Posts Tagged ‘20th century fox’

Voluptous Jayne Mansfield Takes Hollywood By Storm

Monday, February 17th, 2014

February, 1957 – A new Hollywood sex symbol, Jayne Mansfield, has shot to stardom after her appearance in the rock ‘n’ roll comedy The Girl Can’t Help It. Everyone is taking notice of the sexual appeal of the young actress and with statistics that read 40-19-36 how could they not?

Mansfield’s early success has earned her a co-starring role opposite Tony Randall in the film Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?

The beautiful Miss Mansfield offers a lot more than just surface beauty though, as she speaks five languages, and is a classically trained pianist and violinist.

It will be interesting to see just how Hollywood and 20th Century Fox plan to use the new starlet and how favorably, or unfavorably, she will compare with the reigning queen of screen sexuality Marilyn Monroe.

Whatever the future holds for Jayne Mansfield, she will surely become one of the most iconic and recognizable blonde bombshells of the 1950’s.

Nightmare Alley

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

Nightmare Alley (Fox Film Noir)

Tagline – He was all things to all men …but only one thing to all women!

Starring – Tyrone Power (Stanton “Stan” Carlisle), Joan Blondell (Zeena Krumbein), Coleen Gray (Molly Carlisle), Helen Walker (Lilith Ritter).

Released – October, 1947

Directed By – Edmund Goulding

Produced By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Distributed By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Description – Small-time huckster Stan Carlisle has taken a job with a traveling carnival, as an assistant to Mademoiselle Zeena and her husband Pete. At one time, Zeena and Pete, who work a very impressive mind-reading act, only worked with the top carnival’s as the top-billed act.

Then, something happened. Zeena has committed an offense that drove her husband to drink. So much so that his alcoholism has reduced their act to now only third-rate carnivals. While the act itself has fallen, the elaborate word code secret that sells audiences on Zeena’s psychic ability is worth its weight in gold.

This fact has not escaped the notice of Stan. Many have tried to buy the secret from Zeena, but she has refused, wanting to sell only when she and Pete retire. The amoral Stan tries to romance Zeena into giving him the secret, but she resists believing that after their life in the carney she will send husband Pete to an alcoholic rehab facility and they can begin a new life.

It is now that fate decides to take an ugly turn. One evening in Texas, while Pete and Stan are together, Stan gives a bottle to Pete. The bottle, wood alcohol, and not moonshine, poisons Pete killing him.

After the death of her husband, Zeena, in an effort to keep the psychic act going, tells the secret of the acts success to Stan so that he may continue in the role of her assistant. Stan so efficiently learns the mind-reading secrets that he begins to hatch a plan of his own.

Stan focuses his attention on young Molly, convincing her that his only interest in Zeena was to get the code, and seduces her. This does not sit well with the other members of the carnival, who like Molly, and insist, “shotgun wedding” style, that Stan marry Molly and that he is no longer welcome to remain with the carnival.

This is no disappointment for Stan as he has much greater ambitions. He starts a show of his own and assumes the identity of “The Great Stanton,” someone with the ability to communicate with the dead.

Working with the assistance of crooked psychologist Lilith Ritter, who gives Stan information regarding her patients, it isn’t long before “The Great Stanton” is playing the top nightclubs.

Stan’s fraudulent act sets it’s sights on a path to swindle wealthy Ezra Grindle. Complications ensue, Stan may just find himself the target of a scam while developing an alcohol problem of his own. Molly will refuse to participate in Stan’s heartless scheme, while Lilith Ritter proves to be even more crooked than she appears.

If only this phony psychic could have seen his own future.

NOTABLE: In Nightmare Alley, the role of Stan Carlisle, was a successful attempt by Tyrone Power to escape being typecast as just a romantic, swashbuckler in film.

To lend authenticity to the picture, the producers build a full-size carnival on the Fox back lot and hired over 100 actual carnival acts and workers.

Initially, the film had very limited box office success, partly due to content that was considered too scandalous. Over time, the films acclaim grew and Nightmare Alley is now considered a film noir classic.


Kiss of Death

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

Kiss of Death (Fox Film Noir)

Tagline – It will mark you for life as it marked him for… Betrayal!

Starring – Victor Mature (Nick Bianco), Brian Donlevy (Asst. District Attorney Louis D’Angelo), Coleen Gray (Nettie Cavallo), Richard Widmark (Tommy Udo).

Released – August, 1947

Directed By – Henry Hathaway

Produced By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Distributed By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Description – It’s Christmas Eve and things are about to go from bad to worse for ex-con Nick Bianco. Nick, along with three partners, pull off a jewelry store robbery located on the top floor of a skyscraper. During their escape, the alarm goes off and Nick is forced to assault a police officer. He himself is shot in the leg and captured.

Knowing that Nick is married and has two daughters, Asst. District Attorney D’Angelo tries to get Nick to identify his partners by offering the chance of a lighter prison sentence. Nick, confident that his partners will look after his family for him, refuses to talk and is sentenced to twenty years in Sing Sing Prison.

Nick’s confidence proves to be a huge error in judgement as, three years into his sentence, he learns that his wife, in dire financial straits, has committed suicide and his daughters sent to an orphanage.

Shortly after, Nick is visited in prison by Nettie Cavallo who used to babysit his daughters. Nettie tells Nick that his wife was having an affair with Pete Rizzo one of Nick’s accomplices. Angry and hurt by this news, Nick asks to see Asst. DA D’Angelo.

Nick offers to tell D’Angelo the names of the others who participated in the jewelry store heist, but too much time has elapsed for the information to earn Nick a break on his prison sentence. However, D’Angelo tells Nick that if he helps with another unsolved case he will get a parole. Nick also did time for that crime and informs D’Angelo that Rizzo and Attorney Earl Howser ratted him out.

Howser, who acts as both a fence for his clients and their attorney, is beginning to feel the police breathing down his neck. His plan is to close all potential loopholes that might link him to these crimes and he hires maniacal hitman Tommy Udo to kill Pete Rizzo.

When arriving at Rizzo’s apartment, Udo finds only his wheelchair-confined mother. Angry that he missed Rizzo, Udo settles for pushing Mrs. Rizzo down a flight of stairs, killing her.

D’Angleo arranges to get Nick released on parole so that he may help with his investigation. Nick immediately goes to see Nettie Cavallo and tells her that he has fallen in love with her. After doing so, Nick gets down to work.

D’Angelo helps Nick to run into Udo, who Nick knows from Sing Sing. Happy to see an old prison buddy, Udo takes Nick out for a night on the town. During their conversation, Udo offers enough information to link him to a murder. Nick passes the information along to D’Angelo and Udo is arrested.

By the time Udo’s trial arrives, Nick and Nettie are married and Nick, in order to keep his parole, must testity at the trial. In spite of what would seem like insurmountable evidence against him, Udo is acquitted.

Fear begins to take over as Nick realizes that Udo will come after both him and his family and there is just no way the police can completely protect them from this sadistic killer.

NOTABLE: Kiss of Death received Oscar nominations for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Richard Widmark), and Best Writing, Original Story.

This motion picture was the film debut for Richard Widmark, and Susan Cabot. Many critics have also felt that it was Victor Mature’s best career performance.

The original story had some problems with the censors. Although reference is made to the suicide of character Nick Bianco’s first wife and that she was having an affair with Pete Rizzo, no details are offered. Before the censors moved in, the story detailed the rape of Nick’s first wife by Rizzo that resulted in her sticking her head in a gas oven to kill herself. The detail proved to be too much for censors.

In a sad case of life imitating art, New York mobster “Crazy” Joe Gallo, after seeing this picture, idolized Tommy Udo and began dressing and acting like the character giving rise to his “Crazy Joe” nickname.




The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

Monday, February 4th, 2013

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir [Blu-ray]

Tagline – THE SPIRIT… so willing! THE FLESH… so weak! THE ROMANCE… so wonderful!

Starring – Gene Tierney (Lucy Muir), Rex Harrison (Capt. Daniel Gregg), George Sanders (Miles Fairley), Edna Best (Martha Huggins), Natalie Wood (Anna Muir).

Released – June, 1947

Directed By – Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Produced By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Distributed By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Description – In England, during the early 1900’s, young widow Lucy Muir, her daughter Anna, and their maid Martha move into Gull Cottage located in the seaside village of Whitecliff. The move has caused a rift in the family with Lucy’s mother-and sister-in-law.

The unpopular move comes with another hitch… the cottage is said to be haunted by, the not so friendly former owner, Captain Daniel Gregg. But, who believes in ghosts? Well, Lucy sure does as she is visited by the ghostly apparition the very first night.

The experience turns out to not be as frightening as one might expect. Captain Gregg, while certainly a bit roguish, is harmless and after a bit of coaxing promises to make himself known only to Lucy as she feels her daughter is too young to encounter a ghost.

Having a male ghost haunt your bedroom takes a little getting used to for Lucy, but the pair soon become friends. Lucy has been supporting herself and her daughter with investment earnings and the funds are running low.

Captain Gregg has the idea to dictate his memoirs to Lucy for her to publish into a book titled Blood and Swash. The captain’s entertaining revelations should cause the book to be a huge success with the earnings more than enough to allow Lucy to keep the cottage.

However, during the course of writing the book, the pair seem to be falling in love. Realizing a love affair with a ghost has no future, Gregg tells Lucy that she should bestow her love on a real man.

During a visit to a book publisher in London, Lucy meets, and is attracted to, children’s book author Miles Fairley. In the publishing world, Miles is known as “Mr. Neddy” whose success is enough to get Lucy an interview with the publisher. The interview goes well and Blood and Swash will be published.

When Lucy returns to Whitecliff, Miles follows and begins, what will be, a whirlwind courtship. Initially, Captain Gregg finds himself feeling jealous, but soon realizes that he must step aside and allow Lucy the opportunity to live her own happy life.

Miles returns to London for personal business and Lucy decides to pay him a surprise visit. The surprise is on her as she discovers that Miles is already married and has two children. To make matters worse, she also learns that he has a habit of doing this to many other women.

Heartbroken, she returns to spend the rest of her life in the cottage. Years pass, Anna gets older and meets a man of her own, and Lucy seems destined to live out the rest of her life alone.

NOTABLE: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir received an Oscar nomination for Best Cinematography, Black-and-White.

Originally, actress Gene Tierney brought a playful attitude to the character of Lucy Muir. After a conference with Darryl F. Zanuck and Director Joseph L. Mankiewicz, it was decided that her approach be changed to give more depth to the character. The change was a good one as the portrayal by Gene Tierney received a great deal of critical acclaim.

The last name of “Muir” was a reference to the Gaelic meaning of “the sea,” as sailors were often said to be in love with, or married to, the sea.


Miracle on 34th Street

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

Miracle on 34th Street

Tagline – Capture the spirit of Christmas with this timeless classic!

Starring – Maureen O’Hara (Doris Walker), John Payne (Fred Gailey), Edmund Gwenn (Kris Kringle), Gene Lockhart (Judge Henry X. Harper), Natalie Wood (Susan Walker), Porter Hall (Granville Sawyer).

Released – May, 1947

Directed By – George Seaton

Produced By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Distributed By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

NOTABLE: Miracle on 34th Street won Oscar’s for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Edmund Gwenn), Best Writing, Original Story, and Best Writing, Screenplay. The film was also nominated for Best Picture.

In 2005, Miracle on 34th Street was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

Although a film about Christmas, studio head Darryl F. Zanuck wanted it to be released in May believing that more people went to the movies during the spring and summer.

Actress Natalie Wood was eight years old while playing the role of Susan Walker and was convinced that Edmund Gwenn was the real Santa Claus.

This motion picture was the film debut, for what would be a long and wonderful film career, for actress Thelma Ritter.

In 2006, the American Film Institute ranked this picture #9 on their list of The Most Inspiring Movies of All Time. In 2008, the institute ranked the film #5 on their list of The Ten Greatest Films in the Fantasy Genre.

Kris Kringle’s untranslated dialogue with the young Dutch girl was his asking her what she wanted for Christmas and her reply that she wanted nothing as she had been given everything by being adopted by her new mother.

Newspaper columnist Hedda Hopper reported that, when the film opened, Macy’s would close half a day so that their employee’s could all see the first showing.

With film censorship being such a problem, this film was only given a “B” rating by the Legion of Decency because they thought Maureen O’Hara’s part as a divorced mother was somewhat objectionable.