Thursday, April 28, 2011


In his photos,
I see not a Latin lover,
not an Arab or a sheik --
but a gentle, dark-eyed man,
beautiful, intelligent,
called by Hollywood and heaven
(some consider them the same)...

Madre de Dios,
you left your image on his heart,
A cloakful of roses
for the winter of his life.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Blonde Crazy (1931)

Welcome!  It's time for Cooking with Flappers and Flickers!  Today's recipe:

Pre-Code Perfection

Aprons on?  Okay, let's begin.  Take one wiry, winsome tough guy, who knows all the angles (and loves all the curves)...

...then add one big-eyed beauty with a smart mouth (and a slap to match)...

Mix well with a snappy plot, witty dialogue and fast-paced direction.  Set on HIGH for 79 minutes, and you will get:

Man, do those two have chemistry!  I can see why they were paired up so often.  They make the most of a crackling script about the sordid life of con men.  It's sharp, it's funny, and although a sappy ending robs it of some of its steam, it's still a textbook example of what makes Blondell, Cagney, and early 30s movies so great.  I had so much fun with this one!  Highly recommended.

I give this one: 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Denizen of the Lost City

little princess
patchwork girl
your life was like
a tilt-a-whirl
brazen bullet
speeding star
flying faster
than your car
a household name
we all should know
but yours got buried
in the snow

Juanita Hansen

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Poor Little Rich Girl (1917)

To watch Mary Pickford is to be instantly taken by her.  You enter a world where it is perfectly feasible for a 24-year-old to play a child, and what's more -- she's more charmingly childlike than the actual children in the film.

In one of her best-loved roles, Pickford plays Gwendolyn, the girl with everything anyone could ever want...except love and companionship.  She longingly gazes at the children playing outside and struggles for the attentions of her Wall Street father and social butterfly mother.  Gwen gets herself in more than one scrape, but always her cheery innocence saves her from real trouble.  When difficulties befall the family - and a desperate situation threatens Gwen - will they be able to pull together and learn to treasure what really matters?

It's a Pickford picture, so you can probaby guess the answer.

The film never tries to be anything but a sweet little melodrama, and this honesty of approach seems almost fresh through the veil of ninety years.  Sure, it's treacly ("why do my to-morrows never come?") but due to its simplicity, it works

Amazingly, this was my first time watching Mary in her prime; previously I'd only seen her in Coquette (not the best way to start).  I now can see why she was America's Sweetheart.  Her eyes, her smile, every move of her hand is magic.  Like Clara Bow, she commands the screen, but in a gentle, less kinetic way (even through some very cute foot-stomping tantrums).  I am very much looking forward to the rest of her early work.

I give this one: 

Chris Edwards of the sublime Silent Volume reviewed this, too.  Read it here.