Friday, August 28, 2015

Happy 100th Birthday Ingrid Bergman!!

Tomorrow is the 100th birthday of Ingrid Bergman (though TCM is showing several of her films today...). It is also the 33rd anniversary of her death.


The 5'9" Swedish beauty was born in Stockholm in 1915. Her other died when Ingrid was 2 and her father when she was 12. Ingrid, who went to live with an uncle, became interested in acting when she was 17, after being an extra in a Swedish film. She enrolled in the Swedish Royal theater with her uncle's blessing. She made her break in the Swedish film Intermezzo (1936). David O. Selznick saw the film and put Ingrid under contract. She then reprised her role in Intermezzo: A Love Story (1939). After making three more Swedish films she returned to Hollywood to make Casablanca (1942). It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

With her father and at age 14

Practically every film Ingrid made after that was a classic: For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943), Gaslight (1944), Spellbound (1945), The Bells of St. Mary's (1945), Saratoga Trunk (1945), Notorious (1946), Joan of Arc (1948), Under Capricorn (1949), Anastasia (1956), and Indiscreet (1958). She was nominated for numerous Oscars and won for her performances in Gaslight and Anastasia. Read more about her films here.

Ingrid was married three times. With Dr. Peter Aron Lindstrom, whom she married at the age of 22 on 10 July 1937, she had one daughter, Pia (born the following year on Sept. 20).

On her wedding day and with her first child, Pia

In 1950 she had her famous affair with Roberto Rossellini, the director of her film Stromboli. Her second child, Roberto Ingmar Rossellini was born 2 Feb 1950. In March, Ingrid and Peter divorced and in May she married Rossellini. They had two more children: twins Isabella and Isotta on 18 June 1952. During this time Ingrid stayed in Italy to make films. All six were with Rossellini. She did not return to Hollywood until 1956 when she starred in Anastasia.

Rossellini and Ingrid, 1954

With twins Isabella and Isotta, Rome 1952

In 1957 Ingrid and Rossellini divorced. The following year she married Lars Schmidt. They had their own island in Sweden called Danholmen. They divorced in 1978.

Interesting article on The Appetite of Ingrid Bergman.

Robertino, Ingrid, Isabella & Isotta, and Pia - 1959
Ingrid's daughter, Isabella, who bears a striking resemblance to her mother,
and her daughter, Elettra
Interview of Elettra with link to family recipe.

In 1980, uged by her children, Ingrid wrote her autobiography, "My Story." She retired from acting in 1982 at the age of 66, after making the mini-series A Woman Called Golda. She died on her 67th birthday, shortly after lymphoma complications following a breast cancer operation. Her ashes were scattered off the coast of Sweden into the sea.

Statue in Fjallbacka, Sweden
Photo Album (click image to view larger):
This post is part of The Wonderful Ingrid Bergman Blogathon hosted by The Wonderful World of Cinema and the 2015 Summer Under the Stars Blogathon hosted by Journeys in Classic Film. Be sure to visit both blogs for posts on the birthday girl!
All images found via Pinterest

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Vanity Will Get You Somewhere ~ Reviewing Joseph Cotten's Autobigraphy

This is my second review for the Summer Reading Classic Film Book Challenge
over at Out of the Past.
Once upon a time I read a book called Old Men Forget. It was the story of a man's life, written by the man, Alfred Duff Cooper, and I thought then, and I still do, that Old Men Forget is the best ever title for a book of autobiographical ramblings.
Fact, per se, is valuable to the statistician, the research scholar, the detective; but let us be eternally thankful for the clouded memory that diffuses cold fact into colorful form, and the clouded memory that, abetted by time, transforms tears into laughter; and, yes, even that clouded memory that often solidifies itself into a crystal ball of invention.
That is the little forward to Joseph Cotten's 1987 autobiography, Vanity Will Get You Somewhere. It was a perfectly delightful read from start to finish. There were so many great stories and you really got a sense of what it was like to make films in the early 1940s. I also loved the style in which Cotten wrote. When his agent read the beginning of Cotten's book she said: "Jo, don't let anyone assist you with your writing. You have your own style; I like it, and I can sell it."

The book is divided into two parts. The first part was my favorite as it focused mostly on Cotten's early film career, which was a pretty extraordinary one I might add. His first film was Citizen Kane (1941), followed by The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), the early film noir Journey Into Fear (1943) Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Gaslight (1944)... the list of classic films goes on.

 The second half, while talking somewhat about his later films, focuses more on his marriage with his second wife (his first wife died) and of all the places they traveled to make his films. Cotten's writing is a perfect travelogue and you really learn what travel was like in the 60s and early 70s.

1960 wedding of Joseph Cotten and Patricia Medina

Read my birthday post for Joseph Cotten here. Read my post of his 1948 film, Portrait of Jennie, here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

So I learned this today...

Ralph Morgan

Frank Morgan

Are brothers!!!!

I was watching Star of Midnight (1935) starring William Powell and Ginger Rogers (great movie by the way) and Ralph Morgan appeared in a scene. I thought he looked a lot like Frank Morgan and I remembered noticing the name Morgan in the opening credits. I looked him up on IMDb and sure enough I was right! His real name was Raphael Kuhner Wuppermann. Frank was born Francis Philip Wuppermann, the youngest of 11 children.

I love learning about celebrity siblings and relatives. It's always cool to see which one was the bigger star, especially when it's the younger sibling following in the steps of their older sibling, as the case is here.

Summer Under the Stars Day 26: Ninotchka (1939)

Today's Summer Under the Stars focus is the great Greta Garbo. The film: Ninotchka (1939).

Ninotchka is, according the brief summary on TCM: "A coldhearted Soviet agent is warmed up by a trip to Paris and a night of love." The pitch for the movie was equally short: "Russian girl saturated with Bolshevist ideals goes to fearful, Capitalistic, monopolistic Paris. She meets romance and has an uproarious good time. Capitalism not so bad after all."

This film was a departure for Garbo, famous for her dramas. The slogan for the film followed the same tactic as Garbo's first talking picture Anna Christie (1930), when it was announced "Garbo talks!" This time it read, "Garbo laughs!" Not only does she laugh, but she makes everyone else laugh with her, as evident in the trailer.

Ninotchka is Garbo's character's name. She is sent from Russia to Paris to investigate a problem that her fellow Russian's are having selling some jewels. Here is the opening shot which sets the tone for the film:

Next shown is three men, obviously Russian, looking at amazement at a swanky Parisian hotel. Despite the great cost, they decide to stay there rather than the cheaper hotel down the street. They take the Royal suite with the excuse that the safe in the suite is the only one large enough to hold the important items that they brought with them.

Comrades Iranoff, Buljanoff, and Kopalski

Once in the suite we discover what it is they carry with them: magnificent jewels to be sold so that with the money they can feed their starving Russia. There is a hitch though. The jewels were taken from a former Grand Duchess of Russia (as property of the people) and that certain duchess just happens to be in Paris and a certain Russian hotel waiter just happens to see the jewels and tell the duchess where they are.

The duchess sends her lover, Count Leon d'Algout (Melvyn Douglas), to see the men. He stops them just as they are about to sell the jewels and informs them that he has filed an injunction. Now they cannot sell the jewels until they are given a clear title. While he's at it, Leon also shows the three Comrades how much fun they can have in a Capitalistic country.

Iranoff, Buljanoff, and Kopalski, after sending a telegram to Russia to inform them of this unfortunate turn of events, go to the station to meet the agent Russia has sent. They are surprised when it turns out to be a woman. One of the men says that had they known, they would have greeted her with flowers. This is Ninotchka's response:

Later, as she is walking about Paris examining it's structures, she meets Leon. A great dialogue follows (the Lubitsch touch):

Must you flirt?
I don't have to but I find it natural.
Suppress it.

The two begin to fall in love. When they discover who each other is however, Ninotchka, who was beginning to thaw out the tiniest bit, tries to ignore Leon, but he won't give up. He follows her into a working man's restaurant and tries to get her to laugh. He finally succeeds in the films most famous scene.

Ninotchka then becomes a different woman. She buys a that she had previously ridiculed with this
great line: "How can such a civilization survive which permits their women to put things like that on their heads. It won't be long now, comrades." Later they go out to dinner. Ninotchka wears a beautiful flowing, sparkly dress. The two become drunk on champagne and go back to the Royal suite (which Iranoff, Buljanoff, and Kopalski had moved out of so that the Russian agent could have the best room while they moved to the "smallest room next to the servants quarters"). Ninotchka opens the safe and Leon places a tiara on her head. She passes out and he puts her on the bed, tiara and all, and leaves.

The next morning, Ninotchka is woken by a visit by the Grand Duchess Swana, who has "retrieved" her property while Ninotchka was asleep. She tells her that she will give the jewels back and sign them over to Russia on one condition: Ninotchka leave on the next plane back to Russia. With a heavy heart, Ninotchka complies as her country must come first.

Back in Russia, the difference between it and Paris is starkly visible. There is no privacy in the small room she shares with two other girls and in order to have an omelet she must have her three friends over so that there are enough eggs. While they are "feasting" a letter comes from Leon. It starts out, "Ninotchka my darling" and ends "Yours, Leon." In between is nothing but blotted out words as the entire body of the letter has been censored.

Fast-forward to a few weeks later. Ninotchka is once again sent after Iranoff, Buljanoff, and Kopalski, this time in Constantinople. Upon her arrival (she is greeted with flowers this time) she discovers that they have opened a Russian restaurant and plan on staying there.

They have another surprise for her too...

The movie ends typical Hollywood style with Leon convincing Ninotchka to stay with him and sealing it with a kiss. THE END.

Ninotchka is my first Garbo film. I found the first half to be a little slow, though it had some great one-liners. For the second half Garbo suddenly seemed to come to life. I definitely agree with this statement made by Howard Barnes of The New York Herald Tribune: "Now that she has done it, it seems incredible that Greta Garbo never appeared in a comedy before Ninotchka; the great actress reveals a command of comic inflection which fully matches the emotional depth or tragic power of her earlier triumphs."

Behind the scenes:

This photo of Greta Garbo was found stuck on the wall of Anne Frank's room.
It was from  ‘Ninotchka.’
Our little room looked very bare at first with nothing on the walls; but thanks to Daddy who had brought my film-star collection and picture postcards on beforehand, and with the aid of a paste pot and brush, I have transformed the walls into one gigantic picture. This makes it look much more cheerful… 

~ Anne Frank, July 11, 1942

This post is part of the 2015 Summer Under the Stars Blogathon hosted by Journeys in Classic Film. Be sure and read all of the other posts on Garbo and the other stars here.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Announcing the "They Remade What?!" Blogathon

I've finally decided to host my first blogathon. The subject? Remakes. That's right. Here is your chance to compare and contrast the original with the remake. The dates for this blogathon run from October 9 - 11 (Friday through Saturday). Also, I will not be assigning days so feel free to post anytime during the blogathon.
Last night after I posted this I was so excited that I dreamed I was getting all these responses but everyone was picking foreign films and no one was linking their blog! And I had to make each participant their own banner. Needless to say I was a little worn out when I woke up :)
The rules:

1. Your original movie can be from the silent period up until 1970. The remake of course can be all the way up until the present. Please make sure you have actually watched both (or all) films.

2. Make sure you leave a link to your blog in the comments when claiming your films.

3. As there have been so many remakes throughout Hollywood history, I ask that there be no duplicates.

4. Please include in your post which version you saw first and if that influenced which one you liked better.

5. Try and stay away from remakes that are based on the original book rather than another movie; for example, film versions of The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett.

6. Finally, grab one of these banners to display on your blog and help spread the word!!!


Here's a list of movies that have been remade that I know of. It is by no means complete - I'm sure there are many more that I've missed. Click here to see a list of remakes on Wikipedia.

Hitchcock remakes of Hitchcock
DeMille remakes of DeMille
The Last of Mrs. Cheyney - 1929 & 1937
Red Dust (1932) & Mogambo (1953)
Grand Hotel (1932) & Week-End at the Waldorf (1945)
The Mummy - 1932 & 1999
Taxi! (1932) & Waterfront (1939)
When Ladies Meet - 1933 & 1941
One Sunday Afternoon (1933), The Strawberry Blonde (1941), & One Sunday Afternoon (1948)
King Kong - 1933 & 1976
It Happened One Night (1934) & You Can't Run Away From It (1956)
Little Miss Marker (1934), Sorrowful Jones (1949), 40 Pounds of Trouble (1962), & Little Miss
          Marker (1980)
Imitation of Life - 1934 & 1959
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) & Mr. Deeds (2002)
The Awful Truth (1937) & Let's Do It Again (1953)
A Star is Born - 1937 & 1954
A Woman's Face - 1938 & 1941
Four Daughters (1938) & Young at Heart (1954)
Love Affair (1939) & An Affair to Remember (1957)
Stagecoach - 1939 & 1966
The Women (1939), The Opposite Sex (1956), & The Women (2008)
Ninotchka - 1939 & 1960
Bachelor Mother (1939) & Bundle of Joy (1956)
The Philadelphia Story (1940) & High Society (1956)
My Favorite Wife (1940) & Move Over, Darling (1963)
The Shop Around the Corner (1940), In the Good Old Summertime (1949), & You've Got Mail (1998)
It Started With Eve (1941) & I'd Rather Be Rich (1964)
Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) & Down to Earth (2001)
My Sister Eileen - 1942 & 1955
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty - 1947 & 2013
The Bishop's Wife (1947) & The Preacher's Wife (1996)
Angels in the Outfield - 1951 & 1994
House of Strangers (1949) & Broken Lance (1954)
Sabrina - 1954 & 1995
3:10 to Yuma - 1957 & 2007
Ocean's 11 - 1960 & 2001
The Parent Trap - 1961 & 1998
The Pink Panther - 1963 & 2006
That Darn Cat - 1965 & 1997
True Grit - 1969 & 2010
The Out-of-Towners  - 1970 & 1999

Roster (updated as choices come in):

Phyllis Loves Classic Movies: My Favorite Wife (1940) & Move Over, Darling (1963)
Movies Silently: Peck's Bad Boy (1921) & (1934)
Back to Golden Days: Red Dust (1932) & Mogambo (1953)
Movie Movie Blog Blog: Double Indemnity - 1944 & 1973
Musings of an Introvert: Little Miss Marker (1934), Sorrowful Jones (1949), 40 Pounds of Trouble (1962), & Little Miss Marker (1980) AND The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947) & (2013)
Love Letters to Old Hollywood: That Night in Rio (1941) & On the Riviera (1951) AND Libeled Lady (1936) & Easy to Wed (1946)
Silver Screenings: Love Affair (1939) & An Affair to Remember (1957) & Sleepless in Seattle (1992)  references
The Wonderful World of Cinema: The Philadelphia Story (1940) & High Society (1956)
Speakeasy: Ransom! (1954) & Ransom (1996)
Old Hollywood Films: The Shop Around the Corner (1940), In the Good Old Summertime (1949), & You've Got Mail (1998)
Once Upon a Screen: Out of the Past (1947) & Against All Odds (1984)
Caftan Woman: One Way Passage (1932) & Till We Meet Again (1940)
CineMaven's: Essays From the Couch: Cat People - 1942 & 1982
BNoirDetour: The Big Sleep - 1946 & 1978
Critica Retro: Imitation of Life - 1934 & 1959
NITRATEGLOW: The Most Dangerous Game (1932), A Game of Death (1945), & Run for the Sun (1956)
The Distracted Blogger: The Mummy - 1932 & 1999
Wide Screen World: Little Shop of Horrors - 1960 & 1986
Serendipitous Anachronisms: Ocean's 11 - 1960 & 2001
Mother Time Musings: Holiday - 1930 & 1938
Tales of the Easily Distracted: The Fly - 1958 & 1986
Movie Classics: Lady for a Day (1933) & Pocketful of Miracles (1961)
Sometimes They Go To Eleven: Movies Remade by the Same Director
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World: The Lost World - 1925 & 1960
Silent-ology: Nosferatu (1922) & Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (1979)
Cinematic Scribblings: The Story of Floating Weeds (1934) & Floating Weeds (1959)
Our Cynical Omelet: Charade (1963) & The Truth About Charlie (2002)
Silver Scenes: The Ghost Breakers (1940) & Scared Stiff (1953)