High Society (1956)

60 years ago this week (17th July 1956) an amazing film was released. It’s the type of musical film that will probably always make it onto the greatest musical films and for very good reason. It is, in fact, one of my favourite musicals of all time. This film is High Society.

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I’m always shocked by how few people have ever heard of or seen this film because it brings some of the best actors and musicians of Old Hollywood together to portray a retelling of the very famous The Philadelphia Story. Now I’m not saying Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant and James Stewart didn’t do the original justice because they totally rocked the film but when you have the likes of Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra together in a script that is funny and musically ingenious you know it’s going to be a film to talk about.

224265256413693233RDl7GbVXcIt’s always been a special film to me because it was Grace Kelly’s last ever film before she married Prince Rainier of Monaco and basically became a fairytale princess. In the film she plays a wealthy soon to be married socialite and yet we see her try to please her family and eventually go back to her ex-husband who she still loves. The film may be a musical comedy but the relationships and emotions involved in the film seem very normal.

The songs themselves tell a story and are very memorable, that’s why we named our blog after a High Society song. The song “Who Want’s to Be a Millionaire?” is sung by Sinatra and Celeste Holm and they make it a funny yet romantic song because they don’t want yachts or other expensive items they just want each other. The funnier thing is Sinatra’s character doesn’t even realise Holm has a crush on him.

You’ll also notice Louis Armstrong in the film with his band and how different his music is to the rest of the film. This brings a freshness because all his songs are fun and make you pay attention.

So what’s not to love? Excellent actors who may not have gotgrace-kelly-bing-crosby-frank-sinatra-high-society-1956 on in real life but have a great relationship on screen (Crosby kept his distance from Sinatra during production) A lovely vocal performance from Kelly and a great scene in French. Great songs and great musical talent to write and perform the songs which means the songs will be remembered more than the films.

Some musicals can become boring or not seem relevant to the time and we find them being consigned to the archives yet High Society as withstood society’s changes. It actually teaches us about love and relationships while reminding us of people’s standing in society and how we need to be our own person. 60 years on it’s still a watchable fun film that you’ll want to watch again and again.

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Happy Birthday James Dean

tumblr_nbuj61SjqY1rerml7o1_128084 years ago today James Dean was born. He would go on to be one of the most successful actors in Hollywood and yet he only made three films in under two years. All though his career was short lived due to his untimely death at the age of 24 he became a star that the young people of the 50’s could relate to. The film Rebel Without a Cause still strikes a chord with the youth of today. Dean’s style would become iconic and his short life would be looked at time and time again in relation to his sexual orientation and his memorable style. He is truly a legend in his own rights, achieving in five years what many actors didn’t in their entire careers. He earned the respect of his fellow actors and crews and of his fans both young and old.

The 50’s really was the best time for Dean to be an actor on the big screen. His three staring films are practically classics and I hope that everyone has watched at least one.

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3786205157_591149762b_o1East of Eden was the first he got main billing for in 1955. Aged 24 he starred in this take of John Steinbeck’s book of the same name. As a young guy himself he really showed his maturity in this film as it is loosely based on the Biblical story of Cain and Abel. We see Dean go through love and hate towards his father and brother. He tries his hardest to gain his fathers approval and it is so very convincing that when, at the end, he achieves the approval and love he craves you can’t help but smile. Many reviewers said this was Dean’s best ever performance and the Academy Awards saw fit to award him an Oscar for his acting role in 1956. He was the first person to receive a posthumous nomination.

Soon after in 1955 he’d star in another film where he’d be vying after the affections andMV5BMTg2ODcxOTU1OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzA3ODI1MDE@._V1_SX640_SY720_ attentions of a father figure. Rebel Without a Cause will be his most recognisable film where he played teenager Jim Stark opposite teenage stars Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo. The film is a masterpiece and sees Dean portray eerily perfectly the raw feelings felt by the middle class youth. He has such an expressive face and way of acting that works perfectly in all the high emotion scenes. His red jacket and quiff became staple requirements for many men of the 50’s. The story works well for Dean because of his age and he works wonderfully onscreen with Wood and Mineo making this a performance that will never be forgotten. Unfortunately Dean never saw the completed film, Warner Brothers released it less than a month after he’d died.

 

tumblr_n2uhd90gcu1s0lxi0o1_500His last film was released in 1956 and took a completely different road to his previous two films. Giant saw him play a stable hand who strikes it rich with oil, not the young person he feared he’d be typecast as. In Giant you see Dean’s dedication to the film and the art of acting by actually dying his hair grey to portray the ageing of his character. He stars opposite stars like Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson in the film and he bounces off them perfectly. Giant itself was released around a year after his death and someone had to dub some of his lines in production because of his sudden death. Again he received a posthumous Academy Award and if you watch the film you’ll agree it was well deserved.

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Even though James Dean only starred in three films he made three films that can be watched by anyone. His talent was a massive part of his short success and so was his iconic image. He will be remembered for a very long time and hopefully his films will be remembered as well as his fast life and tragic death have been.

Why 2015 will be a spectacular year

2015 is here guys! We’re all probably looking for holidays, short breaks and just nice things to do for the rest of the year to keep us smiling. This year has some great things in store for us Old Hollywood lovers. There’s also some marvellous stuff in store for all film, fashion and art lovers.

To give you a taste we’re going to run down what we’re looking forward to in 2015… Obviously not everything is here yet, some exciting things will pop up later this year.

Film/ Stage

I’m looking forward to Into The Woods. A mash up of fairytales, songs and an all star cast featuring Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick, Johnny Depp and James Corden the film is sure to be a hit. Anna Kendrick also returns in Pitch Perfect 2 later in the year.

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Katharine Hepburn at BFI Southbank are holding a month katharine-hepburn-portrait-001-00n-7xkof this brilliantly talented woman’s work. I was very excited when I found out about this! Films range from The Philadelphia Story and Adam’s Rib to A Woman Rebels and Stage Door with everything in-between. For the full list visit BFI You can also buy tickets here if you really, really need to. I might even see some of you there.

February also brings the Fifty Shades of Grey film which I hear millions of women are super excited for. Based on the book of the same name it features the very wonderful looking Jamie Dornan. With an 18 rating it’s definitely for the adult audiences. Prepare for sexiness, stalking, no romance, kinky fuckery and a very controlling rich man. It’s due out in the UK on 13th February with tickets available now from most cinemas.

Fifty Shades See you now

2015 sees a brilliant treat from director Maria Friedman who is bringing High Society to the London stage. Old Vic is going to be holding this swellegant, elegant party which will be kicking off on 30th April. As of yet no cast as been confirmed, can’t be long to wait though! Tickets are available here

Two films I probably don’t need to mention, but I’ll refresh your memories, are The Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man. Both look like sure hits this year.

Big Hero 6 is worth a mention for an animated film…

Exhibitions

V&A host a stunning looking exhibition of the late, great Alexander McQueen’s work and creative brilliance. Savage Beauty runs from 14th March to 19th July and will be well worth a visit as it’s the largest collection looking back at McQueen’s work in Europe.

Fans of Audrey Hepburn will be flocking to National Portrait Gallery this summer to see their Portrait of an Icon exhibition. NPG have a range of photographic portraits spanning Hepburn’s life. These include fashion, film and philanthropic based photos from a range of photographers.

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TV

There’s probably to much happening with TV shows to mention here but here’s a few that caught my eye and/or I enjoy watching.

Supernatural is celebrating it’s 10th birthday this year. It doesn’t feel like two minutes since we met demon hunter brothers Sam and Dean Winchester. Here’s to many more years on TV hunting demons, saving us from apocalypses, getting trapped in hell and singing and dancing for us.

 

Police show Blue Bloods reached it’s 100th show on 9th January. No small feat with the way shows get cut and cancelled these days. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic also celebrates it’s 100th episode later this year when season 5 airs.

37871045I’m excited to see Rizzoli & Isles return for Season 6 and Bitten for Season 2. Both are shows based on books so it’ll be interesting to see which direction they go in. A lot has happened in both series that’s nowhere close to the book so we can’t guess what’s going to happen next.

2015 seems to be Marvel’s year. New comics, Age of Ultron film and the premiere of the tv series Agent Carter. This started in US last week and I’m quite impressed with it. I’m so glad Hayley Atwell as stayed on as Agent Peggy Carter and remains kick ass and a true role model to women.

As shows begin others unfortunately end. This year sees Lost Girl end on season 5. I’ll be sad to see this sexy succubus go but I’m glad we get a proper ending especially after the ending we got on season 4. Bo, Kenzie, Lauren and Dyson we’ll miss you guys!

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We’ll keep you updated throughout the year on these and many more happenings in the world of movies, tv and exhibitions. Until then enjoy the vast array of spectacular big and indie films out this year and keep your eyes peeled for other great ways to pass the hours.

Disney Life Coaches

tumblr_na54q9PZvV1r8gu6zo1_250The other day while listening to my iPod on Shuffle ‘Beauty and the Beast’ came on. You know the one- Mrs Potts voiced by Dame Angela Lansbury beautifully sings it when Beast and Belle are waltzing around the ballroom. Listening carefully to the lyrics, while trying not to belt it out to all the people sat on the bus, it got me thinking: how good are Disney characters at teaching us lessons in life? We thought about it and straight away came up with a few characters, and in one instance an entire film, that have taught us lessons.

Mrs. Potts- Beauty & the Beast

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Mrs. Potts throughout the film makes it quite clear that any two people can fall in love no matter what the circumstances or the difficulties involved. She remains the mother throughout the film even when things, to us little children, seem unfixable. She teaches us that things can be fixed and that having friends really does help. It also helps to have a song and dance when things get rough. Subliminally I think she’s saying a cup of tea fixes everything. I mean why else would she be a teapot?

 

Raymond- The Princess and the Frog

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Oh Ray how you made me cry! Raymond is the Louisiana Firefly who joins Tiana and Prince Naveen on their journey to become human again. He’s in love with Angelique, who’s actually a star, which shows us you can love anyone sincerely. He helps his friends even though he hasn’t known them for long and along the way teaches us about trust and loyalty to our friends. In a way he teaches us that dying doesn’t have to be a sad thing, he gets to be with his love Angelique in the end.

 

The entire Lilo & Stitch film

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I seriously don’t know where to start with this film. The entire thing is filled with lessons. The biggest one being “Ohana tumblr_n9hcm6xNk71tfk1uco1_500means family, family means no one gets left behind. Or forgotten.” We all need family whether that be blood or friends. Lilo shows how even though Stitch screws up sometimes they are essentially family when it matters. Lilo doesn’t have human friends but she shows us that friends come from other places. Cat believes it teaches us that when you’re lonely adopting a pet will fix this. In that sense Lilo & Stitch teaches us responsibility.

 

Kuzco- The Emperors New Groove

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Cat here as Natalie doesn’t know the awesomeness of this movie. Ok, there is possibly a lot I could say about this film. Kuzco is a selfish teenager, although he won’t admit it and to give a gift to himself he decides to build himself a summer house on top of someone else’s home. Pacha- the father & husband of the family living there tries to persuade him to move his holiday home to another place, Kuzco being Kuzco only thinks of himself and refuses leaving this family only a few days to pack up their things.

Lesson 1- listen to people and take in their needs.

Lesson 2- If a Llama says they are actually a person help the llama.

Lesson 3- Learn how to speak Squirrel.

Lesson 4- If you are building a secret lab it’s fun to build a rollercoaster to said lab but only use one lever to get into secret lab

Lesson 5- Always label potions correctly.

 

There’s obviously more characters that teach us important lessons in Disney films but we’ve chosen the few that straight away popped into our heads. Whatever films you learn valuable lessons from are very important, no matter if they’re animations aimed at children or films for the general market.

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Here we leave you with an entire song that’s basically one big lesson… about learning to fight…

 

Doctor Who- Season 8 Episode 1 – Deep Breath

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Sit back this is going to be a long one…

I’m still on mixed reviews on this episode. Peter Capladi I expected him to make a brilliant Doctor. I was worried about his and Clara’s relationship. Moffat constantly put to viewers that her and the 11th Doctor, a young attractive guy had a deeper connection, than just a usual companion relationship. Since New Doctor Who started we have gone through 3 young Doctor’s each attractive, so now it was time to see how much the writers were going to make the age issue blow up in everyones faces.

At times the episode was like this-

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First let’s start with the issue that might have me clawing my eyes out… that new opening sequence. Doctor Who has been running for 50 years… WHY ARE YOU SCREWING THE CLASSIC??? If you had to change the imagery whyyyyy did you have to change the theme song?? Also how many times do you need to change the interior of the Tardis???

 

When the Doctor first walks outDoctor Who door of the Tardis, I’ll admit at first I was sort of offended as it seemed like Moffat was trying to make it seem like the Doctor had some sort of mental health problem on first viewing some parts seemed seriously over written. At times I was laughing because I related to some of the stuff he was saying and doing, that whole over the place, don’t want to sleep,, no real idea what they are saying or doing, or what anyone else thinks… It’s like me in a Manic state! Hey I’ll probably understand Dinosaur too… and I have climbed out of windows.

I’m interested to see what the Doctor will be like once he’s found out who he is. We saw it with the 10th Doctor (David Tennant) when he regenerated when he woke up after having a rough regeneration he had a few issues figuring out who he was, but mostly concerned with the fact he wasn’t ginger. With the 11th Doctor (Matt Smith) he seemed to adapt into his new character and form with ease. In this episode like the 10th Doctor was the opposite of the 9th Doctors (Christopher Eccleston) regeneration (as we didn’t actually see any problems with his physical regeneration) the 12th is the opposite of the 11th. The 11th had no mental problems with his regeneration and the 12th seems loaded with them. Even between the moments 12th is figuring out who he is we are getting the picture that 12th is a darker character and compared to the 11th he is a less warm, straight to the point character. There are moments especially when he leaves Clara in danger of the robots where I questioned his emotions, in the past we wouldn’t have seen the Doctor put his companion in harms way. However, we won’t see till later if this is a permanent part of him or if it’s just the regeneration. Although one major question is, Are the Doctor’s running days over? As in this episode we saw less running and more of the Doctor tackling the danger head on.

 

We get to the scene where we meet this episodes main villain. Clockwork robot thing which is taking out organs, which we later find out he is using the parts to repair his army and his ship… Umm seems familiar… Doctor who4

Well no one can argue with Moffat for stealing anyone else’s idea. Considering that Series 2 episode which involved Clockwork droids, who were stealing organs to get their ship working, and Madame De Pompadour. For a episode one in the new series though I was hoping for something a bit more original than Moffat recycling his other ideas.

It does get confirmed in the episode that these two episodes are interlinked only the ship which is mentioned in this episode is the Madam De Pompadour’s sister ship, Marie Antoinette.

 

We have a scene where some of my favourite characters, Madame Vastra and Jenny, it finally gets said they are married! Yay! At least this episode shows off a lesbian relationship, however, there is a kissing scene between them but they weren’t kissing in a moment in love they were kissing because Madame Vastra could store oxygen and they needed to hold her breath. Sweet that Madame Vastra was practically saving Jenny’s life, not so sweet that the only scene with them kissing was because they had to.   Vastra has a bitch fight with Clara, on if she is judgemental. This is where it really gets down to business on if Clara is bothered about the Doctor being an, “older,” person. Turns out she isn’t… All this is happening while the Doctor is running on the rooftops talking to the dinosaur…

THEN THEY KILL THE FREAKING DINOSAUR!!!

We have another cDoctor Who scaredonnection to a past episode, this time series 1 of the New Doctor Who, where the pig in a spaceship flies into Big ben… This time we have a dinosaur being burned to death near Big Ben. In both cases the Doctor, in grief, says, “It/She was scared.” Putting forward this idea that he’s sad that the Human Race doesn’t know how to distinguish between a threat and fear.

Moffat’s connection to Sherlock then comes out, as the Dinosaur’s death (the Dinosaur has basically combusted) then becomes a murder mystery as the question is, “Have their been any similar murders?” Turns out there has. The Doctor disappears leaving Clara questioning him again.Doctor who hit

Since New Doctor Who Started in 2006, only Rose has seen the Doctor regenerate and continued to be his companion. Compared to her, Clara has more doubt about who the Doctor is. This idea of accepting age comes back, although I know Rose and Clara are completely different characters, but if you think about it like this. Rose saw 9th Doctor change into a physically younger looking 10th Doctor, there was that romantic attraction there and in some cases the 10th Doctors attitude was more upbeat and positive- it was mentioned the 9th Doctor was still getting over the war. Here Clara has to sort of accept the opposite, accepting her young, childish Doctor has turned into an older Doctor, who on first appearances seems unstable. There’s a hurtful (for viewers) part where the 11th Doctor phones Clara up from Trenzalore in the past (Timey wimey Wibbly wobbly stuff) mentioning the version she is with now, will be scared and need help, that plus the 12th Doctor asking Clara if she wants to go for chips, connects back to the first series. There is the possibility that The Doctor needs Clara to be Rose, as he mentioned before at the end of series 4, Rose made him better. Where as the 10th Doctor and the 11th Doctor has similarities I’m thinking the 12th Doctor and the 9th Doctor are going to have similarities, winding the series down a darker path.

Mentioning Donna.  There is a scene where the Doctor, confused with who he is, Questioning an old poor man “Have you seen this face before?… It’s funny because I’m sure that I have.” One problem I saw with Peter Capaldi being the new Doctor was that he HAS been in Doctor Who before.

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Series 4- Fires of Pompeii which is one of the first places The 10th Doctor takes Donna. It’s a long shot but another theory could be is we have a connection to Donna here.Like Rose, Donna also had the attitude to tell the Doctor when to stop and had the plus that she wasn’t crushing on the Doctor all the time.

Also if we are connecting the Doctor back to Pompeii it could mean that the Doctor might not just have some control on what he looks like, it get’s mentioned he chose to look youthful to fit in, but who he looks like.

I mentioned before that the Doctor put Clara in a situation where she was in danger- leaving her trapped with the clockwork droids, the only thing that properly saved Clara was the fact she remembered the Doctor telling her, “How long can you hold your breath?” As these droids seem to be able to sense any human because of their breathing, although in the end Clara was still caught because let’s admit it we need oxygen to live. It still shows that the Doctor is willing to take more risks and maybe in future episodes the companion isn’t going to be safeguarded and locked up in the Tardis sent home every so often. This placing Clara, in danger also is a trust test. Although the Doctor left her, she had to see that he would always, “Have her back.” It’s different to see that instead of the Doctor insulting just the robots/villains, but he also throws an insult at Clara, “5’1 and crying.” and calling her a, “Control freak.”

There is also something I’ve actually become annoyed about. The Doctor’s change of attitude and the fact we will be getting a male companion, has Moffat put this characteristic in the Doctor to fit in with the male companion? Also this new quality might give a theory that Clara’s exit from the show might not be a clean one.

 

THE PHONE CALL

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I cried and I will keep crying for possibly the next 10 times I watch this episode. I know the Doctor is now not a, “Hugging person,” but I believe most of the Whovian fandom was giving him a hug at that point.

 

Questions (weirdly both of these questions the answer River has crossed my mind but then I’ve had to dismiss it)-

Who is this woman who is trying to keep them together? I always thought, “The Woman at the Shop.” was River, but if you remember Clara has met River so hopefully she would have mentioned when the Doctor asked who gave you my number that it was River.

Missy

Who is Missy?

Right I have been asked if this could be River Song, due to her calling the Doctor her, “Boyfriend.”

*Sigh*
*turns lights off*
*sets up projector*
*opens powerpoint* 
allow me to tell you a thing

At the moment looking at the past story lines there is only a slim chance Missy is River Song. We met River Song as Mel, when she was a child growing up with Amy and Rory. We saw her grow up then change into the River Song we all know. She can’t regenerate, meaning River can’t change, as she gave her regeneration energy to save the Doctor. Also the small fact River is now dead and stuck in a library database, so even if she could change she’s stuck anyway. What about before Mel changed into River Song? Ok we find Melody again as a child in 1969 where she regenerates. If Missy is Melody, this would mean she regenerated, grew up, went back to the Victorian era, did whatever she is there for, then regenerated again into Mel to go back to school with Amy and Rory in I’m guessing the 1980’s/1990’s.

There is also another theory- Tumblr- that Missy could be the Master. Missy- Mistress- Master.

But from what I’ve seen with Moffat’s writing anything could happen.

– One thing about the Missy scene. This is either connected or the Doctor Who team really need to find new locations

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We have seen that garden in Series 6, The Girl Who Waited, Where Amy is quarantined in a place which is almost described as, “Kindness centres.” which allow people to live out the rest of their lives in the best way possible. It could be the same place- planet Apalapucia- Missy says it’s the, “Promise Land. Paradise.”

We’ve also seen it in a Sarah Jane Adventure episode where the gang go investigate a, “Haunted,” Building, only to find out it was the work of an alien magician.

 

Other

Coolest entrance goes to Madame Vastra and Jenny, I know the Tardis entering via a dinosaur was cool but I have more chance of being able to do aerial acrobatics… although chances are I’ll just end up killing myself and fall like Strax did.

 

Favourite quotes-

 Doctor. “Planet of the pudding brains.”

Strax- “By bringing it (the Tardis) here, he’ll be lured from the dangers of London to this place of safety… And we will melt him with acid.” 

Clara- “Okay that last part,” 

Strax- “And we will not. Melt him with acid.”

Doctor- “I’m Scottish, I can complain about things.”

Doctor “I don’t know but I’d probably blame the English.”

Doctor- “I don’t think I’m a hugging person now”

Clara- “I’m not sure you get a vote.”

 

Happy Birthday Natalie Wood!

tumblr_n46rh73juW1qa70eyo1_500Today would have been Natalie Wood’s 76th birthday! I love this woman and not just because I was named after her.

She started acting at an early age and there is so much more to her than the suspicious circumstances surrounding her early death by drowning in 1981. She was her own woman with a life very much lived in the limelight. Her marriages to Robert Wagner never took away from her stardom.

Natalie was a true beauty of the golden era and all the way through her career. She remained professional in her work and Orson Welles once commented that Wood’s professionalism when she was a child was “so good, she was terrifying.”

In celebration of her birthday I’m going to tell you about some of my favourite parts she played throughout her career.

 

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

In Natalie’s first ever starring role, aged 9, she plays Susan Walker a girl brought up not to tumblr_n842dtGJZf1snmmclo1_500believe in fairytales but when she meets Kris Kringle at Macy’s Department store finds that Santa could actually be real. I doubt I need to tell you much about the storyline. Miracle on 34th Street is a Thanksgiving and Christmas classic. You’ve probably all watched the 1994 version with Mara Wilson playing Susan but this version is just as magical. Wood’s performance is heartfelt and very real.

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Rebel Without A Cause (1955)

tumblr_n5kpba5vMR1rerml7o1_1280.pngThis is one of my all time favourite films and one of the very few that stars James Dean. The film is about teenagers, rebellion and a time of decay for American teenagers. When you watch it it’s eerie how true some of the situations seem to be, even today. Wood plays Judy who we see in the Police Station with Jim (Dean) at the beginning of the film. Their relationship grows slowly but the portrayal is perfect for delinquent teenagers. Rebel Without A Cause is one of the first films where we see Wood flung into varying emotional scenes and still at such a young age, she was only 17 at the time.

 

West Side Story (1961)

Okay I know she doesn’t sing herself but this is probably one of the films everyone tumblr_n02kmiI17k1s5bh5uo1_500associates with Natalie Wood. West Side Story is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, Natalie plays Maria against Richard Beymer’s Tony. Tensions erupt between Maria’s brothers gang the Sharks and the gang Tony is part of the Jets. The characters are portrayed very well and Wood’s acting is quite similar to her work in Rebel Without A Cause. Even her dancing and dubbing for her singing seems realistic. The emotion though out the film seems to make her role stronger, especially with the end tragedy.

 

There are other fantastic films Natalie Wood starred in so if you get chance have a watch of Gypsy (1962), Sex and the Single Girl (1964), Marjorie Morningstar (1958) and The Great Race (1965). You won’t be disappointed with the comedy, drama and cast involved in each.

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Birthday Double: Olivia de Havilland & Leslie Caron

This year we bring you a special beginning to July. We celebrate two Hollywood legends birthdays and they’re both still alive! Happy Birthday to Olivia de Havilland and Leslie Caron!

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Both ladies have brought their own achievements to old Hollywood and are true Hollywood actresses in every sense of the phrase.

 

Olivia de Havilland

Olivia_de_Havilland_stillBorn in Tokyo, Japan on 1st July 1916 de Havilland has lived through it all. She broke into Hollywood early on and is famous for starring opposite Errol Flynn in eight films including The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), having a public off screen feud with her sister, Joan Fontaine, but she’s probably most famous for playing Melanie Hamilton in Southern epic Gone With the Wind (1939) with Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable. Her acting shows how versatile she was and her attitude fits in perfectly with the era of films she was in.  All her big films will be remembered forever as will her supposed romantic ties to Flynn. De Havilland won many awards during her long stage career including two Academy Awards. She also won a court case about how long you could be signed to a certain producer for, even today this is known as the de Havilland Law. She is an actress and woman who will always be remembered for her work, her long life and what she has done for the movie industry as a whole.

Happy 98th Birthday Olivia!

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Leslie Caron

leslie-caron-and-gigi-galleryCaron was born in Seine, France on 1st July 1931. Her first film role was in An American In Paris starring opposite Gene Kelly. It was Kelly that managed to get her into the big films which shot her to stardom. Caron is a well known dancer and singer and is one of only a few actresses to have danced with the likes of Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly and Rudolf Nureyev. Her most famous role is probably that of her playing Gigi in the 1958 version of Gigi. Her portrayal of a young woman learning to be a courtesan is fun and care free in Minelli’s version of the film. The addition of her lovely singing and dancing makes it a brilliant performance.

Caron has had a long and wonderful career with a mixture of musicals, dramas and tv work. The awards she has won are well deserved and we can only thank Gene Kelly for seeing her talent all those years ago at Ballet des Champs Elysees.

Happy 83rd Birthday Leslie!

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It’s great to be able to write a post about one actor from the Golden era still alive to celebrate their birthday but two is magical in our book. Enjoy your birthday’s ladies while we enjoy celebrating by enjoying your films.

The Crimson Field Review

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For the past six weeks the BBC have treated us to a fantastic war drama called The Crimson Field. This series was based in France and was set in a medical camp close to the front lines.

Throughout the six hours it’s been on our tv screens we’ve managed to see more of women’s lives in WWI than we’d possibly read in a book. It’s definitely bolstered the fact that women were indeed a crucial part of WWI

p01vbnlcThe main three ladies we get to know from the beginning are Kitty Trevelyan (Oona Chaplin), Flora Marshall (Alice St. Clair) and Rosalie Berwick (Marianne Oldham) all of them have their own secrets which we find out in the series. We get to watch them all grow in the short time we know them yet after the finale Sunday night it left me feeling like I’d known them forever. Suranne Jones plays another character who we know from the beginning, she plays Sister Joan Livesy. Sister Livesy is keeping a bigger secret than the rest of the ladies which makes her very interesting to watch.

One part I have to applaud the BBC on tackling is the taboo subject of Germans residing in Britain after the sinking of the Lusitania. We find out early on that Sister Livesy’s fiancé is a German, living in Britain, who goes back to be a German soldier. We find out that Germans who lived in Britain were treat very badly throughout this time. It’s quite an eye opener to see how different nationalities were so strictly divided but then we see this same division between the sexes and particularly ranks within the army.

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Each week we saw a different mix of soldiers come through the doors. This gave quite a visual of how the army, doctors and nurses dealt with different scenarios. A few that cropped up were desertion, keeping homophobia on the quiet, shell shock and mental health problems caused by the war and trust issues between the staff. Put in the time era of WWI and the punishments in place made these serious issues.

In some ways this series has been different to many you’ve seen before. I know when I first heard about it being commissioned I fell in love with the fact that thesuranne-jones-and-hermione-norris-in-the-crimson-field-136389032614410401-140404164356
main characters were female nurses from an everyday background. I loved that the actors were fairly unknown but you had the guiding light of experience such as Hermione Norris, Kevin Doyle and Adam James to keep it all in check so to speak. Everything else you learn about the war is an added bonus. The characters are obviously different to films you may have watched about both WWI and WWII, they feel a lot more gritty and strict. The nurses are also strict and stick with the rules, but you sometimes see the newer nurses facades crack a little reminding you they’re only human and they’re still only young.

In Sunday nights finale, which was a corker, the news comes in about Edith Cavell being executed which ties in with the storyline at that point. Everything within the series works well especially with the writers managing to weave real life stories into the scripts.

tumblr_n4d382JUTh1si51pco1_500The Crimson Field is really a series that needs to be watched. In my opinion it wouldn’t have worked as well for any other war. WWII sticks with women being Land Girls, Lumber Jills and Donut Dollies. WWI only seemed to depict women as nurses, there doesn’t appear to be many other roles for the fairer sex. The series manages to fit all the good, bad, ugly and forbidden of a year in WWI into six hours. Yes some questions don’t seem properly answered but this may leave room for another series… Just remember there’s still a lot of the war left at this point.

Watch The Crimson Field on BBC iPlayer here

Learn more about the series here

Mickey Rooney; A Child Star Forever Remembered

Mickey_Rooney_stillThis week the Old Hollywood fandom are in mourning once again. On Monday Mickey Rooney died aged 93. Only at the beginning of the year did we lose Shirley Temple, another child star of the Old Hollywood era. This is obviously a hazard that comes with being fans of old things, we’re bound to see lots of death and have to mourn the actors we treasure.

Mickey Rooney had lived a very long life compared to some of those he acted with. He had a career spanning 9 decades, married 8 times and lived life to the full in every way. I suppose we don’t really need to tell you much about Rooney. Everyone knows he was a very successful child star who had many comebacks in adulthood. Laurence Olivier once referred to him as “the greatest film actor America ever produced.” Those words mean everything coming from Olivier.

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Rooney & his first wife Ava Gardner

His most famous role was as Andy Hardy in A Family Affair which gained that much success 15 more films were released off the back of it. Rooney also found fame when partnered with another child star, Judy Garland. In some clips at the beginning of their partnership you can easily see how comfortable Rooney is in performing next to Garland who still seems a bit nervous. Rooney was from a vaudeville family so had been on stage from very early on.

 

Go look at his filmography and I’m sure you’ll be surprised in all the films he’s been in. Without a doubt you’ve seen at least one of  the 300+ films he’s starred in.

Here’s Mickey and Judy singing Our Love Affair from 1940’s Strike Up The Band.

He’ll be missed but he’s made a big mark on Hollywood that will go on forever



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Rooney has Mr Yunioshi in 1961’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s

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Rooney with 11 year old Elizabeth Taylor (her film debut) and Butch Jenkins in National Velvet (1944)

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Rooney with Dick Van Dyke & Bill Cobbs in Night At The Museum (2006)

My new found love for TV series Grimm

Grimm_Season3_CastI started watching this last week. This only happened because most of the American shows I usually watch were on break. I needed to fill my time with something I’d enjoy but wouldn’t confuse the hell out of me. It was then I remembered that last month Cat had given me season one & two of Grimm. I started watching and now can’t understand why I haven’t been on the bandwagon since the beginning. Cat I thank you for opening my eyes to the sheer fairytale horror that is Grimm.

To begin with I thought umm it’s a bit slow but the more you watch the more questions you want answering and the more intrigued you become by these strange creatures which you’ve basically never seen before… I’m up to season 2 episode 3 and there have been no vampires, zombies, witches or ghosts… Not in the way we know them from popular culture anyways.

The storyline is pretty good and because Nick Burkhardt (who’s the Grimm) is a detective for Portland PD David-Giuntoli-as-Nick-Burkhardt-grimm-33631904-1538-2047the way he comes into contact with the wesen (the creatures) is very believable. It’s also nice to see that even though Grimm’s are old school hunters he’s actually made the effort to become friends with some… This doesn’t mean that it’s all friendly with no blood and gore.

So far up to season 2 I like Nick but I want to kick his ass so bad for these reasons. He’s basically told no one he can see these creatures since becoming the Grimm. The only people who really know are the creatures and they’re terrified he’ll just kill them. He has told someone else but I’ll let you find that out for yourself. His detective partner Hank Griffin has had a close call with a particular wesen and Nick has just left him to suffer on his own. If Nick and Hank were women everything would have been sorted and there’d be no more sleepless nights and nightmares for Hank. A major plot line that I need solving now is that just from watching you know the Captain Sean Renard is involved somehow but you don’t know how. This however (from what I watched last night) looks like it’s a big part of season 2. Yay!

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So I really do like Grimm. I was up until 4am this morning watching so that really says something. It feels like it has lots of places to go in the storyline and it’s keeping us all glued to the screen. While it does this it’s worth watching. It’s also sneakily educational because it teaches you of the fairytales and stories of the Brothers Grimm. Here’s hoping that the series keeps as strong as it is now.

The third season is still airing in the UK on Watch.