Posts Tagged ‘rouben mamoulian’

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).

Queen Christina

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Queen Christina

Starring – Greta Garbo (Queen Christina), John Gilbert (Antonio), Ian Keith (Magnus), Lewis Stone (Oxenstierna).

Released – December, 1933

Directed By – Rouben Mamoulian

Produced By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Distributed By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Description – A biographical drama loosely based on the life of Queen Christina of Sweden. Christina was thrust into the role of Queen at the young age of 6, after the battlefield death of her father.

With her maturity came a devoted effort to educate herself and govern her people well. This devotion has left her with no time for romance and marriage. Under pressure from her court to produce an heir, they suggest to Christina that she marry her cousin Karl.

In an effort to get away, if only temporarily, she rides away disguised as a man. Finding herself snowbound at an inn she meets and falls in love with Antonio, a Spanish envoy. They spend a few idyllic days together before Christina is obligated to return to her throne. She vows to Antonio that they will meet again.

Meet again they do, when Antonio presents his embassy to the Queen. However, Count Magnus, who has his own interest in Christina, uses his influence to turn the people of Sweden against Spain.

As a result, Christina abdicates the throne wanting to leave Sweden to be with Antonio. A happy ending to a love story? That would be too simple…. tragedy is just around the corner.

NOTABLE: Queen Christina was Greta Garbo’s return to the screen after an 18-month hiatus.

Laurence Olivier was originally set to play the role of Antonio; however, after rehearsal’s began it became apparent that there was just not enough chemistry between Olivier and Garbo, so the role was given to John Gilbert.


Love Me Tonight

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

Love Me Tonight

Tagline – Warm Love! Hilarious fun! Sweet music! Hot lyrics!

Starring – Maurice Chevalier (Baron Maurice Courtelin), Jeanette MacDonald (Princess Jeanette), Charles Ruggles (Viscount Gilbert de Vareze), Charles Butterworth (Count de Savignac), Myrna Loy (Countess Valentine).

Released – August, 1932

Directed By – Rouben Mamoulian

Produced By – Paramount Pictures

Distributed By – Paramount Pictures

Description – A romantic musical that has Maurice Chevalier playing a tailor who is owed a lot of money by a penniless nobleman.

To buy some time for his debt, Viscount de Vareze allows the tailor to move into his estate and decides to pass him off as a baron.

The new baron meets and falls in love with the beautiful Princess Jeanette. Somewhat suspicious of the baron the princess is a little hesitant. Enjoy the fun and the music as suspicion gives in to love.

NOTABLE: In 1990, Love Me Tonight was chosen for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.

Love Me Tonight featured the classic Rodgers and Hart songs “Isn’t It Romantic?,” “Lover,” “Mimi,” and “Love Me Tonight”.

A little wardrobe jealousy emerged as Jeanette MacDonald was jealous of how a white empire-styled dress looked on Myrna Loy for a party sequence and insisted on wearing the dress herself. This was not a problem for Loy, as she, with a friends help, put together the black lace outfit she steals the scene in.


The Mark of Zorro

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

The Mark of Zorro (Special Edition) (Colorized / Black and White)

Tagline – The Jagged Mark of His Sword Struck Terror into Every Heart – But One!

Starring – Tyrone Power (Zorro, Don Diego), Linda Darnell (Lolita Quintero), Basil Rathbone (Captain Esteban Pasquale), Gale Sondergaard (Inez Quintero).

Released – November, 1940

Directed By – Rouben Mamoulian

Produced By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Distributed By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Description – An exciting remake of the 1920 silent film, The Mark of Zorro starring Douglas Fairbanks. Don Diego, the son of a wealthy rancher, returns from a trip to Spain to find the people of his land being badly treated by a villainous dictator.

Using the disguise of Zorro, he becomes a defender of the people leaving his trademark ‘Z’ wherever he goes, and still finds time to romance the Governor’s beautiful niece.

NOTABLE: Basil Rathbone was already known by movie fans as an excellent fencer, but the audience was in for a pleasent surprise when seeing the fencing skill of Tyrone Power.

For fans of Batman… this version of ‘The Mark of Zorro’ was the film being watch by Bruce Wayne and his parents just prior to them being mugged and shot.  It was this film that gave Bruce the idea of creating Batman.

Personal Comment: A very entertaining film starring Tyrone Power, who joins Douglas Fairbanks and Errol Flynn as the best of the great swashbuckling actors.