Vintage Hollywood Candids

I have neglected this blog for a while mainly because I am at present working on another book.  I do have two vintage Hollywood books out at present. ‘Hollywood Dreamers And Schemers’ with Joan Crawford on the cover and ‘One Small Step-One Giant Leap’ with the lovely Gene Tierney.

Joan in a fluted black and white figure hugging gown this time in the centre of a revolving door.

Both books feature stars of the thirties and forties in scenes from their films with captions underneath. You can find them listed on ‘Amazon’ and on ‘Blurb Books’ Just google the titles.  Anyway I also have a facebook page ‘Vintage Movie Star’ which features mostly candid shots of vintage Hollywood stars at play.

I thought I would do a blog with just candids adding a little information on each for your further research just for fun. Always interesting to find out who was related, married or had an affair with who. For example Judy Garland and Micky Rooney were forever friends. Judy and Micky at MGM school learn Spanish1946-ava GardenerHe would go on to marry Ava Gardener when Judy turned him down.  Shirley struggled to make it in films as an adult where Judy thrived. Shirley laughsShirley did, however,  make some good teen movies  like ‘Honeymoon’.Shirley Temple in 'Honeymoon Shirley was to be teamed up with Garland and Rooney in three fims but the studio decided to pull her out as they were afraid that Judy and Micky would upstage her and ruin her comeback.
Ava and Micky RooneyMickey, of course, was unstoppable and would go on to star in may great films as well as marrying many more times. His films would include ‘National Velvet’ with Liz Taylor. Yep that’s Liz with the dog in the tub.
He and Ava didn’t work out and she went on to marry Frank Sinatra. Judy and Frank performed on stage together many time . Shirley also made a film with Frank Sinatra in 1963 called ‘The Victor’ It was a small world back then eh?ava and Frank

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‘La La Land’under the ‘Moonlight’

la-la-landWell Oscars 20017 will remain memorable for a long time to come. For the first time in fifty years it looked like a musical would beat all. Right up until the very last minute … literally.  Just as best picture was announced and the cast of ‘La La Land’ were up on stage ready to take their accolades it was announced that a serious drama had won instead. The movie that won, ‘Moonlight’, what’s more, had an all black cast. Where ‘La la Land’ is pretty ‘Moonlight’ is gritty. Fortunately, I had seen both.  Let’s start with ‘La La Land’  A film very much based on the musicals of the 1950s with 1930s art deco style and 1980s cool. debbie-and-gene A veritable artists pallet of bright colours and gorgeous scenery. I saw so many of my favourite musicals being paid homage to. Mostly Gene Kelly in ‘Singing In The Rain’ and ‘American In Paris’. The influence of Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire too was strong in the ballroom dancing scenes.Fred and Ginger mirror
There were also ideas from ‘Sweet Charity’ with Shirley Maclain particularly the scene with the four girls dancing down the street in party dresses.Dean & Natali Woodlala-lovers There were also touches of ‘Rebel Without A Cause’, a fifties drama with James Dean and Natalie Wood, in there.Fred and Ginger hand kiss la-la-girls
The opening scene on the freeway was reminiscent of the eighties blockbuster musical ‘Fame’.sweet-charity-lift There were quite a few others in there too.lalaland-gosling The story was similar to a film made with Doris Day and Frank Sinatra,’Young At Heart’, in which she is a struggling singer and he is a struggling jazz musician establish himself.

movie-young-at-heartThis film has a little of everything and yet retains its originality. The direction and cinematography are a feast for the eyes and the chemistry between the two stars is palpable.
So great to see a return to the musical genre in all its flamboyant glory.

Now to ‘Moonlight’.Full moon on sea A film about a black neighbourhood and the problems faced by young black Americans growing up in poverty surrounded by drug addicts. moonlight-sea Add to the mix a gawky black kid who just happens to be gay and is bullied as a result. In fact the kid that bullies him is the same kid with whom he has just shared his first gay experience. moonlight-movieThis is a film that would never have been made in the fifties. Probably not even in the eighties. This too is a film about love but its no walk in the park.  It was hard to watch.  Very real.  With the farce that is America at present maybe this is what they need. A dose of realism.

Hollywood Baggage Claim

unknown-starlett-with-baggagejpgFrom the very first days of the establishment of the studio system people with dreams of being a star arrived from nowhere – ville to claim their place in Hollywood history. They arrived with their past wrapped up in a suitcase and their future uncertain.jerry-lewis-and-baggage For every one person who made it there were hundreds who didn’t.  But this story is not actually about the wannabe stars nor is it about the studio system it is about a parallel situation now happening all across America where people arriving with baggage are being deemed unsuitable and sent packing. Stars like Valentino, like Lupe Valez, Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo were all immigrants.

marlene-deitrich-and-baggage Even Jerry Lewis ( pictured ) was Jewish.  Hollywood has made many films on immigration, on displacement of peoples from their lands and on the atrocities and injustices of war.  In fact these immigrant stars from nowhere -ville actually starred in them.  Who could forget Rudolph Valentino in ‘Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse’ or Glenn Ford in its remake? A film about a family torn apart by war with brothers fighting on opposite sides. My point being that America has benefitted from its immigrants not only in Hollywood but in every walk of life.  Now they are being vetted? Two films spring to mind which reflect what is happening now.  These were not oscar greats but were based on very important novels of the day. Let’s start with ‘A Face In The Crowd’ starring Andy Griffiths and Patricia Neal. poster-for-a-face-in-the-crowdA film in which a reality T.V. star turns on all who helped him reach the top, marries a child bride and enters politics.a-face-in-the-crowd-patricia-neal He is absorbed with himself and his greed and isolates himself in a tower in Manhattan. Sound familiar? The next is ‘The Ugly American’ starring Marlon Brando which went largely ignored.the-ugly-american-poster A film starring the great Marlon Brando too. Maybe it was the title that put people off? The film was essentially about the failure of the U.S. Diplomatic Corps interferring in the politics of other countries, in this case the mock country of Sarkhan ( Thailand ) during a communist revolution. and highlights the insensitivities to language, culture and customs._brando_the_ugly_american_freedom_road_setbrand-as-the-ugly-american The American Ambassador arrives with his own baggage. A simplistic American view of how Sarkhan could and should solve its problems. A modern day Syria perhaps?   I even read an article today in which an American reporter referred to Britain as a country.  Britain was four countries. England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Britain no longer exists. I wonder … Has the writer of that article heard of Brexit? a-face-in-the-crowd-politics This is not by any means anti American. Merely anti arrogance and ignorance.  America will prevail and will remain a shining beacon for those from nowhere -ville. Of this, I am,  ever hopeful.frank-sinatra-and-baggage

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