Announcing The 4th Annual SEX! (now that I have your attention) BLOGATHON

It’s that time of year again — time to get all hot and bothered about sexy cinema, as we present

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As usual, we are seeking blog entries about movies that subtly suggest sex — through dialogue, camera angles, etc. — rather than blatantly depict it.

If you’re stuck for ideas, click herehere and here for links to entries from our past SEX! blogathons. Otherwise, simply follow the rules posted below.

Rules

Your blog entry can be about any single movie, as long as it fits the following criteria.

1. You need to write about an entire movie that you find sexy, not just a single scene. The upside-down kiss in the 2001 Spider-Man movie was undeniably sexy, but unless you can make a case for the entire movie being a turn-on, please don’t write about it.

2. The movie you choose can be from any era (even silent), but it needs to be a movie that subtly suggests sex. No writhing, naked bodies, and no explicit dialogue about how much one person wants to go to bed with another.

That’s not to say that your choice can’t be a modern movie with adult dialogue. If you can make a solid case for something like, say, Body Heat (which was a modern homage to 1940’s-style movie sex), I’ll accept it.

3. Explain why you think the movie is sexy. Your explanation does not have to be lurid or explicit, just a simple description of why the movie “does something” for you.

How Do I Join the Blogathon?

In the “Comments” section at the bottom of this blog, please leave your name, the URL of your blog, and the movie you are choosing to blog about. At the end of this blog entry are banners for the ‘thon. Grab a banner, display it on your blog, and link it back to this blog.

The blogathon will take place from Friday, June 15, through Sunday, June 17, 2018. When the opening date of the blogathon arrives, leave a comment here with a link to your post, and I will display it in the list of entries (which I will continually update up to the beginning of the ‘thon, so keep checking back!).

I will not be assigning particular dates to any blog posts. As long as you get your entry in by the end of the day on June 17, I will be satisfied. (That said, the earlier the better!) Duplicate entries about the same movie are welcome as well.

Again, be sure to leave me a comment and grab a banner, and have fun with your blog entry! Here is the list of entries so far, in chronological order:

The Flickering Screen – Nosferatu (1922)

In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood – Flesh and the Devil (1926)

Anybody Got a Match? – Gilda (1946)

A Shroud of Thoughts – The Doris Day-Rock Hudson comedies (1959-1964)

Reelweegiemidget Reviews – The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)

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Jane Russell Friday # 48

Regular readers of this blog know that I used to subject them to “Jane Russell Friday,” wherein every Friday, I would post a different photo of voluptuous 1940’s actress Jane Russell. I gave up on that practice a long while back. However, recently a Facebook friend of mine sent me an ad for a Jane Russell-themed pillow that is actually available for sale online, and I couldn’t resist posting the photo for it here.

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Man, I could get into a pillow fight with this thing all by myself…

Laurel & Hardy in WAY OUT WEST (1937) – My kind of Western

The Classic Comfort Movie Blogathon

The following is my entry in The Classic Comfort Movie Blogathon, being hosted by Classic Film & TV Cafe on May 16, 2018. Click on the above banner, and read bloggers’ reviews of their favorite cinematic versions of comfort food!

Way

Way Out West is an anomaly in Laurel & Hardy’s film career. Laurel & Hardy shorts and features, like most of the work from their producer Hal Roach, were taken for granted by everyone but the public. Contemporary critics sniffed their noses at L&H, and the movie industry regarded them as modest time-killers between the big-studio productions.

But Way Out West had something beyond its modest pretensions at Western-spoofing. Its jaunty score, superbly done by L&H veteran Marvin Hatley, was nominated for an Oscar. And in the wake of L&H’s success, Western spoofs suddenly became the rage, as W.C. Fields, Mae West, and The Marx Brothers followed suit.

But as with most Hollywood spin- or rip-offs, none of them managed the charm of the original. This is the one everyone remembers, mostly because of a softshoe number that goes beyond comedy to touchingly demonstrate Stan and Ollie’s underlying affection for each other. If you don’t laugh at it, it’s probably because you’re crying with joy from it. (It’s posted at the end of this blog. The complete movie is embedded below; the dance routine starts at the 13:43 mark. Try not to at least smile at it. I dare you.)

The plot concerns the deed to a late miner’s valuable property, which the miner was naive enough to entrust to Stan and Ollie for its delivery to the miner’s daughter, named Mary Roberts. Stan inadvertently spills the beans to Mary’s evil caretaker (famed L&H scowler James Finlayson), who enlists his wife to impersonate Mary so they can snag the deed for themselves.

As plots (particularly Laurel & Hardy’s) go, this one is pretty sturdy, though it’s light enough to encompass three musical numbers (all low-key and charming) and tons of physical comedy within the film’s 70 minutes. Most Laurel & Hardy feature films were criticized for trying to shoehorn brief L&H routines in between the “straight” plots or romantic interests, but this movie is pure Laurel & Hardy in every sense.

Among the movie’s highlights are a chase scene that culminates in Stan’s nearly being tickled to death, and an endlessly inventive burglary scene involving nothing more than a block-and-tackle and a mule (who gets a cast credit, and deserves it). And of course, there are the wonderful musical numbers. (40 years after the movie’s release, two of these songs were released on a record in Britain and went straight to #1.)

The best-loved comedians are inevitably the ones who make us think they’re us. This movie has a running gag of Ollie confidently negotiating a stream, only to be continually sucked in by an unseen pothole. It’s a perfect metaphor for Laurel & Hardy and their ongoing audience appeal.

(Also click here to visit my webpage devoted exclusively to this wonderful movie, and click here to listen to my new Laurel & Hardy podcast!)

Ida Lupino directs four episodes of GILLIGAN’S ISLAND

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The following is my entry in The Ida Lupino Centenary Blogathon, being hosted by the blog Maddielovesherclassicfilms on May 12, 2018. Click on the above banner to read bloggers’ retrospectives on the film and TV career of this amazing actress and director!

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Ida Lupino (center) with Gilligan’s Island stars Alan Hale Jr. and Bob Denver.

In 1963, Sol Saks was the supervisor of all comedy shows on CBS. Unfortunately, one of those shows was floundering in rehearsals. So Saks called on his old friend Ida Lupino to help him out.

“It was ‘Gilligan’s Island,’” Saks said. “It wasn’t even on the air yet. I asked Ida to come down and direct the pilot. It wasn’t her kind of show, but she came as a favor to me.” When Saks walked on the set with Lupino, the cast stared at her in amazement. The cast had been grumbling, but Lupino’s presence quieted them.

“She revived that show,” Saks recalled. “She made them think, ‘If Ida Lupino is here, we must be something.’ Ida’s appearance had a lot to do with that show going on and becoming a success.”

Bob Denver, who played the title role in the series, was reportedly Lupino’s favorite cast member. Conversely, cast member Natalie Schafer seemed to resent Lupino’s clout as a female director. Lupino directed her final “Gilligan” episode, “The Producer,” after having directed a popular theatrical film, The Trouble with Angels. Upon entering the set of the show, cast member Natalie Schafer turned to Lupino and said, “Slumming, dear?”

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“Marooned”

Several sources have claimed that Lupino directed the series’ pilot episode, although directing credit goes to Rod Amateau. In any case, this episode was reworked considerably before the series aired. The only cast members to remain from the pilot are Bob Denver, Alan Hale Jr. (The Skipper), and Jim Backus and Natalie Schafer (Mr. and Mrs. Howell). The Professor and Ginger Grant were  shown in the pilot but were played by different actors (John Gabriel and Kit Smythe, respectively) than appeared in the series (Russell Johnson and Tina Louise). Instead of Mary Ann, the ensemble was then rounded out with Bunny (Nancy McCarthy), a wisecracking secretary.

Filming of the pilot occurred in the same week of Nov. 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. (If you look closely at the opening footage of the S.S. Minnow leaving the pier, you can see a flag flying at half-mast.)

This pilot was never broadcast during the series’ original run, as CBS thought a better episode was needed to explain how the castaways got shipwrecked. Parts of the pilot were reworked into the show’s Christmas episode, but the complete episode was never aired until cable’s superstation TBS broadcast it on Oct. 16, 1992, nearly 30 years after it has been filmed.

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“Good Night Sweet Skipper”

The Skipper sleepwalks during a recurring dream that takes him back to his World War II days, where at one point he had to convert a radio into a transmitter. As if happens, a popular radio personality known as “The Vagabond Lady” (voiced by cartoon voice-over artist June Foray) is planning to fly over the castaways’ uncharted island soon. The castaways figure that if they can get the Skipper to sleep, he’ll finally remember how to make the radio-transmitter conversion, and they can use his directions to fix their own broken transmitter and contact The Vagabond Lady for help.

Some of the castaways’ efforts to lull the Skipper to sleep are rather funny, but the episode’s set piece involves what the late Roger Ebert called “The Idiot Plot,” where the premise would be over in a minute if the cast didn’t behave like idiots. In this case, Gilligan obtains a bottle of sleeping pills from Mr. Howell, and he puts two of the pills into the Skipper’s dinner drink — but then he leaves the bottle next to the Skipper’s drinking cup. From there, the other castaways see the bottle, and each person gets the brilliant idea of putting a couple of pills in the Skipper’s drink. (At one point, Mary Ann actually sees Ginger putting pills in the drink, but for some reason, she never tells Ginger that she already did the deed.)

The Skipper walks over to his place at the dinner table, sees the bottle of pills, and gets the same brilliant idea everyone else had, putting “a couple of these” into his drink. Cut from the Skipper downing the drink to his suffering the after-effects of having consumed 10 sleeping pills in one shot. Haw-haw.

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“Wrongway Feldman”

The castaways discover an old plane on the island and find out that its owner, a once-famous pilot named Wrongway Feldman (Hans Conreid), has been hiding out on the island for years. They try to convince Wrongway to fly back to civilization for help, but then the plane is mysteriously sabotaged during the night. Later, Gilligan finds out that Wrongway himself committed the sabotage because he’s too afraid to fly again after so many years on the ground. So he decides to train Gilligan (!) to fly the plane.

Conreid is a hoot as the appropriately-nicknamed off-kilter pilot. The episode’s best scene is probably Wrongway trying to instruct and re-instruct dimwitted Gilligan on how to handle the plane’s controls.

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“The Producer”

This episode concerns a visiting Hollywood producer, Harold Hecuba (played by comic actor Phil Silvers, whose production company brought “Gilligan’s Island” to the air). Egotistical Hecuba expects to be waited on hand and foot. The castaways grumble about this, but they reluctantly do it because Hecuba has promised to have his flunkies rescue the castaways if they cowtow to him.

The Professor (Russell Johnson) gets the idea that if the castaways create their own musical, they can win over Hecuba by letting him produce their show on Broadway. They decide to do a musical version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, with the score provided by Bizet’s opera Carmen, to which the castaways add their own lyrics.

When they rehearse the show one night, Hecuba gets wind of it and declares that their acting is terrible (“Up to now, something really has been rotten in Denmark!”), and that he will show them how to act out the roles properly. With that, Hecuba proceeds to frantically perform every role, male and female (with Lupino doing an unscripted shake of the camera to indicate Hecuba’s speed at costume changing).

The next morning, the castaways wake up to find that Hecuba has left the island. They turn on the radio to hear that Hecuba has won over Broadway with “his” brilliant idea — a new musical version of Hamlet!

It’s not documented how much Lupino was involved in the script for this episode, but one Lupino biography cites Hecuba as a commentary on the “hypocritical Hollywood exploiters” that Lupino encountered in her film career. The biographer also claims that Hecuba is Lupino’s spoof of fat-headed Hollywood producers (Hecuba’s name has the same initials as Howard Hughes).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 1961 BLOGATHON – Da Big Finish

We’ve had a fun three-day run of movies from ’61! So let’s cap it off with

DaBigFinish

Click on the appropriate day if you missed our entries from Day 1 or Day 2. For our final entries listed below, please click on the names of the individual URLs to read the entries.

PocketfulOfMiracles

Bette Davis’ apple a day keeps bad luck away from likable rogue Glenn Ford in Frank Capra’s Pocketful of Miracles, the sentimental choice of Moon in Gemini.

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Jacques Demy’s characters search endlessly for happiness in his poignant debut film Lola, as critiqued by Cinematic Scribblings.

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And dbmoviesblog observed a marriage in disarray, as chronicled by Michelangelo Antonioni in La Notte.

My sincere thanks to all of this blogathon’s participants and readers. You made my 57th birthday a joyous one, and you didn’t even have to use wrapping paper!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE 1961 BLOGATHON – Day 2 Recap

As always, our blogathon entrants are keeping us on our toes with their terrific blog entries about movies from the year 1961. So sit back and enjoy

Day2Recap

Click here for our Day 1 recap. For Day 2’s entrants, click on the name of each individual blog to read their entries.

PhantomPlanetAssignmentOuterSpace

The Midnite Drive-In brings us an out-of-this-world double feature of The Phantom Planet and Assignment: Outer Space.

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BNoirDetour brings us an unhappy hit man on assignment at Christmastime in Blast of Silence.

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And portraitsbyjenni brings us the real-life story of The Hoodlum Priest who worked to steer ex-cons back into society.

Keep us bookmarked for the final day of our salute to ’61 cinema!

 

 

 

THE 1961 BLOGATHON – Day 1 Recap

We received some snappy entries about movies from the year 1961, so sit back and enjoy

Day1Recap

Click on the individual name of each blog to link to their entry.

ComeSeptember

Rock Hudson deals with some unruly teenagers who have taken over his Italian villa in Come September, as reviewed by Love Letters to Old Hollywood.

Breakfast

Thoughtsallsorts brings us Audrey Hepburn at her most charming in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Innocents

For a movie about a governess trying to protect her young charges, Realweegiemidget Reviews finds The Innocents very, er, haunting.

ThroughAGlassDarkly

God is silent, but writer-director Ingmar Bergman isn’t in Through a Glass Darkly, whose lack of resolution The Stop Button found frustrating.

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Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe come to grips with their inner conflicts in their final film, The Misfits, critiqued by Silver Screenings.

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James Cagney deals with Coca-Cola and the Cold War in Billy Wilder’s comedy One, Two, Three, whose virtues are enumerated by Caftan Woman.

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Whimsically Classic is charmed by two versions of Hayley Mills in the Disney comedy The Parent Trap.

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Movierob is less than impressed by Kirk Douglas and Co. in the courtroom drama Town Without Pity.

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And finally, your faithful correspondent discusses Stan Laurel’s 1961 Honorary Oscar, as well as the Bugs Bunny-Wile E. Coyote cartoon Compressed Hare.

And there are still two days to go in our salute to ’61, so keep us bookmarked!