That Old Frank (Film) Magic

This is obviously a bit belated but I wanted this to be perfect.

 

tumblr_nzqc9riaOE1r0dj31o1_500On the 12th December the great Frank Sinatra turned 100. Everyone was jumping on the band wagon by playing his great songs and telling us stories about his less than perfect private life. I’ve actually heard someone say they don’t like the guy now they’ve heard some of the sordid tales from his Vegas and married days. Let me assure you these probably are true, there’s lots of other similar tales from friends, family and acquaintances, but this shouldn’t put you off his magnificent work whether it be his song writing, his singing or his acting.

His acting is where we come in. I could spend days talking about his music and his Rat Pack singing days. I could tell you tales of who he inspired, how he was one of the few celebrities of the time who basically needed the press to survive.tumblr_nz9e4vfjJR1r3rmj3o1_500

High Society (1956)

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Grace Kelly & Frank Sinatra

One of the first films I ever watched that starred Sinatra and, to this day, it is still one of my favourite films. Sinatra stars with Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and Celeste Holm in this fun musical based on The Philadelphia Story. Sinatra is Mike Connor the journalist who is picked to report on the wedding of socialite Tracy Lord. True love ensues for Connor and Holm’s character, Liz Imbrie, yet it’s fun to watch them get to this point. The film has some great songs, some classic funny moments and an all over light hearted feel.

Anchors Aweigh (1945)

One of the first films Sinatra did with Gene Kelly.tumblr_mg8uq2h4IO1qapcnno1_250 This is a great film where Clarence Doolittle (Sinatra) and Joe Brady (Kelly) are on 4 days shore leave in Hollywood. They go on a musical journey where Joe teaches Clarence to pick up girls and he eventually finds an aspiring actress (Kathryn Grayson) who is the love of his life. There’s a mix of animation with Kelly dancing with Jerry Mouse. There’s some excellent songs and it is a lovely story. You’ve probably heard of another sailor themed film, On The Town, featuring Sinatra and Kelly but this one is well worth a watch too.

Von Ryan’s Express (1965)

tumblr_mx3cqlhmkh1r3mh0to1_400.gifA Sinatra film that everyone should know about and one that’s a bit different to the others he was famous for. A war film in every sense the film is set in WWII and sees a group of allied soldiers try to escape by hijacking a train. Sinatra plays Joseph Ryan who is a US Air Corps pilot and gets taken to a concentration camp after being shot down. Here the film unfolds into a thrilling story of bravery and courage. Sinatra gives one of his best performances in this role. If you’ve read the book you’ll notice a few differences but I think you’ll agree they work perfectly in the film.

Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964)

A true Rat Pack film, maybe not as famous as Ocean’s Eleven but this is still everything that made the Rat Pack films fun and enjoyable to watch. Sinatra truly made this film brilliant with a glittering cast and some memorable songs all done to the storyline of Robin Hood. Sinatra obviously has the leading role of Robbo and sees that fun, adventure and true spirit takes place in the ranks of Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Bing Crosby and Peter Falk. It’s fun to watch while still teaching the meaning of Robin Hood.

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From Here to Eternity (1953)

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This film basically relaunched Sinatra’s film career and was nominated for and won many awards. It’s based on the book by James Jones and makes for the perfect movie. Sinatra, Montgomery Clift and Burt Lancaster play three US Army soldiers stationed in Hawaii months before Pearl Harbour. They each have their different problems and we learn a great deal about them throughout the film, as well as the jobs they do. Maggio (Sinatra) is a fun character and yet suffers terribly throughout the film. Sinatra, rightly so, won Best Supporting actor at the Oscars for his role.

Guys and Dolls (1955)

Where to start with the film. It’s based on thetumblr_n8aeofHfwt1sjmaqio1_500 Broadway musical but there are some differences most noticeably with there been extra songs written for the film. Sinatra plays gambler Nathan Detroit who’s finding it difficult to find somewhere to hold an illegal crap game because of the police. Then comes in Marlon Brando’s Sky Masterson and they bet on taking a girl out to dinner. Detroit also has to deal with his fiancé of 14 years wanting to tie the knot. The film is very upbeat and has some great romance to it. Sinatra fits the role of Detroit extremely well as if the part was made for him. If you’ve never seen it you’re missing one of the greatest musicals ever.

 

Frank Sinatra made films his own and brought so much emotion and drama to both the big and tv screen it’s a wonder his films aren’t more famous. He’ll always be remembered for his stunning vocals, even in films, but remember the guy won Academy Awards so he definitely did something right somewhere.

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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!

De_Havilland-Melanie

 

 

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.

Late Night Ramblings of Two Girls Trying to Beat Each Other with Pretty Pictures.

Sounds odd I know but Me and Cat are at full out war over some photos. Photos like these…

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As you can well imagine we both find Jamie Campbell Bower and Ben Barnes lovely to look at. Cat would be happy to hang on to them all day. Showing Cat these types of photos late at night makes her mind do this.Smiley Jello Our war has now moved onto Facebook where I’m sending more pretty pictures and she’s calling me the spawn of Satan. This is bound to continue until someone wins (which I doubt) or Cat breaks down into hysterics like last night with the giant moth (which was actually a big ass butterfly.)

I’m only rambling about it because I thought you’d like an insight into the Wood sisters behaviour. I mean all sisters do this, right?

Celebrate Gene Kelly’s Birthday with us!

tumblr_mrww0eX4Ro1rn55g9o5_250Today, the 23rd August, is a special day. Mr Gene Kelly would have been 101 today! We realise that there’s not much we can tell you that you don’t already know. Singer. Dancer. Director. Actor. All round good guy. Friend to the stars. So what can we do to make his birthday special? Well I scoured my DVD collection, flicked determinedly through all my relevant books and decided to tell you about my top 5 Gene Kelly Musical Dancey moments. Continue reading

Arts Spotlight: Dawn Leadbitter

Inspiration strikes artists in very different ways. Their past can take hold and influence what they create while the current surroundings can also be an impact. This all rings true for Doncaster artist Dawn Leadbitter who quite possibly wouldn’t have … Continue reading

Singin’ In The Rain, 61 years old & still Fit As A Fiddle.

Today was a big day here at Well Did You Evah. Singin’ In The Rain was released in US cinemas 61 years ago and this gave us a good excuse to re-watch, what has been for many years, one of … Continue reading

What a Hollywood birthday weekend!

This is a belated birthday announcement! This weekend (8th-10th) as seen some great Hollywood stars celebrate their birthdays (or would have been birthdays.) Continue reading

Updates- What’s on, “Well Did You Evah’s.” To do List- January/February

Christmas is now officially out of the way… For some people, I’ve just witnessed mince pies been baked and eaten a piece of Christmas cake so it is debatable.

This post is about somethings that are on the Well Did You Evah’s team’s agenda’s. Some of them there will be a blog posted about them, or they could just be important dates related to this blog.

1. Meet Mutter Oskar. 

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This project has been talked about a lot. Mutter Oskar is going to be Well Did You Evah’s Agony Aunt… Only Mutter Oskar is a fox. Get in contact with your questions, they can be anything, from films to see to relationship issues. She along with research will answer them as best as she can.

2. Valentines Day

Yes that day, where couples are supposed to get all lovey dovey and single people are expected to be depressed… Valentine’s day is basically named after a guy who was killed so I think being depressed may be a relevant expression.

        On Well Did You Evah’s list we are focusing on fictional couples (Are there any better type of couple?) for Valentines day. We will be giving you an overall review on each of the couples relationship, How it worked as a story, how it was effective, what could have been changed etc. On our preliminary list we have planned two blog posts. 1. Which focuses on fictional BOOK couples. Sneak peek at the list- Dimitri and Rose, (Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy) Hades and Persephone (Kaitlin Bevis’ Persephone) ImageAlexander and Raven (Ellen Schreiber’s Vampire Kisses), Pierce and John (Meg Cabot’s Underworld) and Christian and Ana (E.L. James’ Fifty Shades (Oh Yes I am going there)) Are all on the list for our Valentine themed review. 2. Film Couples- This is going to be our Valentine’s day post. We are picking couples from and in films- possibly TV series- and doing the same as book couples. Sneak peek at the list? Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, Howl and Sophie (Howl’s Moving Castle) Tenth Doctor and Rose Tyler (Doctor Who) Are just a few on the current list.

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3. Berlin related stuffs. 

Natalie and me are going to Berlin for 5 days on Monday (21st of January) So hopefully we will come back with a few things to tell you about.

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4. Important, Well Did You Evah, Dates. 

20th January- 20 years since Actress Audrey Hepburn died

1st February- Actor Clark Gable’s Birthday

2nd February- 17 years since Gene Kelly died

5th February- Studio Ghibli creator/director Hayao Miyazaki’s Birthday

8th February- Actor James Dean’s Birthday

19th February- 30 years since Silent Film Actress Alice White Died.      MY birthday!

27th February- 20 years since Actress Lillian Gish died

That’s the main 4 things discussed, basically when our holiday is over (on Friday 25th) and we get back we have a fair few things to write about.

If you want to get involved either to

  • Ask Mutter Oskar questions
  • Add suggestions about what we can review, about the blog etc
  • Or even to write your own review for this blog

Get in touch!