Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Creepy Coincidence?

A few weeks ago, I was finally able to watch The Human Comedy, which I had wanted to see for quite some time. In it, there is a touching scene on a train where Marcus (Van Johnson) leads his fellow soldiers in the old time hymn “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms”. However, instead of bringing me to tears, the scene quite frankly creeped me out. How could that be, you may ask? Well, if you have ever seen The Night of the Hunter, you’ll understand. The song is turned into an instrument of fear and foreshadowing as a sinister preacher stalks two small children. I had never heard it until I had seen The Night of the Hunter, so when I heard it in The Human Comedy, I couldn’t get the image of Robert Mitchum singing it while Lillian Gish sits on a porch with a shotgun in her hand. There lies the coincidence: Robert Mitchum is in both films. In The Human Comedy, he has a small part as a soldier and in The Night of the Hunter, he plays the menacing preacher. Was this done on purpose or is it merely a creepy coincidence? You be the judge.

Here are the lyrics, just in case you felt like singing along!
What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the Everlasting Arms!
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the Everlasting Arms!
Leaning, leaning,
Safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning,
Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.
O how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way,
Leaning on the Everlasting Arms!
O how bright the path grows from day to day,
Leaning on the Everlasting Arms!
What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the Everlasting Arms!
I have peace complete with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the Everlasting Arms!

By the way, I’m still hard at work on my list of 20 favorite actors. I hope to have it done in the next few days, so be prepared!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

They Could Be Twins...Or Not

I've been feeling rather random lately, so I thought it would be time for a good old post of randomness. One of my favorite websites to visit when I'm bored is MyHeritage, where you can upload a picture and figure out which famous people you look like. It all depends on the picture, of course. Sometimes when I submit my own picture, I'll get someone like Amanda Bynes or Lucille Ball, which makes me feel pretty good about myself and then other times, I'll be told I look like a combination between Haley Joel Osment and Chelsea Clinton during her awkward stage.

Anyways, enough about me and my celebrity twins. This post was slightly influenced by Ginger's recent post on the similarities between George Clooney and Dana Andrews. Many of today's celebrities do bear striking resemblances to classic film stars, but it can be hard to notice this unless you see pictures of them side by side. In order to find out which stars could possibly be twins, I decided to upload photos of classic stars and here are the results...

Audrey Hepburn, your twins are Keira Knightley and Alicia Keys. I can see the resemblance to Keira, but I don't think I have ever heard anyone say that Alicia Keys looked like Audrey Hepburn...

Hmm....perhaps there is a bit of Bette Davis blood in the Barrymore family. As for the guy, he looks more like a creeper than a Bette Davis lookalike.

Apparently, Cary Grant is a mix between Chad Michael Murray and Hugh Hefner. While Chad is quite cute, he could never hold a candle to Cary. On the other hand, Hugh could get pretty darn close. They even have matching pipes, how adorable!
Ooh, Michael Vartan....I like him, but he's no Clark Gable. As for the photo of Jacques Rogge (President of the International Olympic Committee), I bet you had to look at it twice and say "Oh my gosh! It's as if Clark Gable came back to life!"
How could I possibly resist seeing what celebrities look like Ginger! I absolutely love Evangeline Lilly, so I was glad to see her show up on the list. Aretha is great too, but I don't think I could see her dancing with Fred Astaire. Although, I do think she would look fabulous in Ginger's famous feather dress! Can you say DIVA?
Coming to a theater near you, Bogart: The Movie, starring David Hasselhoff as Humphrey Bogart. Hmmm....that would be interesting.

Yes, Joan Crawford looks like a young Al Pacino. Just look at those eyebrows! Its as if Pacino was the only kid to escape the claws of Mommie Dearest.Seriously, I think William Holden and Ian McKellan could be twins! They have the exact same eyes and very similar noses. The second one just made me giggle. He is a Japanese actor and boy band member. Look at that face, doesn't it just scream "William Holden!"

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sidekick: Edward Everett Horton

Perhaps one of my favorite character actors of all time, Edward Everett Horton was born in Brooklyn on March 18, 1886. He began his career on stage in 1906 before moving on to films in 1922. With his distinctive voice, Horton easily transitioned to talkies and his career took off. He most often played the role of the uptight businessman whose usual reaction to difficult predicaments was “Oh, dear”. When he added in a double take or a raised eyebrow, his true comedic genius shined through. His enigmatic personality lit up the big screen and the small screen for six decades. Cold Turkey, his last film, was released after his death on September 29, 1970.

Recommended Films:
Trouble in Paradise (1933)
The Gay Divorcee (1933)
Top Hat (1935)
Shall We Dance (1937)
Holiday (1938)
Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941)
Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

Pocketful of Miracles (1961)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Always the Sidekick, Never the Star

When we look back at classic Hollywood, we most often think of the beautiful and sometimes tragic movie stars that lit up the silver screen with their signature personalities and looks. The other actors that appear in classic films are simply space fillers; many are almost completely forgotten today. However, every once in a while, some of these “space fillers” produce a spark of recognition. You know you have seen them in another movie, but you just can’t seem to remember which one. You probably don’t even know their name, but for a short moment, they steal the scene away from the stars. Whenever you see them, it seems as if they just keep playing the same role over and over: the comedic sidekick, the maiden aunt, or the straitlaced businessman. Nevertheless, they provide much needed laughs when the stars fail to elicit even the smallest giggle. These character actors need to be remembered for the contributions they made to film, so for the next few weeks, I will be shining a spotlight on some of the well-known ones and some of my personal favorites.

Una Merkel
Born in Kentucky on December 10, 1903, she began her career as a stand-in for Lillian Gish in the 1920’s. With the advent of sound, Merkel hit her stride playing the wisecracking best friend of some of the biggest stars of the 1930’s. As she became older, she transitioned from being the friend to being the mother or eccentric aunt. She finally received some recognition for her work by receiving an Oscar nomination for her role as Mrs. Winemiller in Summer and Smoke, one of her last films. She died in 1986 at the age of 82.

Recommended Films:
Red-Headed Woman (1932) 42nd Street (1933) Bombshell (1933) True Confession (1937) Destry Rides Again (1939) The Parent Trap(1961)
Summer and Smoke (1961)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

...And They Call It Puppy Love

A few days ago, I went to the movie theater and saw “Marley and Me”. Being the dog lover that I am, I knew I would become attached to Marley, the world’s worst dog. I was right. The moment I got home from the theater, I immediately gave my 14 year-old miniature schnauzer Sammy a great big hug. I think I would’ve lost my mind if she was as crazy as Marley. I rather love my lazy butterball dog.

My dog, Sammy

Seeing “Marley and Me” got me thinking about other movie dogs that had captured my heart. There are the more recent ones like Beethoven, Air Bud, and that crazy little pug in the Men in Black movies: movie dogs that I grew up loving. However, this is a classic film blog, so I thought I would look back at some of my favorite classic film dogs.

Skippy “Asta”
Wirehaired Fox Terrier
One of the most famous movie dogs of the 1930’s, Skippy (later known as Asta), held his own as a comedian in some of the greatest screwball comedies. His best known characters include Asta in “The Thin Man” and “After the Thin Man”, Mr. Smith in “The Awful Truth”, and George in “Bringing Up Baby”. Although his most famous character, Asta, exists in all of the Thin Man movies, he himself did not star in all of them.

Terry “Toto”
Cairn Terrier
After playing Dorothy Gale’s canine companion in “The Wizard of Oz”, Terry was renamed “Toto”. She went on to make other movies, but she was never able to outdo her signature role. Some of her other films include “The Women”, “Fury”, and “George Washington Slept Here”.

Get Off the Rug and You Too
Great Danes
They only have a small role in the 1938 comedy “Merrily We Live”. I had to include these two just because I love their names, which also serve as commands. Maybe I should have learned from the movie and named my dog “Don’t Eat That”.

For an almost comprehensive list of films with dogs in them visit Moviedogs.