For me, there are three actors who were robbed of very deserved Oscars, robbed I tell you!
Cary Grant (for nearly any film he was in) Humphrey Bogart (For Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The Petrified Forest or Casablanca) and Mr. Claude Rains for Mr. Skeffington.
I came upon this film late one night and being a larger than life Claude Rains fan I decided to stay up till nearly 3 a.m. on a work night to watch it. This film left me in tears. Claude Rains performance was perfect in every single way.
Mr. Skeffington takes place in New York City at the beginning of 1914. Bette Davis plays “Fanny” Trellis, a beautiful, highly self-absorbed woman, who is always surrounded by men willing and wanting to court her. She “plays” them and toys with them, never really interested in them. Claude Rains plays Job Skeffington, a wealthy NY stock broker who falls madly in love with Fanny.
When Fanny finds out that her brother Trippy stole a great deal of money from his employer and lost it at the race track, she starts to court his employer Mr. Skeffington. Fanny and her brother are living on no income and are near bankrupt and have no way to pay the money back, thus leading to her actions towards Mr. Skeffington. Soon they are married and her brother Trippy is highly upset with the marriage. Trippy ends up leaving for the army in France and soon dies in combat. Fanny blames her marriage to Mr. Skeffington as the reason her brother has died. Fanny finds out she is pregnant and her reaction is “Soon, I will be swollen, puffy and ugly.” She leaves for California to have her baby away from the people who know her in NY Society.
Soon after these series of events, she starts to go out nightly with a gangster who sets up a date so she can find her husband in the company of another woman. This leads to her divorcing Mr. Skeffington. He moves with their daughter to Europe during the World War. Years later her daughter returns home and beautiful young lady. The same day Fanny goes on a sailing trip with a younger beau and is diagnosed with diphtheria. This leaves her looking haggard and old. A cold punishment for a woman who has been obsessed with her own looks her entire life. Her daughter runs off to marry her mother’s younger beau and Mr. Skeffington returns to NY after surviving a concentration camp. She refuses to see him but, he is now blind and penniless. He needs and still loves her. Finally Fanny realizes that the looks are not everything in life.
What is it about this performance I regard so highly? It is Claude Rains’ ability to be stepped on and still show such grace and strength. His heart was constantly toyed with. You can see the pain in his eyes get more constant and deeper throughout the film. I admit, I cry during many films and this one always gets me. He is such a devoted husband and father putting up with Fanny’s constant need for male attention. He still loves her throughout this film. In the end when he is broken, and blind his emotion is intense and heartbreaking. I am so reminded of Lon Chaney’s performance in The Unknown The raw emotion, hurt eyes, powerful performance just sticks with me every time. He so deserved an Oscar for his performance. Hearing Robert Osborne tell of the others considered for this part such as Paul Henried makes me scratch my head. I could easily imagine others in the role of Fanny, but not Job. I feel it was one of the roles that Rains was born to play.
1945 Best Supporting Actor Category
WINNER: Barry Fitzgerald for Going My Way
Nominees: Claude Rains, Clifton Webb for Laura, Monty Woolley for Since You Went Away.
While I have not seen Any of these other films, I have my forever favorite with Claude Rains. His performance in Mr. Skeffington will forever be one of my favorites and I hope, one of yours as well.
I wrote this Blog for the 31 Days of Oscar Blog-A-Thon. Thanks Ladies for hosting! Sorry It isn’t as long as I would have hoped but, with the impending snowtacular, I’ve been piled under work all week.
I am so excited to join Aurora (@CitizenScreen) of Once Upon a Screen, Paula (@Paula_Guthat) of Paula’s Cinema Club and I aka Kellee
(@IrishJayhawk66) of Outspoken and Freckled for the 2013 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon.
I am still working on what I will write about, but I am thrilled to be a part of it.
Another awesome thing to keep an eye out for is the Kansas Silent Film Festival in late February. I already have my hotel booked and weather permitting, I plan on attending. So, join me on Twitter @nikkilynn4 for updates on what’s happening in real time. I hope to see you there!
I was thrilled to discover I recently received a Liebster award from one of my favorite Twitter gals and fellow blogger/cinema soul mate Kellee over at Outspoken & Freckled Thank you Kellee!!! The Liebster award is given to bloggers with less than 200 followers. It’s a great way to promote bloggers and find new ones. I am excited about this so, on with the show.
Here are the Rules:
1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
2. Answer the 11 questions the person giving the award has set for you.
3. Create 11 questions for the people you will be giving the award to.
4. Choose 11 people to award and send them a link to your post.
5. Go to their page and tell them. Kellee let me know on Twitter, loved that!
6. NO TAG BACKS. Although I will answer my own questions.
And my eleven questions:
1. What is your earliest classic film memory?
My earliest film memory was kind of a two part answer, My grandfather loved the Three Stooges and always had my sister and I staying up late with him to watch if they were on. (That is one of my best memories) around the same time, my dad would sit up and watch silents if they on late. I never joined because at the time I found them creepy, which is funny because now they are a work of art in my eyes!
2. Who are your top favorite directors (modern or classic)?
George Cukor. The man was a genius in every sense of the word! He directed two of my all time favorites. The Philadelphia Story & The Women….and a little bit of Gone with the Wind, but that is for another day. He was just amazing and so beloved by the Actresses. His list of films answers this question for me.
3. How has your love of movies (classic or modern) influenced other areas of your life?
(Classic) It has introduced me to some of my now closest friends, it has brought so much joy into my family. Movie nights are now a thing we have. We all curl up and watch something like “Bringing up Baby” as a family. My love has led us to take a few family trips to film showings or festivals, which in turn creates amazing memories for my son and myself. I cant really described how much or how beautifully it has influenced my life but, it has in so many ways.
4. What film/s (classic or modern) do you think has the best music score?
Hands Down, The Third Man. The Harry Lime Theme is what runs in my head as my own personal soundtrack and also provides my iPhone with one amazing ring tone! The Third Man Theme aka The Harry Lime Theme is an instrumental written and performed by Anton Karas. According to legend, the different variations of this theme have sold 40 million copies since its release in 1950.
5. Who are your favorite character actors (modern or classic) and why?
It is hard to just name a few but, if I had to say some of the best (Thomas Mitchell would be numero uno but, ended up being a heavier character later on) So, I would say S. Z. Sakall in my all time favorite Christmas film Christmas in Connecticut. Next, Edward Everett Horton with Hepburn & Cary Grant in Holiday….Such an UNDER ESTIMATED AND UNDER APPRECIATED FILM!!! Charles Coburn in pretty much anything! The only way he is any better is if it is a Jean Arthur Film. There are so many more, now I question whether Thomas Mitchell would be a full on classified Character Actor…think about it and let me know.
6. Which films have made the most impact from a fashion perspective in your opinion and/or are simply your favorite/s from a fashion/style/design perspective (modern or classic)?
Gold Digger’s of 1933 made me totally rethink EVERYTHING I knew about fashion in the 30’s. When I thought it was pinned up, long skirts and boring hats this film opens with the “We’re in the Money” montage and boom, there is sex. Those outfits were bonkers and sexy and I loved every second of that opening! So, what I learned from that and from broadening my 30’s film knowledge is really they were sexy and not everyone was as prude as Aunt Katherine in Another Thin Man.
7. Who are your favorite villains (modern or classic)?
I don’t know really. I like the guy who you kind of fall in love with then BAM he is the bad guy. To reference Another Thin Man (again) Jimmy Stewart. I was like WTF?! I think I actually yelled, WTF. Or, Lon Chaney in “The Unknown” He is clearly a bit evil but you fall for him then BOOM he is the bad guy trying to kill someone, then BOOM again….he is the good guy who dies for the woman he loves happiness. I like those guys. Maybe villain is the wrong word to use here but, Vivian Leigh in Waterloo Bridge, you love her so much but, she turns out to be her own villain. sad. If we have to go, like real life villains…Edward G. Robinson in Key Largo. He is bad ass smoking his cigar in the bath with a fan blowing on him. You know he is one bad ass mofo…then you find out he is scared of storms (humanizes him a bit) then he tries to kill my fake boyfriend (Soldier! Hey Soldier) and again, he is back to being a total bad ass mofo. Love it.
8. If you were in a classic film, who would play you, your best pal and your significant other?
I think I would like Norma Shearer to play me, if not her maybe Myrna Loy. My significant other, Cary Grant or Bogie and my best pal….Katie Hepburn or……Irene Dunne. Its a tough decision. Ok, now that you have read this, am I the only one who thinks that maybe Norma and Bogie wouldn’t have gotten along? Something to ponder.
9. If you could choose any television show (modern or classic), which show would you do a remake of and feel free to add who would star (modern or classic/dead or alive) in it.
Hilarity will now ensue. Sex and The City.
Ginger Rogers (Sexy, smart and level headed) as Carrie,
Joan Fontaine (a little virginal, sweet and almost naive) as Charlotte,
1939 Joan Crawford would work but we all know Norma and Joan didn’t see eye to eye so for less drama Mae West who better for Samantha right?
Rosalind Russell (smart, sexy and quick witted) as Miranda.
Supporting Cast would include; Cary Grant as Aiden, the man who we all love and wanted Carrie to end with but Tony Curtis as Mr. Big has that broad sexy personality and is good at the chase. William Powell would have to be Steve, Funny, Sweet and Adorable, Harry? Harry would have to be Dennis Morgan. Cute, and he has those eyes that when he looks at a woman he loves, you can tell and he would be great for Joan.
10. What’s your favorite sassy/snarky come-back line from any film?
“Want me to spit in her eye? You’re passing up a swell chance, honey. Where I spit no grass grows ever” Miraim Aarons in the Women.
11. Who are your favorite comedy actors?
Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, William Powell, Clark Gable, Rosalind Russell, Jean Arthur, Barbara Stanwyck, Irene Dunne, The Three Stooges (Top ones!) Harold Lloyd, Keaton, Chaplain, Harry Langdon, etc. This list could seriously go on FOREVER!
This was a total Blast!!! Thank you Kellee! I love it.
My list of questions? All of mine will be Classic film related, so from 1960 and below. (sorry thats my strong era)
1) Favorite 1910 thru 1950’s film of all time and why?
2) Most under appreciated actor and actress of the classic era.
3) 5 Classic films you would show if you got to host TCM for a night.
4) Movie that scares you the most?
5) Classic Star you never quite became a fan of or understood?
6) Most under appreciated film of the classic era?
7) Favorite Musical and why?
8) What was the first classic film you saw that made you “get it?”
9) What is your “Guilty Pleasure” film?
10) Fake Dinner, 8 classic film actors/actresses GO!
11) Favorite Film Noir?
I award this Liebster Award to…(Drum Roll Please) I only have a small list, as I dont know a lot of film bloggers yet. Im still a newbie!
Angela over at The Hollywood Revue
Aurora at Once Upon a Screen
Trevor over at A Modern Musketeer
Jessica over at Comet Over Hollywood
Raquelle over at Out of the Past
What is there I can say about one of my favorite men?
I guess we can go to the start of my love for Harold.
Silent films used to scare the pants off me. I mean, they were creepy, grainy and the music sounded like something you heard in a funeral home. Well, One night after a car accident when I was 18, I was flipping though the channels. It was about 2 am and nothing was on. I have always been in love with New York, Babe Ruth & Coney Island. So, when I caught this BEAUTIFUL Black and White image of Coney Island on my TV, I stopped. Is this film really a silent? The music was cheerful, the quality was amazing and the actor was not creepy at all! So I watched. I fell in love. The next morning I got up and decided to find more films with this handsome man in horn rimmed glasses. I got on the internet and found out he was Harold Lloyd and the best part? He was from Nebraska and better yet, he was from a town only 45 miles from me! What the What?!?
I was beyond excited and thrilled to find a few Harold Lloyd clips on you tube. I contacted my friend Cohen who did a blogtalk radio show on classic films and began to question him on this Lloyd guy. He gave me some info, and send me some films he had and I was blown away. He was funny, and the movies were amazing. After more research I found that his home in Burchard, Nebraska was still there and better yet had been restored and you could visit the Harold Lloyd Birth Home. We loaded the car on a Sunday afternoon and drove over.
The house was locked up but there was a number to call on the front door. We walked around, looked and took some photos and left. We went back a few weeks later with an appointment and got in the house. While it is small, only about 3 rooms…it was still fun to imagine the Lloyd family in the late 1800’s running through that small Burchard house.
An idea sprung up when the lady who gave us the tour mentioned they hardly have enough money to heat/cool it or even keep it painted. A wonderful group of locals donated time, and money to keep it going but it wasnt enough. So, I called my friend Cohen and the First Annual Harold Lloyd Bash was born.
The first event was great! We had lots of Harold Films Donated by Kino, the Pawnee City Promotional Network donated money for food and the Harold Lloyd Collection, we had a 4th grade class come clear across Nebraska to join the fun and when the night hit, we had films on the side of the house. It was pure magic!
We were on cloud nine. The next year, we tried to do the same thing but the turn out was awful. We were very disheartened. We had not made even $100 for the upkeep of the house. We were in a hard spot. Try again or wait a year or two. So, we waited. So, I am asking you…begging you to consider contacting me for info on how to send money to keep the house going. Even if it is $5.00! They need money for the utilities, lawn care and painting. We have been fighting to keep this place alive for years now and it has become very personal for me. Or better yet, come visit and drop me a line. I would love to give you the tour!
Now, why am I drawn to this man? Take my favorite film of his “Speedy” He is sweet, handsome and hilarious. “It Smells Like Rain” is a phrase I use often and it makes my husband and I giggle every time. If you have seen the film, when he yells that, that means there is trouble. The Coney Island sequence is one of the greatest in any film and the cameo by Babe Ruth and footage of NYC is just amazing. It is like stepping back in time. (Watch for Harold Flipping himself the bird also) Harold plays a soda jerk who looses his job, he is an avid baseball (Yankee) fan and is taking care of his lady and her “pop”. I wont go into the entire plot but, I think this is a great starter film for Non-Silent fans.
Dr. Jack, this film opens with a little girl calling Dr. Jack (Harold) to come to her house. After some mishaps he makes it to find out his patient is this little girls Dolly. Sweet and funny all in one.
Another one of my favorites is “For Heaven’s Sake” find it and watch is ASAP! Harold plays a millionaire who falls for a girl (who is poorer than him) and works in her brothers mission. The scene where he is eating her desserts is hilarious!
Safety Last. That is all I need to say. This film is perfection from start to finish!
I have loved nearly every film Harold has done. I have also loved exploring the person he was before the boy in the Horn Rimmed Glasses.
He was a man who married one of his sweetest Co-Stars Mildred Davis.
He was a man who posed with what he thought was a prop bomb, only to have it blow up near his face and nearly blind him, and he lost all but two of his fingers. His prosthetic hand is easy to spot in some of his films.
He was a 3D photographer who worked with women like Marilyn Monroe.
He was a dog lover.
He was a man who lost some of his films in a vault fire on his estate Green Acres.
He was a Shriner, Father, and very devoted grandfather who raised his granddaughter.
He was funny.
He was above all things, the man who welcomed me into Silents and introduced me to my love of Keaton, Chaplin, Chaney, and the silent Garbo, Crawford and Shearer. He instilled into me a grand love of all things silent! This passion led me to some of my best friends, Cohen, Angie, Tanya & Gary, and many other great friends like Trevor, Kellee, Kristen, Bruce, Bill, Annette, and more!
I find that the best way to argue with anyone who says they “HATE” silent films is to give them a good Harold Lloyd film. The crisp picture and story line will draw them in and they will fall in love. Im so proud that Harold is our “hometown” boy!
I am a little scared to admit this to my fellow Classic Film Fans but, there was a day where I couldn’t tolerate Marilyn Monroe. Ill duck while you throw things at me…………
Okay, now hear me out.
Anyone my age (28) has spent years having images of Marilyn thrown at them. She was this “sex goddess” with a tragic story. Idiots like Anna Nicole Smith & Lindsay Lohan have idolized her and recreated her image. (blech) When people like Lindsay Lohan name you as their idol…something is wrong. Right? Everyone knows who she is, everyone knows the tragic story that surrounds her. Everyone assumes she posed nude all the time, slept with a Kennedy and tragically “overdosed”. These are the things I had heard. When you said Marilyn Monroe first this garbage popped into my mind.
The term I like to use was Over Exposed. Highly, Horribly, Sadly over exposed. They made her a tacky product. (Just like one of my old fav’s Audrey Hepburn) Everywhere you look, there she was in this sexy pose with that nearly white hair and pouty lips. I didnt care for it.
When I first got into Classic Films I was and still am head over heels in love with Tony Curtis, hello sexy! But, I just couldn’t bring myself to watch Some Like It Hot. That awful Monroe woman was in it. She isnt an actress. Yuck. But, I gave in…Loved it and doubt started to wash over me. I concluded it was a fluke, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon made her look good. They could make me look good. So, I was not convinced.
Along came How To Marry a Millionaire.
I am a huge Bacall and Powell fan so naturally I could look past the fact Marilyn was in this film. I devoured it. Robert Osborne said in his closing of the film Saturday that everyone expected Monroe to be the hit of the movie but, it turned out Bacall was, etc. Well, I NEVER disagree with Bob…until now. I found her to be so funny, and sweet. I thought she was the star of the film! She can do comedy and do it very well. I was starting to question why I hated her so much. She was so endearing and I was eating my words. Over the next couple years I found “Millionaire” to be my favorite “cleaning” or “Working” film. If I was doing some editing I would turn that movie on and just listen to it, Cleaning was the same routine. I had seen it so many times that I could listen and not have to watch. I decided to give Monroe a chance.
I watched “River of No Return”, “Niagara”, “Gentleman Prefer blonde’s” and “Seven Year Itch” I was shockingly blow away! I really enjoyed these films and even more, I enjoyed her. Yes, the breathy voice exhausts me but, who cares she was damn good. I will admit, It surprised me. So, when The TCM Summer under the Stars line up came out, I was excited for a day of Marilyn Movies.
Saturday night after watching “Gentlemen Prefer Blonde’s” I walked into the kitchen, called my husband “piggy” in the breathy Monroe voice and laughed. My wise husband looked at me and said “You know, people thought she was dumb, I think she was smarter than all of them. She built an image that people still talk about today and can mock knowing that is your imitation of Monroe” Wow, color me blown away! He was right. She wasn’t stupid, not at all.
I am sad at all the years I refused to give her a chance. I know there are others like me and I really hope that if you read this, and you are one of those people…give her a chance. I wished she knew how much she is really appreciated. Take away all the tacky shit, and there is a movie star…a legit movie star there. Better yet, there is a vulnerable woman who did her best. I hope somewhere she is smiling knowing that TCM and other film fans are doing our best to have her known for this…
I don’t mind making jokes, but I don’t want to look like one.
I have quite a few theories in life. But these two are my favorites, Every morning no matter where I am, I turn on the tv the second I wake up to check TCM. I feel that the film that is on the moment I wake up will set the tone for my entire day. I know this is loopy and idiotic but, I know on days like today when I turn on the TV, and a Bogart film is on, I will have a great day.
I swear I’m not a total weirdo. What is better than seeing Bogart’s face first thing in the morning? The day I was married my all time favorite film was on (the Philadelphia story), the day my son was born (dark passage), the day my niece was born (the long long trailer) and my niece who was planned to be named Lucy after Lucille Ball months before, came into the world during an I love Lucy marathon. These are all small ways I find my theory to be true. I have my iPhone TCM app and my Now Playing but never check the morning schedule. I like to be surprised, and imagine its fate.
Speaking of these events, my son whose middle name was nearly Bogart is also a fan of classics. My second theory, Raise your children with a knowledge of classic films.
He is 6 and his favorite Bogart film at the moment is Key Largo.
In true little boy fashion he loves the bad guys, hero, guns and hurricane. I don’t recommend this film for all kids, however I had no problem letting him watch it. I know that when I sit down with one of these classic films that I will not have to explain the curse words or sex. I believe that children should watch more of these classics! My son can tell you who his favorite silent actors are (Harold Lloyd, buster Keaton and Chaplin) and he can tell you who is favorite “talkie” actors are (bogart, grant, William Powell, frank Sinatra and Audrey Hepburn) why Hepburn? Well he thinks she and I look similar and I love that.
My mother gives me a hard time about this but, my boy can quote Bogie. Yes, he still loves sponge bob and I never force him to watch theses films with me. He just enjoys them. He grew up with them.
I believe that allowing him to watch these films with me will teach him, proper English, history, hats and ties are classy, and a passion for traveling.
I promise to get more specific films soon. I just wanted to add a blog as I lay here in bed with my coffee and Bogie. Happy Sunday.