Posts Tagged ‘mgm’

Silk Stockings

Monday, August 1st, 2016

Silk Stockings [Blu-ray]


Starring – Fred Astaire (Steve Canfield), Cyd Charisse (Ninotchka Yoschenko), Janis Paige (Peggy Dayton), Peter Lorre (Brankov), George Tobias (Vassili Markovitch).

Released – June, 1957

Directed By – Rouben Mamoulian

Produced By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Distributed By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Description – American film producer Steve Canfield is making his next picture in Paris, France. Canfield wants the music for the film to be composed by Russian Peter Illyich Boroff. This is fine with Boroff as he likes Paris so much he does not want to return to Russia.

His decision does not sit well with the Russian government and they send three operatives from Moscow to bring the composer back to the mother country. In order to keep Boroff from being brought home, Canfield must come up with something to dissuade the Russian operatives from their mission.

He decides to use the most effective means possible by bribing the operatives with women, nightclubs, and champagne. In addition, Canfield asks his leading lady Peggy Dayton to use her feminine wiles to help with the problem.

Back in Moscow, the commissar of the Ministry is worried why the mission is taking so long. He decides to send the very hard-lined agent Ninotchka Yoschenko to bring everyone home. While she steadfastly refuses to be lured by the decadent appeal of Paris, somehow Canfield is able to romance her in the hope of sabotaging her mission. He goes so far as to even propose marriage.

Upon hearing how Boroff’s music has been changed to suit the film, Yoschenko and Boroff return to Russia.

While this may seem like the end of the films production, Canfield has one more trick up his sleeve.

NOTABLE: After the completion of Silk Stockings, Fred Astaire decided to take a break from musicals and concentrate on non-musical roles. He would not make another musical until 1968.

For Director Rouben Mamoulian this would be his last motion picture. He would spend the remainder of his career directing Broadway plays.

The original Broadway play of Silk Stockings ran for 478 performances. The storyline is a remake of the 1939 film Ninotchka starring Greta Garbo who was also directed by Mamoulian.

Cyd Charisse’s vocals were performed by Carol Richards. Richards had also sung for Charisse in the films Brigadoon (1954) and It’s Always Fair Weather (1955).

Good News

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

Good News

Starring – June Allyson (Connie Lane), Peter Lawford (Tommy Marlowe), Patricia Marshall (Pat McClellan), Joan McCracken (Babe Doolittle), Ray McDonald (Bobby Turner), Mel Torme (Danny).

Released – December, 1947

Directed By – Charles Walters

Produced By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Distributed By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Description – It’s the Roaring 20’s, and the social scene at Tait College is every bit as important as the academics. There’s a big sorority party coming up, and everyone is looking forward to the big event.

Especially, Pat McClellan, who has just completed finishing school and pledged to the Phi Gamma Gamma Sorority. Pat’s display of her newly acquired sophistication, and French language speaking skills, oozes attention grabbing vanity and she catches the eye of each member of the Tait College football team.

Most notably, Tommy Marlowe, the teams captain. Knowing, and disapproving a gold-digging vamp when she sees one is school student and librarian Connie Lane. Connie herself has had a big crush on Tommy for some time.

At the party, Pat pays little attention to Tommy as she has her sights set on Peter Van Dyne III who comes from a well-to-do- family. This slight only makes Tommy want Pat more and he feels that if he can learn to speak French he can win Pat over.

Tommy asks Connie to help tutor him in French and she reluctantly agrees. When Babe Doolittle, Connie’s roommate, learns of the situation, she is afraid that Tommy’s disappointment will affect the football team and hurt their chances in the upcoming big game. She decides to tell Pat that Tommy is the heir to a pickle fortune. This immediately changes Pat’s mind about Tommy.

In the meantime, Tommy has asked Connie to the prom and she couldn’t be happier. However, her happiness is short-lived, as Pat has now flirted seriously enough with Tommy to get him to drop his date with Connie and take her to the prom.

As the relationship between Tommy and Pat continues, Tommy’s grades begin to slip and there is a chance that he will not be allowed to participate in the big game. Once again, Connie is asked to come to the rescue.

Can the game be saved, and will Connie finally be able to wrestle Tommy away from the gold-digging Pat? It is now up to Connie to put together a game winning plan.

NOTABLE: In the film, Connie tutor’s Tommy to speak French. While in real life, Peter Lawford spoke Frence fluently and had to teach June Allyson how to teach him onscreen.

Good News was one of three films that June Allyson considered to be her personal favorites of all the pictures in which she appeared.

Actress Gloria DeHaven was to appear in one of the films key roles. She refused and found herself suspended by MGM. One of the problems of being a contract player.

Good News was first released in pre-code 1930, and had become illegal to view or display in the United States. This version was revamped removing all sexual innuendo and lewd humor.



Song of the Thin Man

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

Song of the Thin Man

Tagline – WILLIAM POWELL and MYRNA LOY and me too. We’re all together again in a NEW MGM mystery comedy! [me too refers to their (Nick & Noras’) dog in the film]

Starring – William Powell (Nick Charles), Myrna Loy (Nora Charles), Keenan Wynn (Clarence ‘Clinker’ Krause), Dean Stockwell (Nick Charles, Jr.),

Released – September, 1947

Directed By – Edward Buzzell

Produced By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Distributed By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

NOTABLE: Song of the Thin Man was the sixth and final installment, of the very popular Thin Man series of films, and the thirteenth of fourteen films pairing William Powell and Myrna Loy.

This motion picture was only the second in the series not directed by W. S. Van Dyke, who had died in 1943. Also, the script was one of two not written by the husband and wife team of Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich, who had worked with crime author Dashiell Hammett on the creation and development of the Nick and Nora Charles characters.


The Good Earth

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

The Good Earth

Tagline – China… Land of unrest… tomorrow they may starve!

Starring – Paul Muni (Wang Lung), Luise Rainer (O-Lan), Walter Connolly (Uncle), Tilly Losch (Lotus), Charley Grapewin (Old Father).

Released – August, 1937

Directed By – Sidney Franklin

Produced By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Distributed By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Description – When farmer Wang Lung marries O-Lan life begins to take on a number of new joys. O-Lan had been a servant at the Great House which is the residence of their villages most powerful family.

She has proven to be a hard-working wonderful wife who also possesses the highly-desirable quality of not being a woman who always complains. Wang Lung’s efforts bring him a new prosperity, more land, and best of all, two sons and a daughter.

However, the situation is about to undergo serious change. The area has become drought stricken and the drought has resulted in famine as the farmers are unable to grow their crops. The Lung family has gone from prosperity to the brink of survival.

Desperation has caused Wang Lung to consider a suggestion made by his uncle to sell their land for food. O-Lan resists this idea and convinces Wang that they should travel to the closest city and look for work.

Their efforts go unrewarded and the family is forced to beg, and even steal, in order to survive. While in the city they hear a revolutionary speak of an approaching army in an effort to gather support from the local citizens. They also hear that rain is coming in from the north.

With the news of rain the family longs to return to their farm, but their time in the city has brought no financial gain and they have no money for an ox, seed, or even food.

The approaching revolutionary army arrives and takes over the city. During the chaos, O-Lan participates in the looting of a mansion. She is trampled by the mob and knocked unconscious. When she awakens she finds a bag of jewels that escaped the looting.

With the finding of the jewels, the family is again able to return home and prosper. O-Lan, grateful for their good fortune, keeps only two pearls for herself.

As the years pass, prosperity has begun to change Wang Lung. During this time the family’s children have gotten a good education and grown to adulthood while Wang’s character has steadily declined. Lotus, a pretty young dancer at the local tea house has caught his eye and it isn’t long before Wang makes her his second wife.

He also starts to find fault with O-Lan and gives her two pearls to Lotus. Although, O-Lan suffers from both a broken heart and broken spirit she continues to work tirelessly for family and farm. The family’s fortunes continue to decline as Lotus seduces the younger son with Wang learning of the betrayal.

As the family foundation crumbles, there is again a threat to the survival of the farm on the horizon. A swarm of locusts is on the way, panicking the entire village.

NOTABLE: The Good Earth won Oscar’s for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Louise Rainer), and Best Cinematography. The film also received nominations for Best Picture, Best Director (Sidney Franklin), and Best Film Editing.

This was the second year in a row that Louise Rainer won the Best Actress award making her the first performer to ever do so.

Producer Irving Thalberg had to deal with Warner Brothers in order to cast Paul Muni. Warner Brothers insisted on borrowing Clark Gable and Leslie Howard to work with their studio before agreeing to allow MGM to use Paul Muni.

Upon hearing that he would have to play the role of Wang Lung, Muni told Thalberg that he was “about as Chinese as Herbert Hoover.” It was Thalberg’s intention to cast the film using only Chinese actors, but there were just not enough Chinese actors to fill the casting requirements.

Prior to the casting of Paul Muni, James Stewart auditioned, and almost got, the part of Wang Lung.

The impressive special effects for the locust plague weren’t special effects at all. MGM’s special effects experts were not able to reproduce the look of an actual locust plague and were almost ready to give up on the scene when they heard of an actual locust plague that was taking place. A camera crew was rushed to the location and captured it all on film.

Chinese born actress Anna May Wong wanted the role of O-Lan. However, with Caucasian actor Paul Muni cast to play the lead, Thalberg knew that The Hays Code prohibited actors of different races from playing husband and wife to avoid offending white audiences in the segregated American south.




Tuesday, September 18th, 2012


Tagline – 90 Roaring Minutes of Laughs!

Starring – Constance Bennett (Marion Kerby), Cary Grant (George Kerby), Roland Young (Cosmo Topper), Billie Burke (Mrs. Clara Topper).

Released – July, 1937

Directed By – Norman Z. McLeod

Produced By – Hal Roach Studios

Distributed By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

NOTABLE: Topper received Academy Award nominations for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Roland Young), and Best Sound, Recording.

As part of his compensation package, Cary Grant decided to receive a percentage deal on the film. The picture turned out to be a huge success and one of the best business deals Grant ever made.

Topper is ranked #60 on the American Film Institutes 100 Years…100 Laughs list.

Producer Hal Roach has hoped to sign W. C. Fields and Jean Harlow to play the roles of George and Marion Kerby, but both were unavailable at the time.

In 1985, Topper became the first film to be “colorized.”