Random Film of the Week: Gold Diggers of 1933

(Thanks, Classic Fun!)

gold diggers mpFor too many reasonable to reasonably odd reasons, after all these years, I’d never seen ALL of the Mervyn LeRoy/Busby Berkeley film extravaganza that is Gold Diggers of 1933. I’d seen the fantastic beginning many years back as a kid, but it was late at night and I fell asleep at some point, waking up to some other film playing. Another time, the film was on but I missed about half of it and I hate sitting down to watch half a film, and the back half, as that.

Years later, it was on rotation on TCM by this time, so I figured I’d always catch it at some point. By then, I’d seen 42nd Street, Footlight Parade, and a few other similar musicals, so I thought it would be along the same thematic lines. It is to some extent, very much like the others: a simple plot but elaborately made escapist film for the masses.  With its fantasy of three pretty young ladies in a Depression-era New York City finding love and wealth despite their showgirl roots and assorted shenanigans via a case of mistaken identity that stretches credulity as it should in a film like this, it was gong to be as light and breezy a time as could be, I thought.

gold diggers 01

He’d buy that for a dollar: Aileen MacMahon, a lucky Guy Kibbee and Ginger Rogers, who. despite her charms, doesn’t get the guy here.

Continue reading

Debbie Reynolds: Dancing On That Smile Stage One Final Time

(thanks ozabbazo77!)

Ugh. No mas, 2016. This one’s both barrels, folks. If you’ve never seen Singin’ In The Rain, please do so ASAP as it’s not only a great introduction the classic movie musical, it’s probably going to lighten even the grimmest mood when all is said and done.

Back in a bit.


Random Film of the Week: The Pirate

The Pirate MPEvery movie fan (this writer included) has a case of “Hollywood Blinders” they slap on for certain films they love because without them, thinking of anything abnormal taking place behind the scenes ruins much or all of a particular movie’s strengths. This little review just so happens to be about one of those films some outright adore while others don’t take to it all that well.

While its comic book colors and highly exuberant performances make Vincente Minnelli’s 1948 musical The Pirate a mostly to extremely fun to watch slice of Hollywood entertainment, it’s the behind the scenes stuff that makes the film somewhat problematic as a classic one can fully enjoy unless you ignore certain elements. For this particular film, those Hollywood Blinders take the form of an eye patch (or bandanna or even a big felt pirate hat if you like watching your colorful, imperfect musicals with two working eyeballs).

The pairing of Gene Kelly and Judy Garland should have been a wonderful one and in fact is when the film hits most of its high marks. But thanks to the studio system’s lousy treatment of her from the beginning of her career, Garland’s star was far from shining bright during the troubled production. The results are amusing and impressive at times, but it’s also a somewhat flawed film with a too quick finale that pops in as if the cameras were running out of film and something needed to get shot or someone had to walk the plank.

(thanks, SuperVintageCinema!) 

Garland’s assorted troubles (including a nervous breakdown that kept her off set for an extended period) thankfully don’t show up in the finished product. But it’s clear that the wide-eyed gal next door who played Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz less than ten years previously was a wider-eyed and far more troubled soul on a downward spiral to a much shorter life than she deserved. Toss in a fantastic Gene Kelly dance sequence with The Nicholas Brothers that seemingly got them pushed out of the movies (and Hollywood) for a few years too long and you end up with a film best seen with those Hollywood Blinders on. Nice and tight, now.  So, buckle your swash and slap on that eye patch, folks. There’s a storm a-brewin’ on the shooting stage and you’re getting shanghaied and strapped into your seats for a wild ride… Continue reading

The (Welcome and Hopeful) Silence of the Spams…


Bleh. I’m trying to wind this year down on an interesting note, but my mind is elsewhere. Too much home improvement stuff, some new ventures creeping into my schedule, perhaps a business thing popping up in a weird place and so forth and so on. Meanwhile, the internet has ticked me off royally this year on a few fronts to the point I almost kicked myself off a few social sites. I hate predictions and forecasting, but I kind of feel that 2015 will be the year people want their privacy back. Nearly everywhere you look or dink around online, you’re tracked, hacked and cracked over the head continually by folks good, bad and ugly. That has to be dealt with not by so-called “security” services or outside elements telling you they’re “taking care” of the problems. It has to be dealt with by people wisely retreating from spilling all their beans to the world thinking it’s okay because a site says it’s “secure” or “values” your safety at the end of the day. I’d bet a penny that most of them don’t because they can make bad news into good and gain users from it when all is said and done by tossing stuff into the spin cycle.

Eh, I suppose being cranky like this has its merits. But I want to end this year on a high note. No, not THAT kind of high, you sillies. Just a little rest and popping up to see the sun rise on that new year before zipping out a few posts to welcome in 2015. Back in a bit…

Enough of This Stupid Sunday. Let’s Go Dancing!

(Thanks, Swudanst Harlow!)

Sure, why not? A little freshly made bathtub gin (wooo!), maybe a few attempts to do the Charleston without looking too dumb flailing around, maybe a burger later at a cheap diner? Yeah, I could go for some of that action tonight. Who’s with me? (Checks wallet, moths flit out)… Er, you’d be buying this time because I’ve just blown all my cash on lighting up the kitchen floor like an airline runway. Hey, how about this? Just come on over with a pound of ground and I’ll make the burgers. Oh, and bring some buns with you as well. I’ll toast them up for those patties nice and warm. I’ve got an onion left and the old cast iron pan got a good seasoning on it earlier this week, so those burgers will be extra tasty. What, you want to being those big portabella you get from the farmer’s market instead? Sure, fine – that’s probably even better and healthier. So, sure, why not?

I’ll be here and up a bit late, thanks to needing to make those signs I posted for the plasterer a bit bigger. You know, just in case they send a new guy to do the plaster job who’s got worse eyesight than the last two. Better safe than sorry, right? Now, hurry up and get on over here – I’m getting hungry and I just pressed a pair of pants! Okay, I was sitting on them for the last hour, but same result once I put them on and stand up. Oh, I have mustard and ketchup too. I might need some more coffee, though. It seems to magically disappears around here like someone’s eating it right out of the can. I hope it not a mouse or anything like that. I don’t need a hopped up rodent around here jazzed on java keeping me up all night…

(Mystery Rodent): Wooooo!

You’ll Find Out: Yet Another Oddball Film I Need to See!

(Thanks, Sleaze-O-Rama!)

You'll Find Out_MPHa. I’d never heard of this 1940 comedy until about a month ago when someone asked me if I’d seen it. I hadn’t, noted to myself to look it up and forgot about it thanks to the stupid time I’ve been having on a few fronts keeping me from being very much entertained. Anyway, in my inbox this afternoon was the trailer above and I got pulled right into wanting to know more.

What a cast! Boris Karloff, Béla Lugosi, Peter Lorre… and Kay Kyser & his band? Yeah, I laughed a lot at the casting here. And if I’m not mistaken, the band and bandleader are the heroes here. Oh, this one’s going on the “gotta watch it!” list for sure. Well, I’m gathering I’ll need to haunt TCM and see when it turns up again. It’s usually the case when I hear about an oldie like this they have in their library that it runs less than a week or so later. Mood lightened considerably? You betcha.

Do Your Eyes Need a Workout This Saturday Night? Well, Here You Go!

(Thanks, GoodOldDaysReturns!)

As for me? Well, I’ll have to pass on these sassy eyeball exercises, as Dungeon of the Endless and TRI: Friendship and Madness have both been giving them quite a wild time this week. That’s a good thing in terms of their overall scores, by the way. Anyway, I’m in the midst of some innnnnnteresting changes on the work front, but no reveals yet, people. I’ll let you know what’s what should what happen and if it somehow doesn’t happen, I’ll be all “Wha’ Happened?”:

(Thanks, MovieClips!) 

Monday Still Not Working For You? How About A Trip To The Dentist To Cheer You Up?

(thanks, GoodOldDaysReturns!) 

Yeah, I figured that would work. Actually, I’d bet that watch this under any stressful situation, you’ll just feel less stressed. Maybe. Unless you’re actually sitting in that dentist’s chair, he strolls up as you’re grinning like a loon, is NO fan of old musical numbers and thinks you’re making fun of his profession. You’d better hope that he doesn’t “accidentally” extract the good teeth you have left and leave the bad ones is all I’m saying…

Random Film of the Week(end) Quickie: Dreamgirls

DreamgirlsWhile I’m a huge fan of the classics, I don’t like most modern Hollywood musicals or biopics because they try to hard to be entertaining and just feel as if they’re baked from the same stale mold. I can’t put my finger on anything other than a certain soullessness thanks to a few factors seen as “necessary” to whatever formula makes a “hit” these days.

Anyway, moving on. Despite some fine acting and singing, primo Oscar bait like Dreamworks’ big 9and massively hyped) 2006 film Dreamgirls didn’t do a thing for me either. Still, I’ve watched it in its entirety twice and one part at least two dozen or so times because it made me fall off the couch laughing the first time and stuck with me to the point that whenever the film pops up on cable, I will turn to it just for that single scene.

If you know what I’m talking about, then good for you and you’re chuckling already. If you don’t, well here you go. Mister Jimmy Early… do your stuff! Um… you may want to have a seat there, kiddo.  Oh, and don’t drink anything while watching this clip if you’ve yet to see the movie (spoiler alert? I guess so):

I had to leave the room for a few minutes, as if I have to see this clip again, I might pop something inside. Heh. Gets me every time. As for the rest of the film? Meh. I have my Motown and Stax memories and the actual music from that era to keep my ears, brain and (if I feel like shaking a tail feather) hips occupied. So I don’t need any expensive (but nice looking and well intentioned) films that want me to “feel” something for the people in it when all I care about are the old tunes and memories those classic songs bring forth. That said, Eddie Murphy kills it dead here. “Jimmy got soul” indeed. Heee.

Humor: Having A Song Stuck in Your Head Is Bad Enough…

(thanks, Jason Turner!) 

… but a song AND the crazy dance number to go with it? Yeah, it happens to the best of us (meaning me), so I’m sharing this clip and hope it happens to YOU (and sooner than later at that). For those of you who know “Me Ole Bamboo” from 1968’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, feel free to sing along, but don’t even try that cane dancing in this video because you know you’ll break something (in your body and wherever you’re watching this). Memo to the kids: Dick Van Dyke was 44 when he did this (ouch), it took 27 takes and from what I understand, being a beat behind the other (much younger dancers) at the beginning made this routine even tougher. Hell, I have trouble getting the heck out of bed some mornings, but this may help in making me leap up instead of drag out. OK, get to it with the stretches, people – I want you all doing this bit in your sleep within the week. If anything, it’ll take care of that “restless leg” thing once and for all…