Silent movie legend Norma Desmond, as played by Gloria Swanson in Billy Wilder's dark Hollywood satire Sunset Boulevard (1950), was more than just "the greatest star of them all." Norma knew how to plan a memorable New Year's Eve party as illustrated in the clip above. Here are some tongue-in-cheek tips for planning a fabulous party the Norma way.
Monday, December 29, 2014
Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland perform an energetic version of Good Morning in Babes in Arms (1939). The song was written by Babes in Arms producer Arthur Freed with Nacio Herb Brown.
Sunday, December 28, 2014
Saintly Father Flanagan (Spencer Tracy) knocks some sense into juvenile delinquent Whitey Marsh (Mickey Rooney) in this clip from Boys Town (1938).
New York Times critic Frank Nugent gave Rooney a rare rave review for his performance in Boys Town. "Mickey is the Dead End gang rolled into one. He is James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart and King Kong before they grew up or knew a restraining hand. Mickey, as the French would understate it, is the original enfant terrible."
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Star in the Night is a 1945 short film that is a modern re-telling of the Biblical nativity story. The film follows three cowboys (Richard Erdman, Johnny Miles and Cactus Mack) as they follow a large neon star to a desert motel where the harassed innkeeper (J. Carrol Naish) is trying to find room for a young Mexican couple (Lynn Baggett and Anthony Caruso) who are about to have a baby. The film is directed by Don Siegel (Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Dirty Harry, The Shootist). It won the Academy Award for best short subject.
|An illustration by Ben Stahl for a promotional book for the 1959 film, Ben Hur.|
We wish all of our readers a very Merry Christmas. We'll be back next week with a look at Mickey Rooney's life and films, including one of his best movies, Babes in Arms.
Monday, December 22, 2014
Sunday, December 21, 2014
Thursday, December 18, 2014
We're celebrating the season with some of our favorite Christmas movies. This week's selection is It Happened on 5th Avenue (1947), which is airing tonight (Dec. 4, 2015) on TCM.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Our look at classic Christmas songs from old Hollywood films continues with Bing Crosby and Marjorie Reynolds (dubbed by Martha Mears) performing White Christmas from Holiday Inn (1942).
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Victor Moore was a legendary Broadway actor, but he also appeared in many old Hollywood films, including Swing Time (1936) Make Way for Tomorrow (1937) and the Christmas classic, It Happened on 5th Avenue (1947).
Monday, December 15, 2014
Shirley Temple and Arthur Treacher perform a delightful rendition of the old Music Hall standard, "Knocked 'em in the Old Kent Road" in The Little Princess (1939).
Sunday, December 14, 2014
Shirley Temple and Bill "Bojangles" Robinson dance up the staircase in the famous number from The Little Colonel (1935). Robinson dances alone until the 2:00 minute mark and then Temple joins him. They made history by being the first interracial dancing duo in the movies.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
We're recommending some old Hollywood Christmas movies for your holiday viewing pleasure. First up is Christmas in Connecticut (1945).
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Our look at classic Christmas songs continues with Baby, It's Cold Outside sung first by Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalban and then by Betty Garrett and Red Skelton in Neptune's Daughter (1949).
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Hungarian actor S.Z. Sakall's portly frame and fractured English were a much-loved addition to many old Hollywood films in the 1940s and 1950s, including Casablanca, Christmas in Connecticut and In the Good Old Summertime.
Monday, December 8, 2014
Sunday, December 7, 2014
I'm commemorating Pearl Harbor Day with a look at God Bless America. Here is a clip of Kate Smith singing a rousing version in the 1943 film This Is the Army, starring Ronald Reagan and Joan Leslie.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
We continue our look at classic Christmas songs with Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas from Meet Me in St. Louis (1944).
Monday, December 1, 2014
|Evelyn Keyes as Suellen O'Hara|
Sunday, November 30, 2014
Notorious gangster "Hood" Stacey (George Raft) and framed reporter Frank Ross (James Cagney) head off to the big house in this clip from Each Dawn I Die (1939).
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
May your have a blessed Thanksgiving filled with food, family and happy times.
Enjoy some Daffy Duck while feasting. Here he is in the 1949 short Holiday for Drumsticks trying to avoid being eaten for Thanksgiving dinner.
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
|Barbara O'Neil as Ellen Robillard O'Hara|
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Friday, November 21, 2014
We'll be featuring Christmas songs from old Hollywood films throughout the holiday season. First up is My Favorite Things from The Sound of Music (1965).
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Spencer Tracy is best known for his on and off-screen partnership with Katharine Hepburn, but during the 1940s he made three films with our Star of the Month, Hedy Lamarr. Lamarr and Tracy's partnership didn't produce any enduring classics like Adam's Rib or Woman of the Year, but all of their films are solidly entertaining. We'll take a closer look at them after the jump.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
On Nov. 19, 1863, Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address. There are many screen versions of that famous speech, but British actor Charles Laughton's rendition in Ruggles of Red Gap (1935) is my personal favorite. Laughton is playing an English valet who quiets a rowdy saloon in the wild West with Lincoln's great speech on American democracy.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Legendary character actor Thomas Mitchell's portrayal of Gerald O'Hara in Gone With the Wind (1939) was one of the highlights of his career. Here, in the film's opening scene, he tells Scarlett, "Land is the only thing in the world worth workin' for, worth fightin' for, worth dyin' for."
|Thomas Mitchell as Gerald O'Hara|
Legendary character actor Thomas Mitchell appeared in five classic films in 1939, but he is perhaps best remembered today for playing Scarlett O'Hara's father in Gone With the Wind.
Monday, November 17, 2014
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Our Star of the Month, Hedy Lamarr's first Hollywood film was Algiers (1938). It was a huge hit at the time and caused a craze for films set in North Africa. Algiers also led to the creation of Looney Tunes character Pepe le Pew. The romantic skunk is a spoof on leading man Charles Boyer's thick French accent and way with the ladies.
Here are five of Hedy Lamarr's films that I've enjoyed through the years. Feel free to comment on your own favorites.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
The theme song for the classic 1957 Western 3:10 to Yuma is one of the best of old Hollywood theme songs, so for your listening pleasure here is Frankie Laine belting out, "Take that Train!"
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Films have been set on trains since the birth of cinema. Throughout November, We're going to look at Hollywood films that were set on locomotives or featured trains as an integral part of the story. First up is director Delmer Daves 1957 Western, 3:10 to Yuma.
In honor of Veterans Day, here is the great James Cagney performing "Over There" in Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942). Our sincere thanks and deepest appreciation to all of the U.S. Veterans who have so bravely served our country.
Monday, November 10, 2014
Saturday, November 8, 2014
Friday, November 7, 2014
Austrian actress Hedy Lamarr is one of the least remembered of the classic Hollywood beauty queens, but for moviegoers in the 1930s and 1940s her name conjured up visions of exotic glamour and mystery. The 100th, or possibly *101st, anniversary of Lamarr's birth will be this Sunday. In this article, I will look at her film career and also celebrate her important contributions to science and technology.
Welcome to Old Hollywood Films, a site dedicated to the appreciation and preservation of American films from 1920-1960. Each month we will take an in-depth look at both well-known classics and forgotten films that were made in the Hollywood studio system.
Coming up in November:
Our star of the month is Hedy Lamarr
All aboard for a history of the good, old-fashioned train movie
A look at the essential films of 1939 beginning with Stagecoach
Feel free to send any suggestions or tips to email@example.com.