Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bogey - part II

In the words of the immortal John Huston:
"He was endowed with the greatest gift a man can have - talent. The whole world came to recognize it . . . his life, though not a long one measureed in years, was a rich full life . . . We have no reason to feel any sorrow for him - only for ourselves for having lost him. He is quite irreplaceable. There will never be another like him."

well said!!!!

Here's the rest of Bogey's rogues gallery of classic characters with interesting names!

Bogart as Sam Spade along with Peter Lorre, Mary Astor and Sidney Greenstreet in a scene from John Huston's masterpiece "The Maltese Falcon". One of the best examples of every single aspect of a film coming together and meshing perfectly! There was no looking back for Bogey after this one!

A publicity still of Bogey as "Gloves Donahue" in Warner bros classic "All Through the Night"

Bogey as Sgt Joe Gunn in the superb war film "Sahara", one of my all-time favorite Bogart films and just a damn great movie on every level! I had the good fortune of seeing this for the first time in the theater many years ago as a child and I was totally captivated by the performances, the tank, the desert and the constant feeling of THIRST!!! The only other films I can think of that equal that "thirsty" feeling are the different versions of the "Three Godfathers" and of course Sergio Leone's "The Good the Bad and the Ugly"

Bogey has things well in hand as Rip Murdock in "Dead Reckoning" with Lizabeth Scott. I always thought she was a bit odd as an actress. Nice looking but had such a weird voice!!! Too bad they never put her in a film with Eugene Pallette, Charles McGraw, June Allyson and Krusty the Klown . . . maybe the title coulda been "God, I Need a Cigarette!"

A rather intense picture of Bogey as Fred C. Dobbs in another John Huston masterpiece "Treaure of the Sierra Madre". Arguably the greatest performance of his career and no doubt one of the greatest films ever made! Bogey certainly had incredible co-stars in Walter Huston and Tim Holt, and in fact every single aspect of this film - direction, script, cinematography, music, etc, etc is simply fantastic!

Bogey as screenwriter Dixon Steele in the tense Nicholas Ray drama "In a Lonely Place". This is one of my favorite of Ray's films, offbeat and fascinating like most of his work, and gave Gloria Grahame (Whom i believe was Ray's wife at the time) one of the best roles of her career, which she played to the tee! And Bogey is just a living intensity in this!!!

Here we see Bogart as Charlie Allnut in John Huston's "The African Queen" doing something that Bogart himself loved to do!

Bogey as paranoid Captain 'Yellow Stain' Queeg in "The Caine Mutiny", one of his best later films. A great cast, tense direction by Edward Dmytryk and an unforgettable performance by Bogey make this film an absolute must-see!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Bogey - part I . . .

A lot of actors have played characters with interesting, unique or just plain silly names but I dont think any can compare to the motley bunch that Humphrey Bogart played during his amazing career!

Bogey's colorful cast of character's started with his unforgettable performance as killer "Duke Mantee" in Archie Mayo's 1936 production of "The Petrified Forest". Bogey had played the part on stage with star Leslie Howard and legend has it that Howard insisted Bogey also play the part in the film version or he wasnt going to be involved!

In 1937 Bogey played a crooked boxing manager named "Turkey Morgan" in Michael Curtiz' "Kid Galahad" starring Edward G Robinson and Bette Davis. Sadly that was the only time Bette and Eddie G. appeared in a film together.

Here's Bogey as "Baby Face Martin" with one of Warner Bros. character actor workhorses of the 1930's, Allen Jenkins in a scene from William Wylers excellent 1937 production "Dead End". This had the first film appearance of the Dead End Kids who a year later would star with James Cagney in one of my all-time favorite films, "Angels with Dirty Faces".

Bogey with Edward G Robinson and Claire Trevor in a publicity shot for Anatole Litvak's "The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse" in which Bogey plays a safe-cracking jewel thief named "Rocks Valentine".

Bogey as western bad guy "Whip McCord" squares off against James Cagney in Lloyd Bacon's riotous "The Oklahoma Kid".

Here's Bogey as gangster "Chips Maguire" with the ever-luscious Ann Sheridan in the totally wacky "It All Came True" directed by Lewis Seiler.

Bogey's first multi-dimensional gangster character was probably "Mad Dog Roy Earle" in Raoul Walsh's first-rate drama "High Sierra". The film actually had Ida Lupino getting top billing and she played the "Tarnished Angel" to perfection (as she always played everything!) but clearly this film was Bogey's from the moment he appeared on screen. Even standing next to a little guy like Bogey, beautiful Ida looked so tiny and delicate . . . *sigh*! More of Bogey's rogues gallery of colorfully named characters coming soon!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

More Mathilda . . .

A few pics I've taken of my insane little kitty over the last few weeks . . .

She hasnt set paw in this cat bed in 2 years and all of the sudden one day about 2 weeks ago I find her like this!

Those "crazy eyes" again!!!!

Stretched out on the little couch . . . she NEVER used to sit or sleep on this at all, now she's there all the time!

So frackin' WEIRD!!!!

When I first got her she did not seem very fluffy at all, almost a short-haired kitty but now, holy crap!! Her back legs have become so fluffy I have dubbed her "Little Miss Pewfy Pants"! But ya have to say it in the Cartman voice or it's no good!

Here's short video of us in the bathroom playing one of her favorite games . . . I call it "Hooded Avenger!", after that we play "Attack of the Beast with 5 Fingers!". She's so much fun!!!

disclaimer: no animals were injured during the making of this film but she sure bit the crap outta my hand!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Lobby Cards . . .

My one other aquisition during my all-too brief visit to CT last weekend was this batch of 4 Lobby Cards from the 1940 Warner Bros. film "Castle on the Hudson", directed by Anatole Litvak. For the un-initiated Lobby cards are generally 11"x14" in size, printed on heavier paper than the thin 27"x41" one-sheet posters and usually have 8 cards to a set, often including what is known as a "Title Card" as the first card. John Garfield and Ann Sheridan are two of the main stars I have focused on in my collecting escapades and I have quite a few items for each of them but none from this film so I am genuinely excited to have these in the house! Of particular note is that these are printed on a weird linen type paper that Warner Bros sometimes used for their lobby cards. It always has a more yellow/brown coloring to it than the regular heavy white paper that most LC's are printed on. Many thanks to my good friend Mr Door Tree for making it possible for me to add these to my collection!

A scene card with Garfield, Annie and character actor workhorse Jerome Cowan, probably best remembered for his role as Miles Archer in John Huston's 1941 production of "The Maltese Falcon". Mr Cowan has over 200 screen credits to his name!!!

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm, I'm thinking it wasnt too difficult to put on a big smile with your arm around Ann Sheridan!

Nice hat Annie! This film was actually a re-make of "20,000 years in Sing Sing" released in 1932, directed by Michael Curtiz and featured Spencer Tracy and Bette Davis, the only time those two great stars ever worked together.

A scene card with all 3 of the main stars! Both John Garfield and Pat O'Brien could rattle off dilaogue at lightning speed and Annie was no piker in that department either!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Papermania 2009!

By a bit of happenstance I ended up being in CT yesterday and was able to attend the "Papermania" antique paper show in Hartford. I havent been to one of these in more than a decade so it was fun to poke through all the dealer tables looking for something to add to my collection. I didnt have much cash on hand but I still managed to pick up a few nifty items . . .

I found an issue of "Stars of the Month", an 8-1/4" x 5-1/2" pictorial supplement to "Film Weekly" dated June 3rd, 1932, issue no. 2. On the cover a great shot of Miriam Hopkins.

The inside cover and first page with a portrait of Leslie Howard, probably best known for playing Ashley Wilkes in "Gone with the Wind" but I prefer him much more in films like "The Petrified Forest", "Of Human Bondage" (both with Bette Davis) and Michael Powell's excellent "49th Parallel"

Evelyn Brent and the suave Adolph Menjou. Menjou appeared in many excellent films like Lewis Milestone's "The Front Page", Joseph Von Sternberg's "Morroco" with Marlene Dietrich and Gary Cooper, "Morning Glory" which is the film Katherine Hepburn won her first Oscar for, and the 1937 version of "A Star is Born", with Janet Gaynor and Fredric March, but my fave performance by him came much later when he played the wily General Broulard in Stanley Kubrick's 1957 anti-war masterpiece "Path's of Glory".

Betty Stockfeld and Greta Nissen, 2 stars i am not familiar with. It is interesting to see in these old promo items, which stars made the grade and which ones faded into obscurity over time.

One of my fave actresses of the 30's, Ruth Chatterton didnt make very many films but when she signed on at Warner bros in 1932 she appeared in a handful of little gems including "Frisco Jenny" and Lily Turner" both directed by the great William "Wild Bill" Wellman, and "Female", "The Crash" and "The Rich are Always with Us, all 3 co-starring her then husband George Brent. She's undoubtably best known for playing Walter Huston's wife in William Wyler's superlative drama "Dodsworth".

Doloroes Del Rio and the great Lionel Barrymore. With 215 screen credits to his name including the silent classic "West of Zanzibar" starring Lon Chaney, the MGM dramas "Grand Hotel" and "Dinner at Eight", Frank Capra's "You Can't Take it with You" and "It's a Wonderful Life", John Huston's "Key Largo" and David Selznick's gargantuan production of "Duel in the Sun" Barrymore always made his presence known in a film!

Two fine actresses, one went on to become a legend, the other did not, but Karen Morley appeared in a handful of memorable films including Howard Hawk's "Scarface" and MGM's classic "Dinner at Eight"

Paul Lukas and Barbara Stanwyck, both very talented and versatile performers. Lukas won an Oscar in 1943 for "Watch on the Rhine". He also made a memorable appearance in 1933's "Little Women" with Katherine Hepburn. Barbara's list of screen appearances is enviable by anyone's standards.

the back cover.

I also picked up a nice original 8x10 still of a very elegant-looking Ruth Chatterton. Now i can finally matt and frame my Ruth Chatterton autograph (from a sheet of someone's old autograph book) and hang it up for display, woo hoo!

The last item I picked up is this very nice 5x7" promotional card of my fave silent flm actress Clara Bow. These were the kinds of items the studio would send to people who wrote letters to the stars asking for a photo. Ahhhh but If only that signature were real!!!!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The "Saga of the Fish Cabinet" - Part III

Getting down to the wire on the fish cabinet! After I took these pics, I disassembled all of the pieces so they can be stained and urethaned. This Ash wood should look quite nice with the Minwax Jacobean stain and a couple of coats of high-gloss polyurethane on it but boy I sure hate the whole stinky, messy finishing process!

The big bottom section with all the doors in place. Everything lines up and works perfectly!

The smaller lower section.

The big upper section. This will be able to be removed from the wall for access to clean the tank. Only that one door operates, the others are fixed. This will at least allow some cooler air to flow through during the summer.


The smaller removable upper section also has only one operable door. This one is to help with cross ventailation as well as enable the fish to be fed without having to remove the entire section of the cabinet to get at them. Hopefully some of them will still be alive by the time I finish this thing!!!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

More Noir lovelies . . .

Five more talented lovelies who made a particular impact in Film Noir . . .

A nice publicity shot of sexy and sultry Gloria Grahame, supporting actress Oscar winner for her role in the classic 1952 drama "The Bad and the Beautiful". She made a huge impact in Noir with her excellent performances in Edward Dmytryk's "Crossfire", Nicholas Ray's "In a Lonely Place" and especially Fritz Lang's tension-filled Noir masterpiece "The Big Heat", to name a few. This pic was scanned from one of the vintage stills in my collection.

Another scan from a vintage still, this time the incredibly gorgeous Jane Greer. Jane had a strange career in Hollywood and spent a lot of time getting paid for doing nothing! Howard Hughes had her under contract and since she refused his advances he didnt let her work even though he was paying her regardless! It's a shame too because she was a competent performer and always a pleasure to look at, but no matter, it's her unforgettable perfromance as the ultimate fem-fatale in Jacques Tourneur's ultra-stylish "Out of the Past" that assured her status as a Noir legend.

Ava Gardner looks even slinkier and sexier than usual in this publicity still for Robert Siodmak's "The Killers". I recall seeing a clip of Burt Lancaster on some talk show talking about this film, and her in particular. It went something like: : "Ava Gardner, one of the few truly beautiful women I ever worked with . . . when we did our loves scenes for the Killers, i was deeply stirred . . . in the form of some embarrassment!" Oh that Burt!!

Barbara Stanwyck in Billy Wilder's 1944 Noir masterpiece "Double Indemnity", a role that she played to the absolute hilt! In my opinion Barb shoulda got the best actress Oscar that year! The reality is she never recieved an Oscar but instead was given an honorary award in 1982 for her contributions to the art of screen acting. I would venture to say this is an Academy oversight on par with Edward G. Robinson, Kirk Douglas, Cary Grant and Alfred Hitchcock never winning Oscars!

A great shot of Veronica Lake taken by George Hurell. Affectionately referred to as "Moronica Lake" by the cantankerous Raymond Chandler, she never-the-less made several memorable forays into Noir territory in films like "This Gun for Hire", "The Glass Key" and "The Blue Dahlia", all co-starring pint-sized tough-guy, Alan Ladd. Apparently many women copied her famous long hair style with the peek-a-boo bangs, which caused a lot of safety concerns when these same women ended up working in factories during WWII! Lake then appeared in a few films with her famous blonde tresses done up safely in a bun or some other contained style so the women would follow suit! She is definitely a unique presence on film, there really is nothing else like her! And she suuuuuuuure photographed well!