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Hollywood Movie Memories » michael curtiz

Posts Tagged ‘michael curtiz’

Life With Father – A Delight For All Ages!

Saturday, April 20th, 2013

September, 1947Life With Father has delighted audiences on Broadway for 3,224 performances and now the long-running comedy has come to the big screen.

Warner Brothers has beautifully produced a Technicolor re-creation of the successful stage production that can now be enjoyed by viewers nationwide. Directed, with a light touch, by Michael Curtiz, and starring William Powell , Irene Dunne, and a young Elizabeth Taylor, the completed film is both heartwarming and totally charming.

An 1880’s New York slice-of-life film about the Day family who are led by the headstrong William Powell, his wife played by Irene Dunne and their four children. A budding young romance for the family’s oldest son and the seemingly impossible task of getting the stubborn Mr. Day finally baptized is based on an original series of articles written by Clarence Day, Jr. as a tribute to his father.

The screen version of Life With Father has matched the stage play and is nothing less than a warm, witty, nostalgic, turn-of-the-century pleasure

Life With Father

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Life With Father – 1947 Color (Digitally Remastered Version)

Tagline – Here for all!! All the happiness of the play that ran longer, with the laughs that were louder, than any known before!

Starring – William Powell (Clarence Day, Sr.), Irene Dunne (Vinnie Day), Elizabeth Taylor (Mary Skinner), Edmund Gwenn (Rev. Dr. Lloyd), ZaSu Pitts (Cousin Cora Cartwright).

Released – September, 1947

Directed By – Michael Curtiz

Produced By  – Warner Brothers

Distributed By – Warner Brothers

NOTABLE:  Life with Father received four Oscar nominations for Best Actor in a Leading Role (William Powell), Best Cinematography, Color, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color, and Best Music Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture.

The film was based on the stage play that ran for 3,224 performances and held the record for the longest non-musical run on Broadway. The play still stands as the sixteenth longest running Broadway production in history.

Silent screen legend Mary Pickford, after a thirteen year absense, was to have made her big screen comeback in the role of Vinnie, but Irene Dunne was given the role due to her current box-office appeal.



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.

The Charge of the Light Brigade

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

The Charge of the Light Brigade

Tagline – The reckless lancers sweep on and on – so that a woman’s heart may not be broken!

Starring – Errol Flynn (Major Geoffrey Vickers), Olivia de Havilland (Elsa Campbell), Patric Knowles (Captain Perry Vickers), Henry Stephenson (Sir Charles Macefield), Nigel Bruce (Sir Benjamin Warrenton), Donald Crisp (Colonel Campbell), David Niven (Captain James Randall).

Released – October, 1936

Directed By – Michael Curtiz

Produced By – Warner Brothers

Distributed By – Warner Brothers

Description – This motion picture is loosely based on the famous Charge of the Light Brigade during the Crimean War.

Major Geoffrey Vickers and his brother Captain Perry Vickers are stationed in India with the 27th Lancers of the British Army during the Crimean War. Geoffrey is also engaged to Elsa Campbell the daughter of Colonel Campbell.

Geoffrey and English diplomat Sir Henry Harcourt are away meeting with tribal leader Amir Surat Khan to tell him that the British can no longer provide funds as they had promised. This information angers Khan, but while on a leopard hunt his life is saved by Geoffrey winning his personal loyalty as his anger at the British grows.

Geoffrey returns to Calcutta and learns that, while he was away, Elsa has fallen in love with his brother Perry. This news causes the brothers to quarrel bitterly, but before the problem escalates Geoffrey is sent to battle renegade tribesmen.

After the completion of this mission, Geoffrey moves on to Chukoti where Colonel Campbell and Elsa are not located. Perry has been sent to a nearby base in Lohara. Meanwhile, Surat Khan has been gathering his forces and when Colonel Campbell’s troops are ordered to Lohara on maneuvers Chukoti is left virtually without defense.

Surat Khan attacks and brutally slaughters the inhabitants including Colonel Campbell. Geoffrey and Elsa are spared by Khan as payment for Geoffrey saving Khan’s life. After they flee, Elsa convinces Geoffrey that she truly loves his brother Perry. Geoffrey has no choice but to accept this as fact.

To protect his brother from the next attack, Geoffrey sends him away. Surat Khan has now joined forces with the Russians and Geoffrey is ordered by Sir Charles Macefield, the commander of the British forces in the Crimea, not to attack.

Still enraged by the slaughter at Chukoti, Geoffrey rewrites the orders and leads the Lancers on a death charge against Surat Khan.

NOTABLE: The Charge of the Light Brigade won the Oscar for Best Assistant Director (Jack Sullivan), and was also nominated for Best Music, Score, and Best Sound, Recording.

During the famous charge scene, trip wires were set up on the battlefield to trip up the charging horses. Tragically, depending on which report you choose to believe, 25-200 horses were killed filming this scene. This act of animal cruelty caused the U.S. Congress to enact laws insuring the safety of animals in motion pictures.

A stuntman was also killed during filming, as he fell off his horse onto a broken sword that was wedged in a way that left it’s blade facing upward.

The Charge of the Light Brigade was the second of nine romantic pairings by Warner Brothers for Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland.


Mildred Pierce

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Mildred Pierce (Keepcase)

Tagline – The kind of woman most men want – but shouldn’t have!

Starring – Joan Crawford (Mildred Pierce), Jack Carson (Wally Fay), Zachary Scott (Monte Beragon), Eve Arden (Ida Corwin), Ann Blyth (Veda Pierce), Bruce Bennett (Bert Pierce).

Released – October, 1945

Directed By – Michael Curtiz

Produced By – Warner Brothers

Distributed By – Warner Brothers

Description – The film opens with the murder of Monte Beragon. With his dying breath he utters… Mildred. To the police this seems like an open-and-shut case and that restaurant chain owner Mildred Pierce’s first husband, Bert Pierce, is the killer. Under interrogation, he confesses.

However, a series of flashbacks will prove that all is not as it seems.

Mildred’s husband Bert, who has recently become unemployed as a partner in a real estate business with Wally Fay, has been unhappy with the all-consuming attention that Mildred pays to their two daughters and has sought comfort in the arms of another woman, Mrs. Maggie Binderhof.

The couple divorce, with Mildred gaining custody of daughters, 16-year-old Veda, a self-centered aspiring social climber and pianist, and 10-year-old Kay, a bit of a tomboy.

Mildred’s focus, now more than ever, is to provide for the girls. Veda wants the finer things in life and looks down on her mother as being too common. In an effort to earn some money, Mildred takes the only job she can find becoming a waitress. A fact she must hide from Veda.

Tragedy strikes younger daughter Kay as she becomes ill and dies of pneumonia. In an effort to be able to give her remaining daughter everything that she wants, Mildred decides to open her own restaurant.

Wally Fay introduces Mildred to Monte Beragon who provides the property for the first of Mildred’s restaurants. The venture is a success and soon there are a chain of “Mildred’s” restaurants throughout Southern California.

Mildred continues to smother Veda with affection and material goods, with the hope of making her daughter happy, and even goes so far as to marry Monte to improve her social stature. It is a loveless marriage with Monte still living his life as a playboy.

Monte’s manipulation and Veda’s greed begin a steady downfall to the success that Mildred has realized. Her business begins to fail, it appears that Monte and Veda may be friendlier then a daughter and her stepfather should be, and murder looms on the horizon.

NOTABLE: Mildred Pierce won the Oscar for Best Actress in a leading role (Joan Crawford), and also received nominations for Best Picture, Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Eve Arden), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Ann Blyth), Best Writing, Screenplay, and Best Cinematography, Black-and-White.

In 1996, Mildred Pierce was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

The character Monte Beraton’s beach house seen in the opening scene, as well as several others, was actually owned by director Michael Curtiz. Sadly, the beautiful home would collapse into the sea after a series of heavy storms in January, 1983.

Joan Crawford, coming off a sting of bad films, was not initially wanted for the role by director Curtiz. She had a reputation of being very difficult to work with, but won Curtiz over with her dedication and hard work.

Eight different screenplays were written and submitted before this final, Oscar winning screenplay, was accepted.

Personal Note: Mildred Pierce is an excellent film and easily ranks with my favorite film noir titles of all time. The strong story and screenplay make sure that emotions run high and taut until it all begins to unravel.

Go out of your way to see this.