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Star Gazing

Star Gazing, the newest addition to Classic Stardust.com, is a new blog for the new decade. With big plans for the new year, read all about what is planned for the website and what's going on in the world of Old Hollywood--and my opinions on it! Comments and suggestions are always welcome.

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Kim Novak Diagnosed with Breast Cancer

Posted on October 21, 2010 at 7:33 PM Comments comments (1)

Actress Kim Novak, who you might know from Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 film, "Vertigo" has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. This information was first released yesterday, when I discovered it making headline news on my Internet provider's homepage. It said it was discovered during a yearly mammogram and according to manager, Sue Cameron, is expected to make a speedy recovery.

Get well soon, Kim!

Shoes, Shoes, Shoes

Posted on July 10, 2010 at 2:38 PM Comments comments (0)

I'm a big fan of shoes, even though I basically only live out of flip-flops, sneakers, and boots (when the weather requires). But I just stumbled upon this brand of shows a few days ago, Chelsea Crew, who happens to produce retro-looking shoes! Below is only a sampling of what they offer.

These two are my absolute favorite, the "Green 1930's Dance Hall High Heel Sandals"!

 

 

 

Now, this is the same, only in grey.

 

 

Considering how much I've seen some retro-styled shoes go for (cough, cough, Remix Vintage Shoes, cough, cough), $58 for either pair of these seem pretty reasonable. They have a heel inch of 2.5" but only come in whole sizes. I'm a 9.5 in shoes usually, but one of the websites that sell them (see links below) says that they run big, so maybe a 9 would be fine...?

Now, these are the "1940's Tan Tie-Up Maryjane Pumps."

 

 

Same price, same heel height! So, I need to get myself a pair, pronto, even though I need to learn how to walk in heels. HAHA. You can buy them at Plasticland, Lulu's and a few other select sites. Good luck!

 

(Photographs courtesy of Plasticland.)

New Stamp!

Posted on May 22, 2010 at 10:38 PM Comments comments (0)

Katharine Hepburn was immortalized in a United States postal stamp about two weeks ago, with the ceremony taking place in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. (She was born in Hartford, CT, and is laid to rest there, also.) She is now the #16 star to receive a stamp in the Postal Service's "Legends of Hollywood" series, and also includes Jimmy Stewart, Marilyn Monroe and Bogie. They're now available, so make sure to pick up a few if you're a fan.

"Movies as Lit" --- Part Two

Posted on May 9, 2010 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (0)

So, I'm still in the midst of my English for school...and have managed to see a total of four more movies since my last post about E.T. Exciting, right? No, not especially. Watching movies for me is so much fun and it's always about seeing my favorite stars...but having to sit through something that's so awful because of school is not my exact definition of fun. Here's what I last saw:

 

The Maltese Falcon:

Rear Window:

Emma:

To Kill a Mockingbird:

 

 

There were major problems with some of these movies, but the issues were mostly contained in the first, second and fourth films.

 

 

The Maltese Falcon I had never seen before, but if you're a movie fan like myself, you know that its considered a "classic." The dialogue and the scenes are usually used in montages on various occasions, so maybe I expected more than what I got. I was confused through most of it--the talking was way too fast and since I had to answer questions about the movie after the fact, I found myself rewinding (I love that I still say that, even with DVDs!), so many times to catch what the actors were saying...and really, the story itself was kind of weak. Very disappointed with that.

 

 

Rear Window was the best of the four, and I wasn't even in love with it! I had never seen it before, but I'm a huge Jimmy Stewart fan--and this was also my introduction to Grace Kelly. She is absolutely stunning, and even though you can see there's a major age difference between her and Jimmy, it seems to work. The only thing that disappointed me was the ending...I was getting all tensed up, waiting for an amazing wrap-up, but it seemed to come too fast and then just as quickly end. Maybe it was to show that life goes on, even when a murder goes on in the neighboring apartment...? I don't know, but I had a good time watching it. And isn't that what movies are about?

 

 

Emma was from 1993, and starred Gwyneth Paltrow, who I am not a big fan of, anyway, based on the novel by Jane Austen, whose work I have never actually read. It had some good moments, but ultimately, was dull and flat...and I struggled to understand what the actors were saying, especially the lead, who had a fake British accent on a little too thick for my tastes. I bet it would've been better with some tweaks in the script and maybe the casting, because I don't think Gwen was right for the role. It just seemed to drag on and on. Disappointing.

 

 

To Kill a Mockingbird...MY GOD, can a film get any more overrated? I read the book a few years ago for English and while I didn't think it was awful--after repeatedly having to write essays about the story made it worse. (In my opinion, if I had to just read the book and take a test, maybe I would've been happier.) But, the movie? I had high hopes, but they were dashed. You ever see a movie where the kids in it were so damn annoying you decided to stop watching? That's how I felt about this, but I couldn't stop watching! It was way too long and really, not all that much happens. I really think it was based on a true story, and Gregory Peck wasn't bad in it, but it was just a little too much. I also watched parts of a documentary on Mr. Peck after the movie, and I'm not sure how I feel about him as a person. As an actor, he did the job for the part of Atticus Finch, but how long is one man going to stay on Harper Lee's coattails? I would like to point out that it was refreshing to know that Lee's a woman...but I'm thinking this is one of those cases where the book was just better than the film. Eh.

 

 

I'm not sure what the requirements for these movies to be included in this list, but I'm thanking God my favorites aren't included. I think my heart would break, and I'd never be able to enjoy another movie of theirs again. But, Jimmy Stewart? He's still a favorite.

"Hollywood" Sign Stays Put!

Posted on April 26, 2010 at 9:31 PM Comments comments (0)

The Hollywood Sign, one of the most recognizable landmarks for motion pictures, is now preserved for future generations, thanks to people such as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, various actors/movie people and a fundraising project—all in the name of land development. Thanks to so many people and their drive to save it, there will be absolutely no building on the 138 acres surrounding the sign that was originally purchased by Howard Hughes in 1940. Even though the sign has been changed from its original inscription back in the 1920s (it used to read “Hollywoodland”), it was saved by Mr. Hefner from demolition in 1978. Just think how it would look with million-dollar homes around it—and I’m so grateful that this will stay the way its meant to. Especially since I have yet to see the darn thing for myself yet!

If you’re interested in reading the entire article, please click here.

"My Best Girl"

Posted on March 21, 2010 at 12:28 AM Comments comments (0)

As I was searching for a picture of Mary Pickford and her husband at the time, Douglas Fairbanks, when they placed their hand and footprints at Grauman's Theater, for a new page here, I had to go through the scans I made of the book: Mary PIckford, America's Sweetheart by Scott Eyman...and found this one that I love.

 

(Courtesy of: Mary Pickford, America's Sweetheart by Scott Eyman)

Its a still from "My Best Girl" (1927), featuring Mary, of course, and her co-star and future husband, Charles "Buddy" Rogers. Isn't it adorable? And really, I have no idea what they're eating, but from this photo, I want to see this film. Right now.

Oscars, Oscars, Everywhere

Posted on March 9, 2010 at 12:01 AM Comments comments (0)

So, I’ve been watching The Academy Awards loyally for the past few years, and I still don’t know why I subject myself to it. They seem to drone on and on—every year just a little longer than the year before, but still, I watch.

 

Why do I bother?

 

On one hand, I always hope that one day, I’ll be nominated for an Oscar. I don’t care for what—it could be for “Best Motion Picture Title”! Being in love with film and just writing in general, I think it’s a dream to hold an Oscar that belongs to me. Hey, it could happen, right? It could happen for anyone, as long as they find themselves in the right place, at the right time—and you have talent. Fingers crossed I’ll have both in my lifetime. And once I watch the acceptance speeches, I start to form my own in my head; who I would thank, what I would do, how I would look. I may sound crazy, but I’m sure you guys do the same when you watch the Oscars! And if you don’t, stop watching. Really, you’re not having any fun with it at all.

 

The Academy Awards is still the biggest honor an individual and/or a movie/documentary can receive in the film industry. It doesn’t seem to matter if no one on the face of the planet has heard of the winning picture, they still WON. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I only saw two of the movies nominated, and I’m not even counting the 10-film nominated “Best Film” category. (Which I still don’t understand—it only worked when the movies were worth it, back in 1943.)

 

I watch to see who won, and I cheer the actors I love on, while I continue to boo at others I can’t stand. It doesn’t matter that I haven’t seen any of the movies that won, besides Avatar, and I’m not sure if I’d have any desire to see any of the “Best Film” nominees, minus The Blind Side. No one seems to like Sandra Bullock, WHO WON BY THE WAY, for “Best Actress” in a beautiful gown, but I love her and was happy to see that she won. I still adore Meryl Streep, but she gets nominated no matter what she does, so I’m sure she’ll win again.

 

The biggest problem I see with the Oscars is that most of the films nominated never even came close to me in the theaters. I’m not sure if that happened with everyone else in the U.S., but most of the movies never quite hit the East Coast. Pixar aside, a lot of the movies seem to be for those special types of “artsy” theaters, and really, I’m not sure if I’d want to sit through them. I always imagine the people voting for the winners as old men with no idea as to what the public wants. Sometimes they’re right, while most of the time, I feel as though they’re wrong. I realize that the members are all in the motion picture industry in some aspect or another, and actually, aren’t too gray, but it seems like they don’t know what they’re doing. Why don’t they have some regular people go in and vote themselves, rather than have it be this elite club? Doesn’t the public’s opinion count for anything anymore? After all, we are the ones who shell out our money to see these movies, so why can’t some of the voting, in some way, be public? I may be thinking of something that could actually blow up the Academy Awards, but I feel like it would bring viewers in and make them more attached to their picks. If it works for American Idol, why not the Oscars? Millions of people vote every week for their Idol, so I don’t see why they wouldn’t do the same for their favorite stars.

 

And I have to complain about the hosts! I just have to. They were dull. I would describe them more, but that’s all I can say. The writing was lacking, really. I don’t dislike Steve Martin, he’s okay, but since when is Alec Baldwin qualified to host anything? What, what is that, exactly? I really can’t stand him and I think he’s just obnoxious. His whole, “I’m better than all of you!” attitude really turns me off. Imagine my surprise when I saw Baldwin on TCM with Robert Osborne (I love this man!) on this past Saturday night’s “The Essentials.” Why can’t they just leave R.O. alone? He’s perfectly capable of doing this thing by himself, he’s more than qualified! Why he wasn’t invited to host the Oscars, I don’t know. Maybe he’s not in with the younger crowd, but neither are the two actual hosts. I think someone needs to start a fan-club for Robert—and really, I would’ve much rather have seen him than Miley Cyrus, even if he just presented an award.

 

I was surprised that it took 82 years for a woman to win Best Director, too! I’ve never even heard of Kathryn Bigelow, until I found out she had once been married to James Cameron, and then about this little movie she made when Oscar Season got closer. If nothing else, it was worth sitting through the whole ceremony to see her win and to see Jim’s face when she was announced as “Best Director”—because they placed him strategically on end caps, Kathryn in front of him. I laughed so hard with the set-up, because you knew that it was done on purpose! But she was very humble and really shocked, and the movie’s screenwriter had to hold onto her by the arm to keep her on the stage. It looked like she was getting ready to flee, which I thought was very sweet.

 

So, will I watch next year? Probably. Why? Besides the fact that I still would love to be nominated one day, TCM reminds me for a full month that the Oscars will soon be on, and that until its aired, Silent Sunday won’t be back…I get slapped every week to remember when this is on television.

 

Then as I watch, I wonder what it must be like sitting in the audience. I hope it’s ten times better than the show at home, because its awful! And really, now I just watch for the gowns, because yes, actually, I am that shallow.

 

Until I’m nominated, though, I’ll have to settle for a chair in my den and watch it on my television, in something a little more comfortable than a full-length evening gown known as PJs. I’m still hoping to one day be nominated—or at least one day have a chance to sit in the same room as some of my favorite people.

"Movies as Lit" --- Part One

Posted on February 22, 2010 at 11:44 PM Comments comments (0)

In the midst of this blog refusing to cooperate with me, I really wanted to post about this English course I’m taking. Its’ called “Movies as Literature” and it counts as one high school English credit—which is all I’m technically missing to graduate. (If you weren’t aware, I’ve been home schooled for the past two years as a result of illness.) I’ve been using Prentice Hall high school textbooks all throughout this journey—and I call it journey rather than something else, haha—but turns out, all the PH English books don’t count as a full credit. Their books happen to be 800+ pages in length, and only count for ½ a credit, which means I’d have to go through, read and do the tests, for two whole books.

 

So…

 

Rather than do that holy nightmare, we decided to go with this book we heard about through the grapevine. The premise is this: You watch seventeen films, answer twenty-two questions about each of them, and then write an essay based on three prompts that are offered. There are no tests, so it’s truly an English book.

 

Sounds fun, right?

 

Yeah, when the movies don’t suck.

 

So far, I’ve sat and endured through five of the seventeen movies. Originally, I wanted to write reviews for all of them—but after answering all the questions and perfecting the essay, that’s the last thing I want to do! So, I plan on putting my rating on them as I see them…but since I saw five while the blog was down, I’m going to list the first five I’ve seen using the new star system.

 

Shane (1953)

Friendly Persuasion (1956)

The Quiet Man (1952)

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

 

(All ratings are based on four-stars being the best thing I've seen since chocolate!)

 

I must point out that Arsenic was a re-watch. I saw it a few years ago when I really first became interested in classic movies and, well… its’ considered a classic. Not sure if I agree with that, but I enjoyed it just a little bit more the second time. I had no expectations, haha!

E.T. I first saw in the first grade, and it scared the crap out of me. The men in the white suits, the house being quarantined, the fact that the puppet was covered in baby powder? Gave me bad dreams! So having to watch it again wasn't a very pleasant experience, and aliens really scare me. To death. It was my worst fear, fully realized.

 

Have you seen any of these movies? What did you think when you first saw them—did you love them or hate them instantly? Or did watching them again change your mind?

Happy Belated Birthday, Mr. Gable!

Posted on February 3, 2010 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Alright, so if you didn't know it before, CLARK GABLE was the first classic star I fell in love with, and really, my love for this man has never left. While I may have discovered other leading men who I also adore (such as Jimmy Stewart and Gary Cooper), I love them all differently, and still am able to find a place for Clark. Really, it was because of him and my searching into his earlier work before "Gone with the Wind" (1939) that led me to find Jean Harlow, who is my favorite actress/woman hands down. And turns out, they were very close friends during their time at MGM, even after doing some *counts on hands* six movies together. At least I think it was six! HAHA.

 

"Gone with the Wind" was my first introduction to classic film, and when I saw it, I didn't understand it, and I'll be honest--I had to watch the darn thing in school, which killed any enthusiasm for it whatsoever. It aggravated me so much that I didn't get the whole movie (we had to watch the entire thing in parts, completely understandable considering the running time), which confused me even more...and the fact that we had to answer a 40+ trivia sheet about it made it that much more awful. But, it annoyed me that I didn't get it, so I borrowed it from the library and watched it for a second time...and I literally fell in love.

 

I fell in love with the story, the characters, and more than anything, I fell for Clark Gable. And when I fall? I fall hard. I was twelve at the time, and I started watching that movie every single day for three months straight, 1/2 one night, 1/2 the second night, and began to immerse myself in his Hollywood world and...well, here we are today.

 

What's not to love about this man? He was the reigning King of Hollywood in his heyday at MGM, and truly, no one else could play Rhett Butler like him. While GWTW is probably his best-known role, he did make a few decent pictures before and after Mr. Butler, but really, you cannot beat Clark Gable. You truly can't.

 

Clark Gable was born William Clark Gable on February 1st, 1901 in Cadiz, Ohio. So, happy birthday to you, Mr. Gable, however belated it may be, and I hope you're having one Hell of a time up in Heaven! To celebrate, enjoy some eye candy of photographs I was able to scrouge up. I wouldn't necessarily call this a "PIC!spam", it's more like a MINI!picspam, if I was being honest. Enjoy!

 

(Courtesy of The Art of the Hollywood Photographer by John Kobal)

And truly, I can't do a PIC!Spam without him and Jean, my favorite film couple and real life buddies.

(From 1932's "Red Dust." Courtesy of The Art of Gone with the Wind: The Making of a Legend by Judy Cameron and Paul J. Christman)

(Two "Red Dust" stills. Courtesy of Simply Classics.)

(Jean and Clark on the MGM lot filming 1935's "China Seas." Courtesy of Simply Classics.)

And now, of course, stills from "Gone with the Wind"!

(Clark and Vivien Leigh in a scene from 1939's "Gone with the Wind." Courtesy of Simply Classics.)

  

(Practicing their dancing! Courtesy of The Art of Gone with the Wind: The Making of a Legend by Judy Cameron and Paul J. Christman)

 

(Clark and Vivien in a GWTW promotional still. Courtesy of Simply Classics.)

 

(Viv and Clark on the set of the former "King Kong" set after the burning of Atlanta was shot. Courtesy of The Art of Gone with the Wind: The Making of a Legend by Judy Cameron and Paul J. Christman)

And last but not least! Clark and Vivien meeting the writer of "Gone with the Wind," Margaret Mitchell. Look how small she was compared to him!

 

Courtesy of The Art of Gone with the Wind: The Making of a Legend by Judy Cameron and Paul J. Christman)

Jean Simmons: 1929 - 2010

Posted on January 26, 2010 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Jean Simmons, British motion picture actress, died in her home on?January 23rd, 2010, surrounded by her family. She passed away as a result of lung cancer.

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(Image courtesy of SImply Classics.)

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She was probably best-known for her leading lady role in "Guys and Dolls" (1955) with Marlon Brando, but she also appeared alongside Hollywood leads such as Laurence Olivier and Kirk Douglas, in "Hamlet" (1948),?in which she was nominated for an Academy Award,?and "Sparacus" (1960) respectively.

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I'm sure she will be missed, and I hope that she's having a ball up there with all the other stars! Rest in peace.


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 Welcome to ClassicStardust.com—a website dedicated to black and white films and the stars in them. A place with more stars than Heaven, you might say. Feel free to take a look around at the content above, and if you like what you see, or you'd like to see something added, please drop a message in the guestbook. Enjoy your stay!