gone with the wind

Hollywood and self censorship.

March 9, 2018 // 0 Comments

  Right from the earliest days of the silent picture era the moving picture moguls were aware that, more than any other commodity, sex sold. And, until the Hays Office reared its censorial head in 1922, they sold plenty of it. After a string of risqué films and several off-screen scandals in the industry, studio heads became increasingly fearful of government intervention in the movie business, [...]

Thirties movie trivia – PT1

February 3, 2018 // 0 Comments

                  Norma Shearer                               Norma & Jimmy Stewart circa 1939         Mickey Rooney in his Andy Hardy days Norma Shearer’s husband, Irving Thalberg, passed away in September 1936. Because of his fragile heart condition the couple had, on doctor’s orders, pretty much abstained from energetic sexual activity during their [...]

IN THE BEGINNING…PT 2.

December 1, 2017 // 0 Comments

  in The Scarlet Pimpernel MERLE OBERON (1911 – 79) For decades it was accepted that Merle Oberon was born in Hobart, Tasmania. In fact, most of Tasmania thought so too. Few were aware that she had invented the tale to create a past for herself that was as far removed from the truth as possible. In reality, she was born in Bombay, India to a Welsh father and a Ceylonese-Indian mother. Merle [...]

SNIPPETS – PT2.

November 17, 2017 // 0 Comments

Kate and Barrymore in A Bill of Divorcement (1932) Kate Hepburn made her movie debut in the 1932 drama A Bill of Divorcement, in which the aging John Barrymore played her mentally unbalanced father. Known as ‘The Great Profile’, he invited her to his dressing-room where he promptly stripped naked and suggested the two of them ‘get on with it.’ Kate admitted that he seduced her, ‘but [...]

Casting Blunders Pt 1.

April 19, 2017 // 0 Comments

I often watch movies over and over again, just for the pleasure of re-visiting an extraordinary performance. Occasionally, as for instance with Double Indemnity (1944), it is not only an individual performance, but a combination of strong acting from more than one player, a fabulous script, seamless directing, and a score that seems to fit the overall production like a glove. Such combinations do [...]

Did you know?

December 6, 2016 // 0 Comments

  RUBY KEELER I recently watched 42nd Street (1933) in its entirety, having only seen excerpts until then. The acting was very ordinary, the sound quality (as expected) was inferior, and the highlighted singers were mostly awful. And that includes Ruby Keeler. In fact, she not only couldn’t sing, she couldn’t act or dance either. Looks-wise, she was a bit of a plain Jane as well. To her [...]

In the beginning…

November 27, 2015 // 2 Comments

  It is difficult today for us to understand how the invention of moving pictures impacted on the public at the turn of the 20th century. After all, we have grown up with them. They are part of our lives and always have been. Back in 1903, however, they were the stuff of magic. Quite unbelievable, in fact. When the first outlaw pointed his pistol at the camera and fired in The Great Train [...]

Censorship – The Production Code & the C.L.O.D.

November 21, 2015 // 2 Comments

  The major studios realized as early as 1922 that they had better start policing themselves before the government decided to move in and curb the questionable morality of the industry themselves. Scandals such as the murder of director William Desmond Taylor and the alleged rape of Virginia Rappe at a Hollywood party, coupled with an increasing amount of nudity, immoral conduct and risqué [...]

OLIVIA & JOAN -The feuding de Havilland sisters.

July 14, 2015 // 0 Comments

  Joan Fontaine and Olivia de Havilland were real life sisters who were born in Tokyo, and then moved to America. Olivia was born in 1916, Joan a year later. Max Reinhardt spotted Olivia in a college version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and was so impressed he placed her in both his stage version and in the Warner Bros movie of 1935. She quickly became a star and would go on to play [...]

George Reeves – who killed Superman?

March 19, 2015 // 6 Comments

  Today, to the younger generations, the name George Reeves means nothing. To baby-boomers (those born just after the end of World War Two) he was just a TV actor whose face became instantly recognizable because he portrayed Superman in 102 episodes of the hit TV series The Adventures of Superman, which ran from 1952 until 1958. Older cinema-goers would have seen him in the opening scene [...]