Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Irene Dunne

December 20 1898-September 4 1990
It's because of stars like Irene Dunne that I don't have much faith in the Academy Awards AKA the "Oscars". This beautiful and talented woman was nominated a total of five times and yet never won once. While I certainly don't believe that the worth/talent of a actor/actress is defined by a gold statuette of a man, I do think that it was a shame that she was not recgonised at least once by the academy for the contributions she made to film, at least not until after death. 

But, whatever. I guess you can't change the past...  Despite not winning an Oscar, Irene Dunne is still hailed by critics and the public alike as one of the finest actresses from her era.  I personally  am relatively  new to Irene Dunne. I know, I know. You're all probably wondering, how the hell I missed this  talented woman in a ll my years of obsessive watching of old cinema? Truth is I have no idea.  In all the classics she has starred in, you would hve thought that I would have come across her before last year, but no. 
I first saw Irene Dunne in Penny Serenade when I was about sixteen and a half.  The movie starring Cary Grant also was a touching look at a newlywed couple who unable to have a baby of their own due to a tragic accident, decide to adopt. The film though towards the end especially can ''jump'' (for lack of better word) over certain things hurriedly, is a very touching and beautifully acted movie. When I first saw it on ABC at one o'clock in the morning, I was touched.  I of course already knew who Cary Grant was, but this woman, the woman who played his wife- she was so touching in her scenes and every word she uttered I believed with all my heart and soul. She was good, I had decided. And mentally stored her name in my brain to IMDB later- except I didn't. 

I'm ashamed to say I crawled to bed that night and very nearly forgot the movie Penny Serenade and the actress Irene Dunne in it.  It was not until my mum came home a few months later with some cheap old classic dvds for me, that I remembered. Mum bought home ''Penny Serenade" "Life with father" and "The Awful Truth." All starring Irene Dunne, and suddenly it all clicked.

It was like a sign from old hollywood-  that I HAD to know who Irene Dunne was.And I was only too happy to oblige.

I still have yet to see a lot of her films only a few that I have outlined but my fascination with this woman keeps growing. Perhaps it's because she didn't exactly fit the mold of exact perfection expected  back then (back then? who am I kidding, it's STILL expected now). She was beautiful, but she was also slightly older then what was usually expected of a star and she had what people like Lana Turner only dreamt off; Talent.  Talent that saw her through a long and celebrated career.  She wasn't afraid to show her vulnerable side, she was willing to take risks, she was in short the epitome of what every good actress should be.
And even though she didn't win an Oscar while alive, she managed to win the public's hearts- back then, now and forever will  as long as there is obsessive people like us clinging to the golden era of Hollywood, to respect and admire her. :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It's that time of year again...

It's the Holiday period once agian. Whether you are Jewish,  Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Atheist, black, white, Asian or even pink with orange polkadots- whatever, I hope you all have a happy safe and enjoyable Holidays!! :)

I know that I have not been on this blog for quite some time, I promise I have not forgotten about it nor have I abondened it. I have recently gone through a transitional stage, which has involved me moving once again to another town. It has been somewhat emotionally draining and also psychically   tiring to leave all that you have slowly become accustomed to to go back to a place you thought you wouldn't be coming back to, but I am here. And I am happy, and I think that once this Christmas/Holiday period is over I will be posting more and more in this blog.  I have been fortunate enough to have seen a great many old movies that I had not seen before- so look out cyberspace, Nelly's back and she's ready to ramble!! XD

So that's it for now, I guess. Just wanted to wish you all a wonderful, safe and Holiday period and I will see you all in 2011 (Gosh, can you believe it?? 2011! Already! Wow!) :) What's everyone got planned? Seeing family? Working (ew)? Going on a holiday?? I know what I will be doing; Absolutely nothing. I'm going to be sitting there on Christmas morning, opening my pressies and just kicking back and relaxing... That is until about noon when my mother and I have to go to my nana's to eat our traditional annual Christmas lunch... Mmmmm, I can already taste the glazed ham, the roasted vegetables, the deserts.... Yummmy.... *drools*


 My apologies.

Anyway, yeah... See you soon!

Much love to you all,

Nelly xoxo

Monday, September 13, 2010

Some fave hairstyles.

A sort of girly/fangirl post.

It's no secret that I really love the fashions of old Hollywood. Vintage= win, in my eyes.  I very lightly touched on this subject before, with a post on Ms. Bette Davis' beautiful costume from the film Jezebel... I also absolutely adore some of the hairstyles from this period too. I particularly love 1940s hair styles, but I have a fondness for a few others too.

I didn't include every hair trend I liked, because if  I did, this post would be never ending, but I thought that I would show a few of my faves. You will notice that I adore curls, particularly. They are a major, major, win in my books. Every chance I get, I attempt to curl my hair in a manner that is vintage...

And no one rocked the curls better then;

Mary Pickford. 

There have been rumours that her famous curls were in actual fact a wig... I don't care either way. They're absolutely beautiful!!!  My absolute favorite of all hairstyles. :)

Here are some other hairstyles that I often glance enviously at and wish that somehow my hair would be obliging enough to let me make it at least half as pretty as some of these ladies. But alas, not all our wishes come true, do they? Ah well. 

Veronica Lake. (Kind of an obvious one, nearly everyone loves her hair). 

 Rita Hayworth.

Louise Brooks.

Audrey Hepbrun <3 

It's interesting also to note that even after all these years, that vintage glamor, in particular it's hair trends  are even more popular then ever...

Sunday, September 5, 2010


It's fathers day in Australia today and as such I thought that I would look back on some noteable fathers/fatherly figures that graced our screens back then. None of these are in any particular order.

George Bailey, It's A Wonderful Life. 
Who can ever forget the story of George Bailey? A young, inspiring  man who wanted nothing more in life to explore, to have adventures. A selfless man, husband and father, who kept putting others before him always, until one day after an unfortunate mistake seemingly made by his Uncle Billy, who misplaces a large sum of money that belongs to the building and loans, George snaps. He even wishes that he had never been born. Enter Clarence, a angel who has not yet earnt his wings, who grants George his wish... George gets to see the world and what it would be like, had he never been born. A world where he has no wife, his friends and family's life's are a catastrophe and his children don't even exist.   He begins to realise that though he may never have gone to Africa or Europe or anything like that, he has a home, wife, kids, a family, friends, who all love him and who he in turn loves back.

Stanley T Banks, Father of The Bride. 
Stanley Banks, the father of the bride... Like most fathers, he does not like one bit that his daughter is now old enough to attract attention from boys, let alone MARRY them. A kind, often stubborn man. Stanley represents the every day father, who though sometimes may be a tad too overboard in showing it, loves and want to protect their kids for as long as they can, especially from possible  handsome fiances!

Charlie Chaplin or ''The Tramp'', The Kid. 
This silent film is truly one of the best films I have ever seen. Charlie the Tramp, finds a small baby who has been abondened by his desperate mother, who vows one day to refind him... Charlie raises the boy as his own for many years, until one day the authorities come to take the boy away... A powerful movie, that shows that just because you are not blood related, doesn't mean you can't still be a father. 

Alfie Doolittle, My Fair Lady.

Ahaha. Okay. I concede, Alfie Doolittle is by no means a wonderful father. The only time he ever see's his daughter is to get money of her to get a drink or three from the pub. Loud, brash and out to only survive for himself, Alfie still surprisingly comes off as charming and easily likeable in the movie. So yeah, maybe not the best of dads, but hey, he had a few catchy tunes in the movie, right?! 

Judge Hardy, in The Andy Hardy Pictures.
Judge Hardy. The reliable and dependble father, the one his kids could talk to about anything. The problem solver, the soother of the situations... He seemingly knew how to deal with everything, nothing was too big of a problem to solve and nothing was too stupid or silly to talk about. Well, after all he was a judge, so he was by no means unintelligent. He is one of my personal favorites. <3 

Fagin, Oliver Twist.

Yeah, Fagin encouraged the boys he took in from the streets, to steal hardly good fatherly advice. But when one takes into account the time period in which Oliver Twist was set, the boys could have ended up in far worse of situations. Fagin was basically like a foster parent, taking in all sorts of kids to look after. And while stealing and encouraging it are hardly admirable traits, back then it was a very hard world, they all had to survive somehow.  He also seemed to legitimately care about the boys as well. 

Captain Von Trapp, Sound of Music
The father who loves his children, but after a unfortunate event in the family that took his wife's life, he doesn't know how to show it exactly.  The most touching scene in this movie for me is when the children are singing for the first time to the Baroness, and the Captain, seemingly amazed that music and beauty could once again survive in the house, goes to watch them, then joins in with the singing much to the shock of them all- eventually hugging and kissing each .. It pulls at my heart strings.  :) 

Gepetto, Pinocchio.
Gepetto the elderly man who wants nothing more then a son to call his own, makes a puppet who comes alive thanks to the Blue Fairy.  There is only one catch however, Pinocchio is indeed alive, but still wooden, he must prove his worht to be able to become a real boy or he will turn back to a mere puppet. Gepetto shows that a fathers love can indeed be very strong, as he stops at nothing to try and find Pinocchio who goes missing- even ending up in a whales stomach!

Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird.
 The epitome of fathers everywhere, in my opinion. Intelligent, kind, willing to help everyone and anyone. Atticus is not afraid to stick up for what he believes in, and loves  his children to the death. He is willing to do anything for Jem and Scout, and it's because of this that Atticus is willing to defend a black man in court, when the social times and the rest of the town seemingly all say not too; because he believes it is the right thing to do, to help an innocent man in his time of need. 

I know I left out HEAPS of others out there, but I only did a few. If you have any others you want to share, that would be great!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Wizard of Oz VS. Gone With The Wind

 Silly Banner made by me.

WARNING long rambling possibly boring post ahead, read at your own risk! XD 

A new sort of game I like to play.  Like two competitors in a boxing ring I take two subject matters, it can be anything or everything.  Like two celebrities, two songs and obviously, two movies, and ''VS" them off against one another. In an attempt to decide which one is 'better' then the other. It's going to be hard, because both are very different films. One is considered more adult and the other more child-like. Still, these two films are undoubtedly two of the most famous ones to exist from 1939, a year that saw very many classics produced. It will be tough, yes. And it will be certainly be more then a little unfair, but that's the fun of it! What's life without a bit of challenges? And even if I end up failing terribly at this, at least I got to explore two of my favorite films in such detail... Of course this is all my personal opinion and I understand lots of people wouldn't agree with it. But I thought this would be fun anyway. :)
I chose, as you probably can see, Gone With The Wind and The Wizard of Oz. Comments and opposing arguments/points are very much appreciated. :D

Gone With The Wind
 Lets get ready to rumbllleeeee!! *DING DING*

Directed primarily by Victor Fleming. 
Produced by David O. Selznick. 
Filmed in technicolor. 
Duration; nearly 4 hrs.
Often hailed as one of the best films of all time Gone With The Wind, has stood the test of time. Though by today's standards the ideals and subject matter expressed by the individuals/characters in the movie are outdated, the lasting effect of Gone With The Wind is so strong that it still continues to delight audiences, seventy one years after it was first released. 

  The story as most will know is set during The Civil War, and also after it. Showing how war can effect you even after it is long finished. The main character Scarlett O'Hara is an unlikeable, yet at the same time strangely likeable, selfish shrewd woman. Who deludes herself to be in love with Ashley, when we all know that it is Rhett she should be with. Add together more characters such as Mammy, Melanie, Belle, Pork, etc, one hell of a musical score  and add all sorts of twists and turns, and you're bound to be in store for one hell of a ride. 

Pretty dress :)

When it was first released Gone With The Wind was an instant smash hit. Based on the hugely popular book with the same name, Gone With The Wind went on to break box office records everywhere and also, go on to win 8 oscars, including Best picture and also best supporting actress, for Hattie McDaniel, the first african-american to win such an award. 

The appeal of the book and the movie, as I said before, are so strong that they still continue to sell very well and enchant audiences. Gone With The Wind has found a place in pop culture and mainstream society, and is constantly referenced to openly by different forms of media... 
I personally love this film. It has everything, right? Romance, action, war, friendships. It was not afraid to show human nature at it's worst as well as showing it at it's best.  It is interesting that this film was made in 1939, a year were an unprecedented amount of classics were produced. It is primarily, among being a epic romance it is also in my opinion any way a anti-war story, and yet it was in this very year that World War Two began. Hmmm.

It is very long, that is true. And as such it puts of a lot of people viewing it. ut the actresses, actors and the general tone of the movie are very good and still hold up even in today's standards.  I think the appeal of this film lays also in the fact that it was filmed in color, which, let's face it, is always going to win more votes in this modern day, then a black and white movie. 
Yes, Gone With The Wind, despite your own opinions of whether you may like it or not, had a profound effect on cinema. It was one of the first ''Blockbusters'' akin to something like Titanic, Avatar, etc. 

But despite that all, is it as universally recognized as Wizard of Oz? Is it better then Wizard of Oz? Is it as LOVED as Wizard of Oz?  

*dramatic music here* Only time will tell. 


The Wizard of Oz 
Directed primarily by Victor Fleming.
Filmed primarily in Technicolor, using Sepia in the begining and the end. 
Duration; nearly two hours.

Contrary to the myth that circulates this movie, Wizard of Oz was NOT a flop. It wasn't a smash hit either, but it was very warmly received by the public, and certainly put Judy Garland more on the map. This is evident by the two oscars the film received. 
This movie was based on the first of the popular children book series. It diverted a lot from it's original material, but nonetheless managed to capture the spirit of the books. A musical, The Wizard of Oz features some of the most recognizable songs in history, particularly, the iconic song ''Somewhere over the Rainbow."

Like Gone With The Wind this movie is one of the most easily recognizable films from the Golden Era today. The Wizard Of Oz popularity grew more and more as the years went on, thanks to viewings of television, videos and DVDs. It too is quoted and referenced often.  It is the epitome of children fantasy- and unlike Gone With The Wind, it is a movie the whole family can watch at any age and enjoy. 
The film is about a young girl who lives in the dreary sepia world of Kansas, with her aunty and uncle and her little dog. After being caught up in a hurricane that carries away her house, while she is in it, the house lands in a magical technicolor land called OZ and on a wicked witch who possesses red ruby magical slippers. After a series of events; including her being rewarded said magical slippers in thanks for killing the evil witch, making an enemy of the sister of the dead witch (who also happens to be quite evil, green and wants the slippers for herself) and a delightful merry song to set the tone for the rest of the movie, we watch Dorothy struggle to find the Wizard Of Oz, the only person who can seemingly help her to return back home along with her new friends Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion, each of whom need something from the wizard too, a heart, a brain and courage.

I think the appeal of Wizard of Oz is strong to those that are in touch with their inner child. Since I have yet to really grow up, I still adore this film very much. It is a staple in most young childrens viewings and is still magical and terrifying (I mean, come on, who when younger WASN'T afraid of the green wicked witch?!)  as it  was all those years ago. The Wizard of Oz is very much an icon. People don't associate it as an old movie, they just see it as it is- a magical escape. Audiences of that time could sort of relate because they were doing it hard back then, so everyone could understand the notion of wanting to escape to a more prettier, more different world. It's one of those rare films that are both timeless and watchable by anyone- Everyone, and I mean everyone, knows what the Wizard of Oz is. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

One of my favorite costumes of all time

I love this dress (Bette Davis, Jezebel 1938, Warner Bros).

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Be careful what you wish for, it may just come true.

I am a big believer in the restoration of movies. Not replacing any original material or what not, but I am a believer in using modern technology to make films from so long go look and sound more attractive…

I think it makes it so much easier for the viewer to watch and  I find restored movies are not as distracting as a unrestored copy of the movie may have been. The reason I am blubbering about this is because I recently bought The Picture of Dorian Gray, which was first released in the year of 1945.

  Perhaps you have heard about the story, it’s a fairly renowned one. Or perhaps you were one of the few people who saw the newly made adaptation of the story that released only a year ago starring Colin Firth.  I have to admit that though I began to read the classic tale written by Oscar Wilde, I did not finish it all. So I had no real ideawhat I was really getting into when I first inserted my dvd into my PS2... Little did I know that I was going to enter a world very strange and different to my own; but at the same time seemingly real and very hypnotic.

The Picture of Dorian Gray, is one of the oddest and finest films I have ever seen. I think it was perfectly executed and I think that George Sanders and Angela Lansbury in particular shine the most in the film. But I will get to the actors, story and all that later. Let me fist fan girl annoyingly over the sheer quality of the copy I purchased.


I swear when it first began, I began to drool, because seriously it was picture perfect. Every little detail could clearly be seen, the lighting was all the more effective, there was no annoying crackle that some older movies have due to deterioration or anything. Everything about it from the first moment it began was flawless. The sound was pitch perfect and I don’t even have a HD tv or dvd player or anything like that. So I’m double excited.

I just find it so totally awesome that this little movie I bought for like six bucks, was so brilliantly restored. Then I realized that it had been re-distrubted by the Warner Brothers Company, and I smiled.  Warner Brother’s truly seems to be  doing its best to give us the best quality of old films (I have copies of Gone With The Wind and All About Eve, that were BEAUTIFULLY restored and redistrubted by the Warners Bro. company). I guess it’s because they’re the only ‘old film studio’ that is still very successful… I think they still want everyone to know about the films and time that made them such a major studio, by re-releasing the old movies.

And probably why they’re redistributing major films of MGM and RKO, I dunno…. Hmmm, I shall have to look into that.

 But anyway I’m off on  a tangent again, I apologise. You will soon find that sometimes I will write and blabber on. Don’t worry you will get used to it ;)

Anyway where was I?

Oh yeah, the movie.

So needless to say the quality was freakin fantastic. I mean seriously, I had to go back to the beginning because I was fangirling so much over the sheer quality that I missed the opening sequence… I am glad I did go back to the start or else I would have missed some of the best moments of the film.

  Dorian Gray

Now that I have undoubtedly bored you all to tears with my over long fangirling, let me delve into the movie itself.

The movie is primarily filmed in black and white. I say primarily because there are four sequences in the film that are filmed in beautiful technicolor. I was so surprised to read that that was how it was actually filmed, I thought that many years later some clever little restorers re-colored certain scenes, but no, that’s how it was actually filmed and viewed in 1945. To me that is simply astounding, I am not sure why it is, but it is.  It certainly gave a wonderful effect.

Dorian Gray is a young, easily led astray, handsome gentleman who permits Basil Hallward to do a portrait of him… Lord Henry Wotten is, in short, a wicked man. Well perhaps not wicked, but he certainly is the one who sets Dorian on to his path of doom, he is very idealistic, very bitter, very dark, sometimes unfeeling and always expresses his opinion even when not asked. It is while visiting Basil, his friend and meeting Dorian the first time, that  Henry does just that.

He praises the work of his friend Basil, who had now finished the portrait of Dorian in almost exact detail, taking time to loudly observe how handsome Dorian Gray is and what a pity it would be when Dorian grew old and gray and lost his youth. He cautions Dorian to enjoy his youth now because soon he will be old and regretful.

Thus plants the mad seed within Dorian’s head, the seed of thought and obsession over age and aging… Dorian wishes foolishly out loud that the beautiful portrait of himself, and not he, would age and bear the signs of experiences, while he, Dorian himself remained unchanged, looking like  a youth of twenty-two, forever…  He even says that he’d be willing to sell his soul or trade his soul for such a thing to happen.

You know what they say, right? Be careful what you wish for…

The movie shows the effects of having such a wish granted, the life Dorian ultimately has because of his obsessions and mad thoughts. It also shows how easily led astray he is by the manipulative Henry. As time goes on and unfortunate and dark things began to happen to and be caused by Dorian Gray, the portrait begins to change,  while Dorian remains seemingly ageless, the painting starts to reflect the change of  the person it was based on… As Dorian becomes more self absorbed, mean and cruel, the painting changes accordingly to show just how disgusting he has now become. And the end result is not a pretty one.

Though the story in an overview sounds very simplistic it is anything but. The movie is a fascinating insight to human nature, the struggles in which all of man kind deal with, how easy it is to be easily lead astray and how easy it is to let your life and the world around you become dark and darker.

The movie is quite simply, very intense. Even in today’s standards it still shocks people. I have to say that each time the canvas of the painting was shown in technicolor, I gasped. Because the image was still very gruesome and indeed, I am not ashamed to admit this, frightening.

The wonderful use of lighting, music, stage craft and camera angles really helped build the suspense.  It is, ladies and gentlemen, black and white film at it’s best.  The switch to color when we view the portrait to see how demented and strange the painting has become, really made it all the more clear how dark and disturbed Dorian had become and also I think it was a clever way of showing the ‘true colors of his soul’.

The costumes were beautiful, the make up… Oh my god the make up. And I don’t just mean the beautiful and glamorous make up of Angela Lansbury and Donna Reed, no I mean the make up at the end of Dorian Gray (or perhaps it was a dummy… either way it does not matter) was extremely haunting.  It was very witty and funny and I think above all, intelligent. No doubt this is because it was adapted from Oscar Wilde, still it’s nice to see intelligent ‘horror’ every now and then.

The movie is not without it’s flaws though, it is sometimes very long and very dialogue orientated, which I suppose cannot be helped, given it’s source.  But still it was very much worth sitting through the dull moments, to get to the good bits.

Some of the cast;

George Sanders is the stand out for me. I have only ever seen him in All About Eve, in which he made a great impression on me then too.  Now I know without doubt that he was one of the best actors of his generation- his voice can literally make you feel placated in one instance and horrified the next moment.  He was surprisingly very subtle in terms of technique something that was rarely seen in the 1930s-1940s particularly.

Angela Lansbury also deserves recognition for her performance, it is unlike any that I have seen her in. Poor dear, she was so naïve in this film.  And so beautiful.  She plays Dorian’s first ‘love’ and her ultimate death, spins Dorian into a life of selfishness and darkness. I think that it was a brave role for her, considering the other roles she had taken during that time (The Harvey Girls, for instance).  I like that she took a risk and that it very much paid off.  She is very memorable.

For some reason I love Peter Lawford. I know he was usually only on screen in any film for small periods of time, but there’s something about him that I very much like, so I enjoyed seeing him in this movie, in the small but nonetheless important role  of David Stone.

Donna Reed looked very beautiful in this film, but I found her bland. She stars as Dorian’s second love, his true love. She was very sweet and lovely, but as I said far too bland for my liking in this film, this is my personal opinion.

And last but not least Hurd Hatfield, who played the title character. He was very good, at times for whatever reason he reminded me psychically of Laurence Olivier, but they looked nothing alike! Oh well.  He delivered a very well rounded performance of a tortured soul and sometimes you felt  pity for him but most of the time you just wated to hit him over the head with a bread stick or something.  He was good, but he wasn’t as good as George or Angela.

This movie though made so many years ago, still holds up even to modern days audiences. The images in the film that were so horrifying to people back then, are still just as horrifying now. Which is not always the case.

I liked it a lot.  And if you like ‘horror’ you should too. 

The end result of a life of cruelty and unkindness...

All images belong to Warner Bros, MGM and the actors/actresses themselves. All links to where I got the images are provided for, if anyone has a problem with me using said images, let me know. I am in no way related to any of the actors, movie studios or whatnot. I am however very tired, it is 4.16 AM. The joys of studying, eh? >.<

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Dreams really do come true...

Just  a quick post-

 Ilene Wood May 5 1929- July1 2010 

Every one knows Cinderella.

   Every one has heard or seen it before, and usually, actually more probably, it is the Walt Disney version that is seen and is most identifiable by the public at large.  It has become more then a classic for the Disney company, it’s become an icon. As easily identifiable  as that of the Mickey mouse ears or the iconic castle that appears on the screen before a movie begins…
I actually only watched Cinderella the other day for the first time in  ages- sort of ironic, considering the news I heard only this morning. I know what you’re probably thinking, why the hell am I blogging about Cinderella, a kids movie for??

Well, technically it IS apart of what I define as anyway, The Golden era of Hollywood released in 1950.  I know some people do not consider animated films to be ‘really’ apart of this era, but for me I see no distinction, other then that one is live action and the other is not. A good movie, no matter how it is captured, is worthy of any praise and attention it garners.

I love Disney, I always have and I daresay I always will. The great thing about Disney is, particularly when you look at it’s traditional 2D animated films is that they hold all the morals and messages from times long ago…But because the movies are usually animated, they sort of transcend time. They are timeless pieces and they can never seem dated.

Cinderella is just as magical now as it was then and it’s morals and messages are just as beautiful now as it was before. And even it’s theatrical conventions that it uses, the use of dramatic music and general pace of storytelling still work, whereas live action movies that have used similar conventions can appear ‘outdated’ and ‘lame’ to today’s general audience. I grew up watching Cinderella, it was a staple in my usual viewing as a child as I daresay it was for a great many of people...
The reason I bring Cinderella up, is that I have heard that the woman who voiced Cinderella, Ilene Woods has recently passed away. Though she did not do any other movies or anything like that other then Cinderella, I still think she deserves to be remembered. After all, she voiced one of the best Disney princesses to exist.  And her singing voice was truly beautiful, it is a shame we did not get to see more of this beautiful lady. 

Through Cinderella I learnt that dreams really come true- and though my own dreams wish to accomplish something with my life other then just marrying my prince Charming and settling down, I have never forgotten that with some determination and optimistic thinking, you can get anywhere you want in life. And like Cinderella move from the lowest of places (such as her being a scullery maid) to the highest you can  possibly reach (for her this happened to be a princess, for me and for us though, the possibilities are endless!)

So thank you Ilene Woods for voicing one of the most identifiable characters Disney, and I daresay the movie industry itself, has ever known.

Cinderella (1950) belongs to the Walt Disney Company.  All images were taken from google.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Red Shoes

One of the greatest tragedies, for me personally I think, was that I never got to watch the film The Red Shoes as a child. I think though I would have perhaps been a little frightened, I would have been transfixed. And maybe it would have been even more magical for me (if that is even possible).

As it is however, I did NOT see the movie as a child, indeed I did not have the pleasure of seeing it until last week.  I have always loved dancing. Though of course I am not blessed with a dancing ability my self, I still enjoy watching it. The Nutcracker is one of my favourite stories of all time because of this.

The Red Shoes…

What can I say about it?


No, it’s better then good. It’s amazing.

No, Magical.

No, Brilliant…

It’s all those things combined and more!

It’s like a moving piece of art, a wonderful canvas. Beautiful in all it’s splendor.

Though unfortunately my copy  of the movie is in dire need of restoration, so I feel as though I have somehow been cheated in enjoying the movie for all it’s worth. If I ever see it in it’s restored glory, I shall buy it and probably come on here and gush about it all the more! So, beware! XD

The story, when you strip all the layers and other things that are added in the movie, is a fairly simple one. It is a  “modern” adaptation of the Hans Christianson tale The Red Shoes
 A girl wishes nothing more than to dance. She gets her wish, when a manipulative yet charismatic  ballet impressario Boris Lermontov (played by Anton Walbrook)  allows her in his company. He is a hard person who expects nothing less then utter and complete devotion to the chosen field each  of his protégées has chosen. Under his guidance Vicki, the girl played by Moira Shearer, is seemingly destined for stardom and the composer a young Julian Craster (played by Marius Goring) is destined for the same.  Vicki lands the lead role in the new ballet production  entitled ‘The Red Shoes’, which instantly makes her a hit.

However when Vicki and Julian fall in love, much to the scorn of Boris Lermontov, Vicki must decide what she must choose- her greatest love or her greatest passion? Or perhaps, they are in fact the same thing? 

Without giving too much away, this movie is the perfect blend of fantasy, romance and tragedy. It is also a wonderful look and insight in to human nature as each of the main characters, Boris, Vicki and Julian, all struggle internally with their demons.

Moira Shearer and Anton Walbrook are the stand out’s for this film for me.  Anton in particular handles his emotional scenes with outstanding craft and technique. And Moira? She is simply breathtaking in some scenes, especially when she dances. The passion, talent and struggle all shows with her movements… She is indeed one of the most wonderful women of her profession to ever be filmed. How lucky we are to have her immortalized in such a way.

The best quote of the movie;

Boris: Why do you want to dance?

Vicki;  Why do you want to live?

Boris; Well I don't know exactly why, er, but I must.

Vicki; That's my answer too.

For some reason while I watched this movie  I kept thinking of Moulin Rouge, but I think that might just be because of the red hair and the ‘forbidden love’ aspect both films. However it is probable that Baz Luhrmann drew at least SOME inspiration from this movie, not that I mean this in an accusing or mean way, it’s just a fun thing to point out/know. :P

It’s a beautiful story, well told.  Though made in 1948 it has this certain timeless way about it, it still holds up very well in today’s standards and would no doubt still entertain numerous people from all walks of life. I don’t think I am or ever could do enough justice to it. So I beseech you all see the movie.  You won’t regret it. (And if you do for whatever unfathomable reason regret it, don’t yell at me! XDD)

The Red Shoes (1948)  and all it’s images  belongs to ‘General Film Distributors’ UK.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The ramblings of a golden-holic

The other day I went to a local store that had a massive DVD sale. I purchased six DVDs, all of which (excluding one which was Princess and the Frog- heh, what can I say? I'm a kid at heart) were from the 'golden era of Hollywood'.

When I got to the counter the woman who served me asked if I was buying these movies for my mother or my grandmother or some other older female relation. When I replied that they were all for me, she looked at me in this sort of disbelieving way as though she didn't know whether to believe me or not.

I get this reaction quite a lot.

For some reason a lot of people in society think that just because I am young means that I can't possibly appreciate things from so long ago. And more importantly, I can't appreciate things that the majority of society has seemed to have forgotten; in this case, old movies.

I know a lot of people don't understand my obsession with the golden era of Hollywood- hell, even I don't understand it. There are plenty of modern celebrities, badly written romance novels, brainless movies and TV shows, etc out there that are currently being obsessed over by those of my age group; but instead of swooning over Justin Bieber flicking his hair in that I'm-so-nonchalant-yet-cool way or sighing over the latest Robert Pattinson and Kirsten Stewart love story, I am busy frantically looking up facts on old Hollywood and constantly searching for new movies, new stars to watch and to admire from that era. I guess that sort of makes me a geek.

Not that I mind overly much, in fact truth be told, I rather enjoy it a lot.

In History I learnt that in order to prepare for the future, you have to first understand the past. I think this also applies to film.

I appreciate some of the good quality films made in modern day even more then the average viewer, because I understand all that the very first stars, directors, producers went through to make today possible. The techniques, effects, acting and the general idea of a ''star'' was all created so many years ago. It’s through viewing the beautiful movies of that era that you begin to realise how much of an effect old Hollywood has had and still continues to have on our movie industry.

I have posters, cds, pictures, dresses, clocks and countless of other things that call back to the old days.
My collection of old movies (silent’s AND talkies) grows more and more almost weekly, thank god that most of the time old movies are being sold for cheap or else I'd be living in a cardboard box, broke, surrounded by all my classics, not unlike a crazy cat lady. But I'd be a crazy classic DVD lady or something to that effect.

I realise that I am probably coming of as a bit strong here- but hey, what can I say? I'm obsessed.

Give me Peck over Bieber, Audrey over Kirsten, black and white over colour, good story over special effects, a kiss on the hand over obscene adult scenes, screwball over vulgarness, any day!!

I guess my rant is over, I had to get that of my chest I do apologise if it did not make any sense, or if it was over-the-top stupid.

I guess all I wanted was to really say was this;

I'm a golden-holic. But unlike most ''holics'' I never, ever want to be cured ;)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Wait a minute! Wait a minute! You ain't heard nothin yet!

Edit:  I wrote this blog when I was seventeen/eighteen years old. As such, I wasn't really as well informed and educated. This movie, while historic, does contain 'blackface' by the main actor.  While I was disgusted back then with this display, I now understand more the history/etc, of what this means.  It no longer sits right to me to recommend this movie or its star. No matter how historic of a film or actor he was.  That said, I do believe that this movie still has a purpose. A purpose to tell us how far we, as a society have come- and how far we still have to go.

Those words made movie history.

Today I was privileged enough to see The Jazz Singer for the first time. I picked it up at my local target for only eight dollars. Being the landmark movie it is, I thought that it would only be fitting that I devote my first real post (the last one doesn't count, as it was an introduction of sorts) to The Jazz Singer.

There's a lot of controversy surrounding this movie. Some say it is racist, others say it's outdated. I must admit I do find the film both outdated and racist, which is hardly surprising since it was made in 1927 and based on a very outdated play.  I think it's important to view these movies as a reminder of what used to be.  

I have not come across many Al Jolson works, save for his music of course- which, though you may not know it is still very much around. But he seems to sparkle and light up the screen in a special way. For those who do not know about The Jazz Singer, let me tell you a little bit about it. The Jazz Singer was released in 1927 by Warner Brothers.

Yes, that's right I said Warner Brothers, not MGM as some believe.

The Jazz Singer is often credited to be the first feature-length distributed movie that used synchronized sound and dialogue for different parts of the movie.

It is about a man that comes from a very orthodox Jewish family and due to his love for Jazz and unwillingness to follow in his father's footsteps, he leaves home in pursuit to become a star, much to his mothers heartbreak. Eventually after many years of trying to make it big, he meets Mary Dale a beautiful dancer, who helps him get his big chance, and eventually lands him a spot on Broadway. However as time goes on and he tries to reconcile himself with his father and mother, the choice between his career and what his family wants become more and more pressing. What will he decide? *queue suspenseful music here* XD

Image removed. 

For most of the film it is a silent film, only through songs and one particular scene with the main character and his mother, do we hear a sound and/or dialogue. The Jazz Singer is often attributed to stopping silent films altogether. This is not really true. Though of course it did have a profound effect on the industry, silent films continued to be produced for many years to come -though admittedly these silent films would often use synchronized music and sound effects after the successes of this movie and Don Juan (1926).

While I was watching this movie I wondered to myself what it must have been like for audiences of that time to go and see this movie... Especially in the scene where Jackie (Al Jolson) sings and talks to his mother. How the audiences must have reacted, when they were so used to silent films, to have suddenly the main character speak and laugh. It must have been magic.
I almost wish I could go back in time and observe everyone.

Other then Al Jolson, the cast also includes May Mcavoy, Warner Oland, Cantor Rosenblatt and lots more. May I say that the lighting on this film was absolutely brilliant, particularly when used on May Mcavoy who at times looked absolutely stunning. Apparently, Myrna Loy can briefly be seen as one of the chorus girls, I must confess I missed her.If you get the chance to see this movie, I definitely suggest you do. Though some themes may be outdated and perhaps offensive to some people, the movie itself is a landmark in movie history. The relationship between the mother and son in particular is very touching.

A must see for all movie buffs.

DISCLAIMER; THE JAZZ SINGER belongs to Warner Brothers, all images and references to it in this blog are used in a manner of awe and admiriation. I do not claim to own or to be affiliated with Al Jolson, any of his family, any of the other actors or Warner Brothers themselves. I am just a star-struck kid, who is very scared of lawyers, so if there are any issues please do not hesitate to contact me.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

To begin...

I am not sure when it began exactly. It would be hard to pinpoint when it all started- I think it would be suffice to say that it was always there, lurking.

But I think it really began to become apparent, to become known when I was not yet fourteen. The old era of Hollywood had long been a interest of mine, but it was not until I began to buy more of the movies from that era- it was not until I began to do more research of that period, that my interest grew into an obsession.

While I have many other obsessions and interests (some of which no doubt will make an appearance on here) the one that continues to grow from strength to strength, is my fascination with old era Hollywood.

I am seventeen years old (eighteen in only five days!), not exactly your usual fan of such movies. I have a collection of DVDs that span from 1914 onwards. My favourite actors/actresses are from the ''Golden era of Hollywood'' spanning from 1920s-1950s.

People ask me all the time why I like such movies, why that era fascinates me so much. Usually I cannot give an answer, but today as I sit here pondering it, I think I have one. I think I like these movies in particular because they represent a time of simpler life, of values and morals that are no longer present.

Do not misunderstand me, I don't wish to push women back into kitchens wasting their lives as a housewife, mother, etc without being anything more. Nor do I wish to go back to the times were such racial prejudice was present.

But I do wish that our society did retain some of those old school manners and civility that have long been discarded...

I have no doubt whatsoever that every one has heard the phrase ''They just don't make movies like they used too'', and it's true. They don't.

I'm not saying movies today are bad, we all know that there are some brilliant ones out there. I am however saying that back then there was a certain quality, detail, that cannot be copied in today’s standards. The photography, the lights, the glitter, the certain glamour they had back then are irreplaceable. Yes some movies had dodgy effects that are laughable to today's generation (1933 King Kong, a mere example), but that does not lessen the appeal of such movies in my eyes, in fact it rather makes them all the more worth while, all the more valuable.

I guess I began this blog as a tribute to those stars, movies of yesteryear. To share my obsession to the world and to try and send out the message that just because it's old doesn't mean it's broke...
My name, well my nickname really, is Nelly and I want to, should anyone let me, to share with you all My Golden Obsession.