Where the stars always sparkle.

Star Gazing

Star Gazing, the newest addition to Classic, 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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"Bardelys the Magnificent" - 1926

Posted on January 21, 2010 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

"Bardelys the Magnificent" (1926) was thought to be lost, all copies of this movie gone forever. But that all changed in 2004, when in France, one lone copy of this movie was found and restored. Some reels had been lost, however, but luckily, so many photographs of the movie were taken, the scenes were reconstructed using photographs.

"Bardelys" starred John Gilbert in�the title role, who makes a bet with a friend, Chatellerault (played by Roy D'Arcy), who looks a bit like Captain Hook, ROTFL,�that he can make a girl fall in love with him--the same girl which rejected Captain Hook, Roxalanne (Eleanor Boardman). But, how could I have seen a movie that was lost? Thank-you, Silent Sunday!

This movie was premiered on television about two weeks ago, and I recognized the film the instant a particular scene was mentioned. I had seen a photograph in Hollywood Dreams Made Real: Irving Thalberg and the Rise of M-G-M (Mark A. Vieira) over the summer. I fell in love with a particular photograph of John Gilbert and Eleanor Boardman on a wooden boat surrounded by willow trees--and when Robert Osborne mentioned this scene, I knew it was the same photo. And I was right! I had scanned some photos out of this book because I was in love with them, and here's my copy of a still from "Bardelys." (I made it ten times smaller for the post! If you adore it as much as I do, I can always post the bigger version.

(Courtesy of Hollywood Dreams Made Real: Irving Thalberg and the Rise of M-G-M by Mark A. Vieira)

And I wish I had known this particular scene had been up online, because I've been dying to see it. Here's the entire scene, and really, its' just beautiful.

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Hope you enjoy! This scene didn't disappoint, and all I had to go on was that photo!

The movie was surprisingly good overall. Action flicks are always fun to watch,�but the fact that it was silent made it that much better. I never saw anything with John Gilbert before, but he was excellent, definitely the man who knew how to avoid just about anyone and anything, at the same time! I adore romances, too, so that was a plus for me. When done right, its' a great combo.

If I had to rate?

My rating: �out of

If only for that one scene and Captain Hook! He was a real villain!

Starting Over

Posted on January 20, 2010 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (0)

I've realized that I wasn't happy with the way the blog was looking. I felt like I was being forced to write movie reviews, and while I enjoy watching them, I don't feel like I want to write about them every single Sunday. I don't need the pressure! I think I'm going to much prefer writing about what I like pertaining to old Hollywood, and maybe a few movie and book reviews in between wouldn't be so bad, either.

Anyhow, I'm going to start this blog off with something I've been researching quite a bit this week: vintage clothing.

I need a dress for�prom this year, and even though I'm homeschooled, my best friend asked me to be her "date." Even though it's months away, I'm in the process of looking for something appropriate to wear. Why? Because I'm picky.

The only problem? I don't want to look like you're about to sell yourself on the street trashy, which is all websites seem to be offering in the way of prom dresses.

So I decided to�delete the word�"prom" out of my search engine and go�vintage!

Little known fact: old clothes are worth a heck of a lot of money, and they were actually made smaller than they do now. Hard to believe, but true! And while I found some beautiful clothes, what I don't understand is this: If the item is sold, why is it still up on your website!? I kept thinking I found the one, only to see SOLD written in big bold letters underneath the photo! WHAT!? Can someone please explain the appeal of kicking me in the kidney every single time I visit your store!? It annoyed me so much, that I sort of gave up with the vintage clothes. At least, the actual vintage clothes.

How long do older clothes last, anyway? The fabric has to break down eventually, right? They weren't made to last!�I just don't understand how an article of clothing that sold for average prices back "in the day" and are stained and maybe even ripped a bit, are worth so much money. I would be so afraid to buy something that's 70+ years old, and for there to be a problem while wearing it!

I don't know; I love the idea of a dress cut differently, that brings you back a couple of decades, but I'm not sure if I'd want to plop down my college tuition any amount of money for something used. If I could see it and hold it in my hand, yeah maybe...if it fit, ABSOLUTELY! I don't mind stores like the Goodwill or the Salvation Army, sometimes you can get lucky, but to spend money like that online (we're talking hundreds of dollars, not $20), what if there was a problem?

And it seems like if something looks "vintage" the price gets jacked up. And so, the search continues for me. If anyone has any great website with dresses "inspired" by vintage clothing, please comment with the link here! I'd love to check it out, because I've been to a bunch in the past week!

"Night Nurse" - 1931

Posted on January 15, 2010 at 11:50 PM Comments comments (0)

So, as I was checking my TCM Guide (Yeah, I'm a TCM whore, what ya gonna do about it!?) last night, I realized "Night Nurse" was going to be on this morning. And while I haven't seen all that much with Barbara Stanwyck, Clark Gable is one of my favorite actors, and sure, he is nice to look at. To wrap this up, I got up this morning to record and watch it at the same time. At seven in the morning. If you haven't discovered it yet, I AM CRAZY about such things.

Basically, "Night Nurse" (1931) revolves around Lora Hart (Barbara Stanwyck), who joins a hospital as an intern before officially becoming a nurse. She becomes roommates with a girl known as Maloney (played by Joan Blondell), and once she?s gotten her feet wet, Lora becomes the head nurse for two sick, well-off, little girls. She slowly begins to suspect foul play involving the girls? mother, Mrs. Ritchey, and her chauffeur, Nick (Clark Gable), who has say over what goes on with the children when Mrs. Ritchey is ?incapacitated??which is too often.

The movie was made in 1931, so it was made during the Pre-Code era of Hollywood, where basically anything went. And I mean anything. While there was nothing to cover your own eyes for, you saw a lot more skin than you?d expect in such a movie, and there was constant talk of bootlegging and bullet wounds. While this didn?t affect me while I was watching the movie?it made it feel just more authentic to the time it was made, since that was rather common?if you?re not used to older movies, it may surprise you what the heck they got away with, even if it was only for a short period of time.

I don?t know how much of a fan of Barbara Stanwyck I am. I?ve seen her in maybe one other film, ?The Bitter Tea of General Yen? (1934) and I hated the movie, so I suppose I disliked her, also. She?s likeable enough, but I?m not sure if it was the dialogue or something?but I couldn?t see her as the nurse who was noble and not after a piece of the dough herself. She was kind enough, but the lines she had to say were just ridiculous. The one thing I did like about her character was when she was still in training, a man named Mortie (played by Ben Lyon), comes in with a bullet wound?and while she was required to report every bullet wound she takes care of, she hid it because of Mortie?s role in the alcohol trade.

I really loved Ben Lyon in this movie! I?ve only seen him in one other film, ?Hell?s Angels? (1930), which is, in fact the same one made by Howard Hughes, but unlike what I last saw him in?he was loveable and a real ?pal? to Lora throughout this picture. He sends notes and even flowers to her graduation ceremony, all signed ?Pal.? And sure, he?s a bootlegger, but no one?s perfect! I just really liked what he did with his character, because Barbara Stanwyck got first billing, him second; he could?ve let himself slide into the background, but he didn?t. He brought a fantastic performance and at times, I really wanted him to come back, rather than listen to Lora and Nick battle it out. The dialogue was so bad, I wanted to re-write it myself.

Clark Gable, was a disappointment. He was still new to Hollywood at the time, sounded like he?d rather be anywhere but on the Warner Bros. Lot making that movie?He wasn?t at all convincing. He sounded like he was reading off the script, and had no idea what he was doing, and really, the casting was just off with him. He played a kind of thug, which really wasn?t what he ended up doing in his career, and you can tell how uncomfortable he is. Flash forward to 1932, and he was excellent in ?Red Dust?! There was a major difference in his acting, and you could tell he had gained a lot more confidence between both movies.

One positive thing about this was the short run time. It was only 72 minutes long, so it was an hour and ten minutes. Considering I couldn?t wait for it to be over, that was just long enough and the ending was perfect. I found the entire scandal surrounding the kids and the fact that maybe they were wanted dead rather than alive was pretty confusing, and really, it took until the last ten minutes before you knew what was going on. You also never found out what happened to one of the two girls, who disappeared mysteriously half-way through, but it was never mentioned if she had passed away or not.

So, I don?t think I?d be watching this again! It was alright, but definitely not the best thing I?ve ever seen?and I?ve seen Pre-Code films much better than this. The dialogue was awful, and while the movie had some great moments, it may be worth watching if you?re a Gable fan like myself.

My rating: �out of