The Golden Age of Hollywood


We've done many categories since this game started. I announce the current category in the game, but if you can't find the announcement, just ask any of the players.
There's a game I play every chance I get with anyone who knows about movies. It's very simple: we pick a movie category and take turns naming titles of movies that fit in the category. For example, "films with a number in the title," or "films with hospital scenes" or "films with Joseph Cotten." I thought I'd see if anyone here wants to play.

Since there's no way of knowing how many people would want to join in, we can't take turns, so let's do it this way: only name one title at a time and wait for someone else to name one before you go again. The game ends when either we can't think of any more titles, or we reach 50 titles (because I know some people could go on and on way past the point where I would get bored with the category). So please mention the number we're on when you name a title.
It's no fair using IMDB or other sources, but if you run across a title by accident while the game is going on, it's fair to use it.
I'll start, and for the category I choose "films in which a fire occurs" (not a fire in the fireplace). The fire doesn't have to be depicted, just mentioned. This is a hard category for me, because it will mostly be composed of dramas, and I'm more into comedies, but here goes:

1. Rebecca

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Yes, it was so good, Karen, that when I formed a band in 1994, we named our first album The Greatest Show on Earth, which started a tradition in the band that all of our albums would be named after films, and they have been to this day.  

Anyway, the film I had in mind when I first came on to the forum this morning was the film Roustabout, from 1964, and a film that was well known for many reasons.  First of all, and you know what's coming, it was the fifteenth film featuring rock legend Elvis Presleyand it came at a time when even he must have realised that the standard of movie scripts he was getting was never going to improve.  The film was produced by the legendary Hal B. Wallis, who was essentially using the money earned from Presley's movies (Roustabout was Wallis' seventh Presley film) to fund more expensive, quality productions such as the multiple Oscar®-nominated Becket (1964).  Presley discovered this when reading a Hollywood trade magazine, and was understandably annoyed with both Wallis and his manager Colonel Tom Parker, who had basically done all the deals behind the singer's back.

Yet Presley was never less than professional and always turned up for work, called the producer 'Mr. Wallis,' and never gave his director any trouble whatsoever.  Thus came Roustabout, the story of a singer (surprise, surprise!) riding a motorcycle, drifting aimlessly having been fired from his previous job for fighting.  He spots a Jeep driven by Joe (Leif Erickson), driving his daughter (Joan Freeman) that Charlie (Elvis) begins to flirt with.  Also in the Jeep is Joe and Cathy's employer, Maggie, whom I have left until last because she is played by the great Barbara Stanwyck, whose last cinematic film this was to be.  

Roustabout is also notable for its soundtrack album, which contained eleven songs sung by Presley during the film.  Quite how it happened, I'll never know, but this album rose all the way to the No.1 spot on the Billboard album chart!  I know!  After The Beatles had had several chart-topping albums that year!  The standard of the songs on Presley's album is very mediocre indeed, nowhere near his best, and it was pretty much a 'last hurrah' for his soundtrack albums, none of which charted highly again.  Listening to the album, you can almost feel Presley's complete disinterest jumping out of the speakers - hardly surprising since all the songs were recorded in one overnight session.  

There we are - I'm sorry to bring in two in a row, but this was the film I had in mind to bring in the first place because I had fairly assumed that The Greatest Show on Earth would already be here.  Roustabout was more or less the mid-way point in Presley's film career, and it was perhaps the inclusion of Barbara Stanwyck in the cast that gave this film the added amount of respectability, and therefore extra dollars at the box office. x

I haven't seen Roustabout, Stephen, but I assume it has a circus or carnival in it somewhere...?

Great photo of two legends.

If I have counted correctly, the next entry should be #17.

17. Freaks - This 1932 horror film by Tod Browning has become something of a cult classic. The story concerns sideshow "freaks," played by actual sideshow performers with various physical anomalies. The documentary that came with my disk was as fascinating as the movie itself.

Here's a trailer:

This is an interesting article from the site Birth.Movies.Death, written by Devin Faraci:

The Unseen Freaks

I remember watching this on TV late at night when I was a teenager. It must have made quite an impression on me as it scared the living daylights out of me at the time.

18. Gordon McRae and Shirley Jones starred in two Rogers and Hammerstein musicals.  It may be three but I only remember two movies. The most famous musical pairing was Oklahoma. Oklahoma is not the movie with a carnival theme, it is the lesser known but also popular movie with songs like “June is busting out all over” and “If I loved you.” These are probably not the titles just the lyrics I remember.

Anyway, Shirley Jones character meets Gordon McRae’s character at a carnival. He was a carnival barker. Not much of the movie focused on the carnival, but this is where they met. Oh the name, wait for it “Carousel.”  I will feel foolish if this is wrong, it is based on my memory of the movie that I last saw as a teenager over 40 years ago. But I loved the songs, I think I got it right, if not let me know.

Yes, my high school put on the musical Carousel, and I played in the pit orchestra, so I know the songs well! 

GemData, please post your entries in the main reply window at the top instead of replying to the last comment. It gets confusing that way. Thanks!

John, regarding Freaks (can't seem to get my reply under your comment):

The "normal" people in the movie are so evil, you're on the side of the "freaks" all the way, so it didn't scare me at all. But I heard the original cut was much scarier (see article above).

19. I'm No Angel - Mae West plays Tira, a circus singer, hip-swayer, and lion tamer. She makes a name and fortune for herself when she starts putting her head in the lion's mouth. A society man falls for her. His brother (Cary Grant) tries to save him from this scandalous woman but falls for her himself.

Is this the the last reply location.



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