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
Rosalind Russell experienced a very special, but precarious, movie premiere when her comedy “The Girl Rush” (1955) premiered in her hometown of Waterbury, Connecticut. What began as an exciting and poignant celebration of, as the newsreel narration put it, “hometown girl makes good”, ended in a frightening disaster when an unforeseen flood nearly obliterated Waterbury that night.
She wrote in her autobiography, “Life is a Banquet” (with Chris Chase, Random House, NY, 1977) “Nineteen fifty-five was my year for attracting natural disasters.”
Mayor Snyder, Rosland Russell, and Gloria DeHaven.
The festivities were scheduled for August 18th. Roz (as she was referred in the local paper), was due to arrive by train along with her co-stars from the film, Fernando Lamas, Eddie Albert, and Gloria DeHaven (who we last saw in this post on “Summer Stock” - 1950)
According to author Bernard F. Dick’s biography, “Forever Mame - The Life of Rosalind Russell” (University Press of Mississippi, 2006), Miss Russell arrived the day before, visited with siblings and her elderly mother, and prepared to take on the public mantle of hometown hero.
Miss Russell remarks in her autobiography, “Waterbury authorities explained that I was the only motion picture star to have a theatre named for her (I don’t know whether they meant in Waterbury or in the United States or in the entire world, but how could such a declaration not go to a girl’s head?)”
In “Life is a Banquet” she puts us right in the middle of the scenario, “Before the rains came, I rode in a parade in a white satin dress that was all beaded, with a matching little thing that sat on my head, being Princess Grace all over the joint.”
The stars, along with the flock of Paramount newsreel men, the inevitable publicity department, and some 10,000 townspeople straggling on the sidewalks to watch the parade, would be taken from the railroad station to the Elton Hotel, the swank spot in town.
After a luncheon, the Hollywood contingent were then to be whisked away to City Hall where Mayor Raymond E. Snyder, Sr. (who incidentally had bought Rosalind Russell’s parent’s home a couple of decades before and turned it into a funeral parlor, which it remains), would present her with the key to the city. They were also to get a tour of town, including some of the Brass City’s famous industries, and Roz’s birthplace.
Dave Garroway (who is mentioned as having a problem with chimpanzees on the set of The Today Show in this post from Monday), showed up with his Today Show crew to film the festivities live on television from the Elton Hotel.
Roz’s take: “There was a big dinner at the great snob Waterbury Club, and my brother had to make a speech, and everything was to be televised - crews had been there for a week, setting up cameras all over the Waterbury green.”
They were in the right place to broadcast an even bigger surprise story the next day.
The evening of the 18th, they all headed over to the State Theater, which had just been re-named the Rosalind Russell State Theater, to watch the premiere of “The Girl Rush.” The Mattatuck Drum Band and a U.S. Marine Color provided escort.
Roz writes in her autobiography that, “there was a drum and fife corps - that’s very big in Connecticut; they always wear tricorne hats.”
The shots of Roz accompanying this post are all from a newsreel. Here is the plaque Roz unveiled marking the occasion.
Limos downtown, and powerful spotlights sweeping the cloud-covered night sky. Nothing like it had ever been seen in this factory town. Nothing ever would again. By morning, the Rosalind Russell State Theater, like much of the downtown, would be under several feet of water.
That cloud-covered sky. It had been raining pretty steadily all day during the celebrations on the 18th. By late that evening, smaller brooks in the Naugatuck River valley would jump their banks. The mighty Naugatuck itself, which powered so much industry in Waterbury, would morph in the wee hours to a monstrous thing that scraped factories, stores, and homes to rubble before morning, and leave some 30 people dead in Waterbury and over 90 people dead or missing and presumed dead total in the towns of the Naugatuck Valley.
Astonishing was the suddenness of the event. To be sure, Hurricane Diane had spent a couple of weeks sliding up the Eastern seaboard, but it made a sharp right turn out to sea before ever entering New England. It, and Hurricane Connie, dropped more rain than the already sodden ground could take, and what had begun as a gloomy day became a fearful night of torrential downpour, causing destruction no one could have predicted.
Roz fortuitously left right after the premiere, rented a car with her maid and a driver, and they made their way to New Haven while the bridges were being washed out in Waterbury.
From Roz’s autobiography: “I directed the driver - ‘Go up this hill, go down that lane, I know this town’ - because I realized if we could get to New Haven, we could get from there to New York. There was no hope of driving along the Naugatuck Valley toward Bridgeport; the Naugatuck River had overflowed.”
Her intention was to make it to the next publicity chore, the Ed Sullivan Show in New York City on the 21st, for an appearance with co-star Gloria DeHaven to promote “The Girl Rush.”
According to Mr. Dick's book, Miss DeHaven, however, got stuck in Waterbury temporarily until train service resumed.
Recovery took weeks, months, even years for some people. Some businesses, and people, never did recover.
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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