ANNOUNCING THE SECOND ANNUAL JUDY GARLAND BLOGATHON

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The legendary Judy Garland has long been a highly revered icon of motion pictures and the musical stage. For many she was the epitome of talent, but for me she was the rescuer who occupied my mind, and introduced me to the world of classic cinema.

As I’ve stated many times, Judy Garland has played a pivotal role in shaping my life. It is for this reason that I’ve decided to shine the spotlight on Judy for the second time by hosting another birthday blogathon for Judy’s 96th birthday on June 10th. Sadly I was in hospital suffering from headaches during last years blogathon and was unable to be present for my own event. This year however, I’m going to make sure that the blogathon  is a success.

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THE RULES:

1. All my frequent blogathon participants would know the drill. Bloggers are welcome to write about anything that relates to Judy Garland. Judy has charted many different territories, so there are many areas to explore.

2. Because there are a wealth of topics up for grabs, I will be allowing no more than two duplicates. It’s first come, first serve, so act fast. Also, I don’t have a limit on how many posts you want to write.

3. The Blogathon will be held on June 8 – 10, 2018, so please post your entries on either of these dates or before. If you’re going to be late, please let me know.

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: crystalkalyana@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 spread the word about this blogathon by advertising the event on your blog. Below are a few banners, so grab yourself a banner, and let’s celebrate the unparalleled talents of Judy Garland.

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THE ROSTER

In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood: A Star Is Born ( 1954 ) and My memories of attending Judy In New York in 2011.

Love Letters To Old Hollywood: Broadway Melody Of 1938 & Easter Parade ( 1948 )

The Dream Book Blog: I Could Go On Singing ( 1963 )

Life With Books and Movies: Meet Me In St. Louis ( 1944 )

Elizabeth Nelson: Guest post at In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood: Judy’s collaborations with musicians and composers.

Taking Up Room: For Me and My Gal ( 1942 ) and The Clock ( 1945 )

Critica Retro: Gay Pur-ee ( 1962 )

Real Weegie Midget Reviews: I Could Go On Singing ( 1963 )

Pop Culture Reverie: Meet Me In St. Louis ( 1944 )

Vintage Geneive: Judy Garland’s films and her life to gay culture.

Whimsically Classic: Judy Garland and Gene Kelly.

Musings Of A Classic Film Addict: Babes On Broadway ( 1940 )

The Stop Button: A Child Is Waiting ( 1963 )

I Found It At The Movies: Judy Garland’s life story and Get Happy ( Judy biography )

Karavansara: Judgement At Nuremberg ( 1961 )

Movie Rob: The Clock ( 1945 ), A Star Is Born ( 1945 ) and A Child Is Waiting ( 1963 )

Old Hollywood Films: The Pirate ( 1948 )

Judy Garland News and Events: On this day in Judy Garland’s life and career.

Anybody Got A Match? Judy’s 1954 Oscar snub.

 

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ELIZABETH TAYLOR: THE ROAD TO CHARITY

“Nothing will raise your self-esteem as much as helping others. It will make you like yourself more and make you more likable. We can’t all be Mother Teresa, but each of us can try to make our little corner of the earth better.”

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From the moment she stepped foot on Hollywood soil, Elizabeth Taylor became a crowning glory of the film industry. She received two coveted Academy Awards for her performances in Butterfield 8 ( 1960 ) and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf ( 1966 ) as well as attaining the industries top honors, but the role in which she wanted to be remembered for was her prolific work as a humanitarian.

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The legendary Elizabeth Taylor was known the world over for her generosity and her incredible gift of giving. The actress who skyrocketed from a beloved child-star into one of cinema’s most beautiful women eventually became the face of charity and was often seen fundraising for different charitable events.

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Elizabeth Taylor found great satisfaction in helping others and always made sure that her charitable work took precedence over motion pictures, but the question that many people ask is how did a successful movie star become so involved in charity? Although discipline and benevolence had been instilled in Elizabeth since a young age, her story only really started in 1956 while she was filming Giant opposite Rock Hudson.

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Giant was made at a time when Elizabeth Taylor was yearning for a career resurrection. After being cast in a few box-office failures that did nothing to enhance her popularity, Taylor was desperate to be put back on the radar. When the script for Giant came in her direction, Taylor instantly knew that the role of Leslie Lynnton Benedict would save her from debris, so she lobbied director George Stevens until she obtained the part.

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This was the perfect career move for Elizabeth Taylor. Not only did Giant rescue her from a descending film decline, it also formed an inseparable friendship that would ultimately make motion picture history.

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As soon as the two starts met, Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson were inseparable. The core of their strong connection is said to be fueled from the roots of gratitude. Forever thankful that Hudson was the instrumental force behind her attaining the part, Taylor was always in his presence. Whether they were on or off the set they spent quality time together, often dining out and drinking their favorite beverage, Chocolate martini’s.

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Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson epitomized the true meaning of friendship. The special bond that these two Hollywood greats shared encompassed the entire movie set and continued into the proceeding years. Sadly their journey ended in heartache when Rock Hudson died from AIDS in 1985, leaving an emotionally distraught Elizabeth desperately wanting to get to the core of the dreaded disease that killed her close friend.

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Rock Hudson’s death left Elizabeth incensed with the lack of support and knowledge about this newfound disease. She was appalled by everyone’s inactivity when it came to helping those victims suffering from AIDS, but then it suddenly dawned on her. She too was laying idle, and there was absolutely no excuse for her. She had the power and was in the position to fight the stigma that was attached to the virus.

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Realizing that she was just like everyone else, Elizabeth immediately sprung into action and transcended her acting career to fully commence her rewarding journey as an avid humanitarian. Her first venture was the AIDS Project Los Angeles’ Commitment to Life dinner that was held in September 1985. For extra support she rallied her friends to volunteer their time to the event, but when they all refused, Taylor was once again engulfed with bigotry and discrimination.

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Later that year she joined forces with Dr. Mathilde Krim and formed the American Foundation for AIDS Research, in which she became the organizations first national chairman. Her commitment was phenomenal and her dedication in helping those suffering alone could not be usurped. Sally Morrison of amfAR stated, “Elizabeth’s participation was great for the scientists, the people fighting at the lab bench and at the bedside. It’s very demoralizing work. Then she shows up. It’s very meaningful to them.”

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As an actress Elizabeth was unparalleled, but her work as a humanitarian left an indelible mark on society. During the years she fought endlessly to find a cure for AIDS related diseases, and eventually all her hard work paid off. Progress was gradually made and through further developments, treatments and medicines were hitting the markets. Schools were starting to place emphasis on sex education. Elizabeth once said, “It’s our moral responsibility to educate people about safe sex. People shouldn’t stop having sex—I’d be the last person in the world to advocate that—but safe sex is important.”

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The years, 1986, 1990, and 1992 were busy for Elizabeth. It was during those twelve months that she testified before the Senate and House for the Ryan White Care Act. In 1987, she persuaded Ronald Reagan to address the disease for the first time in a public announcement, but usually when politics was concerned, Elizabeth Taylor was known to denounce presidents like George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton for their lack of interest and support in the subject matter. At the Eighth International AIDS Conference she told the audience, “I don’t think President Bush is doing anything at all about AIDS. In fact, I’m not even sure if he knows how to spell AIDS.”

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In the years that Elizabeth Taylor had been working as a philanthropic she had managed to bring a disease that was so overshadowed to the forefront, but despite her significant contributions she had made, Elizabeth was unsatisfied by her efforts. She felt she weren’t doing enough to extinguish the disease, and so in 1991 she opened the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation in support of those sufferers who were in need of proper patient care.

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Her mission was to ensure that each seriously ill individual benefit from the money raised. Her foundation was not established to help other organizations. She was there to support the needs of those unfortunate victims who were suffering from the disease. Elizabeth often stated, “The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation researches all the requests. We weed them out, and find out about their overhead. If their overhead is exorbitant, I don’t give them money because I know it’s going into somebody’s pocket. My foundation is for the individual. I want the money to get to the sick who can’t get out of bed.”

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The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation was not just for the victims however. She also helped support other charitable organizations including, Caring For Babies With AIDS, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, LIFE, and Mother Saradadevi Social Service Society as well as funding, support education, condom giveaways, and needle exchange programs.

“Remember always to give. That is the thing that will make you grow.”

The praise she received was gratifying, but for Elizabeth the most crucial aspect of her charitable endeavors was meeting and corresponding with those suffering from AIDS. Having someone of Elizabeth Taylor’s stature visit them was a dream come true for these people. They idolized her for helping them find courage, and she remained their pillar of strength. On the other hand however, Elizabeth sometimes found her face to face time with the victims extremely heartbreaking. She would often walk into rooms to discover almost lifeless people whose bodies were ravaged by the disease. Witnessing cases like these emotionally disturbed Elizabeth, but it piqued her interest in fighting more.

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Further along on the journey, the disease that Elizabeth Taylor continuously fought, hit close to home when many of her close friends died from AIDS or AIDS related illnesses. The most heart-aching for her was when her former daughter-in-law, Aileen Getty approached Elizabeth with the news of her diagnosis. Getty later stated that her family displayed no remorse and sympathy for her, but Elizabeth on the other hand was profoundly empathetic and understanding. “Without the love of Elizabeth Taylor in my life, I would probably be dead—if not physically, most certainly emotionally.” Getty said.

“There’s still so much more to do. I can’t sit back and be complacent, and none of us should be. I get around now in a wheelchair, but I get around.”

After witnessing heartbreaking situations like this, Elizabeth continued to remain dedicated to her work. In fact, observing cases like these only fueled a greater interest in trying to change people’s perspective and stopping the stigma. Even in ill health, Taylor spent days trying to combat the disease, but as time progressed the surrounding bigotry was still evident. In 2006, Elizabeth Taylor commented, “It is still a pandemic. It has not slowed down. I know people have forgotten. They take things for granted—especially the young people, between 15 and 24. There is an entire generation of sexually active teenagers who have lived their entire lives in a world where the cocktail of drugs has allowed those with AIDS to live relatively normal lives—but it is this ignorance that is continuing to kill so many around the world. And in developing countries around the world, the people who require these drugs simply cannot afford them. “We have a map at amfAR that blackens out areas of the world where AIDS has killed. If you could see how completely out of control it is in Africa, Asia, and India. It is spreading so rapidly. It’s frightening,”

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The work that Elizabeth Taylor engaged herself in is remarkable. With every avenue she followed she achieved greatness. When her health was rapidly deteriorating a wheelchair bound Elizabeth inspired generations by her unselfishness and towering generosity when she donated a $500,000 mobile medical HIV/AIDS care unit for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The following year on World AIDS Day she returned to the stage to raise one million dollars for the disease.

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Elizabeth Taylor and her extensive resume of charitable endeavors is beyond compare. It’s been seven years since Elizabeth passed away, but millions worldwide continue to follow her ingenious trail of artistry that she left behind. During her time on earth, she became the face of AIDS and fought endlessly to come to a positive resolution. She visited sick children in hospital and often helped fund their visits. She saved the lives of dogs and cats when danger was in her path, and she aided the homeless in finding housing or shelter. Whatever philanthropic duty there was, Elizabeth was involved with it. The gist of the story is that Elizabeth was the essence of inspiration, compassion, generosity and kindness. She embodied all that and so much more. There will never be another Elizabeth Taylor.

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This post was written for The Elizabeth Taylor Blogathon, hosted by me at In The Good Old Days Of Classic HollywoodTo read the other entries being exhibited during this event, please click here.

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ELIZABETH TAYLOR AND MICHAEL WILDING: GUEST POST BY ELIZABETH NELSON

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When Crystal Pacey asked me if I would be interested in writing something for her blog honoring the birthday of Dame Elizabeth Taylor, I had just finished reading a fun article about Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Wilding in the December 1953 issue of Movieland magazine. It seemed so much of a coincidence that I agreed to write about the marriage of Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor and her second husband, Michael Charles Gauntlet Wilding, which I think as far as her marriages go, has been somewhat neglected. I call Wilding the “forgotten husband.” He was bridegroom No. 2 after her disastrous marriage to Nicky Hilton, a marriage orchestrated by the studio, MGM.

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The name of the article in Movieland is “A Couple of Characters” and highlights some of the madcap things the Wildings did as newlyweds. The Wildings were well, wild. In one story they are living in their house in Beverly Hills at 1775 Summit Ridge Drive. The house was painted yellow and decorated with wood paneling and purple furniture.

We will have the outside painted yellow, with white shutters, the living room will be in grey with periwinkle blue—my favourite colour.” decreed Elizabeth.

Taylor said she was pregnant at the time and unlike other expectant mothers who crave pickles and ice cream, she craved colors. One time when the Wildings were driving in their neighborhood they saw a fabulous house for sale behind theirs. They decided to get a closer look so they scaled a brick wall, she skinning her knee, and then found a window open and crawled in. They proceeded to make frequent visits to the house and began almost squatting there. When the realtor would bring prospective buyers she would see Elizabeth and Michael on the floor playing cards and drinking beer. They had stocked the refrigerator. I suppose no one minded because it was Elizabeth Taylor! They kept pulling up the “for sale” signs and ended up buying the house with a loan from MGM. The house was designed by George McLean, an acclaimed mid-century modern architect. I can’t find any photos of the interior of the McLean house, but I have included photos of the Summitridge Drive house, with its garish colour scheme. Elizabeth Taylor claimed that she did a complete reverse with the new house and decorated in earth tones to reflect the indoor/outdoor nature of the house.

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Michael Wilding was one of the most popular stars in England when he met Elizabeth Taylor. They first met each other on the set of “Conspirator” (1949) which sixteen-year old Elizabeth was filming with Robert Taylor in England for MGM, but it was three years later when Elizabeth was again in England filming “Ivanhoe” (1952) that she fell in love with Wilding and pursued him. He is probably most famous for Alfred Hitchcock’s “Stage Fright,” (1950) but he is wonderful in “The Law and the Lady” (1951) with Greer Garson.

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In a kind of “A Star is Born” fashion, her star was in the ascendance, especially after “Giant” (1956) while his was falling. He was 20 years her senior when they married and although he was also on contract with MGM, he was not receiving the types of roles he had in the past. Plus the influential Hedda Hopper didn’t like him and actively tried to persuade Taylor not to marry him. Hedda Hopper also unfairly accused him of being a homosexual in her column, which didn’t help his career at MGM. He sued her newspaper for 3 million dollars and won. Eventually their marriage ran out of steam. Elizabeth Taylor claimed later that she henpecked him, but the combination of the age difference, her work schedule (for the most part she was very obedient to the studio), and his waning star, all contributed to the end of their marriage. They had an amicable divorce after five years in 1957.

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Taylor and Wilding had two children, Michael Howard (Elizabeth’s brother’s name) Wilding Jr., an actor who appeared on “Guiding Light,”and Christopher Edward Wilding, a photographer/film editor.

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THE ELIZABETH TAYLOR BLOGATHON IS HERE

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The day has finally arrived. For the next three days a prolific array of writers will be shining the light on the Legendary Elizabeth Taylor for her birthday blogathon.

For those of you participating in the blogathon, please send me your links, and I’ll link them as soon as I receive them. Thank you.

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THE ENTRIES:

Cinematic Scribblings puts the spotlight on Elizabeth Taylor in A Place In The Sun ( 1951 )

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Maddy Loves Her Classic Films joins the party with a post on A Cat On A Hot Tin Roof ( 1958 )

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Crimson Kimono highlights two of Elizabeth Taylor’s and Richard Burton’s films, The Sandpiper and Boom.

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The Stop Button delivers Elizabeth in Giant ( 1956 )  to the party.

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Real Weegie Midget Reviews talks about Elizabeth Role in Z, Y & Zee ( 1972 )

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Pure Entertainment Preservation Society pens an excellent post on Life With Father ( 1947 )

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For her first post, Taking Up Room delights us with one of my personal favorite Elizabeth Taylor films, Father Of The Bride ( 1950 )

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The Dream Book Blog addresses the true meaning of friendship in Between Friends ( 1983 )

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The Story Enthusiast takes us on a trip down memory lane with her post on National Velvet ( 1944 )

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Mondo Movies brings an Elizabeth Taylor pictorial to the party.

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Caftan Woman analyzes Elizabeth Taylor’s role in the Agatha Christie classic, The Mirror Crack’d ( 1980 )

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Vinnie H joins the birthday celebrations with a delightful article on Suddenly, Last Summer ( 1959 )

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For her second post, Taking Up Room delivers us the baby news with her delightful article about the sequel to Father Of The Bride,  Father’s Little Dividend ( 1951 )

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I Found It At The Movies visits George and Martha in Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf ( 1966 )

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Four Star Films examines Elizabeth’s role in Giant ( 1956 )

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Anybody Got A Match? tells us about the famed storybook romance of Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton.

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Critica Retro takes a trip down memory lane and visits Elizabeth’s film debut in There’s One Born Every Minute ( 1942 )

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Portraits By Jenni delivers a fabulous post on A Date With Judy ( 1948 ) to the party.

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No Nonsense With Nuwan Sen talks about two of Elizabeth Taylor’s great loves, Mike Todd and Richard Burton.

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Elizabeth Nelson: Guest post at In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood pens a wonderful tribute to Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Wilding.

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For her third post, Rebecca from Taking Up Room delights us with an enchanting article about the book, Elizabeth Taylor: My Love Affair With Jewelry.

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LA Explore spotlights Elizabeth Taylor as Amy March in Little Women ( 1949 )

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Karavansara pays tribute to Elizabeth in The Taming Of The Shrew ( 1967 )

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The Wonderful World Of Cinema compares Elizabeth’s performance as Amy March in Little Women ( 1949 ) to Joan Bennett’s portrayal of Amy March in the 1933 version.

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Old Hollywood Films visits Elizabeth Taylor’s Jewelry Collection.

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Yours truly from In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood discusses Elizabeth and her road to charity.

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Last but not least, Movies Meet Their Match tells us about The Last Time I Saw Paris ( 1954 )

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EXPERIMENT IN TERROR ( 1962 )

“I suddenly realized that the fellow who didn’t show up was getting about fifty-times more money than I was getting. So I thought, ‘this is silly,’ and became an actor. I certainly never thought I’d wind up in motion pictures. That was far beyond anything I’d ever dreamed of.”

( Glenn Ford )

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Canada, that vast country which stretches from the United States to the Arctic Circle is home to some of cinemas most acclaimed stars who held prominent reign over Hollywood, but first and foremost, it is also the birth place of Legendary actor, Glenn Ford whose contribution to motion pictures cannot be usurped.

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Glenn Ford had certainly come a long way since his childhood days up north. From the moment he departed Canadian shores to embark on his journey to the bright lights of Hollywood, Ford charted many different territories and explored every destination imaginable.

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The actor who was born on May 1st, 1916 in Sainte-Christine-d’Auvergne, a small village in the Portneuf Regional County in the province of Quebec, achieved great success in the film industry. Although he is best remembered today for his roles in western productions, Glenn Ford garnered popularity in all genres of cinema.

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His versatility and deftness in adapting to different roles allowed him to shine in a diverse range of films. While he succeeded in portraying challenging characters, Ford proved time and time again that he could morph into breezy protagonists in comedic parts, which include, The Courtship Of Eddie’s Father ( 1963 ), where he was cast opposite Shirley Jones.

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The previous year, Ford returned to the thriller genre when he was cast in the 1962 crime film, Experiment In Terror, also starring Lee Remick, and directed by Blake Edwards who became widely known for his directorial work in comedies, his most famous being, The Pink Panther ( 1963 ). Joining Edwards was Mildred and Gordon Gordon, the prolific crime writing duo who based the screen play on their 1961 novel titled, Operation Terror. 

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THE PLOT:

As the tagline reads, Experiment In Terror plunges you into a new dimension of fear. Bank clerk, Kelly Sherwood ( Lee Remick ) is terrorized in the garage of her San Francisco home late one night by an unidentified man with an asthmatic voice who forces her to steal $100,000 from her bank. Sherwood is immediately thrust into the throes of intense fear when she discovers that the stranger is an encyclopedia when it comes to her daily lifestyle. He knows her everyday schedule, and threatens to murder Kelly and her sister Toby ( Stephanie Powers ) if she doesn’t proceed with the plan.

Danger is pronounced if Kelly notifies the police, but knowing that trouble is brewing, she calls the San Francisco office of the FBI, and speaks to John Ripley ( Glenn Ford ) who takes on the case, and tries to track down the antagonist. During a series of investigations we find out that the unidentified man is Red Lynch ( Ross Martin ), who has a criminal record of several different offenses, including murder and statutory rape.

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Experiment In Terror is an obscure film that doesn’t get any coverage today. Ross Martin received a Golden Globe nomination for his supporting role as the villainous Red Lynch who insists that Kelly take the money from her bank, while both Ford and Remick were lauded for their performances. In his biography about his father, Peter Ford states, “From start to finish, Experiment In Terror is a terrific movie, directed with dazzling style, one of those films of the early 1960’s that took the suspense-crime film into a new era: grittier, more provocative, and adult. Film buffs now see it as one of the key films to influence the later revolution in the thriller genre in Italy, the so-called giallos made by people like Dario Argento and Mario Bava.”

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In Hollywood the usual custom was that scenes that take place during the night were filmed during the day, but the filming of Experiment In Terror was a lot different. To create that dark and ominous atmosphere, Edwards insisted that the night time scenes be shot at night, often in foggy and congestive conditions. To enhance the level of suspense, Blake Edwards wanted the film shot in San Francisco with the hilly terrains as the backdrop. The city with its mystique and colorful appeal was the perfect place for murder and tension.

“I had to find some way to get you here. Take off your clothes. You want me to take them off for you?”

After Ford’s twenty-two year contract with Columbia, Experiment In Terror marked the end of his tenure with the studio. The actor was melancholy about leaving the studio that he developed such a great rapport with, but he was enthusiastic about commencing the next step of his journey.

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For his final collaboration with Columbia, Glenn Ford went out with a bang. Though, Experiment In Terror didn’t garner the reception it deserved, both stars were excellent in their respective roles. As John Ripley, Glenn Ford is stoic, straight-laced, and seems to be too involved with his job to worry about romance. When Kelly Sherwood calls for help, Ripley is interested in assigning himself to the case, but after watching those two characters playing out each scenario we get the impression that Ripley is not interested in Kelly as a woman. He only wants to do his job and protect her from Red Lynch.

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The project was jointly owned by Blake Edwards and Lee Remick. Glenn Ford was only fulfilling his contractual responsibility with Columbia, and was really only a secondary addition to the film. His part is solid and he received top billing, but in truth, Remick was the main protagonist. She was the one who appeared in almost all scenes while Ford was the sidekick.

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Experiment In Terror is a Hitchcockian style film that Hitchcock never made. The picture is infused with suspense, apprehension, and nail-biting terror. The music score by Henry Mancini is superb and the evocative cinematography creates a dark, menacing and foreboding ambiance that was represented in Hitchcock’s productions that were filmed in black & white.

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The title itself rings terror, but when you add the indelible talents of Glenn Ford and Lee Remick, you know your in for a chilling ride that is full of Film Noir undertones and mystery that is sure to keep viewers on the edge.

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This post was written for the Fourth Annual O’Canada Blogathon, hosted by Silver Screenings and Speakeasy. For more articles covering Canadian stars and films, please click here.

ANNOUNCING THE THIRD ANNUAL BETTE DAVIS BLOGATHON

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It’s that time of year again when the legendary Bette Davis is the celebrated star of my frequent blogathons. With the success of the two previous blogathons, I’ve decided to shine the spotlight on Bette for the third consecutive year.

As we all know, Bette Davis would be celebrating her 110th birthday this April 5th, and what better way is there to celebrate the special occasion than hosting a blogathon?

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RULES:

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: crystalkalyana@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.


Bloggers please note: Dark Victory, Now Voyager, All About Eve, Mr. Skeffington and Death On The Nile has been claimed the maximum number of times, and is no longer available. 

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THE ROSTER:

In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood: Bette Davis profile ( Life story ) and TBA

Love Letters To Old Hollywood: A Stolen Life ( 1946 )

The Wonderful World Of Cinema: Now Voyager ( 1942 )

Maddy Loves Her Classic Films: All About Eve ( 1950 )

Critica Retro: The Petrified Forest ( 1936 )

Prince Of Hollywood: Another Man’s Poison ( 1951 )

Anybody Got A Match?: The Star ( 1951 )

Outspoken and Freckled: Now Voyager ( 1942 )

Old Hollywood Films: The famous red dress scene in “Jezebel” ( 1938 )

The Midnight Drive-In: The Watcher In The Woods ( 1980 ) and Return From Witch Mountain ( 1978 )

In The Vintage Kitchen: Bette Davis’ recipes, and Kathryn Sermak’s book, Miss. D & Me.

Taking Up Room: The Bride Came C.O.D. ( 1941 )

Real Weegie Midget Reviews: Death On The Nile ( 1978 )

The Dream Book Blog: Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? ( 1962 )

The Stop Button: Dark Victory ( 1939 )

Vitaphone Dreamer: Dark Victory ( 1939 )

A Shroud Of Thoughts: The Man Who Came To Dinner ( 1942 )

Wolffian Classic Movies Digest: Mr. Skeffington ( 1944 )

Caftan Woman: Bette’s guest appearance on The Virginian ( 1962 )

Pure Entertainment Preservation Society: Mr. Skeffington ( 1944 )

Pop Culture Reverie: Death On The Nile ( 1978 )

Karavansara: The Virgin Queen ( 1955 )

What The Craggus Saw: The Watcher In The Woods ( 1980 )

Christina Wehner: Strangers ( 1979 )

Silver Screen Classics: Marked Woman ( 1937 )

Vinnie H: Watch On The Rhine ( 1943 )

I Found It At The Movies: All About Eve ( 1950 )

Whimsically Classic: Beyond The Forest ( 1949 )

Elizabeth Nelson: Guest post at In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood: Bette Davis vs. Tallulah Bankhead.

Portraits By Jenni: Bette Davis’ guest appearance on Perry Mason.

The Story Enthusiast: Winter Meeting ( 1948 )

Vintage Geneive: Bette Davis’ film costumes.

IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT ( 1934 )

“I never did like the idea of sitting on newspapers. I did it once, and all the headlines came off on my white pants. On the level! It actually happened. Nobody bought a paper that day. They just followed me around over town and read the news on the seat of my pants.”

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The image of Clark Gable as the dashing Rhett Butler in Gone With The Wind is forever etched in the hearts of millions worldwide, but before the legendary actor stepped into the famous role that garnered him an Academy Award nomination, Gable was already ascending to the highest pinnacle in motion picture history.

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There is no denying that Clark Gable was one of the finest stars that Hollywood as ever produced. Apart from being ruggedly handsome and for epitomizing male sex appeal, Gable was an extremely versatile actor whose tenacious screen presence was a welcoming addition to any film.

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From the moment Clark Gable entered the gates of MGM, his career started to rise. To bolster his popularity he was often cast alongside the most prominent stars of the day, most notably, Joan Crawford, Jean Harlow and Spencer Tracy whose prestige status at the box-office helped Gable’s growing reputation.

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At this stage, Gable had hit the earliest peak in his career. Shortly after his appearance in the widely successful, Dancing Lady ( 1933 ), he was loaned out to Columbia for $2,500 per week to play the lead role of Peter Warne in the classic Screwball Comedy, It Happened One Night ( 1934 ) starring Claudette Colbert, and directed by the legendary, Frank Capra, and based on Samuel Hopkins Adams short story, Night Bus with a screenplay by, Robert Riskin.

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To everyone’s surprise, It Happened One Night was an unexpected success. In the beginning the film was anticipated to be another of those bus movies that dramatically floundered at the box-office. When it came to selecting players no star wanted to lend their efforts to the production. Robert Montgomery was the first choice to play Peter Warne, but when he rejected, Clark Gable attained the role. The female lead of Ellie Andrews proved to be even more impossible to fulfill. Initially, Myrna Loy, Miriam Hopkins, Margaret Sullavan and Constance Bennett were all approached about the role, but neither of them were willing to put their box-office appeal at risk. At one stage both Bette Davis and Carole Lombard were heavily campaigning for the part of Ellie Andrews, though both Lombard and Davis had other work commitments and couldn’t be loaned out.

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The search was over when Claudette Colbert entered the picture. The acclaimed actress who made her motion picture debut in Frank Capra’s, The Love Of Mike ( 1927 ) was one of Paramount’s highly revered stars. In 1931, she was lauded for her performance in The Smiling Lieutenant, and the following year her popularity escalated when she was cast in the historical epic, The Sign Of The Cross. By the time It Happened One Night came into production, Colbert already had a resume of twenty-three films to her credit, most of them being commercially successful at the box-office.

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With her prolific work schedule came experience. During her time in Hollywood, Claudette Colbert had charted many different territories, and proved that she was more versatile than some of her contemporaries. Colbert could easily adapt to any role, and exuded all the necessary qualities to portray Ellie Andrews, the breezy screwball heiress in It Happened One Night. Colbert however, was not enthused. She had already planned her long awaited vacation, and after her first film, The Love Of Mike resulted in disaster, the last thing she wanted to do was to make another movie with Frank Capra. She reluctantly agreed to star in the picture if her salary was doubled to $50,000, and if the filming of her role be completed in four weeks.

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Despite her initial hesitations, It Happened One Night was a turning point in the career of Claudette Colbert, and it opened the door to a world of endless opportunities. Both Gable and Colbert attained Academy Awards for their performances. To this day the film is known as the first production to receive all five Academy Awards for, Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Writing.

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If Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert had the slightest inkling that the film was going to be a triumphant success, the shooting process may not have been as turbulent. During production the atmosphere was often tense and laborious. Both stars disliked the script, forcing Frank Capra to assign Robert Riskin to rewrite the screenplay to satisfy Gable and Colbert. However, Colbert continued to appear discontented. She was easily incensed, and even an insignificant problem evoked a catastrophe as far as she was concerned. When it came to filming the hitchhiking scene, Colbert’s anger exacerbated. She refused to pull up her skirt and flash her thigh to entice a passing driver, which meant that Capra had to hire a stand-in to complete the scene, leaving Claudette Colbert enraged with the idea.

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On the other hand, Clark Gable enjoyed making his foray into Screwball Comedy. The maniacal life as seen in films from this genre was a lot different than the tough guy roles that Gable usually played, but in It Happened One Night, Gable gives viewers a glimpse into his real genuine self. After working with Gable, Frank Capra later stated, “It Happened One Night is the real Gable. He was never able to play that kind of character except in that one film. They had him playing these big, huff-and-puff he-man lovers, but he was not that kind of guy. He was a down-to-earth guy, he loved everything, he got down with the common people. He didn’t want to play those big lover parts; he just wanted to play Clark Gable, the way he was in It Happened One Night, and it’s too bad they didn’t let him keep up with that.”

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The only altercations that Clark Gable encountered on the set was his rocky relationship with Claudette Colbert, and the daunting task of returning to MGM once filming was complete. Like many actors, Gable found Colbert impossible to work with. He resented her capricious attitude and he disliked that she was on a higher salary than he was, but being the amiable down to earth human being that Gable was, he accepted it.

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Whilst filming It Happened One Night, Clark Gable displayed a jubilant approach to his work, but when production ended and his return to MGM grew closer, his mood changed. On Christmas Day he received a telegram from Louis B. Mayer who demanded that he shave off his mustache and report to work before the new year commenced. His next assignment was a film called, Men In White, a medical drama also starring Myrna Loy. 

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Men In White was a simple film that only took fifteen days to make. Upon completion Clark traveled to New York to promote It happened One Night, which was scheduled to be released in February that year. He was astonished to discover that a film that everybody  initially had low expectations about had garnered a positive reception at the box-office. Mordaunt Hall from the New York Times stated “It’s a good piece of fiction, which, with all its feverish stunts, is blessed with bright dialogue and a good quota of relatively restrained scenes.” He then went on to praise Colbert’s performance by saying she was “engaging and lively” and said that Gable was “excellent.”. Variety noted that it was “without a particularly strong plot”, but “manages to come through in a big way, due to the acting, dialog, situations and directing.”, while Film Daily described it as being “A lively yarn, fast-moving, plenty humorous, racy enough to be tantalizing, and yet perfectly decorous.”

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THE PLOT

It Happened One Night is Frank Capra’s rendition of the famous road movies. The film tells the story of Ellie Andrews ( Claudette Colbert ), a spoiled heiress who has eloped with pilot and fortune-hunter, King Westley ( Jameson Thomas ), despite the rejections of her father, Alexander ( Walter Connolly ). While trapped on-board Alexander’s yacht, Ellie is at her lowest ebb when her father announces that he’s going to annul the marriage. Despondent, a ferocious Ellie eludes her solitary life that her father has planned for her by jumping overboard and swimming ashore, where she embarks on a bus trip to New Year to meet King Westley.

Personalities collide and sparks fly when Ellie meets the fiery-headed journalist, Peter Warne ( Clark Gable ) en-route to New York. Having just been fired from his job, Peter views Ellie as the chief protagonist of his latest headline, and hopes to retain his position as newspaper reporter with his scoop on Ellie, but before he can get that far, Peter and Ellie find themselves drawn to each other after getting entangled in a series of intimate situations.

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It Happened One Night takes audiences on a turbulent ride to New York, where an unexpected match is formed and an unlikely romance is created. The last person Ellie Andrews wanted to meet on her bus journey to New York was a rebellious hack like Peter Warne whose wisecracking personality she found irritating. Her opinion changes however, after an adventurous cross-country trip that results in Ellie not being able to envisage life without Peter.

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The film itself is brimming with hilarity, sharp crackling dialogue and an abundant of iconic scenes. The stellar performances by both Gable and Colbert are a testament to their talents. In his foray into Screwball Comedy, Clark Gable is an absolute delight to watch. As Peter Warne, Gable is gruff, dubious and quick-witted with an acidic disposition. At first he finds Ellie and her lavish upper-class way of life uninspiring, but he still embodies enough compassion to rescue Ellie from the hardships and struggles of the real world.

“You know, I had you pegged right from the jump. Just a spoiled brat of a rich father. The only way you get anything is to buy it, isn’t it? You’re in a jam and all you can think of is your money. It never fails, does it? Ever hear of the word humility? No, you wouldn’t. I guess it would never occur to you to just say, ‘Please mister, I’m in trouble, will you help me?’ No, that would bring you down off your high horse for a minute. Well, let me tell you something, maybe it will take a load off your mind. You don’t have to worry about me. I’m not interested in your money or your problem. You, King Westley, your father. You’re all a lot of hooey to me!”

Despite her initial trepidation to take on the role, Claudette Colbert was enchanting. Her Ellie Andrews is lively and spirited with a spicy aura. Ellie is not accustomed to reality, and finds the rough and tumble ways of Peter a cause of irritation. Sadly, Colbert displayed no enthusiasm during production and predicted that her career would be on the downward spiral. Confident that she would not win the Academy Award, Colbert decided not to be present at the ceremony, and embarked on her long awaited cross-country railroad trip instead.

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After It Happened One Night had triumphed, Clark Gable was walking on air. He continued to achieve greatness as the years progressed, and in 1939 he was cast in the role of Rhett Butler in the Hollywood classic, Gone With The Wind. That same year he married the love of his life, Carole Lombard, and planned to live happily ever after. Sadly that was not to be. Lombard was tragically killed in 1942 while traveling home from a successful War Bond Rally in Indiana. Ever since that fateful night that Lombard’s plane crashed into Potosi Mountain, Clark Gable was left distraught and tormented. He spent the rest of his life searching for another Carole Lombard, but nobody could ever take her place.

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This post was written for the Clark Gable Blogathon, which was hosted by Love Letters To Old Hollywood. To read the other entries being exhibited during the event, please click here.