The Golden Age of Hollywood

A companion thread to my "What's the Last DVD You Purchased?" thread. I thought it might be fun to discuss what we all are watching or have recently watched. Below will be my first post in this thread.


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Tonight I watched Thank You, Jeeves, starring Arthur Treacher as the butler Jeeves and David Niven as his employer. This was quite an early one for Niven, and I watched it mainly to see him. As a silly spy-comedy, it was only ok, but I always love seeing Niven in anything. I may buy it eventually just for the sake of collecting his films. I'm happy that 20th Century Fox has released these previously unobtainable Jeeves movies on DVD. They are available as part of a Cinema Classics Collection.

So many choices for something to watch! I have decided on The Bride Comes Home, starring Claudette Colbert, Fred MacMurray, and Robert Young. This is a classic screwball romantic comedy, made in 1936. Like so many of her romantic comedies, this one involves a rivalry between two men (sometimes there were even three), and one of the classic rivalry actors in these movies for some reason was Robert Young. Fred MacMurray and Melvyn Douglas were also commonly involved in these rivalries, along with the ill-fated Ralph Bellamy who never got the girl.

Recently I've been watching Sylvia Sidney movies that I've discovered I have a few lying around my home that I've not seen.  Recently I was invited to join a Sylvia Sidney Facebook group, which is what's prompted me.  

I saw An American Tragedy, stars Phillips Holmes, Sylvia Sidney and Frances Dee, a very interesting movie precode that focuses on a man's attempts to climb the social ladder by any means possible.  

Also enjoyed seeing Sylvia  in the charming precode 30 day Princess where she had dual roles. Versatile actress. Kinda the original princess diaries' idea I think. Bit of a Prince and the Pauper type theme.  Lovely Romcom.

I'm still to watch Sylvia in You and Me with George Raft and King Vidor's production of Street Scene also starring Estelle Taylor.

Then I saw Ten Cents A Dance starring Barbara STanwyck, interestingly a Lionel Barrymore production, also starring Ricardo Cortez.  I really enjoyed this precode movie.

Also seen recently Man of the World, starring Carole Lombard and William Powell, an most enjoyable precode and made just prior to their marriage. Also stars Wynne Gibson.

Have been in a precode mood of late. Oh too I saw Me and My Gal, SPencer Tracey and Joan Bennett, thoroughly enjoyable too.

Boy, I guess you HAVE been in a pre-Code mood, Karen! LOL You made me want to rewatch 30-Day Princess, which I have in a boxed set of early Cary Grant movies. I was a little disappointed by Man of the World. As I recall, Carole Lombard's part was rather small. What did you think?

I did like Man of the World. Yes, probably as parts go Wynne Gibson's was the juicier one.  But Carole was at a very young age still, playing daughters and girlfriends I suspect (not sure). I think she was perfect as the daughter of the wealthy man, falling for the con man. 

My son and his friend are visiting for summer vacation, and we've been watching lots of movies. We ordered some from the library, which just came in. So far we've seen Rear Window, The Third Man, and The Last Wave, among others. On our list to still watch are The Wizard of Oz, Blazing Saddles, Psycho, and Night of the Hunter. I was surprised that the kids wanted to watch The Third Man, but the other movies are what I would expect to interest a 17- and 18-year-old (assisted by my suggestions and descriptions as well as a book I have on 1001 must-see movies).

Whenever my son is here, I try to expand his knowledge of classic films, and the older he gets and the more knowledge he acquires, the more receptive to them he seems to be. This time, he's recommending classic movies he's already seen to his friend!

Good list of movies! I hope that even if your son doesn't become a fan that he at least will build an appreciation for classic films.

Watched Shanghai Express (1931) starring Marlene Dietrich,Warner Oland, Anna May Wong, Eugene Pallette and other excellent actors. Excellent film. 100% critics' score on Rotten Tomatoes.  Amazing the train sounds throughout, the bells and whistles, etc.  Directed by Josef von Sternberg

I watched "Safe In Hell" (1931) starring Dorothy Mackaill, Donald Cook, & Ralf Harolde. Mackaill is the highlight of the film. Extremely beautiful and sensuous. She plays a prostitute who accidentally kills her pimp and flees the country as a stowaway on a boat. A sailor on the boat discovers her and protects her and helps her escape to a Caribbean island that does not extradite criminals. He helps her get set up in a hotel on the island that's full of criminal elements as bad or worse than the man she killed. They have an unorthodox wedding ceremony and she determines to remain faithful to him while he is at sea. The lowlifes on the island try to seduce her without luck. Lo and behold one day a man she recognizes gets off a boat and it is the man she supposedly killed. Since he is alive she is free to return to America but he has designs on her and tries to rape her. She really does kill him this time and stand trial. 

This film has very little merit outside of Dorothy Mackaill. It has one of the stupidest endings I have ever seen in a film where she goes to the gallows when she had the opportunity to be free. Just DUMB!

I just saw a movie I'd never seen before and really liked it. It was a British film called Hobson's Choice (1954), directed by David Lean and starring Charles Laughton. Laughton plays a bootmaker with three daughters who want to get married. One of them is extremely smart and basically runs the shop. She decides to take the bull by the horns and get herself a husband. The other indispensable person in the establishment is a talented bootmaker, and she sees great possibilities for him. She is very assertive, energetic, and detail-oriented, and before long, not only has she married this man, but she has provided "settlements" (dowries) for her two sisters to get married as well. (The story is set in the 1800s.) Eventually, she and her husband have surpassed her father in business success and are able to acquire his shop also. It's a wonderful movie about a happy and very practical marriage. It reminded me a bit of Holy Matrimony (Monty Woolly and Gracie Fields) -- completely different plot, but it also depicts a wife who is a real gem.

I've been enjoying watching the movies my friends recorded for me off of TCM. Last night I saw The Red Balloon (a truly wonderful film) and Lady Luck, a Robert Young romantic comedy (costarring Barbara Hale) that I had never seen. It was pretty standard, but I enjoyed it. It could have benefited from more humor and wit. Frank Morgan and James Gleason have decent supporting roles.

Now I'm watching June Bride for the third time. I've heard that Bette Davis thought this was her worst film, but I really like it. Again, it's a standard romantic comedy, but Robert Montgomery and Bette Davis turn in great performances with what I think is a good script. Everyone knows Bette as a great dramatic actress, but she brought her distinctive style to her comedies also (although she generally played the offended "straight man" to the lovable and funny male star).

This movie is so up my alley--the music, the interiors, the stars, the cocktails...I love it all. The date is 1948.

I've been watching bootlegs of '77 Sunset Strip' I purchased, along with my DVDs of 'Ellery Queen.'  (Jim Hutton was perfect for that role.)



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