On "No Down Payment": Anne said...This is what makes me wonder if Jeffrey Hunter and Patricia Owens'scharacters had even consumated thier marriageThe kid's got a broken radio, Jeff pulls out a screw driver and sets to work.Tony Randall gets smarmy with Jeff's wife and he's a frozen bystander...if Tony was mashing a radio, I think Jeff's character would have sprun into action. March 9, 2013
On "Trooper Hook": Vienna said...Wonderful review ! I haven't seen TROOPER HOOK for a long time but hope it becomes available on DVD. You describe Joel and Barbara's characters so well. An unusual role for Barbara. I guess she chose to do it for that reason. March 11, 2013
Anne said...Thank you for writing about this little gemOne can see this film on the encore west channel now and then and it's astonishingly good. With a budget not enough for a modern office pastry cart, it shows what can be done with excellent writing and acting....and directing. I love how we see the tiny stage from afar, then we see it though Nanches legs, we are right behind him, and we now know he's on their trail...it makes him almost a gonzilla of a threatChildren: let Mr. McCrea and Ms Stanwyck show you how it's done.They are hotter across a dusty feed store than many buck necked couples in love scenes today.March 7, 2013
On "Any Number Can Play": Vienna said...I love this film. Great cast, though I hate seeing Audrey Totter so totally wasted. All Audrey seemed to do was stand around with a glass in one hand and cigarette in the other.I thought Alexis Smith did well ,playing a woman whom I 'm sure was meant to be older than Alexis who was probably about 30 at the time.Great to see Mary Astor though,again, what a small role. And Marjorie Rambeau is always a joy.It could have been a play, with the only sets the gambling club and Gable's house.An unusual role for Gable and he was convincing.March 1, 2013
On Anita Sharp-Bolster: Vienna said...I've just see Anita in THE LONDON BLACKOUT MURDERS and she is so good as another battle-axe character , but with a touch of comedy . Nice tribute. Thanks.http//:dancing lady39.wordpress.com February 2, 2013
On Victor Jory - On Stage and Screen: Vienna said...Thanks for great tribute to Victor Jory whom I like, especially in a couple of films where he isn't the villain! In FIGHTING MAN OF THE PLAINS, Victor does his best to help Randolph Scott and becomes a good friend to Scott's character. Such a contrast to Victor's usual roles. I also liked him in a little B, THE UNKNOWN GUEST where he is the leading manI had no idea Victor and Alexis Smith did two plays together - thanks for the information. Oh to have seen them!January 24, 2013
On And Then There Were None: Ryan said...I bought this years ago on DVD, and it's still my favorite movie version of this story. The cast was perfect, and to tell you the truth, though I love the book, I almost prefer this ending. I think it's the hopeless romantic in me.February 19, 2013
One interesting feature of the old Hollywood studio system was that a very high priority was given to the adaptation of current popular novels into film. Since the studios were cranking out movies at an assembly line pace, there was a constant search for new stories, grist for the mill. The studios had people on staff whose job was to read novels.
Some popular novels from the 1920s through the 1940s are pictured here in their original hardcover printings. Among them, I think only “Three Came Home” by Agnes Newton Keith, has not been reprinted. The others have all been at one time reprinted at least once either in hardcover or, more commonly, paperback in the last 20 years. I wonder to what extent the films made from these novels have contributed to their being reprinted.
It is probable that old movie buffs who enjoyed Ginger Rogers’ Oscar-winning performance in “Kitty Foyle” (1940) have never read the book by Christopher Morley, or “Gentleman’s Agreement” (1947), have read the novel by Laura Z. Hobson. Obviously these novels were popular at the time the films were made, but are no longer the touchstones of popular culture they were then.
“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee has justifiably become a classic and probably does not need the wonderful 1962 film to publicize it. It stands on its own as a giant in American literature. But these other novels might have gone long by the wayside were it not for the films made from them, which possibly maintain them as part of our cultural history.
The numerous incarnations of “Show Boat” on film and the stage seem to overshadow the original novel by Edna Ferber on which it was based, reportedly the first novel ever to have been transformed into a musical. “Mama’s Bank Account” by Kathryn Forbes and “Cheaper by the Dozen” by Frank Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey were cozy memoirs of growing up in “the good old days”, a kind of fare that once was prime fodder for the movies. Today we’re more likely to read memoirs of dysfunctional families, and even those don’t always make it to film. It would seem that innocent books like these would lack a following today, and without the films that made them famous -- “Mama’s Bank Account” became “I Remember Mama” (1948) -- been relegated off the publisher’s back list to the anonymity of a public library book sale for stray copies.
Similarly “My Sister Eileen” has also undergone a number of film and stage versions, but the original memoir by Ruth McKenney is probably not at the top of anyone’s summer reading list today. They were delightful stories, told in the voice and style of their era, which is the point. They cannot be duplicated today, not with any authenticity. Just as one may examine 20th Century American culture through film and through popular music, the popular novels of an era lend a unique and valuable perspective, particularly on those interesting occasions when the novel is interpreted on film in a similarly authentic voice for its era.
Meet Me in Nuthatch - A publicity stunt to attract tourists to a small dying town results in the entire community turning the clock back to 1904. It is local Christmas tree farmer Everett Campbell’s idea, after watching the film “Meet Me in St. Louis,” his young daughter’s new favorite movie. What begins as half practical joke and half desperate ploy initiates the rebirth of Nuthatch, Massachusetts. Tourists do come, along with the media. To Everett’s dismay, his campaign to save their community results in also attracting representatives of a chain of theme parks who want to buy Nuthatch 1904. Everett now stands to lose his town in a way he never imagined, and the community is divided on which alternate future to choose. A local drug dealer, the longtime enemy of Everett, may hold their future in his hands unless Everett can pull off his most spectacular, and dangerous, practical joke.
“…a comforting, pleasant read that stays with you even after the last page is turned. After finishing the book, I found myself still musing about the relationships and how they'd changed and progressed. This book was a nice, hot chocolate sort of read.” Grace Krispy, "MotherLode" blog book review.
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