ANNOUNCING THE SECOND MARATHON STARS BLOGATHON

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Discovering new stars is like stumbling across a pot of gold. There is something rewarding about exploring the illustrious filmography and witnessing the indelible talents of a completely different actor who we haven’t unearthed before on screen.

Are you looking to explore the body of work from a legendary talent from the pantheon of notable stars? Well here is your chance to unleash those actors who we once dismissed and take a dive into their filmography. The reason for this is because my friend Virginie from The Wonderful World of Cinema and myself are teaming up with Samantha from Musings of a Classic Film Addict to present The Marathon Stars Blogathon for a second consecutive year.

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For those who are interested in joining, there are some rules that must be adhered to.

1. Due to cinemas large constellation of stars who all hail from the highest magnitude, we are allowing no duplicates. If there is an actor or actress who you are eager to explore, act fast to make sure you get the person of your choice.

2. If you are hoping to discover more than one pot of gold by discovering more than one star that is fine. However, we are allowing a maximum of two entries per person.

3. The blogathon will take place between March 14th – 16th. Please submit your articles during any of these days or early if you prefer. In the meantime, explore and unearth those cobwebs of cinema.

4. The purpose of this blogathon is to discover stars that you have seen very little of. If you’ve seen a certain actor or actress in more than three films than they are not applicable for the blogathon. THE STAR OF YOUR CHOICE MUST BE SOMEONE WHO YOU HAVE SEEN IN THREE FILMS OR LESS OR SOMEONE WHO YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IN ANY FILM. Also, we are not limiting you to classic film stars only. If you want to write about a modern star that is fine. If you do choose a modern star, they must have appeared in motion pictures before the year 2000. We are also allowing movie stars of any kind. Character actors are most welcome.

5. If you are interested in joining, please let us know the movie star of your choice along with your blog name and URL. Once your topic has been confirmed, please take one of these banners that were created by Virginie, Samantha and myself and promote it on your blog. We suggest that you register as soon as possible. You must allow yourself plenty of time to watch the movies of the star of your choice. Also, we recommend that you watch a minimum of five films or more. These films must be movies you have never seen before. Of course, you are more than welcome to include the films that you have seen of your chosen star in the article, but the films you watch for this blogathon must be ones that have escaped you. We look forward to hearing who you choose. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at Carolelombardforever@yahoo.com. Thank you.

P.S. If you haven’t already, please be sure to check out my Fourth Annual Bette Davis Blogathon that I will be hosting in April. Click on the this text to visit the announcement post.

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THE ROSTER

In The Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood: Linda Darnell and Janet Gaynor.

The Wonderful World of Cinema: Tallulah Bankhead.

Musings of a Classic Film Addict: Pier Angeli.

Poppity Talks Classic Films: Irene Dunne.

Overture Books and Films: Joan Leslie.

Widescreen World: Amitabh Bachchan ( Bollywood actor )

Wolffian Classic Movies Digest: Rosalind Russell.

Pale Writer: Laird Cregar. 

Whimsically Classic: Yvette Mimieux. 

The Dream Book Blog: Geraldine Fitzgerald. 

The Stop Button: Luise Rainer. 

Critica Retro: Gloria Swanson. 

Phyllis Loves Classic Movies: Douglas Fairbanks Jr.

Champagne For Lunch: Dolores Del Rio.

Vintage Genevieve: Clara Bow.

Taking Up Room: Bela Lugosi.

The Midnight Drive-In: Faith Domergue.

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ANNOUNCING THE FOURTH ANNUAL BETTE DAVIS BLOGATHON

 

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I wanted to announce this sooner, but unfortunately, I’ve had a lot on my plate lately, and to top it all off, I’ve been suffering from depression yet again, and that is a huge burden that prevents me from proceeding with things.

Now that I’ve gotten all of that out of my system, I want to say that I’m pleased that my annual Bette Davis Blogathon will be returning for its fourth consecutive year this April. The event will take place between April 5th – 7th to coincide with what would have been Bette’s 111th birthday on April 5th.

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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. Now we all know the drill. Bloggers are welcome to write about anything relating to Bette Davis. There are a wealth of topics available, so the list is endless. As always, I encourage people to be imaginative and think outside the square. Instead of writing about her movies, you might want to provide a detailed analysis on another aspect of her life and career.

2. Because the life of Bette Davis is brimming with stories, I am allowing no more than two duplicates. If you have a topic in mind, act fast.

3. The blogathon commences on Bette’s birthday on April 5th, and finishes on April 7th. On the day of the blogathon I will publish a new post where bloggers can submit their entries. I only ask that you please send me your articles on either of those days or early if you prefer, and I’ll happily promote them.

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. I look forward to seeing you all in April to celebrate all things Bette Davis.

SUBJECTS CLAIMED TWICE AND THEREFORE CANNOT BE CHOSEN AGAIN

Now Voyager ( 1942 ), Of Human Bondage ( 1934 )

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THE ROSTER

In The Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood: Bette’s 1936 legal case battle, and a tribute to Bette.

Pale Writer: Now Voyager ( 1942 ) and a comparison between A Stolen Life and Dead Ringer.

Cinematic Scribblings: The Catered Affair ( 1956 )

Poppity Talks Classic Films: Mr. Skeffington ( 1944 ) and The Star ( 1952 )

Pop Culture Reverie: Death On the Nile ( 1978 )

Real Weegie Midget Reviews: Madame Sin ( 1972 )

The Dream Book Blog: The Little Foxes ( 1941 )

Caftan Woman: Bette’s appearance on “The Wagon Train” ( The Helen Lindstrom Story ) 

Down These Mean Streets: All About Eve ( 1950 )

The Stop Button: The Scapegoat ( 1959 )

Love Letters To Old Hollywood: Marked Woman ( 1937 )

Taking Up Room: Dark Victory ( 1939 )

Maddy Loves Her Classic Films: Now Voyager ( 1942 )

Silver Screen Classics: Dangerous ( 1935 )

Dubsism: The Link In My Brain Between Bette Davis and Baseball Hall-of-Famer Harmon Killebrew” .

Overture Books and Films: The Corn Is Green ( 1945 )

The Wonderful World of Cinema: Of Human Bondage ( 1934 )

Wolffian Classic Movies Digest: Tribute to Bette.

Critica Retro: Of Human Bondage ( 1934 )

 

WHEN ICONS COLLIDE: BETTE AND ERROL IN ‘THE SISTERS’ ( 1938 )

“You know, sometimes a man goes from wanting too much, to wanting nothing. He ought to do it gradually, or he gets all mixed up.”

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After her infamous legal case battle with Warner Bros. in 1936, Bette Davis embarked on a journey that would lead to astronomical success. Two years later, she received her first Academy Award for her performance in Jezebel, and around the same time she was lured into the arms of the iconic Australian born actor, Errol Flynn, who was fresh out of work from the swashbuckling epic, The Adventures of Robin Hood. 

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Bette Davis had great respect for Errol Flynn. She admired him for his contributions to the art of cinema, and was continuously clinging to the hope that she would one day work with him. These dreams were achieved in 1938 when Davis was cast alongside Flynn in The Sisters, a film adaptation of Myron Brinig’s novel of the same name.

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After the success of Jezebel, Bette thought that golden opportunities would be imminent. However, that was not entirely the case. Before attaining the role of Louise, Davis was being offered menial films that lacked the prestige. Due to her current status and catapulting popularity, Bette refused to degrade herself by accepting roles in films that would descend her appeal. Instead she decided that it was time for a vacation, an absence that would last until Warner Bros. agreed to treat her talents respectfully. As a result, Davis was put on suspension. But this time the suspension was only short. Warner Bros. finally realized that Bette Davis was a great asset to the studio, and so they sent her a script for a family melodrama titled The Sisters. 

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The casting of Bette Davis in The Sisters was a stroke of fate. Initially, Irene Dunne, Miriam Hopkins and Kay Francis were scheduled to play Louise, but when all three stars declined due to various reasons, Davis was offered the part. At one stage the script was purchased for Kay Francis. However, this idea was soon scrapped when the studio decided to relegate her to B movies for the remainder of her contract. The task of finding a suitable actor to play Frank proved to be just as erroneous. Both Frederic March and John Garfield were the first in line for the role, though several disagreements led to Errol Flynn attaining the part.

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The role of Louise Elliot in The Sisters was a part that Bette desperately wanted. This was a character that would provide her with the opportunity to unleash her full potential as well as allowing her to play a person that was quite a contrast to anybody else she’s portrayed. Bette later stated, “I was delighted with this part because it was a change of pace. I was always challenged by a new type of person to play.”. There was also another reason why Davis excepted the offer, and that was because it starred Errol Flynn, an actor she secretly idolized from afar.

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“For this particular role of a restless, confused newspaperman, he was well suited. Handsome, arrogant and utterly enchanting, Errol was something to watch.”

( Bette Davis )

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SYNOPSIS

Directed by Russian born, Anatole Litvak and written for the screen by Milton Krims, the film starts at the inauguration of Theodore Roosevelt, and follows the trials and tribulations that the three Elliot sisters face in married life. The main character of focus is Louise Elliot ( Bette Davis ) whose immediate elopement with sports writer, Frank Medlin ( Errol Flynn ) fuels emotional strain and heartbreak when financial problems begin to dominate her marriage and forces Frank to resort to the bottle. While Louise is struggling in San Francisco, her sisters back home in Silver Bow, Montana are also experiencing a set of difficulties of their own, but luckily they can benefit from the constant presence of their parents, Ned ( Henry Travers ), a pharmacist, and his wife, Rose, played by Beulah Bondi.

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The problems that Bette’s character Louise was enduring on-screen would soon spread to the home front. Off-screen, Bette was fighting a tumultuous battle with her first husband, Harmon Nelson. Although their marriage crisis had been looming for a while, it has been said that Davis’ work schedule exacerbated their already unhappy union. Harmon was always conjuring up the idea that his wife’s profession took higher precedence over him. He expected Bette to play the role of his dutiful wife twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. When Davis didn’t oblige, he moved out of the Coldwater Canyon house they shared together. After six years of marriage, Bette Davis and Harmon Nelson filed for divorce on November 22nd, 1938.

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In addition to her marital hardships, Bette Davis was trying to deal with the sudden death of her father, Harlow, who suffered a heart attack and passed away on New Year’s Day in 1938. Davis’ relationship with her father was difficult and was often on the verge of permanently collapsing, but despite their indifferences and communication barriers, Bette still grieved his loss. Seeing as their ties were partly severed, Davis decided not to attend his funeral on January 3rd. Instead, she used this time to reflect back on the positive memories she had of her father.

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The year 1938 was a turning point for Bette Davis professionally. Attaining the Academy Award for Jezebel brought her much happiness and propelled her career to an even higher zenith, but that was not enough. Bette wanted to do something meaningful with her life. She believed in supporting a cause and helping those less fortunate than her. What she really wanted was to utilize her passions in a charitable way. Her answer to this was becoming president of The Tailwaggers, an organization that cared for abandoned and lost dogs. Bette transmitted all her energy into running this group. She oversaw all problems and fixed them accordingly, but first and foremost, her intent was to assist in the care and maintenance of the dogs. In her autobiography, The Lonely Life, Bette Davis stated, “A lifelong dog lover, I became president of the group and during my tenure of office we trained dogs for the blind. The work became infinitely satisfying and accomplished a twofold purpose. In order to raise money, Bobby helped me arrange for a dinner party at the Beverly Hills Hotel, to which the movie colony responded generously.” . This was not the only time Bette Davis lent her efforts to philanthropic duties. In 1942, Davis and John Garfield launched The Hollywood Canteen, a club that served food, entertainment and dancing to servicemen, who were on their way overseas.

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The Sisters may not be the most memorable film from 1938. These days its quite obscure and is often listed among the lesser known titles by each player, but what it does benefit from is the indomitable presence of Bette Davis and Errol Flynn. Both stars exuded that special cinematic quality and infused splashes of their genius into their performances. Errol Flynn was the perfect Frank Medlin. His embodiment of the nonchalant and rebellious spirit was superbly captured in his portrayal of the arrogant and perturbed sports writer, who is constantly plagued with problems. This type of character worked in great harmony with Bette, who always succeeded in playing wretched victims. Her portrayal of Louise is indelible in all respects. As his long suffering wife, Louise inhabited a fierce determination and tenaciousness that forced her to follow her goals and advance to a higher level, so she can help support her husband when he was left without a job.

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“You know what happened to me today? A very funny thing. I was asleep in a nice, comfortable gutter. I mean, there were no rents to pay, no novels to write, no nothing… But all of a sudden I remembered that I was a man of responsibilities. Ha ha! A man of responsibilities – that’s me.”

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Initially, the teaming of Bette Davis and Errol Flynn was set to be a scene for disaster. Due to their contrasting personalities and different approach to their work, both stars were expected to be embroiled in a duel – That is usually what happens when two people with tempestuous natures collide, but surprisingly, there were no dark clouds in the sky. Apart from a few small quarrels that were mostly fueled by impatience, the relationship between the two stars was amiable. Neither Davis or Flynn were consensual – Errol hinted at it on a few occasions, but Bette being the consummate professional that she was, shrugged off any advances that Flynn may have made.

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Bette’s serious approach to her work is clearly evident in The Sisters. While some stars would request a double to film any scene that may cause injury, Davis demanded that she do all her own stunts. The thought of placing herself in peril never really crossed her mind. After all, Davis loved a challenge and was always willing to take risks. The way Bette narrowly escaped danger during the famous earthquake sequence is a prime indication of her gallant behavior. The actress herself even admitted it, and wrote in her autobiography The Lonely Life, “On the set of The Sisters I was risking life and limb daily. During the San Francisco earthquake sequence, my director, Anatole Litvak, ordered a button pressed and the ground opened beneath me and walls came tumbling down around me. If I had been a fraction of an inch off my position, that would have been that. As it was, a splinter from a crystal chandelier flew in my eye.”

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Although not as successful as Bette Davis’ previous film, Jezebel, The Sisters was well received by audiences in 1938, and still holds up relatively strong today. The pairing of Davis and Flynn was considered an unusual teaming at first, but both stars manage to create a believable character study through the authenticity of their chemistry. This was not the last time Davis and Flynn would work together. The two reunited the following year to make, The Private Life of Elizabeth and Essex, starring their frequent co-star, Olivia de Havilland.

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The Sisters achieves at giving viewers a more accurate glimpse of life during the early 20th century rather than looking through the lens at the idyllic and idealized world that was so often depicted on screen. From Errol Flynn’s portrayal of a man caught between the bottle and his failed literary ventures to Bette Davis’ achingly rendition of his neglected wife, who deals with her husbands demons, this is a film that continues to intrigue and entertain audiences of all generations.

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TRIVIA

Originally the film credits were to read “Errol Flynn in The Sisters”, but Bette Davis demanded equal billing alongside Errol Flynn. She also pointed out that the original credits had an unwelcome sexual connotation.

The earthquake sequence took three weeks to shoot and cost $200,000 ($3.45M in 2017).

In the novel on which the film was based, the character of Louise Elliott ends up marrying a different man in the denouement.

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CAST

Bette Davis: Born, Ruth Elizabeth Davis on April 5th, 1908 in Lowell, Massachusetts. Died: October 6th, 1989 in Neuilly, Sur Seine, France. Aged 81. Cause of death: Breast Cancer.

Errol Flynn: Born, Errol Leslie Thomson Flynn on June 20th, 1909 in Tasmania, Australia. Died: October 14th, 1959 in Vancouver, Canada. Aged 50.

Beulah Bondi: Born, Beulah Bondy on May 3rd, 1889 in Chicago, Illinois. Died: January 11th, 1981 in Los Angeles, California. Aged 91.

Henry Traves: Born, Travers John Heagerty on March 5th, 1874 in Prudhoe, Northumberland, England. Died: October 18th, 1965 in Hollywood, California. Aged 91.

Anita Louise: Born, Anita Louise Fremault on January 9th, 1915 in New York City. Died: April 25th, 1970 in West Los Angeles. Aged 55.

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This post was written for the Made In 1938 Blogathon, hosted by Pop Culture Reverie and myself at In The Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood. To view the other entries being exhibited during this event, please click here.

 

THE SECOND REMEMBERING BARBARA STANWYCK BLOGATHON IS HERE

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This time three years ago I was hosting a blogathon dedicated to the indelible and extremely versatile, Barbara Stanwyck, who passed away on January 20th, 1990. This year I am back with the second edition of the blogathon, but this time there is an added bonus: The wonderful Maddy from Maddy Loves Her Classic Films is my co-host.

Bloggers, please submit your entries on the comments section below or send it to Maddy. That way we don’t need to go searching on your blog for your article. Thank you. We look forward to reading your tributes and celebrating the legendary Barbara Stanwyck with you.

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Here’s to you Stannyy ( Missy ) wherever you are.

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THE ENTRIES

The Midnight Drive-In kicks things off with Barbara Stanwyck in Forty Guns ( 1957 )

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Poppity presents Barbara & Bogie in The Two Mrs. Carrolls ( 1947 )

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My co-host Maddy from Maddy Loves Her Classic Films dives into Barbara’s performance in the 1953 melodrama, All I Desire.

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Real Weegie Midget Reviews talks about Barbara’s performance in The Colbys.

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Caftan Woman has arrived with Barbara and Joel McCrea in their second of six films together, Banjo On My Knee ( 1936 )

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Taking Up Room embarks on a vacation with Barbara on-board the Titanic.

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Pop Culture Reverie reviews The Mad Miss Manton 

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Movie Rob has arrived with his first post on the gem that is known as, Witness To Murder ( 1954 )

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The Flapper Dame pens a tribute to the wonderful Christmas movie, Remember The Night ( 1940 )

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Stars and Letters takes a look at Barbara’s correspondence with Warner Bros. 

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Down These Mean Streets revisits the Film Noir classic, Double Indemnity ( 1944 )

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The Wonderful World of Cinema pens a delightful tribute to Barbara Stanwyck.

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Vinnie H joins us with an article on the underrated but wonderful, No Man of Her Own ( 1950 )

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The Story Enthusiast pays tribute to Barbara in Lady of Burlesque ( 1943 )

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THE MADE IN 1938 BLOGATHON IS HERE

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When my friend Robin from Pop Culture Reverie kindly asked me a few months ago if I wanted to co-host a blogathon with her that celebrates the cinematic year of 1938, I euphorically agreed. I seen this as a great opportunity to honor my grandmother, who was born in 1938. She’s also an avid fan of classic Hollywood, and when she found out that a blogathon is being hosted in her honor, she was thrilled. We definitely can’t blame her.

Please join Robin and myself for the next few days while we celebrate this wonderful year in film with an impressive list of articles written by bloggers. A big thank you to those of you who have taken the time to participate. We look forward to reading your posts.

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P.S. : Please stay tuned as I will be announcing two other blogathons soon, one of them being a 1937 blogathon dedicated to my beautiful aunt, who passed away on December 31st, 2016. She was born that year. 

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THE ENTRIES: 

Love Letters To Old Hollywood gets the party started with Fred and Ginger in Carefree. 

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Various Ramblings of a Nostalgic Italian pays tribute to Rich Little, Wolfman Jack, and Christopher Lloyd, who were all born in 1938. 

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Talk About Cinema talks about the Disney Studios work in 1938.

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Caftan Woman pens an article on the 1938 film, If I Were King.

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The Stop Button reviews The Buccaneer.

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Critica Retro has arrived with Angels With Dirty Faces. 

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The Midnight Drive-In tells us about Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars.

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Classic Comedy Corner takes us to Austria with The 13 Chairs.

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Cinematic Scribblings analyzes the 1938 Japanese film, The Masseurs and a Woman. 

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The Wonderful World of Cinema has arrived with the cast from Merrily We Live. 

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Movie Movie Blog Blog gives us a glimpse into The Marx Brothers in Room Service.

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The Story Enthusiast explores the life and career of Natalie Wood.

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For his first of three posts, Movie Rob also brings us Room Service.

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The Flapper Dame has arrived with Jimmy and Ginger in Vivacious Lady.

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Silver Screen Classics talks about Bette’s Academy Award winning performance in Jezebel.

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Wide Screen World reviews Rawhide. 

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Movie Rob is back with his second post on The Three Comrades.

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18 Cinema Lane tells us why Shirley Temple makes a Shirley Temple movie.

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Carole & Co. reflects back on Carole Lombard’s cinematic year of 1938.

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For her second post, Love Letters To Old Hollywood explores Louis Hayward’s portrayal of Simon Templar in The Saint In New York.

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Taking Up Room goes flying with Clark, Spencer and Myrna Loy in Test Pilot.

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Yours Truly, reminisces about the time Bette collided with Errol Flynn in The Sisters.

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Musings of a Classic Film Addict discovers another Tyrone Power film, Alexander’s Ragtime Band.

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THE HAUNTINGLY BEAUTIFUL PORTRAIT OF JENNIE ( 1948 )

“I know we were meant to be together. The strands of our lives are woven together and neither the world nor time can tear them apart.”

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Jennifer Jones was destined to become a star from the moment she arrived on Hollywood soil. Her surreal and enigmatic beauty immediately captivated the attention of her soon to be lover and husband, David O. Selznick, who took great pride in carving out her future by sending her on a journey that would lead to astronomical success.

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Jennifer Jones’ story is a fascinating tale of triumph and rejection. For most of her life, Jones was plagued with shyness and an extreme insecurity that fueled despondency and made her feel worthless, but underneath her meek exterior was a fierce determination that constantly forced her to try and achieve her dream of becoming a successful actress. This was realized when David O. Selznick developed a profound interest in Jennifer and hired her to play the coveted role of Bernadette Soubirous in The Song of Bernadette ( 1943 ).

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After enduring years of personal setbacks, Jennifer Jones was now living the dream. Not only did she receive an Academy Award for her performance, she was about to discover that a door to a world of opportunities was about to be opened. David O. Selznick knew that future acclaim was on the horizon, but with her considerable popularity came the worry that Jones would be lured into the arms of her co-stars. To prevent this, Selznick cast her in a series of successful films with legendary actor Joseph Cotten, who was happily married at the time and therefore would not be interested in pursuing a relationship with Jones.

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By now, David O. Selznick had become increasingly obsessed with finding Jones a film role that was unique and that would provide her with the opportunity to spawn magic whenever she appeared on screen. Although her previous films were financially successful, Selznick was in search of a vehicle that would place higher precedence on Jennifer Jones rather than the other characters.

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The answer to his search came as early as 1944. The film in question was Portrait of Jennie, a visually creative and poetic masterpiece that delves into the realms of the unknown. The novel of the same name by Robert Nathan, in which the film is based was an unusual fantasy tale that immediately sparked an interest in Selznick, who saw considerable promise in the story and wanted to bring it to life on screen with Jennifer Jones playing the central protagonist.

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On January 12th, 1944, David O. Selznick purchased the screen rights for Portrait of Jennie for $25,000 after several negotiations with his story editor Margaret McDonnell who supported his idea. Despite his enthusiasm, David decided to remain silent about his latest endeavor for a few months. The project was first announced on May 30th, 1944 when he stated that it was in preparation for Jennifer Jones. However, his plans were deconstructed. Somewhere along the way, Selznick scrapped the idea of casting Jones and offered the lead roles to both Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier in 1946, but when he discovered that both stars would likely decline, Selznick demanded that the casting aspects be forgotten. He was worried that his decision on casting Leigh and Olivier would send Jones into an outrage, though as it turns out, Joseph Cotten and Jennifer Jones had already secured the roles.

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Now that Jennifer Jones was back in the project, David O. Selznick wanted only the best people to work with her. The only director he felt could perfectly capture her ethereal beauty was William Dieterle, who had previously directed Jones and Cotten in Love Letters ( 1945 ) and had succeeded in augmenting her angelic face. Joseph August, whose work in Gunga Din and The Hunchback of Notre Dame greatly impressed David, was hired as the films cinematographer. Sadly, Joseph August passed away on September 25th, 1947, shortly after filming was completed.

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From the onset, Portrait of Jennie was steeped in chaos. David O. Selznick was constantly dissatisfied during filming. He disliked the early scenes and felt that the footage could be improved if a better location had been used. The wintry season created major obstacles when it came to shooting the scenes of Jennifer Jones as a young girl in Central Park. Selznick complained that the harsh winter light affected her appearance and made the whole film unrealistic. This made Selznick stop production until a better location was found. To further exacerbate matters, he was having trouble with his managing producer David Hempstead whose alcohol fueled lifestyle was an impediment to the picture. Selznick did everything in his power to try and patch up the complications caused by Hempstead, but the only thing he did to succeed was pay more attention to his producing duties at New York and the Boston Harbor locations.

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The filming of Portrait of Jennie created that much conflict, and after being embroiled in a series of misadventures that occurred while making the film, David O. Selznick often thought about abandoning the project. These problems never seemed to come to a halt. Everywhere he turned he would encounter more perplexing dilemmas. At one stage the script was at the root of his worries. He was constantly dissatisfied with the screenplay that he fired four different writers until he stumbled across Leonardo Bercovici whose new adaptation of the novel became the framework for Paul Osborn’s screenplay.

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“There is no life, my darling, until you love and have been loved. And then there is no death.”

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In addition to the problems that Selznick faced, most of the other cast members were agitated by Selznick’s meticulousness and his moments of irascibility. The ambiance on set was often described as tense. Nobody knew what mood Selznick was going to embrace from day to day, but the tumultuous filming schedule triggered his incensed anger. Beyond that, the production costs were sky high. Selznick wanted everything from a tinted color sequence at the films finale to real life filming locations, which drastically increased the price.

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In addition to the incessant complications, David O. Selznick was far from gratified with the final production. His main intent was to guide Jennifer Jones to critical acclaim and he was convinced that the film would give the world a glimpse into another window of her genius. However, the general public and critics viewed the film in a different light and felt that the story just didn’t work. Bosley Crowther from The New York Times described it as being “deficient and disappointing in the extreme.”, while Mae Tinee from the Chicago Daily Tribute wrote “There is nothing quite like the dull thud with which fantasy falls flat when it is handed gracelessly. What was intended as romantic becomes ridiculous, and nothing can save it.”. The films saving grace however, were the few positive reviews. Variety stated, “Portrait of Jennie is an unusual screen romance. The story of an ethereal romance between two generations is told with style, taste and dignity. William Dieterle has given the story sensitive direction and his guidance contributes considerably toward the top performances from the meticulously cast players. Jennifer Jones’ performance is standout. Her miming ability gives a quality to the four ages she portrays- from a small girl through the flowering woman. Ingenuity in makeup also figures importantly in sharpening the portrayal. Joseph Cotten endows the artist with a top performance, matching the compelling portrayal by Jones.”

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For David O. Selznick, making Portrait of Jennie turned out be a huge mistake. The failure of the film sent him on a financially troubled path that would lead to a brief exile in Europe. This decision also affected Jennifer Jones’ career, which seemed to falter after the picture was released. Although, Jones would continue to churn out successful films, she would only receive acclamation sporadically in the years that proceeded.

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In 1950, Portrait of Jennie was re-released as Tidal Wave, in the hopes that a new title would attract audiences and receive better recognition, but once again the attempts of furthering the film to greater heights proved erroneous.  The only praise that Portrait of Jennie received came in the form of Academy Awards for Best Effects and Special Effects. Joseph August was also recognized with an Oscar nomination for his masterful Black-and-White cinematography, but lost to William Daniels for The Naked City.

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At the time of the films release, Joseph Cotten was the only star that was lauded for Portrait of Jennie. The following year he received the International Prize for Best Actor for his portrayal of Eben Adams at the Venice International Film Festival. He would also go on to reprise his role in two radio adaptations as well as starring alongside Anne Baxter who played Jennie Appleton in a sixty minute dramatization for Lux Radio Theater on October 31st, 1949.

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In the years that followed, Portrait of Jennie has certainly survived the harsh criticism it attained on its release. As the years proceeded, the film has followed a long path that would ultimately lead to success, and would evoke considerable popularity with modern day audiences. Film historians consider it a classic of the fantasy genre and the performances by the lead players are held in high esteem.

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PROLOGUE

“Since time began man has looked into the awesome reaches of infinity and asked the eternal question: What is time? What is life? What is space? What is death? Through a hundred civilizations, philosophers and scientists have come together with answers, but the bewilderment remains… Science tells us that nothing ever dies but only changes, that time itself does not pass but curves around us, and that the past and the future are together at our side for ever. Out of the shadows of knowledge, and out of a painting that hung on a museum wall, comes our story, the truth of which lies not on our screen but in your hearts.”

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SYNOPSIS 

Portrait of Jennie transcends fantasy to another level. Masterfully directed by William Dieterle, and set in New York in 1934, the film tells the story of Eben Adams ( Joseph Cotten ), a struggling painter who triumphs over failure after meeting a mysterious young girl named Jennie Appleton ( Jennifer Jones ) in Central Park. Currently, Eben is working as a struggling artist whose dreams of prospering in his career seem to be a fanciful hope. His dreams are finally realized when Jenny enters his life. For once, he is struck with bouts of inspiration, and at long last, Eben has found his perfect painting subject, and that subject is Jennie.

“I wish that you would wait for me to grow up so that we could always be together.”

There is something captivating about Jennie that makes Eben believe he’s found what he’s looking for. Even the wise art-dealer, Miss Spinney ( Ethel Barrymore ) sees great potential in Eben and realizes that Jennie just might be his ticket to success. What they don’t know but what Eben soon discovers is that there is an air of mystery that surrounds Jennie. She is far different to any girl he’s ever encountered. Her clothes are archaic and she talks about events that happened in the past. Perhaps the most puzzling aspect though is the fact that she appears older every time he sees her. Eben just can’t wrap his head around these bizarre circumstances. Who is Jennie Appleton? or is Jennie just present in his dreams? Is Eben able to unleash the cobwebs of mystery? Watch the movie and find out.

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Portrait of Jennie epitomizes the fine art of movie making. The film is masterfully crafted and visually aesthetic. This is all due to the stunning cinematography by Joseph August, who deftly creates a ghostly and mysterious ambiance with his use of crisp black and white photography, which gives the film that magical and surreal feeling. It would not be a lie to say that August’s work in Portrait of Jennie is his greatest cinematic achievement. Not only is the film incredibly atmospheric, it is also unique in the way that sepia and Technicolor are applied at the finale. The reason for this is not exactly known, but the tinted hurricane and tidal-wave sequence was the brainchild of David O. Selznick. This decision would ultimately result in the film attaining the Academy Award for Best Special Effects.

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Joseph August may of committed all of his energy into making Portrait of Jennie a breathtakingly beautiful masterpiece, but its the characters who inhabit his ethereal world that propelled the film to new heights. The alluring presence along with the magnetic chemistry of Joseph Cotten and Jennifer Jones are a sight to behold. This was the last screen pairing of Cotten and Jones, but its definitely their most memorable. Jennifer Jones truly embodied the role of Jennie Appleton. Like Jennie, Jones possessed a special kind of beauty that was more angelic and celestial. She also carried around an air of mystery. It is because of these traits that Jones was able to superbly infuse all the right ingredients into her character.

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Portrait of Jennie also benefits from the talents of Ethel Barrymore, who plays Miss Spinney in the movie. Although her part is relatively small, her character is crucial to the story. Miss Spinney is the wise art dealer who first witnesses Eben’s capacity to succeed and encourages him to unleash his potential. She is sagacious enough to realize that Eben possesses the capabilities to develop his paintings into masterpieces, but all he needs is the inspiration. The answer to this is Jennie Appleton, and its because of Miss Spinney’s advice that Eben decides to transmit most of his energy into painting a portrait of Jennie. Miss Spinney has never seen Jennie, though instead of doubting his imagination, she believes in Jennie and continues to support Eben during his journey.

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“Don’t be soft, Matthews. I’m an old maid, and nobody knows more about love than an old maid.”

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According to some sources, Ethel Barrymore is supposedly the present day Jennie Appleton. This is really just a myth, as there is no actual evidence to support the claim. In many ways they closely mirror each other, but its merely impossible for Miss Spinney to be the reincarnation of Jennie. After all, Miss Spinney was living while Jennie was alive.

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Ethel Barrymore was fresh out of work on the 1948 film Moonrise when she was assigned the role of Miss Spinney. Ever since returning to motion pictures after a twelve year hiatus, Barrymore seemed to be working tirelessly. At this point in her career, she was churning out more than one film a year. Ethel always maintained that the stage was her preferred art form and it was where she truly felt she belonged, but when she discovered that movies were more rewarding than the theater, she was determined to make it her final destiny. That is exactly what Ethel Barrymore did.

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In addition to Ethel Barrymore, Portrait of Jennie boasts other familiar names. Acting veteran, Lillian Gish appears in a small cameo role as Mother Mary of Mercy, who works at the Convent School, where Jennie once attended. It’s a shame that somebody of Gish’ stature was given very little to do. It would have been nice if her character was more fleshed out. The films other main supporting role of Matthews was fulfilled by South African born, Cecil Kellaway. Here Kellaway plays Miss Spinney’s sidekick and fellow art dealer, who also realizes that Eben exudes many special qualities. During filming, Kellaway and Barrymore forged a friendship that touched more on professional terms. The two would share the screen for the last time in 1957 when they made Johnny Trouble, which is now known as the final film role of Ethel Barrymore.

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Portrait of Jennie is not a just a movie. This is a film that is woven together to create a visually spectacular story with a colorful array of characters, who are portrayed by the biggest stars Hollywood has ever produced. The script is dexterously constructed and the astute dialogue along with the masterful cinematography perfectly capture the essence of time and life. More than seventy years has passed since its initial release, but the hauntingly beautiful Portrait of Jennie will continue to be etched in the hearts of millions worldwide.

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TRIVIA

The portrait of Jennie supposedly painted by Joseph Cotten‘s character, Eben Adams, was in reality created by noted portrait artist Robert BrackmanJennifer Jones came in for more than a dozen sittings in Brackman’s Connecticut studio. Actually, Robert Brackmanwas obliged to paint, not only one, but two versions as the first one, described as “lush” and “opulent” by the artist, was scrapped after script changes necessitated a completely new and more simple one. A black-and-white photo of the first version can be seen in one of the books on Brackman. The painting was a prized possession of producer Selznick and hung in his home from 1946 until his death.

Portrait of Jennie marked the film debuts of both David Wayne and Nancy Olson.

In the original novella Jennie did not die in a tsunami, but was washed overboard from an ocean liner.

Portrait of Jennie was highly unusual for its time in that it had no opening credits as such, except for the Selznick Studio logo. All the other credits appear at the end. Before the film proper begins, the title is announced by the narrator (after delivering a spoken prologue, he says, “And now, ‘Portrait of Jennie'”).

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CAST

Jennifer Jones: Born, Phylis Lee Isley on March 2nd, 1919 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Died: December 17th, 2009 in Malibu, California. Aged: 90.

Joseph Cotten: Born, Joseph Cheshire Cotten on May 15th, 1905 in Petersburg, Virginia. Died: February 6th, 1994 in Los Angeles, California. Aged: 88.

Ethel Barrymore: Born, Ethel Mae Blythe on August 15th, 1879 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Died: June 18th, 1959 in Los Angeles, California. Aged 79.

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This post was written for the Year After Year Blogathon, hosted by Steve at Movie Movie Blog Blog. To view the other entries being exhibited during this event, please click here.

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. 

The Flapper Dame: Remember The Night ( 1940 )

The Wonderful World of Cinema: Favorite Barbara Stanwyck films.

Stars & Letters: Correspondence from Barbara Stanwyck.

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.

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