During World War Two: The Pacific Theater (Part Two)

When we last left off, America had temporarily pulled out of the Philippines as the last holdouts, Bataan and Corregidor fell to the Japanese, putting thousands of American and Filipino troops and civilians in the hands of enemy forces. Those who weren't murdered were herded into camps, where they faced extremely harsh conditions, and even … Continue reading During World War Two: The Pacific Theater (Part Two)

Hep To the Jive

The teen years are awkward enough, but for Shirley Temple they must have been downright painful, because after her 1940 film, The Blue Bird flopped she was at loose ends as an actress, ending her contract with Fox and trying to figure out what to do next. She made one movie at MGM, Kathleen, which didn't grab people, and … Continue reading Hep To the Jive

Shamedown #8: Underworld Scandal

We're back with another Shamedown, people, and the titles just keep getting more generic (Heh. Just wait until next month.). If anyone is coming in late and is therefore fuzzy on what a Shamedown is, the details can be found here. Juvenile delinquency rose hugely all over the world both during and after the Second … Continue reading Shamedown #8: Underworld Scandal

During World War Two: The Pacific Theater (Part One)

The war in the Pacific and the events leading up to it are very seldom taught, if ever, in schools today. In my case, and it's probably the same for a lot of film buffs and history lovers, movies made about that part of World War Two sparked interest in learning more. It's a complicated … Continue reading During World War Two: The Pacific Theater (Part One)

That’s Show Business

Welcome back, Miss Esther... Esther Williams was no stranger to hazards, naturally, since her movies typically involved dangerous stunts, but in the case of 1948's On An Island With You, things were just annoyingly blah. The movie was blah, the swimming scenes were blah, and spirits were blah. Still, the show must go on, and there's … Continue reading That’s Show Business

Shamedown #5: That Uncertain Feeling

We're back, all, and about time, too. School is out for my son and I, of course, and it feels fine. Anyway, if any of you are wondering what a Shamedown is, click here for the answers. No one is too big to fail, not even Ernst Lubitsch and his famous touch, as audiences saw … Continue reading Shamedown #5: That Uncertain Feeling

During World War Two: Remember Pearl Harbor

Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously called December 7, 1941 "a date that will live in infamy." Eighty-plus years later, December seventh is still infamous, although the media nowadays seems to use Pearl Harbor mostly as a metaphor instead of an actuality. 9-11, for instance, has been compared to Pearl Harbor more times than anyone can shake … Continue reading During World War Two: Remember Pearl Harbor

My Four Favorite Noirs

Happy National Classic Movie Day! I'll be honest: Noirs aren't my default choice when it comes to movies. I guess it depends on my mood. Sometimes I've looked at those shadowy scenes and wondered if the characters have ever seen daylight or worn any outerwear other than a trench coat and a fedora. Or ever … Continue reading My Four Favorite Noirs

The Hardys Take Manhattan

Anything that can go wrong... MGM made sixteen Andy Hardy films. It might sound funny to us today, but movie serials were the thing before the advent of TV, and the Hardy movies were easy and quick to shoot because they used the same sets and mostly the same cast every time. Plus the stories … Continue reading The Hardys Take Manhattan

Smile Politely And Stab Cleanly

We all know how much Bette Davis loved heavy, meaty, dramatic roles, and her turn as Regina Giddens in 1941's The Little Foxes sure gave her something to sink her teeth into. I tried watching this movie on the plane to South Dakota last summer, but there was no sound and the remote was in the … Continue reading Smile Politely And Stab Cleanly

During World War Two: With A Little Help From My Friends

After Britain and Germany declared war in 1939, there were roughly two years in which America, for all intents and purposes, laid low. Sort of. Not really. The first Neutrality Act was signed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt on August 31, 1935, and it would be renewed several times over the next few years. The Act … Continue reading During World War Two: With A Little Help From My Friends

The Play’s the Thing

Mr. Holden's back... By 1943 William Holden had been in films for five years, and his roles were steadily growing in size and importance. It's ironic that one of his movies from that year was Young And Willing, about green-as-grass hopefuls trying to break into show business. The movie feels like something we've seen before, only … Continue reading The Play’s the Thing

Shamedown #3: The Crystal Ball

Another Shamedown is upon us. A little late, but it's still March, so we're all good. If anyone would like to know what a Shamedown is, please click here. Paulette Goddard and Ray Milland were kind of a screen team. They made four movies together during the nineteen-forties, and the third of the four was … Continue reading Shamedown #3: The Crystal Ball

Lauren’s Big Break

Time to look for some clues, all... The hard-boiled detective trope really came into its own during the 1930s, and one of its patron saints is Raymond Chandler, whose Philip Marlowe graced the screen several times, as well as books and radio. One of these is 1946's The Big Sleep, starring Humphrey Bogart, who turned hard-boiled … Continue reading Lauren’s Big Break

Why I’ve Seen “Since You Went Away” Umpteen Times

Since You Went Away is very well-trod territory for me. I've parsed it, studied it, scoured the Web for information about it. I've even counted the number of times the movie mentions war bonds and stamps (five times and twice, respectively, in case anyone is wondering). For those who might not be familiar with the plot, it follows … Continue reading Why I’ve Seen “Since You Went Away” Umpteen Times

My Favorite Moments From “It’s A Wonderful Life”

Few movies, holiday or otherwise, are as iconic as 1946's It's A Wonderful Life, and I'm not going in for hyperbole here. We see this thing everywhere. It's parodied, excerpted, tributed, shown in the background in various languages (looking at you, Home Alone 2) and we know it like green bean casserole or Mom's sugar cookies. … Continue reading My Favorite Moments From “It’s A Wonderful Life”

Put the Blame On Mame

Here's Mr. Ford... Our guest of honor sure had a way of landing some interesting roles, and one of the most iconic films he did by far was 1946's Gilda. It might be more iconic for Rita Hayworth than Glenn Ford, but it's a tossup as to who makes the bigger impression. The film was tumoultous … Continue reading Put the Blame On Mame