Thursday, September 24, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Original Coyote Ugly starring Ginger, and other videos

I've been dabbling in some Ginger videos this evening, surprise-surprise. This first one I'm calling the original Coyote Ugly, love the whole dancing on the bar piece and the tapping boys on a string at the end, haha. :)

"Out of Sight Out of Mind" from In Person (1935)

"Shake Your Powder Puff" from Upperworld (1934)

Frederic March introduces Ginger singing "Used to Be You" - no idea what the fancy footwork there towards the end is called, but I love it!

Aaaand "You'll Be Reminded of Me" from Vivacious Lady (1938) is Ginger's version of Alanis Morisette's "You Oughta Know." I couldn't help it, that's what I thought of while watching this! Really though, my favorite part of this is when she says "the food's terrible..." - that, and how young James Stewart looks.

Ok, that's enough. Turning off the computer now. Nighty-night.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Gorgeous wallpapers

Ginger will make you crazy, originally uploaded by joflc.

  /ˈgɔrdʒəs/ [gawr-juhs]
1. splendid or sumptuous in appearance, coloring, etc.; magnificent: a gorgeous gown; a gorgeous sunset.

While browsing, I came across some splendid, sumptuous, magnificent Fred & Ginger wallpapers put together by user joflc. They did a beautiful job on these, there is a whole set of about 20 - they were too good not to share! You can view them here:


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Gone With the Wind - A Smooth & Dreamy Production?

So apparently Breyer's ice cream has come up with a marketing idea to make parodies of classic films in order to sell their ice cream. "Smooth & Dreamy Productions" - clever, yet corny. Here is Breyer's Jane as Scarlet O'Hara in Gone With the Wind - they really do a seamless job of fitting her right into the movie, and some of the jokes are even funny. :)

And just because it's loosely related, here's a random picture of a smoking Vivien Leigh during Gone With the Wind production. Seemed to go with the theme, since there's a smoking 12-year-old Ginger Roger's below. Not that I have a thing for smoking or anything, although Lolita's Classics has a pretty cool Smoking Women series going on.

Majoring on the Minor

I majorly love this minor! I recently watched The Major and the Minor for the first time, just in time for the 67th anniversary of its release on September 16, 1942. I found it to be absolutely delightful, and I burst out laughing at Ginger's comedic performance more than a few times. Definitely a bright spot in the day. :)

I was pretty impressed at what a convincing child Ginger made! She looks exactly like a kid, and honestly when I first saw this photo (before seeing the movie), I didn't believe it was Ginger. Pretty amazing!

The only thing that slightly disturbed me about the movie is the whole "bedtime story for grownups" comparison - say what?! - and how quickly the major seems to go for her in the end when it's revealed that ta-da, she's a fully grown woman and not a 12 year old kid. It takes him about...30 seconds to kiss her? I'd have felt better if he'd had a little more time to let it all sink in before appearing to say to himself "oh, thank God - now I don't have to feel guilty, moving in for the big smack-a-roo!" But, these classic films often seem to have quick resolutions to wrap up the ending, so I'm letting it go. :)

I love how the New York Times has archived the original movie reviews for quite a few of the classics. The Major and the Minor was reviewed on September 17, 1942 by none other than Mr. Bosley Crowther - what a name, lol! But Mr. Crowther does give it a good review, calling it a "cunning" film, and saying "Miss Rogers gives a beautiful imitation of a Quiz Kid imitating Baby Snooks. And in those moments when romance brightly kindles, she is a soft and altogether winning miss. Put this down as one of the best characterizations of her career." Well....some compliment!

Here's the trailer for The Major and the Minor (1942).

I found some cute posters and movie stills...

This guy was about to get an egg smashed on his head by the lovely Miss Attitude...

Why does it amuse me so that the restroom was called the lounge?

The 12-year-old smoker, here...

and drinker....(actually, it was supposed to be gingerale)

Next to these boys, she really doesn't look 12 anymore!

All in all, a delightful, fun movie that I highly recommend. The end. :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tea and Sympathy

Last weekend I watched Tea & Sympathy (1956) starring Deborah Kerr and John Kerr, which I had dvr'd from TCM. Had never heard of it before, and had no idea what to expect. I've never even been a big Deborah Kerr fan, so I wasn't counting on loving the movie or anything, but boy was I pleasantly surprised. Once again, this is one of those films that attempted to push the boundaries of acceptable subject matter for its time. The story follows the interactions of Deborah Kerr, a schoolteacher's wife, and John Kerr, a student at the boy's school who also dorms in a boarding house run by Deborah Kerr and her husband. The student is teased and called "Sister Boy" by the other (rotten) boys for his wretched offense of not fitting the traditionally masculine sterotype. He doesn't like sports or rough-housing, and would rather play music, study art, or read a book out in nature instead of joining in their lively games and (shallow) rituals.

I think the movie script would only allow for "Sister Boy" as the worst name to call poor John, because I doubt that calling him "gay" would've gotten past the censors, but clearly that is what is believed about him. If the movie had been made today, it probably would've gone with the idea of him being gay and followed that plot to the end, maybe even resulting in a successful suicide attempt, as that seems to be the way that so many of our modern gay movie characters have to go (remembering Lost & Delirious here). That's actually the end I was expecting, but instead I got to witness the intricacies of his bourgeoning infatuation with Deborah Kerr, as she was drawn to comfort and befriend him out of sympathy for the misery he had to endure simply for not fitting in the box. She herself was lonely and neglected by her all-too-masculine husband, who seemed to care more for his sports coaching than his wife.

John and Deborah's friendship, in their loneliness, leads to an affection that is hinted at turning into love. Deborah Kerr's husband begins to suspect that things are going a little too deep, and he becomes jealous and almost cruel in his actions towards both wife and student. He does nothing to help alleviate the teasing and resulting suffering of John, though it is certainly in his power to do so as a teacher and role model for the other boys. In the end, John is driven nearly to suicide, and in the aftermath Deborah is driven to seek him out and express to him just how much he means to her, wrong as it may be. She finds him alone in the woods in one of his quiet reading places, and utters the famous line, "Years from now, when you talk about this - and you will - be kind" as she gives him the long anticipated kiss. What a sad, wonderful ending.....only, it wasn't the end yet.

So shocking was this story's resolution, that the film-makers added sort of a disclaimer at the end in the form of a letter written by Deborah Kerr to her beloved student 10 years later in which she expresses regret for her runaway heart. This 1956 New York Times Tea & Sympathy movie review sums it up well by saying,

"Because the letter at the end, which brings the story into a ten-years-later reminiscent frame, is so prudish and unnecessary, we strongly suggest that you leave after Miss Kerr has reached her hand gently toward the boy and spoken the unforgettably poignant line, "Years from now, when you talk about this—and you will—be kind."

Well, I was so taken by this movie that I started Googling around about it, and found some fabulous vintage movie posters.

I even found this book, which I would LOVE to get my hands on as a collector's item.

And what do you know, there is a Tea & Sympathy British tea house in Greenwich Village, NYC. This place looks so cool, should I ever visit New York, I must go here!

They have all these really unique teapots, including this Alice in Wonderland teapot. Would love to own it!

The menu looks wonderful, all kinds of things I'd love to try like Afternoon Tea for One which includes "Assorted finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and strawberry or raspberry jam. A selection of cakes. A pot of steaming hot tea." All for just $35, haha. I bet the tea is delicious. Even if it's not, I'll take the atmosphere. Oh, and deliveries are made in this authentic London cab. I wonder how much the delivery charge is to Ohio? :)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

This is old hat for me...

It's Day 2 of my blogging adventure, and since I'm still early on in this thing, I've decided to share the story of why I love Classic Hollywood.

I was actually raised on classic films while growing up in the 80's & 90's. My parents are great lovers of Classic Hollywood, and they definitely instilled that love and appreciation in me! I grew up singing and dancing right along with Ginger & Fred, Shirley Temple, Judy Garland and the like right in my living room - and even got made fun of for it by other kids! Around elementary age, I used to hold my little portable tape recorder up to the tv and record the songs from the movies I loved, then walk around listening to my prized tapes in my Walkman - could never understand why I couldn't get the other kids to like "my" music. Why would any kid in 1989 choose to listen to New Kids on The Block over my Meet Me In St. Louis home-recorded soundtrack? Even in high school, one of my favorite things to do was fake sick to stay home from school, lay on the couch, and watch TCM all day. :)

Now that I am old and wise, my admiration for the abundant talent evident during the golden days of Hollywood just keeps growing. It should be obvious that I'm slightly obsessed with Ginger Rogers, and oddly enough, it didn't come about through watching the Astaire/Rogers films. It happened one night several years ago when I caught Bachelor Mother on TCM, and was really struck by Ginger's acting ability in a movie which I was frankly quite surprised made it past the censors of the late 30's! I mean come on, the very idea that a single woman could even consider giving the appearance of having gotten knocked up and raising a child on her own in 1939 is pushing the envelope - hence the appeal of this movie for me! I thought Ginger (alongside David Niven) was adorable and spunky, and I feel this film really gave her an opportunity to show her "humaness."

Here's the trailer for Bachelor Mother (1939).

After being so impressed by her acting, I started watching every Ginger film I could get my hands (or remote control?) on. Just read a quote from Astaire the other day in which he graciously gave Ginger much of the credit for their partnership's success -

"Ginger was brilliantly effective. She made everything work for her. Actually she made things very fine for both of us and she deserves most of the credit for our success."

That was modest of him of course, because it was the magic & chemistry between both of them that was superb - but at the same time, I'm so glad he gave her props for her incredible talent and contribution to their pairing. There's just nothing like it.

As quoted from an August 14, 2009 New York Times article entitled They Seem to Find the Happiness They Seek, “You have this pretty girl and this far from handsome yet smoothly attractive guy, and the two of them join together to dance like nobody else, before or since, and some terrific music is playing much of the time, so what the hell, but wouldn’t it be great if life had more such moments: glamorous, romantic, elegant, yes, and uncomplicatedly happy.”

It all came down to this...

Well, it seems something has finally come of all the talk. I've been saying for years that I was going to start a blog, and here I am really doing it. Way to follow through, self.

I've spent the evening browsing Blogger and have come across some really wonderful classic film blogs that I'm looking forward to linking up here soon. I'm especially happy to have found a handful of Ginger Rogers fans who have dug up some rare photos to share - I hope to be able to contribute to that treasure trove myself! I've had a great time watching some of the more rare Ginger films they've linked to - especially an early 1930 short called Office Blues from Finding Ginger's blog.

Ginger is so cute in this with that almost Betty Boop-ish late 20's/early 30's-style singing; she must've been about 18-years-old here. The ending would obviously not have made it past the censors later in the decade, those are my favorite to watch! Great find. A co-worker and I shared a good laugh over it at the office today - and then the song got stuck in our heads for a while. Catchy little tune.

Tonight, I will leave off with one of my favorite scenes from Swing Time, as Fred (Lucky) and Ginger (Penny) dance to keep Penny's job after Lucky has just feigned terrible ineptitude at dancing in order to get the lovely dance instructor Penny to consider him as a pupil in need of her tutelage. Too cute! The video is found here.