Monday, December 29, 2014

New Year's Eve Party Planning with Norma Desmond

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.

Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland


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.

The Essential Films of 1939: Babes in Arms

Babes In Arms (1939)

Mickey and Judy put on a show in Babes in Arms.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Mickey Rooney in Boys Town

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."

Mickey Rooney: A Life in Film

Mickey Rooney Autograph

We continue our series on old Hollywood stars who passed away in 2014 with the legendary Mickey Rooney.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Star in the Night

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.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father,  the Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6.

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

Christmas Songs: Auld Lang Syne

Our look at classic Christmas songs from Old Hollywood films continues with James Stewart, Donna Reed, Karolyn Grimes and the cast of It's a Wonderful Life (1946) singing Auld Lang Syne. The songs starts at the 1:00 mark.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Top Holiday Picks: It Happened on 5th Avenue

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

Christmas Songs: White Christmas

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

Supporting Players: Victor Moore

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).

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Shirley Temple and Bill Robinson

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.

Shirley Temple: A Life in Film

Shirley Temple

We continue our series honoring old Hollywood stars who passed away in 2014 with the remarkable Shirley Temple. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Christmas Songs: Baby, It's Cold Outside

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

Supporting Players: S.Z. Sakall

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.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

God Bless America: The Story Behind the Song

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.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Supporting Players of Gone With the Wind: Evelyn Keyes

Evelyn Keyes as Suellen O'Hara
Evelyn Keyes will always be remembered as Scarlett O'Hara's little sister, but she was a talented actress and dancer in her own right.