Lady on a Train

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Nothing says Christmas to me more this year than the Deanna Durbin Christmas Noir movie Lady on a Train, directed in 1945 by French Director Charles David, Durbin’s future husband: December 21, 1950. The original story Lady on a Train was by Leslie Charteris author of ‘The Saint’ series of books. Lady on a Train is a fun Christmas movie mystery interspersed with Noir tendencies, no opera in this film. Durbin’s rendition of Silent Night is spot on. David Bruce and Durbin’s chemistry is great especially the Gimme a Little Kiss song sequence. Thanks TCM for adding this Durbin movie to your TCM schedule this Christmas Season.

Greed ~ Tis the Season

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Ninety-seven year old Silent Film star ‘Baby Peggy’ Diana Serra Cary is in dire straits. The Silent Film Community has sent out a rallying ‘call for action’ to help this former pioneer of the Motion Picture business.
The healthy but frail Ms. Carey has attempted for months to receive modest in-home non-medical care from the: Motion Picture and Television Fund that was founded by her friends Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin.
This fund was set up for just this type of reason, to help former members of the Motion Picture business that need help.
Classic Hollywood is hoping for a Frank Capra type ending to this distressing decision from a Fund that is evidently run by ‘Mr. Potter’ type CEO’s.
You can read more about this story on Facebook at the Masquers Club and Ron Hutchinson from the ‘A Star for Baby Peggy’ site.

Classic Hollywood Black Friday

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While the whole of America starts shopping at 4pm on Thanksgiving Day, us lovers of Classic Hollywood forego the black Friday shopping craze and dive right into Christmas Movies. Thankfully since time moves forward.. the word “classic” starts to encompass more and more movies.

Our classic hollywood holiday movie list includes everything up to the year 2000… yes, yes we know there are awesome movies post-2000 but they’re not quite classic yet. These films have stood the test of time.

Watch, enjoy and take a minute to boycott shopping and enjoy some good old fashioned family Christmas films. Let the holiday joy begin!

 

 

James Bond through the years

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Bond. James Bond

In classic hollywood spirit I indulged in some James Bond Spectre this weekend. Even through the Daniel Craig films, which are said to be the closest representation of Ian Fleming’s true character, it’s the classic hollywood themes I see repeating that I respect most. You can still find the classic James Bond song at the beginning, this year’s Writing on the Wall by Sam Smith, highlighting a very extended length of opening credits! Opening Credits- when was the last time we actually saw those? The idea that James Bond hasn’t changed over the last 50 some years is comforting. Films for the most part have stayed true to the character and franchise standards. I remember particularly when the nudity concern was approached during the Brosnan films the franchise swore against it. in noble fashion. That’s not what Bond is about. Bond, much like Superman, is also not about nudity, or killing just because he can. And I’m not going to get into a debate about the qualities of the various Bond actors, because in truth it’s simply about the character of James Bond. He’s like an English super hero, giving the people something to believe in and sometimes a morality that we’d like to emulate.

Spectre brings a resolve to the Daniel Craig story, and like most bond fanatics I automatically start thinking about the “future of the franchise” and what’s next. Bond, much like Dr. Who, brings with it an expectation of joy for a lifetime so we always get worried when we think that may stop. Some may think 24 films and 53 years of this character. is enough…. well I sure don’t. With director Mendes and Craig both uncommitted for Bond 25, we’ll just have to be happy with what we’ve got right now, which thankfully is 23 films including special features and should last for at least a month Bond 50: The Complete 23 Film Collection with Skyfall [Blu-ray]  ….at least until we get a new dvd set with all 24 films.  Enjoy.

David Niven ~ Star of the Month

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I’ve come to the conclusion that David Niven was a rich man; rich in friends, rich in talent, rich in words that describe a bygone era that we will never see again. David Niven experienced the spectrum of Classic Hollywood first doing extra work for various studios, supplementing his income as crew on deep sea fishing trips finding that deep sea fishing experience and sailing was as important for making contacts in Hollywood as playing a good game of tennis.
I re-read Niven’s book ‘Bring on the Empty Horses’ when I found out he was to be TCM’s October Star of the Month. It is a book I highly recommend. Niven always seemed to be at the right place at the right time, sharing rich humorous anecdotes about early Hollywood 1935 thru 1960. David signed a contract with Samuel Goldwyn Studios in 1935. Other big names for that studio were: Ronald Coleman, Joel McCrea, and Gary Cooper. David writes about his friendship with: Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, Ronald Coleman, Greta Garbo, Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant to name a few.
David also wore the hat of Producer when he and other foresighted friends: Ida Lupino, Charles Boyer, and Dick Powell formed Four Star Productions. Four Star produced some of the most popular television series in Classic Hollywood Television during the 1950’s and early 1960’s. Producing, Directing, and Writing, Four Star was an outlet during the no longer leading man or leading lady era, it also brought in the bacon for other stars looking for work after the breakup of the studio system.
David Niven, Star of the Month, Oscar Winner, Actor, Writer, Producer. What an enjoyable month.