Happy Blogiversary to Me — 6.0!!!

•June 23, 2017 • 11 Comments

Whoever said that time flies when you’re having fun wasn’t just whistling Dixie.

And I oughta know. It’s been six whole years since I started this blog – and it seems like it was yesterday! (Or maybe last week.)

Shadows and Satin continues to be one of the joys of my life, providing me with an ideal outlet for exercising my two greatest passions – writing and classic film. And I extend a heartfelt thank to each of you for coming along for the ride – you are the collective cat’s pajamas. Or meow, as the case may be.

Special thanks, as always, to my pal Senior Writer of The Dark Pages, and Pre-Code Crazy partner in crime, Kristina, of the fabulous Speakeasy blog, for encouraging me to embark on this adventure. I’ll be forever grateful.

And as has become my blogiversary tradition, I leave you with a quote from one of my favorite actresses – this year, my girl Norma Shearer gets the nod. Here she is in that first-rate pre-Code feature, A Free Soul (1931):

“I don’t quite know what’s happened. Whether its just the end of a perfect day . . . or whether I’m just a little mad.”

(And you’ve never seen this gem, do yourself a favor and check it out! You won’t be sorry.)

 

 

Unsavory Duos: J.J. Hunsecker and Sidney Falco in Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

•June 22, 2017 • 1 Comment

Brimming with repellent characters, Sweet Smell of Success, released in 1957 by United Artists, centers primarily on two: powerful Broadway columnist J.J. Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster) and self-serving press agent Sidney Falco (Tony Curtis). The film’s rather straightforward plot, in a nutshell, concerns Hunsecker’s determination to put an end to his kid sister’s engagement, and Sidney’s efforts to catapult himself into the stratosphere of success by doing Hunsecker’s dirty work.

We first meet Sidney on the dark streets of a New York night as he’s desperately searching Hunsecker’s column in the early edition of the New York newspaper. When he tosses the paper into a nearby trashcan, we’re not yet certain what this means, but we do know that Sidney isn’t happy with what he saw – or didn’t see. Turns out that Hunsecker has been punishing Sidney by refusing to print – for five consecutive days now — any of the items Sidney has submitted on behalf of his clients. But more about that later.

Sidney isn’t very nice to his Girl Friday. And that’s putting it mildly.

A great deal is revealed about Sidney’s persona early on. First off, his home and his office are located in same two-room walk-up; a rectangle piece of paper containing his name and title is neatly taped to the door. Holding down the fort is Sidney’s gal Friday, Sally (Jeff Donnell), and while it’s clear that she’s devoted to her boss (in more ways than one), Sidney treats her with indifference at best and cruelty at worst, using her as a servant-cum-sounding board-cum-whipping girl.

More of Sidney’s persona is revealed through his interaction with Sally. We watch as he chew his nails and says, sotto voce, “Watch me run the 100-yard dash with my legs cut off,” fairly reeking with desperation as he tries in vain to charm yet a dissatisfied client. And when Sally expresses sympathy, sharing her desire to do something to help him, Sidney responds, “You could help with two minutes of silence,” and nastily refers to her “meaty, sympathetic arms.” Not surprisingly, his words cause Sally to dissolve into tears, but Sidney only concession is to tell Sally, “You ought to know me by now.” He is a world unto himself – nothing else matters as much to him as he does.

Sidney is desperate to rise above his station.

Interestingly, as unpleasant as Sidney is within mere minutes of our introduction, he does manage to exhibit a soupcon of humanity when he tells Sally why he continues to suffer the indignities dished out by J.J. Hunsecker. “Hunsecker’s the golden ladder to the places I wanna get . . . Way up high where it’s always balmy,” Sidney says dreamily. “And no one snaps his fingers and says, ‘Hey, shrimp – rack the balls.’ Or, ‘Hey, mouse – go out and buy me a pack of butts.’” In this brief exchange, we learn that Sidney is seeking respect, regard, and esteem. He wants to live on an equal footing in the realm populated by the J.J. Hunseckers of the world. His problem is that he lacks the intestinal fortitude it takes to earn that respect. He’s just too sleazy.

“Match me, Sidney.”

And now to the reason why Sidney is being penalized by the great J.J. Hunsecker. It’s because J.J. had previously instructed Sidney to bust up the relationship between his sister, Susan (Susan Harrison), and her jazz guitar-playing boyfriend, Steve (Martin Milner) – and he’s learned that the couple is still going strong. And when Sidney tries to plead his case to Hunsecker (by going to his standing table at New York’s famed 21 Club), we quickly learn – just as we did with Sidney – just what sort of man J.J. Hunsecker is.

The expressions on the faces of J.J.’s dining companions say it all.

When we first meet Hunsecker, he’s dining with Sen. Harvey Walker (William Forrest), budding starlet Linda James (Autumn Russell), and Linda’s agent (Jay Adler). Actually, before we even see Hunsecker, we hear his voice when Sidney calls him from the restaurant lobby and asks Hunsecker to join him for a brief conversation. Hunsecker refuses, telling Sidney, “You’re dead, son – get yourself buried,” before hanging up on him. Sidney joins Hunsecker’s table, where the columnist proceeds to demonstrate the extent of his power, his self-image, and his arrogance. From hanging up on callers to the ever-present telephone on his table and rudely dismissing passersby, to constantly insulting Sidney, to blatantly revealing his understanding that the agent is only present as a cover for the affair between the senator and the starlet, Hunsecker is a non-stop wrecking machine. In fact, one character describes him as possessing “the scruples of a guinea pig and the morals of a gangster.”

J.J. pulls out all the stops to break up his kid sister’s romance.

Later, upon Hunsecker’s direction, Sidney continues his efforts to break up Susan and Steve, using a variety of sordid methods, including pimping out a sometime girl friend to a columnist in exchange for a smear campaign that hints at Steve’s ties with the Communist Party. The duo of Hunsecker and Sidney continue their nefarious actions, but like the best laid plans of mice and men, things don’t quite turn out as they’d intended.

Upon its release, Sweet Smell of Success earned mostly rave reviews from critics; the New York Times’s A.H. Weiler praised the film’s “pulsating dialogue, brisk direction, [and] good performances,” and Philip K. Scheuer wrote in the Los Angeles Times:  “Sweet Smell may be unfair to columnists, but it will be relished by all those who seek confirmation of, and take vicarious delight in, the depravity of others.  And that includes an awful lot of us.”  And as for the two primary villains of the feature, Lancaster earned acclaim for his portrayal of the venal columnist, with Weiler judging that he gave the part “its proper modicum of callousness,” and the critic for Variety describing his role as “cunningly played.”  Likewise, Weiler’s New York Times review hailed Tony Curtis’s “polished performance” and in the Los Angeles Examiner, Hamilton wrote, “Tony Curtis proves himself as an actor of increasing stature.”

Sidney and J.J.: Unsavory duo.

Both Lancaster and Curtis, as the unsavory duo at the heart of this hard-hitting, unflinching picture, turn in what is arguably among the best work of their careers. You’ll hardly believe what they do to create these venal individuals – but I’ll wager that you won’t soon forget it.

The 2017 TCM Film Festival: Revisiting Adventures in Paradise — Part II

•June 17, 2017 • 6 Comments

What time is it?

Time for my next installment of Revisiting Adventures in Paradise: The 2017 Turner Classic Movies Film Festival!

Today’s post focuses on what has become a tradition for me – participating in the “So You Think You Know Movies” trivia contest. Hosted by Bruce Goldstein, Repertory Director of New York’s Film Forum, the contest consists of teams from two to eight members – some arrive at the Club TCM venue already formed, and others, like my team (The Errol Flynns!!), are cobbled together on the spot by helpful TCM film fest staffers.

As has become the norm in the last few years, I wasn’t exactly overflowing with knowledge when it came to the questions in the contest. In fact, truth be told, I didn’t know a single answer. Maybe y’all could do better – so I’m sharing with you the trivia questions we faced. (Incidentally, in addition to being crazy-hard, the multiple choice questions could have one, more than one, or even five correct answers.) Give it a try – and no Googling!

Everybody knows these guys. But do you know their real first names?

  1. What are the real first names of the Marx Brothers?
  2. What is Albert Brooks’s real name?
  3. Besides Giant, in what movie did Rock Hudson and James Dean appear together?
  4. Marilyn Monroe’s character in the first version of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes was played by the mother of who?
  5. Al Jolson’s father in The Jazz Singer also played what part?
  6. Which actor did not play Dracula: Max Schreck, Christopher Lee, John Carradine, Carlos Villarios, or Frank Langella?
  7. Universal’s first werewolf was played by who?
  8. Who was the voice of Wall-E?
  9. The singer in the “Think Pink” number in Funny Face was the creator of what popular character?

    What famous villain did he play?

  10. Who is the connection between The Third Man and Goldfinger?
  11. “Charlie” in The Detective Story later played what famous movie villain?
  12. Which film did not feature Drew Barrymore’s relatives: Grand Hotel, The Show of Shows, The Magnificent Ambersons, Rasputin and the Empress, or War of the Zombies?
  13. Who dubbed the singing voice of Lina Lamont in Singin’ in the Rain?
  14. Who plays the “Joan” attacking Joan Crawford in Strait Jacket?

Scroll down for the answers . . .

Keep scrolling . . .

Scroll some more . . .

Almost there . . .

Here they are!

  1. Julius, Leonard, and Arthur

    Kay Thompson and the character she made famous!

  2. Albert Einstein
  3. Has Anybody Seen My Gal?
  4. Ruth Taylor – actor Buck Henry’s mother
  5. Charlie Chan
  6. Max Schreck
  7. Henry Hull
  8. Ben Burtt
  9. Kay Thompson wrote the popular children’s series Eloise (she was also Liza Minnelli’s godmother).
  10. Bernard Lee was in both films and Guy Hamilton was the assistant director of The Third Man and the director on Goldfinger.
  11. Joseph Wiseman was Dr. No.
  12. All five films featured a Barrymore.
  13. Betty Noyes (who also voiced Dumbo’s mother)
  14. Diane Baker

As always in the “So You Think You Know Movies” contest, this year’s event had several surprise guests in the audience, including silent film music composer Carl Davis, character actor James Karen, and Ben Burtt, a four-time Oscar winner who was the sound designer for the Star Wars and Indiana Jones movie series. The biggest surprise was actress Diane Baker, who has held a special place in my fangirl heart ever since I met her at TCMFF a few years ago while standing in line for the ladies restroom at the Egyptian Theater!

The Errol Flynns huddling up during the tiebreaker phase! That’s me in the hat! Standing next to DIANE BAKER.

Speaking of Diane Baker, that leads me to the highlight of the trivia contest. When all of the ballots were counted, I was shocked to hear that my team, the Errol Flynns, had tied for first place!! My fellow team members and I, along with the members of the other first-place team, were called up to the stage in Club TCM for a five-question tiebreaker. And as if it weren’t enough for me to be on stage, before a room full of classic film fans, in the very place where the first Academy Awards ceremony was held – I found myself standing RIGHT NEXT to Diane Baker! Sweet!!!

As it turned out, our team lost the tiebreaker by a single question, but I am proud to say that I gave the correct answer to one of the five questions! (The question, by the way, was in what movie did Diane Baker and Joan Crawford appear together other than Strait Jacket? Answer? The Best of Everything!)

All in all, it was another fabulous, memorable, and totally fun trivia event, and the perfect kickoff to this year’s TCM Film Festival. Stay tuned for the next installment of Revisiting Adventures in Paradise!

Pre-Code Crazy: Gentleman’s Fate (1932)

•June 7, 2017 • 4 Comments

If you’re like me, you’ve heard the following about John Gilbert: (1) he was romantically involved with and came close to marrying Greta Garbo, and (2) his film career fizzled and died a few years after the introduction of talking pictures. Generally speaking, Gilbert’s failure to thrive in talkies is attributed either to a high-pitched speaking voice or a feud with MGM head Louis Mayer that resulted in a dearth of quality film roles.  But whatever the reason that Gilbert was only seen in 10 mostly forgettable post-silent era films before his untimely death in 1936, I’m here to say that his Gentleman’s Fate (1932) is a first-rate pre-Code feature that’s well worth your time.

The salad days.

In this film, Gilbert stars as Jack Thomas, a wealthy, orphaned playboy who decides to give up his womanizing ways in order to settle down and marry his lady love, Marjorie (Leila Hyams). But Jack is thrown for a loop soon after making this decision when he not only learns that his name is actually Giacomo Tomasulo, but also that he has a brother and a dying father who make their living through organized crime. Although this news turns his world upside down, and he’s initially ashamed and repulsed by his heritage, Jack eventually comes to embrace life on the dark side.

Favorite character:

Hands-down, it’s Jack’s brother, Frank, played to perfection by Louis Wolheim, who has a face that only a mother could love. When Frank first meets his refined, upper-class sibling, he’s contemptuous; after Jack tells him that he spends his days playing tennis and polo, and sometimes dabbling in painting, Frank retorts: “Oh, you paint, do yah? Well, we’ve got a truck outside that needs painting. Could you do that?”

Gilbert and Wolheim as the Tomasulo brothers.

Frank patently resents his brother’s sudden appearance in his life, and he obviously doesn’t share their father’s wish to bring Jack into the family business, but he grows to grudgingly respect his brother after Jack challenges him to a fistfight. That respect eventually grows into genuine brotherly love. It’s really touching and heartfelt.

Trivia tidbits:

Louis Wolheim’s broad, flattened nose gave him a brutish look that belied his real-life background – he attended Cornell University and spoke fluent French, German, Spanish, and Yiddish.

In the pre-Code world, Leila Hyams is perhaps best known for her role in Freaks (1932), but she was also a standout in two of my favorite features from the era: Men Call It Love (1931) and Red-Headed Woman (1932). Hyams started her career as a model, retired in 1936, and was married for 50 years to agent Paul Berg, until her 1977 death.

Three of John Gilbert’s four wives were actresses: Leatrice Joy, Ina Claire, and Virginia Bruce.

The film’s cast includes Ralph Ince, an actor-turned director-turned actor again, whose brother, Thomas, was at the center of an unsolved mystery scandal in 1924, when he died shortly after attending a party aboard a yacht owned by William Randolph Hearst. Check out this excellent post to read all about the incident.

Everything’s better with Anita Page.

Two of my favorite pre-Code actresses, Anita Page and Marie Prevost, have small but memorable parts in the film. Page’s gangster’s moll is touching and naively sweet, and Prevost steals her every scene as a wise-cracking, banana-chomping good-time gal.

The film’s director was Mervyn LeRoy, who also helmed such pre-Code classics as Little Caesar (1931), Three on a Match (1932), I am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang (1932), Golddiggers of 1933 (1933). He’s credited with changing Lana Turner’s name from Judy to Lana; introducing Ronald Reagan to future wife Nancy; and discovering Clark Gable, Loretta Young, and Robert Mitchum.

Favorite quote:

“Okay – I don’t have to tell you what to do. Only you do what I tell ya.” – Frank Tomasulo

Don’t miss Gentleman’s Fate, airing June 20th on TCM. You only owe it to yourself.

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And be sure to pop over to Speakeasy to read about the pre-Code gem Kristina is recommending for the month!

The Five Stars Blogathon: My Five Fave Femmes

•May 16, 2017 • 25 Comments

Cheers.

When I learned of Rick’s “Five Stars” blogathon, I didn’t give a moment’s hesitation to signing on. First off, y’all know I love a good list! And a list about my favorite movie stars? How could I resist!

My excited antiticpation notwithstanding, I actually thought it might be a bit of a challenge to come up with just five favorite stars, but boy, was I wrong! It took me all of 10 seconds to create my list. So here they are, submitted for your approval, in order, my five favorite film stars:

Bette Davis

It seems like Bette Davis has always been my favorite actress. She was so talented, so versatile, and fearless – and off-screen, had such a take-no-crap attitude. And when she got older, and suffered so many health difficulties, she handled them like a boss. (In fact, one of my Christmas presents this past year was one of my favorite pictures of Davis, taken after she suffered breast cancer, several strokes, and a broken hip.)

Favorite movies:

My absolute favorite Bette Davis film has got to be All About Eve (1950). I’ve seen it countless times, and I distinctly remember the first time I saw it, in a hotel room in Bessemer, Alabama, when I was around 19 years old. I was SO excited to finally be able to watch this film I’d heard about for so many years. And it exceeded my every expectation. Other favorites are The Little Foxes (1941), Old Acquaintance (1943), The Old Maid (1939), Marked Woman (1937), Jezebel (1938), The Sisters (1938), All This, and Heaven Too (1940), The Letter (1940), In This Our Life (1942), Mr. Skeffington (1944), A Catered Affair (1956), Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), and Dead Ringer (1964).

Favorite quote:

“Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.” – All About Eve

Joanie was a pie-bakin’, pistol-packin’ mama in Mildred Pierce.

Joan Crawford

Practically neck-and-neck with Bette Davis, just a mere stutter-step behind, is my girl Joan Crawford (to whom I like to affectionately refer as Joanie). Joanie was a true movie star, in every since of the word, but she could ACT, too! In her early career, she wasn’t necessarily the greatest thespian, but she was always fascinating to watch. And I suppose that any discussion of Joan Crawford should include a mention of that whole “Mommie Dearest” thing, but not today.

Favorite movies:

No question. Mildred Pierce (1945) is my number one favorite Joanie film. I could cheerfully have it playing on a loop all day, every day. My other favorites are, for the most part, divided between her pre-Code and her film noir work: Our Blushing Brides (1930), Grand Hotel (1931), Possessed (1931), Sadie McKee (1934), The Women (1939), Strange Cargo (1940), Daisy Kenyon (1947), Flamingo Road (1949), The Damned Don’t Cry (1950), and Sudden Fear (1952).

Favorite quote:

“Don’t give me any of that Sister-Come-to-Salvation. Look, I’m not buying any. I know the routine. It starts out with a prayer, and ends up with a bible in one hand and me in the other!” – Strange Cargo

I don’t care what anybody says. I love the wig.

Barbara Stanwyck

What is there NOT to love about Barbara Stanwyck? Beautiful and talented, yet approachable – like you could spend equal amounts of time with her at a swanky nightclub and in your rec room knocking back a few beers. Like Joan Crawford, she had a hard-scrabble childhood, but she overcame it with a vengeance to become one of Hollywood’s most highly respected performers (even though, unaccountably, she never won an Academy Award. Which is complete BS.).

Favorite movies:

Double Indemnity is my favorite noir and my favorite Stanwyck film. Nobody could’ve made Phyllis Dietrichson come to life the way she did. Other faves are Night Nurse (1931), Ten Cents a Dance (1931), Ladies They Talk About (1933), Baby Face (1933), The Lady Eve (1941), Ball of Fire (1941), The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946), and Clash By Night (1952).

Favorite quote:

“I need him like the ax needs the turkey.” — The Lady Eve

The Divorcee gets the photo because I LOVE this shot.

Norma Shearer

I didn’t discover Norma Shearer until I was in my 20s. My first Shearer film was The Women (1939), which is literally the movie I’ve seen most often in my life. It wasn’t until quite a bit later that I fell in love with her pre-Code performances. There ‘s just something about her that is so natural and captivating and appealing. I love the gracefulness of her hands, and her ability to cry, and her tinkling laugh. I could watch her every day.

Favorite movies:

Of my five favorite stars, it’s the hardest for me to name my single favorite Shearer movie. It’s a total toss-up between The Divorcee (1930) and Private Lives (1931). (Interestingly, both feature Robert Montgomery who, if I’d had a list of favorite actors, would definitely have been on it.) But I just can’t choose – these films are so different, and truly show Shearer’s talent for both drama and comedy. One thing I realized, though – I don’t have as many Norma Shearer favorites as I do with my other favorite stars. I just keep watching the same handful of films over and over again. My other faves are Their Own Desire (1929), A Free Soul (1931), Strangers May Kiss (1931), and, of course, The Women.

Favorite quote:

“I’m glad I discovered that more than one man in the world while I’m young and they want me. Believe me, I’m not missing anything from now on!” – The Divorcee

Harlow stole the show in Dinner at Eight.

Jean Harlow

Harlow movies make me happy. That’s just all there is to it. She was luminous. Funny. And so sexy. And it’s fascinating to watch the vast improvement in her acting ability. In just a year’s time, between 1931 and 1932, she went from slightly stilted, with an odd, affected accent, to a natural, unpretentious, and completely at ease wise-cracking dame who commanded each scene in which she appeared.

Favorite movies:

I absolutely love Harlow in Dinner at Eight (1933). She’s part of a star-studded ensemble cast, but for me, she IS the movie. My other Harlow favorites are Red-Headed Woman (1932), Three Wise Girls (1932), Red Dust (1932), Bombshell (1933), Hold Your Man (1933), and Libeled Lady (1936).

Favorite quote:

“A girl’s a fool that doesn’t get ahead. Say, it’s just as easy to hook a rich man as it is to get hooked by a poor one.” – Red-Headed Woman

Who are your favorite film stars?


This post is part of the Five Favorite Film Stars Blogathon, hosted by Rick’s Classic Film and TV Cafe, in celebration of National Classic Movie Day! Check out the other blogs participating in this great event! And watch a classic movie today!

Pre-Code Crazy: Hold Your Man (1933)

•May 11, 2017 • 4 Comments

I’ll admit it. Hold Your Man (1933) isn’t my favorite pre-Code. It starts off great, but it kinda goes off the rails toward the end. Still, there’s something about it that I absolutely love. In fact, there’s lots about it that I love.

The film stars Clark Gable as Eddie, a small-time con man, and Jean Harlow as his hard-boiled lady love, Ruby. The two are mad about each other, but they actually spend a significant amount of the movie apart, what with Ruby being in the slammer and Eddie being on the lam. But more about that later.

What’s it all about?

Hold Your Man starts out with a bang, with a classic “meet cute” between Eddie and Ruby. On the run from the cops after fleecing a local yokel for 30 bucks, Eddie ducks into a nearby apartment house and opens the first unlocked door he finds. Inside, he encounters Ruby, who’s none too pleased to find a stranger in her apartment. Still, when the police arrive a short time later, Ruby covers for her unwelcome visitor, pretending that he’s her husband. And after Eddie uses Ruby’s bathtub as a hiding place, she even agrees to dry his wet pants (ingeniously putting them in the oven). Ruby’s no pushover, though – when Eddie flees out of a window while her back is turned, Ruby is disappointed, but her first reaction transforms into relief when she realizes that her piggy bank is safe.

To the moon, Gypsy!

Our hero and heroine next encounter each other at a local nightclub, where Ruby is out with her sometime-boyfriend, the ever-devoted Al (Stuart Erwin). But once she spies Eddie, Ruby drops Al faster than a hot potato and meets Eddie at his apartment. And let’s just say she’s still there in the morning, if you know what I mean. While Ruby’s there, Eddie gets a visit from a former flame, Gypsy (Dorothy Burgess), who’s less than thrilled to find Ruby there, and slaps her face. Without blinking an eye, Ruby delivers a cool left hook, effectively putting a halt to any further plans by Gypsy to engage in fisticuffs.

Ruby ends up sentenced to two years in a reformatory (why, I’m not quite sure) after Eddie punches – and accidentally kills – a would-be victim of one of Eddie’s cons. (Eddie conveniently disappears when the cops show up.) Shortly after her arrival, she learns, to her disgust, that one of her roommates is Gypsy. Yup – the same one Ruby punched during their first encounter. And it doesn’t take long for history to repeat itself. Apparently Gypsy has a short memory. Once again, she serves up a slap, and once again gets clocked by Ruby’s well-placed punch.

Interestingly, despite all the punching and slapping and whatnot, Gypsy turns out to be – as she terms it – “on the level.” When she learns that Ruby is pregnant with Eddie’s child, Gypsy’s first reaction is to laugh with malicious glee, but later, after she gets sprung from the big house, she changes her tune. When she meets up with Eddie, Gypsy not only learns that he’s simply nuts about Ruby, but also that Ruby was the one who sent her money at Christmastime that she’d thought was from Eddie. Talk about an about-face!

Oh, brother!

It’s around this time that the movie gets a little wacky. (Don’t get me wrong – I still love every minute, but it’s kinda nutty nonetheless.) After learning that Ruby is expecting his baby, Eddie risks his safety by pretending he’s the brother of one of Ruby’s roommates and sneaking into the reformatory. Finding one of the inmates (Theresa Harris) and her preacher-father praying in the chapel, Eddie interrupts them and begs the minister to marry him and Ruby. (“I never had any father. I was brought up in the gutter. Maybe that’s what started me off wrong,” Eddie says with so much tearful emotion it’ll make your teeth hurt. “Don’t ya see? I wanna give my kid a chance.”) Ruby’s closest pals conspire to hide Eddie and the minister, spring Ruby from solitary confinement, and get these crazy kids together so they can leap together into the land of matrimony before Eddie gets carted off to the hoosegow. It’s all very melodramatic, and by the end, if you’re like me, you’ll be rolling your eyes and going, “Oh, brother!,” but who cares? I still love it!

Other stuff:

The film’s theme song, Hold Your Man, sung (or, really, spoken) in the film by Jean Harlow, was written by the team of Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed. The two also wrote such hits as “All I Do is Dream of You” (featured in 1934’s Sadie McKee), “Singin’ in the Rain,” and “You Were Meant for Me.” Freed also produced some of Hollywood’s top musicals, including The Harvey Girls (1946), On the Town (1949), An American in Paris (1951), and Gigi (1958).

Gowns by Adrian.

Harlow’s pre-prison wardrobe featured two eye-popping numbers designed by Adrian, MGM’s famed costume designer (and, incidentally, the husband of actress Janet Gaynor).

Hold Your Man was the third of six films starring Gable and Harlow. The others were The Secret Six (1931), Red Dust (1932), China Seas (1935), Wife vs. Secretary (1936), and Saratoga (1937). Tragically, Harlow died at the age of 26 during the filming of Saratoga. Her remaining scenes were shot with her double, Mary Dees, filmed from behind, with another actress, Paula Winslowe, speaking Harlow’s lines.

Playing a nightclub washroom attendant, Louise Beavers makes what amounts to a cameo, speaking fewer than 20 words.

The working titles for the film were He Was Her Man, Black Orange Blossoms, and Nora. (If you can figure out the meaning of the last two, you’re better than I am.)

One more thing. (Or two.)

Just wanted to share my two favorite quotes from the film, both spoken by Jean Harlow:

“I got two rules I always stick to when I’m out visiting. Keep away from couches and stay on your feet.”

“You know, you wouldn’t be a bad lookin’ dame – if it wasn’t for your face.” (Burn!)

Don’t miss Hold Your Man, airing May 16th (technically the wee morning hours of May 17th) on TCM. You won’t be sorry. I promise!

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Be sure to pop over to Speakeasy to read all about the pre-Code gem that Kristina is recommending for the month!

The Great Villain Blogathon — Wrap-up & Thanks!

•April 30, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Speakeasy

One last word and roundup before we close the door on the Great Villain Blogathon 2017: your hosts Ruth of Silver ScreeningsKaren of Shadows & Satin, and Kristina of Speakeasy want to say a huge thank you to everyone who took part, visited the participating blogs, and helped spread the word via #Villains2017. A blogathon is only as good as the lovely people who join in, and you all gave us such great and diverse reading in this 4th year of the event! Like any good villain, we will return to menace the blogosphere again next year so start thinking of your favourite Big Bads.

This #Villains2017 main page has been updated to archive all these daily recaps. Bloggers who post after this, just leave a comment here and we’ll add you to this recap.

Thanks again everybody, you were wicked good. See you next year!

Now please enjoy today’s writing:

Pure Entertainment Preservation…

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