr M … everyday should be jazz day 😎

      Liked by 1 person

    • blindzanygirl 3:37 am on April 30, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Wonderful

      Liked by 1 person

    • masercot 12:05 pm on April 30, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      • mistermuse 2:59 pm on April 30, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for the link. Haven’t heard that version, but I know the song — it was recorded by the great Bessie Smith in 1928. I love the vocal on your clip — who is the vocalist?

        Liked by 1 person

    • Don Ostertag 12:22 pm on April 30, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      gives me an excuse to play my jazz collection, as if I needed an excuse. Bit of trivia – Firehouse 5 had a day job. The were animators for Disney.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 3:18 pm on April 30, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you, Don. Actually, I did know about the Disney connection. I own a few of their record albums, and the notes on one of them say that band founder trombonist Ward Kimball and tin whistle player Walt Kelly (of Pogo fame) first met at Disney Studios in 1934. They’re not my fav Dixieland band, but I still enjoy listening to them.

        Liked by 1 person

    • annieasksyou 7:32 pm on April 30, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Who says that’s a plenty? I wouldn’t my have minded several more. And a Happy International Jazz Day to you, mistermuse. Sure glad I got to this today; otherwise it wouldn’t have had the same cachet.

      And that chick Ella (my feathers were a little ruffled by your so naming her til the song began): anyone who can elevate a children’s nursery rhyme to art…well, she’s one cool scat.
      Such delight!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:51 pm on April 30, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        it was a feather in my cap, not only to have found the Ella clip, but the clip which is my favorite of the four: HOTTER THAN THAT. The “cat who can scat” in that recording is of course Louis Armstrong, and I’ve never heard him scat better than he does starting one minute and twenty seconds into the clip. It doesn’t get any hotter than that!

        Liked by 1 person

        • annieasksyou 8:15 am on May 1, 2020 Permalink

          At a high school reunion years ago, I was talking with the guy who was my senior prom date. He insisted that after the dance, we went into New York and saw Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. I was appalled at myself: how could I have NO recollection of such a significant event? Just months ago, I found an old scrapbook I’d made (we did that in those days), and I’d written how awful my date was and noted the performers we’d seen: much lesser lights than those two musical giants.
          I shall revisit your Satch video to see if I’ll be further tickled by his scats.

          Liked by 1 person

        • mistermuse 8:54 am on May 1, 2020 Permalink

          Thanks for that interesting remembrance.

          For decades, I’ve owned well over a dozen Louis LPs, at least one of which includes HOTTER THAN THAT….and I’M appalled at myself that I didn’t recollect how great his scatting was on that 1920s recording (until I found the video). Of course, he was at the peak of his creative power (both playing and scatting) back then, and that was only one of many unbelievable performances, so I suppose I should forgive myself for forgetting one of them.

          Liked by 1 person

    • annieasksyou 9:01 am on May 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Right—I think we both have to stop being appalled at ourselves…

      Liked by 1 person

    • Elizabeth 6:32 pm on May 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      It would have been wonderful to have had Ella as a grandmother entertaining us with that version. I wonder what she could do with the other standard nursery rhymes.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 12:11 am on May 2, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Wonder no more, Elizabeth. As a matter of fact, her first big hit record was a song she co-wrote in 1938 based on the nursery rhyme A-TISKET A-TASKET. Here, she sings it in a clip from the 1942 Abbot & Costello film RIDE ‘EM COWBOY:

        Liked by 1 person

    • moorezart 9:19 pm on May 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on From 1 Blogger 2 Another.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 12:14 am on May 2, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Moorezart for more jazz, and more jazz for moorezart. I dig it!

      Like

    • Silver Screenings 10:14 pm on May 4, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for including that great scene from Ball of Fire! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:28 pm on May 4, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Any scene with Barbara Stanwyck is a pleasure to watch — though I must say (when it comes to screwball comedies) that I liked THE LADY EVE (with her and Henry Fonda) better than BALL OF FIRE.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Silver Screenings 8:39 am on May 5, 2020 Permalink

          Agreed. I prefer The Lady Eve, too. Stanwyck is perfectly cast in that film – I can’t imagine anyone else in that role.

          Liked by 1 person

    • America On Coffee 8:49 pm on May 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I love jazz covers today which are going in many directions and genre incorporations. I wonder too,if Scat is the grandparent of rap…🤔

      Like

    • lorraineanne 11:10 am on May 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      this is amazing~ thank you for sharing.
      If you get a chance, I’d really appreciate if you can check out my music/ art blog.
      It would mean a lot!
      https://thehighsnlows.com

      lo

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 12:47 pm on May 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for the comment. I read your latest (Jazz Festivals) post, but currently have too much on my plate to read more. At this point, I can only say I liked what I saw and will try to check out a few more of your posts when I have time.

        Like

  • mistermuse 12:00 am on February 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    A NIGHT AT THE (SOAP) OPERA – Act III 

    When last we met, leaving our three stowaways on the good ship Lollipoop, Tomasso had cut the beards off of three Russian aviators, and he, Fiorello and Ricardo had assumed their identities….or so you were left to assume. But you don’t have to take my word for it….

    Having escaped from the speakers’ platform outside City Hall with plainclothes detective Henderson in pursuit, the stowaways and Driftwort take refuge in a nearby hotel, where they have a flat and retire. In the a.m., they have room service send up their breakfast.

    Just when you thought the opening night of the opera season would never arrive, it does….and so does Driftwort, only to learn that he has been fired by Missis Playpool for associating with riffraff (how riffraff got into the act, I’ll never know). Not to be denied, Driftwort (together with Tomasso and Fiorello) goes to Gottliebchen’s office, locks him in a closet, replaces Gottliebchen as Missis Playpool’s escort, and delivers the opening night address, which is the same as the day address, but not as easy to see:

    Is there no end to this madness? For the answer to that question, you will have to return for Act IV. Until then….

     
    • calmkate 5:34 am on February 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      thanks for finally revealing why my father would Never let us watch the Marx Bros … but I enjoyed a good giggle. They are obviously cousins to Abbott and Costello 😎

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:39 am on February 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        You’re welcome, Kate. A & C’s heyday started when the Marx Brothers’ best years ended in the 1940s. A & C may have been the ‘successors’ to the Marxes, though in my opinion, their films didn’t reach the level of madcap originality and wit of the Marx Brothers. But all due credit to A & C for one of the classic routines of all time, WHO’S ON FIRST?

        Liked by 2 people

    • masercot 9:23 am on February 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I’ve repeated Chico’s story of crossing the Atlantic to people just for the blank stares I get.

      “We getta close… a maybe a three feet… and what dya think, we run outta gas and we gotta go back…”

      Liked by 2 people

    • Ashley 9:39 am on February 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Crazy, crazy, crazy! Only the Marx Brothers could get away with such idiocy! It’s good to laugh just for the hell of it!

      Liked by 1 person

    • barkinginthedark 3:00 am on March 24, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      ‘O for the lyrics and lyricists of yore.
      They don’t make too many like them anymore
      Since ol’ Yip and Porter and Brecht
      Said adieu
      The clever and worldly are far ‘tween and few.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:50 am on March 24, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        You’re not a bad “lyricist” yourself — though setting your lyrics to music might stand no more than a “Ghost Of A Chance” (a 1933 hit composed by Victor Young, lyrics by Ned Washington)! 😉

        Like

    • barkinginthedark 9:54 pm on March 24, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      i almost forgot what a terrific crooner Der Bingle was. thanks MM. continue…

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:29 pm on March 24, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        I love the early Crosby’s voice. After about 1935, he gradually changed from being the emotional crooner of that 1933 clip to being, in my opinion, a less appealing and more commercially oriented (for lack of a better term) singer — still good, but not “terrific.” I own many recordings from both stages of his career, and the difference is obvious.

        Like

  • mistermuse 7:39 pm on February 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Allan Jones, , Kitty Carlisle, ,   

    A NIGHT AT THE (SOAP) OPERA – Act II 

    SCENE: A ship sailing from Wherever to New Yurt
    TIME:   A day or two after Whenever
    CAST:   The usual suspects (same characters as Act I)

    As the curtain opens on Act II, we find Opus E. Driftwort, Missis Playpool, Hermano Gottliebchen, renowned tenor Rodolpho Alasprairie, and beautiful soprano Rosa Grossa, who has been selected as the leading lady, onboard the good ship Lollipoop (which was pirated from an earlier opera set in the deep South titled BRAT EYES, starring Surly Temper as the leading child). The ship is about to depart for New Yurt, where the famous New Yurt Opera House is believed to be located.

    Sadly, tenor Ricardo Macaroni (Allan Jonesboro), who is in love with Rosa (and her with he), is being left behind on the dock, leading to this heart-breaking parting of the ways:

    Shortly thereafter, Driftwort enters his cabin and proceeds with the tusk of opening his trunk, only to find it packed with hungry stowaways Fiorello and Tomasso Marxista and Macaroni.

    Later, following much more merrymaking, music, and muddled madness, the stowaways are caught and confined to quarters for a change. Fiorello subsequently tires of listening to Tomasso’s kazoo and tosses it out the porthole. Tomasso leaps after it into the ocean, from which a lifeline lifts him into the stateroom of three bearded Russian aviators taking a nap. Tomasso then takes to his scissors, leaving three Russian aviators beardless and three stowaways becoming bearded Russian aviators Chicoski, Harpotski and Baronoff.

    Bear with us — we’re off until Act III.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     
    • Yeah, Another Blogger 11:43 pm on February 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      This is complicated!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 12:24 am on February 14, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        If you’ve never seen the movie A NIGHT AT THE OPERA (1935), I don’t blame you for finding this hard to follow. I’ve seen it probably half a dozen times over the years, and it hardly makes sense to me — but then, it’s the Marx Brothers, so it’s not supposed to make sense. Chaos reigns in all their films, especially in their two best films, A NIGHT AT THE OPERA and DUCK SOUP.

        BTW, for the benefit of those who aren’t old time movie buffs, the reference (in the first paragraph) to BRAT EYES starring Surly Temper, is wordplay on the 1934 film BRIGHT EYES starring Shirley Temple. If any of my readers made that connection, I salute you (but don’t call me Shirley).

        Liked by 1 person

    • masercot 8:10 am on February 14, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      “Would you like your nails long or short?”

      “Better make it short, it’s getting pretty crowded in here”

      Liked by 1 person

    • magickmermaid 12:32 pm on February 14, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      HAHAHA! I’m enjoying this new Night at the Opera! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • Silver Screenings 7:15 pm on February 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Haha – I love that scene in the crowded cabin. It never gets old.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:47 pm on February 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        That scene and the “sanity clause” scene are my favorites in A NIGHT AT THE OPERA — two classic scenes in a classic film!

        Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 12:00 am on November 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A Star Is Born, , , , , , , , musicals, ,   

    HOLLYWOOD’S GOLDEN AGE: END OF THE TRAIL 

    Just as all good things must come to an end, so too must all bad things (even Trump’s evil rule will run out of recourse eventually — e.g., the fat lady’s last aria at the opera seems to go on forever; will it end short of becoming a hoarse opera?). What it all a-mounts to is….

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch , we bid happy trails to “bad” actors not named Trump, and end our HOLLYWOOD’S GOLDEN AGE series with a roundup of some of the era’s great song & dance stars, starting with this incomparable pair whose magic outlasted their time:

    When it comes to high-energy dancing, no one outshined Gene Kelly. Here he is in THE PIRATE (1948), clowning around with the fabulous Nicholas Brothers:

    I do have one regret about this retrospective: so many musical stars, so little time and wherewithal for them all. Perhaps, as time goes by, I will use a favorite star’s birthday as an occasion to do an occasional post.

    In closing (speaking of when A STAR IS BORN), if ever someone was born to be one, it’s this star-crossed girl/woman with whom we bring down the curtain on this series:

     
    • calmkate 4:07 am on November 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      what a joyful collection of viewing, thanks Mr M!

      But Ginger and Fred are just sheer magic … no couple have ever created the ease and charm that they exuded on screen! My forever heros 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 10:54 am on November 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        It didn’t hurt (quoting from A SMITHSONIAN SALUTE TO THE AMERICAN MUSICAL) that “Astaire and Rogers worked with the finest composers of their day. Of their ten films together, one featured music by Cole Porter, two by Jerome Kern, one by George and Ira Gershwin, and three by Irvine Berlin.” Throw in great directors and supporting casts, and it’s no wonder there was movie magic!

        Liked by 3 people

        • calmkate 6:15 pm on November 13, 2019 Permalink

          that would certainly help and their stage settings add to the majesty but they had class and talent by the ton!

          Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger 9:27 am on November 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Have you seen the new movie Judy? I liked it very much. It focuses on the final months of her life.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:01 am on November 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Haven’t seen it, but saw snippets and an interview with the star on TV. Thanks for your comment.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Ashley 1:51 pm on November 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      This has been a great series and you should be congratulated for putting it all together.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 3:28 pm on November 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Many thanks, Ashley….and I even managed to cast a few aspersions at Trump in the bargain.

        Like

    • Rosaliene Bacchus 3:39 pm on November 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I could watch Fred & Ginger and Gene Kelly dance all day long! They brought joy to my tumultous young life.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 6:34 pm on November 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        To bring joy to a “tumultuous young life” — as Ira Gershwin wrote and Gene Kelly sang (in AN AMERICAN IN PARIS), “Who could ask for anything more?”

        Liked by 2 people

    • Rivergirl 8:52 pm on November 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      The Nicholas Brothers! That goes back…
      😊

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 11:31 pm on November 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        They go way back, but they lived long — especially the older brother, who died in 2006 at age 91.

        Liked by 2 people

    • mlrover 8:53 am on November 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Ginger spoke in an interview about that particular dance. Fred insisted on perfection, and as usual, doing it in one take. She said that by the time this scene was done as he liked it there was blood in her shoes. She also said, as she had before and would again, that she got paid less and did everything he did in heels and backward.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 1:28 pm on November 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Fred was indeed a perfectionist. Quoting from the book I mentioned in my earlier reply to calmkate, “the roller skating sequence in SHALL WE DANCE, for example, was shot 30 times, and the Never Gonna Dance number from SWING TIME was done in forty-eight takes.” As for Ginger, “I had plenty of input in our routines and got to be known as the ‘button finder’….the one who puts the last word or finishing touch on a scene.” So I don’t blame her for complaining “that she got paid less.”

        Although Ginger “did everything he did in heels and backward,” the one thing she didn’t do as well was sing. Irving Berlin said, “I’d rather have Fred Astaire introduce one of my songs than any other singer I know — not because he has a great voice, but because his delivery and diction are so good that he can put over a song like nobody else.”

        Liked by 2 people

        • David Thompson 9:00 pm on December 6, 2019 Permalink

          I grew up, will h my mother’s influence ..with this era. I am richer for the experience.

          Like

    • Elizabeth 1:40 pm on November 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I loved this series. Thanks for all the time and thoughtfulness you put into it.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Silver Screenings 12:22 am on November 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Amazing tributes, all, but the one for Judy Garland is amazing. To see all those films in one clip is a little mind-blowing. She was certainly prolific!

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 1:50 am on November 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I’m glad you singled out the Garland clip for special mention — it was an unexpected find, and probably my favorite in this series.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:12 pm on December 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you for the Like, David Thompson. I tried to check out your blog, but when I click the link, I get a blank screen. Before I approve your comment, kindly advise if your blog is not operational for some reason.

        Like

  • mistermuse 12:03 am on November 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bela Lugosi, , Bram Stoker, , Dracula, , , , horror movies, Lon Chaney Jr., Phantom of the Opera, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Invisible Man, The Wolf Man, , Vlad the Impaler   

    HOLLYWOOD’S GOLDEN AGE: NOT JUST BAD, BUT HORROR-ABLE ACTORS 

    November 8 is an especially appropriate day to unveil this post. Why? Because it’s the birthday of both VLAD DRACUL and BRAM STOKER, author of DRACULA, the famous horror novel “inspired” by the lore of Vlad Dracul — badder known as Vlad the Impaler (for badder details, click links below — the second of which is not for the squeamish):

    https://www.onthisday.com/people/vlad-the-impaler

    The Terrifying True Story Of Vlad The Impaler — History’s Real Dracula

    This sets the stage for the first of our “horror-able” actors: BELA LUGOSI, one of movie history’s most iconic character actors, who played Count Dracula in the classic DRACULA film released in February 1931. Here is the trailer:

    As if unleashing one monster on the public in 1931 wasn’t enough, November brought….

    Frankenstein’s monster was of course played by the equally “horror-able” and iconic character actor, November-born Boris Karloff:

    Next we have The Wolf Man, Lon Chaney Jr. (son of the legendary silent film star who played Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the phantom in The Phantom of the Opera, and other leading roles in early classics)….

    For our closer, the Price is right….Vincent Price, that is. Although most of Price’s horror-able roles came after Hollywood’s Golden Age, he wasn’t entirely invisible during it (or was he?):

    That’s The End for now, but never fear. We, too, shall return….

     
    • obbverse 2:29 am on November 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Dracula… no es-cape.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 12:22 pm on November 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Like Dracula, like Trump.
        But at least the former offers escapism from the latter.

        Like

    • calmkate 6:28 am on November 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      what a horror-able collection of bad actors and C grade movies … good to watch for a laugh 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • masercot 7:44 am on November 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I never felt that Lon Cheney wanted to be in movies. He was kind of clumsy as an actor. But, he was also kind of love-able, so he gets a pass from me. I did enjoy his interaction with Lou Costello in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. I think one of his best roles was in Spider Baby…

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 9:41 am on November 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        You mean Jr, of course. He. probably wouldn’t have become an actor if his father, Lon Chaney, hadn’t been one — and a famous one, too — in the silent era.

        Like

    • scifihammy 8:16 am on November 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I used to love watching these old horror movies on late night TV as a kid, with my brother. Classics! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Rivergirl 9:05 am on November 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Oh, I used to loooove those when I was young! Now? Pure camp. Delightful.

      Liked by 1 person

    • magickmermaid 1:01 pm on November 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I’m not a horror film fan but for some reason I really liked these! Maybe because the acting was so over the top that I found them funny 🙂
      I enjoyed your Bad Actors series!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 1:21 pm on November 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, mm. I think we appreciate them more as adults because we don’t take them seriously….or should I say, we can take them seriously as “camp” classics.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Ashley 1:21 pm on November 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Great fun. These had me laughing, again!

      Liked by 1 person

    • America On Coffee 5:20 pm on November 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I cannot imagine how scary these all were compared to Freddy Krueger and our government today!😱

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:26 pm on November 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Trump and his administration are certainly scarier than any horror movie. At least we don’t have to watch Freddie Krueger, but you can’t turn on the news on TV or read a newspaper without being confronted by the hideous orange monster.

        Liked by 1 person

        • America On Coffee 12:55 am on November 9, 2019 Permalink

          Pray for Trump, Congress and our Judicial branch.🙏

          Liked by 1 person

        • mistermuse 1:38 am on November 9, 2019 Permalink

          Sorry to say I can’t think of anything more futile than praying for Trump. I think we both know he is what he is — it’s “baked in” — and he isn’t going to change. Far be it from me, however, to discourage anyone else from wasting their time praying for a man who’s the very personification of a lost cause.

          Like

    • Elizabeth 5:51 pm on November 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I think those old horror films were a lot less horror filled than more recent ones. Maybe it’s just because blood looks less dreadful in black and white.

      Like

    • mistermuse 8:32 pm on November 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I think much of the horror in old horror films was suggested or implied compared to how graphic (made more so by Technicolor) horror films are today.

      Like

  • mistermuse 1:54 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , ,   

    HOLLYWOOD’S GOLDEN AGE: MORE “BAD” ACTORS 

    In my previous post dealing with “bad” actors, we looked to the stars before turning to the character actors….but Hollywood’s Golden Age produced so many great bad character actors that only ONE such showing would be an injustice. So, before making my getaway from these characters, I’ll need to do more than one more post.

    Let’s begin this post with a name mentioned in my last post, PETER LORRE. Here he is, along with two accomplices, committing an act so unconstrained, it’s almost unbelievable:

    OK, that wasn’t exactly the typical Lorre performance you expected. But if you’ve seen CASABLANCA and THE MALTESE FALCON (and what classic movie fan hasn’t?), you’ve seen the classic Peter Lorre. So let’s put a wrap on that bird with this:

    Next, we turn to Lorre’s frequent “partner in crime” movies, SYDNEY GREENSTREET:

    We close this segment with a name you may not remember, but who could forget that character:

    TO BE CONTINUED….

     

     

     
    • moorezart 2:23 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on From 1 Blogger 2 Another.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Rivergirl 3:33 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Love it!
      Casablanca is one of my all time favorites. Did you know Ronald Reagan was originally slated to play Rick? I can’t even wrap my mind around that.

      Liked by 5 people

      • mistermuse 4:47 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        I vaguely recall that about Ronald Reagan. The only worse casting I can imagine would be Donald Trump to play Abraham Lincoln.

        Liked by 3 people

    • Elizabeth 5:13 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Can’t remember if I have already shared this. Every exam period the movie theater in Cambridge had a Bogart film festival. So I saw all of those films several times over. I loved Greenstreet and Lorre too. Of course I always imagined it was me that Bogie was looking at.

      Liked by 3 people

    • calmkate 5:44 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      With all these men their expressive eyes are the winners!
      Thanks for expanding my knowledge 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 6:41 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Kate, you might say “The eyes have it with these guys? (as opposed to Trump, who tries to pull the wool over our eyes).

        Liked by 1 person

        • calmkate 6:43 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink

          he can only do that with absolute morons, any one with brains can see the psychopath for what he is …

          Liked by 3 people

    • Carmen 7:38 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Well, that was a great blast from the past!

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 8:10 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Carmen. On that note of tribute, I’ll share with you a bit of trivia which I’m not sharing with anyone else: the first clip’s “Sweet Siberia” song (and entire score of SILK STOCKINGS) was composed by none other than Cole Porter. I’m only telling you that because I GET A KICK OUT OF YOU.

        Like

        • Carmen 8:59 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink

          I’ll consider that my birthday present. . . And yes, it’s sweet 62! 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 9:21 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Been there, done that. But Happy Birthday anyway, Carmen, despite the envy you make me feel!

      Like

    • davidbruceblog 9:28 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on davidbruceblog #2.

      Liked by 2 people

    • masercot 6:58 am on November 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I loved Lorre in the Mr. Moto movies. I’m interested in “yellow-face” in old movies. There are bad cases of it, such as the Charlie Chan series; however, Lorre and Karloff portrayed Asian detectives in a very straightforward way. Lorre’s Moto was a nice mix of ethics and ruthlessness. He was essentially Raymond Reddington on The Blacklist…

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 4:08 pm on November 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        I didn’t see much of Mr.Moto when I was young, probably because the Charlie Chan series was on TV frequently and I became a big Chan fan (as I got older, not so much). My favorite in the “sleuth” genre was Sherlock Holmes, played so well by Basil Rathbone. I think some of the Homes films still hold up fairly well today.

        Like

    • smbabbitt 1:18 pm on November 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Cook appeared in some marvelous films, and outlived most of the actors whose roles required them to insult or torment him. And deserves to be especially remembered for the memorable drumming scene in PHANTOM LADY.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 5:03 pm on November 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Some actors’ character portrayals are so one-of-a-kind that you never forget them. Cook was certainly one such actor. Here’s the scene you mentioned (actual drumming dubbed by jazz drummer Dave Coleman):

        Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 12:06 am on November 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , gangster films, , , , Little Caesar, , The Public Enemy, The Roaring Twenties, Yankee Doodle Dandy   

    HOLLYWOOD’S GOLDEN AGE: THE “BAD” ACTORS 

    “The gangster film has always been one of the staples of the American cinema. Though the record shows that there were several motion pictures with a gangster theme as far back as the silent era, the genre did not really begin to flourish as a popular form until the thirties. Depression-era audiences responded strongly to all the action, violence and romance that these films contained, and were more than willing to get caught up in the colorful on-screen exploits of Edward G. Robinson,, James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart. In a sense, the movie gangster, with the rebellious breaking of society’s rules and regulations, and his aggressive drive to “get somewhere” regardless of consequences, became something of a hero to filmgoers of the period.”
    “Robinson, Cagney and Bogart are, even today, the three actors most associated with films of this type, which isn’t surprising, since all three achieved their initial fame in a Warner Brothers [the king-of-the-hill gangster film studio] crime drama.”

    –Robert Bookbinder, author of CLASSIC GANGSTER FILMS

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    There were a lot of “bad actors” in Hollywood in those days. Robinson, Cagney and Bogart weren’t the only famous names to have become famous names playing bad guys in 1930s gangster films, but most (e.g. Peter Lorre) remained typecast as character actors. We will take a look at the “bad character actors” in our next post; this post will look to the stars.

    Quoting further from Robert Bookbinder’s excellent book CLASSIC GANGSTER FILMS, “Little Caesar [1931] was the first of the great gangster films. It made a star of Edward G. Robinson, who had been working in films since 1923, and it laid the groundwork for all the fine Warner Brothers gangster movies that followed.” Here’s a clip from the film:

    How tough was Edward G. Robinson? Tough enough to get Doris Day and Jack Carson out of a pickle:

    Just as Little Caesar made a star of Robinson, Warner Brothers’ second gangster film (later the same year), The Public Enemy, made a star of James Cagney. In this scene, after Cagney’s friend is shot to death by a gang, he vows revenge and arms himself with two 38s:

    By 1942, Cagney had made a clean break from the “gangs” — here he is in scenes from his Oscar-winning performance as showman George M. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy:

    As for Humphrey Bogart, he was the last of the three to attain stardom after years of supporting roles in gangster films. In The Roaring Twenties (1939), he is third-billed (Cagney stars):

    All three, as we know, went on to bigger (if not badder) things in such films as Double Indemnity (Robinson), Mister Roberts (Cagney), and, of course, Casablanca (Bogart), among many other memorable performances. Who says crime doesn’t pay?

     

     
    • calmkate 5:30 am on November 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      violence and crime … not a good mix! But thanks for the trip down memory lane 😎
      John Wayne is the same in every movie … these three could act 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

    • Rivergirl 7:55 am on November 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Growing up I had a life size Bogie poster on my bedroom door. My Godfather grew up and was childhood friends with Jimmy Cagney. Wish he had lived long enough to tell me some stories…
      And did you know tough Edward G was actually an art connoisseur? He amassed an amazing collection in his lifetime recognizing talent before anyone else.

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 9:59 am on November 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you for that fascinating comment, Rg. I’m guessing your Bogie poster was from a scene in one of his most famous films, like CASABLANCA, MALTESE FALCON, or AFRICAN QUEEN.

        I too would’ve loved to hear your Godfather tell some Cagney stories. As for Edward G., I’ve read his extremely interesting autobiography titled ALL MY YESTERDAYS, so I did know about his art collection. Despite this tough guy image, he was actually “a man of wit, of dignity, and of great sensitivity” (so described by movie producer Hal Wallis, who knew Robinson well).

        Liked by 2 people

        • Rivergirl 10:54 am on November 1, 2019 Permalink

          Not sure what movie the poster was from. Trench coat, slouched hat, cigarette. Could have been any of them.
          My godfather grew up in a tough section of NYC, I bet the stories were colorful.
          And yes Edward G was the antithesis of his rough and tumble characters. Odd, that.

          Liked by 1 person

    • masercot 10:32 am on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      With Bogart as with Lorre, you always felt a little menace from them, even when they were playing benign roles…

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 3:08 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Always with Bogart, ALMOST always with Lorre — my (tongue-in-cheek) exception is the first clip in my new post today.

        Liked by 1 person

    • literaryeyes 8:31 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I loved Peter Lorre. Even when he was at his baddest I couldn’t help chuckling. Great actors who didn’t mind chewing up the scenery. The molls were good too, Ingrid Bergman, Lauren Bacall, etc.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 9:16 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Lorre has long been a favorite of mine too, Mary. You may not know that he was a “song and dance man” in one of his last films — check out the SWEET SIBERIA clip in my new post today!

        Liked by 1 person

    • davidbruceblog 9:34 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on davidbruceblog #2.

      Liked by 5 people

    • Silver Screenings 11:53 pm on November 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      James Cagney as gangster can be chilling, especially in “White Heat”, which is one of my fave Cagney performances.

      Yup, I’d say these three are the trifecta of bad guys. Talented actors, all.

      Didn’t Edward G. Robinson once say (and I’m paraphrasing): “Some actors have talent, some have good looks, and I have menace.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 1:43 am on November 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        I’m not sure about the Robinson quote — he may have said it, but I don’t remember it. He did indeed have menace, but not in all of his films – including one of my favs, DOUBLE INDEMNITY. He could also play menace for laughs, such as in the very funny LARCENY, INC.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Silver Screenings 10:31 am on November 17, 2019 Permalink

          I love his performance in Larceny, Inc. And his meek clerk in The Whole Town’s Talking, where he plays dual roles.

          Liked by 1 person

        • mistermuse 1:44 pm on November 17, 2019 Permalink

          Thanks for mentioning The Whole Town’s Talking – it’s been a long time since I’ve seen it.
          Have you read Robinson’s autobiography, ALL MY YESTERDAYS? I’m sure you would enjoy it.

          Like

  • mistermuse 12:09 am on October 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Edward Everett Horton, , , , , , Mantan Moreland, , , S. Z. Sakall, Way Out West,   

    HOLLYWOOD’S GOLDEN AGE: WHAT A CHARACTER (ACTOR)! 

    “Nobody needs a mink coat but the mink.” –S. Z. “Cuddles” Sakall, character actor (Feb. 2, 1883-Feb. 12, 1955)

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    There have been so many great male character actors in Hollywood Golden Age history that, for this post, I’m going to narrow the field to comedic character actors….and even then, I’ll probably leave out some of your favorites. Of course, if you don’t have any old comedy film favorites, you’re probably not an old comedy film fan, so you’re excused (even though that’s no excuse….actually, you should be ashamed of yourself).

    Leaving that aside, let’s move on, starting with the author of the above quote….a quote which probably didn’t go over too well with most of the Hollywood glamour girls he knew — speaking of which, did you know that Sakall was born in, and is strictly from, Hungary (btw, he was also in Casablanca). Here’s more scuttlebutt about Cuddles but…it’s not a lot:

    Next, Laurel & Hardy fans will remember the trademark ‘double-take’ look of this gent, who appeared in many of their films, including here in one of their best, WAY OUT WEST:

    Remember double features (two films for the price of one in movie houses of the 1930s-50s)? Here’s a double feature of two great comedic actors for the price of one in a scene from SHALL WE DANCE, one of three Astaire-Rogers movies in which they appeared together:

    If you’re a fan of Charlie Chan movies, you may recall the pop-eyed comic who played Chan’s chauffeur in over a dozen films, as well as parts in Preston Sturges’ THE PALM BEACH STORY (1942), CABIN IN THE SKY (1943), CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK (1944), and many others. Here he is in a scene from THE SCARLET CLUE (1945):

    In closing, I’ll mention several other great comedic character actors I could’ve/should’ve profiled here, but I have to stop somewhere: William Demarest, Edgar Kennedy, Frank Morgan, Franklin Pangborn, Erik Rhodes, Victor Moore, and many more. Thank you, one and all, for bringing character to comedy.

     
    • masercot 4:38 am on October 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Fine examples! Might I add Tom Kennedy?

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 8:50 am on October 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Absolutely! I remember the name but couldn’t place the face until I checked — how could I have forgotten? I saw him in many a Marx Brothers, W.C. Fields, Laurel & Hardy and Three Stooges movie. My bad!

        Liked by 2 people

        • masercot 8:59 am on October 24, 2019 Permalink

          It was a time when any big Irishman could find work in the movies… My favorite line of his? “I feel a poem coming on”

          Liked by 1 person

    • Elizabeth 4:28 pm on October 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I never knew the names of any of these actors, though I remember all of their appearances. I loved the banter in the last clip. That comedic timing is priceless.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 7:00 pm on October 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I believe that that banter came straight out of an old vaudeville skit which Mantan Moreland probably performed many times previously. An oldie but goody!

      Like

    • Silver Screenings 11:37 pm on November 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      These posts are treats. Thanks for curating these lists and choosing such fab videos to share with us.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 1:20 am on November 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you for your comments, SS. I very much enjoyed doing this series of posts, time-consuming though it was to do the work of putting them together.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Silver Screenings 10:29 am on November 17, 2019 Permalink

          Oh yes, I can imagine the hours spent in this series. The end result is fabulous: A tour through classic Hollywood.

          Liked by 1 person

    • America On Coffee 11:18 am on December 7, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Memorable picks! Love them all!!💕❤️

      Liked by 1 person

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