The King Of Hollywood And I: A Birthday Celebration (2023) with… It Started In Naples (1960)

It’s February 1, so that means that we’ve got yet another special post on a film featuring birthday boy Clark Gable! This time, it’s his 1960 film It Started In Naples, also starring Sophia Loren and Vittorio De Sica!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Pay As You Exit (1936)

(available on Blu-ray as part of The Little Rascals: The ClassicFlix Restorations, Volume 6 (1936-1938) from ClassicFlix)

(Length: 10 minutes, 41 seconds)

The Gang put on their own production of “Romeo and Juliet” (if you can call it that), but to convince the local kids to see it, Alfalfa (Carl Switzer) comes up with the brilliant idea for them to pay as they exit. Also, trouble arises when Darla (Darla Hood) abandons the show partway through. This one was fairly entertaining, in between Spanky’s (George McFarland) reaction to Alfalfa’s “pay as you exit” idea, and their whole show. In some respects, the short has its issues with Buckwheat’s initial role in their show, but it more than makes up for it when he is recast as Juliet (with the approval of the audience). I had fun with this one, and certainly think that it’s worth seeing!

And Now For The Main Feature…

American lawyer Michael Hamilton (Clark Gable) has come to Naples, Italy, to settle his late brother’s affairs. He meets up with Italian lawyer Mario Vitale (Vittorio De Sica), who reveals that Michael’s brother had died in a boating accident with his mistress. The two had left behind their eight-year-old son, who now lives with his aunt. Mario takes Michael to meet the aunt, Lucia Curcio (Sophia Loren), who wants nothing to do with Michael and leaves for her home in Capri. Michael is determined to find out if he does indeed have a nephew, and follows her to Capri. There, he meets his nephew, Nando Hamilton (Carlo Angeleti “Marietto”), and is willing to let things be. When he finds himself stuck overnight in Capri (because the boat schedule was wrong), Michael finds Nando distributing flyers for the adult nightclub that his aunt works at. Unhappy at his nephew being up so late (and not getting much of an education at school), Michael threatens to have Nando taken away from Lucia and sent to the American school in Rome. Angry with Michael, Lucia convinces Nando to go to school, and enlists the help of her neighbors to stop Michael from taking Nando away. While he prepares to bring suit against Lucia, Michael spends some time with Nando in an attempt to help persuade him to go along with his plans instead of Lucia’s. Hoping to avoid going to court (and play matchmaker at the same time), Mario secretly talks to Michael and Lucia, telling both of them that the other has some affection for them, which could help solve the problem. It works for a while, as the two fall for each other. However, when Nando tries to ask Michael if he will marry his aunt Lucia, Michael tries to avoid it, which results in the two adults being back at each other’s throats. Will they be able to solve their fight in court amicably, or will Nando be torn between them?

It Started In Naples (1960) was shot on location, with the interiors done at Rome’s Cinecittà Studios, while the exteriors were done in Rome, Naples itself and the island of Capri. Sophia Loren had grown up in Naples, but her return was marked by controversy due to her recent “marriage” to Carlo Ponti (who was in the process of divorcing his first wife). Clark Gable was very professional i his work ethic, but maintained in his contract that he would only work from nine to five (and wore a wristwatch that buzzed at five to let him know that he was done for the day). Filmmaker and actor Vittorio De Sica was brought into the production to help give it more of a Neopolitan flavor with the script, and did so by suggesting they work with writer Suso Cecchi d’Amico. As a result, Vittorio was also given the role of lawyer Mario Vitale. For Clark Gable (who had recently suffered a mild heart attack but continued to drink and smoke heavily), this film would turn out to be the last one he made that was released during his lifetime, as he died of a heart attack nearly three months after the film’s release (after having completed The Misfits).

This was my first time seeing It Started In Naples (1960), and I will admit that I enjoyed it! I have no problem admitting that Clark Gable was the main reason that I wanted to see it (particularly for this series of posts), and he certainly didn’t let me down. I thought that he and Sophia Loren had pretty good chemistry, which helped offset some of the lesser material here (which was plentiful, as the film stayed well within romantic comedy territory, and the film’s ending seemed to wrap up a little too quickly, in my opinion). I’ve seen it said by numerous others that the film has three stars, with the third (after Clark and Sophia) being Italy itself, and I can’t deny that this is indeed true. A good part of the fun here is seeing a lot of the beautiful Italian scenery (circa 1960). I would also say that Vittorio De Sica as the lawyer Mario Vitale adds some fun, in between his attempted matchmaking, plus his court monologue (spoken mostly in Italian), which almost seems to favor his opponent (instead of his own client!), even if he does have his sexist moment obviously ogling Lucia’s (Sophia Loren) legs. Again, the story isn’t really the film’s strongest point (and quite frankly, I’m not too thrilled with Carlo Angeleti’s performance as the kid Nando, either), but the whole thing was certainly enough fun that I would be glad to see it again. Clark Gable was definitely getting older and wasn’t at his best, but he’s still good enough to make it worth recommending (and his co-star Sophia Loren, along with the scenery, adds to the appeal)!

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2022) with…It Started In Naples (1960)

This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Paramount Pictures. As I said, I hadn’t seen the film before (at least, not before the new Blu-ray), so I don’t know how it looked before. Reading comments on what others have said, there was a new transfer made between the film’s DVD release and the recent Blu-ray. The transfer on the new Blu-ray looks absolutely gorgeous! There really isn’t any dust, dirt or other debris marring the picture, and the detail is fantastic! It really show off the Italian scenery (not to mention the cast), which to my mind makes this Blu-ray worthwhile for those interested in the movie!

Film Length: 1 hour, 40 minutes

My Rating: 7/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Run Silent, Run Deep (1958)Clark Gable

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you). If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

“Star Of The Month (August 2022)” Featuring Audrey Hepburn in… Paris When It Sizzles (1964)

We’re back for the second and final post on an Audrey Hepburn film (my Star Of The Month for August 2022). This time, it’s her 1964 film Paris When It Sizzles, also starring William Holden!

Coming Up Shorts! with… The Bird Who Came To Dinner (1961)

(available on Blu-ray as part of The Woody Woodpecker Screwball Collection from Universal Studios)

(Length: 6 minutes, 17 seconds)

Woody Woodpecker thinks he’s got it made when he poses as a toy woodpecker that a wealthy woman buys for her son. However, the son is very abusive towards all his toys, and intends to “play” the same way with his new toy! This one was entertaining, giving Woody a villain to fight against (one that seems very much to be the predecessor to Sid from the first Toy Story). It takes a moment for Woody to start fighting back, but it feels worthwhile watching the son get what’s coming to him. Not one of the best Woody Woodpecker cartoons, but it certainly did its job in providing a few good laughs.

And Now For The Main Feature…

Movie producer Alexander Meyerheim (Noël Coward) is currently awaiting the screenplay for his next movie. His screenwriter, Richard Benson (William Holden) has assured him that the script for the movie, currently titled The Girl Who Stole The Eiffel Tower, is almost finished. Alexander is suspicious of that claim, and has decided to visit Richard in Paris to see for himself. Since Richard hasn’t really written it yet (and only has two days to get it done), he hires a secretary, Gabrielle Simpson (Audrey Hepburn), to move in for those two days and help him finish it. On the first day, there are several starts and stops as Richard tries to piece together his ideas, but things go out of control when Gabrielle gets a little drunk and has to call it a night. Inspired by Gabrielle, Richard writes up most of a screenplay, and shares it with her the next day. The two then figure out where to go from there. As they write the screenplay, Richard and Gabrielle fall for each other, but he resists the idea strongly, having been through several failed marriages already. Will the two end up together movie-style when they finish, or will his past (and current issues) come between them?

There was a lot of behind-the-scenes drama in the making of Paris When It Sizzles (which was based on an earlier 1952 French film called La fête à Henriette), with some of those problems being started nearly a decade earlier. After enjoying some early success in her film career with Roman Holiday (1953), Audrey Hepburn had followed that up with the 1954 film Sabrina. During the making of that film, Audrey had an affair with her co-star, William Holden. The affair ended after the film wrapped, although it’s reported that the married William still carried a torch for Audrey. He also had a bit of a drinking problem that had been hurting his career for some time, and it really worsened during Paris When It Sizzles (which was indeed filmed in Paris). It got so bad that director Richard Quine rented a place next to William to help keep him in check. That wasn’t quite enough, and the director had to convince William to undergo treatment for one week. During that time, Tony Curtis was brought in for a quick appearance. Audrey herself was even guilty of causing some trouble, getting the original cinematographer Claude Renoir fired when she didn’t like how the dailies were turning out. In spite of that, Claude was helpful in getting Charles Lang (who had done Sabrina) to be his replacement. Filming was completed in late 1962, but when the Paramount executives saw it, they felt it was unreleasable and held it back until 1964 (which still wasn’t enough for audiences or critics, as the film didn’t do as well as originally hoped).

This does seem to be one of those films that you either love or you hate, and, after finally seeing it for the first time, I would say that I fall into the “love it!” group. The movie is quite enjoyable! Sure, it relies on a lot of romantic comedy clichés, but at the same time, it knows that, which is part of the fun! I know I enjoyed the various “false starts” in them writing the script, and I particularly had a few good laughs out of when the story got derailed completely at the end of the first day, with Richard Benson’s (William Holden) alter ego all of a sudden becoming Dracula and engaging in a madcap chase after Gabrielle’s (Audrey Hepburn) alter ego, in a sequence that was originally intended to be longer but had to be cut short when William Holden got injured in a car crash with one week left to film (although I personally think the shorter length made it better). Tony Curtis’ appearance in the “film-within-a-film” is also entertaining, especially the way that his character is talked about like he was actually a minor character in a movie. And the film’s ending (of Paris When It Sizzles, not the “film-within-a-film”), with all the requisite tropes being discussed by the characters as they engage in them was quite entertaining! And, the movie even threw in a few Easter Eggs referencing Audrey’s films, like Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961) and My Fair Lady (1964) (although, to be fair, I don’t know how much the reference to My Fair Lady was intentional, since Paris When It Sizzles was filmed BEFORE she filmed Charade but released after it, and I don’t know when she was cast in My Fair Lady, but it’s still fun just the same). I know not everybody will enjoy this movie, but I did! So, I definitely would suggest giving this meta-comedy a chance!

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2021) with… Paris When It Sizzles (1964)

This movie is available on Blu-ray either individually or as part of the Audrey Hepburn 7-Movie Collection from Paramount Pictures. My best guess is that it uses the same transfer from the earlier DVD. As a result, the picture looks pretty decent (although probably not *quite* as good on bigger and better screens). There really isn’t much in the way of visible damage, so, while this doesn’t look as good as it could, it’s still probably the best that can be hoped for at the moment (short of a HUGE surge in popularity that would result in them doing right by it).

Film Length: 1 hour, 50 minutes

My Rating: 9/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Forever Female (1953) – William Holden

Charade (1963)Audrey HepburnMy Fair Lady (1964)

Operation Petticoat (1959) – Tony Curtis

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you). If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2021) with… The Tender Trap (1955)

We’re back for more fun, and today’s movie is none other than the 1955 romantic comedy The Tender Trap, starring Frank Sinatra, Debbie Reynolds, David Wayne and Celeste Holm!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Bouncing Babies (1929)

(available on Blu-ray as part of The Little Rascals: The ClassicFlix Restorations, Volume 1 (1929-1930) from ClassicFlix)

(Length: 20 minutes, 45 seconds)

Wheezer (Bobby Hutchins) is sore because his baby brother is getting all the attention, and wants to send the baby “back to heaven.” While Wheezer’s complaints about being overlooked might run a little too long, this one was a fun short. Some memorable moments were Wheezer’s attempts to make pancakes using plaster ingredients, getting dressed with Petey’s help, and being chased by the rest of the gang in their Halloween costumes. The previous short was better overall, but this one was still fun, and I continue to look forward to watching more of the series!

And Now For The Main Feature…

New York-based theatrical agent Charlie Reader (Frank Sinatra) is given a surprise visit by his old childhood friend, Joe McCall (David Wayne). The married Joe confesses to Charlie that he is currently taking a “vacation” from his wife, and is shocked at the parade of women who come to visit Charlie, including his date for that night, violinist Sylvia Crewes (Celeste Holm). The next day, Charlie goes to see an audition for a new client of his, Julie Gillis (Debbie Reynolds). She gets the part, and he invites her to join Joe, Sylvia and himself for coffee. While there, she tells them all about her big plans to get married and raise a family (even though she hasn’t met the right man yet). Charlie, who is infatuated with her, invites her out for dinner, but she turns him down, as she doesn’t think he’s “husband material.” Her life plans cause trouble for Charlie, as she refuses to sign a run of the play contract (mainly because she has a set date she plans to get married, even though she is still single) and she also misses rehearsals once to go to a homemaking show as she tries to continue making her future plans (and Charlie has to chase her down). When Charlie sits in a chair for her at the homemaking show, and later, when he shows her a better way to sing her song in the play, she starts considering going out with him. In the process, Joe starts going out with Sylvia (since, in going out with Julie, Charlie stood Sylvia up for a date that first night). One night, Julie complains about the fact that they always do what Charlie wants, and never what she wants to do. When he calls her bluff and asks her what she wants to do, she decides to go along with what he had previously planned. Later that evening, when he learns that her folks aren’t home, he decides to take her there for some privacy. Julie tries to resist his charms, but slowly starts to give in to him. She stops only when she finds a bulge in his pocket. No, it’s not what you think (so get your mind out of the gutter!), as what she finds is a stack of messages from all his girlfriends that he had hastily picked up (when she arrived at his apartment earlier to pick him up). Furious, she demands he give up all his other girlfriends, since she feels that he is the one she wants to marry. When Charlie states his lack of interest in getting married, Julie kicks him out. Returning to his own apartment, Charlie tries to ask some of his other girlfriends out, but they all turn him down, stating that they are going out with somebody else. An amused Joe is happy to see Charlie getting his comeuppance, and tells him off for how he has treated Sylvia. Later, when Sylvia comes by, Charlie shocks everybody by proposing to her (and she says yes). While there is a feeling of impending disaster in the room, Charlie decides to celebrate their engagement by throwing a party for their friends. While everybody else goes to get some supplies for the party, Charlie, realizing his mistake, tries to go see Julie and apologize. He doesn’t have to go far, as she quickly shows up in a cab, and the two of them make up (and decide to get married). When Charlie sees some of his friends coming, he sends Julie home (under the pretext of her having early rehearsals the next day) and joins his friends at the party. The next morning is filled with hangovers and a messy apartment to be cleaned. What’s worse, both Julie and Sylvia show up and learn about each other’s “engagement” to Charlie. This results in Julie leaving Charlie, and Sylvia deciding not to “settle” for Charlie. With Joe now planning to return home to his wife and family, Charlie finds himself alone. Can he repair his relationship with Julie, or is he going to stay alone?

Around the time he made the film musical On The Town for MGM, Frank’s career was on a downturn. His next two films after On The Town were both made for different studios, and both failed to make a mark at the box office. Then, he got himself into From Here To Eternity, winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor and reviving his film career. After continuing to make a few big films for other studios, Frank returned to MGM for the first time in six years to make The Tender Trap. This movie (which was based on a 1954 play of the same name by Max Shulman and Robert Paul Smith) provided him with the Oscar-nominated song “(Love Is) The Tender Trap,” which would become one of his big hits.

I’ve had the opportunity to see this film several times, and it’s one I’ve enjoyed every time that I’ve seen it. Given his past popularity with the likes of the bobbysoxers, Frank (as Charlie) being a ladies’ man is certainly a fitting role, and he handles it quite well. Debbie Reynolds’ character isn’t exactly a wonderful person, not with her plans being set in stone and only needing to find a man to make them “complete,” but she handles the limitations of the role as well as one could hope. David Wayne is fun as Charlie’s buddy Joe, who is a little more grounded and realizes what Charlie’s womanizing is doing to the gals he is going with. It’s hard not to be amused along with him when Charlie’s “relationships” come crashing down around him. As Sylvia, Celeste Holm certainly gains our sympathies, as she feels herself getting too old to be noticed by anybody, which is why she’s going with Charlie, and yet, Joe helps her realize her own worth. This is not necessarily the best movie ever made, but it provides a nice, enjoyable diversion every now and then. I know I get a few good laughs out of it, and the title tune is indeed a fun song! I would say that this one is worth recommending for some simple fun!

This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Warner Archive Collection. The Blu-ray uses an HD Master sourced from a 4k scan of the original camera negative. As usual for Warner Archive releases, this movie looks quite good, with the colors looking right, and the detail showing up well. The picture has been cleaned up of all dirt and debris, and, as usual, this is the best way to see this movie!

Film Length: 1 hour, 51 minutes

My Rating: 8/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Guys And Dolls (1955)Frank SinatraHigh Society (1956)

Hit The Deck (1955) – Debbie Reynolds – Tammy And The Bachelor (1957)

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you). If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

TFTMM 2020 & WOIANRA 2018 on… Tammy And The Bachelor (1957)

Now we have another fun movie, the 1957 classic Tammy And The Bachelor starring Debbie Reynolds, Leslie Nielsen and Walter Brennan.

Coming Up Shorts! with… Tar With A Star (1949)

(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of Popeye The Sailor: The 1940s Volume 3 from Warner Archive Collection)

Disclaimer: On the disc case, it is noted that the set is intended for the adult collector, which is because these shorts were made at a time when a lot of racist and sexist stereotypes were prevalent. All I’m trying to say is, parents, be careful about just sticking these on for your kids.

(Length: 6 minutes, 46 seconds)

Popeye becomes sheriff of a western town, until Wild Bill Bluto shows up. Yes, it’s still Popeye fighting Bluto over Olive, but at least this time, it takes a few minutes for Bluto to show up, as Popeye cleans up the town. A few different gags related to the situation, which make it fun. One of the better shorts from this group, as I enjoyed it very much!

And Now For The Main Feature…

When Peter Brent (Leslie Nielsen) crashes in a Louisiana swamp, he is rescued by preacher John Dinwitty (Walter Brennan) and his granddaughter, Tambrey “Tammy” Tyree (Debbie Reynolds). Peter is in bad shape, but Tammy helps nurse him back to health. After he leaves, Tammy’s grandfather is arrested for bootlegging, and he sends her off to stay with Peter and his family. Walking with her goat, Nan, she makes it to Brentwood Hall, where she falls asleep from exhaustion. Peter and his family, which includes his father, Professor Brent (Sidney Blackmer), his mother (Fay Wray) and his aunt Rennie (Mildred Natwick) take her in. Peter, much to his family’s consternation, is trying to grow tomatoes in an attempt to make the farm self-sustaining again, while his mother is preparing for Pilgrimage Week to show tourists what things were like in the Old South. Tammy disturbs them with her plain ways and her refusal to keep quiet. She has fallen in love with Peter, but has competition from his girlfriend, Barbara (Mala Powers). Peter’s aunt Rennie likes Tammy, however, and she encourages Tammy to stay on and help Peter out.

Tammy And The Bachelor, which started a movie franchise, owed much of its success to the title tune! The movie was based on the novel Tammy Out Of Time by Cid Ricketts Sumner, but didn’t start out as much of a success at the box office. The title tune, written by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston, was recorded by the Ames Brothers for the opening credits, and by Debbie Reynolds, who sang it partway through the film. Unlike the movie’s slow start at the box office, Debbie’s record took off. The executives at Universal Studios pulled the movie from theaters, giving the song a chance to catch on, and then reissued the film to great success! A sequel was planned, but by the time they got to it nearly four years later, Debbie Reynolds (about 25 playing a 17-year-old for Tammy And The Bachelor) was about thirty and very busy, so they recast the role of Tammy with Sandra Dee for the next two movies, before casting Debbie Watson for the one season TV series (with four episodes cobbled together for one last movie).

In spite of the fact she was already leaning a little too old for the part, I still say that Debbie Reynolds is what makes this movie work so well! I love watching how she is able to tell others what she thinks most of the time, as her observations tend to be correct. Of course, she is still a bit naive, and that makes for some fun when she says some things that the adults mis-interpret as innuendo! And I know I don’t mind the idea of just sitting and listening to her telling her story when all the tourists are listening during Pilgrimage Week! Now, there are some things about this that don’t work, such as how some of the characters make light of slavery, whether it be Aunt Rennie claiming some of her paintings were done by slaves in an attempt to sell them, or making their black servant wear a slave bandanna (although, to be fair, the character doesn’t like it, and Debbie’s Tammy doesn’t like the look either). Still, I’ve enjoyed seeing this movie multiple times, and it’s one I have no trouble recommending!

This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Universal Studios.

Film Length: 1 hour, 29 minutes

My Rating: 10/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

The Tender Trap (1955) – Debbie Reynolds – It Started With A Kiss (1959)

The Opposite Sex (1956) – Leslie Nielsen

To Have And Have Not (1944) – Walter Brennan

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you). If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2019) with… Professional Sweetheart (1933)

And here we are for another Ginger Rogers movie, this time the 1933 comedy Professional Sweetheart, also starring Norman Foster, Zasu Pitts, Frank McHugh, Allen Jenkins and Gregory Ratoff.

Coming Up Shorts! with… The Fistic Mystic (1946)

(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of Popeye The Sailor: The 1940s Volume 2 from Warner Archive Collection)

Disclaimer: On the disc case, it is noted that the set is intended for the adult collector, which is because these shorts were made at a time when a lot of racist and sexist stereotypes were prevalent. All I’m trying to say is, parents, be careful about just sticking these on for your kids.

(Length: 6 minutes, 43 seconds)

Popeye and Olive come to Badgag, where they run into “Bourgeois” Bluto. As usual, Popeye and Bluto are fighting over Olive, this time in a Mid-East setting. Olive does have a bit more to do, especially as she helps Popeye get his spinach. The gags are fun here, with Popeye and Bluto trying to one-up each other (like always)! While Harry Welch still takes some getting used to as Popeye’s voice, he does decently enough here. Overall, a very fun short that I enjoyed seeing!

And Now For The Main Feature…

Popular radio star Glory Eden (Ginger Rogers), known as the “Purity Girl,” is on the verge of signing a new contract with her sponsor, the Ippsie Wippsie Wash Cloth Company, owned by Sam Ipswich (Gregory Ratoff). However, she really doesn’t want to sign, as she is less than thrilled with the “morals clause,” with her current contract, which states that, as the “Purity Girl,” she can’t eat what she wants, dress how she wants, wear makeup, go out to nightclubs or speakeasies, etc. After some arguing, she is able to at least convince them she should have a shot at a relationship with a man, and they end up picking a letter from one of her fans, Jim Davy (Norman Foster) from Kentucky. They bring him there, and while the men from the company are trying to plan the marriage, their press agent Speed Dennis (Frank McHugh) has to nudge Jim into proposing since he hadn’t had time alone with Glory. Meanwhile, rival company Kelsey Dish Rag owner Tim Kelsey (Edgar Kennedy) wants to sign up Glory for his company, and sends his man O’Connor (Allen Jenkins) to try and get her to sign. O’Connor manages to convince Jim (and then Glory) not to sign with Ipswich, offering them a honeymoon in Atlantic City. However, after the wedding ceremony is aired on the radio for the Ippsie Wippsie Hour, Jim discovers that O’Connor wanted Glory to sign a five-year contract with Kelsey and that the whole thing in bringing him up there was essentially a gag. Jim secretly brings Glory back to his home in Kentucky in an attempt to see if she can live with all the “simple things” she claimed she wanted.

In what was to be her first film at RKO, Ginger Rogers was signed to a three-film deal. The movie was written by former newswoman Maurine Dallas Watkins, who had famously written the play Chicago, which Ginger would do a version of onscreen with Roxie Hart nearly a decade later. Ginger’s only complaint with Professional Sweetheart (and one most of us fans would probably have, too) is that she was, for the only time in her career, dubbed for the singing parts. Otherwise, the movie was well-received, enough so that later that year, she was offered a better seven year contract, during which time she would famously be paired with Fred Astaire and become a bigger star.

Of course, this movie was made before the Code was firmly enforced, and boy, you can definitely tell it is a pre-Code! From some of the frank (for the time) discussions of sex, an openly gay character, and Ginger parading around at times in her underwear (admittedly still modest by our modern standards), it definitely would have been a far different film if it had been released a few years later! I very much had fun with this movie, as it was a complete surprise, and one I mainly tried out because of Ginger. It was very much worth it, not just for her but also for a lot of the character actors, including Sterling Holloway (the voice of Winnie The Pooh) as one of the reporters! I do admit, I’m not thrilled with Ginger being dubbed (then again, I don’t really care for the song, so there is that), and the relationship between Glory and Jim is kind of forced, especially since we’re supposed to believe they love each other, even though they don’t really spend much time together alone until Jim is pushed into proposing. Still, I had enough fun with this movie that I have no trouble whatsoever in recommending a fun movie that in some ways still manages to be relevant even today!

This movie is available on DVD from Warner Archive Collection.

Film Length: 1 hour, 13 minutes

My Rating: 9/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Gold Diggers Of 1933 (1933)Ginger RogersUpper World (1934)

Gold Diggers Of 1933 (1933) – Sterling Holloway – Dancing Lady (1933)

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you). If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2019) with… In Person (1935)

We’re back for some more fun with the 1935 Ginger Rogers movie In Person, also starring George Brent and Alan Mowbray!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Rocket To Mars (1946)

(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of Popeye The Sailor: The 1940s Volume 2 from Warner Archive Collection)

Disclaimer: On the disc case, it is noted that the set is intended for the adult collector, which is because these shorts were made at a time when a lot of racist and sexist stereotypes were prevalent. All I’m trying to say is, parents, be careful about just sticking these on for your kids.

(Length: 6 minutes, 35 seconds)

While touring a museum, Popeye and Olive accidentally start a rocket that takes Popeye to Mars. Fun little cartoon, possibly one of the first to feature an alien invasion (or so I’ve read). Admittedly, Olive’s presence is so quick, you almost wonder why they bothered. The fighting between Popeye and the Martian Bluto (and his troops), especially after Popeye has his spinach, is fun as always (even if it is a little one-sided). Obviously, realism goes down the drain here, but that’s the fun, and I definitely enjoyed this cartoon!

And Now For The Main Feature…

After being mobbed by a group of unruly fans, movie star Carol Corliss (Ginger Rogers) developed a fear of crowds and people. Wearing a disguise of a wig, glasses, buck teeth and a veil, she tries to go back out under the guise of “Clara Colfax,” with limited success. On one attempted outing, she is nearly in an accident, but is helped by Emory Muir (George Brent). When she later overhears him talking with his uncle Judge Thaddeus Parks (Grant Mitchell) about going to a mountain retreat, she tries to get in on the idea. Her psychiatrist, Dr. Aaron Sylvester (Samuel S. Hinds), a friend of the judge, reluctantly signs off on the idea, but doesn’t tell Emory who “Clara” really is. When they arrive, Emory lets “Clara” stay in the cabin by herself, while he goes to a nearby shack. In the morning, while bird-watching, he spies Carol swimming in the lake, and follows her wet footprints back to the cabin. Going into town for an errand, he finds a few pictures of Carol Corliss in the magazines and realizes who she is. Upon returning to the cabin, he finds that Carol has abandoned her disguise and decides to tell him who she is. He fakes a lack of knowledge of Carol Corliss, and has her work around the cabin, doing cleaning and cooking chores instead of letting her sit around doing nothing. As Carol tries to convince him of the truth, she starts getting through her fear, even taking him to a local screening of one of her movies, where she has to deal with another mob of fans. There, she also runs into her co-star, Jay Holmes (Alan Mowbray), who has come after her to bring her back to Hollywood. Emory threatens to leave, but Carol manages to con the local sheriff into forcing a marriage between the two. However, the sheriff catches Jay instead, resulting in some confusion until Emory shows up, and the two are reluctantly married, with plans to divorce before Carol goes back to Hollywood.

Based on a novel by Samuel Hopkins Adams (who wrote It Happened One Night), the movie was originally conceived as a potential Astaire-Rogers film. Fred Astaire turned it down, but Ginger decided in favor of it, and was joined by others who had worked on the Astaire-Rogers films, including director William A. Seiter (who had directed the 1935 Roberta), regular writer Allan Scott, choreographer Hermes Pan and lyricist Dorothy Fields. The new music was written by Oscar Levant. Honestly, the Astaire-Rogers connection makes it a bit more fun, with Easter Eggs such as the song “Lovely To Look At” playing on the radio when they first get to the cabin, or Alan Mowbray’s line of “I’ve co-starred in every picture that Carol Corliss has ever made” (which probably fit Ginger better, as she had had a movie career apart from Fred, but, outside of his small debut in Dancing Lady, she had co-starred with him in every movie he had done up to that point).

Now, I had first heard of the movie when I read the book Astaire And Rogers by Edward Gallafent most of fifteen years ago. According to that book, it was said to be a difficult movie to find, so when I found it listed on the schedule for the Turner Classic Movies channel a few years later, I jumped at the chance and recorded it on my DVR. I ended up enjoying it very much! With only three new songs, it really barely qualified as a musical (especially since the first song doesn’t really happen until more than halfway into the movie), but they were still fun! Admittedly, the song “Don’t Mention Love To Me,” sung by Ginger for the “movie-within-a-movie,” was rather forgettable. However, the song “Got A New Lease On Life” was fun, giving Ginger a chance to dance around the cabin while she was still preparing the food (and if I have any complaints about that one, it’s that the dance was too short). But I REALLY enjoyed the tune “Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind,” which starts with her walking on a revolving bar while she sings, before getting off to dance with the male chorus. While her dancing may not be as polished as it would be when she danced with Fred Astaire, it’s still a fun dance number! I do admit to having mixed feelings about George Brent’s character. On the one hand, Ginger’s character is a bit selfish and too proud to do work to start out, but then again, I do feel that his thing of making her do domestic chores is pushing it a little. Still, I will readily admit to enjoying this movie, and I very heartily recommend it!

So, as you can imagine, after seeing it that first time, I very patiently waited for this movie to be released on DVD, and finally, the Warner Archive Collection announced it for release on DVD on March 19, 2019, much to my happiness (and it certainly took long enough to come out)! Now, do I wish it could have been given a full restoration and released on Blu-ray? Yes. But I’m no fool. As I said before, this movie has been described as rare and hard to see, which makes me question what shape the film elements might be in or what’s available, and, since the movie has been (to quote my favorite song from this movie) “out of sight and out of mind,” it certainly wasn’t likely to be popular enough to warrant what might be a costly restoration, so I’m definitely glad to have it on disc, so that it is that much easier to see!

Film Length: 1 hour, 27 minutes

My Rating: 10/10

*ranked #5 in Top 10 Movies Watched In 2020

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Top Hat (1935)Ginger RogersFollow The Fleet (1936)

42nd Street (1933) – George Brent – Jezebel (1938)

Alan Mowbray – Rose-Marie (1936)

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Thoughts From The Music(al) Man (2020) on… Lucky Partners (1940)

We’re back for the 1940 movie Lucky Partners starring Ronald Colman and Ginger Rogers.

As two strangers passing on the street, David Grant (Ronald Colman) randomly wishes Jean Newton (Ginger Rogers) “good luck” as she is out delivering some books. When the customer just randomly gives her a fancy dress, Jean starts thinking, and decides to go in on a sweepstakes ticket with David, especially after she finds him working across the street from her bookshop. He agrees to go in with her, on one condition: that, if they win, they use the money to go on a trip together (or, as he calls it, a honeymoon). Reluctant, she brings in her fiance Freddie Harper (Jack Carson), who, after talking with David, agrees she should do it. Their ticket is picked, but they end up losing. However, Freddie had sold Jean’s half of the ticket, and she decided to give some of the money to David. He asks if she is still willing to go on that trip (even though it wouldn’t be quite as much as if they had actually won the sweepstakes), as long as they go as “brother and sister,” and she agrees. They go to Niagara Falls, where they check into a hotel. When Freddie finds out, he comes traveling after them. When David kisses Jean, he runs out on her. He is caught by the police driving her car, and she and Freddie are also arrested. When they go before the judge (Harry Davenport), it comes out that David’s real name is Paul Knight Somerset, and he is a famous painter.

Ronald Colman had been in a few successful movies and had formed his own production company in the hopes of trying to keep things going. At the time, Lucky Partners was one of a handful of scripts he had to work with. Ginger Rogers wanted to work with Ronald Colman, so she jumped at the chance to do this film, turning down the role of Hildy Johnson in His Girl Friday. They were joined by Jack Carson, who was a rising star after having been an extra in a few of Ginger’s earlier films.

My own opinion of this movie is that it is a fun one, with many memorable moments! There’s definitely some fun going on with the hotel changing their rooms for them (ultimately paying off when Jack Carson’s character tries to sneak into the wrong room). And, speaking of Jack Carson, while his character is definitely obnoxious, it’s still fun to see him being an idiot, and having the judge call him out on it in the trial. And, as to that trial, that is definitely one of the best parts of the movie, as the comedy ramps up a little more. Now, it doesn’t quite get as ridiculous as the trial in Ginger’s movie Roxie Hart a few years later, but it’s still just a lot of fun, especially with the lovable Henry Davenport as the judge! While not an absolutely great movie, it’s still a lot of fun, and one I definitely recommend!

This movie is available on DVD from Warner Archive Collection.

Film Length: 1 hour, 39 minutes

My Rating: 9/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Fifth Avenue Girl (1939)Ginger RogersKitty Foyle (1940)

Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (1939) – Jack Carson – Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943)

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you). If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

An Old-Fashioned Christmas Movie On The Farm (2019) with… An Affair To Remember (1957)

The year: 1957.  The movie: An Affair To Remember.  The stars: Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr.

In this movie, Cary Grant plays Nickie Ferrante, a well-known playboy who has become engaged to a rich heiress. Taking a boat to New York from Europe, he meets Terri McKay (Deborah Kerr), a nightclub singer on her way home to her boyfriend.  They end up falling for each other, but they try to resist it.   It becomes a lot harder when Nickie brings her along when he visits his grandmother.  When they get back on the ship, they make a pact to meet again in six months on the top of the Empire State Building.  In the meantime, they both try to deal with their current relationships, and Nickie tries to find a way to earn a living from his paintings.   However, tragedy strikes on the day they were supposed to meet.

I would say this movie kind of qualifies as a Christmas movie.  The end of the movie takes place around Christmastime, with Deborah Kerr’s Terri helping a group of children who are preparing for a Christmas concert.  Of course, we also see Cary Grant’s Nickie giving Terri the gift of a shawl from his grandmother.  To say much more would spoil the ending (although, for this type of movie, the idea of both Nickie and Terri getting together is a foregone conclusion).

I am coming off my first viewing of this movie, but I enjoyed it very much.  The movie is apparently the remake of the 1939 film Love Affair, also directed by Leo McCarey. Apparently, he tended to give his actors room to improvise, and some of those improvisations would end up making their way into the movie. All I know is that what they did for this movie worked. The movie can be funny. It can be sad. It can be romantic. Whatever the mood they go for, you can feel it! I haven’t seen the original version, but for my money, this one is absolutely wonderful, and I would highly recommend it!

This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Twentieth Century Fox.

Film Length: 1 hour, 55 minutes

My Rating: 10/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Room For One More (1952)Cary GrantOperation Petticoat (1959)