Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Boomerang!
This week’s mystery movie was the 1947 Twentieth Century-Fox picture “Boomerang!” starring Dana Andrews (not shown), Jane Wyatt (not shown), Lee J. Cobb (not shown), Cara Williams (Wednesday’s mystery woman), Arthur Kennedy (Friday’s mystery man), Sam Levene (not shown), Taylor Holmes (not shown), Robert Keith (not shown) and Ed Begley (Thursday’s mystery man). It was written by Richard Murphy, based on a story by Anthony Abbott published in Reader’s Digest in 1945. It was directed by Elia Kazan, who had quite a year with “Sea of Grass” and “Gentleman’s Agreement.” My copy was aired by TCM on Feb. 27, 2012, during TCM’s “31 Days of Oscar” (Murphy was nominated for an Academy Award). The disc is available on DVD.

Continue reading

Posted in Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo | Tagged , , | 65 Comments

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Fred Archer, Master of Artistic Photography

 

modernscreenmaga01unse_0030
Joan Bennett photographed by Fred Archer, Modern Screen Magazine.


As stillsmen Elmer Fryer and Fred Archer wrote in the 1928 article for “Transactions of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers,” “In the advertising field, the still picture is used to illustrate and help plant the articles broadcast by the publicity department throughout the periodical world and it is used for lobby displays…A good “still” will attract and hold attention where many poor ones will receive but a passing glance.”

Photographic stills sold films both to exhibitors and to the public long before the advent of television and broadcast media. Movie studios sent out publicity stills en masse to magazines and newspapers looking for free copy in which to sell their product. Photographers in the 1920s-1940s devised glamorous, artistic images deifying motion picture stars, defining the glamorous iconography idolized and worshipped by decades of movie lovers.

Mary Mallory’s “Hollywood land: Tales Lost and Found” is available for the Kindle.

Continue reading

Posted in Film, Hollywood, Hollywood Heights, Mary Mallory, Photography | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: TCM Film Festival Screens the Classics

TCM CLASSIC FILM FESTIVAL


For the sixth straight year, the TCM Classic Film Festival has delighted fans of Golden Age cinema from around the world. Based in the film lovers’ paradise of Hollywood, California, the 2015 Festival, based on the theme, “History According to Hollywood,” offered newly restored, difficult to see, and classic movies on the big screen as they were meant to be seen, highlighted by interviews and appearances by the motion pictures’ stars. Films spanning the silent era to the 1990s presented historic events or eras, with Club TCM events giving detailed histories of creative aspects of cinema. The Festival offers opportunities to see film masterpieces on the big screen augmented by celebrity appearances, a treat for those across the country who lack these opportunities.

A diverse range of stars such as Spike Lee, Dustin Hoffman, Ann-Margret, Shirley MacLaine, and the incomparable Sophia Loren appeared before screenings to talk about the making of these films. Peter Fonda appeared at Club TCM to discuss his legendary father’s career, with MacLaine also being interviewed. Special conversations with legendary performers like Norman Lloyd and Loren occurred at the Ricardo Montalban Theatre. More intimate presentations held in the Roosevelt Hotel’s former Blossom Room called Club TCM included Peter Fonda and Rory Flynn discussing their legendary fathers’ careers, MacLaine describing hers, editor Anne Coates and stuntman Terry Leonard discussing their work, a look at Hollywood Home Movies, Bonham’s Memorabilia Appraisals, and 100 Years of Title Design.

Mary Mallory’s “Hollywood land: Tales Lost and Found” is available for the Kindle.

Continue reading

Posted in 2015, Film, Hollywood, Hollywood Heights, Mary Mallory, Preservation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

April 4, 2015, Mystery Photo
This week’s mystery movie has been “Always a Bride,” a 1940 Warner Bros. movie. I picked it because I had never seen George Reeves as a leading man.

Continue reading

Posted in Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo | Tagged , , | 39 Comments

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Norvell, Astrologer to the Stars

 

screenland42unse_0064

Novell and Hedy Lamarr in Screenland.


Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary defines astrology as “the divination of the supposed influences of the stars and planets on human affairs and terrestrial events by their positions and aspects.” For thousands of years, practitioners of this pseudo-science have attracted legions of followers hoping to divine their futures. Those that more accurately predicted events rose to positions of great power and influence, like the renowned Nostradamus.

Astrologers have always been popular in the film and entertainment industries, fields where luck and timing often influences who will become big stars or successes. Many are superstitious, because their careers depend so much upon chance and their futures can be problematical. Many insecure or questioning performers often turned to these fortune tellers hoping to make the right decisions in shaping their careers or finding love and romance.

Mary Mallory’s “Hollywood land: Tales Lost and Found” is available for the Kindle.

Continue reading

Posted in Film, Hollywood, Hollywood Heights, Mary Mallory | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

March 28, 2015, Champagne Charlie

This week’s mystery movie has been the 1936 Twentieth Century-Fox film “Champagne Charlie,” with Paul Cavanagh (not shown), Helen Wood (Monday’s mystery woman), Thomas Beck and Minna Gombell (Friday’s mystery couple) and Herbert Mundin (Thursday’s mystery chap). It was directed by James Tinling and written by Allen Rivkin.

Continue reading

Posted in Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo | Tagged , , | 41 Comments

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Houdini’s ‘The Grim Game’ Scares Up Thrills

image
Harry Houdini in “The Grim Game.”

 


Long considered mostly lost, Harry Houdini’s second film, “The Grim Game,” re-premieres in its entirety Sunday, March 29, 2015, at the TCM Classic Film Festival, 96 years after it was released. A suspense thriller packed chock-a-block with hair-raising stunts, “The Grim Game” smartly capitalized on an accident during filming to pack in audiences, obscuring some facts along the way.

Self-liberator and escapologist Harry Houdini ranked as the world’s top illusionist in the 1910s. Hungarian-born Houdini “magically” escaped from handcuffs, chains, strait jackets, and locked cases in performances around the world, thanks to careful planning and special keys. He masterfully employed newsreels, magazine, and newspaper coverage to exploit his fame and derring-do.

TCM Classic Film Festival 

Mary Mallory’s “Hollywood land: Tales Lost and Found” is available for the Kindle.

Continue reading

Posted in 1919, Film, Hollywood, Hollywood Heights, Mary Mallory | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Black Dahlia: There Are Some Very Sick People in This World

March 22, 2015, EBay

This purported “tribute” to the Black Dahlia has been listed on EBay. Who makes this junk? Apparently it’s an outfit appropriately called Dreadful Dolls. Who buys it? For $325? There are some very sick people out there.

Oh. It’s from a smoke-free home. I’m sure that will make a difference.

Posted in 1947, Black Dahlia, Found on EBay | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

March 21, 2015, I Like Your Nerve
This week’s mystery movie has been the 1931 First National picture “I Like Your Nerve” with Douglas Fairbanks Jr. (Thursday’s mystery guest), Loretta Young (Friday’s mystery guest), Henry Kolker (Wednesday’s mystery guest), Claude Allister (Tuesday’s mystery guest), Edmund Breon (Monday’s mystery guest) and Boris Karloff (Wednesday’s mystery guest). It was directed by William McGann, written by Roland Pertwee and adapted by Huston Branch. The movie does not appear to be generally available, but aired in January 2013, when Loretta Young was star of the month on TCM.

 

Continue reading

Posted in Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo | Tagged , , | 57 Comments

‘Singin in the Rain’: The Mystery of the Aspect Ratio

 

Singin in the Rain 2012

Here is the opening of “Singing’ in the Rain” as it was broadcast on TCM in 2012.

For Pi Day, I pulled my copy of “Singin’ in the Rain” for a screen grab of Debbie Reynolds hitting Jean Hagen with a pie (Reynolds corrected us via Twitter that she actually used a cake). In running the opening credits, I noticed that the frame had obviously been cropped.
Continue reading

Posted in Film, Hollywood | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Second Universal City Celebrates Its Centennial

Feb. 10, 1915, Universal City
Universal City in the Washington Times, Feb. 10, 1915.


In an age where businesses come and go, bought up by larger competitors or going under due to bad financial decisions, finding one in business for decades and at the same location is very rare. Film conglomerate NBC-Universal has operated for over a century at its current Universal City location, the thriving second Universal City for the company, celebrating its Centennial, March 15, 2015.

Founder Carl Laemmle jumped into the film business as a Chicago exhibitor in 1906, quickly turning his Laemmle Film Service into one of the largest film exchanges in the country in 1909. After threats and questions by the Motion Picture Patents Company, Laemmle established his own production company, IMP Corporation (Independent Motion Picture Corporation).

Mary Mallory’s “Hollywood land: Tales Lost and Found” is available for the Kindle.

Continue reading

Posted in 1915, Film, Hollywood, Hollywood Heights, Mary Mallory, San Fernando Valley | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Happy Pi (Cake) Day From Debbie Reynolds

March 14, 2015, Pi Day

“Here’s one thing I’ve learned from the movies.”

Update: Debbie Reynolds tells us (via Twitter) that it was actually a cake, adding “I like them both!”

Posted in Film, Hollywood | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Happy Pi Day From the Daily Mirror

image

Happy Pi Day from the L.A. Daily Mirror. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.

Posted in Film, Hollywood | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Fox Retro Never Got the Memo on Colorizing Films

March 10, 2015, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm

Dear Fox Retro:

I thought we had straightened out this whole question of colorizing movies long, long ago and decided it was a very bad idea. So imagine how terribly cross it made us to find that you aired “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm” is ersatz color. Please stop or the ghost of Franklin Pangborn will start haunting you – in hideous pseudo flesh tones.

Email Fox Retro here and let them know what you think.

 

March 10, 2015, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm

This not done by anyone who cares about film. Ever. It is an abomination.

Posted in Film, Hollywood | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Documentary: Glen Creason and the ‘Map House’

March 9, 2015, Glen Creason

Alec Ernest has made a short documentary for the Los Angeles Review of Books about our friend Glen Creason, the map specialist at the Los Angeles Public Library, and the incredible “map house” of John Feathers.

I played a very small role in the “map house” story because I had written a column about Glen for The Times, which was seen by the real estate agent who was selling the “map house” and thought Glen might be interested in the maps. At that point, I’m happy to say, the story took on a life of its own.

My column on Glen | Bob Pool’s story on the “map house.”

 

Posted in Libraries, Television | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

image
This week’s mystery movie has been the 1939 MGM picture “The Ice Follies of 1939,” starring Joan Crawford (Friday’s mystery woman), James Stewart (not shown), Lew Ayres (not shown) and Lewis Stone (not shown), directed by Reinhold Schunzel, with a screenplay by Leonard Praskins, Florence Ryerson and Edgar Allan Woolf from a story by Leonard Praskins.

March 9, 2015, Mystery Photo

I spent a long while digging through the archives for this week’s mystery movie. I thought I had a good one and in fact I did – so good that we had already done it. So I rummaged around some more and found this week’s movie. Here is our mystery lady for Monday.

This is Marie Blake, who played Grandmama in “The Addams Family.”

Continue reading

Posted in Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo | Tagged , , | 40 Comments

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Japanese Gardens Bring Serenity to Los Angeles

Hunt. Hotel Jap Garden
A postcard showing a Japanese garden at the Huntington Hotel, courtesy of Mary Mallory.

 


Throughout its history, Los Angeles has been blessed with an abundance of beautiful parks and gardens in which to relax. In the early twentieth century, Japanese gardens were all the rage, and many dotted the Southern California landscape. Estates as well as city parks contained serene tea gardens in which to contemplate nature and just be.

Popular culture helped lead the way to the creation of many of these Oriental gardens. After American Commodore Matthew Perry and his ships entered Tokyo Bay on July 8, 1853, Japan reopened trade with the West. Textiles, ceramics, and prints soon gained in popularity both in Europe and America, leading to the term, Japonism, referring to the influence of Japanese aesthetics, art, and philosophy on Western culture. A craze for collecting all things Japanese exploded.

Mary Mallory’s “Hollywood land: Tales Lost and Found” is available for the Kindle.

Continue reading

Posted in Hollywood, Hollywood Heights, Mary Mallory, Parks | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Daylight Saving Time: A Reminder From Pier Angeli and the Daily Mirror

Pier Angeli

Pier Angeli and her little friend remind Daily Mirror readers that Daylight Saving Time begins today and to set your clocks forward one hour.

Posted in Animals, Film, Hollywood | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Coming Attractions: Marc Wanamaker at the L.A. Breakfast Club

breakfast_club

I like mine fried upside down.
Ham ‘n’ eggs.
Flip ’em, flop ’em, flap ’em.
Ham ‘n’ eggs.

–Los Angeles Breakfast Club’s anthem

Noted film historian and photo collector Marc Wanamaker will be speaking about the history of the Los Angeles Breakfast Club (established in 1925) during a meeting of the club beginning at 7 a.m. on Wednesday March 4 at Friendship Auditorium, 3201 Riverside Drive.

The buffet breakfast (free to first-time guests) is served at 7, followed by a meeting and the guest speaker, concluding by 9 a.m.  The dress code is business casual and parking is free.

Posted in 1925, Coming Attractions, Photography | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

March 7, 2015, Mystery Photo

This week’s mystery movie has been the 1966 camp fest known as “Billy the Kid versus Dracula,” starring John Carradine (Friday’s mystery gent),  Chuck Courtney (Thursday’s mystery gent), Melinda Plowman (Wednesday’s mystery woman), Virginia Christine and Walter Janowitz (Thursday’s mystery guests), Olive Carey (Tuesday’s mystery guest) and Hannie Landman (Monday’s mystery guest).  It was written by Carl Hittleman and directed by William Beaudine.

Continue reading

Posted in Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo | Tagged , , | 39 Comments