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The Second Remembering Barbara Stanwyck Blogathon: All I Desire(1953)

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This is my entry for the Stanwyck blogathon being co-hosted by myself and Crystal next weekend. Can’t wait to read all the other entries.

For this blogathon I’ve decided to write about one of Barbara Stanwyck’s less well known and less discussed films. It is a film about love, family, second chances and following your heart, wherever it may lead you.It’s a very underrated film and features an excellent lead performance by Barbara. 

All I Desire is a film from that master of soap and melodrama, the legendary classic era director Douglas Sirk. When most people think of Sirk’s work they usually associate his name with vibrant Technicolor films such as Magnificent Obsession or Written On The Wind, but he also made some films in Black and White and this film is one of them. 

This film isn’t one that instantly springs to mind when people discuss Douglas Sirk’s films, I think that is a real shame because it is a good film that deserves to be better known and discussed.

All I Desire may well be quite a predictable film, but it is never the less a very enjoyable film. Barbara Stanwyck’s performance is a big reason for this film working as well as it does in my opinion.

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Barbara as Naomi. Screenshot by me.

Barbara does a terrific job of conveying to us how much of a conflicted personality her character Naomi has.

Although Naomi craves excitement and danger, she also longs for a normal life as a mother and wife.

Dialogue isn’t really required in many of Barbara’s scenes in this film, her face tells us exactly what her character is feeling or longing for every moment she is on screen.

I especially love Barbara’s acting in the scene when her character watches her daughter act on stage, it is such a beautiful moment. Barbara was a very expressive actress, she inhabited her characters completely and this film is a good example of her ability to do that.  

The film is set in Edwardian era America. Naomi Murdoch(Barbara Stanwyck)longs to be an actress more than anything else. She abandons her husband and three children to tread the boards. Some years later she receives a letter from her second daughter Lily(Lori Nelson)asking her to come home to see her graduate and perform in the school play.

    Naomi returns to her family and receives different reactions. Screenshots by me.

Naomi agrees and is welcomed home with open arms by Lily. She also receives a warm welcome from Lena(Lotte Stein)who is the Murdoch’s loyal cook and cherished friend. Naomi receives the cold shoulder from her eldest daughter Joyce(Marcia Henderson)and from her estranged husband Henry(Richard Carlson).

Naomi also meets her young son Ted(Billy Gray) who can’t remember her very much. Joyce has had to become the mother figure to her two younger siblings, and she is very angry and upset that her mother thinks she can just come back into their lives and that everything will go back to how it used to be.

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Naomi and Henry find they still have feelings for each other. Screenshot by me.

Henry still cares for Naomi but has just about put his life back together again following her departure, he now has to try and work out just how he feels about her. Things are complicated by the presence of Sara Harper(Maureen O’Sullivan)who is a local teacher who loves Henry. Naomi must also cope with running into her former lover Dutch(Lyle Bettger) who wants to take up with her again. 

                       Naomi, Henry and Sara all look at each other during a party, and they can all tell how they feel about one another just by looking. Love this scene so much. Screenshots by me. 

As Naomi settles back in to her former life, she begins to see the emotional damage she has caused by leaving. Naomi realises that she wants this family life, but will her family want her to stay with them? Will she herself actually be able to settle down to small town life again after so long away? Can she resist the charms of her former lover?

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Naomi and Dutch Screenshot by me.

There is so much going on in this film that it is pretty remarkable that the film only clocks in at 1 hour 16 minutes long. The film doesn’t feel rushed, but I would have liked it to have lasted a bit longer. I always want more scenes between Henry and Naomi when I watch this. I also want to see more of what happens after that ending, as I don’t think this situation would be tidied up so neatly and quickly in reality. 

Barbara delivers the best performance in the film. The rest of the cast all deliver solid performances. Lori Nelson stands out the most from the supporting cast, she lights up every scene she is in. Lotte Stein is terrific as Lena and I love the mother daughter bond between her and Naomi. 

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Lori and Lotte. Screenshots by me.

I think the film does a pretty good job of allowing us to sympathise with all the main characters at times. The film also allows us to dislike the characters or disagree with them at times. Due to this the characters come across as very real, they are all flawed, all full of hopes, dreams and issues. Love is messy and complicated, as are people, and this film shows us these facts.

I highly recommend this film to fans of Barbara and Douglas Sirk. What do you think of the film? What do  you think of Barbara Stanwyck’s performance?

 

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Announcing The Stewart Granger Blogathon

Happy New Year to you all. I would like to invite you all to join me this April to celebrate Stewart Granger. Stewart Granger was born James Lablache Stewart, in Kensington, London, on the 6th of May 1913.Changing his name(we can’t have two Jimmy Stewart’s)to Stewart Granger, he would go on to become one of the biggest film stars of the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s. 

Stewart was one of the most intense and handsome leading men of the classic film era. With that distinctive voice of his, coupled with his smouldering good looks and intense presence, Stewart Granger is someone who you don’t forget in a hurry. 

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Stewart Granger in Footsteps In The Fog. Screenshot by me.

Stewart worked in his native Britain for much of his career. Gainsborough melodramas were the films in which he first gained fame. 

He would go on to become a big star in America too. He could play gentle and romantic men, as well as brooding and dark villains or troubled men. He was married to Jean Simmons for ten years. 

For this blogathon you can write about any of Stewart’s films or TV appearances. You can write about the films he made with Jean Simmons. You can focus on his British or his American film career. You can write a tribute to him. If you ever met or corresponded with him you can write about that experience too. If you have never seen one of his films before, why not take this opportunity to finally do so?

The blogathon will be held on the 13th and 14th of April, 2019. Please post your entries on or before those dates. I will accept just the two duplicates per screen title. You may post up to three entries each if you wish to do so. 

Take one of the banners below to place on your site to help promote the event. Let me know what you want to write about below. Check the participation list below to see which titles have been claimed. Have fun writing about Stewart and watching his films. 

The Participation List

Maddy Loves Her Classic Films: Caravan

Pale Writer: Love Story and Footsteps In The Fog

Pleasant Street: The Man In Grey

Realweegiemidgetreviews: The Wild Geese

The Stop Button: Moonfleet

Mikestakeonthemovies: The Secret Invasion

Dubsism: King Solomon’s Mines

Catftan Woman: The Last Hunt

MovieRob: Sodom And Gomorrah and The Secret Invasion

The Midnite Drive-In: North To Alaska

Poppity: Scaramouche and Fanny By Gaslight

Stewart Granger Blogathon 3

 

Stewart Granger Blogathon 2

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How Woodfall Films Changed British Cinema Forever

I want to pay tribute to a film company that helped to change the direction and look of British film forever. Sixty years ago in Britain a film production company called Woodfall Films was formed.

Between 1958 and 1984, Woodfall would produce several films which would not only go on to become classics, but which would also have a huge impact on the future of British cinema.

These films would also herald the arrival of several young actors who would go on to become major stars. Albert Finney, Rita Tushingham and Tom Courtney all became stars thanks to their performances in a Woodfall film. 

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Rita Tushingham. One of the new faces of British cinema. Screenshot by me from A Taste Of Honey.

The production company was co-founded by director Tony Richardson(husband of Vanessa Redgrave and father to Joely and Natasha Richardson), producer Harry Saltzman (producer of the Bond films)and playwright John Osborne(Look Back In Anger). Woodfall Films ushered in a new and exciting era for British cinema. The films were daring and groundbreaking in so many ways.

Woodfall films tackled real life issues such as life as a working class member of society, sex, abortion, people wanting to better themselves, female independence and sexuality, marital problems, race, and youth versus the older generation.

Tony Richardson wanted to make films in a new way, he wanted to make films that reflected life as he knew it. He certainly succeeded in both areas in my opinion. The films look different from a visual perspective, and they also have a much more realistic and gritty tone than many other British films. The directors shot on location which added to the overall realism. The actors look and behave like people you could run into in your own lives. There’s no glamour or escapism to be found in these films.

            The famous shot in Girl With Green Eyes where a door is opened onto a real street. Screenshots by me.   

The Woodfall directors, producers, cameramen and actors were all trailblazers in helping to bring more realistic, unique and grittier stories and characters to the screen.  Woodfall made films which focused on the British working class.

There had been earlier films such as It Always Rains On Sunday, This Happy Breed, Woman In A Dressing GownMillions Like Us and Waterloo Road which had been realistic and focused on working and lower middle class characters, but the Woodfall films made such characters and realism their primary focus. 

Not all of the Woodfall films would become classics, but eight of them did and are the reason why the name Woodfall is remembered today – Look Back In Anger, The Entertainer, Saturday Night And Sunday Morning, A Taste Of Honey, The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner, Tom Jones(a cheeky and funny period romp), Girl With Green Eyes and Kes are all among the best of the so called Kitchen Sink films. 

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What’s all this? A couple sharing a bed? Shocking and daring stuff for this era. Screenshot by me from Saturday Night And Sunday Morning.

Ordinary people finally got the chance to see characters and events on screen that mirrored their own lives and experiences.Without Woodfall films, I  highly doubt that we would have gotten the likes of Ken Loach or Mike Leigh making films.

I also doubt that films like Room At The Top, This Sporting Life, A Kind Of Loving and The L Shaped Room would have ended up being made either. Woodfall films helped inspire future generations of directors and writers to make films that reflect their own lives and experiences. 

The first Woodfall film to be made was the 1959 adaptation of John Osborne’s play Look Back In Anger. Tony Richardson directed the film. 

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Richard Burton as Jimmy Porter, channeling all that rage into his jazz music. Screenshot by me from Look Back In Anger.

Look Back In Anger features Richard Burton delivering one of his most powerful performances as the first angry young man, Jimmy Porter. Passionate, complicated, angry and misunderstood, Jimmy must surely have been someone that many young men in the audience could identify with. This film focuses on a lower class man who is justifiably angry at the way his life has turned out, and also at how he is held back from bettering himself.

Both the film and the play shock due to the violent and complex relationship between Jimmy and his wife(played by Mary Ure in the film), and also because of the love hate relationship between Jimmy and Helena(Claire Bloom in the film). 

The third film, Saturday Night And Sunday Morning, would go on to become the most acclaimed and famous of all of the Woodfall films. A fresh faced Albert Finney delivers a remarkable performance in the lead role of the rebellious and angry Arthur Seaton. Arthur works in a factory and he hates it, he takes every opportunity he can to stick it to the establishment and the upper classes. Arthur also doesn’t care much for rules and traditions. The film is also rather daring in showing an affair between Arthur and a much older woman who is married (Rachel Roberts). 

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Albert Finney as Arthur Seaton. Screenshot by me from Saturday Night And Sunday Morning.

Saturday Night And Sunday Morning is also perhaps the ultimate working class film, as it so accurately manages to capture the life endured by millions here in the UK at this time and for a long time before.

It’s also through this film in particular that I am able to get a better sense of the way of life my parents and grandparents had before I was born. Both my mum and dad grew up in the 1950’s and 1960’s, and they have both commented on the accuracy of the characters, the streets, homes, attitudes etc seen in this film and others.  

The fourth Woodfall film is A Taste Of Honey, and it is this film which I think is the most daring of the lot. This film focuses on Jo(Rita Tushingham) a teenage schoolgirl who is in a relationship with a black sailor(Paul Danquah)by whom she becomes pregnant. The rest of the film focuses on her dealing with the pregnancy with the help of her gay friend Geoffrey(Murray Melvin).

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Jo arguing with her mum’s latest man(Robert Stephens)in A Taste Of Honey. Screenshot by me.

This film also shows us that the younger generation(so often depicted in this time as bad or lacking responsibility)have more sense and decency than the older ones. Jo’s mum(Dora Bryan)is someone who should know better and should be being a good mum, but instead she leaves her daughter to her own devices and is sleeping around and thinking of herself. In many ways Jo is the adult and her mother is the teenager. 

This film shows us that adults are not perfect and don’t always do the right or moral thing(the opposite of what we are so often told is the case when we are kids). The film also depicts a homosexual character who becomes in many ways the hero of the story and a very likeable character, this was quite daring due to homosexuals being largely vilified in society at the time. I like how this film depicts Geoffrey as simply being the normal man that he is, and that it just so happens that his sexual orientation is different to other peoples. His personality rather than his sexuality is what is focused upon in the film. 

My favourite of the Woodfall films is Girl With Green Eyes. Based on the trilogy of novels by Edna O’Brien, this film focuses on the love affair between the young Kate(Rita Tushingham)and the middle aged Eugene(Peter Finch).

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Eugene and Kate have a talk. Screenshot by me.

It’s a daring film, based on a daring book, set in Ireland and focusing on a girl who is having sex outside of marriage and who is going against convention and the dictates of religion in so many ways. I like it because it focuses on sex and relationships from a female perspective. The film is also very moving and features terrific lead performances from Rita and Peter. A young Lynn Redgrave lends solid support as Baba, the outgoing friend and flatmate of Kate. 

Many of the Woodfall films have become very well known here in the UK. I’m very aware that they may not be all that famous in other parts of the world. I highly recommend them all to you, not only because they are good films, but because they visually capture a time,place and a way of life that is just starting to disappear over here.

I hope anyone who has never seen any of these films will seek them out. Remember as well that these films ushered in a new way of filmmaking, Woodfall helped to make it acceptable to make more films like the ones they were making. 

Have you seen any of the Woodfall films? What do you think of the films? 

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The Seventh Annual What A Character Blogathon: Marius Goring

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For the seventh year running, Aurora from Citizen Screen, Kellee from Outspoken& Freckled, and Paula from Paula’s Cinema Club, are joining together to host this blogathon. It celebrates the great character actors. Be sure to visit their sites to read all of the entries, I can’t wait to read them all myself. 

For my second entry in this blogathon, I’m writing about a character actor who was an acting chameleon. The name of this man? It’s Marius Goring.

Marius had me fooled for years! Why did he have me fooled? It was only a couple of years ago that I discovered that this man, who speaks with such a convincing foreign accent in so many of his films, and who had me convinced he was of German descent, was in fact British born and bred! He is that convincing in his roles.One of the best actors in the business as far as I’m concerned.

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Marius with Ava Gardner in The Barefoot Contessa. Screenshot by me.

Marius played so many roles throughout his career, but he became best known for playing German or French speaking characters.

He is best known today for his performances in two Powell and Pressburger classics, the first film is A Matter Of Life And Death, and the second film is The Red Shoes

He was often cast as German officers, men who were unlucky in love, or as bitter men who are eaten up with jealousy and desire. 

Marius starred in so many classic films over the years: The Barefoot Contessa, The Red Shoes, The Spy In Black, Pandora And The Flying Dutchman, Odette, Circle Of Danger, The Magic Box. He also took the lead role in the 1956 TV adaptation of The Scarlet Pimpernel, this little known adaptation is a real gem and it is currently on YouTube if you have never seen it. Marius delivers one of his best performances in that TV adaptation.

Marius was born on the Isle Of Wight, on the 23rd of May, 1912. He was the son of Dr. Charles Goring, who was a pioneer in Criminology. Throughout his life and career, Marius Goring worked on the stage, appeared in many films and also worked in television. In 1929, Marius became a founding member of the actors union,British Equity, and he served as its president between 1963 and 1965 and 1975 and 1982.

Marius Goring is one of those actors who commands your whole attention whenever he appears on screen. He also had a knack for really making us feel the emotions and needs of his various characters.

              Marius as the Conductor in A Matter Of Life And Death. Screenshots by me.

The character he is best remembered for today is the Conductor in A Matter Of Life And Death. I love that film so much and Marius Goring’s performance is a big reason why I love the film so much. He is hilarious, playful, mysterious and charming as the Conductor.

When he is in a scene in this film he dominates it, and when he is not in a scene, I for one really miss his presence. With that mischievous grin and those twinkling eyes it’s hard not to like this character and long to see more of him. 

I don’t know about anyone else, but I would have happily watched a film series starring Marius(something like Here Comes Mr. Jordan)focusing on the Conductor and his adventures in heaven and down on Earth. 

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The Conductor meets Peter. Screenshot by me.

The scene where the Conductor stops time is a real highlight of this film and Marius really helps to make it so. He is so convincing that you totally buy into him being a man from the past who is also a playful ghost. He and David Niven play that scene perfectly.

One of my favourite film performances from him can be found in the seriously underrated/little known film, Mr. Perrin And Mr. Traill. Marius plays Mr. Perrin, an fussy and awkward older teacher who has to contend with a younger rival – a rival not only in the classroom – but also for the heart of the younger woman who Perrin loves from afar. I think it is one of his best performances and it is both subtle and powerful.

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Marius as Mr. Perrin. Screenshot by me.

I highly recommend the film, not only because of Marius’s performance, but also because it has a very good story, and because it plays out as a dark combining of The Browning Version and Goodbye Mr. Chips.

Marius manages to give us a good sense of his characters inner turmoil, and he also ensures that we both pity and hate him as the film goes on.  

Marius was a regular face on stage and screen for over fifty years. He died on the 30th of September, 1998. His presence in a film or series is always a welcome sight for this classic film fan.

I hope that this post will encourage any viewers out there who are unfamiliar with Marius Goring to go and seek out his work. He was one of the best character actors of the classic film era, and he is always a treat to watch.

Any other fans of Marius Goring here? What are your favourite films and performances? 

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The Seventh Annual What A Character Blogathon: Sara Allgood

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For the seventh year running, Aurora from Citizen Screen, Kellee from Outspoken & Freckled, and Paula from Paula’s Cinema Club, are joining together to co-host this blogathon. Their blogathon celebrates the great character actors found in films. Be sure to visit their sites to read all of the entries, I can’t wait to read them all myself. 

This is my first time taking part in this. I am really looking forward to finally being able to be a part of this wonderful event. I’ve decided to write two posts for this.

My first post celebrates one of the all time great character actresses. The name of this lady? It’s Sara Allgood. I think that Sara’s surname manages to perfectly describe the quality of all of her film performances. Sara was simply incapable of delivering a bad or dull performance.

Sara’s name may well be unfamiliar to some people today, but once you catch a glimpse of her warm and open face in a film, you won’t forget her in a hurry and I’m sure you’ll be eager to see more of her work.Sara Allgood is always a regular and welcome presence on the big screen for this classic film fan.

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Formal photo of Sara Allgood. Image Source IMDb.

Sara appeared in so many classics over the years – The Spiral Staircase(the first film that I ever saw her in), The Lodger(stealing all the scenes she is in as the landlady), The Strange Affair Of Uncle Harry, Blackmail, How Green Was My Valley(deeply moving) and That Hamilton Woman(hilarious as the pushy mother of Vivien Leigh’s Emma Hamilton). 

Sara was one of those performers who you can never catch acting. She always gave such natural and convincing performances. She will command your utmost attention when she appears in a scene, even if she is doing nothing more than sitting quietly in the background. Sara is one of the best characters actors of all time in my opinion.  She often played mothers and housekeepers on screen. 

Sara was born in Dublin, Ireland on the 29th of November, 1879.  She was one of eight children. Sara joined The Daughters Of Ireland and studied drama. She worked predominately on the stage for much of her career. Sara toured on stage in America many times and would eventually move out to the States in the 1940’s. Sara Allgood died in America on the 13th of September,1950, after suffering a fatal heart attack. Sara was seventy years old when she died.  

Her personal life had much tragedy in it. Her father died when she was very young and one of her brothers was killed in WW1. Sara married her leading man on the stage, Gerald Henson, in 1916, sadly both her husband and their daughter died in the flu epidemic of 1918. Somehow she managed to carry on with her life after those terrible losses. Her sister Mary(stage name Maire O’Neill) also became a well known stage actress and appeared in some films, sadly the two sisters became estranged in later life.  

Sara’s film career began in 1929. Throughout the 1930’s and 1940’s, Sara ended up working with some of the greatest directors of the classic film era including John Ford, Alfred Hitchcock and Robert Siodmak.

Sara is best remembered today for her performance as the strong Welsh mother in How Green Was My Valley

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Sara and Roddy McDowall in How Green Was My Valley. Screenshot by me.

Sara is so convincing in her role in How Green Was My Valley, that you would swear blind that you were watching a real woman from the 1800’s. She has that radiating warmth, that unbreakable strength, and that inner kindness thing down so perfectly. She makes you love and admire her character and you believe that she is the glue that binds her mining family together. Whenever I watch this film, I never fail to be moved by the stoicism of her character, and I always marvel at how Sara so completely inhabits that character. 

I highly recommend Sara Allgood to anyone who has never seen her in a film before. She truly was one of the most gifted and natural actresses of the classic film era.I hope that my post will help to spread her name far and wide to those unfamiliar with her. 

Any other Sara Allgood fans here? What are your thoughts on Sara and her performances?

If anyone has ever seen the whole of the film Between Two Worlds, could you please tell me what it is like? I have only been able to see a couple of clips on YouTube one of which features a big speech scene for Sara. I long to see the full film due to Sara being in it, and also because the story intrigues me so much. 

 

 

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Announcing The Second Remembering Barbara Stanwyck Blogathon

Myself and Crystal from In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood are teaming up together to bring you our next blogathon.  

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Barbara in All I Desire. Screenshot by me.

We have decided to honour a lady who was one of the most talented and popular actresses of the classic film era.

The subject of our blogathon is the legendary Barbara Stanwyck. 

Known affectionately by those who knew her as “Missy”, Barbara became famous for her natural acting style. She also became well known for playing strong, independent and intelligent characters in her films. 

Barbara Stanwyck dominated the screen in every single scene that she appeared in. She is one of those actors who could say so much with just a look or expression. 

For this blogathon you can write about any of Barbara’s films,TV series, or TV episodes. You can write tributes to her. You can write about her acting ability. You can write about her whole life and career. You can write about her lovely friendship with William Holden. You can write about your favourite Barbara Stanwyck performances. Perhaps you met or corresponded with her and want to tell us about that?

We will accept two duplicates per screen title. You can write more than one post if you wish to, but we ask that you please don’t write more than three.

The blogathon will be held on the 20th, 21st and 22nd of January, 2019. I will be your hostess on the 20th. Crystal will be your hostess on the 21st and 22nd. Please send us your entries on or before those dates.  

Let us know what you want to write about below. Take one of Crystal’s lovely banners to put on your site to help promote the event. Have fun writing about Barbara and watching her films.

Films claimed twice: Ball Of Fire and Sorry,Wrong Number 

The Particpation List

Maddy Loves Her Classic Films: All I Desire

In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood: Topic to be decided

                       Pale Writer: Christmas In Connecticut  and The Thorn Birds

A Shroud Of Thoughts: The Lady Eve

Love Letters To Old Hollywood: Ball Of Fire

Wide Screen World: Three episodes of the Barbara Stanwyck Show

Down These Mean Streets: Double Indemnity

Vinnieh: No Man Of Her Own

Caftan Woman: Banjo On My Knee

Poppity Talks Classic Film: The Two Mrs. Carrolls

Silver Screen Classics: Sorry,Wrong Number

Lisa Alkana: Guest post on In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood: Crime Of Passion 

Top 10 Film Lists: Barbara Stanwyck And Film Noir

The Story Enthusiast: Lady Of Burlesque

Realweegiemidgetreviews: The Colbys

The Stop Button: The Purchase Price

Movie Rob: Stella Dallas and Ball Of Fire

Dubsism: The Big Valley

Taking Up Room: Titanic

Critica Retro: The Mad Miss Manton

The Dream Book Blog: The Locked Door

The Midnight-Drive In: Forty Guns

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The World War One On Film Blogathon Begins

When the clock strikes 11am on this Sunday morning, it will be 100 years since World War One finally came to an end. To mark this important centenary, I decided that I would host a blogathon about films which focus on this war.

I want to thank you all so much for joining me for this special blogathon. In addition to reading through all the posts in this blogathon, I would like us all to take a moment to remember all of the people and animals(their deaths and injuries all too often get overlooked) who lost their lives in this brutal and senseless war.

This war is an event that we should never forget. Sadly war is still present in our lives today, and it would seem that our species has learnt nothing from the horrors and pain of all those past wars. I hope that one day war can be a thing of the past, something that is found only in the pages of history books.

Check back to this post over the next two days to read all of the entries. I’ll update this post as often as I can over the weekend. Thanks again for joining me for this.

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Day 2 Entries

Pop Culture Reverie tells us about Wonder Woman and her time in the trenches.

 

Silver Screen Classics writes about Peter Weir’s classic war film Gallipoli.

 

The Wonderful World Of Cinema discusses See You Up There.

 

18 Cinema Lane shares her impressions of watching Lawrence Of Arabia 

 

Movie Rob discusses The Fighting 69th.

 

Critica Retro discusses the powerful film J’Accuse.

 

Movie Rob takes a look at the war fought in the air, in his review of The Blue Max.

 

Thoughts All Sorts writes about a biopic of the Red Baron.

 

Caftan Woman discusses the deeply moving Broken Lullaby

 

Dubism looks at the sports analogies hidden in the film Sergeant York.

 

Sat In Your Lap writes about the 1933 WW1 film Heroes For Sale.

 

 

Day 1 Entries

Silver Screenings tells us all about Charlie Chaplin’s WW1 set film Shoulder Arms.

 

Cinematic Scribblings discusses The Spy In Black, which was the first film jointly made by Powell and Pressburger.

 

Realweegiemidgetreviews writes about the deeply moving film My Boy Jack.

 

Down These Mean Streets discusses the romantic weepie Waterloo Bridge.

 

Movie Movie Blog Blog takes to the skies to tell us all about Wings

 

Silentology tells us all about Harry Langdon’s time in the trenches, in the film Soldier Man. 

 

Wads Words discusses The Big Parade.

 

Dubism tells us about the hidden sports analogies in Paths Of Glory.

 

The Stop Button tells us all about The Life And Death of Colonel Blimp.

 

I share my five favourite films about WW1.

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The James Mason Blogathon: My Three Favourite James Mason Performances

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James Mason was one of the finest actors of his generation. He could play chilling villains, decent and gentle heroes, and complex and intriguing characters. His brooding and intense expressions coupled with that voice of his made him quite the screen presence indeed. 

I would like to share my three favourite screen performances from James Mason. The films are all excellent too, and I recommend them all to anyone who hasn’t seen them before. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea and Pandora And The Flying Dutchman are two of my favourite films of all time. 

 

Pandora And The Flying Dutchman(1951)

In this haunting and poetic love story, James plays Hendrick van der Zee, a cursed man who is doomed to live in the world for all eternity. He must live onboard the vessel known as the Flying Dutchman. He can break free of his curse, but only if he finds a woman who loves him so much that she will willingly die for him.

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James as Hendrick. Screenshot by me.

James is terrific in this role. He conveys the tenderness and longing his character feels for the woman he loves, and also the fear of getting too close to her, as he doesn’t want her to die if she is the woman who could break his curse. He also convinces in the scene where we see the moment of jealousy and madness that led him to be cursed in the first place.

James has this otherworldly air about him in this, and this aura really helps us buy into him being a man who has walked the earth for centuries. He and Ava Gardner manage to convince us that their characters souls are calling out to one another. 

The monologue James delivers during the flashback sequence is truly a performance for the ages. This is a film that I return to again, and again, and again. James Mason’s performance plays a major part in my love for this one.

 

 

20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (1954)

This was the first film that I ever saw James Mason in. Every single time I watch this film, I am always struck most by how complex and intriguing James managed to make Captain Nemo.

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James as Captain Nemo. Screenshot by me.

At times James makes Nemo frightening and intense. At other moments he allows us to see this man’s inner torment and hopes, and we really sympathise with him and admire him .

I have never seen any other actor play this character quite like James Mason did. James really managed to capture the varied facets of Nemo’s tormented soul. It is a remarkable performance, and it is one that is still highly fascinating and powerful when viewed today. The film is cracking too!

 

 

Bigger Than Life (1956)

James plays Ed Avery, a middle aged teacher who becomes addicted to some prescribed medication. His entire personality changes due to the effects of the drug. He goes from being a loving, warm and gentle husband and father, to becoming a tyrannical brute. His family become afraid of him and he won’t listen to the advice from anyone around him. 

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James as Ed. Screenshot by me.

If you want to see what a good actor James Mason was, then this film is one that you should check out. His performance here really is extraordinary. At times he makes us  despise Ed for his actions brought on by the medication, and yet at other times he makes our hearts break with his plight.

James does a terrific job of conveying Ed’s pain, fear and uncontrollable behaviour to us. It’s one of his best screen performances as far as I’m concerned. I never get tired of watching this film and enjoying James Mason’s magnificent performance in it.

 

What do you think of James Mason’s performances in these films? What are your favourite performances from him?

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The Deborah Kerr Blogathon Begins

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The big day has finally arrived! Today is the day that we all come together to discuss the life and career of the great Deborah Kerr.

Today is also special, because if she had still been with us, Deborah would have been celebrating her birthday today. Happy Birthday, Deborah. You are missed by classic film fans the world over.

A number of truly wonderful bloggers have penned reviews and articles about Deborah and her films. Thank you so much for joining me to celebrate Deborah Kerr.

Check back to this post throughout the day. I will be linking back to all the articles as they come in. Happy reading. 

 

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The Entries

Palewriter2 starts the Deborah Kerr celebrations off. She shares her love for the romantic weepie An Affair To Remember. She also discusses Deborah’s three remarkable performances in The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp.

 

The Lady Eve’s Reel Life takes us on a frightening journey, as she discusses Deborah’s performance in the terrifying horror film The Innocents

 

Critica Retro writes about the time that Deborah starred alongside Robert Donat, in the romantic War drama Perfect Strangers.

 

Musings Of A Classic Film Addict visits Deborah for some Tea And Sympathy

 

The Stop Button discusses the hotel set drama Separate Tables.

 

Caftan Woman tells us all about Reunion At Fairborough, which was the final film that Deborah and Robert Mitchum worked on together. 

 

Movie Rob discusses Deborah’s performance in Edward My Son.

 

Poppity Talks Classic Film shares her opinions about Black Narcissus

 

Diary Of A Movie Maniac shares his thoughts on The End Of The Affair and Beloved Infidel.

 

Anybody Got A Match discusses The Hucksters, which was one of Deborah’s earlier films.

 

The Story Enthusiast tells us about the time Deborah joined Ava Gardner and Richard Burton for The Night Of The Iguana

 

Phyllis Loves Classic Movies discusses a selection of Deborah Kerr’s films.

 

I write about the Four Essential Deborah Kerr Performances . I also join Deborah and Robert Mitchum on a Pacific island in Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison.

 

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Announcing The James Mason Blogathon

I’ve wanted to hold a blogathon celebrating James Mason for a while now. So I thought it was high time that I got on and put one together. He is a great favourite of mine, and as a fellow Brit, I am very proud of him for having been able to achieve international stardom.

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James Mason in The Wicked Lady. Screenshot by me.

James Mason was one of the greatest classic era actors. He had one of the most distinctive and memorable voices in history. He was suave, brooding, intense and charming.

James Mason excelled at playing both villains and good guys. He was born in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, on the 15th of May, 1909. He would go on to enjoy a fifty year career in film and Television. He died in 1984.

For this blogathon you can write about any of James Mason’s films and TV performances. You can write about your favourite James Mason characters. You can write a tribute to him. You can write about his career as a whole. You can write about either his British or American film career. 

You can write more than one post if you would like to do so. I will allow two duplicates per screen title. Previously published articles and reviews are very welcome.

The blogathon will be held on the 5th and 6th of October, 2018. Please publish your entries on or before those dates. 

Let me know what you want to write about in the comments section below. Check the participation list below to see who is writing about what. Take one of the banners and put them somewhere on your site to help promote the event.

Participation List

Maddy Loves Her Classic Films: Three Favourite James Mason Performances

Caftan Woman: Five Fingers

Dubism: Odd Man Out

Realweegiemidgetreviews: Heaven Can Wait

Diary Of A Movie Maniac: Salem’s Lot

Musings Of A Classic Film Addict: The Seventh Veil

Pale Writer2: The Wicked Lady

Wide Screen World: Heaven Can Wait

Poppity: Lolita

The Stop Button: Bigger Than Life

Silver Screenings: The Reckless Moment

In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood: North By Northwest

MovieRob: The Desert FoxThe Desert Rats

The Wonderful World Of Cinema: James Mason and Margaret Lockwood

Phyllis Loves Classic Movies: The Story Of Three Loves

Critica Retro: Caught

Retro Movie Buff: Pandora And The Flying Dutchman

The Midnite Drive-In: The Boys From Brazil

Silver Scenes: Pandora And The Flying Dutchman

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The Top Ten Alfred Hitchcock Films

Today is Alfred Hitchcock’s birthday. He was born in 1899 in London. I thought I would put together a ranked list of the ten films that I consider to be his best.

As you all know, I am a major fan of Hitch’s films, so it has proven to be quite a challenge indeed for me to only pick ten films of his to rank. 

I’d love to get your thoughts on these ten films. I’d also love to know what your own top ten Hitchcock list looks like. Please do leave your own choices in the comments below. 

 

10. The Birds (1963)

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Melanie, Cathy and Mitch hide from the birds. Screenshot by me.

Hitchcock proves he has a talent as a horror director with this film about birds attacking humans. A clever mix of real birds, fake birds and matte shots convince us that the bird attacks and mass gatherings are real.

Featuring a strong debut performance by Tippi Hedren. I also love this one a great deal because of the relationship which develops between Mitch and Melanie.  

 

 

9. Sabotage (1936)

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Sylvia Sidney as the horrified wife. Screenshot by me.

Sabotage is a suspenseful drama about the British police trying to prevent a terrorist attack in London.

The best remembered scene in this involves a London bus. This bus sequence is one of the most shocking and suspenseful sequences in any of Hitchcock’s films.

The other standout sequence in the film is the dinner table scene, where the wife gives her evil husband quite the fright. 

Sylvia Sidney is excellent as the young wife who slowly comes to realise that her husband is a cold and deranged murderer, and that he doesn’t care who gets hurt by his actions.

I think this is Hitch’s best British film. 

 

8.Notorious (1946)

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Devlin and Alicia. Screenshot by me.

Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman play against type in this thrilling film about spies, romance and murder. The daughter of a Nazi(who doesn’t share her father’s views) is asked to spy on a Nazi group who live in America.

She accepts the task and soon finds herself in great danger. She is also romantically torn between two very different men (Cary Grant and Claude Rains).

Cary is all toughness and cynicism as the American agent unwilling to admit he is in love with the woman he is sending into danger.  Ingrid plays a disreputable, fun-loving woman, whose heroic actions redeem her self destructive behaviour. Superb support from the great Claude Rains and Leopoldine Konstantin. 

7. Rope (1948)

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Phillip, Rupert and Brandon. Screenshot by me.

I’d say this has to be the most macabre Hitchcock film. Two men murder one of their friends, put his body into a trunk, and then use the top of the trunk as a buffet table.

They invite a group of their friends(including the victims father and fiance)to dinner in the apartment to eat off the trunk. The suspense lies in whether or not the dead body will be discovered.

John Dall is chilling as the evil, cold and possibly psychopathic, Brandon. Farley Granger is equally excellent as the twitchy Phillip, who unlike Brandon, is actually unhappy about what they have done and is nervous about getting caught.

Rope is notable for seemingly having been shot all in one take, and also for the homosexual undertones to the relationship between Brandon, Phillip and their friend and former teacher, Rupert(James Stewart). The film was inspired by the real Leopold and Loeb murder case.  

 

6. Shadow Of A Doubt (1943)

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Uncle Charlie and his niece. Screenshot by me.

Hitch shows us that all is not as it seems in small town America. Joseph Cotten delivers a career best performance here playing Uncle Charlie, a charming serial killer who is being pursued by the police.

The film becomes a thrilling cat and mouse game once Charlie’s niece finds out his dark secret. 

This film is all about shattered innocence, misperception and danger. The fascinating relationship between Charlie and his niece is something that has been much discussed and interpreted(the pair are almost like twins in some ways, and there is also a hint of a strange tension between them which could be sexual), and it is one of the most memorable aspects of the film. Joseph Cotten and Teresa Wright both deliver excellent performances.  

 

5. Vertigo (1958)

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Madeleine reborn. Screenshot by me.

In my opinion this is Hitchock’s darkest and most fascinating film. The film also features the best Hitchcock score (in my opinion) composed by Bernard Herrmann. This haunting Noir is part suspenseful mystery, part twisted and tragic love story, and part eerie ghost story.

This is one that can be interpreted in so many different ways, which means that it is one that you can have a great deal of fun watching and analysing. 

James Stewart and Kim Novak are both at their best as the ill-fated lovers, Scottie and Madeleine. This is one of the darkest and complex performances that James Stewart ever gave. Kim Novak convinces in a duel role as two very different women. 

 

4. North By Northwest (1959)

 

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Eve and Roger hang on to Mount Rushmore. Screenshot by me.

This one is a real thrill ride from start to finish. The best of Hitch’s wrong man on the run films in my opinion. This film is part thriller, part comedy, part romance and part spy story. It looks gorgeous visually and the cast all look so stylish and glamorous.

The film features two of the most iconic moments in film history(the crop duster attack and the Mount Rushmore sequence). Cary Grant is at his best,and he is ably supported by Eva Marie Saint, James Mason and Martin Landau. 

3. Rebecca (1940)

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Mrs. Danvers distresses the new bride. Screenshot by me.

This gothic ghost story is expertly directed by Hitch. The film begins with a sweet love story, the film is also very brightly lit at the beginning and everything looks idyllic. 

The mood and lighting of the film quickly become much darker once Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier’s characters return home to England.

All shadows and billowing curtains, this atmospheric and suspenseful drama features career best performances from Joan Fontaine and Judith Anderson. I love how Hitch makes us sense the oppressive presence of the dead Rebecca.

2. Psycho (1960)

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Lila gets a fright. Screenshot by me.

The film that changed everything. Starting off as a film about a woman on the run, the film takes an unexpected detour into horror territory and makes film history in the process.

Featuring the scariest shower sequence ever filmed, one of the creepiest houses in film history, and a brilliant twist at the end which makes you reassess everything that you have just watched.

Scary, suspenseful and featuring a remarkable performance by Anthony Perkins. Strong support from Vera Miles, Janet Leigh, Martin Balsam and John Gavin.

 

 

1. Rear Window (1954)

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Lisa and Jeff witness something strange. Screenshot by me.

I struggled for a very long time over which film should be in first place. In the end I decided that this film should be number one.

I think it easily qualifies to be the best Hitchcock film as it so perfectly encapsulates what Hitchcock’s films are all about.

The plot of the film and the way everything is all set up, means that this film is still effective and doesn’t feel dated when viewed today. 

Rear Window is filled with suspense, murder, relationships, obsession, mystery, danger and thrills. Hitch also cleverly makes the audience obsessed voyeurs, just like Jimmy Stewart’s character is, by making us see everything from that characters perspective. Featuring terrific performances from James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Thelma Ritter and Raymond Burr. 

 

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Announcing The Deborah Kerr Blogathon

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Deborah Kerr is one of my favourite actresses from the classic film era, and I want to hold this blogathon to celebrate Deborah and her films. I do hope that you can all join me to pay tribute to this very talented lady.

Deborah Kerr was born Deborah Jane Kerr- Trimmer, in Glasgow, on the 30th of September, 1921. She would go on to become one of the most beloved and famous actresses of her day, and she worked in both English and American films. On screen she was the epitome of an English rose. 

For this blogathon you can write about any of the films and TV series that she appeared in. You can write about her entire career. You can write a tribute to her. You can write about your favourite Deborah Kerr characters and performances. If you ever met or corresponded with her, then you can write about that experience too.

You can write more than one post if you want to. Previously published posts are very welcome. I will accept two duplicate posts per screen title. 

The blogathon will be held on the 30th of September, 2018. Please post your entries on or before this date. 

Let me know below what you want to write about. Please take one of the banners and put it on your site somewhere to help promote the event. Check the participation list below to see who is writing about what. 

Participation List

Maddy Loves Her Classic Films:  Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison & Four Essential Deborah Kerr Performances

Poppity: Black Narcissus

Caftan Woman: Reunion At Fairborough

Anybody Got A Match: The Hucksters

Musings Of A Classic Film Addict: Tea and Sympathy

The Stop Button: Separate Tables

Old Hollywood Films: The Grass Is Greener

                                         Silver Screen Classics: The Night Of The Iguana

Whimsically Classic: From Here To Eternity

Pop Culture Reverie: Tea And Sympathy

The Wonderful World Of Cinema: Separate Tables

Palewriter2: An Affair To Remember & The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp

MovieRob: Edward My Son

Critica Retro: Vacation From Marriage

Diary Of A Movie Maniac: The End Of The Affair & Beloved Infidel

 Lady Eve’s Reel Life: The Innocents

Phyllis Loves Classic Movies: The films of Deborah Kerr

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The David Lean Blogathon Begins

David Lean 3.PNGThe big day has finally arrived! Over the next two days, several truly wonderful bloggers are going to be submitting their reviews and articles about David Lean’s films.

A big thank you to all of you for joining me for this blogathon.I can’t wait to read all of the entries celebrating the life and career of this gifted director.

Check back to this post over the next two days as I update it to link back to all of the entries. 

 

Day 2 Entries

Silver Screen Classics writes about the epic romance Doctor Zhivago

 

Cinematic Scribblings takes a look at Lean’s family saga This Happy Breed.

 

Retromoviebuff discusses Lean’s spooky and funny film Blithe Spirit.

 

Movierob heads to Venice with David Lean’s Summertime.

 

Vinnieh talks about his love for the epic David Lean film Doctor Zhivago.

 

Cinema Essentials writes about the man himself in Director Profile: David Lean.

 

Poppity shares her love for the underrated Ryan’s Daughter. She also writes about one of David Lean’s lesser known films Madeleine.

 

Day 1 Entries

Realweegiemidgetreviews takes a look at the trailer for Lean’s epic film Doctor Zhivago. She also looks at Lean’s WW2 set classic The Bridge On The River Kwai.

 

Movierob shares his thoughts after a first time viewing of The Passionate Friends.

 

Poppity takes a look at Lean’s charming film Hobson’s Choice.

 

Caftan Woman discusses one of the greatest of David Lean’s films Great Expectations.

 

The Stop Button shares his thoughts on Lean’s aviation drama The Sound Barrier.

 

The Wonderful World Of Cinema discusses Lean’s masterpiece Lawrence Of Arabia.

 

I discuss David Lean’s stunning adaptation of Charles Dickens classic story Oliver Twist.

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The Greatest Audrey Hepburn Performances

I am a big fan of Audrey Hepburn. I have often thought about which of Audrey’s film performances should be considered to be her best work. After thinking about this for quite some time, I have finally chosen a few performances that I think are her best.

I would love to get your views on Audrey’s performances in these films. 

 

The Nun’s Story (1959)

Audrey stars as a nun called Sister Luke. This film is a biopic of a real life woman who became a nun and worked out in the Congo. Audrey is beyond amazing in this film. There are scenes in this where you really do believe that she is on the point of having a breakdown. You really feel that Audrey’s character is struggling emotionally and that she has conflicted feelings about the life she has chosen to lead.

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Audrey as Sister Luke. Screenshot by me.

She perfectly conveys the emotional and physical struggle this woman endures as she overworks herself, becomes physically ill and tries to adhere to the strict rules of convent life.

I’m not the biggest fan of the Academy Awards, but I think that Audrey deserved an award for her performance in this. You can read my full review of this film here.

This is a film that doesn’t get discussed often enough, and it really should be much better known because Audrey is phenomenal in it. 

 

 

 Roman Holiday (1953)

Audrey delivers one of the most natural and remarkable debut lead film performances in film history. She totally convinces as the reserved and unhappy Princess. She also convinces as the carefree, happy, curious and adorable woman enjoying a welcome taste of real life. 

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Audrey as Princess Ann. Screenshot by me.

I love how she easily switches between innocence, intense happiness, deep sadness and being torn between her duties and her desires. It really is a poignant and powerful performance. It is easy to see how she managed to capture the public’s hearts when this one was released. 

 

 

Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961)

Audrey wasn’t the actress who was initially the first choice for the role of Holly, but Audrey defied expectations, and more than proved that she was indeed the right choice for the role. Audrey perfectly captures the various emotions and quirks of Holly so well. One moment she is happy and quirky, the next she is vulnerable and melancholy, and the next she is daring, sexy, passionate, mean and strong. 

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Audrey as Holly. Screenshot by me.

I like how Audrey makes you feel for Holly and enjoy spending time with her. Holly is such a unique character and Audrey captures her many different facets so well. You can tell when you watch this that Audrey put so much effort into this role. It is so difficult to imagine any other actress in this role now other than Audrey. It isn’t difficult to see why this has become her iconic role and film.

 

My Fair Lady (1964)

Although she doesn’t really convince as a cockney flower girl living in poverty, Audrey certainly does convince as an awkward and nervous woman who transforms into a society lady.

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Audrey as Eliza. Screenshot by me.

Audrey always had a natural class and dignity about her that aided her in her performance here. She also does such a good job of conveying Eliza’s despair, frustration and anger over her dismissal by Higgins after the ball. She makes you feel how much hard work and effort Eliza has put in, and also feel how hurt and used she feels by Higgins dismissal of her success. 

Overlooked at the time by the Academy, her performance speaks for itself and it remains moving and memorable today. You can read my full review of the film here. 

Some other fine performances include Wait Until Dark, Sabrina, CharadeThe Children’s Hour, Two For The Road and Robin and Marian. 

Which performances do you consider to be Audrey’s greatest screen work?

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The Second Annual Alfred Hitchcock Blogathon Begins

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The Second Annual Alfred Hitchcock Blogathon has finally arrived!

Over the next two days, a large number of truly wonderful bloggers will be submitting their articles on all things Hitch.  Check back to this post today and tomorrow, I will be updating it as regularly as I can linking to all of the entries.

I can’t wait to read all of your posts. Thank you so much for taking part.

The Second Annual Alfred Hitchcock Blogathon participants gather together in the hotel lounge. The strains of Bernard Herrmann’s music can be heard floating through the air.

Someone kindly informs us that lunch is now ready. We all tuck into a delicious buffet, this is laid out for us on top of a suspicious looking chest belonging to some guy called Brandon.

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Day 2 Entries

The Wonderful World Of Cinema goes out to sea in order to discuss Hitchcock’s ocean set thriller Lifeboat

 

Poppity flees from crop dusters as she reviews the Hitchcock classic North By Northwest.

 

Silver Screen Classics goes on a journey with Richard Hannay to uncover the mystery of The 39 Steps.

 

Vinnieh tells us what happened when Uncle Charlie came to town in Shadow Of A Doubt.

 

Taking Up Room discusses an early film which would become the only film of Hitchcock’s that he would ever remake. The film is  The Man Who Knew Too Much

 

Cracked Rear Viewer discusses the suspenseful 3D Hitchcock film Dial M For Murder.

 

Sat In Your Lap discusses the powerful Hitchcock film The Wrong Man

 

Pure Entertainment Preservation Society discusses the haunting and suspenseful film Rebecca

 

Retro Movie Buff encounters spies and windmills in her review of Foreign Correspondent.

 

 

Day 1 Entries

Down These Mean Streets spent some time with Devlin, Alicia and Alexander, and she writes about that experience in her review of Notorious

 

Cinema Essentials discusses Hitchcock’s suspenseful 3D film Dial M For Murder.

 

The Midnite-Drive In discusses the terrifying 60’s shocker Psycho and also the biopic Hitchcock. 

 

Wolffian Classics Movies Digest joins Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly to look out at the Rear Window

 

Realweegiemidgetreviews discusses Four O’ Clock, a Hitchcock directed episode of the TV series Suspicion.

 

Silver Screenings joins a party hiding a grisly secret in Rope.   

 

Bonnywood Manor gets caught up in the thrilling spy story Topaz.

 

Caftan Woman invites us all to join her at the theatre to discuss Stage Fright.

 

The Stop Button takes a look at one of Hitchcock’s early British films Young And Innocent.

 

dbmoviesblog takes a trip to Bodega Bay and witnesses nature striking back in The Birds.

 

Taking Up Room tells us all about Hitchcock’s first ever sound film Blackmail.

 

Cary Grant Won’t Eat You talks about the disappointing Hitchcock film Torn Curtain.

 

Sparks From A Combustible Mind discusses the time when Hitchcock went comic in The Trouble With Harry.

 

I take a trip to Manderley to meet Rebecca.  I also write about the 60th anniversary of the release of  Vertigo