Thursday, August 27, 2009

Trouble in Paradise (1932)

I enjoyed this picture! Sophisticated, funny, smart, with terrific performances by everyone - including the glamorous Kay Francis. The camerawork was fantastic - Lubitsch's direction was years ahead of its time! The person I particularly liked, however, was Miriam Hopkins. I've never had the pleasure to see her work before, and she was so much fun to watch as a pickpocket helping thief and con-man Herbert Marshall with his plan to scam a rich woman (Francis). I'm sorry this is the only picture of hers I managed to catch during her "salute" day.

I give this one:

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Young Fellow

I chose a French form this time - seemed right for the former Marquise de la Falaise.

Glamorous, yet plain,
the perfect combination
to describe the red carnation
she often would obtain;
her talent ruled the stars' domain,
her face a celebration -
glamorous, yet plain,
the perfect combination.

Strength, determination
even through her fear and pain;
as Queen of Silents, she will reign
in endless celebration.
Glamorous, yet plain,
the perfect combination.

Gloria Swanson

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Incentive of Chivalry

In honor of Valentino's heritage, I chose a uniquely Italian stanza form called "terza rima". The end result was a sort of sonnet, which I hope you enjoy. The title comes from a line he wrote in his own poetry collection, Daydreams.

He leaned back, languidly, against the door,
His hands played with an unlit cigarette;
Too shy to take his gaze off of the floor,
Afraid of just whose eyes he might have met.
But when he danced! His body came alive
With heat and light - no other dancer yet
Could match Rodolfo. When the time had come
For him to leave and grace the silver screen,
As naturally as dance he would become
The Sheik or playboy focal to that scene
While hiding his true self in secrecy.
Through everything, his soul remained pristine,
The "Great Lover" purely a fantasy -
That same shy dancer in reality.

Rudolph Valentino

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Red Dust (1932)

Oh man, I've wanted to get my hands on this one for a while! Thanks TCM!

Most of you know how much I love Jean Harlow. For the new folks, I absolutely adore her. To be able to watch what's considered one of her seminal performances was heaven! I admit, I wasn't blown over by the movie - it seemed a bit slow in spots - but all the glorious pre-Codeyness was there: subtle sex jokes, smoking, drinking, general randiness. Jean glitters as a hard-boiled "lady of the night", caught between a plantation manager (Clark Gable) and the married woman he loves (Mary Astor). The cast was excellent - I like the early rough-and-tumble Gable. It's fun for those of us brought up on his usual bemused performances a la "Gone With the Wind". But the real treat was gazing on Harlow, looking (in my opinion) the best she ever would in her life, tough yet vulnerable at the same time. She and Gable have delicious chemistry as well; I could see why they were paired together multiple times.

I give this one:

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Lloyd Double Bill!

For Heaven's Sake (1926)

I always have a harder time liking the pictures where Harold starts out unsympathetic. That immediate connection is lost. Regardless, the end result is deft and funny, although not one of my favorites. Lloyd plays a wealthy (and rather clueless) gentleman who unwittingly winds up helping a minister's beautiful daughter, played by Jobyna Ralston (who is growing on me), and eventually the entire church mision. The "heavies" steal the picture out from under Harold; indeed, the biggest laughs came during the Drunk Roundup sequence. Noah Young was brilliant as The Roughneck!

I give this one:

The Kid Brother (1927)

I'm still all warm and fuzzy over this one! Reminded me of my favorite Lloyd picture, Grandma's Boy. Harold Hickory is the youngest and weakest of Sherrif Hickory's three boys. After being treated as the runt of the litter, being forced to do "women's work", an opportunity arises for him to become the victor! Will his brains succeed over brawn? Will he win over the lovely gypsy girl (Jobyna Ralston)? Will he ever get down from that tree? This is a charming and very funny picture and I highly recommend it, as did Lloyd - it was one of his personal favorites.

I give this one:

Friday, August 7, 2009

Harold's Delight

Before I get started, I would like to warmly thank Matthew Coniam of Carfax Abbey for calling this blog a Great Read! I'm incredibly honored!

Now, the latest poem, which for some reason the Muse sent in the style of old-school rap. *laughs*

no one was better
playing the go-getter
Lloyd showed everyone how it was done

he chased every dream
followed every moonbeam
but he never forgot to have fun

alongside Hal Roach
(his good friend and his coach)
he made one-reelers to some acclaim

first as Lonesome Luke
then one day on a fluke -
he wore glasses and blasted to fame

when folks think funny
i'll bet you my money
not many folks know him from the past

but if not his name
they've all seen him the same -
hanging off the clock in "Safety Last!"

Harold Lloyd