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Entries in Pre-Code (7)

Wednesday
Aug102016

Norma?

So should we wish Norma Shearer a happy 114th in heaven or not? 

As I was prepping an "on this day..." post I discovered that the internet does not agree on the birth date of The First Lady of MGM, Norma Shearer. TCM and IMDb say August 10th while Biography and Wikipedia say August 11th. Biography goes one further and even says there's disagreement on the year with 1900, 1902, and 1904 all cited which is perhaps why the Encyclopeida Brittanica doesn't give her a birthdate, just a month. Didn't Canada keep records at the turn of the century? 

Nobody agrees on anything about Norma, including her Best Actress win for The Divorcée (1930) which I was alarmed to realize some time ago is not always held in high regard despite her being utterly fabulous in the movie.  Gotta love those Pre-Code movies. We should probably do a mini-series on them at some point.

Whatever her actual birthday, TFE often feels festive about her. Three cheers to Norma this morning (your Old Hollywood fix since Judy by the Numbers, our beloved Wednesday morning pick me up, is delayed for the time being).

Saturday
May212016

Swing, Tarzan, Swing! Ch.2: Maureen O'Sullivan & Johnny Weismuller

one of many erotic moments in Tarzan the Ape Man (1932)New Miniseries! As we approach the release of The Legend of Tarzan (2016) we'll be ogling past screen incarnations of the Lord of the Apes each weekend like we're going to an old timey matinee.

We began by staring hard at Buster Crabbe's loincloth so as to avoid the acting and plotting. For chapter 2 we're moving to the main event: Johnny Weissmuller. He's the actor most often associated with the the Lord of the Apes since he played it 12 times and because he played it so well. There's a genuine guileness and in the moment feeling to his work that lets the ape man read more simple and pure than stupid, despite all the broken English. A few seasons ago on a weakly attended episode of 'Hit Me With Your Best Shot' we marvelled at how erotic the pre-code Tarzan the Ape Man (1932) was . Rather than rehash that film (though it is definitely worth your time), we jump ahead to its sequel Tarzan and His Mate (1934) which some argue is the best of the dozens of Tarzan films made during the studio era. Not I, as I think it's a notch below the 1932 original but in truth that's splitting hairs. The two films cling to each other as tightly as Jane holds on to her swinging man. More than most Tarzan films it's a direct sequel, constantly referencing events, locales, and characters from the original film.

When we left the jungle couple in 1932, Tarzan was already getting (ahem) good with his tongue. When audiences returned to see the next adventure in the Spring of 1934, Hollywood's "Pre-Code" era was ending. The code began to be rigidly enforced that year which meant there was one last burst of racy sexy times in the cinema that year for films that had already been shot. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Mar182015

Link Block Tango

HAPPY HANGOVER DAY. I kid I kid. I never drink on St Patrick's Day because who wants to be a cliche? I was too caught up in The Quiet Man but I also got stuck on a subway for hours. Oy so I'm off to a very late start today and last night's roundup post didn't go as well and I missed a few. So make sure to check that out again for all the updates. Definitely check out I/fwp because we always love it when we get a newbie set of eyeballs to this series, so here's a loving cinephile husband on this movie that he wouldn't have seen if not for his wife.

THE LINKS
W Magazine Alicia Vikander photoshoot by Willy Vanderperre. I'm so anxious to see her in Ex-Machina. Loved her breakout parts in Anna Karenina, A Royal Affair. Can she keep it up?
Playbill a new TV sitcom for Megan Hilty in which she plays a former Tony-winning musical star adapting to life as a soccer mom. Ummm... unless she sings every episode this will make me crazy
BBC wonders if sexual fantasy can be filmed looking at 50 Shades of Grey, The Duke of Burgundy, Eyes Wide Shut and more
A Fistful of Films looks back for his birthday to his formative films in this epic post. I love personal blogging like this 

In Contention with Suffragette and The Danish Girl, will Focus Features on the forthcoming Oscar season?
Variety John Williams is not doing Steven Spielberg's Bridge of Spies due to a health issue "that's been resolved". But then why is he also not doing the new Star Wars (with Alexandre Desplat taking over). John Williams is 83 years old so this worries. Best wishes for a speedy recoveries.
The Dissolve looks at The Jinx and wonders why Andrew Jarecki's Robert Durst fascination worked so much better than it did back in All Good Things (2010). I didn't watch The Jinx because a) I'm not that into documentaries, b) I didn't like All Good Things and c) I'll miss Kirsten Dunst too much who was so excellent in Jarecki's first attempt at the story
Pajiba predicts the date of the end of the superhero craze. Ostensibly this post is about Jason Momoa and silly comic book wards
Variety on the Paley Center's celebration of the women in American Horror Story. Connie Britton and Kathy Bates quotes
Empire because Hollywood cannot leave the 80s alone we'll soon have a remake of that Roy Scheider helicopter movie Blue Thunder. This is not what that article is about but it's what we're always about: the one subsection of 80s hits that the studios don't seem to be mining for remakes are all the the actressy ones, you know the Goldie Hawn / Sally Field / Debra Winger / Kathleen Turner type blockbusters.
The Guardian on Disney's Princess franchise box office and the strong first weeks of The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
cinematically insane on The Smartest Girl in Town (1936) and Pre-Code love (though this one isn't) in general.

MNPP celebrates Jai Courtney. Confession: My favorite part of Jai Courtney (and there are a lot of good parts) is Jai Courtney's nose. I was sad that it lived to smell no more after the plane crash in Unbroken.
MNPP actually Jason celebrates Jai Courtney twice over. But in this second link it's Jai Courtney celebrating Jai Courtney but Jai Courtney isn't focused on his nose. How many times do you think I can type Jai Courtney in this post? Jai Courtney.

Speaky of hunky deliciousness.. two more takeaways. The first is a new quad teaser poster for 007's next outing Spectre. Craig's first three outing got him in a bathing suit at least once. (Or wait, did Quantum of Solace skip that? -- if so, no wonder it's the worst of the three) but will Spectre? 

Finally...
From the annual Broadway Backwards concert, which raised almost half a million dollars, an all male rendition of Chicago's classic "Cell Block Tango" -- Pop! Six! Squish! Uh uh, Cicero, Lipschitz!

My favorite is #17 the Spread Eagle but L-O-V-E the linguistic swish/switch-up to "uh uh" -hee!

 

Thursday
May222014

Mm Mm Oh Oh... I'm All Linked Up 

Towleroad Harvey Milk stamp unveiling live at 3PM today!
John August's screenwriting podcast talks to the professionals about writing superheroes, masculinity and rebooting past franchises. Featuring: Conan the Barbarian, Captain America and Batman among others
The AV Club suggests that the only appropriate director for the Elvis biopic is... David Lynch?

It’s an almost biblical rags-to-riches tale infused with elements of horror, farce, and even science fiction, and while many have tried to bring it to the screen, there’s yet to be a definitive biopic.

Verité looks back at naughty precode gem Jewel Robbery (1932) with William Powell and Kay Francis
Gawker more 'celebrities reading mean tweets about themselves' feat. Julia, McConaughey, and Emma Stone 
Madonnarama V magazine features Katy Perry and Madonna in conversation for their summer spectacular
In Contention I forgot to mention The Search in my Cannes collection last night, so here's Guy Lodge on that reported misfire from the team behind The Artist
Extra Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt promise that their reunion will be "experimental and raw"... though that means so many different things to different people. I think she basically means low-budget and human-oriented
Empire for a limited time you can listen to the original score of the original Godzilla (1954) by Akira Ifukube

Two Essentials
Are you a struggling actor? Bitter Gertrude's "Why You Didn't Get Cast" is a must read about the casting and the audition process and building a career in a competitive field. I used to work in Human Resources and I would tell my friends these same things many times about non-showbiz job hunts.

Remember that absurd moment when Tom Cruise jumped up and down on that couch on Oprah? Amy Nicholson in a great long read over at LA Weekly  called "How YouTube and Internet Journalism Destroyed Tom Cruise, Our Last Real Movie Star," posits that it didn't happen. Not in the way we remember it at all. A provocative read even if you don't believe that Cruise was our 'last real movie star' (which I do not, while conceding that movie stars that large are rare beasts.)

Tuesday
Feb112014

Seasons of Bette: Of Human Bondage (1934)

ICYMI - We announced last week that as a sidebar series to Anne Marie's "A Year With Kate", Nathaniel will be discussing each of the Oscar Roles of Bette Davis, 11 in total or 10 if you're a purist, as they appear within Kate's chronology. There will be spoilers.

You should know as we begin this new mini-series that I am not, like Anne Marie with Kate, a Bette historian. My knowledge of Bette Davis is something like the cliff notes version that most people who love movies absorb along the way. The earliest and only pre-Jezebel (1938) Bette Davis performance I had seen before beginning this series was Three on a Match (1932) which didn't, in any way, prepare us for the Bette we know; she's not the MVP of that racy pre-code girls-gone-bad drama. So I'm happy to report that Of Human Bondage (1934) gives us the Full Bette-of-Legend Arc. She goes from unsatisfying bit player to unforgettable star to terrifying disintegrating old harpy all in the space of 83 minutes! It's quite the retrospective ride. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jul072011

I Vant To Link Your Blooooog

Frankly My Dear what's behind the Dreamworks Paramount animation split? It is all the panda's fault?
Playbill God help us all. Suri Cruise is making her first movie appearance in the musical Rock of Ages (2012). 
Daily Beast Were Waiting For Guffman's Corky St. Clair and Marcus Bachmann "Separated at Birth". oh lol, good hearty life-affirming lol. 

Cinema Blend OMG first images from Amy Heckerling's Vamps with Alicia Silverstone, Krysten Ritter and Sigourney Weaver, though no one has fangs! Remember when we thought that movie might get Michelle Pfeiffer? Sigh. Good times. So glad SigWeavie got it if we couldn't have La Pfeiff. Speaking of vampires, if you haven't checked out the latest True Blood episode review, please do.

Old Hollywood Notable moments in pre code history: The Sign of the Cross
IndieWire wonders if James Marsh (Project Nim) is the new Werner Herzog, equally at home in documentary and narrative worlds.
Towleroad P.S. I really liked that film, the Nim documentary (and more links if you just can't get enough.)

Finally... thanks to Super Punch for pointing out this old proposal for a Batgirl costume (in the Alicia Silverstone days). The illustrator Miles Teves was proud of this.

I regret that my idea of the cut-out Bat symbol window on the chest, showing a little skin and cleavage, didn't survive into the final suit. I thought it was kind of clever, and added just the right amount of wholesome flirtiness to the character.

But he knew it wouldn't work for Silverstone's proportions. More at his website.