ANNOUNCING THE SECOND REMEMBERING BARBARA STANWYCK BLOGATHON

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Life has been that hectic lately that I’ve been noticeably absent from my blog, but despite all this craziness, I wanted to at least announce another blogathon before the year closes. After mulling over who to honor, I’ve decided to echo back to the past by paying tribute to a consummate individual and an extremely versatile actress who was given the blogathon treatment in January 2016. Her name as known the world over is Barbara Stanwyck or most affectionately as “Missy”.

Most of you bloggers would remember the Barbara Stanwyck Blogathon that I hosted back in January 2016 to commemorate the anniversary of the phenomenal actresses passing. Next year I’ve decided to do it again, but this time I’ve got the wonderful Maddy from Maddy Loves Her Classic Films as my co-host.

Barbara Stanwyck was one of those actresses who I didn’t discover straight away, but once I was finally given a glimpse into the window of her genius, she instantly became a favorite of mine. I soon learned that behind that tough and indomitable exterior was an amiable human being that possessed a unique kind of versatility that simply cannot be surpassed. The sad thing is that despite the depths of her talents, Barbara never received an Academy Award even though she was nominated four times. She did however attain the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987 for her illustrious contribution to motion pictures, which she so strongly deserved.

It is because of her overlooked contribution to the entertainment industry that Maddy and I are dedicating this blogathon to Barbara Stanwyck. If you wish to participate, please read the rules below.

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THE RULES

1. Bloggers are welcome to write entries that cover any aspect of Barbara Stanwyck’s life and career from her filmography to her marriages and friendships etc. If you have a topic in mind, but not sure whether its suitable, just run it by us.

2. Because there is a wealth of topics pertaining to Barbara Stanwyck, we are allowing no more than two duplicates. I know this sounds very fair, but I like to make sure that bloggers attain the topic of their choice.

3. If you wish to write more than one post that’s fine. However, we are only allowing three entries per person. Also, we ask that there be no previously published posts. All entries must be new material.

4. The blogathon will take place on the dates, January 20th  – 22nd. Please have your articles ready by then. Early entries are allowed. We also accept late entries, but please let Maddy or me know if your posting late.

5. To express your interest in participating in the blogathon, leave a comment on my blog or on Maddy’s blog along with the name and URL of your blog, and the subject you wish to cover, or you can always register by email at: carolelombardforever@yahoo.com or by contacting Maddy. For those of you who wish to register by email, please be sure to include the name and URL of your blog, and the topic you wish to cover. Once you get confirmation, please spread the word about this blogathon by advertising the event on your blog. Below are a few banners, so grab yourself a banner, and lets celebrate the indelible talents of Barbara Stanwyck. See you all in January.

TOPICS THAT HAVE BEEN CLAIMED THE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF TIMES, AND THEREFORE CANNOT BE CHOSEN AGAIN:

Sorry Wrong Number ( 1948 )

Ball Of Fire ( 1941 )

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THE ROSTER

In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood: TBD.

Maddy Loves Her Classic Films: All I Desire ( 1953 )

Pale Writer: Christmas In Connecticut ( 1945 ) and The Thorn Birds ( 1983 )

A Shroud Of Thoughts: The Lady Eve ( 1941 )

Love Letters To Old Hollywood: Ball Of Fire ( 1941 )

Wide Screen World: Three episodes of The Barbara Stanwyck Show.

The Story Enthusiast: TBD. 

Lisa Alkana: Guest post on In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood: Crime Of Passion ( 1957 )

Vinnie H: No Man Of Her Own ( 1950 )

Caftan Woman: Banjo On My Knee ( 1936 )

Poppity Talks Classic Films: The Two Mrs. Carrols ( 1947 )

Silver Screen Classics: Sorry Wrong Number ( 1948 )

Down These Mean Streets: Double Indemnity ( 1944 )

Real Weedgie Midget Reviews: The Colbys ( 1985 )

Top 10 Film Lists: Barbara Stanwyck & Film Noir.

The Story Enthusiast: Lady Of Burlesque ( 1943 )

The Midnight Drive-In: Sorry Wrong Number ( 1948 )

The Stop Button: The Purchase Price ( 1932 )

Movie Rob: Ball Of Fire ( 1941 ), Stella Dallas ( 1937 ) and Witness To Murder ( 1954 ). 

Taking Up Room: Titanic ( 1953 )

Critica Retro: The Mad Miss Manton ( 1938 )

The Dream Book Blog: The Locked Door ( 1929 )

Dubsism: The Big Valley. 

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THE ROCK HUDSON BLOGATHON HAS ARRIVED

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The day has finally arrived. For the next three days, Michaela from Love Letters To Old Hollywood and myself are paying tribute to a vastly underrated actor and an extremely handsome human being who is known the world over as Rock Hudson.

Bloggers, once you have finished your entries, please submit all blogathon posts below or send them to Michaela, and we’ll link them as soon as we can. Thank you. Here’s to you Rock on your birthday.

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THE ENTRIES

Silver Screenings kicks things off with a look at The Last Sunset ( 1961 )

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The Story Enthusiast discovers the depths of Rock Hudson’s talent in The Tarnished Angels ( 1957 )

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It Came From The Man Cave! plunges into disaster with Rock Hudson in Avalanche ( 1978 )

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Caftan Woman pens a tribute to Rock Hudson in Has Anybody Seen My Gal? ( 1952 )

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The Stop Button joins us with the Douglas Sirk and Rock Hudson classic, All That Heaven Allows ( 1955 )

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For his first of three posts, Movie Rob reviews the 1967 film Tobruk. 

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Dubsism takes the blogathon to the skies with A Gathering of Eagles ( 1963 )

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Taking Up Room shines the spotlight on Rock Hudson in his third and final film with Doris Day, Send Me No Flowers ( 1964 )

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Mike’s Take On The Movies goes fishing with Rock Hudson in Man’s Favorite Sport ( 1964 )

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Poppity Talks Classic Film joins us with a look at the 1968 film, Ice Station Zebra.

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Pure Entertainment Preservation Society has arrived with Rock Hudson in Has Anybody Seen My Gal ( 1952 ) 

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Real Weegie Midget Reviews visits Rock on television with a look at McMillan and Wife episode “Affair of the Heart”.

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The Midnight Drive-In tells us about the time Rock Hudson co-starred with John Wayne in The Undefeated ( 1969 )

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My co-host Michaela from Love Letters To Old Hollywood presents the underrated 1966 film, Blindfold.

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The Flapper Dame talks about The Undefeated ( 1969 )

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ANNOUNCING THE MADE IN 1938 BLOGATHON

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I’m thrilled to be joining my friend Robin from Pop Culture Reverie for the second time in honoring two special people in our life, my grandmother, Audrey and Robin’s mother, Margaret, who were both born in 1938. For the occasion, we have decided to host a blogathon dedicated to the films and the stars who were made in 1938.

Although 1938 saw the release of a myriad of successful films, it isn’t a year that is often recognized. As far as the movie industry is concerned, 1939 is considered to be the greatest year for movies. I certainly agree with the above statement, but I strongly feel that the previous year ( 1938 ) was just as memorable.

We hope that you can join us in celebrating this wonderful year for movies with the “Made in 1938 Blogathon”. The purpose of this event is to write about an individual movie that was released in 1938, a film personality that was born in 1938 or a film-related event that occurred in 1938. If you have chosen to write about a certain star who was born that year, please  write a biography, a career retrospective, or an analysis of the person, not an assessment of one of their films.

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THE RULES

1. Entries must cover a film released in 1938, a film personality born in 1938, or a certain motion picture event that occurred in 1938.

2. Although an array of great films were released in 1938, we have decided to allow two duplicates per person.

3. Bloggers are welcome to write more than one post if they wish. However, we are only allowing no more than three entries per person.

4. We will not accept any previously published articles. All entries must be fresh material.

5. When:  The blogathon will run 16-19 January 2019. Please submit your entries on either of these dates.

6. To express your interest in participating in the blogathon, leave a comment on my blog, along with the name and URL of your blog, and the subject you wish to cover, or you can always register by email at: carolelombardforever@yahoo.com or robinpruter@gmail.com. For those of you who wish to register by email, please be sure to include the name and URL of your blog, and the topic you wish to cover. Once your topic has been approved, please choose one of the fabulous banners made by Robin and add it to your blog. We look forward to having you join us in January.

P.S. Stay tuned, as Maddy from Maddy Loves Her Classic Films and I will be hosting another exciting blogathon which will take place shortly after this event. The announcement will be published within the next week or so.

Subjects that have been claimed twice, and therefore cannot be chosen again.

Room Service & Carefree.

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THE ROSTER

In The Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood: “The Sisters” and TBD.

Pop Culture Reverie: Mad About Music.

Love Letters To Old Hollywood: “Carefree” and “The Saint In New York”

The Stop Button: “The Buccaneer”

Movie Movie Blog Blog: Room Service.

Portraits By Jenni: The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse.

Movie Rob: “A Slight Case of Murder”, “Three Comrades” and “Room Service”

The Midnight Drive-In: Flash Gordon’s Trip To Mars.

The Wonderful World of Cinema: Merrily We Live.

Wide Screen World: Rawhide.

Caftan Woman: If I were King.

Various Ramblings of a Nostalgic Italian: Christopher Lloyd, Rich Little, and Wolfman Jack.

Real Weegie Midget Reviews: Pygmalion.

Carole & Co: Carole Lombard in 1938. 

The Story Enthusiast: Natalie Wood tribute.

Talk About Cinema: The Disney studio’s work in 1938. 

Critica Retro: Angels With Dirty Faces.

The Flapper Dame: Vivacious Lady.

Taking Up Room: Test Pilot.

18 Cinema Lane: Shirley Temple’s 1938 films. 

The Dream Book Blog: Wives Under Suspicion.

Musings Of A Classic Film Addict: Alexander’s Ragtime Band.

Overture Books and Films: Carefree.

THE DISABILITY IN FILM BLOGATHON IS HERE

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In August, Robin from Pop Culture Reverie and I decided to bring back the Disability In Film Blogathon, which was initially the brainchild of Robin’s, who hosted it by herself two years ago. This year we have joined forces and we’re collaborating together for the first time.

To read the entries that were exhibuted during the first Disability in Film Blogathon, please click here.

The purpose of this blogathon is to pay tribute to those on-screen characters or real life film stars who have endured any form of disability, a subject that is often greeted with accolades but is very rarely explored. Because the subject can be harkened back to our life, Robin and I are proud to be hosting this blogathon, which commences today.

For those of you who are participating, please submit your entries below or send them to Robin. Thank you. We are excited to read your posts.

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THE ENTRIES: 

The Midnight Drive-In kicks things off with a look at Star Trek The Next Generation.

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Real Weegie Midget Reviews joins us with a post on the 2016 made for TV film, The Fundamentals of Caring.

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The Stop Button presents The Story of Christy Brown in My Left Foot ( 1989 )

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Poppity Talks Classic Films joins us with a post on What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? ( 1993 )

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Taking Up Room pens a delightful article on Mr. Holland’s Opus ( 1995 )

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For his first post, Movie Rob reviews Breaking The Waves ( 1996 )

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I Found It At the Movies analyzes Colin Firth’s role in The King’s Speech ( 2010 ) 

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Movie Rob is back for the second time with his review of Passion Fish ( 1992 )

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It Came From the Man Cave looks at the 1988 film, Monkey Shines.

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18 Cinema Lane writes an editorial on Bucky Barnes and Matthew Rogers: Paralleling stories of disability.

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Critica Retro has arrived with a delightful post on the 1929 silent classic, Lucky Star.

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My Wonderful Co-host Robin from Pop Culture Reverie wades into some shark infested waters with her thoughts on Cripping Up.

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For his third entry, Movie Rob talks about the 2014 film You’re Not You.

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The Wonderful World of Cinema sings the praises of Cliff Robertson’s performance in Charly ( 1968 )

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Cinematic Scribblings joins us with an article on Immortal Love ( 1969 )

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My co-host Robin from Pop Culture Reverie ponders over The Sessions.

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Movies Meet Their Match explores Patty Duke’s portrayal of Helen Keller in the 1962 classic The Miracle Worker.

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Pop Culture Reverie talks about Tommy Breen’s realistic role in The River ( 1951 )

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My co-host is back Robin from Pop Culture Reverie is back with a review on The Lookout ( 2007 )

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Silver Screen Classics discusses the 1965 film, A Patch of Blue.

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THE LAUREN BACALL BLOGATHON IS HERE

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The Second Lauren Bacall Blogathon has arrived. I am thrilled to be honoring the legendary Lauren Bacall for the next three days, and just in time for what would have been her 94th birthday on Sunday.

Bloggers: Once you have finished your entry, please submit your post via the comments section below, and I will link it as soon as I can. Thank you. I look forward to reading your articles.

This is for you Lauren.

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THE LAUREN BACALL BLOGATHON ENTRIES

Maddy Loves Her Classic Films kicks things off with a post on Lauren’s film debut, To Have and Have Not ( 1944 )

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The Story Enthusiast has arrived at the party with Lauren, Marilyn and Betty in How To Marry A Millionaire ( 1953 )

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The Midnight Drive-In talks about Blood Alley ( 1955 ). Lauren’s first collaboration with John Wayne.

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Caftan Woman joins the party with Young Man With A Horn ( 1950 )

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The Stop Button brings us Lauren and Bogie in their second film together, The Big Sleep ( 1946 )

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For his first of three entries, Movie Rob brings us The Shootist ( 1976 )

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Taking Up Room embarks on a fashion parade with her post on Designing Woman ( 1957 )

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Movie Rob is back with his second of three posts on Lauren in Written On the Wind ( 1956 )

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Love Letters To Old Hollywood joins the party with her Top Five Lauren Bacall performances.

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Karavansara makes an entrance with Murder On the Orient Express ( 1974 )

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For his third post, Movie Rob talks about the third Bogie and Bacall collaboration and one of my personal favorite films, Dark Passage ( 1947 )

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Critica Retro pens a tribute to Lauren Bacall in Harper ( 1966 )

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The Wonderful World of Cinema visits Bogie and Bacall in Key Largo ( 1948 )

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Hamlette’s Soliloquy has arrived at the party with Lauren Bacall in Designing Woman ( 1957 )

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Overture Books and Films writes about How To Marry A Millionaire ( 1953 )

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Anybody Got A Match explores Lauren’s life and career after Humphrey Bogart.

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No Nonsense With Nuwan Sen compiles a list of Lauren’s famous quotes.

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THE JOSEPH COTTEN BLOGATHON IS HERE

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The day has finally arrived. For the next three days, the legendary Joseph Cotten will be our shining star in the spotlight. To celebrate the illustrious life and career of this magnificent actor, please join Maddie and Me.

Both Maddie and I would like to say a big thank you to those of you who are participating. We look forward to reading your entries.

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THE ENTRIES

My co-host Maddy from Maddy Loves Her Classic Film discusses her three favorite Joseph Cotten performances. 

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Moon In Gemini joins us with Joseph Cotten in The Steel Trap ( 1952 )

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Pop Corn and Flickers presents Joseph Cotten in this film debut, Too Much Johnson ( 1938 )

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Mike’s Take On The Movies pens a tribute to Joseph Cotten in Two Flags West ( 1950 )

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The Stop Button talks about one of my personal favorite movies, Gaslight ( 1944 )

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Cinematic Scribblings writes about The Scopone Game ( 1972 )

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The Midnight Drive-In tells us about Joseph Cotten in The Hearse ( 1980 )

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Caftan Woman brings Joseph Cotten in Walk Softly Stranger ( 1950 ) to the party.

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Widescreen World joins us with Joseph Cotten, Loretta Young and Ethel Barrymore in The Farmer’s Daughter ( 1947 )

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For his first of three posts, Movie Rob discovers Joseph Cotten in Soylent Green ( 1973 )

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The Wonderful World of Cinema presents us with an ABC of Joseph Cotten.

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Down These Mean Streets embarks on a journey to meet The Third Man ( 1949 )

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Dubsism discusses the sports analogies hidden in Tora, Tora, Tora ( 1970 )

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Movie Rob is back with Joseph Cotten in A Blueprint For Murder ( 1953 )

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I Found It At The Movies pens a tribute to Joseph Cotten in Citizen Kane ( 1941 )

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Real Weegie Midget Reviews discovers Joseph Cotten in Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode, Dead Weight ( 1959 )

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Musings of a Classic Film Addict shines the light on Joseph Cotten in Lydia ( 1941 )

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For his third post, Movie Rob brings us The Oscar ( 1966 )

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Hamlette’s Soliloquy delivers us the thrills and chills as well as Joseph Cotten in Gaslight ( 1944 )

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Taking Up Room takes a trip down memory lane and visits Joseph Cotten and the Mercury Theatre.

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Karavansara takes us on a Journey Into Fear ( 1943 )

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Critica Retro has arrived with Joseph and Ginger in I’ll Be Seeing You ( 1944 )

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Love Letters To Old Hollywood joins us with Joseph and Jennifer in Love Letters ( 1945 )

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Poppity talks about Joseph Cotten’s second collaboration with Hitchcock, Under Capricorn ( 1949 )

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Back To Golden Days writes about Joseph Cotten in Since You Went Away ( 1944 )

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ANNOUNCING THE ROCK HUDSON BLOGATHON

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A consummate actor who epitomized the words, tall, dark and handsome, Rock Hudson endured a successful career in motion pictures, and is best remembered today for his romantic on-screen partnership with Doris Day.

Rock Hudson was one of cinemas most acclaimed stars. In a career that spanned forty-two years, Hudson showcased his acting abilities in a diverse range of genres and particularly excelled at comedy, a field in which he was initially reluctant to explore.

Away from the camera, Rock Hudson led a rather storied life. He had forged memorable friendships with Doris Day and Elizabeth Taylor, who both supported him immensely during his final years. Sadly, Hudson passed away on October 2nd, 1985, from AIDS related complications. He was less than two months shy of his 60th birthday.

Rock Hudson made his star-studded debut into this world on November 17th, 1925. To honor this tremendous actor on what would have been his 93rd birthday, Michaela from Love Letters To Old Hollywood, and myself from In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood, are hosting a blogathon dedicated to Rock Hudson and his unparalleled talents.

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THE RULES:

1. Bloggers are welcome to write about anything relating to Rock Hudson, from his films, his television appearances, his friendship and collaborations with Doris Day to his personal life. We only ask that all posts must be respectable. We will not accept any article that raises the subject of his homosexuality.

2. Rock Hudson has an extensive resume of films that consists of 74 acting credits, but to give everyone the chance to participate, we are allowing no more than two duplicates. Please check the roster to see if your choice of topic has been claimed twice.

3. When it comes to Rock Hudson, there are so many different avenues to explore, so if you want to write more than one entry that’s fine. However, we are allowing a limit of no more than three entries per person.

4. The blogathon will take place on the dates, November 17th – 19th, so please have your articles ready by then. We also accept early entries.

5. Please submit new material. We will not accept previously published posts.

6. To express your interest in participating in the blogathon, leave a comment on my blog or on Michaela’s blog along with the name and URL of your blog, and the subject you wish to cover, or you can always register by email at: carolelombardforever@yahoo.com or by contacting Michaela. For those of you who wish to register by email, please be sure to include the name and URL of your blog, and the topic you wish to cover. Once you get confirmation, please spread the word about this blogathon by advertising the event on your blog. Below are a few banners made my Michaela, so grab yourself one of the gorgeous banners, and we’ll see you in November to celebrate all things Rock Hudson.

Subjects that have been claimed twice and therefore cannot be chosen again.

Pillow Talk ( 1959 )

Rock Hudson and Doris Day’s friendship.

A Gathering of Eagles ( 1963 )

The Undefeated ( 1969 )

Has Anybody Seen My Gal? ( 1952 )

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THE ROSTER

In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood : Pillow Talk ( 1959 )

Love Letters To Old Hollywood : Blindfold ( 1966 )

Maddy Loves Her Classic Films : Magnificent Obsession ( 1954 )

The Wonderful World Of Cinema : The friendship of Rock Hudson and Doris Day.

Pop Culture Reverie : Pillow Talk ( 1959 )

Musings of a Classic Film Addict : Seconds ( 1966 )

Caftan Woman : Has Anybody Seen My Gal ( 1952 )

The Midnight Drive-In : The Undefeated ( 1969 )

Real Weegie Midget Reviews : Pretty Maids All In A Row ( 1971 )

The Stop Button : All That Heaven Allows ( 1955 )

Back To Golden Days : Rock Hudson’s early years.

Critica Retro : Rock Hudson’s Indian roles.

The Story Enthusiast : The Tarnished Angels ( 1957 )

Dubsism : A Gathering of Eagles ( 1963 )

Silver Screenings : The Last Sunset ( 1961 )

Movie Rob : Tobruk ( 1967 ), A Gathering of Eagles ( 1963 ) and Darling Lili ( 1970 )

Hamlette’s Soliloquy : Giant ( 1956 )

Poppity : Ice Station Zebra ( 1968 )

Anybody Got A Match : Rock Hudson and Doris Day’s friendship.

Mike’s Take On The Movies : Man’s Favorite Sport ( 1964 )

Taking Up Room : Send Me No Flowers ( 1964 )

It Came From The Man Cave : Avalanche ( 1978 )

The Flapper Dame : The Undefeated ( 1969 )

Pure Entertainment Preservation Society : Has Anybody Seen My Gal? ( 1952 )

Pale Writer : The Mirror Crack’d ( 1980 )

 

 

 

MEET DEBBIE REYNOLDS AND DICK VAN DYKE IN DIVORCE AMERICAN STYLE ( 1967 )

“Kiss me like a man, not a chipmunk.”

“Kiss you like a man? .. You wouldn’t know a man if you fell under one.”

Oh, I wouldn’t huh? Well maybe not, but I’ll sure know a man if I’ve been living with one.”

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Marriage is supposed to be a happy and joyous institution, but in many circumstances it can fuel verbal disputes, physical assault, separation, and sometimes divorce.

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The facets of marriage is a popular theme in motion pictures. From the most meritorious to the most heinous, the film industry has explored the idealistic and the turbulent lives of fictional married couples on screen. The 1967 film, Divorce American Style depicts a drastically stale marriage where Debbie Reynolds and Dick Van Dyke can’t seem to vanquish the emotional and communication barriers that are preventing them from enjoying married life.

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The instrumental force behind joining Dick Van Dyke and Debbie Reynolds in a tempestuous on-screen marriage is producer Norman Lear, who was profoundly interested in the comedy genre and made his foray into writing when he assisted Robert Kaufman with the script. The film was based on Kaufman’s story, and directed by Bud Yorkin, who had more success with his directorial efforts in the television industry.

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Divorce American Style featured a cast who hailed from the finest pedigree. Ever since making her breakthrough role in Singin’ in the Rain ( 1952 ),Debbie Reynolds was continuously soaring to astronomical heights. She had received an Academy Award nomination two years earlier for her portrayal of Molly Brown in The Unsinkable Molly Brown ( 1964 ), and the films that followed had planted her in a reputable position in Hollywood. Although, Divorce American Style was not as popular as some of her other vehicles, Debbie was mostly lauded for her performance.

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While Debbie Reynolds was enjoying her triumphant peak, Dick Van Dyke was struggling to reach critical acclaim. Despite his successful turn in the 1964 blockbuster, Mary Poppins, Van Dyke was mainly being cast in comedy films that were largely panned at the box office. Divorce American Style did nothing to enhance his reputation either. However, acclamation would soon be surrounding him one year later when he played Caractacus Pott in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang ( 1968 ). Although the film was steeped in praise, Van Dyke was criticized for his accent.

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Motion pictures may not have turned out the way he had initially anticipated, but away from the big screen, Dick Van Dyke was a phenomenon. On the small screen, Van Dyke had displayed considerable promise with The Dick Van Dyke Show, which aired in 1961. The series was an immediate hit with all television audiences. For his portrayal of Rob Petrie, Van Dyke received three Emmy Awards as well as taking home four Emmy statuettes for Outstanding Comedy Series.

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Debbie Reynolds was the best possible actress to breath life into Barbara Harmon. On the home front, Reynolds was currently plagued with the same problems in her marriage with Harry Karl as what her character Barbara and on-screen husband, Richard were experiencing. Like the harmon’s, Debbie and Karl were less intimate and communication was their most challenging burden. To further exacerbate matters, Karl was a prolific gambler who was constantly churning out bad investments. This added strain to Reynolds family life and it would ultimately lead to severe financial difficulties.

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The only aspect that did not closely mirror the marriage of Barbara and Richard was that divorce was not imminent. Although, Debbie and Harry Karl were constantly enduring some sort of crisis, the two would remain married for six more years until finally divorcing in 1973.

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Coincidentally, Debbie’s marriage was at the rockiest peak when Norman Lear called her in early 1966 to tell her about the project. Debbie knew instantly that the role of Barbara Harmon was right for her. She persuaded Norman to consider her for the part, but it took several interviews with Norman before she found out that she had the job. Debbie later stated in her autobiography, Unsinkable, A Memoir, “Every time I went in to talk with Norman, who was also directing the film, he lowered his offer. Finally we agreed on a price that was much lower than my usual rate. Norman was very serious, which isn’t uncommon for some comics.”

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At the time she acquired the role of Barbara Harmon, Debbie was deeply involved with Girl Scouts. As a child, Reynolds was a highly revered member of the Girl Scouts community and received more than forty-two badges. She often quipped that her most pivotal goal was to become the world’s oldest living Girl Scout. One can only imagine how elated Debbie must have been when her daughter Carrie Fisher possessed the same passion in becoming a Girl Scout. In fact, her enthusiasm is clearly witnessed. Debbie was the leader of the Girl Scout Troop where Carrie and her stepdaughter, Tina Karl attended. For a while in the 1960’s, she stopped working on Friday afternoons to attend Girl Scout meetings, and on October 25th, 1966, Reynolds was honored at the launching of the Girl Scout Piper Project, in which she prolifically participated.

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Debbie Reynolds sporting her Girl Scouts uniform.

By the time the filming of Divorce American Style commenced, Debbie Reynolds was still attending the Girl Scouts meetings, but now that she was busily involved with the picture, it was impossible for her to attend every meeting. Since starting work on Divorce American Style, Reynolds was struck down with a hectic schedule that gave her minimal time to engage herself in other activities that took place away from the camera. Her weekdays were spent working with high intensity and oftentimes under pressure. After seven days of pouring all her energy into the project, Debbie looked forward to the weekends, especially Friday afternoons when her security guard, Zinc drove Debbie, Dick Van Dyke and Jason Robards to her beach house in Malibu. She recalled these moments with great pleasure. In her autobiography, Unsinkable, A Memoir, Debbie wrote, “We’d drink and sing and laugh all night. Jason would sing along to the soundtrack from Mame . He was a happy drunk. I don’t know if his wife, Betty Bacall, appreciated his drinking songs, but I found him the most entertaining company. Lucky Betty, to be married to Bogie and then Jason. What wonderful men. When the party was over, Zinc was available to drive anyone home.”

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Debbie with Spencer Tracy, on the day of her MGM tour. She later stated that she had no idea why she was wearing her Girl Scouts uniform, but she said that she had 47 badges that day.

Those Friday afternoons at Malibu were a lot different then the times spent making the movie. On-set, the atmosphere was often tense with a lingering dark cloud that threatened altercations. The person responsible was usually Norman Lear’s wife, Frances whose hostility towards her assistant Bob Mackie incensed most of the cast. Bob embodied amiability and his talents transcended beyond the expected limits, yet Frances treated him in an uncouth manner that can be described as unsettling.

Fortunately, those on-set quarrels didn’t tarnish the films reputation. Divorce American Style may appear somewhat dated today, but on its release, audiences and critics recognized the film for its uniqueness and satirical humor. Roger Ebert from Chicago Sun-Times   described the film as “a member of that rare species, the Hollywood comedy with teeth in it. Bud Yorkin has directed with wit and style, and the cast, which seems unlikely on paper, comes across splendidly on the screen . . . The charm of this film is in its low-key approach. The plot isn’t milked for humor or pathos: Both emerge naturally from familiar situations.”, while Variety wrote, “Comedy and Satire, not feverish melodrama, are the best weapons with which to harpoon social mores. An outstanding example is Divorce American Style . . . which pokes incisive, sometimes chilling, fun at US marriage-divorce problems.”

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THE PLOT

Divorce American Style is a story about the perils of a loveless marriage and the loneliness of divorce, but first and foremost, it is the story of Richard and Barbara Harmon ( Dick Van Dyke and Debbie Reynolds ), a wealthy Los Angeles suburban couple who have been married for seventeen years, and seem to be in reach of everything they desire, except for happiness.

“What has been eating you lately? Nothing I do is right. Nothing I say. What is it with you?”

“I’d rather not talk about it.”

Barbara and Richard are enmeshed in a strained marriage and are at war with each other. When the advise of a marriage counselor don’t seem to help matters, they decide to explore the world outside of their marriage. For Barbara and Richard, this is a long road that would ultimately lead to divorce, but when that finally does happen, they embark on a journey into unknown territory, which they find rather daunting. Did they make a mistake or can divorce bring them the contented life that they have always been searching for?

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I’m not knowledgeable when it comes to the divorce scene in the United States during the 1960’s, but according to most sources the film is historically accurate. However, other articles that I’ve read have left me confused and only make me assume that the films depiction of divorce is not entirely authentic. It wasn’t until 1970 that major changes would be made to the legal system. At the time of release, no fault divorces were  granted. Couples could only file for divorce on the terms of cruelty or adultery and possibly for other reasons that would fall under that criteria. In Richard and Barbara’s case nobody was at fault, but yet they were still granted divorce.

Despite the films unrealistic approach to the divorce setting, Divorce American Style is a thoroughly entertaining motion picture that features performances from some of cinemas most beloved stars. While the central protagonists are Debbie Reynolds and Dick Van Dyke, the film is graced by the presence of its stellar supporting cast, which include, Jason Robards, Jean Simmons, Van Johnson and Lee Grant, who all add to the pictures prestige.

For those audiences who are expecting to see Van Johnson in a leading role, disappointment is bound to set in. Sadly, Johnson plays a somewhat minor character who only appears during the last half of the movie. When he does make his entrance however, fireworks start to erupt. The actor who was noted for his neighborly on-screen persona, plays Big Al Yearling, a millionaire auto-dealer whose romance with Barbara was plotted by Nelson and Nancy. Barbara has no cognizance of this arranged set up, and for a while Al Yearling becomes her object of affection. Coincidentally, Yearling also shares the same feelings and is passionately smitten with Barbara.

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Actress, Lee Grant had an even smaller role than Van, and appears at the first half of the film. Here Grant plays Dede Murphy, a prostitute who a drunk Richard Harmon visits. Although, Richard never accepted her services he still offers her money for taking up her time. For someone of Grant’s stature, I would have liked to have seen her in a bigger role. This particular scene does not give Grant the opportunity to explore the depth of her talent. If her character was expanded on, Lee Grant would have been sensational.

“So, since when do men grow up? They just grow old. You know what I call this apartment sometimes? Boys’ Town.”

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While all the cast shine in their respective roles, Debbie Reynolds and Dick Van Dyke are the films emotional core. Barbara and Richard Harmon are struggling to come to terms with their failing relationship. They do everything in their power to try and salvage what is left of their marriage before it turns to debris, but when all their avenues of help fail to resolve their problems, the only answer is divorce. This is a heartbreaking situation to be in, and “us” the audience can feel their anguish as the two try to save their broken marriage. This is important for their sake and for their children.

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After Divorce American Style, Debbie Reynolds and Dick Van Dyke would continue to achieve greatness in films and other forms of entertainment. As of 2018, Van Dyke is still prolifically involved in the arts, and holds one of the last keys to Hollywood’s golden age, while Debbie Reynolds was struck with tragedy when her beloved daughter, Carrie Fisher suffered a cardiac arrest on-board a transatlantic flight from London to Los Angeles, and died on December 27th, 2016, leaving an emotionally distraught Debbie filled with grief and sorrow. Unable to continue on with life without Carrie, Debbie Reynolds suffered a stroke and passed away the following day. She was 84 years old. Debbie’s son Todd Fisher later stated that moments before death his mother said, “I want to be with Carrie.”

Debbie Reynolds with daughter Carrie Fisher

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TRIVIA

Divorce American Style is the film debut of actor, Tim Matheson.

The judge presiding over divorce proceedings in the film is played by John J. Anthony, a real-life marriage guidance counselor. This was his only acting role in a film.

Early in the movie they mention that they’re paying their maid $250/month and that their house cost $49,000. Inflation adjust equivalents in 2010 are $1614.14/month for the maid and $316,372.14 for the house.

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CAST

Debbie Reynolds: Born, Mary Frances Reynolds on April 1st, 1932 in El Paso, Texas. Died: December 28th, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. Aged: 84.

Dick Van Dyke: Born, Richard Wayne Van Dyke on December 13th, 1925 in West Plains, Missouri.

Jason Robards: Born, Jason Nelson Robards Jr. on July 22nd, 1922 in Chicago, Illinois. Died: December 26th, 2000 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Aged: 78.

Jean Simmons: Born, Jean Merilyn Simmons on January 31st, 1929 in Lower Holloway, London. Died: January 22nd, 2010 in Santa Monica, California. Aged: 80.

Van Johnson: Born, Charles Van Dell Johnson on August 25th, 1916 in Newport, Rhode Island. Died: December 12th, 2008 in Nyack, New York. Aged: 92.

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This post was written for the Lovely Lee Grant Blogathon, hosted by Real Weedgie Midget Reviews and Angleman’s Place. To view the other entries being exhibited during this event, please click here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANNOUNCING THE 2ND DISABILITY IN FILM BLOGATHON

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In Hollywood, where glamour, physical beauty and talent are of great advantage, the subject of disability is very rarely explored. When the movie industry do decide to give viewers a glimpse into the lives of people suffering from any form of disability, the film usually garners critical acclaim and is often greeted with Academy Awards.

It’s a shame that the many facets of disability is not often examined. The subject is fascinating and it doesn’t stretch credulity like a lot of other film plots. Millions of people worldwide are inflicted with some form of disability.

Some of our most beloved stars had some sort of disability. Actor Lionel Barrymore was a victim of arthritis and spent his later years in a wheelchair. Although, Lionel was crippled with pain, he never let his mobility hindrance his career or lifestyle. Other stars like, Marilyn Monroe, James Stewart, Elvis Presley, Anthony Quinn and James Earl Jones, lived with a lifelong speech impediment, known as stuttering. Being a stutterer myself, I know that it proposes an obstacle, and it can be difficult at times when you want to speak, but being the professionals that they were, they never let their stuttering affect their career.

As what Robin stated in her 2016 announcement post, disabled characters run the gamut from the sympathetic to the heinous, the monstrous to the victorious. Some portrayals of disabled characters are well developed and three dimensional; others, whether heroic or wicked, are sadly lacking in depth.

To pay tribute to those on-screen characters or real life film stars who have endured any form of disability, Robin from Pop Culture Reverie and myself from In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood are hosting the 2nd addition of the Disability In Film Blogathon, which Robin launched solo two years ago.

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Before we go any further, there are some ground rules that must be adhered to. 

1. Entries must cover some topic related to disability in film, excluding mental illness or terminal illness.

2. No more than two duplicate entries per person. Please check the roster to see what topics have been claimed.

3. If you want to do more than one post, that’s fine, but our limit is, no more than three posts per person.

4. No previously published material. All entries must be newly posted.

5. Since October is Disability Awareness Month, the Blogathon will take place on October 24th – 26th, 2018.

6. Posts must feature one of the banners below and a link back to the blogathon post on either my blog or Pop Culture Reverie.

7. To express your interest in participating in the blogathon, leave a comment on my blog, along with the name and URL of your blog, and the subject you wish to cover, or you can always register by email at: carolelombardforever@yahoo.com or robinpruter@gmail.com. For those of you who wish to register by email, please be sure to include the name and URL of your blog, and the topic you wish to cover. We look forward to having you join us in October.

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THE ROSTER:

In The Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood : The stars who stuttered, The Spiral Staircase ( 1946 ) and TBD.

Pop Culture Reverie : The Sessions & The Lookout. 

Cinematic Scribblings : Immortal Love ( 1961 )

The Stop Button : My Left Foot ( 1989 )

The Midnight Drive-In : The X-Men movies or possibly I Borg. 

Real Reegie Midget Reviews : The Rain Man ( 1988 )

I Found It At The Movies : The King’s Speech ( 2010 )

Old Hollywood Films : The life of Harold Russell.

Critica Retro : Lucky Star ( 1929 )

Poppity : What’s Eating Gilbert Grape ( 1993 )

Taking Up Room : Mr. Holland’s Opus ( 1995 )

The Wonderful World of Cinema : Charly ( 1968 )

I Came From The Man Cave : Monkey Shines ( 1988 )

18 Cinema Lane : Bucky Barnes and Matthew Rogers: Paralleling Stories of Disability.

Pure Entertainment Preservation Society : The River ( 1951 )

Silver Screen Classics : A Patch of Blue ( 1965 )

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