21/02/2013 § 1 Comment
When Martha Howson, a wallflower at the Rovina Finishing School for Girls in New York, wins a competition to become “Miss Complexion 1934″ she also receives a grand tour of the Warner Brothers lot in Hollywood. In a lovely little promotional short that is one part movie trailer and one part 1930s Entertainment Tonight, Marsha’s tour guide Lyle Talbot shows her around the production of the musical “Dames” (which I mentioned previously), introduces her to the director and choreographer Busby Berkeley, and makes himself scarce so she can request 5,000 kisses from actor Dick Powell — on behalf of the girls at finishing school, of course!
02/02/2013 § 2 Comments
Speaking of addresses and letters, I happened upon this lovely silent film produced by the US Postal Service that I wanted to share with you. Produced circa 1925, it describes the benefits of Air Mail and shows the progress of a letter mailed in New York and its journey to San Francisco — a journey that normally took 90 hours by train, but by air in a Dehavilland DH-4 it was only 30!
This clip is part one of two, and you can find the second part here. Please note: here is a very loud clicking noise on the second portion, so it is best watched on mute. It is a silent film, after all.
Film via the archives of the San Diego Air and Space Museum.
23/08/2012 § Leave a Comment
“New York, New York, it’s a wonderful town,
The Bronx is up and the Battery’s down,
The people ride in a hole in the ground,
New York, New York, it’s a wonderful town!”
In honor of Gene Kelly’s 100th birthday today!
Sailors Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Jules Munshin sing and dance their
way through a 24-hour shore leave in New York City in On The Town (1949).
21/08/2012 § Leave a Comment
Very excited to see Chicken with Plums this week at the Angelika!
As they did in Persepolis, directors Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud bring to life another of Satrapi’s graphic novels, set in a Western-leaning Iran. This time, they tell the story of Nasser Ali Khan, a broken-hearted violinist who embarks on a fantastic journey after his beloved violin is destroyed.
It looks amazing, no?
16/07/2012 § Leave a Comment
The quote above is from a lovely friend of mine who referred me to the new trailer for Gangster Squad — and who obviously knows me quite well.
Los Angeles. The 1940s. Film noir. A glamorous femme fatale. Sartorial splendor. More Art Deco than you can shake a stick at. Ryan Gosling. (Okay, maybe that last one is a bit more universal…)
In any event, excited to see this dramatization of clashes between the LAPD and real-life LA gangster Mickey Cohen by director Ruben Fleischer. This is the second film of Fleischer’s, following the success of Zombieland in 2009 — not sure if zombies translate well to crime dramas, but I’m curious enough to find out. I’m especially excited by the scenes filmed in Union Station, one of my absolute favorite places in Los Angeles (see more of the gorgeous train station here and here).
Gangster Squad opens September 7, 2012.
02/07/2012 § 3 Comments
Admission: two summers ago I read Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, and I really had to fight my way to the end. But yet, I am captivated by this trailer of the new adaptation written by Tom Stoppard and starring Keira Knightley and Jude Law — especially the glimpses of the steeplechase!
Anna Karenina opens November 9, 2012.
27/04/2012 § Leave a Comment
New additions to the I Need Money file — which is already quite a large file, indeed, thank you for asking — from the Christie’s Interiors auction in South Kensington on 2 May 2012. With some estimated values as low as £300, I miiiiiight be able to convince my pocketbook to make an exception for a small piece of film history.
Sale information and how to place an electronic bid can be found here.
85 Old Brompton Road, London
May 2, 10:00am
09/02/2012 § Leave a Comment
09/02/2012 § 4 Comments
After much deliberation, I finally purchased the Apple TV receiver from the sparkling new Apple Store in Grand Central two weeks ago. Initially a bit daunted by the tiny black box, its attendant cords and its installation, I was quite pleased to find the process a breeze. After five minutes of plugging things in and hiding the cords away and two minutes of linking my router and entering my Netflix information, I was streaming media like none other. A minute after that I blew my own mind when I figured out how to find my iTunes account on my laptop. It was like a real-life Minority Report! Ok, not really — but I was rather pleased with myself.
I have been running through the classic films on the instant streaming service of Netflix ever since, which is only $8/month. My one complaint, if I must have one, is that specific artists can be difficult to find if you can’t guess (or don’t know) the name of one of their films that Netflix has available to stream. You can’t simply search by actor or director name. Now departing from my soapbox. Overall, I highly recommend Apple TV. It’s kind of amazing.
I recently spent an evening revisiting one of my very favorite films — which also happens the inspiration source for the name of this blog, in fact. If you have never seen the Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), I will pause for a moment for you to drop absolutely everything you are doing and go watch it. No, really. I’ll wait. Most famous of course for the iconic musical number “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend,” the film is a madcap romp detailing the adventures of two best friends as they search for suitable mates with suitably fat wallets. Both actresses are at their archetypal best: Monroe as the ditzy blonde, Russell as the wisecracking brunette.
It’s kind of amazing how every time I watch Marilyn, I discover again how damned talented the woman was. When made the transition from actor to icon, it became so easy to reduce her to representative symbols: her blonde hair, the billowing white dress, her beauty mark, her voice. In Gentlemen Prefer Blondes you get to enjoy all that Marilyn has to offer: her spot-on comic timing, her lovely dancing and her singing (mostly, she got a little help on some songs). It really is no wonder Marilyn’s performance has inspired so many homages, and that none really come close to touching the original. Even if I do enjoy watching Nate, Dan and Chuck attempt choreography.
The original, 1953.
Madonna, Material Girl, 1985.
Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge, 2001.
Blake Lively for Gossip Girl, 2012.
Also charming is “Two Little Girls from Little Rock.”
As I visit with old favorites and make new discoveries (Gregory Peck in Twelve O’Clock High was a revelation!) I can’t help but find it a bit humorous that I’ve taken what is the probably one of the most modern ways to consume media and have turned it into a time machine into the past. Humorous, but not surprising. In any event, if you like classic films as much as I do, the winning combination of Apple TV and Netflix instant will be your new Best Friend.
But of course I still like diamonds.