Saturday, September 29, 2012


BORN TODAY: Greer Garson (1904–1996)

The British Greer Garson was one of the major box office draws for MGM studios, especially in the forties. She received an impressive seven Academy Award nominations - starting with her first Hollywood role in Goodbye Mr. Chips (1939). Her only actual win was for Mrs. Miniver (1942) - and deservedly so. She was responsible for the Academy issuing time limits on acceptance speeches - hers was five minutes and thirty seconds (!), a record that still stands. The actor who played her son in the movie would later become her husband.
Other memorable performances by Garson were in films like Pride and Prejudice (1940), Madame Curie (1943), and, my personal favourite, Random Harvest (1942), a somewhat far-fetched melodrama about amnesia, lost love, more amnesia and a happy ending. The picture received multiple Academy Award nominations, Best Film and Best Actor (Ronald Colman) among them. Garson wasn't nominated because her nomination for Mrs. Miniver that same year made her ineligible.
Greer Garson was a classy actress, her wit and personal charm were her strongest features. Always engaging, I've not seen her give a bad performance.

Quote: "I do wish I could tell you my age but it's impossible. It keeps changing all the time!"

With Walter Pidgeon in Mrs. Miniver (1942)

MOVIESTAR MORPH 8 - the answer

Despite my incorrect claim that she won an Oscar, a lot of people still guessed Judy Garland correctly (ofcourse the one time that I don't bother checking a fact I get it wrong! Who knew - she never won a thing!). Alyssa LM was the smarty pants who recognized Shirley MacLaine as the second actress - well done!

Here's the full morph sequence:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Number 8! Hmmm...who are these two very talented ladies spliced together? They were born twelve years apart, they both have family members who became famous actors in their own right!

Monday, September 24, 2012

MOVIESTAR MORPH 7 - the answer

This Moviestar Morph was a little easier than usual and a lot of people identified both actors correctly. I used two of my blog friend Patti's favourite actors, as she had kind of requested - as an exception, by the way!

(I think the end result kind of looks like Liam Neeson!)

As usual, here's the full morph sequence:

Sunday, September 23, 2012


MOVIE MAGAZINES: Film Pictorial, October 1936

I have a collection of old movie magazines from which I will pick an issue now and then and show you some of the articles, reviews and gossip of the time.
First up is an issue of Film Pictorial from 1936, with cover girl Merle Oberon, who had just starred in These Three (1936), a William Wyler picture also starring Miriam Hopkins and Joel McCrea, which was a version of The Children's Hour (William Wyler later, rather splendidly, remade the film in 1961 with the lesbian theme intact from the play with Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine ). The same-sex origins of the story are never mentioned in the accompanying two-page article, calling the picture a 'drama of school life' instead.

Then there's an article about James Cagney who, apparently, is angry because he's convinced he's been blacklisted by Hollywood because he hasn't worked for a year. (Cagney had just fought Warner Brothers about his contract, and more or less won. However, other studios were now not so keen to hire him as they saw him as a troublemaker. Bette Davis would later go through an almost identical phase in her career.)
Another article, under the headline 'HUNTED!',tells how George Brent had on numerous occassions escaped death. He had been an Irish freedom fighter before becoming a star and was forever on the run from the authorities. The whole piece smells of a lot of studio image-building. If the article is to be believed he virtually single-handedly fought the English for his native Ireland and he was the most wanted man in Britain.

Which brings us to the gossip pages, which don't seem to be very gossipy at all. Ann Harding had a difficult divorce, Irene Dunne is moving into a new home ("It's all to be white! White rugs, Chippendale furniture painted white, sculptures in white Carrara marble. The only touch of colour will be my green pet turtle!"), The Marx Brothers are taking forever filming their new picture A Day At The Races, there's a budding romance between 'young' Jimmy Stewart and Eleanor Powell and Robert Taylor is overwhelmed by adoring fans wherever he goes, restricting his mobility and he receives over 8000 letters a week.

One of the most entertaining features in the magazine are the letters from readers. Here's a few samples:

- "Sir, Margaret Sullavan should speak her lines more clearly, instead of sounding as if she were suffering from a severe bronchial complaint!"

- "In recent films such as The Tunnel and Things To Come, the new invention of television has been prominently featured. There seems little doubt that, within a few years, it will have advanced to such an extent as to form part of our home lives, much as the radio does today. Accepting this as a fact, what steps will the film industry take to combat this threat?"

- "Patric Knowles is far more attractive and manly than Robert Taylor will ever be!"

Ofcourse there are some great ads in the magazine as well:

Friday, September 21, 2012


A male morph again this time - who are the two famous actors merged together? They were born five years apart. They've received five Academy Award nominations total. Combined, they appeared in over 100 movies.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Part two of our irregular feature where we have a look at old movie stars and their dogs. This feature has no nutritional value whatsoever, it's just a bit of fluff. For new readers of the blog: I can already hear your cries of 'What about cats? Why can't we have cats?' - calm down. We do have a similar feature for cats called Felines and Film Stars. When you look at the list called 'Labels' in the right-hand column, you'll find it there.

Gary Cooper

Audrey Hepburn

Buster Keaton

Dana Andrews

Joan Crawford

Bette Davis

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

MOVIESTAR MORPHS 6 - the answer

Almost everyone got Katherine Hepburn - while I was convinced Lana Turner was much easier to recognize! Daniel on Facebook and Alyssa LM identified both correctly!

Here's the full morph sequence:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


BORN TODAY: Greta Garbo (1905–1990)

I want to be alone. - Greta Garbo

I never said, 'I want to be alone.' I only said, 'I want to be left alone.' There is all the difference.
 - Greta Garbo

The biggest star to come out of the silent era and continue her enormous succes into the talkies, Stockholm-born Garbo (born Greta Lovisa Gustafsson) made her Hollywood debut in 1925 with Torrent. Her acting talents combined with a unique cool beauty soon made her an international movie icon.
'Garbo talks!' was the enticing tagline used to promote her first talkie, Anna Christie (1930), for which she received her first (of four) Academy Award nomination. Audiences couldn't get enough of Garbo and every film released with her name on the poster was a huge hit. Unfortunately, Garbo herself hated the moviestar life and retired in 1941. She still played a handful of roles after her retirement but she mostly led the life of a reclusive - ofcourse this only added to her mystery and attraction.
She never married or had any children, saying:  "There are some who want to get married and others who don't. I have never had an impulse to go to the altar. I am a difficult person to lead."

There is an official Greta Garbo website here but, frankly, there doesn't seem to be an awful lot there.

Monday, September 17, 2012


The previous Moviestar Morph was a little difficult for most, so here's a slightly easier one. Who are the two major actresses melted together here?

Saturday, September 15, 2012


SOMETHING FOR THE WEEKEND: The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946)

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers is an above average film noir starring Barbara Stanwyck, Van Heflin, Lizabeth Scott and, in his film debut, Kirk Douglas. Douglas and Van Heflin are both quite good and Stanwyck plays the cold, stiff type she plays so well in a tale about murder, power with more than a few interesting twists.

Watch the entire movie on YouTube here or download it for free from!

Friday, September 14, 2012

MOVIESTAR MORPHS 5 - the answer

Some last minute guesses came close to the correct answer this time but two people guessed both actors correctly: Alyssa LM and Helen on Facebook. They both identified Henry Fonda and Robert Mitchum!

Here's the full morph sequence:

Thursday, September 13, 2012


BORN TODAY: Claudette Colbert (1903 - 1996)

In the 30's French-born Claudette Colbert was the highest-paid movie actress. Her most famous role was opposite Clark Gable in It Happened One Night (1934), for which she won an Academy Award. That same year she also starred in Cecil B. DeMille's version of Cleopatra.
Continuing a very succesful decade throughout the forties, she made the switch to television and Broadway in the fifties.
An imagined imperfection made her insist the right side of her face was never filmed and disliked being filmed in colour because she believed she didn't photograph well in it.
She was the queen of screwball comedies, though she always maintained an air of elegance and didn't indulge in physical comedy. Her personal sense of style and fashion made her one of the most glamorous stars from the golden age of Hollywood.

"It matters more what's in a woman's face than what's on it."

"If I couldn't laugh, I'd rather die."

"I know what's best for me, after all I have been in the Claudette Colbert business longer than anybody."

with John Wayne

A scene from The Sign of the Cross (1932) as Poppea, enjoying a donkey milk bath:

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


So here we are at Moviestar Morph number 5 already! These morphs have become very popular already in a very short amount of time and I want to thank everyone for their kind words and encouragements.
We have a 'first' today: the first morph in full colour! I'm not sure if colour makes guessing harder or easier - we'll see :-)
Now: who are the two gentlemen making up this handsome, familiar individual below? Hmmm...

Monday, September 10, 2012

MOVIESTAR MORPHS 4 - the answer

It is with some mischievous glee that I report that nobody guessed both stars this time. Almost everybody got Lucille Ball - her features a quite hard not to recognize. The other 50%?

It was Clara Bow!
Here's the full morph sequence:


Hollywood legends quoted on kissing:

Hollywood is a place where they'll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul. I know, because I turned down the first offer often enough and held out for the fifty cents. - Marilyn Monroe

People who throw kisses are hopelessly lazy. - Bob Hope

I have found men who didn't know how to kiss. I've always found time to teach them. - Mae West

A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous. - Ingrid Bergman

I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. - Audrey Hepburn

When it came to kissing, Harlow was the best. - James Stewart

Kisses - don't waste them. But don't count them. - Marlene Dietrich

A man's kiss is his signature. - Mae West

Sunday, September 9, 2012


SOMETHING FOR THE WEEKEND: Too Late For Tears (1949)

In the mood for a good film noir? Here's a gem from 1949 starring Lizabeth Scott, Dan Duryea and Don DeFore. By coincidence, Jane and Alan Palmer get hold of a sum of money that belongs to some gangsters. Alan wants to get rid of the money but Jane does not. It's a simple story which soon gets more complicated. Lizabeth Scott was not the world's best actress but she does OK here. Dan Duryea is always very watchable. Directed by Byron Haskin, who created the special effects for many well-known movies.  Other titles he directed include The War of the Worlds (1953), The Boss (1956), I Walk Alone (1948) and, one of my personal favourites, Conquest of Space (1955).

Watch the entire movie on YouTube:

Saturday, September 8, 2012


I think I should explain something about these Moviestar Morphs. I've noticed that some people think that the images are 'top half actress X' and 'bottom half actress Y'. No. That's not how they work. The hybrid image is truly 50% one person and 50% another - as if their DNA has mingled to make up a whole new person. I could go into the technical details but it would get a little complicated and, frankly, boring. The animated morphs I post with the answers should make the process more clear.

Now. On to MM number 4. This one should definately be harder than the previous three so I don't expect quite as many correct answers as last time!
Which two actresses make up this cheerful lady?

Friday, September 7, 2012


CASUAL FRIDAY: Garbo demonstrates the tea cosy look. Several colonies of beavers had to die to make this garment. Looks like one of them died on her head as well.

MOVIESTAR MORPHS 3 - the answer

Once again, a lot of you guessed at least one of the stars correctly! Most of you got Barbara Stanwyck. But who was that second one that made up this lovely lady?

It was Ingrid Bergman! See complete morph below:


BORN TODAY: Elia Kazan (1909 - 2003)

Kazan was one of the most influential and revered directors in American cinema. Starting out as an actor himself, he co-founded the famous Actors Studio in 1947, home of 'Method acting' - a technique that values realism above all else. He was partly or fully responsible for launching the movie careers of Marlon Brando, James Dean and Warren Beatty, to name just three.
Movies like Gentleman's Agreement (1947),  On the Waterfront (1954), East of Eden (1955) and  A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) earned Kazan the respect of critics and audiences alike. He lost a lot of that respect with his testimony before the House Committee of Un-American Activities. The controversy over his testimony is probably still debated in film schools today. Kazan's autobiography attempts to explain his actions at the time.
Fact remains that Kazan has influenced a generation of directors and actors who have always been very vocal in their praise for him. Directors like Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and Stanley Kubrick all  cite him as a major influence.

- A good director's not sure when he gets on the set what he's going to do.
- I was very intense. I think it's a privilege to be an actor.
- I owe Bankhead a gift. She made a director out of me.
- I will say nothing to an actor that cannot be translated into action.
- I truly believe that all power corrupts. Such is probably the thinking behind every political film ever made in Hollywood.

Kazan with Marlon Brando

Thursday, September 6, 2012


BORN TODAY: Max Schreck (1879 - 1936)
An accomplished actor of stage and screen, Schreck will forever be associated with the one role that made him immortal: Count Orlok in the silent Nosferatu (1922). A thinly-veiled copy of the famous Dracula story, Nosferatu follows more or less the same story line as Bram Stoker's novel. But with Count Orlok Schreck created a unique vampire that, once seen, can never be forgotten.

The film Shadow of the Vampire (2000) portrays Schreck as he was working on Nosferatu, the twist being that he was supposed to be a real vampire, brilliantly portayed by Willem Dafoe.
Nosferatu was remade by Werner Herzog with Klaus Kinski in the role of Count Dracula (this time there was no need for pseudonyms)in 1979, a film with its own merits though it never eclipses the horrific original.
Why not celebrate Schreck's birthday by watching the entire Nosferatu on YouTube? Leave a light on when you go to bed though...


Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Part two of a collection of photos of classic movie stars with cats!

Clara Bow

Gloria Swanson

Grace Kelly

Marlene Dietrich

Stewart Granger

James Stewart