1947 Blogathon: Day 3 Recap

•July 15, 2015 • 4 Comments

TomIt was delightful! It was delicious! It was delovely!

It was Day 3 of the 1947 Blogathon!

The third and final day of this fabulous event was jam-packed with scrumptious posts from a variety of talented bloggers – so grab yourself a snack, settle back, and enjoy today’s awesome offerings!


The Cinematic Frontier knows all about The Lady from Shanghai.

The Motion Pictures tells us what Bogie’s up to in Dark Passage.

Sister Celluloid gives us the low-down on The Man I Love.

Movies Silently accessorizes with Golden Earrings.

The Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood knows that you should never Cry Wolf.

Critica Retro takes the Road to Rio.

Seven Doors of Cinema shares the magic of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.

Girls Do Film solves the riddle of The Lady from Shanghai.

A Shroud of Thoughts takes a peek inside Jassy.

Noirish goes inside Heartaches.

Reel Distracted knows better than to Ride the Pink Horse.

Speakeasy takes a ride down Trail Street.

Shadows and Satin knows why it’s so scary when The Devil Thumbs a Ride.

Motion Picture Gems says Welcome Stranger!


Silver Screen Modes takes a look at the Noir Films of 1947.

Silver Scenes whispers about The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

Thanks so much to all the great posters today! Be sure to visit Speakeasy tomorrow, where Kristina will provide a mammoth wrap-up of this super-cool event!

The 1947 Blogathon: The Devil Thumbs a Ride (or, Why Picking Up Hitchhikers is a BAD Idea)

•July 14, 2015 • 12 Comments

Admittedly, I haven’t seen every movie Lawrence Tierney was in, but I can’t imagine that he ever played the romantic lead or the goofy but lovable sidekick. No, he was just too perfect as the bad guy – the guy who’d kill you as soon as look at you. The guy who didn’t give a hoot that you had a loving wife at home. The guy who was the very embodiment of the term “self-preservation.”

The guy like Steve Morgan, Tierney’s character in The Devil Thumbs a Ride (1947).

Not five minutes into this 1947 RKO noir, Steve Morgan kills a hapless bank employee, then hitches a ride with another guy who’s also lacking in the luck department: Jimmy Ferguson (Ted North). Ferguson is terribly in love with his wife of two years and is in a big hurry to get home to her – but the cocktails he enjoyed at a surprise birthday/anniversary party have apparently impaired his judgment to the point where he not only gives a lift to Morgan, but also to two dames he meets in a gas station – Carol (Nan Leslie) and Agnes (Betty Lawford). Instead of ending up safe and sound in sunny L.A., though, this ill-fated foursome spends a harrowing night at a beach house in Newport, where Morgan demonstrates the meaning of the film’s title to all and sundry.

Too close for comfort.

Too close for comfort.

A low-budget noir that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat, The Devil Thumbs a Ride is not only entertaining, but it also serves as a cautionary

tale on the importance of keeping your car doors locked and your windows rolled up tight. And just in case you’re getting any ideas of being charitable the next time you hit the road, take a look at a few of Morgan’s awful actions and dastardly deeds:

  1. He deliberately tries to turn a traffic cop into road kill with Ferguson’s car. (Incidentally, Morgan rationalizes his transgression to his fellow passengers by telling a sob story about being sent to a reform school as a kid and growing up hating cops. “Even now, whenever I see one, my blood runs cold.” Boo hoo.)
  2. While the others settle in at the Newport beach house, Morgan steps outside to breathe in some fresh air, have a quick smoke – and flatten the tires on Ferguson’s car. Just in case he was planning to… I don’t know…leave or something.
  3. When Ferguson insists on trying to find alternate transportation options, Morgan tips out of the room and disconnects the phone.

    My name is Ferguson. Ferguson! FERGUSON!!

    My name is Ferguson. Ferguson! FERGUSON!!

  4. Unfazed when the local night watchman shows up at the beach house, Morgan invites him to join the party and proceeds to ply him with liquor until the watchman isn’t watching anything but the inside of his eyelids.
  5. One minute, Morgan is scamming Carol with tall tales of his “connections” in Hollywood. The next he’s forcing his kisses on her and slapping her around. And then… well, I don’t think I should say any more.
  6. After swiping Ferguson’s wallet, Morgan knocks him out cold, then assumes his identity, snowing the local sheriff with a stirring yarn about how HE picked up Ferguson! “When we got here, we asked the guy in for a drink with us and he started to get ugly drunk!” And the sheriff buys it!

I’ll stop there – but if these don’t serve as enough of a reason for you to speed on by if you see any Steve Morgan types on the side of the highway, well I just don’t know what will. But don’t be skeered of checking out Morgan’s antics The Devil Thumbs a Ride from the comfort and safety of your own home. You’ll be glad you did.

After all, you only owe it to yourself.


This post is part of the 1947 Blogathon, hosted by Kristina, of Speakeasy, and yours truly. Check out the wrap-up of posts on Day 1 and Day 2!

1947 Blogathon: Day 2 Recap

•July 14, 2015 • 4 Comments

Originally posted on Speakeasy:

It’s been another wonderful day celebrating the films of 1947, with many bloggers investigating crime and noir, while others highlight comedy and foreign cinema. Lots of memorable stories and performances to enjoy in this collection of posts:

Medium shot for "The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer" of Johnny Sands as Jerry White and Shirley Temple as Susan Turner sitting with students in High School auditorium. .

Now Voyaging: The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer


Vienna’s Classic Hollywood: Boomerang! 


Fights, Tights and Movie Nights: Dick Tracy’s Dilemma


Everything Noir: Born to Kill


Love Letters to Old Hollywood: This Time for Keeps


Brian Camp’s Film & Anime Blog:  Postwar Hope and Despair in One Wonderful Sunday and Violence


The Fluff is Raging: Odd Man Out 


Book ’em, Danno!: The October Man 


In The Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood: Dark Passage


Twenty Four Frames: Framed


Portraits by Jenni: They Won’t Believe Me!


The Stop Button: Out of the Past


Movie Classics: Angel and the Badman


Back to Golden Days: Nightmare Alley

That’s today’s group of 1947 movies, catch up on yesterday’s posts here, and…

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1947 Blogathon: Day 1 Recap

•July 14, 2015 • 26 Comments

Day 1 of the 1947 Blogathon has been absolutely marvelous, truly stupendous, positively outstanding — just downright GREAT! Today’s posts have run the gamut from the exquisite nuns of Black Narcissus to the frenetic antics of Tom and Jerry and everything in between, and we are simply tickled pink! 

So join us in taking a gander at the Day 1 offerings, won’t you?

Now Voyaging takes us inside Black Narcissus.

Silver Screenings tells us all about that man-crazy Shirley Temple in The Bachelor and The Bobby Soxer.

B Noir Detour looks at the goings-on in A Double Life.

Caftan Woman makes the introductions in Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome.

Moon in Gemini takes us inside the world of Forever Amber.

Movie Movie Blog Blog has a thing or two to say about the Three Stooges in Hold That Lion.

Defiant Success knows the ins and outs of Odd Man Out.

Pop Culture Reverie tells us that there’s Something in the Wind.

Sepia Stories says you’ll love The Perils of Pauline.

Old Hollywood Films takes a dip with the Lady in the Lake.

Mike’s Take on the Movies takes on Variety Girl.

Phyllis Loves Classic Movies and you’ll love Magic Town.

Motion Pictures Gems shines the light on the Tom and Jerry Shorts of 1947.

Wide Screen World takes us inside the shadow world of the T-Men.

Serendipitous Anachronisms knows all about Monsieur Verdoux.

Once Upon a Screen gives us the Queen of Catatonia in Possessed.

Criterion Blues shows us the beauty of Black Narcissus.

Movies Silently conquers Unconquered.

Love Letters to Old Hollywood writes a love letter to Song of the Thin Man.

Cinemaven’s Essays from the Couch goes inside The Macomber Affair.

That’s it for today’s crop of great films from 1947! Join Kristina at Speakeasy tomorrow for more awesome offerings!

Pre-Code Crazy: Finishing School (1934)

•July 3, 2015 • 5 Comments

SSFinishing1Typically, when I review the TCM pre-Code line-up for a given month, several films jump out at me as possible picks for our Pre-Code Crazy series. For the month of July, I’d almost reviewed the entire month before even a single movie caught my fancy – and boy, was I glad to see this one listed! Airing on TCM on July 30th, Finishing School stars Ginger Rogers and Francis Dee as roommates in a ritzy boarding school and opens with the most unique credits I’ve seen in a while:  The Girl played by Frances Dee; Her Mother, Billie Burke; Her Father, John Halliday; Her Pal, Ginger Rogers . . . and as “The Snob,” the camera pulls back to offer a shot of the school of the title: Crockett Hall.

We learn from the school’s marketing brochure that “in accepting young ladies for enrollment as students at Crockett Hall, consideration is given only to those families of breeding and inheritance who naturally wish their daughters to be fitted for carrying on the highest societal traditions. Crockett Hall offers more than an education . . . It provides a high degree of protection from the less desirable associations.” The Snob, indeed!

Always obey the rules.

Always obey the rules.

“The Girl” in the credits is Virginia Radcliff (Dee), who is just being accepted into Crockett Hall, which is the alma mater of her flighty, fast-talking mother, played by Billie Burke.  Virginia is nothing like her mother, who greets the school’s director, Miss Van Alstyne (played by a blonde Beulah Bondi), by observing that she “looks like a painting by, uh, some painter.” No, Virginia is quiet, demure, and rather reserved and sheltered. And if you think she’s going to stay that way, well, baby, you just don’t know pre-Code!

Miss Van Alstyne runs down the rules of the joint (no lipstick, no smoking, and “naturally, we don’t drink!”) before introducing Virginia to her new roomie, Cecelia “Pony” Ferris (Rogers). And while Pony may come from, as Miss Van Alstyne describes, “a fine old family,” she’s certainly no stick-in-the-mud. Case in point: when the director and Virginia reach the room, they find that the door is locked – a violation of another one of the rules. Pony opens the door, explaining that her trunk “just happened to be against it.” And when Miss Van Alstyne leaves, Pony jams a chair under the doorknob, sparks up a cigarette that she withdraws from beneath her mattress, and drops some knowledge about the school’s mandates: “They just make those prissy rules to please our parents. So the old folks won’t mind the genteel racketeering that goes on. . . . You’re supposed to do exactly as you please in this old ladies’ home for nice young gals. Just don’t get caught, that’s all.”

Rule Number 1: You'll make more friends if you share your liquor.

Rule Number 1: You’ll make more friends if you share your liquor.

Virginia also meets two other residents, Ruth (Marjorie Lytell) and Maggie (Adalyn Doyle), who literally start scuffling on the floor over a bottle of liquor they find in Virginia’s suitcase. Pony happily produces a corkscrew (“I’d sooner be caught without a toothbrush!”), but Virginia refuses to let them open it – the RULES, dontcha know? – and actually smashes the bottle to smithereens. This doesn’t go over too big with her new cohabitants, as you can well imagine, but Virginia later redeems herself by taking the fall over a note being passed in class by Pony. Afterward, the quartet becomes as thick as thieves – so thick, in fact, that the other girls invite Virginia to join them on their latest jaunt into the big city (wherein they hire an actress to pose as Pony’s “Aunt Jessica” so the school will think everything’s on the up and up). The girls head for a suite at the Waldorf Hotel, where Pony’s boyfriend, Chuck, and a blind date, Bill, for Virginia, are waiting.

At the hotel, Virginia successfully fulfills a long-term goal to “get tight,” but when Bill tries to take advantage of her inebriated state, she’s rescued by a hotel waiter – and, as it turns out, a medical intern – by the name of Ralph “Mac” McFarland (Bruce Cabot), who drives her back to school. (Incidentally, when Virginia is busted by Miss Van Alystyne, getting dropped off at the school in the wee hours of the morning, the school’s director gives her a dressing down, but not the one Virginia would have expected: “I can’t imagine a girl cheapening herself so completely. You surely knew enough not to drive up in front of the school at this hour of the morning,” Miss Van Alstyne lectures. “The least one expects of a lady is the nicety to cover her indiscretions. You have certain obligations as a student of this school. And the most important of these is to maintain appearances.” In other words, as Virginia herself points out, do whatever you want – just don’t let anybody see you doing it.)

Virginia and Mac meet cute. (Well, not that cute, 'cause she was loaded, but you get the idea.)

Virginia and Mac meet cute. (Well, not that cute, ’cause she was loaded, but you get the idea.)

As you may have guessed, Virginia and Ralph soon become an item – but to tell you any more would be giving away too much. I’ll just say that it’s pure pre-Code from here on out, and count on you to tune in to TCM on July 30th to find out what I mean. You’ll be glad you did.

Meanwhile, here’s some other stuff about the film:

A young, brunette Anne Shirley – billed as “Dawn O’Day” – had a small part in the film as a particularly annoying resident of Crockett Hall.

Finishing School was directed by Wanda Tuchock and George Nicholls, Jr. This is the first time I can recall seeing a classic film with co-directors, and because I’d never heard of either of these people, I did a little digging. Nicholls also directed Anne of Green Gables (which starred Anne Shirley, and from which she took her second and final “reel” name), but he was primarily known as an editor – his credits include The Dance of Life and The Devil’s Holiday, both which starred Nancy Carroll, as well as The Silver Cord, Double Harness, and Ann Vickers. He died in 1939 at the age of 42 from injuries he received in a car accident. As for Tuchock, she was better known as a screenwriter – in fact, she was one of the writers for Finishing School. She also contributed to the screenplays for Hallelujah, Letty Lynton, The Champ, and Little Orphan Annie, among others.

The film’s executive producer was Merian C. Cooper, one of the directors of 1933’s King Kong.

These gals had big bucks.

These gals had big bucks.

Near the start of the film, we see that the tuition for Crockett Hall was $6,000. In today’s dollars, that would be approximately $106,400. Also, Virginia’s parents send her a check for $1,000 as a Christmas present – equivalent to about $17,700 today. Needless to say, the Radcliff family weren’t exactly living paycheck to paycheck.

On Virginia’s application for the school, her family’s last name is “Radcliff.” But in the film’s credits at the end, it’s spelled “Radcliffe.” Hmm.

One of my many favorite lines in the film was delivered by Irene Franklin, who played Pony’s fake Aunt Jessica. After Pony pays her $5 for the job, “Aunt Jessica” brags that she’s shared a stage with some of the greats, including the patriarch of the Barrymore acting family, Maurice. She goes on, however, to lament: “One step lower, and I’ll be in the movies.”

Listen for the scene where Ginger Rogers sings in the shower, “Never Hit Your Grandma With a Shovel.”

Pony's secretly reading a book called "Purple Passion." (Maybe that was one of the objections of the church!)

Pony’s secretly reading a book called “Purple Passion.” (Maybe that was one of the objections of the church!)

Theresa Harris has a bit part in the film as the maid of Virginia’s mother. In case you don’t recognize her name, she’s a black actress you might remember from Baby Face, where she had a prominent role as  Barbara Stanwyck’s confidante and constant comrade. She can also be seen in such classics as Golddiggers of 1933, Jezebel, The Women, and Out of the Past.

Another actress with an uncredited role is Jane Darwell, perhaps best known as Ma Joad in The Grapes of Wrath. In Finishing School, Darwell can be seen in a couple of scenes as a nurse with a really funky attitude.

Finishing School was placed on the Catholic Church’s “condemned” film list in 1934. And if that doesn’t make you want to watch it, well, I just don’t know what will!

Tune in to TCM on July 30th for Finishing School! And don’t forget to pop over to Speakeasy to read all about the pre-Code gem Kristina has picked out for you this month!

The Classic Movie History Project Blogathon: Barbara Stanwyck and Film Noir

•June 27, 2015 • 49 Comments

Barbara Stanwyck wore many cinematic hats.

This talented thespian first made a name for herself in a series of pre-Code gems, including Night Nurse (1931), Ten Cents a Dance (1931), Forbidden (1932), and the granddaddy of them all, Baby Face (1933). She was also a presence in such dramatic fare as Stella Dallas (1937) and Golden Boy (1939); romantic comedies including Breakfast for Two (1937), The Lady Eve (1941), and Christmas in Connecticut (1945); westerns like The Furies (1950), Cattle Queen of Montana (1954), and The Violent Men (1954); and hybrids like Meet John Doe and Remember the Night (1940) that mixed together comedy and romance, and tossed in a generous dollop of drama for good measure.

But, wait – there’s more! You didn’t think I’d forgotten about film noir, did you? (Well, DID YOU??)

Not a chance. For it was in film noir, in my humble opinion, that Stanwyck – metaphorically speaking – wore the biggest, baddest brim of them all, starring in no fewer than seven features from the era. Her characters in these films ran the dramatic gamut, from full-out femme fatale to helpless, frustrated victim, with lots of fascinating and unforgettable personas in between.

Let’s take a look back in time, at the deadly dames and shadowy sisters that Stanwyck brought to life in the 1940s and 1950s, shall we?

Phyllis certainly knew how to turn on the charm.

Phyllis certainly knew how to turn on the charm.

Double Indemnity (1944)

Stanwyck’s initial foray into the realm of noir was in the person of Miss Phyllis Dietrichson, in what I can say without reservation is my favorite noir, Double Indemnity. Initially, Stanwyck was reluctant to accept the part of Dietrichson, whom the actress labeled “an out-and-out, cold-blooded killer.” But director Billy Wilder talked her into it (thank goodness!) and she went on to offer up one of noir’s deadliest femmes.

The plot: Double Indemnity centers on a painstakingly constructed and impeccably executed plot by Phyllis and her insurance salesman lover, Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray), to kill Phyllis’ husband and collect the proceeds from his life insurance policy. Like the best laid plans of mice and men, though, the scheme doesn’t turn out quite like this duo intended.

Favorite Stanwyck quote: “I never loved you, Walter – not you or anybody else. I’m rotten to the heart – I used you, just as you said. That’s all you ever meant to me.”

Other stuff:

  • For her portrayal of the murderous Phyllis, Stanwyck earned her third Academy Award nomination. She lost to Ingrid Bergman in Gaslight.
  • Critics unanimously hailed Stanwyck’s performance; Howard Barnes of the New York Herald Tribune called her “vibrantly malignant and attractive,” and the reviewer for the Citizen News stated that Stanwyck “will chill your blood. Hers is a difficult assignment enacted with rare skill.”
Martha Ivers was nobody to play with.

Martha Ivers was nobody to play with.

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946)

After portraying Phyllis Dietrichson, Stanwyck obviously no longer harbored any qualms about playing “out-and-out” killers, because her next noir femme was certainly no Mary Poppins. This first-rate feature starred Stanwyck in the title role, with ample support from co-stars Van Heflin, Kirk Douglas (in his film debut!), and Lizabeth Scott (who is featured, incidentally in a special tribute issue of The Dark Pages newsletter – shameless plug!).

The plot: The murky circumstances surrounding the death of her wealthy aunt come back to haunt Martha Ivers, who is married to one witness to the 20-year-old crime – who is now the alcoholic district attorney – and is reunited by fate with the other – an itinerant gambler. Throw a world-weary drifter into the mix, and you’ve got yourself a movie!

Favorite Stanwyck quote: “Now, Sam – do it now. Set me free, set us both free. . . . Oh, Sam, it can be so easy.”

Other stuff:

Like most critics, the reviewer from the Hollywood Reporter raved about Stanwyck’s performance, announcing: “No one but Barbara Stanwyck could have gotten all she does from the part of Martha Ivers. Elusive fascination was required and what Miss Stanwyck does with her assignment is not to be readily defined. Whatever it is is unforgettable.”

Leona's phone was her lifeline. Sorry.

Leona’s phone was her lifeline. Sorry.

Sorry, Wrong Number (1948)

Based on a radio play, Sorry, Wrong Number is one of first noirs I remember seeing – long before I knew what noir was. All I knew was that it scared the poop out of me. And also that I watched it every single time it came on TV. (Apparently, I wasn’t the only one frightened by this flick – Stanwyck herself said that the terror she depicted in the bedroom scenes is what caused her hair to turn prematurely gray.)

The plot: Leona Stephenson, a possessive, imperious heiress confined to her bed because of a heart condition, overhears a telephone conversation between two men discussing a woman’s murder – and gets more than she bargained for when she tries to find out more about the plot.

Favorite Stanwyck quote: “When I want something, I fight for it. And I usually manage to get it.”

Other stuff:

  • As usual, Stanwyck was lauded by critics. The reviewer for Time stated that she “makes the most of the pampered, petulant, terrified leading character,” and Cue’s critic claimed that she’d given the performance of her career.
  • Stanwyck earned her fourth Academy Award nomination for her performance, and before the ceremony, she told the press: “[It’s] not that I wouldn’t like to have an Oscar, but I’ve lost three times before and it’s hard to get your expectations up and not win. It’s bad luck to discuss it.” Apparently, it didn’t matter if she discussed it or not – she lost again, this time to Jane Wyman, who portrayed a deaf mute in Johnny Belinda. Afterward, Stanwyck commented: “If I get nominated next year, they’ll have to give me the door prize, won’t they? At least the bride should throw me the bouquet.” (Incidentally – and shockingly – Stanwyck never did win a competitive Oscar. The Academy did award her an honorary Oscar in 1982, though, to honor her outstanding body of work.) (It beats a blank, as my mom would say.)
Thelma knew her way around a front seat.

Thelma knew her way around a front seat.

The File on Thelma Jordon (1950)

In addition to the uncommon (and often misspelled) spelling of the title character’s last name, this film contains a number of surprises that serve to keep viewers on their proverbial toes. Stanwyck once again plays a killer, but she’s not quite the fatal femme that we’ve come to expect.

The plot: When the wealthy aunt of Thelma Jordon is robbed and murdered, all signs point to Thelma’s guilt – and it just so happens that she’s embroiled in a hot and heavy affair with none other than the district attorney who is assigned to prosecute her.

Favorite Stanwyck quote: “I’d like to say I didn’t intend to kill her. But when you have a gun, you always intend if you have to.”

Other stuff:

  • Score another hit for Stanwyck! Kay proctor of the A. Examiner stated that Stanwyck “comes through with a hard-hitting, clean-cut performance, beautifully paced to the dimensions and requirements of the equivocal role.”
  • One of Stanwyck’s co-stars, Lyle Bettger, had nothing but praise for the actress: “Throughout the 10 weeks of shooting, my admiration and respect for Barbara Stanwyck grew each day. She is a lady with guts, consideration, kindnesss and great good humor and integrity – a real pro. There are not many like her left.”
For Mae Doyle, the grass was greener on the bitter side.

For Mae Doyle, the grass was greener on the bitter side.

Clash by Night (1952)

Some question whether Clash by Night is film noir – I say it is. It fairly reeks with cynicism, bitterness, betrayal, frustration, and rage. It’s directed by Fritz Lang, whose previous noir output includes such classics as Scarlet Street and The Big Heat. It’s has an oppressive mood and an overarching sensation of doom. It’s dark, okay? And that’s all I have to say about that.

The plot: Mae Doyle returns to her hometown after a lengthy absence, looking for peace and fulfillment. She winds up married to a good-guy fisherman, but she’s more attracted to his bitter best friend. Conflict ensues.

Favorite Stanwyck quote: “Home is where you come when you run out of places.”

Other stuff:

  • The reviewer for Variety raved about Stanwyck’s portrayal of Mae Doyle, writing that she “plays the returning itinerant with her customary defiance and sullenness. It is one of her better performances.”
  • Fritz Lang said of Stanwyck: “She’s fantastic, unbelievable, and I liked her tremendously.”
Sometimes it just doesn't pay to get out of bed.

Sometimes it just doesn’t pay to get out of bed.

Witness to Murder (1954)

Although this film was touted in ads as “topping the thrills of Double Indemnity and Sorry, Wrong Number, it wasn’t exactly a threat to the legacy of those two features, if you know what I mean. Still, it does have its moments (really, it does!), and best of all, it features some standout cinematography by John Alton. Plus, it co-stars George Sanders. So whaddya want?

The plot:  While looking out of her window during a sleepless night, Cheryl Draper sees a murder being committed in an apartment across the street – but can’t get anyone to believe her. (Shades of Rear Window, huh? They were both released the same year! Sadly, Witness to Murder pales in comparison.)

Favorite Stanwyck quote: “Who do you think you are? No matter what she was, you had no right to kill her.”

Other stuff:

Critics weren’t wowed by the film itself, but they still appreciated Stanwyck; in a typical review, the critic for the New York Times wrote that she “makes convincing the role of a sensitive woman being driven to distraction.”



Crime of Passion (1957) 

Stanwyck’s final film noir saw her teamed with two other noir icons – Sterling Hayden and Raymond Burr, who appeared in a whopping 16 noirs combined. It was a fitting farewell to the actress’s film noir career.

The plot: An ambitious advice columnist, Kathy Ferguson chucks her career in favor of love and marries a police officer, only to find that she’s bored out of her skull. Rather than spend her time darning socks and tossing gender-segregated dinner parties, she sets her sights on doing whatever she can (and I do mean WHATEVER) in order to advance her husband’s career.

Favorite Stanwyck quote: “For marriage I read life sentence, for home life I read T.V. nights, beer in the fridge, second mortgage – not for me. For me, life has to be something more than that.”

Other stuff:

Critics weren’t bowled over by this film or Stanwyck (gasp!), although the reviewer for the New York Times did call the actress a “sterling trouper who can do about anything, and has.” He just didn’t care for her character’s “transition from the nice, sassy gal in the press room to a maniacal stalker.” (Ah, well – they can’t all be Double Indemnity.)

If you haven’t joined Barbara Stanwyck’s walk on the dark side, don’t you think it’s time you did? You can’t go wrong with this talented performer, and her noir features rank among her best and most memorable.

Well, what are you waiting for? You only owe it to yourself.


This post is part of the Classic Movie History Project Blogathon, hosted by Fritzi at Movies Silently; Ruth over at Silver Screenings; and Aurora, of Once Upon a Screen. 

The blogathon is divided into three eras – the silent era, the golden age (that’s the one I’m in!), and the modern era. Click the picture at the right to check out the many great posts from the golden age, and visit Fritzi and Ruth’s blogs to read the fascinating looks at the other eras! 

Happy Blogiversary to Me — 4.0!

•June 23, 2015 • 37 Comments

I believe it was that great thespian Julianna Margulies who once said, “Do what you love doing.”

It was four years ago, today, that I first clicked the “Publish” button on this site and started the Shadows and Satin blog, combining my passion for writing and my passion for classic movies. And I’ve been doing what I love ever since!

As I do every year, I’m privileged to tip my hat in the general direction of Kristina, author of the outstanding Speakeasy blog and Senior Writer for the Dark Pages newsletter, who encouraged me to start this blog. I can’t find enough ways to say thanks! And thanks, too, for anyone who’s ever read anything here – from regulars to one-timers – I appreciate you all, far more than I can say.

And in keeping with what’s now a four-year tradition, I leave you with a film quote from one of my favorite actresses – this time it’s the awesome Marie Windsor – from one of my all-time favorite noirs, The Killing (1956):

“It isn’t fair. I never had anybody but you. Not a real husband. Not even a man. Just a bad joke without a punch line.”

By the by, if you’ve never seen this first-rate noir, bump it up to the top of your must-see list!

You only owe it to yourself.

But you knew that.


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