Hollywood Movie Memories Introduction

April 6th, 2011

From the black-and-white silent screen classics of the 1920’s to the glorious color productions of the 1950’s – these were Hollywood’s greatest decades.

Explore early Hollywood film history and the wonderful Hollywood Movie Memories that were created, as this was a time when both Hollywood and its stars were their most glamorous.

Continue reading for a brief primer of each of the featured film decades, with the films suggested for viewing those that I feel offer an accurate representation of each film genre for each year during this historic period in Hollywood.

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Desk Set

June 25th, 2016

Desk Set [Blu-ray]

Tagline – Make the office a wonderful place to love in!

Starring – Spencer Tracy (Richard Sumner), Katharine Hepburn (Bunny Watson), Gig Young (Mike Cutler), Joan Blondell (Peg Costello), Dina Merrill (Sylvia Blair).

Released – May, 1957

Directed By – Walter Lang

Produced By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Distributed By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Description – Engineer Richard Sumner is on a secret mission. Espionage? Nope. Richard is “casing” the Federal Broadcasting Network for the installation of a new computer system of operation.

Why the cloak and dagger stuff? A secret merger with another large company will bring with it a great deal of additional work for the current staff. In order to not alarm the staff before the merger, Richard has been assigned to structure the introduction of two computers to help with the increased work load.

The use of two ‘electronic brains’ just may cause the loss of some jobs. One job belongs to Bunny Watson. Bunny is in charge of reference and research and also the sweetheart of rising company executive Mike Cutler.

Things get considerably more complicated as Richard begins to take a romantic interest in Bunny. Although in a relationship with Mike, Bunny realizes that he may not be interested in any kind of long-term pairing. Such as marriage.

With Richard’s new attention causing Bunny to be more and more interested in the possibilities with him she still has doubts regarding his sincerity. It is Bunny’s fear that Richard is, and will always be, more interested in the new computer system than in her.

How to find out requires just one simple test. Bunny will set the new computer system to self-destruct and see how Richard reacts to the news.

NOTABLE: Desk Set is based on a William Marchant play and the character of Bunny Watson on librarian Agnes E. Law, who had built up the CBS network’s research library.

Desk Set was the first film starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn to be filmed in color.

The Tall T

June 22nd, 2016

The Tall T

Tagline – Taut! Torrid! Tremendous! T Is for Terror!

Starring – Randolph Scott (Pat Brennan), Richard Boone (Frank Usher), Maureen O’Sullivan (Doretta Mims), Arthur Hunnicutt, (Ed Rintoon), Skip Homeier (Billy Jack), Henry Silva (Chink).

Released – April, 1957

Directed By – Budd Boetticher

Produced By – Comumbia Pictures Corporation, Scott-Brown Productions, Producers-Actors Corporation

Distributed By – Columbia Pictures

Description – Pat Brennan agrees to bring back some candy for the son of a way station manager when he returns from town. First he stops at a ranch where he formally worked to buy a bull. While there he is goaded into a bet. If he can ride a particular bull, he can have it for free. If he is thrown, he loses his horse.

Thrown from the bull, Pat is now walking home carrying his saddle. While on the road a stagecoach comes along carrying newlyweds Willard and Doretta Mims the daughter of the richest man in the state. Pat knows the driver and is happy to catch a ride.

When the honeymoon coach stops at the way station it is thought to be the regular stage by three outlaws who have already killed the station manager and his son. They had hoped to rob the regular stage.

Afraid of ending up as dead as the station manager, cowardly Willard Mims suggests that the outlaws hold his new wife Doretta for ransom from her father. The ransom amount is $50,000. The ransom note is delivered and Doretta’s father sends a message back that he will get the money together.

No longer needed by the outlaws, Willard is told he can leave. When doing so, he is gunned down by one of the outlaws.

Brennan knows that they will all be killed when the ransom is delivered. There seems to be no way out for the hostages.

NOTABLE: Originally titled “The Captives” (Elmore Leonard’s original story title) and/or “The Tall Rider”. Prior to release, the title was changed to “The Tall T,” the name of the Tenvoorde ranch in the early scene

At 45 Maureen O’Sullivan was considered too old for her character. However, she played the part well and explains her marriage to the younger character Willard as a move of desperation over her character growing old and remaining unmarried.

Columbia Pictures released The Tall T as part of a double bill with Hellcats of the Navy (1957) starring Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan.

Personal Note: The Tall T is one of my favorite westerns. One of many that teamed Director Budd Boetticher with, one of the most natural acting western actors ever, Randolph Scott.

The Ride Back

June 14th, 2016

The Ride Back

Tagline – It Rides a Trail NO Western Ever Rode Before!

Starring – Anthony Quinn (Bob Kallen), William Conrad (Sheriff Chris Hamish), Lita Milan (Elena).

Released – April, 1957

Directed By – Allan H. Miner, Oscar Rudolph

Produced By – The Associates & Aldrich Company

Distributed By – United Artists

Description – Sheriff Chris Hamish crosses the border into Mexico searching for Bob Kallen to bring him back to the States to face trial.

The two men couldn’t be any more different. Hamish is emotionally worn down by, not only his job, but his wife as well. Kallen is independent, confident, and not at all bad at heart. He has just done something wrong and that is all that Hamish cares about. Hamish needs to bring Kallen in. It is the only way he can self-redeem himself as a man.

Finding Kallen has been one thing, bringing him back quite another. It’s a long, dangerous journey complicated by an orphaned Mexican girl, and stalking Apache’s.

The lawman and outlaw will now have to trust and depend on each other in order to survive.

NOTABLE: The Ride Back is based on an original story written for the radio version of “Gunsmoke” in 1952, which also starred William Conrad.

The Spirit of St. Louis

May 22nd, 2016

The Spirit of St. Louis

Tagline – The Story Behind the Story of Lindbergh’s Incredible Flight to Paris!

Starring – James Stewart (Charles Lindbergh), Murray Hamilton (Harlan A. “Bud” Gurney), Patricia Smith (Mirror Girl).

Released – April, 1957

Directed By – Billy Wilder

Produced By – Leland Hayward Productions, Warner Brothers, Billy Wilder Productions

Distributed By – Warner Brothers

Description – Charles A. “Slim” Lindbergh flies mail across the country for a living. A dangerous living. During a winter run, the site of his landing in Chicago is closed due to the weather. Running out of fuel, he is forced to bail out.

Charles recovers as much of the mail as he can from the fallen plane and proceeds by train. On the train he meets a salesman who tells him of the recent deaths of two pilots who were trying to fly nonstop from New York to Paris.

Intrigued by the idea of the nonstop flight across the Atlantic, Lindbergh approaches a group of New York businessmen with the hope of obtaining the money needed to design and produce an airplane capable of the flight. While the businessmen are receptive of his idea, they want to hire their own pilot.

Not wanting this, Charles contacts another company who promises to build him the necessary aircraft in 90 days. The completed, bare-bones plane, dubbed The Spirit of St. Louis, is flown by Lindbergh from St. Louis to New York to prepare for the transatlantic flight.

This flight will not be easy as Lindbergh must deal with a stalled engine, ice on his wings, a malfunctioning compass that requires Lindbergh to navigate by the stars, and the shear exhaustion that will result in his falling asleep at the controls.

This ambitious and great achievement just may cost him his life.

NOTABLE: Originally, a box office flop The spirit of St. Louis has grown in popularity with the passing of time.

Producer Jack L. Warner was strongly opposed to the casting of James Stewart, which he believed caused the film to flop on its release in 1957. Warner felt a young and less well-known actor was needed to play Lindbergh.

The real Charles A. Lindbergh wanted Anthony Perkins for the role.

One of the replicas of “The Spirit of St. Louis” is displayed at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. Another is at the EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

The Incredible Shrinking Man

May 16th, 2016

The Incredible Shrinking Man

Tagline – Hour by hour he gets smaller and smaller!

Starring – Grant Williams (Scott Cary), Randy Stuart (Louise Cary), April Kent (Clarice).

Released – April, 1957

Directed By – Jack Arnold

Produced By – Universal International Pictures

Distributed By – Ultra Pictures Corporation

Description – Scott and Louise Cary are relaxing on the deck of their small boat, off the coast of California, soaking up a little sun.

Louise goes below into the cabin just as a cloud of mist passes over the boat and Scott. Neither are sure of what caused the cloud and as quickly as it appeared, it disappeared. Nothing more is thought of it.

Six months go by and Scott finds his pants and shirt are a little large. He blames the laundry service for doing something wrong. However, it’s not just these two items of clothing. All Scott’s clothes no longer fit right.

Believing that he may be have some sort of illness that is causing him to get smaller, Scott goes to the doctor. After a thorough examination, Scott is said to be in perfect health and told that “people just don’t get shorter.”

The disturbing trend continues and Louise notices that she no longer has to get up on her toes to kiss her husband. Even more disturbing is the fact that Scott’s wedding ring falls off his finger. The couple return to the doctor for more tests and, sure enough, an x-ray confirms the fact that Scott is shrinking.

Additional tests find that Scott has been exposed to dangerous levels of radiation. The only possible explanation for this would be his exposure to the strange cloud of mist while on their boat.

Will it be possible to stop the shrinking?

NOTABLE: The Incredible Shrinking Man is Included among the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”, edited by Steven Schneider.

The trailer for the film features the voice of Orson Welles.

The giant drops of water were created by filling condoms with the liquid and then dropping them.

Personal Note: This is a very entertaining example of the creative and wonderfully popular Science Fiction films made during the 1950’s.