Wednesday, October 07, 2015

This Weekend: The 2015 Lone Pine Film Festival

Thursday morning my husband and I are off to the 2015 Lone Pine Film Festival!

We had a wonderful time at last year's festival; all the links for last year's coverage may be found here. It hardly seems possible that it's been a year already! We had such a great experience that we signed up for this year's festival as soon as ticket and hotel reservations became available.

Some of the things on our 2015 festival schedule:

*A concert with Western singer Don Edwards

*A screening of the Hopalong Cassidy film IN OLD COLORADO (1941), followed by a bus tour of the film's locations

*A bus tour of GUNGA DIN (1939) locations; GUNGA DIN was a very memorable screening at last year's festival, hosted by special effects wizards Ben Burtt and Craig Barron

*A screening of the Rory Calhoun-Anne Francis Western THE HIRED GUN (1957), followed by a bus tour of the locations

I also hope to fit in some additional screenings, including George Montgomery in RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE (1941). Alas, I'll be on a tour when the 1931 George O'Brien version of the same story is shown!

Guests expected in Lone Pine this year include William Wellman Jr., Bruce Boxleitner, Johnny Crawford, Wyatt McCrea, Petrine Mitchum, Billy King, Cheryl Rogers Barnett, and Diamond Farnsworth.

Full details are on the festival website.

Stay tuned for coverage when I return!

Disney Actor Kevin Corcoran Dies at 66

Former child actor Kevin Corcoran, known for his appearances in many Disney movies and TV shows, died on Tuesday, October 6th. He was 66 years old.

Corcoran had been suffering from cancer for several years. He passed away at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank -- right across the street from the Walt Disney Studios.

The Corcoran family, like the Watsons and Severns before them, were a large family of child actors; Kevin had seven siblings who were also in the business. The Corcoran children included the gifted Donna, who was so good in films such as SCANDAL AT SCOURIE (1953), and Noreen, who appeared in I LOVE MELVIN (1953) and the TV series BACHELOR FATHER.

Kevin started out at Disney playing "Moochie" in ADVENTURES IN DAIRYLAND and two seasons of the SPIN AND MARTY serial on THE MICKEY MOUSE CLUB. He would later appear in episodes of WONDERFUL WORLD OF DISNEY.

He appeared in the Disney feature films OLD YELLER (1957), THE SHAGGY DOG (1959), TOBY TYLER (1960), POLLYANNA (1960), SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON (1960), BABES IN TOYLAND (1961), BON VOYAGE! (1962), SAVAGE SAM (1963), and A TIGER WALKS (1964). He's seen above left in OLD YELLER and at the right with Ann Jillian in BABES IN TOYLAND.

He went on to get a college degree and work behind the scenes as an assistant director.

Corcoran was named a Disney Legend in 2006.

I had the great pleasure of seeing Kevin Corcoran at the El Capitan Theatre just 10 months ago, when he was interviewed by the Walt Disney Archive's Becky Cline before a screening of SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON (1960). I'm so glad I went! He was very appreciative of the wonderful experiences he'd had thanks to Disney and was an engaging speaker. My account of the evening may be found here.

The Los Angeles Times published a good obituary today.

Thanks for many happy Disney memories, Kevin. My sincere condolences to the Corcoran family.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Tonight's Movie: Time to Kill (1942)

One good Raymond Chandler mystery deserves another, so after enjoying MURDER, MY SWEET (1944) this weekend, I turned to the very last film in the Michael Shayne mystery series, TIME TO KILL (1942).

For those who are puzzled and thinking that Michael Shayne isn't a Chandler detective, that's quite right. A pair of Chandler's Philip Marlowe mysteries had an unusual film history. The book FAREWELL, MY LOVELY was initially filmed by RKO as the Falcon mystery THE FALCON TAKES OVER (1942) before turning back into a Marlowe mystery in RKO's MURDER, MY SWEET two years later.

The same year as THE FALCON TAKES OVER, Chandler's book THE HIGH WINDOW followed a similar path at 20th Century-Fox. THE HIGH WINDOW was first used by the studio as the basis for TIME TO KILL, featuring P.I. Michael Shayne, then half a decade later it was filmed as a Philip Marlowe mystery called THE BRASHER DOUBLOON (1947).

In TIME TO KILL Lloyd Nolan returns for his seventh and final outing as Shayne in a series which ran from 1940 to 1942. This time around he becomes mixed up with an elderly widow (Ethel Griffies), her secretary (Heather Angel), and her former daughter-in-law (Doris Merrick, seen at right) in a mystery surrounding a rare coin, the Brasher doubloon.

The breezy 61-minute plot also makes time for blackmail and murder before wrapping up quickly, with Shayne resolving a number of plot details in the final minutes of the movie. It's a solid title in the series, and I only wish Nolan had continued as Shayne for a few more films. I enjoyed this mystery series a great deal.

TIME TO KILL was directed by Herbert I. Leeds and filmed by Charles Clarke. The supporting cast includes Richard Lane, Ralph Byrd, Paul Guilfoyle, Morris Ankrum, Sheila Bromley, and Phyllis Kennedy.

While the first five Shayne movies were released on DVD and the sixth has been shown on Fox Movie Channel, I'd been looking for the last movie, TIME TO KILL, for a couple of years. My thanks to reader Maricatrin for helping me to see it at last!

Previous reviews of films in the Michael Shayne series: MICHAEL SHAYNE, PRIVATE DETECTIVE (1940), SLEEPERS WEST (1941), DRESSED TO KILL (1941), BLUE, WHITE AND PERFECT (1942), THE MAN WHO WOULDN'T DIE (1942), and JUST OFF BROADWAY (1942).

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Tonight's Movie: Naughty Marietta (1935) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy star in NAUGHTY MARIETTA (1935), just reissued on DVD by the Warner Archive.

NAUGHTY MARIETTA was previously released by the Archive as a single title, but this time around it's the lead film in the four-movie, four-DVD Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy Collection, Vol. I. The other films in this set are ROSE-MARIE (1936), MAYTIME (1937), and THE GIRL OF THE GOLDEN WEST (1938). A second volume from the Archive contains four additional MacDonald-Eddy films.

Jeanette plays Princess Marie of France, soon to be forced by her evil uncle (Douglass Dumbrille) to marry the foppish Don Carlos of Spain. Don Carlos is flamboyantly played by Walter Kingsford, who was later the staid Dr. Carew of the Dr. Kildare series.

Marie trades places with her maid Marietta (Helen Shipman) and sets sail for New Orleans. The ship is attacked by pirates, but once ashore "Marietta" is saved by dashing Captain Warrington (Eddy).

Marietta and the Captain spar and sing as he tries to figure out this unusual girl's story, and gradually they fall in love. Then her uncle arrives in pursuit...

NAUGHTY MARIETTA was Jeanette and Nelson's first film together, and for this fan of musicals it was pure bliss. They're simply charming together; Jeanette was always a firecracker on screen, spunky, funny, and with charisma to spare, and Nelson doesn't get nearly enough credit. He's a lot of fun and strikes plenty of sparks with his leading lady. I think those who remember him as "wooden" must be the same people who claim John Gilbert had a high-pitched speaking voice.

MacDonald and Eddy's singing style may not be for every filmgoer, but their effective acting combined with their comedic skills, on top of their great musical talent, makes the music as accessible as possible. As for me, I can't think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon, and I don't mind admitting that I was moved to tears by "Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life," especially as I considered how magical it is that their performances can still be enjoyed by film and music lovers 80 years later.

Elsa Lanchester threatens to steal the show as the jealous wife of the inept governor (Frank Morgan). The cast also includes Akim Tamiroff, Cecilia Parker, Edward Brophy, and Harold Huber.

NAUGHTY MARIETTA was directed by the curiously uncredited W.S. Van Dyke and Robert Z. Leonard. The cinematographer was William H. Daniels.

The Warner Archive print was for the most part excellent, although there was one scene where there were a couple of brief but extremely noticeable tears which I assume it wasn't possible to repair, at least within the Archive's budget.

The extras from the previous release of NAUGHTY MARIETTA were included, including a trailer and an "audio vault" with recordings and a Lux Radio Theater program. The other three films in the set have the trailer included on each DVD but no other extras. I will be posting reviews of ROSE-MARIE, MAYTIME, and THE GIRL OF THE GOLDEN WEST in the future.

There was a minor defect on my NAUGHTY MARIETTA disc, inasmuch as the main menu did not light up in any fashion as I navigated the options to play the movie, the trailer, or access the "audio vault." However, if I arrowed up and down with my remote and clicked "play" periodically, everything was there, I just couldn't "see" where I was going as I navigated. The options in the audio vault menu worked normally, with a colored symbol lighting up next to each title as I navigated.

The set I received for review consisted of silver-backed pressed discs. The Archive typically presses discs for the initial sales of sets which are expected to sell in large numbers, and the pressed sets are available only from the WBShop, not other vendors.

Highly recommended.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD collection. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered from the Warner Archive Collection at the WBShop.

Tonight's Movie: Murder, My Sweet (1944) - A Warner Archive Blu-ray Review

The classic film noir MURDER, MY SWEET (1944) looks better than ever thanks to a sharp-looking new Blu-ray release from the Warner Archive.

Dick Powell stars as Raymond Chandler's hard-boiled private eye Philip Marlowe. It was a famously career-changing role for Powell, with the "tough guy" Marlowe a radical transition from his years in musicals and comedies.

This was my second time to see the movie, and I think I did a better job keeping up with the twisty-turny plot this time around, but even those paying close attention for the movie's 96 minutes can be forgiven for occasionally losing the threads of the mystery! The screenplay, based on Chandler's FAREWELL, MY LOVELY, was by John Paxton.

Late one night Moose Malloy (Mike Mazurki) appears in Marlowe's office, wanting Marlowe to track down his missing girlfriend Velma.

Soon Marlowe is also mixed up with a dead client and a missing jade necklace, which leads to the Grayle family, including Mr. Grayle (Miles Mander), his sweet daughter Ann (Anne Shirley), and her duplicitous stepmother Helen (Claire Trevor). Meanwhile Moose is always hulking menacingly in the background. Eventually the threads of Marlowe's cases all come together.

I first reviewed MURDER, MY SWEET on VHS back in 2010, so jumping from VHS to Blu-ray was quite a revelation for this viewer. The details in Harry J. Wild's black and white cinematography look stunning, whether Marlowe is walking through the fog or smoke is wafting up from cigarettes. I'm not sure I'd noticed things previously like the number of bottles in Jessie's (Esther Howard) front yard or the trash on Marlowe's office floor. And the first scene where Moose Malloy appears as a reflection in Marlowe's office window is pure movie magic.

The movie defines "noir style," from the fedoras to L.A.'s Sunset Tower Hotel to slinky Claire Trevor as a classic femme fatale. In fact, it's important to keep in mind that this was one of the earliest films which helped set the template for the film noir look.

The plot may not always be crystal clear, but the movie should be seen for Powell's performance and the noir world created within the movie, and the new Warner Archive Blu-ray is certainly an ideal way to check it out.

MURDER, MY SWEET was directed by Edward Dmytryk. The supporting cast includes Otto Kruger, Douglas Walton, and Donald Douglas.

The Warner Archive Blu-ray contains the extras from the previous DVD release, a trailer and a commentary track by Alain Silver.


Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered from the Warner Archive Collection at the WBShop.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Tonight's Movie: Lucky Night (1939) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

The MGM film LUCKY NIGHT (1939), starring favorites Myrna Loy and Robert Taylor, was just released by the Warner Archive.

LUCKY NIGHT is part of the Warner Archive's new four-film "wave" of releases directed by Norman Taurog. I'll be reviewing additional Taurog releases from the Archive in the near future.

Loy plays Cora Jordan, a wealthy young woman who has just broken off her romance with Joe (Joseph Allen); she just doesn't feel a spark. After chatting with her father (Henry O'Neill) Cora decides to strike out on her own, finding a job and supporting herself, in hopes that she'll meet someone exciting out in the "real world," so to speak.

As part of her new independence Cora refuses all help from her father, which means that when she can't find a job she ends up trying to rest on a park bench...and this being the movies, the homeless man on the bench next to her is Bill Overton (Robert Taylor). (Only in the movies does an unemployed young woman meet someone dreamy like Robert Taylor or Herbert Marshall on a park bench!)

Bill and Cora spend a wonderful evening together, hitting a slot machine jackpot, winning a car, and ultimately getting drunk and getting married. When they wake up and realize what they've done they decide not to annul the ceremony but to stick with the marriage. Bill gets a job selling paint and is a success, but when he gets a raise, he and Cora can't agree on how to use their money; she wants security, with savings and the ability to feather the warm little "nest" she's built from nothing, while he wants to blow the new windfall from his salary increase on "fun."

LUCKY NIGHT has an initially cute premise and two of MGM's most attractive stars, but it never really takes off. The first 2/3 or so of the film works well enough, with Cora and Bill meeting and falling in love, although their "lucky night" spree isn't especially exciting. Where the movie struggles is over their financial disagreement. They're such a happy couple that it feels as though the movie is reaching for conflict just to make the movie longer.

While it's understandable Bill wants to preserve some fun and excitement in his marriage, his character doesn't make a whole lot of sense. He's turned out to be a dynamic salesman and has a wonderful wife who's completely adapted from a life of luxury to being a homemaker on $35 a week, yet he's willing to risk everything he's built for...I'm not sure exactly what, and neither is he, as he has a hard time articulating his feelings. Surely such a compatible couple could have compromised with a "fun fund" along with their savings, or something like that! But then you'd only have an hour-long movie instead of one that runs 82 minutes.

All that said, although the film is deficient plotwise, there are certainly far worse things than spending a movie with Robert Taylor and Myrna Loy, and I enjoyed their company.

The film is perked up by some fine character performances, starting with Charles Lane in a terrific little part as Bill's boss at the paint company; he's wonderful. Marjorie Main is Bill and Cora's supportive landlady.

The supporting cast also includes Douglas Fowley, Marie Blake, Bernadene Hayes, Edward Gargan, Irving Bacon, and Frank Faylen.

LUCKY NIGHT was filmed in black and white by Ray June. Loy's gowns were designed by Dolly Tree.

The Warner Archive DVD is a nice print, and the disc includes the trailer.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered from the Warner Archive Collection at the WBShop.

Tonight's Movie: The Red Shoes (1948) at UCLA

There was a packed house last evening at UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater for the opening night screening in UCLA's new series Archive Treasures: 50th Anniversary Celebration.

The crowd came out to see UCLA's gorgeous restored 35mm print of Powell and Pressburger's THE RED SHOES (1948).

I'm a great admirer of Powell and Pressburger's I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING! (1945), but this was my very first time to see THE RED SHOES. On the surface the two films are very different; one is a black and white film about a very practical young woman, the other a Technicolor movie about a dreamy yet dedicated girl, but the films share an otherworldly quality, casting a magical spell over the viewer.

Gorgeous red-haired ballerina Moira Shearer plays dancer Vicky Page. When ballet company impresario Boris Lermontov (Anton Walbrook) asks Vicky why she wants to dance, she replies by asking why he wants to live. He says, "Because I must," and she says, "That's my answer, too." Shearer, incidentally, is just as effective an actress in this as she is a dancer.

Vicky dances for Lermontov's ballet company and has a huge success in the ballet "The Red Shoes," a 17-minute showstopper which comes in the middle of the film.

Vicky and company composer Julian (Marius Goring) fall in love and marry, but the jealous Lermontov plots to break them up. Lermontov wants both Vicky and Julian to give their all to art, not their relationship...although it's implied he has romantic feelings for Vicky himself. It's unclear whether he longs for her artistic abilities or her personally; perhaps both. Although Vicky and Julian resist Lermontov's pressure, eventually Vicky is lured back to dance for Lermontov once more...

Although I think I would have gotten more out of the film if I weren't feeling rather under the weather when I saw it -- which will unfortunately keep me home from the fantastic double bill of GILDA (1946) and THE BIGAMIST (1953) this evening -- I nonetheless very much enjoyed it.

The Technicolor cinematography by Jack Cardiff is every bit as stunning as I'd read over the years, and in my slightly hazy state it was almost a surreal experience, having all that dreamlike color simply washing over me. The shots of Shearer, in particular, were simply exquisite. This is a movie I'll definitely need to see again, probably multiple times, to take it in more deeply.

The story itself is compelling enough that my husband, who'd recently caught part of the movie on TV, wanted to accompany me and see the whole thing.

That said, while the theme of obsession -- with dance, music, love -- lures in the viewer and casts its spell, my only real problem with the movie was when I was struck by how unrealistic Lermontov's power was. Certainly, he had Vicky's contract and was a powerful force in their world, but realistically it's hard to imagine someone with Vicky's talent not ultimately building a career elsewhere. Lermontov holding all the eggs in his basket, so to speak, didn't make sense to me, but then again the movie is a bit of a dream so you just go along with it.

The casting of ballet stars such as Shearer, Leonid Massine, and Robert Helpmann is part of the film's magic. The film captures ballet dancing at its finest and with a 133-minute running time, it doesn't skimp on these sequences.

Goring, seen by me in films such as CIRCLE OF DANGER (1951) and SHOOT FIRST (1953), is a charismatic actor. He and Shearer share one of the loveliest romantic scenes I've ever watched.

THE RED SHOES was preceded by the seven-minute George Pal Puppetoon SKY PRINCESS (1942), which was simultaneously nutty and very entertaining, with a wonderful use of Tschaikovsky. It was a perfect start to the evening. It's currently available on YouTube.

Happily THE RED SHOES is on my friend Kristina's list of "10 Classics" to see in 2015, as posted at her blog Speakeasy, and she'll have her own review of the movie up later this weekend, which I'll be linking to when it's posted. Update: Here is Kristina's piece on the movie!

THE RED SHOES is available from the Criterion Collection on both DVD and Blu-ray. Given the film's Technicolor beauty and strong reviews for the Blu-ray, this is a film I would imagine is worth the added expense of a Blu-ray purchase.

It can also be rented for streaming at Amazon Watch Instantly.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Tonight's Movie: Girls Under 21 (1940)

GIRLS UNDER 21 (1940) is a so-so Columbia Pictures programmer starring Bruce Cabot, Paul Kelly, and Rochelle Hudson.

Hudson plays Frances, who loyally stuck by her crime boss husband Smiley (Cabot) while he was in jail, but now that he's been sprung she wants out. She's ready to give up the lux life and fine things she enjoys as his wife and go back to her simple but honest roots, getting a job and living in a poor tenement neighborhood. Unfortunately Smiley is unwilling to let her go and has his goons constantly tailing her.

Frances is supported in her attempts at change by her old friend Johnny (Kelly), a teacher in the neighborhood. They have their hands full with more than Smiley; Frances's little sister Jennie (Tina Thayer), who's one of Johnny's students, is headed for reform school if she doesn't change her ways. Jennie wants fine things like Frances had with Smiley, and she's fallen in with a pack of nasty mean girls who engage in petty theft and bully a smarter girl (Debbie Ellis).

GIRLS UNDER 21 is watchable enough, but the young girls are so unpleasant and have so much screen time that they tend to stop this little 64-minute movie in its tracks from time to time. They're not very entertaining, just cruel and obnoxious.

Still, the movie has its pleasures, starting with Kelly, who is always an interesting actor. He makes pretty much any film worth checking out.

I smiled when a handsome cop popped his face out his patrol car window to talk with Johnny; it was character fave James Millican. He was about 30 in this and had already been in over 40 films as cops, cabbies, pilots, and reporters. It would be several more years before he started playing larger parts on a regular basis, ultimately becoming a key supporting player in countless Westerns before his untimely passing from cancer in 1955.

GIRLS UNDER 21 was directed by Max Nosseck and filmed by Barney McGill.

Incidentally, I was fascinated noting how grimy the tenement area on the Columbia backlot was; the streets were filled with trash, at a level I don't recall seeing in other films with a similar setting.

GIRLS UNDER 21 is not available on DVD or VHS. I saw it on getTV.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

TCM in October: Highlights

It's time for a look at the October schedule on Turner Classic Movies!

David Niven is the October Star of the Month. Over three dozen Niven films will be shown on Monday evenings and Tuesday mornings. This month, with a busy weekend at UCLA ahead, I'll be folding a look at the Star of the Month titles into this post.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays TCM will be celebrating Trailblazing Women. Illeana Douglas will be hosting with a series of guests. The majority of the films being shown in that series fall outside my main areas of interest, as I discussed in July, so I'll leave it to others to cover that aspect of the schedule; I do want to note that October 6th will include films directed by pioneering women directors Dorothy Arzner and Ida Lupino. A special microsite with complete details on the series is here.

October, of course, also features plenty of scary movies, including a Halloween-themed evening of Treasures from the Disney Vault on October 28th.

Here's a look at just a few of the interesting titles airing on TCM this month. Click any hyperlinked title to read the corresponding film review.

...A day of Bob Hope films on October 2nd includes BACHELOR IN PARADISE (1961), worth watching for its candy-colored set and costume designs. Other Hope films airing that day include A GLOBAL AFFAIR (1964), which I reviewed this summer.

...An evening of films with a "wind" theme on October 3rd includes Joan Bennett and Fredric March in TRADE WINDS (1938), which is entertaining but must have set the all-time record for scenes filmed in front of back projections! Ralph Bellamy and Ann Sothern costar.

...Appropriately for October, "Silent Sunday Evening" includes Lon Chaney in THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1925) on October 4th.

...There are several good movies featuring Star of the Month David Niven on October 5th, including RAFFLES (1939), BACHELOR MOTHER (1939), and THE PRISONER OF ZENDA (1937). All are terrific films, with BACHELOR MOTHER, costarring Ginger Rogers, being an all-time favorite romantic comedy.

...I like Ginger Rogers and Frances Dee in FINISHING SCHOOL (1934), released at the very end of the pre-Code era. It's on October 6th. Bruce Cabot costars.

...There's a wonderful day of eight June Allyson films on October 7th, including THE SECRET HEART (1946) with Claudette Colbert and three films with Peter Lawford, TWO SISTERS FROM BOSTON (1946), GOOD NEWS (1947), and LITTLE WOMEN (1949).

...Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler star in COLLEEN (1936) on October 8th. Joan Blondell costars.

...I love train movies, and there's an entire day of them on October 9th, including Glenn Ford in TERROR ON A TRAIN (1953) and Dick Powell in THE TALL TARGET (1951).

...This summer I reviewed the Blu-ray release of Joan Leslie, Dennis Morgan, and an all-star cast in THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS (1943). It airs on TCM on October 10th.

...NEPTUNE'S DAUGHTER (1949), one of my favorite Esther Williams films, will be shown October 11th. Ricardo Montalban and Betty Garrett costar.

...It's another evening of David Niven films on October 12th: including Powell & Pressburger's A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH (1946), the holiday classic THE BISHOP'S WIFE (1947), the romantic drama ENCHANTMENT (1948), the WWII films THE FIRST OF THE FEW (1942) and THE WAY AHEAD (1944), and the frankly disappointing romantic comedy A KISS IN THE DARK (1949), the latter costarring Jane Wyman.

...I'm not very interested in many of the "newer" films airing on TCM this month, but I did enjoy Amy Irving in CROSSING DELANCEY (1988), about a career woman whose grandmother hires a matchmaker to set her up with a prospective suitor. Not a perfect film, but worthwhile. It's on October 13th.

...Robert Osborne's Picks on October 14th including a pair of wonderful films starring Gene Tierney, LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN (1945) and THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR (1947). The latter film is especially appropriate viewing for October!

...You can't beat the cast in EAST SIDE, WEST SIDE (1949), a romantic melodrama turned crime drama: Barbara Stanwyck, James Mason, Ava Gardner, Van Heflin, Cyd Charisse, William Conrad, and Nancy Davis (Reagan). It's a wonderfully entertaining movie being shown on October 15th.

...Angela Lansbury's 90th birthday will be celebrated on TCM on October 16th, with seven films plus an episode of SCREEN DIRECTORS PLAYHOUSE. Films include NATIONAL VELVET (1944), THE HOODLUM SAINT (1946), and A LAWLESS STREET (1955).

...The Tim Holt film WESTERN HERITAGE (1948), which is not yet available on DVD from the Warner Archive, will be shown on October 17th. Nan Leslie and Richard "Chito" Martin costar.

...An evening of "Lost and Found" silents on October 18th includes Fatty Arbuckle in THE ROUND-UP (1920), which was the first Western filmed in Lone Pine, California. I may be seeing it at the Lone Pine Film Festival the preceding weekend.

...On October 19th Star of the Month David Niven is featured in AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS (1956), THE MOON IS BLUE (1953), and THE TOAST OF NEW ORLEANS (1950), to name just a few titles.

...The theme on October 22nd is "Let's Go to Scotland," including BRIGADOON (1954), the Lassie film HILLS OF HOME (1948), and THE GREEN YEARS (1946) with Dean Stockwell.

...I love that TCM has a day of Genevieve Tobin films on the 23rd! Titles include THE GAY DIPLOMAT (1931), EASY TO LOVE (1934), and BROADWAY HOSTESS (1935). I especially enjoyed the "country house" comedies THE GOOSE AND THE GANDER (1935) and SNOWED UNDER (1936).

...When I first saw RIDE LONESOME (1959) three years ago, it quickly jumped on to my list of favorite films. I believe I've seen it twice more since then, and it's pretty unusual for me to watch a film quite that frequently! This superb Randolph Scott Western airs October 24th. Pernell Roberts is so good you'll be sorry he ever set foot on the Ponderosa.

...The two Westerns in which Jeff Chandler played Cochise are being shown in primetime on Sunday evening, October 25th: BROKEN ARROW (1950) and THE BATTLE AT APACHE PASS (1952).

...David Niven films made from 1960 onward on featured on October 26th, starting with a good comedy costarring Doris Day, PLEASE DON'T EAT THE DAISIES (1960). GUNS OF DARKNESS (1962) and MURDER BY DEATH (1976) are among the 10 films on the schedule.

...There's a Halloween theme for the latest evening of Treasures From the Disney Vault on October 28th, which features THE ADVENTURES OF ICHABOD AND MR. TOAD (1949), ESCAPE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN (1976), and several other cartoons and feature-length films, including the classic cartoons THREE LITTLE PIGS (1933) and THE OLD MILL (1937).

...Jane Wyman, Richard Todd, Michael Wilding, and Marlene Dietrich star in the lesser-known but enjoyable Hitchcock film STAGE FRIGHT (1950) on October 29th.

...Val Lewton's CAT PEOPLE (1942), directed by Jacques Tourneur, is my kinda spooky. Simone Simon, Tom Conway, Kent Smith, and Jane Randolph star. Lewton and Tourneur's THE LEOPARD MAN (1943), starring Dennis O'Keefe and Jean Brooks, is also very good. Both movies are shown October 30th.

For complete details on TCM in October, please visit the online schedule.

Happy Birthday, Julie Andrews!

The sublimely wonderful Julie Andrews turns 80 today.

Julie was born in England on October 1, 1935.

It's hard to overstate just how significant Julie Andrews has been in my life. She was in the first two films I ever saw in a theater, MARY POPPINS (1964) and THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965), which are also two of my favorite movies.

I loved her book MANDY as a child, a true children's classic...

...and my own daughter loved her LITTLE BO books.

I grew up listening to her albums, including MY FAIR LADY (preferring the London cast to Broadway, thank you very much!), CAMELOT, and her Christmas records.

In more recent years, thanks to DVD, I fell in love with her as CINDERELLA (1957).

She and her AMERICANIZATION OF EMILY (1964) costar James Garner reteamed to make the Christmas film ONE SPECIAL NIGHT (1999) truly special:

And she made THE PRINCESS DIARIES (2001) perfection!

What a wonderful thing it was to hear her narrate Disneyland's 50th Anniversary Fireworks, "Remember, Dreams Come True!" If you weren't lucky enough to see the show in person, here it is on YouTube.

Given her significance in my life, I feel very fortunate to have seen Julie Andrews in person, however briefly.

With love and thanks to Julie Andrews for countless happy hours!

Reviews of Julie Andrews films at Laura's Miscellaneous Musings: MARY POPPINS (1964), THE AMERICANIZATION OF EMILY (1964), THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965), ONE SPECIAL NIGHT (1999), and ENCHANTED (2007) (narrator).

Related: 2013 D23 Expo: A Tribute to Mary Poppins (1964), Part One and Part Two.

Seeing Julie in person: 2008 Disneyland appearance and 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival appearance.