Posts Tagged ‘bette davis’

Kid Galahad

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Kid Galahad

Starring – Edward G. Robinson (Nick Donati), Bette Davis (Louise “Fluff” Phillips), Humphrey Bogart (Turkey Morgan), Wayne Morris (Ward Guisenberry).

Released – May, 1937

Directed By – Michael Curtiz

Produced By – Warner Brothers

Distributed By – Warner Brothers

Description – Ward Guisenberry is a quiet and shy young man who, as we will soon find out, packs quite a punch. It is his hope to save enough money to buy a small farm.

He takes a position as a bellhop and his first night on the job will drastically change his modest ambition. While doing a little extra work mixing drinks at a party thrown by boxing manager Nick Donati, Ward comes to the rescue of a woman who is being insulted.

Unknown to Ward is the fact that the woman is the girlfriend of Donati, Louise “Fluff” Phillips. The guy doing the insulting is Sam McGraw a fighter owned by gangster Turkey Morgan. The confrontation is short as Ward knocks the professional fighter out cold.

Now, Nick Donati knows a good thing when he sees it and wants Ward to become a fighter. Donati promises Ward that this will be a quick way to earn the money he needs to buy that farm.

Ward agrees and, although Fluff tries to talk him out of getting involved in the fight game, Kid Galahad is born.

Embarrassed by his fighter being knocked out by a nobody, Turkey insists on a rematch between Ward and McGraw. The fight is held and Kid Galahad, to the surprise of most, wins again. However, he better hold off on the celebration. Turkey’s men are now looking for him with violent revenge on their mind.

Fluff sends the kid to Nick’s family farm to hide out in spite of Nick’s rule to never involve his family with the boxing game. While there, Ward easily charms Nick’s mother and kid-sister Marie. When Nick learns that Ward is hiding at his family’s farm he is furious and immediately brings him back to the city.

Nick protects Ward from Turkey’s gang and the young fighter begins a successful career as Kid Galahad. This is where things begin to get complicated. During this time, Nick’s girlfriend Fluff, and his kid-sister Marie, have both fallen for Ward. A situation that infuriates Nick.

To get back at Ward, Nick arranges a championship fight for the young man. A fight that he is not ready for. Disaster and a murderous confrontation will soon follow.

Top Movie Actresses of the 1930’s

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

1930’s Hollywood introduced us to many of the greatest actresses of all time. There was a wealth of female film talent during this decade and they have all earned the right to be remembered as a permanent part of Hollywood history.

The following actresses, in no particular order, represent just a sampling of the talent that women brought to the silver screen during the 1930’s. For film fans of any generation, you would be doing yourself a huge favor by viewing as many of their pictures as possible. Take the time to view not only the 1930’s film suggestions for these great actresses, but those film’s made throughout their career’s.

Jean Harlow – Considered by the American Film Institute to be one of the greatest movie stars of all time. Harlow’s first major role was in Howard Hughes’ 1930 World War I epic Hell’s Angels. Her early films capitalized on her charismatic sex appeal and “laughing vamp” image.

In her early films, Harlow was severely criticized by the critics as having little acting talent, but none would deny her immense screen presence and appeal. The audiences loved her.

In 1932 Hughes would sell the rights to the beauty with the “platinum blonde” hair to MGM Studio’s for $30,000. It was at MGM where she learned to develop her acting skill, was cast in more substantial roles, and became a major star.

Sadly, Jean Harlow’s star would shine for far too short a time as she died from apparent kidney failure in Los Angeles at the age of 26. She is buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the gown she wore in the film Libeled Lady. Her co-star in the picture, William Powell, was the love of her life who in her hands placed a farewell note that read, “Goodnight, my dearest darling.”

Jean Harlow quotes:

“No one ever expects a great lay to pay all the bills.”

“Underwear makes me uncomfortable and besides my parts have to breathe.”

Greta Garbo – This Swedish born actress is an absolute icon of film with her popularity traversing both the silent era and classical period. The American Film Institute has declared Greta Garbo as one of the greatest female stars in history. She was one of the few silent screen actresses to successfully make the transition to talking pictures. Her first speaking role was in 1930’s Anna Christie for which she received her first of four Academy Award nominations.

1931’s Mata Hari, and 1932’s Grand Hotel would create a phenomenon known as “Garbomania.” Her immense popularity was, in part, due to her personal desire to lead a very private life. A desire that would only increase the public’s interest in the great actress. Greta Garbo’s somber and melancholic image would dampen the stars popularity for a period during the mid-1930’s, but this would soon disappear with her 1939 comeback comedy Ninotchka.

While romantically linked to a number of men and women, Garbo never married, had no children and lived most of her life alone. Greta Garbo died in 1990, at the age of 84, in a New York hospital of pneumonia and renal failure. 

Greta Garbo quotes:

“I never said ‘I want to be alone,’ I only said ‘I want to be let alone.’ This is all the difference.”

“There are many things in your heart you can never tell to another person. They are you, your private joys and sorrows, and you can never tell them. You cheapen yourself, the inside of yourself, when you tell them.”

“Life would be so wonderful if we only knew what to do with it.”

Carole Lombard – Also found on the American Film Institutes list of the greatest stars of all time. She is most frequently remembered for her comedic talent having starred in numerous screwball comedies during the 1930’s.

By the end of the decade, Lombard was the highest-paid star in Hollywood earning nearly $500,000 per year. Tragically, Lombard would also die at far too young an age. A plane crash claimed her life at the age of 33.

English author, playwright, and literary critic Graham Greene described Carole Lombard as the, “Platinum blonde, with a heart-shaped face, delicate, impish features and a figure made to be swathed in silver lamé, she wriggled expressively through such classics of hysteria as Twentieth Century  and My Man Godfrey.”

Carole Lombard was loved off-screen every bit as much as on-screen due to her warm personality and earthy sense of humor. At the time of her death, Lombard was married to Clark Gable, living a happy life with the two stars raising chickens and horses on their California ranch.

Carole Lombard quotes:

“I can’t imagine a duller fate than being the best dressed woman in reality. When I want to do something I don’t pause to contemplate whether I’m exquisitely gowned. I want to live, not pose!”

“Bill Powell is the only intelligent actor I’ve ever met.”

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The Petrified Forest

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

The Petrified Forest

Tagline – AGAIN THEY TRIUMPH!…The stars of ‘Of Human Bondage’ in a picture greater than the play!

Starring – Leslie Howard (Alan Squier), Bette Davis (Gabrielle Maple), Genevieve Tobin (Mrs. Chisholm), Dick Foran (Boze Hertzlinger), Humphrey Bogart (Duke Mantee).

Released – February, 1936

Directed By – Archie Mayo

Produced By –  Warner Brothers

Distributed By – Warner Brothers

Description – ‘Gabby’ Maple lives and works at her fathers small diner in the Petrified Forest area of Arizona. It is a dead-end existence for Gabby, as she yearns for something more exciting to live for, hopefully in France where her mother lives after having left Gabby’s father.

Wandering into the diner comes Alan Squier, a one time British writer who has become a depressed alcoholic. Squier claims to be on his way west to see the Pacific, and maybe to drown in it.

Alan’s story’s of his life and adventures in Europe instantly cause Gabby to become infatuated with him. But, Gabby has a boyfriend. Boze Hertzlinger becomes increasingly jealous of the Englishman and his captivating effect on Gabby.

Alan assures Boze that he has nothing to worry about as he will soon be leaving. Alan has found a ride further West with wealthy tourists Mr. and Mrs. Chisholm. However, fate has something else in mind for the group at the diner this day.

Gangster Duke Mantee and his gang, on the run from police pursuit, enter the diner and hold the group hostage to wait for Mantee’s girlfriend and further plan their getaway.

The intense hours that follow will cause each hostage to reveal their true nature. All fear for their lives except Alan who believes he is living in a world where he doesn’t fit and has no fear of death.

The police have located the diner and know that Mantee and his gang are inside. It doesn’t look like there is any way out for the gang, or the hostages.

NOTABLE: Both Leslie Howard and Humphrey Bogart starred in the Broadway version of Robert E. Sherwood’s play. Sherwood had based the character of Duke Mantee on real-life gangster John Dillinger and gave the stage role to Bogart due to his resemblance to Dillinger.

Warner Brothers had intended to cast Edward G. Robinson, a very bankable star, to play the role of Mantee, but Howard insisted that Bogart play the role. It was the first major role for Humphrey Bogart and it made him a star. Bogart was grateful to Leslie Howard for the remainder of his life and he and wife Lauren Bacall named their daughter Leslie Howard Bogart in his honor.

Personal Note: The Petrified Forest is considered to be a precursor to the Film Noir genre and provides a good story, a solid ensemble cast, and tight direction by Archie Mayo.


Mr. Skeffington

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Mr. Skeffington

Starring – Bette Davis (Fanny Trellis), Claude Rains (Job Skeffington), Walter Abel (George Trellis), George Coulouris (Doctor Byles), Richard Waring (Trippy Trellis).

Released – May, 1944

Directed By – Vincent Sherman

Produced By – Warner Brothers

Distributed By – Warner Brothers

Description – Once wealthy brother and sister Fanny and Trippy Trellis are very close. Their parents, now deceased, had the wealth they had left their children squandered away by Trippy. His actions, now a family secret, are known only by their cousin George and the many creditors they owe.

Renowned for her beauty, Fanny has many suitor’s and could pick any suitor she wants, but so far has not chosen one. She learns of a terrible secret regarding her brother Trippy. With his financial pressures mounting, Trippy has embezzled money from his employer, Jewish stockbroker Job Skeffington.

To save her brother from this problem Fanny allows Job, who sincerely loves her, to court her and the pair eventually marry. Trippy is upset by the marriage. He realizes that his sister has done this to protect him, but is unhappy that she would marry a Jew.

Unable to remain in this situation, Trippy joins the Lafayette Escadrille and leaves to fight in France during World War I.

Although the self-loving Franny becomes pregnant with Job’s child, she is barely able to tolerate him. Upon learning of Trippy’s death in France, she becomes even more distant to her husband. She enjoys the role of a wealthy socialite and begins to entertain suitor’s in spite of her marriage.

To combat his own loneliness Job begins to find comfort with his secretaries. Learning of this, and ignoring her own infidelities, Franny divorces Job. Their daughter, also named Franny, chooses to be with her father and they go to Europe.

Receiving half of Job’s fortune, Fanny continues with a series of affairs, unencumbered by having to care for her child, and continues with her self-indulgent lifestyle.

But, fate will again change the fortune’s of those involved. Harsh lessons will be learned and a high price will be paid.

NOTABLE: Mr. Skeffington received two Oscar nominations for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Bette Davis), and Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Claude Rains).

In the 1989 book Bette & Joan: The Divine Feud, Bette Davis admitted that during filming of this picture she was going through a very difficult personal time in her life. Her torments affected her co-stars and many others who worked on the set. These problems resulted in a personal attack on Davis, as the eye drops she used daily were poisoned causing her great pain. When the police investigated, director Sherman, when asked who may have done this, replied, “If you ask everyone on the set who would have committed such a thing, everyone would raise their hand.”

This was Bette Davis’ final Oscar nomination while under contract with Warner Brothers.

The role of Fanny Skeffington was offered to Merle Oberon and Hedy Lamarr who both turned the role down. Bette Davis’ acceptance resulted in another splendid performance by the legendary actress.

Of Human Bondage

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

Of Human Bondage: Kino Classics Remastered Edition [Blu-ray]

Tagline – The Love That Lifted a Man to Paradise……and Hurled Him Back to Earth Again!

Starring – Leslie Howard (Philip Carey), Bette Davis (Mildred Rogers), Frances Dee (Sally Athelny), Kay Johnson (Nora).

Released – July, 1934

Directed By – John Cromwell

Produced By – Radio Pictures

Distributed By – RKO Radio Pictures

Description – After studying painting in Paris for four years, Englishman Philip Carey is told by his art teacher that his work shows no promise. Carey, who is club-footed, returns to London and enrolls in medical school.

Struggling, and infected with self-doubt, Philip believes his life is about to take a positive turn when he meets and becomes obsessed with waitress Mildred Rogers. Mildred is put off by his club-foot, and the extent of the attention he pays her.

Although she agrees to casually go out with Philip, she treats him in a manipulative and cruel fashion. This does not change his obsession with her and it is this obsession that distracts him so much he fails his medical exams.

In spite of her treatment of him, Philip proposes marriage to Mildred. She refuses, berating him with insults for thinking of her romantically and informs him that she will be marrying a salesman.

Slowly, Philip emerges from his obsession with Mildred and meets and falls in love with Nora. Finally, it seems as though Philip has found some happiness until Mildred returns and tells him that her new husband has abandoned her and that she is pregnant.

Mildred’s spell over Philip begins again and he finds an apartment for her and hopes to marry her when her baby is born. After the birth of the baby, Mildred becomes restless and bored. She leaves the child in the care of a nurse and runs off with another medical student.

Time begins to help Philip recover from Mildred’s effect on him and again he starts to rebuild his life with the help of Sally Athelny. Sally’s family is happy their daughter has met Philip as they like him a great deal allowing him to move into their home.

Then it happens, Mildred again returns and Philip’s self-destructive obsession threatens to destroy not only himself, but the Athelny family as well.

NOTABLE: Of Human Bondage received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Bette Davis). However, the nomination was not from from the Academy as Davis was overlooked. She did receive a write in nomination due to the popularity of her performance with the voters.

The role of Mildred Rogers proved to be a breakthrough role for Bette Davis whose career resulted in her being considered to be the greatest actress of all time.