Sunday, March 31, 2013

Fox Movie Channel in April: Highlights

The last couple months on Fox Movie Channel have been quite good, with a number of titles shown that hadn't aired on the network for some time.

I'm happy to say that April on Fox Movie Channel also looks interesting. Here are a few highlights of interest to classic film fans:

...Monday, April 1st, there are a couple of Richard Widmark films on the schedule: the submarine film HELL AND HIGH WATER (1954) and RED SKIES OF MONTANA (1952), a film about fire fighters which came up in a comments discussion here last fall.

...Irwin Allen's FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON (1962) will air on April 2nd. The cast includes Red Buttons, Barbara Eden, and Fabian, with a lot of great supporting actors including Peter Lorre, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Richard Haydn, Herbert Marshall, Henry Daniell, Billy Gilbert, and Reginald Owen.

...Another Irwin Allen film, THE LOST WORLD (1960), airs on both April 4th and April 5th. It stars Michael Rennie, Jill St. John, Claude Rains, David Hedison, and Fernando Lamas.

...SATAN NEVER SLEEPS (1962) airs on April 6th. It stars William Holden, France Nuyen, and Clifton Webb.

...Jacques Tourneur's ANNE OF THE INDIES (1951) airs Sunday, April 7th. Jean Peters plays the title role, with a cast including Louis Jourdan, Debra Paget, Herbert Marshall, and Thomas Gomez.

...April 8th the musical IF I'M LUCKY (1946) will be shown, with Vivian Blaine, Perry Como, Carmen Miranda, Harry James, and Phil Silvers.

...TO THE SHORES OF TRIPOLI (1942) is one I've got to see. It stars Randolph Scott, John Payne, Maureen O'Hara, and Nancy Kelly. It will be shown on Fox on April 11th.

...Audie Murphy stars in BATTLE AT BLOODY BEACH (1962), a WWII film, on April 12th. There are other WWII films being shown that day including Claudette Colbert in THREE CAME HOME (1950) and Clifton Webb and Gloria Grahame in THE MAN WHO NEVER WAS (1956), if you missed that title in March.

...DANGEROUS CROSSING (1953), a good suspense film with Jeanne Crain and Michael Rennie, will be shown on April 14th.

...April 16th the interesting titles include SOMETHING FOR THE BOYS (1944) with Carmen Miranda, Vivian Blaine, and Michael O'Shea; NOB HILL (1945) with Joan Bennett, Vivian Blaine, and George Raft; and the Pat Boone remake of STATE FAIR (1962), which I found fun to check out, though it can't hold a candle to the 1945 version.

...A couple good crime films are on the schedule on April 18th. The first is CRY OF THE CITY (1948), which I hope to see again at the Noir City Hollywood festival in April. It stars Victor Mature, Richard Conte, and Debra Paget. Also airing that day is A BLUEPRINT FOR MURDER (1953), in which Joseph Cotten suspects his widowed sister-in-law (Jean Peters) killed her stepdaughter, who was his niece, and he fears she may be targeting his young nephew next.

...Jean Renoir's SWAMP WATER (1941) will be shown on April 19th. It stars Walter Brennan, Walter Huston, Dana Andrews, and Anne Baxter.

...Brian Donlevy and Rochelle Hudson star in BORN RECKLESS (1937) on April 23rd.

...The classic LAURA (1944) turns up on the schedule on April 25th, starring Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb, Vincent Price, Judith Anderson, and Gene Tierney in the title role.

...THE REVOLT OF MAMIE STOVER (1956) sounds interesting. It stars Jane Russell, Richard Egan, and Joan Leslie, directed by Raoul Walsh. It's airing on April 26th.

For more information on Fox Movie Channel in April, please be sure to check out the complete schedule.

TCM in April: Highlights

April looks like a wonderful month on Turner Classic Movies!

Any month that has primetime tributes to Debra Paget and Richard Carlson is pretty great, if you ask me. And that's just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Laurence Olivier is the April Star of the Month. Over two dozen Olivier films will be shown on Wednesdays in April. I'll be incorporating mentions of some of those titles into this preview post rather than doing a separate Star of the Month post for April.

Here's a look at some of the many interesting titles on TCM's schedule this month:

...April 1st celebrates the return of baseball with half a dozen films, including Ray Milland in IT HAPPENS EVERY SPRING (1949), Paul Douglas in ANGELS IN THE OUTFIELD (1951), and Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and Esther Williams in TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME (1949).

...In this week's link roundup I called attention to Caftan Woman's fun post on the women's wardrobes in BORN TO KILL (1947). BORN TO KILL will be shown on TCM on Tuesday, April 2nd.

...The first evening of this month's Laurence Olivier tribute, on April 3rd, features four Shakespeare films, including HAMLET (1948), which I saw for the first time last December. HAMLET costars Jean Simmons, Eileen Herlie, and many more fine actors.

...OUR WIFE (1941) is a movie which has been on my viewing wish list. It stars Melvyn Douglas, Ruth Hussey, and Ellen Drew, and it's airing on April 5th.

...Regular readers know that I've been having a lot of fun catching up with the "B" movies of director Lew Landers this year. There's another Landers film airing on April 6th: THE AFFAIRS OF ANNABEL (1938), starring Lucille Ball, Jack Oakie, and Ruth Donnelly.

...I've recommended I'LL BE SEEING YOU (1944) before, and it's worth mentioning again for anyone who hasn't caught it yet. It's quite a special WWII-era holiday film, starring Joseph Cotten and Ginger Rogers as two troubled people who find one another at Christmastime. Tom Tully, Spring Byington, and Shirley Temple lend fine support. It will be shown on Sunday morning, April 7th.

...April 10th is another evening of Laurence Olivier movies. My older daughter called my attention to SLEUTH (1972), costarring Michael Caine and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Looks interesting.

...As mentioned above, TCM is hosting a primetime tribute to actress Debra Paget, who turns 80 this summer. Half a dozen Paget films will be shown on April 11th, including LOVE ME TENDER (1956), LES MISERABLES (1952), and DEMETRIUS AND THE GLADIATORS

...SO PROUDLY WE HAIL! (1943) is a real must-see on April 12th. The movie stars Claudette Colbert, Veronica Lake, and Oscar-nominated Paulette Goddard in a very moving story of nurses serving on Bataan and Corregidor. It's part of this month's Friday night series on women in film.

...Anyone who hasn't yet seen MIRANDA (1948) has a treat in store. It's a delightfully amusing story of a mermaid who comes to stay with a doctor and his wife. Glynis Johns is the mermaid; look for her MARY POPPINS (1964) costar, David Tomlinson, in the supporting cast. The movie airs April 13th. A sequel of sorts, MAD ABOUT MEN (1954), airs on April 20th.

...An evening of Westerns on April 15th includes Randolph Scott, Zachary Scott, and Ruth Roman in the very entertaining COLT .45 (1950); Dennis Morgan in THE GUN THAT WON THE WEST (1955); Glenn Ford and Jeanne Crain in THE FASTEST GUN ALIVE (1956), which also features an acrobatic performance by Russ Tamblyn; and Audie Murphy and Merry Anders in THE QUICK GUN (1964). Anders passed away last October, which was noted here a few weeks ago.

...April 17th is a particularly great evening of Olivier films, starting with THAT HAMILTON WOMAN (1941); I don't think Vivien Leigh ever looked more beautiful on the screen than she did in that film. Lots of favorites that evening, including a "literary trio" of REBECCA (1940), PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (1940), and WUTHERING HEIGHTS (1939). THE DIVORCE OF LADY X (1938), costarring Merle Oberon, is an amusing film with a striking color palette.

...On April 21st TCM will be playing Spencer Tracy and Joan Bennett's two films together back to back: the pre-Code ME AND MY GAL (1932) and FATHER OF THE BRIDE (1950), also starring Elizabeth Taylor.

...Shirley Temple's 85th birthday will be celebrated on April 23rd with 8 films, including THE LITTLE PRINCESS (1939), THE BACHELOR AND THE BOBBY-SOXER (1947), and John Ford's FORT APACHE (1948). ADVENTURE IN BALTIMORE (1949), with Temple as a turn-of-the-century minister's daughter, is also in the lineup.

...The final evening of Olivier films, on April 24th, features a wide variety of movies, including THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL (1957) with Marilyn Monroe and THE 49TH PARALLEL (1941), directed by Michael Powell.

...There's a cast full of pros in the 66-minute film WHILE THE PATIENT SLEPT (1935), showing on April 26th: Aline MacMahon, Lyle Talbot, Allen Jenkins, Guy Kibbee, Patricia Ellis, Robert Barrat, Henry O'Neill, and Hobart Cavanaugh. Looks like a fun one to try out.

...A film I particularly recommend this month is WALKING ON AIR (1936), being shown the morning of April 27th. It stars Ann Sothern and Gene Raymond in a musical screwball comedy with a gorgeous Art Deco setting.

...An evening of sci-fi on the 27th includes Tim Holt in THE MONSTER THAT CHALLENGED THE WORLD (1957), a movie my kids have found great fun. Since I've been watching more '50s sci-fi in recent months, I'll have to give it a try.

...TCM pays tribute to Richard Carlson with six films airing the evening of April 29th. The titles include IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE (1953), THE MAGNETIC MONSTER (1953), RIDERS TO THE STARS (1954), and CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (1954). I'm especially intrigued by THE POWER (1968), a late '60s film which also stars Yvonne DeCarlo, Suzanne Pleshette, Gary Merrill, Michael Rennie, and more.

...April 30th there's a primetime tribute to Glenn Ford, who was born on May 1st. The six titles include THE UNDERCOVER MAN (1949), FRAMED (1947), and GILDA (1946). His early "B" film BABIES FOR SALE (1940), costarring Rochelle Hudson, should be fun.

For the complete schedule, please visit the Turner Classic Movies website.

Happy April movie viewing!!

April 1st Update: Over at Speakeasy, Kristina has lots of great links to other bloggers' recommendations for TCM in April. Be sure to stop by!

Around the Blogosphere This Week

Miscellaneous bits of news and fun stuff from around the Internet...a slightly abbreviated Easter Sunday edition!

...That's Vera-Ellen pictured having fun helping the Easter Bunny decorate.

...Judy shares thoughts on the wonderful Fred Astaire-Judy Garland musical EASTER PARADE (1948) at Movie Classics. This one plays in our house every Easter afternoon.

...See's Candy and other candymakers are dealing with higher prices of ingredients and other changes in the industry.

...Nine early Hithcocock films, released between 1925 and 1929, will be shown in cities across the U.S. starting in June. The films, restored by the British Film Institute, will be shown in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston, as well as other cities.

...Amazon has bought the book-oriented social media site Goodreads.

...The Hollywood Revue has been hosting a Fashion in Film blogathon this weekend. There are lots of interesting posts; I especially enjoyed Caftan Woman's look at Claire Trevor and Audrey Long's wardrobes in BORN TO KILL (1947). I also enjoyed Jessica's post on Lana Turner at Comet Over Hollywood.

...Lerner & Loewe's GIGI may try its luck on Broadway.

...There's a very nice trailer for the Criterion release of Harold Lloyd's SAFETY LAST! (1923).

...SAFETY LAST! will be shown at theaters around the country in April, May, and June, in honor of the movie's 90th anniversary. It will be shown here in Southern California at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on April 18th.

...DAKOTA INCIDENT (1956) sure sounds good, with a great cast including Linda Darnell, Dale Robertson, John Lund, Ward Bond, and Regis Toomey. You can read more about it at Vienna's Classic Hollywood.

...CBS has renewed a number of series for the fall. The good news for me is the return of Tom Selleck's BLUE BLOODS, which I've been catching up with via DVD.

...Notable Passings: Richard Griffiths, who played Uncle Vernon in the HARRY POTTER film series, has passed away at the age of 65...Screenwriter Fay Kanin, whose scripts included TEACHER'S PET (1958) with Doris Day and Clark Gable, has died at 95.

Have a blessed Easter and a great week!

Easter Blessings

Very best wishes to all for a Happy Easter Sunday!

Lovely young Jane Powell celebrates in the above photo.

Happiest wishes!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Tonight's Movie: The Big Shakedown (1934)

THE BIG SHAKEDOWN features a good cast in a crime film which is entertaining, if not particularly noteworthy.

Charles Farrell plays Jimmy Morrell, a nice-guy pharmacist who runs a drugstore with his fiancee, Norma Nelson (Bette Davis). Being both nice and broke, Jimmy is an easy target for mobster Dutch Barnes (Ricardo Cortez).  Dutch puts Jimmy on his payroll producing lookalike knockoffs of products such as toothpaste, which make Dutch a fortune -- especially as he forces local businesses to buy his products.

Jimmy tries to break away from Dutch but is repeatedly threatened. When Jimmy makes a fake variant on digitalis, a close relative pays the price. Will Jimmy finally do something to end Dutch's reign of terror?

Glenda Farrell and Renee Whitney play Barnes's current and future lady friends, with Allen Jenkins as his enforcer.

This is a fast-moving 64 minute film. It was released in the last few months of the pre-Code era, but it doesn't contain anything particularly racy. The movie's entertaining, particularly when Glenda Farrell goes to the D.A. with what she knows, but it's a bit tiresome watching the weak-willed Jimmy constantly controlled by Dutch. Sure, Dutch is lethal, but when he sets Jimmy up to take the fall for a murder and forces him to make a product that will result in deaths, it's frustrating that it takes Jimmy so long to tip off the authorities.

That said, fans of the cast should find it a pleasant hour. Cortez and Jenkins, in particular, always excel at playing these character types; a scene where Jenkins strongly hints that Davis's pharmacy needs to buy beer from Dutch is a good one.

This is one of several films Davis appeared in released in 1934; the titles also included the very entertaining FOG OVER FRISCO and OF HUMAN BONDAGE, which netted Davis a Best Actress Oscar nomination and full-fledged stardom.

The cast also includes Henry Daniell, Samuel S. Hinds, Dewey Robinson, John Wray, and Robert Emmett O'Connor.

THE BIG SHAKEDOWN has a screenplay by Niven Busch and Rian James; it was photographed by Sid Hickox. This was the last film directed by John Francis Dillon, who died in April 1934. He was 49 years old.

THE BIG SHAKEDOWN is available in a nice remastered print from the Warner Archive. The disc includes a trailer.

The trailer is available at the Turner Classic Movies website.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Tonight's Movie: Storm Over Wyoming (1950)

STORM OVER WYOMING is an especially good-looking Western available in a beautiful print from the Warner Archive's Tim Holt Western Classics Collection, Vol. 3.

Holt plays Dave Saunders, which was his character's name in a couple other Westerns in 1950 and 1951. Perennial sidekick Richard Martin also stars as Chito Rafferty, a character Martin played in over 30 films between 1943 and 1952. The genial Martin is great fun and provides a nice contrast with the more serious character played by Holt.

This time around Dave and Chito wander into the middle of a range war between cowboys and sheep herders. The plot isn't anything distinctive, but there's lots of energetic chasing back and forth on horseback, a fun saloon singer named Ruby (Betty Underwood), and beautiful scenery, with most of the movie taking place in the great outdoors.

This is one of those black and white Westerns where the wind rustles the trees, the sun reflects off the creeks, clouds hang low in the sky, and you can almost smell the dust when it kicks up. The photography gives the viewer the sense of what it felt like to be standing in the scene as it was filmed; it's truly beautiful.

My initial guess was that the movie was filmed in the Sierras somewhere around Mammoth, but it turns out it was filmed around Idyllwild, California. The scenery is quite different from that of Western films made in areas such as Lone Pine, Red Rock Canyon, or the movie ranches around L.A., which helps add to the visual interest for a Western fan.

In addition to the lovely scenery, some of the camera setups were creatively done. The movie was shot by J. Roy Hunt, whose credits also included I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE (1943), CROSSFIRE (1947), and THE LAWLESS (1950).

The film was directed by Lesley Selander, whose credits included other Westerns I've enjoyed such as COW COUNTRY (1953), ARROW IN THE DUST (1954), and SHOTGUN (1955).

The movie also stars Noreen Nash, Bill Kennedy, Kenneth MacDonald, Don Haggerty, and Vince Barnett. My husband and I could have sworn one of the cowhands was a young Alan Hale Jr., but he's not listed by IMDb.

"B" Western fans will find STORM OVER WYOMING an enjoyable 61 minutes.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Egyptian Theatre Tribute to Debbie Reynolds

The Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood has announced a two-night tribute to Debbie Reynolds, to take place on Thursday, April 4th, and Tuesday, April 9th.

The two evenings will bookend the first weekend of the 15th Annual Noir City Festival, taking place at the theater from April 5th through the 7th.

The first evening of the Reynolds tribute, on April 4th, will feature a double bill of THE TENDER TRAP (1955) and MARY, MARY (1963). Both films will be screened in 35mm.

As I wrote last fall, THE TENDER TRAP is a long-time favorite of mine. It costars Frank Sinatra, Celeste Holm, and David Wayne.

Debbie Reynolds will appear at the theater in person on April 9th, signing her new book UNSINKABLE: A MEMOIR. She will also participate in a discussion.

The movies shown on the 9th are SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (1952) and THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN (1964). SINGIN' IN THE RAIN will be a digital print, and MOLLY BROWN will be shown in 35mm.

It's not likely I'll be able to travel up to Hollywood to attend these screenings myself, as I already have tickets for several Noir City films in early April, but this is a really wonderful opportunity for classic film fans to see some great movies and especially to see Debbie Reynolds in person!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Tonight's Movie: Traveling Saleslady (1935)

TRAVELING SALESLADY is a fast-paced, entertaining comedy with Joan Blondell as a toothpaste heiress who goes into competition with her father's own firm.

TRAVELING SALESLADY is on a Joan Blondell-Glenda Farrell "double feature" disc from the Warner Archive, paired with MISS PACIFIC FLEET (1935). TRAVELING SALESLADY is much the better of the two films, thanks to an amusing script and a mercifully toned-down performance by ever-present Warner Bros. comedian Hugh Herbert.

Joan plays Angela Twitchell, whose father (Grant Mitchell) refuses to give her a job, believing women are no good at business. Angela teams with "cocktail toothpaste" inventor Elmer Niles (Herbert) and goes to work for her father's competitor, Mr. Schmidt (Al Shean). Angela, under the alias Martha Smith, goes on the road to sell the new toothpaste and has great success against Twitchell salesman Pat O'Connor (William Gargan).

Angela and Pat agree to drop business after 8:00 p.m. each night and fall in love, but gradually their intense competition begins to have a negative effect on their relationship, and Pat resumes his on-again, off-again relationship with drugstore executive Claudette Ruggles (Farrell).

Blondell really has a chance to shine in this one, a quick-talking bundle of energy, and she's backed by a great cast. Farrell has a smaller role than in MISS PACIFIC FLEET, but she makes the most of it, and Gargan does a good job in the male lead.

In addition to the actors already named, the cast of TRAVELING SALESLADY includes Ruth Donnelly (playing Blondell's mother), Mary Treen, Bert Roach, Gordon (Wild Bill) Elliott, Johnny Arthur, and Hattie McDaniel.  Ruth Donnelly's role is relatively small, but she's always a welcome sight in a film; McDaniel only has one scene, but it's funny.

Like MISS PACIFIC FLEET, TRAVELING SALESLADY was directed by Ray Enright. It runs 63 minutes.

The cinematography was by George Barnes, who was married to Blondell at the time the film was made. They were only married for three years, after which she married Dick Powell.

I've now got a copy of JOAN BLONDELL: A LIFE BETWEEN TAKES by Matthew Kennedy and look forward to learning more about Blondell's life and work.

Joan Blondell and Glenda Farrell teamed in a number of films. There's another Blondell-Farrell DVD available from the Warner Archive, containing HAVANA WIDOWS (1933) and I'VE GOT YOUR NUMBER (1934). Yet another DVD from the Archive contains MERRY WIVES OF RENO (1934), starring Farrell, paired with SMARTY (1934), starring Blondell.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Around the Blogosphere This Week

Miscellaneous bits of news and fun stuff from around the Internet...

...As I wrote in my review last January, Harold Lloyd's SAFETY LAST! (1923) has been chiefly available in a collection of Lloyd's films from New Line. The Criterion Collection will be bringing SAFETY LAST! out as a single-title DVD on June 18th. Some of the extras are duplicated from the New Line release. The wonderful cover consists simply of the iconic image of Lloyd hanging from a clock, with the Criterion symbol in the upper corner and the movie title and Lloyd's name cleverly worked into the picture.

...DreamWorks plans to remake Hitchcock's REBECCA (1940). Seriously? There have admittedly been some interesting TV adaptations -- I liked a 1979 British production with Jeremy Brett, Joanna David, and Anna Massey, because it was able to be more faithful to the book than a film of 1940 -- but news of this movie remake seems to underline once more that Hollywood so often just wants to recycle old properties instead of come up with more original work.

...I'm always delighted to share my posts with the readers at MovieFanFare at the Movies Unlimited site. My recent review of THE LAWLESS (1950), starring Macdonald Carey and Gail Russell, directed by Joseph Losey, has been adapted and posted at the MovieFanFare site. The movie is available on DVD from Olive Films.

...Last weekend I shared a link to Raquel's experience seeing Jane Powell and Leonard Maltin at a screening of ROYAL WEDDING (1951). Maltin shares his great week with Powell and Mitzi Gaynor at his blog.

...Jennifer reminisces about her grandmother's similarity to actress Marjorie Main at Virtual Virago.

...The L.A. Times' Hero Complex blog has published a brief history of 50 years of DR. WHO.

...The first great-grandchild of the late Princess Grace of Monaco, aka Grace Kelly, has been born. Princess Caroline's oldest son Andrea and his fiancee Tatiana Santo Domingo became parents of a son last Thursday.

...At Classic Movies, KC has reviewed a recently published book, Hollywood Unknowns: A History of Extras, Bit Players, and Stand-Ins, written by Anthony Slide for University Press of Mississippi. I enjoyed KC's review, and the subject matter sounds very interesting.

...Glenn Erickson has reviewed the new Olive DVD SHE DEVIL (1957), starring Jack Kelly and Mari Blanchard, at DVD Savant.

...At Another Old Movie Blog Jacqueline has posted a fascinating story on movie stars who performed at the La Jolla Playhouse. What I wouldn't give to have seen Ann Blyth and a great cast in OUR TOWN, or THE FRONT PAGE with Pat O'Brien, Michael O'Shea, and a supporting cast including Allen Jenkins and Edgar Buchanan.

...I really enjoyed Cliff's "Brief Impressions" of three films from 1934 at Immortal Ephemera.

...The TV series HOW THE WEST WAS WON is coming to DVD on July 9, 2013. As explained by TVShowsonDVD, the box labeled Season 1 consists of the TV-movie THE MACAHANS (1976) and a three-part miniseries. James Arness, Bruce Boxleitner, and Eva Marie Saint star.

...Will recently wrote an amusing post on "old movie weirdos" at Cinematically Insane.

...TCM recently announced a new ongoing "Friday Night Spotlight" series. The first month's films, focusing on "A Woman's World: The Defining Era of Women in Film," will look at women's roles in the movies from the late '30s to early '50s and will be hosted by Cher; the first night is April 5th. Different actors or film experts will host each successive month of the series, with a new theme each month.

...Lou Lumenick has interesting information on the Rohauer Library, first mentioned here in a link roundup last month.

...Posted by Karen at Shadows and Satin: "The Toughest Men and Women of Film Noir."

...Notable Passings: Metropolitan Opera singer Rise Stevens, who appeared onscreen in the films THE CHOCOLATE SOLDIER (1941) and GOING MY WAY (1944), died last Wednesday at the age of 99. She would have been 100 on June 11th...George Lowe, who was part of Edmund Hillary's 1953 expedition to conquer Everest, has passed away at the age of 89...TV writer Henry Bromell, who worked on several shows including NORTHERN EXPOSURE, has died at 65.

Have a great week!

Today at Disney California Adventure: Easter Egg Hunt!

This week Disney California Adventure has been sponsoring an "Easter Egg Hunt" as part of this year's Limited Time Magic promotion. We went out to the park this afternoon to enjoy the hunt on its last day.

Participants purchase a map and stickers at Big Top Toys for $4.95. When you find an egg, the matching sticker is put in the correct spot on the map. Once completed, the map can be turned in for a box with two Vinylmation keychains.

A blowup of the map in front of Elias & Co.:

Since today's the last day of the hunt, I'm going to assume anyone who's going to play is already out at the park and include photos of some of the egg locations.

The first egg we found was hiding in Cars Land:

Most of the eggs were simple to spot, but it did take us a while to find the one in the Hollywood Backlot area.  (Click on this or any photo to enlarge.)

Here's another one, at Goofy's Sky School:

All done!

The hunt was quite simple but it was also a very pleasant way to get in our walk for the day, circling the park looking for the eggs! And it was great fun watching the excitement of some of the small children participating.

We also enjoyed the "Just Add Water" show on Paradise Bay:

It was a gorgeous afternoon!

The next Limited Time Magic Easter event is the Spring Fling, which starts tomorrow, March 25th, and runs through Easter Sunday. There will be a different egg hunt, this time in the area of California Adventure's Redwood Creek Challenge Trail. Across the way at Disneyland, the Easter Bunny will be posing for photos on Main Street, U.S.A.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Tonight's Movie: Career Woman (1936)

CAREER WOMAN is a moderately entertaining "B" movie from 20th Century-Fox, chiefly notable for the opportunity to enjoy the young Claire Trevor in her 20th film role.

Trevor plays the title role as Carroll Aiken, a young attorney who has yet to try her first case. When she returns to her hometown after graduation she soon finds herself defending Gracie Clay (Isabel Jewell, seen below left), who has been unjustly accused of murdering her abusive father (Charles Middleton). Unfortunately the citizens of Carroll's town, other than her uncle (Gene Lockhart), are far from supportive of the idea of a female lawyer.

Barry Conant (Michael Whalen), a flashy and manipulative big-city lawyer, had been intrigued upon recently meeting Carroll and shows up in town as well. When Carroll flounders he becomes involved in the case, but his courtroom theatrics and disdain for the townspeople lead to potentially disastrous results. Or maybe not...

Trevor is appealing, although her character's courtroom performance is initially overly emotional and frantic in her responses, but that can be chalked up to the Carroll's learning curve. Otherwise Carroll is an admirable and generous young woman, and it's a pleasure watching Trevor in the performance.

I'm not familiar with Michael Whalen's work but can't honestly say I cared much for him. Part of that is doubtless due to his obnoxious character, but he's not very memorable. (You want to talk memorable, the courtroom in which he performs his opening scene was unlike any courtroom set I've ever seen, a real "wow.") Hopefully I'll see him in other films in the future so I can more fairly assess my opinion of him. He made at least two other films with Trevor, TIME OUT FOR ROMANCE (1937) and WALKING DOWN BROADWAY (1938)

Eric Linden plays Gracie's timid young boyfriend, whose father (Charles Waldron), the prosecuting attorney, is an intimidating dragon. Kathleen Lockhart plays Linden's mother, and June Storey (IN OLD CHICAGO) and Lynne Berkeley are his sisters.  Virginia Field is also in the cast.

The movie has a who's who of character actors in supporting roles, including Sterling Holloway, Edward Brophy, El Brendel, Guinn "Big Boy" Williams, Frank McGlynn Sr., George Meeker, Howard Hickman, Raymond Brown, and Spencer Charters.

The screenplay was by Lamar Trotti, from a story by Gene Fowler. Lewis Seiler directed, with photography shared by Robert Planck and James Van Trees. The film runs 76 minutes.

As I have shared here previously, Claire Trevor (seen at right) was very involved with the theater department at the University of California, Irvine and her family donated millions to the school, which renamed the department the Claire Trevor School of the Arts. Her Oscar and Emmy are on display at UCI. A biography with more information is posted at the UCI website.

CAREER WOMAN is available on DVD-R from the Fox Cinema Archives. For the most part, it's a good print. It can be rented from ClassicFlix.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Tonight's Movie: Cat People (1942)

The third film seen from my list of 10 Classics for 2013, following SAFETY LAST! (1923) and LITTLE CAESAR (1931), was the Val Lewton-Jacques Tourneur horror classic CAT PEOPLE.

CAT PEOPLE was one of the bigger successes from my "classics lists" of the past couple years; I loved it! Although I usually stay away from horror films, this one was just my style, managing to be very spooky without being graphic or truly horrific. I was fascinated by the stylish way the filmmakers put over the story of a woman who turns into a killer cat, without ever actually showing her transformation. It may be a scary film, but it's also visually beautiful, which isn't what one tends to expect when it comes to horror. This film was quite special, and I know I'll be wanting to watch it again in the future.

Irena (Simone Simon), a Serbian immigrant, meets Oliver (Kent Smith) in a zoo, and they marry after a whirlwind courtship. Unfortunately, Irena strongly believes in a legend from her native village, that she will turn into a dangerous cat if she becomes passionate or angry. Poor Oliver learns on their wedding night that Irena is unwilling to consummate their marriage as she fears the potentially deadly consequences of passion. (Needless to say, this is all handled quite delicately, given that the movie was released in 1942. Less is more.)

Initially Oliver is very patient, but when Irena can't get over her fear he sends her to Dr. Louis Judd (Tom Conway), a psychiatrist. Dr. Judd's not able to help much either, and after weeks of frustration and rejection, Oliver realizes that he is actually in love with his coworker, Alice (Jane Randolph), and she with him. This awakens Irena's jealousy, which is not a good thing...

I've heard for years how well-done this film is, and happily it did not disappoint. There are some wonderful set pieces, including Alice's scary swim in her apartment building's pool and her very creepy walk home late at night. The latter scene where Alice is stalked is reminiscent of the sequence in Lewton's THE LEOPARD MAN (1943) where the young girl walks home from the store in the dark, and it also made me think of Betsy's walk through the jungle to the voodoo ceremony in I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE (1943). Both these films, like CAT PEOPLE, were directed by the very stylish Jacques Tourneur.

My favorite scenes included Irena, having recently had one of her episodes, crying in shame and frustration in her bathtub, and I especially loved the scene where Oliver and Alice are stalked by a lethal cat which seemingly comes out of nowhere. I loved how that sequence was resolved; apparently homicidal cats and vampires are afraid of the same thing!

Simon is effective as a lovely but strange young woman; her performance is certainly different from her funny role in the wacky JOHNNY DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE (1944), a favorite '40s comedy.

I also enjoyed Jane Randolph, who manages to make the "other woman" likeable; she and Simon are initially both sympathetic characters, but as Simon's Irena grows increasingly distant and disturbed, the audience's sympathy gradually swings to Randolph. Randolph's background included serving as a live-action model for the ice skating sequence in BAMBI (1942). She appeared with Tom Conway in a couple of the FALCON films, THE FALCON'S BROTHER (1942) and THE FALCON STRIKES BACK (1943). She was also in IN THE MEANTIME, DARLING (1944) with Jeanne Crain.

Jack Holt and Alan Napier have small roles as Oliver's coworkers. Teresa Harris, who plays the cafe waitress in CAT PEOPLE, also appeared in I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE.

The superb black and white cinematography was by Nicholas Musuraca (OUT OF THE PAST), and the editing was by future director Mark Robson. The film runs 73 minutes.

CAT PEOPLE was written by DeWitt Bodeen. He didn't write many screenplays, but they were of a very high quality, including THE ENCHANTED COTTAGE (1945), I REMEMBER MAMA (1948), and MRS. MIKE (1949). Growing up, I learned a great deal of film history from back issues of Films in Review, to which Bodeen was a regular contributor; he specialized in profiling actors from the silents and pre-Code days.

Bodeen also wrote a loose sequel, CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE (1944), which was directed by Robert Wise and Gunther von Fritsch and again produced by Lewton. Like CAT PEOPLE, it starred Simone Simon, Kent Smith, and Jane Randolph.

CAT PEOPLE is available on a relatively inexpensive "double feature" DVD, along with CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE (1944), or in the big Val Lewton Horror Collection boxed set. The DVD can be rented from Netflix or ClassicFlix.

The movie can be rented for streaming from Amazon Instant Video. It was also released on VHS.

Finally, a reminder for any bloggers interested in writing about CAT PEOPLE this month: You're invited to send me the link to your post, either via the comments or email, and I'll include the link at the end of this post, as well as Tweet whenever the post is updated with a new link.

Leticia, a classic film fan in Brazil who writes at Critica Retro (Retro Critic), has a very interesting post comparing the 1942 version with its 1982 remake. (There's a handy translation widget at her blog, by the way!) I'd completely forgotten that CAT PEOPLE was remade; although I never saw it, I remember it being released, and it's hard to believe that was 30 years ago! I was interested to learn from Leticia's post that Tom Conway played Dr. Louis Judd in another Lewton film, THE SEVENTH VICTIM (1943); I'll plan to see that one along with CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE. Thanks for joining me enjoying CAT PEOPLE this month, Leticia!

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