Archive for August, 2010

August 22nd, 2010

Dodsworth (1936)

Dodsworth Dodsworth Dodsworth
Love has got to stop someplace short of suicide

True story!  My personal copy of Dodsworth was bought from a local video store (remember them!?) that went out of business.  When I arrived at the sale, the “Classics” shelf had been picked clean.  I mean, every single film was gone, except for Dodsworth. Someone even purchased Anatole Litvak’s Mayerling (with Charles Boyer and Danielle Darrieux), so you know we weren’t dealing with average video clientele!

Anyway, despite my giving it a good home, the sight of Dodsworth sitting alone, sad and dejected, still haunts me  (Go on.  Say it.  “If that’s all that haunts you, you’ve lived a charmed life!”).  Mainly, because I never thought we’d reach a point where overlooking anything of William Wyler’s would be commonplace behavior.  But I suppose it has, since hardly anyone talks about this film, despite its having been a 1936 blockbuster and recipient of 6 Oscar nominations.

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August 12th, 2010

Captured: America in Color from 1939-1943


#10 Drinking on the job! // #70 Serious work, serious times. // #68 Lessons

Captured: America in Color from 1939-1943 – Plog Photo Blog.

It’s a rainy Thursday here, perfect weather to share this wonderful photo blog. These pictures, spanning from 1939 to 1943, were compiled by the Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information. Offering a glimpse into the lives of rural Americans, they are unique not only for the fact that they’re in color, but because they represent a subset of photography long since past.

Any photographer, amateur or professional, will appreciate the care taken to tell the stories of these people. Today, we live in an age where you can pick up a digital SLR, shoot hundreds of frames in a matter of minutes, and delete them twice as fast. The result is that you lose the ability to think critically, not just about your composition, but about your subject matter. Everything becomes expendable.

Trust me, there aren’t enough filters in Photoshop to re-create what you see here.

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August 8th, 2010

Easy Living (1937)

Easy Living Easy Living Easy Living
Cloudy with a chance of fur coats // Her hat is ruined // Ball offers to buy her a new one

Mitchell Leisen’s Easy Living explores the age-old question, “Who am I?,” through a series of would-be catastrophes predicated on a classic plot device:  mistaken identity.  Heroine Mary Smith (Jean Arthur) is an ordinary girl who experiences the extraordinary, when a fur coat drops from the sky and lands on her head.  The coat belongs to the wife of financier J.B. Ball (Edward Arnold), “the Bull of Broad Street.”  At $58,00 US (approximately $900,000 by today’s standards), the coat represents the sort of extravagance that precipitated Black Tuesday, and one that Ball is loathe to countenance. When triumphantly told by his wife that it cannot be returned, he tosses it off the roof to teach her a lesson.

In a random act of kindness, Ball offers to buy Mary a new hat to replace the one damaged by the fall of the coat.  The boutique staff assumes that she is his mistress, setting into motion a series of events that will change both the lives of Mary, Ball, as well as that of Ball’s dilettante son, John (Ray Milland).

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August 1st, 2010

Well Hello!

And welcome to my blog (any Deven Green fans out there?)! This is to be the first of many posts, the majority of which I pray will be much more entertaining than what you’re reading right now.

The long of it is here, and the short of it is that I watch an inordinate amount of film, which prompted the creation of this blog. Needless to say, my friends are ecstatic; they no longer have to listen to me babble endlessly about what I watched yesterday evening.

That, dear readers, is now your happy domain!

I will make a full disclosure and let you know that I have a film degree, so if at any time I veer towards the pedantic, feel free to face-slap me in the comment section. However, I hope to keep things here light hearted. Don’t want to put too many people to sleep.

My main area of concern is 1930s Hollywood era film, and for all of you that are about to tell me that Mildred Pierce falls outside of this, note that the original novel does take place during the Depression. I think the actual film retains enough of the novel’s concerns regarding money, status, and security that it remains relevant to the blog’s theme.

Plus, I fully intend to delve outside the 30s into pre-code and post-war cinema every now and again. I like to mix it up!

Alright, that’s enough to be getting on with for now. Please feel free to contact me regarding movies you think I should watch, or classic cinema sites you think I should visit. I’m always looking for some new distraction!