THE JOAN BENNETT BLOGATHON IS HERE

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It is with absolute pleasure that I am honoring my third favorite actress, Joan Bennett this weekend with her very first blogathon. Unfortunately, Joan is extremely underrated, and is in need of more recognition, so its about time that I’m putting her back on the radar.

For those bloggers who are participating, please submit your entries below, and I will link them as soon as I can. Thank you.

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THE ENTRIES

The Wonderful World Of Cinema: Top Ten Joan Bennett films.

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Caftan Woman: Man Hunt ( 1941 )

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The Stop Button: The Reckless Moment ( 1949 )

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THE FOURTH ANNUAL OLIVIA DE HAVILLAND BLOGATHON IS HERE

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Today ( July 1st ) is a monumental day for classic film enthusiasts worldwide. The legendary Dame Olivia de Havilland celebrates her 103rd birthday in Paris. For the occasion, Laura from Phyllis Loves Classic Movies and I are back for the fourth edition of the Olivia de Havilland Blogathon, an event that honors the great actress and her many contributions to the entertainment industry.

Attention bloggers: Once you have completed your entries, can you please send me the links, and I’ll post them as soon as possible. Thank you. I look forward to reading them.

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THE ENTRIES

Realweegiemidget Reviews | Olivia de Havilland on The Love Boat ( 1981 )

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Pale Writer | The Snake Pit ( 1948 )

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The Stop Button | The Heiress ( 1949 )

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Musings Of A Classic Film Addict | Olivia de Havilland’s Salade Nicoise.

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A Shroud Of Thoughts | The Adventures of Robin Hood ( 1938 )

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Old Hollywood Films | The Adventures Of Robin Hood ( 1938 )

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Pure Entertainment Preservation Society | Santa Fe Trail ( 1940 )

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Taking Up Room | The Heiress ( 1949 )

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18 Cinema Lane | Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte ( 1964 )

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ANNOUNCING THE FIFTH ANNUAL BARRYMORE TRILOGY BLOGATHON

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It is with great pleasure that I am announcing the return of my blogathon, dedicated to the Royal Family of Hollywood, for the fifth consecutive year. This year I am joined by the wonderful Gabriela from Pale Writer, who has kindly offered her services as co-host. 

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The prominent theatrical family known as the Barrymore’s have been prolifically involved in the entertainment industry since before the birth of motion pictures. Louisa Lane Drew became a prodigy of the arts at the age of eight, and continued to follow a successful road as a thespian and manager of the historic Arch Street Theatre in Philadelphia. Her children all embarked on a career as stage actors, but it was her daughter Georgiana’s children who really shone the light on the family business.

Lionel, Ethel and John Barrymore were all reluctant to break into the acting mold, but when they realized that the stage was their only destiny, they utilized all their energy on building a successful career as actors. When the movies came calling all three transitioned into silent pictures, but after a short tenure in film Ethel returned to the stage. She arrived back in Hollywood in 1932 to appear alongside her brothers in Rasputin and the Empress, but it wasn’t until 1944 that Ethel made movies her soul focus.

August 15th marks the 140th anniversary of the birth of Ethel Barrymore. To celebrate my favorite actress on what I consider to be a milestone birthday, I am honoring my favorite actress and her siblings yet again.

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FOR THOSE BLOGGERS WHO WISH TO JOIN THE BLOGATHON, THERE ARE SOME RULES THAT MUST BE ADHERED TO. PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING.

1. Bloggers are welcome to write about any film that stars either of the three Barrymore siblings, or any topic pertaining to Ethel, John or Lionel. Previous years, I have allowed posts on Drew Barrymore, but this year however, we have decided to keep things classic, and that means that we are omitting Drew from the blogathon. 

2. Due to the diversity of the subject matter, we are only allowing two duplicates, so if you have a topic in mind act fast. If you wish to write more than one post, that’s fine. However, we are limiting this to three entries per blogger. 

3. The blogathon will take place on August 13th- 15th, 2019. Please submit your entries on either of these days or early if you wish. For those of you posting early, just remember that your entry won’t be linked until the event starts.

4. To express your interest in participating in the blogathon, leave a comment on my blog or on Gabriela’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 Gabriela. 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 get ready to celebrate the legendary Barrymore siblings. 

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THE ROSTER

In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood: TBD.

Pale Writer: Tribute to John and “The Beloved Rogue” ( 1927 )

The Stop Button: Twentieth Century ( 1934 )

Poppity Talks Classic Film: The Paradine Case ( 1947 ) and A Family Affair ( 1937 )

Real Weegie Midget Reviews: Barrymore ( 2011 )

Thoughts From The Musical Man: You Can’t Take It With You ( 1938 )

Critica Retro: Broken Lullaby ( 1932 )

Screen Dreams: A Bill Of Divorcement ( 1932 )

Love Letters To Old Hollywood: The Spiral Staircase ( 1946 )

Taking Up Room: David Copperfield ( 1935 )

Musings Of A Classic Film Addict: John Barrymore’s burial situation.

Movies Meet Their Match: That Midnight Kiss ( 1949 )

Caftan Woman: On Borrowed Time ( 1939 )

Pure Entertainment Preservation Society: Grand Hotel ( 1932 )

ANNOUNCING THE FOURTH ANNUAL OLIVIA DE HAVILLAND BLOGATHON

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In a little less than a month, the legendary Dame Olivia de Havilland will be celebrating her 103rd birthday on July 1st, a monumental occasion that is celebrated worldwide.

To honor Olivia and her indelible legacy, Laura from Phyllis Loves Classic Movies and myself from In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood, are elated to be shining the spotlight on Olivia for the fourth consecutive year.

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For those bloggers who would like to join the party, there are some rules that must be adhered to. Please read the following. 

1. If you wish to participate in the blogathon, please select a topic relating to Olivia de Havilland. You can write about her extensive resume of films, her relationship with frequent co-star Errol Flynn, her friendship with Bette Davis or whatever subject piques your interest. All we ask is that there be no more than two duplicates. We want this event to be as diverse as possible. Also, you are welcome to write more than one entry if you wish. However, there is a limit of three posts per person.

2. The blogathon will take place on July 1st and will run through to July 3rd. You are welcome to post on any of those days, or you can even post early. However, if you wish to post early, just remember that your entry won’t be linked until the event starts.

3. To express your interest in participating in the blogathon, leave a comment on my blog or on Laura’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 Laura at solidmoonlight@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 you get confirmation, please spread the word about this blogathon by advertising the event on your blog, and grab one of these fabulous banners, designed by Laura. Thank you. We look forward to celebrating Olivia’s 103rd birthday with you all next month.

Subjects claimed twice, and therefore cannot be chosen again.

The Snake Pit ( 1948 ), My Cousin Rachel ( 1952 ), The Adventures of Robin Hood ( 1938 ), The Heiress ( 1949 )

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P.S. I will be announcing my Fifth Annual Barrymore Trilogy Blogathon soon, and this time I have a wonderful surprise in store, so please stay tuned.

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THE ROSTER

In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood: The Dark Mirror ( 1946 ) and TBD.

Phyllis Loves Classic Movies: The Well-Groomed Bride ( 1946 )

Pale Writer: The Snake Pit ( 1948 )

Real Weegie Midget Reviews: Olivia on The Love Boat. 

The Stop Button: The Heiress ( 1949 )

Silver Screen Classics: My Cousin Rachel ( 1952 )

Musings Of A Classic Film Addict: Olivia’s Salade Nicoise Recipe.

The Midnight Drive-In: The Snake Pit ( 1948 )

Pop Culture Reverie: Murder Is Easy ( 1982 )

Pure Entertainment Preservation Society: Santa Fe Trail ( 1940 )

The Flapper Dame: My Cousin Rachel ( 1952 )

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Movies Meet Their Match: The Proud Rebel ( 1958 )

Critica Retro: A Midsummer Night’s Dream ( 1935 )

Poppity Talks Classic Film: Gold Is Where You Find It ( 1938 )

Screen Dreams: It’s Love I’m After ( 1937 )

18 Cinema Lane: Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte ( 1964 )

A Shroud Of Thoughts: The Adventures of Robin Hood ( 1938 )

Old Hollywood Films: The Adventures of Robin Hood ( 1938 )

Taking Up Room: The Heiress ( 1949 )

THE MAGIC OF JUDY AND FRED IN EASTER PARADE ( 1948 )

“Fred put me completely at ease. He’s a gentleman – and lots of fun to work with.”

( Judy Garland on Fred Astaire )

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The year was 1948. Judy Garland and Gene Kelly were about to embark on their next big musical extravaganza, and were heading to critical acclaim when suddenly a disastrous mishap threatened to put a halt to their plans.

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Judy Garland and Gene Kelly were left in a quandary that seemed impossible to escape, but when confusion was beginning to fuel more difficulties, a movie musical miracle was born, and a legendary screen pairing was on the horizon.

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The movie in question is Easter Parade, and the stars that made it are Fred Astaire and Judy Garland, two of cinemas most influential musical stars who almost never appeared in a single film together.

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Fred Astaire and Judy Garland were destined to make movie history together, but it’s only through sheer luck that this epiphany occurred. Initially Easter Parade was intended as a starring vehicle for Gene Kelly and his frequent dancing partner, Judy Garland, but Kelly was forced to abandon the project when he broke his ankle during a game of volleyball. At first Kelly’s injury created havoc for Garland and the production team, who envisioned the film not coming to fruition. However, Gene Kelly had an inkling that magic could still be made if Garland united with America’s most popular dancer, Fred Astaire.

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Gene Kelly certainly possessed a great thought, but there was one problem: Fred Astaire was in retirement from motion pictures, and he would have to be coaxed into replacing Kelly. Luckily, this task was not as arduous as anticipated. L. K. Sidney, the vice president from MGM had phoned Astaire, and asked him if he was willing to return to the studio. As it turned out, Fred Astaire was full of ambition and still had plenty of scope for ideas.

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The thought of starring alongside Judy Garland also lured him back to the studio. Fred had admired Garland from afar and secretly wanted to work with her. Now that the chance had arose, Fred was eager to break out of his retirement and make a comeback.

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The only concern about having to return to the studio so soon was the important job that was awaiting him and the little time he had to rehearse. After a two year hiatus from motion pictures, Fred Astaire was clinging to the hope that he was still able to dance and was capable of handling the strenuous workout that was involved. Apart from teaching ballroom at his dance studios, Astaire hadn’t put his dancing artistry to good use during his two year absence. For one of the first times in his life, he now proposed a few questions: Would he still possess the ability to dance?. What if his muscles and joints have stiffened? Those types of scenarios kept creeping up in his mind. Fortunately, his optimism took higher precedence over his negativity and the perils of failure was not in his reach.

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Once Astaire realized he still retained the power to dance, he sprung back into action. Fred spent most of his days rehearsing, and when he wasn’t practicing he was collaborating with choreographer, Robert Alton on his dance sequences and discussing different ideas. In order to replace Gene Kelly, the script underwent a myriad of amendments, and the part of Don Hewes had to be rewritten to suit the styles of Fred Astaire.

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“L.K. Sidney got me on the phone and asked me if I’d care to come home again. With Irving Berlin’s score and the wonderful Judy Garland to play opposite, I was lucky. The part could be made to suit me. I called Gene to find out for sure whether or not he wanted to relinquish his role, he assured me that he could not possibly continue. My retirement was over. Of course, Judy was the star of the picture. And its a joy to work with somebody like Judy, because she’s a super talent, with a great sense of humor. She could do anything. She wasn’t primarily a dancer, but she could do what you asked her to do. And she had a great charm, and she was a very big star. She was in good form – we had a very good time. Our numbers together remain as high spots of enjoyment in my career. Her uncanny knowledge of showmanship impressed me more than ever as I worked with her.”

( Fred Astaire on Judy Garland )

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Easter Parade may have had a troubled production, but the delays that originally ensued were not evident during filming. Once the shooting process commenced everything ran smoothly. Judy Garland appeared to be in better health, and all cast members built a great rapport with each other. This made it incredibly beneficial to the film, and with the continuous pattern of advantages, Easter Parade was completed in three months.

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The result of Fred Astaire vacating his retirement to collide with Judy Garland in Easter Parade proved to be among the best decisions he made in his life. The film was an immediate hit, and was touted as the greatest musical of the year. Although Astaire and Garland never attained any Academy Awards for their performance, Roger Edens and Johnny Green took home the statuette for “Best Musical Score.”

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Fred Astaire and Judy Garland are not the only masterminds behind the films triumph. Directer Charles Walters contributed a lot to the project. At the time of directing Easter Parade, Walters’ experience was not as comprehensive, but he still had vast knowledge on movie musicals to successfully helm the production. Before his work on Easter Parade, Charles Walters only had one feature film to his credit, though he was partly involved with Ziegfeld Follies and Spreadin’ the Jam, which were both released in 1945. Joining Charles Walters in acclamation were Sidney Sheldon, Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett who provided a screenplay that was rich in flavor and lively in character development.

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SYNOPSIS:

Set in 1912 in New York, Easter Parade follows the story of Don Hewes ( Fred Astaire ), a successful Broadway dancer who is forced to find a new dance partner after his current partner, Nadine Hale ( Ann Miller ) announces that she’s accepted an offer to appear in a Ziegfeld production and will be abandoning Don to join the show. Don is incensed with anger over Nadine disrupting his plans, but he is convinced that he can find another girl and transform her into a competent dancer.

Don’s new dance partner comes in the form of Hannah Brown ( Judy Garland ), a cheap diner performer whose knowledge on dance is sparse compared to Don’s, but with prolific training, Hannah and Don become highly acclaimed stage sensations.

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Easter Parade was first conceived in late 1946, when Irving Berlin conjured up the idea of making a movie around his song Easter Parade. Around the same time, Berlin discussed his plans with Twentieth Century Fox, who reportedly refused to deal with his requests. This spawned a series of altercations until Arthur Freed stepped in and offered his services.

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Originally, Easter Parade was designed as a starring vehicle for Judy Garland and Gene Kelly with Frank Sinatra, Kathryn Grayson and Red Skelton playing supporting roles. Vincente Minnelli who was Garland’s husband at the time was set to direct, but when developments for the production commenced, the idea of casting Sinatra, Grayson and Skelton were scrapped. Instead, Peter Lawford and Cyd Charisse were chosen as the films sidekicks.

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That was the initial plan, but Easter Parade was plagued with adversities from the onset. The first unfortunate predicament came when Gelly Kelly broke his ankle, but when Cyd Charisse withdrew from the project after tearing a ligament in her knee, the production company were really under strain. With Charisse’ departure, the search for an actress to play Nadine Hall continued. The investigation was over when Ann Miller was rescued from B movies to fulfill the role that would ultimately pave the way for her future success in motion pictures.

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“I was pleased to be responsible for getting Fred back to work, but every time I see him and Judy singing A Couple of Swells, I do get a twinge of regret.”

( Gene Kelly )

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Around the same time, Arthur Freed removed Vincente Minnelli from the directors chair. The exact motive behind Freed’s decision is unknown, but certain historical sources state that the action was undertaken when Judy’s psychiatrist suggested it due to her marriage with Vincent being under strain. Whatever the reason, Minnelli’s removal from the project was conducted abruptly and in a rather abrasive manner.

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Despite these obstacles that could have sabotaged the project, Easter Parade managed to hit all the high notes on its release. The film is composed of masterful musical scores by Irving Berlin whose showcase of songs are festive, joyous and extremely stimulating. A large majority of the music present in the film are a trademark of the singing careers of both Fred Astaire and Judy Garland and are considered to be among their most recognizable songs.

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Although Easter Parade is a showcase of memorable musical scores, the famous We’re A Couple Of Swells number still continues to evoke considerable popularity, and is perhaps the best remembered today. The song was performed by both Garland and Astaire and written by Irving Berlin, who was forced to undergo drastic changes to help further the films success. Initially, Berlin wrote Let’s Take An Old-Fashioned Walk for that particular scene, but producer Arthur Freed was more interested in tapping into Judy’s comedic ability and suggested that he replace it with another song that would pay more emphasis on Garland’s talent.

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As much as I adore Judy Garland and her remarkable on-screen chemistry with Fred Astaire, I think my favorite scene from the movie though, is where Astaire visits the toy shop and performs his famous tap dance number Drum Crazy. This segment alone gives viewers a glimpse into the window of Astaire’s genius. At the time of filming, Fred was forty-eight, but he exuded so much flexibility and vitality for somebody he’s age. What I also like about this scene is how certain aspects are tangible. In real life, Astaire was a voracious drummer, a passion that he proudly essays during this routine. For those who haven’t seen the movie, you can watch Fred performing the Drum Crazy number here.

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Easter Parade marked the first and final time Fred Astaire would work with Judy Garland. The two were set to appear in The Barkley’s of Broadway together the following year, but Garland’s illness thwarted the production plans. In his autobiography, Steps In Time, Astaire stated that the studio decided to wait in the hopes that she might make a rapid recovery. However, the chances of Judy returning to work were impossible. Fred said that Garland’s departure was a great disappointment, though when he discovered that his new co-star would be Ginger Rogers, he was relieved.

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Decades after the films release, Fred Astaire often reminisced about his time on the set of Easter Parade, and would later state in his autobiography that making the movie with Judy was one of the “high spots of enjoyment in his career”. Although, Fred was well aware of the crisis’ that constantly surrounded Judy on the home-front, he was one actor that never looked at her through the lens of negativity. Instead, he lauded her for her knowledge on showmanship and her professional work ethic.

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One of the films greatest assets is the famed partnership of two legends who both epitomized brilliance. Some reviewers have criticized the film because of the massive age-gap between Astaire and Garland, but these people are clearly not comprehending the gist of the story. Of course, Fred was many years her senior, and it could have been more beneficial if a younger actor was cast, but honestly I can’t envision anyone but Fred Astaire playing the role of Don Hewes. Astaire was an actor who infused his own special kind of magic into each performance he delivered.

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What I think was also beneficial to the film was how Astaire and Garland forged a close friendship behind the cameras. That connection only enhanced their on-screen partnership and made their chemistry more magnetic and authentic. It would have been difficult for both stars if they weren’t so affable on set. It could have even hindered the picture or make the scenes together stretch credulity.

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Even though Astaire and Garland are the main attractions, the film also boasts a stellar supporting cast. After years of being relegated to B-grade movies, Ann Miller was finally given the opportunity to sport her talents and tap-dancing skills in a high budget musical. The recognition she received cemented her future success an an actress. Enveloped between the three main characters is Peter Lawford, who plays Don’s best friend and sidekick, Johnny Harrow. At the time of filming, Lawford was one of the most prolific actors in Hollywood, but as the years progressed, his status has somewhat diminished.

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“Judy and Fred got along just great, because she’s a great pro and a fantastic entertainer, and he was too. And I think that when you put pros together, its always a happy union, because they like to work and work hard. And they did.”

( Ann Miller )

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For many people, Easter Parade is remembered as the last big budget musical Judy made for MGM, but for others, the film is remembered for its eye-popping Technicolor, exquisite costumes, vibrant musical scores, and the two leading stars who spawned magic whenever they appeared on screen.

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TRIVIA

The film deleted a musical number, “Mr. Monotony,” in which Judy Garland wears the same costume she would immortalize two years later in Summer Stock (1950) in the number “Get Happy”; the costume was a man’s tuxedo coat and hat. For years, there were rumors that “Get Happy” was cut from another film and inserted into Summer Stock(1950). It is believed that this song being removed from “Easter Parade” is the origin of that rumor. An abbreviated version of the “Mr. Monotony” number was included in That’s Entertainment! III (1994), and the complete number is included as an extra on the Warner Home Video Easter Parade (1948) DVD.

The dye from the feather on Judy Garland‘s hat in “Fella with an Umbrella” song ran all over her face and jacket, so they coated it with Vaseline. The feather looks different in two different shots.

Ann Miller danced with pinched nerves in her back. She was also taller than Fred Astaire, so she offered to wear ballet slippers instead of heels when she danced with him. This can be seen towards the end of the movie. When she finishes the number “The Girl I Love” she goes behind the curtain wearing red high heels; when she comes back out in front of the audience to entice Astaire to dance with her to their old song “It Only Happens When I Dance With You”, she’s wearing red flats.

Jules Munshin’s seemingly superfluous routine, as the waiter who pantomimes the elongated making of a gourmet salad, had a purpose beyond this film. It was one of several instances wherein MGM enacted a screen test through a feature film in order to determine public response to the performer, and how he or she registered on film. Other memorable examples are Charlotte Arren’s madcap rendition of “Il Baccio” in Broadway Melody of 1940 (1940), the Ross Sisters’ jaw-dropping contortionist routine to “Solid Potato Salad” in Broadway Rhythm (1944), and five-year-old Margaret O’Brien’s push-the-button histrionics during an audition sequence in Babes on Broadway (1941). In most cases, these screen tests-cum-screen debuts were ill-fated, but both O’Brien and Munshin scored studio contracts based on enthusiastic audience response to their brief snippets of screen time.

Ann Miller had to perform her biggest numbers in a back brace. In an interview with Robert Osborne, she revealed that she had been thrown down the stairs by her then husband Reese Milner. She was also pregnant at the time and was in a lot of pain.

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CAST

Judy Garland: Born, Frances Ethel Gumm on June 10th, 1922 in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Died: June 22nd, 1969 in Chelsea, London. Aged: 47.

Fred Astaire: Born, Frederick Austerlitz on May 10th, 1899 in Omaha, Nebraska. Died: June 22nd, 1987 in Los Angeles, California. Aged: 88.

Ann Miller: Born, Johnnie Lucille Collier on April 12th, 1923 in Houston, Texas. Died: January 22nd, 2004 in Los Angeles, California. Aged: 80.

Peter Lawford: Born, Peter Sydney Ernest Aylen on September 7th, 1923 in London, England. Died: December 24th, 1984 in Los Angeles, California. Aged: 61.

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This post was written for the Second Annual Broadway Bound Blogathon, hosted by Rebecca from Taking Up Room. To view the other entries being exhibited during this event, please click here.

 

THE ROSALIND RUSSELL BLOGATHON IS HERE

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As an avid fan of Rosalind Russell, I was anxious for this blogathon to arrive. Rosalind is unfortunately extremely underrated, and does not get the recognition that she deserves. It is for this reason why I am putting her back on the radar for the next three days.

Today Rosalind would have celebrated her 112th birthday. For the occasion a prolific array of bloggers are teaming up to honor the indelible talents of this great actress, who holds a special place in my heart. A big thank you to those who have taken the time to participate. I look forward to reading your entries.

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This is for you Rosalind. Happy Heavenly Birthday.

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THE ROSALIND RUSSELL BLOGATHON ENTRIES

The Midnight Drive-In kicks things off with his introductory to Auntie Mame ( 1958 )

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Real Weegie Midget Reviews discovers Rosalind Russell in Gypsy ( 1962 )

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Pale Writer has arrived with the iconic Hildy Johnson in His Girl Friday ( 1940 )

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The Stop Button joins Rosalind and crew in Picnic ( 1956 )

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Portraits By Jenni brings us Roz’s delightful 1950 comedy, A Woman Of Distinction. 

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The Story Enthusiast reviews the 1949 film, Tell It To The Judge 

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Caftan Woman embarks on a journey to visit Craig’s Wife ( 1936 )

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Love Letters To Old Hollywood pens a tribute to Roz and Fred in Take A Letter Darling ( 1942 )

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Critica Retro visits St. Francis Academy in one of my personal favorite films, The Trouble With Angels ( 1966 )

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Taking Up Room discusses the 1953 film, Never Wave At A WAC.

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Poppity Talks Classic Film pays tribute to Rosalind in My Sister Eileen ( 1942 )

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Screen Dreams tells us about the underrated 1938 film, Four’s A Crowd

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18 Cinema Lane has fun with Rosalind in The Trouble With Angels ( 1966 )

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18 Cinema Lane is back with the delightful sequel to The Trouble With Angels, Where Angels Go Trouble Follows ( 1968 )

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Pure Entertainment Preservation Society has fun with Roz and Jimmy in No Time For Comedy ( 1940 )

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THE FOURTH ANNUAL BETTE DAVIS BLOGATHON HAS ARRIVED

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Today would have been Bette’s 111th birthday. For the occasion, I’m proud to be honoring Bette with a blogathon for the fourth consecutive year.

Bloggers, once you have completed your entries, please submit them on the comments section below or via email, and I will showcase them as soon as I can. Thank you.

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Without further adu, here are the entries for this years Bette Davis Blogathon. This is for you Bette wherever you are. Happy Heavenly Birthday to my favorite actress.

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Down These Mean Streets gets the party started with her post on one my all time favorite movies, All About Eve ( 1950 )

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Maddy Loves Her Classic Films pens a tribute to Bette in Now Voyager ( 1942 )

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Poppity Talks Classic Films joins the party with her delightful article on Bette in The Star ( 1952 )

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Love Letters To Old Hollywood discovers another Bette film with 1937’s Marked Woman.

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Real Weegie Midget Reviews talks about Bette’s performance in Madame Sin ( 1972 )

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I Found It At The Movies has arrived with Bette in The Letter ( 1940 )

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The Wonderful World of Cinema spotlights Bette in Of Human Bondage ( 1934 )

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The Stop Button gives an honest and insightful review of The Scapegoat ( 1959 )

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Wolffian Classic Movies Digest pays tribute to his all time favorite actress, Bette Davis.

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Caftan Woman embarks on a journey on the Wagon Train with Bette in The Ella Lindstrom Story ( 1959 )

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Dubsism discovers the link between Bette Davis and Baseballer, Harmon Killebrew.

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Taking Up Room shines the spotlight on one of my personal favorite movies, Dark Victory ( 1939 )

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Stars and Letters discusses the on-screen aging of Bette Davis.

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Silver Screen Classics talks about Bette’s Oscar winning performance in Dangerous ( 1935 )

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The Dream Book Blog taps into Bette’s intense portrayal of Regina Giddens in The Little Foxes ( 1941 )

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The Lonely Critic tells us about The Man Who Came To Dinner ( 1942 )

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For his first of three posts, Movie Rob reviews Dangerous ( 1935 )

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Movie Rob is back with his second of three posts. This time he tells us about the time Bette collided with Lillian Gish in The Whales of August ( 1987 )

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Vitaphone Dreamer tells us to fasten our seat-belts, because she’s bringing us All About Eve ( 1950 )

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Cinematic Scribblings joins Bette and Debbie in The Catered Affair ( 1956 )

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Critica Retro also presents Of Human Bondage ( 1934 )

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Karavansara visits the twilight years of Bette Davis with The Watcher In the Woods ( 1980 )

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Poppity Talks Classic Films introduces us to Mr. Skeffington ( 1944 )

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Overture Books and Films analyzes one of Bette’s most underrated films, The Corn Is Green ( 1945 )

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Pale Writer joins the party with Bette in Now Voyager ( 1942 )

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Pale Writer has returned with a comparison between A Stolen Life & Dead Ringer.

Screen Dreams has arrived with Bette’s Academy Award winning performance in Jezebel ( 1938 )

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JANE AND ROBERT SPAWN MAGIC IN BAREFOOT IN THE PARK ( 1967 )

“Bob was trying to impress everyone that he hadn’t gone Hollywood, so to speak, now that I look back on it. He had played Paul Bratter for so many performances on Broadway and, I think, come to hate the character, who had none of his sense of whimsy and humor. He might have tried to impress upon people a bit too hard that he was this wild, crazy guy, when he really wasn’t. Fun, yes, but not as zany as all that.”

( Gene Saks )

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On August 26th, 2018, the world was left in mourning when legendary playwright, Neil Simon passed away at the age of 91. During his career that spanned sixty-two years, Simon was responsible for successfully penning several plays that would ultimately evolve into triumphant cinematic classics.

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Audiences worldwide are familiar with most of Simon’s work, but it was his prolific efforts behind the 1967 film Barefoot in the Park that made the biggest impact on his career. At the time of the films release, Simon was still only a newcomer to the entertainment medium, though this was about to change. With the success of the production, Neil Simon was destined to catapult to the highest pinnacle.

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Barefoot in the Park first originated on Broadway in 1963. The play was written by Neil Simon, and ran for a total of 1,530 performances before closing on June 25th, 1967 to critical acclaim. In the stage version, Robert Redford and Elizabeth Ashley donned the famous roles of Corie and Paul Bratter, but in the film, Ashley was replaced by Jane Fonda while Redford reprised his role on screen. The films supporting actress Mildred Natwick played the role of Corie’s mother on stage, and when it came to hiring cast members for the film adaptation, casting Natwick in the role of Ethel was a no-brainer.

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From the onset, the film was expected to be financially successful at the box-office. Directed by Gene Saks, who was known for his professional association with Neil Simon, and written for the screen by Simon himself, Barefoot in the Park provided viewers with quality entertainment that was put together by stars of the highest magnitude.

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Actress Jane Fonda was born into a family that was strongly anchored by fame and acting. Her father Henry Fonda was one of the brightest stars to ever come out of Hollywood’s golden age, while her mother Frances gracefully moved around in society circles. Both Jane and her brother Peter would inherit their fathers talent and would go on to pursue successful careers in motion pictures.

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Jane Fonda’s co-star, Robert Redford is a highly revered member of the entertainment industry. Like many stars, Redford started out as an aspiring actor whose most pivotal goal was to achieve fame. His big break came in 1963 when he secured the role of the stuffy Paul Bratter in the stage production of Barefoot in the Park. After being steeped in acclamation, Redford continued to follow a road that would lead to even greater opportunities on stage and film. With the triumph of his latest performances, it was no surprise that Robert Redford was hired to reprise his role of Paul Bratter in the film adaptation of Neil Simon’s 1963 play.

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Even though both the film and the play were expertly crafted with Neil Simon’s signature hallmark, the plot is simple yet intriguing. Set in the hustle and bustle of New York City, Barefoot in the Park tells of the story of Corie and Paul Bratter ( Jane Fonda and Robert Redford ), a newlywed couple who experience the turbulent side of marriage when they move into their first home, a fifth floor apartment in Greenwich Village, which is cramped and leaky with a broken skylight and a flight of steep stairs to reach it. The condition of the apartment creates many obstacles, but the free spirited Corie who finds adventure in everything, is determined to transform the dilapidated dwelling into a home for the two of them, while her stuffy husband, Paul struggles to come to terms with the occurring dilemmas.

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Neil Simon was a playwright who preferred his stories to echo back to his past. In a large majority of his works, Simon depicts a more grittier side of life rather than looking through the lens at the idyllic world that is so often captured on celluloid. What Simon presents in Barefoot in the Park is an authentic character study of two human beings who deeply love each other, but are plagued with a set of difficulties that threaten to thwart their marriage.

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Barefoot in the Park benefits from its representation of realism, but what really makes it succeed is the fact that the film is tinged with plenty of wit and banter. Neil Simon was adroit at infusing comedic elements into sordid tales or conditions and making them entertaining. This is clearly epitomized when Corie turns her dreary living existence into an adventure. The atmosphere of their new apartment is far from congenial. The place is small. The rain and the snow comes in through the broken skylight, and the five flights of stairs to reach their home is a huge inconvenience. In addition to all that, the neighbors are eccentric and mysterious, but despite all these burdens, Corie is determined to make the most of what they have.

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Barefoot in the Park marks the second of four collaborations between Jane Fonda and Robert Redford. The two previously worked together in The Chase ( 1966 ) and would go onto make The Electric Horseman ( 1979 ) and Our Souls at Night ( 2017 ). In her autobiography, My Life So Far, Fonda states “I was very happy to be working with Bob Redford again and looking forward to our cuddling-in-the-cold-apartment scenes, something I hadn’t gotten a chance to do in The Chase. There’s something about Bob that’s impossible not to fall in love with. We’ve made three films together, and each time I was smitten, utterly twitter-pated, couldn’t wait to get to work, wouldn’t even get made when he was habitual one to two hours late. He never knew it of course. Nothing ever happened between us except that we always had a good time working together.”

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The making of Barefoot in the Park was memorable for Jane Fonda. The actress later recalled that she liked the intimate working environment and the amicable relationship she shared with her co-stars.

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“You’re almost nearly perfect.”

“That’s a rotten thing to say.”

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The close relationship between the two stars shines through in their performances. Both Fonda and Redford have that luring and magnetic chemistry that makes them appear credible. A lot of this has to do with Redford’s reluctantness and Jane’s willingness to film love scenes. In all honesty, it actually makes their on-screen romance appear more authentic.

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Initially, Barefoot in the Park was designed as a starring vehicle for Natalie Wood, who had previously worked with Robert Redford twice before in Inside Daisy Clover ( 1965 ) and This Property Is Condemned ( 1966 ). However, Wood had different ideas. She was planning to take a long hiatus away from filming and therefore would not be available to fulfill the role of Corie Bratter. This created a few difficulties for the studio who was still adamant about casting Natalie Wood, but were forced to consider other actresses for the role, including Yvette Mimieux and Sandra Dee. Finally the search was over when producer Hal B. Wallis hired Jane Fonda, who he thought was the only star that could curb Redford’s insecurities.

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In addition to Jane Fonda and Robert Redford, the film features stellar performances from Charles Boyer and Mildred Natwick, who lend solid support to the production. This was to be one of Boyer’s final film credits. After Barefoot in the Park, he would go on to appear in seven more pictures, but none of these vehicles left much of an impact on his career.

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On the other hand, Mildred Natwick continued to work prolifically after Barefoot in the Park. Her last film role was in Dangerous Liaisons  ( 1988 ), where she played Madame de Rosemonde. The picture was a commercial success and was the perfect way for Natwick to take her final bow. The actress died six years later on October 25th, 1994 at the age of 89.

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What makes the presence of Charles Boyer and Mildred Natwick so captivating is their chemistry. Although Boyer was past his prime, he still had the power to spawn magic and forge a beautiful romance with Natwick. It’s always a delight when the movies augment a blossoming relationship between two older people. Most films tend to focus on the young or teenage love affairs, but in Barefoot in the Park we are given a glimpse into two different types of romances – the relationship between Paul and Corie Bratter as well as Victor and Ethel’s developing friendship.

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“I feel like we’ve died and gone to heaven – only we had to climb up.”

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Although Victor and Ethel are not entirely compatible, they are well suited to each other and they work as a great support team. Despite being polar opposites with Victor leading a bohemian lifestyle while Ethel lives in loneliness, Corie feels that Victor just might be the cure for her mothers solitary existence. In many ways she is right. I personally see Victor as being Ethel’s pillar of strength. He breaks her boredom and provides her with comfort and helps her find much deserved happiness. For her performance, Mildred Natwick received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress, but lost to Estelle Parsons, who attained the Oscar that year for Bonnie and Clyde. 

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After the success of Barefoot in the Park, Jane Fonda catapulted to great heights. Before donning the famous role of Corie Bratter, Fonda was mostly cast in menial films that did nothing to enhance her box-office appeal. Now, the public began to recognize her as an actress instead of Henry Fonda’s daughter. This was a huge achievement, and it’s one of those pictures that Fonda herself is most proud of.

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TRIVIA

It is believed that Neil Simon based the play on his first marriage to Joan Baim.

Robert Redford loathed wearing a suit and tie all day which was required for his character. During breaks between filming, Redford wore western boots and a black cowboy hat.

This is one of Jane Fonda’s favorites of her own films. She once tweeted, “too bad we never got Neil Simon to do a sequel… those characters 40 years later”

When Jane Fonda is shown going up the stairs to her apartment, they used the same footage of her for every floor she climbs. As she nears the top of the stairs, every hallway flooring (right beside the spindles), has the exact same damage done to it, and a wrinkle or tear in the hallway carpet runner is in the exact same place on every level.

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CAST

Jane Fonda: Born, Jane Seymour Fonda on December 21st, 1937 in New York City.

Robert Redford: Born, Charles Robert Redford Jr. on August 18th, 1936 in Santa Monica, California.

Charles Boyer: Born, Charles Boyer on August 28th, 1899 in Figeac, Lot, France. Died: Auguust 26th, 1978 in Phoenix, Arizona. Aged. 78.

Mildred Natwick: Born, Mildred Natwick on June 19th, 1905 in Baltimore, Maryland. Died: October 25th, 1994 in Manhattan, New York. Aged. 89.

 

 

 

ANNOUNCING THE JOAN BENNETT BLOGATHON

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As you all would have guessed by now, I’m addicted to hosting blogathons. The thought of honoring a star who I’m passionate about is something that means a lot to me. It is even more thrilling when the honoree is extremely underrated and desperately needs to be put back on the radar.

The star that I’m honoring this time around is the legendary Joan Bennett, a wonderful actress whose indelible talents graced a myriad of successful films during Hollywood’s golden age. Although she is best known for her collaborations with Fritz Lang, and for being the sister of Constance and Barbara Bennett, Joan herself is first-rate and spawned magic whenever she appeared on screen.

Joan Bennett is one of my absolute favorite actresses. It is for this reason that I’ve been wanting to host a blogathon dedicated to her for a long time , but sadly I was unable to hold it for her birthday on February 27th, and her death anniversary on December 7th is a long way off, and I simply can’t wait for that long, so I’ve decided to spotlight Joan in July.

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FOR THOSE BLOGGERS WHO WISH TO JOIN THE BLOGATHON, THERE ARE SOME RULES THAT MUST BE ADHERED TO. PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING.

1. You can write about anything relating to Joan Bennett, from her illustrious body of work, her collaborations with Fritz Lang, her relationship with her sister Constance, her friendship with Humphrey Bogart and others to whatever topic piques your interest.

2. Even though there are an array of topics to go around, I’m allowing two duplicates only. The only thing I ask is that there be no more than three entries per person.

3. The blogathon will take place on July 19th – 21st, 2019. Please submit your posts on any of those dates. If you wish to post early, that’s fine, though I won’t link the posts until the day the blogathon arrives.

4. 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. 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 choose one of the banners and advertise it on your blog. Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you.

SUBJECTS THAT HAVE BEEN CLAIMED THE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF TIMES:

THE RECKLESS MOMENT ( 1949 )

ME AND MY GAL ( 1932 )

SCARLET STREET ( 1945 )

 

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THE ROSTER

IN THE GOOD OLD DAYS OF CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD – PERSONAL TRIBUTE TO JOAN & TBA.

THE STOP BUTTON – THE RECKLESS MOMENT ( 1949 )

A SHROUD OF THOUGHTS – THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW ( 1944 )

CAROLE & CO – JOAN BENNETT AND CAROLE LOMBARD IN “POWER” ( 1928 )

SILVER SCREEN CLASSICS – SCARLET STREET ( 1945 )

THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF CINEMA – ME AND MY GAL ( 1932 )

DUBSISM – THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK ( 1939 )

POPPITY TALKS CLASSIC FILMS – THE WIFE TAKES A FLYER ( 1942 )

REAL WEEGIE MIDGET REVIEWS – SUSPIRIA ( 1977 )

PALE WRITER – THE RECKLESS MOMENT ( 1949 )

MUSINGS OF A CLASSIC FILM ADDICT – TWO IN A CROWD ( 1936 )

CRITICA RETRO – LITTLE WOMEN ( 1933 )

CAFTAN WOMAN – MAN HUNT ( 1941 )

APPRECIATING JOAN BENNETT – THE THUNDERING WAVE ( 1957 ) FROM PLAYHOUSE 90

TAKING UP ROOM – HOLLOW TRIUMPH ( 1948 )

OVERTURE BOOKS AND FILMS – ME AND MY GAL ( 1932 )

PARKER BENA ( THE GRANDSON OF JOAN BENNETT ) – GROWING UP WITH JOAN BENNETT

THE MIDNIGHT DRIVE-IN – SCARLET STREET ( 1945 )

ANYBODY GOT A MATCH? – THERE’S ALWAYS TOMORROW ( 1955 )

ROSANGELA B. GOZ: GUEST POST ON “IN THE GOOD OLD DAYS OF CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD – JOAN’S POPULARITY IN BRAZIL.

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