Monday, 29 September 2008

Theda Bara

I stole this photo from Parker because I loved it so much.
Theda Barra is on my to do list. I know little of her except for an article I read in a Sunday paper a year or so back in which the journalist wondered why she was considered such a beauty. Duh!

Mind you, Parker has also been considering a Danish silent actress called Asta Nielsen. Now she was a bit of a trout...although in this photo she does have something.

This picture of Lombard and Gable is a bonus, only thrown in because it has Walter Winchell who has been an object of interest for me for some time now. One can't help feeling Carole is hoping it stops soon.

Friday, 26 September 2008


Is this not gorgeous?

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Guess the film

I have to deliver a ms by the end of October, so forgive me if my blogging gets a little intermittent. Personally, I'm increasingly loving short, photo-rich blogs. Much as I love Sheila O'Malley and the Siren's long thought-provoking essays, I can't help feeling that these super-women have more hours in the day than the rest of us (though the bitchy part of me simply assumes they're barren spinsters with sugar daddies to pay their rent and food. Which reminds me, any sugar daddies reading this may apply to the.iconista at

So here's a quick offering snatched from my current favourite blog (I'll tell you which one later, if I told you now, you'd cheat.)

Which film is this from?

I knew the moment I saw - which isn't boasting beacuse I'm usually crap at this kind of thing. I think my recognising the film from this single iconic shot is a testament to the quality of the movie, which I've seen only once, but which still plays regularly in my head.

P.S. The Deneuve photo at the top is by Richard Avedon. I threw it in just because it's so gorgeous it seemed mean not to share.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Pick of the Week

It's Sunday, so I thought I'd pull together and share some of the stuff Ive been enjoying this week. Just click on the pictures in the rest of this post to find out more.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Contains Some Bad Language

This is really just a follow up to my last post - thought you might like it, VP!

Who knew people swore in the 30s?

Carole Lombard: Sexiest of Hollywood's Icons?

VP at Carole & Co has just shared this delicious photo of Carole Lombard, along with the comment: (and I hope you don't mind if I quote, VP) "This publicity still was deemed so steamy that the Hays office forbade its distribution -- and this came a few months before the Code was strictly enforced. To my mind, it's the sexiest still Lombard ever made."

VP has thrown down the gauntlet...

The Hays code left me convinced that no-one before my parents' generation enjoyed sex, so I love it when I come across photos of Hollywood stars that explode this myth.

Here are the best Lombard pics I could find. Do share if you have any better.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Dear Orlando

I bet you thought I'd forgotten my promise to scan in that old movie mag.

I've only scanned in the Joan Bennett pages. I would love to scan more for you but my printer drivers don't like my Mac so there were many crashes and restarts. Damn Canon and HP for not updating their Mac drivers!

Enjoy. Click on the pictures for bigger versions.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Grave Googling

I have to share this link...Orlando found it, the morbid child. Why does this put me in mind of Harold and Maud?

Monday, 15 September 2008

Katharine Hepburn

I'm reading A Scott Berg's biography of Miss Hepburn. He interviewed her, stayed with her at her family home, was taken into her confidence; and he's a distinguished writer, so I'm expecting a truthful and compelling account of her life.

All I know so far is that she was privileged in every way possible. Beautiful, intelligent and beloved by a confident, boisterous family; it was inevitable she would grow up to be something.

But you may be able to tell from my tone, the more I read of her, the less I like her. What appears charming on film - her forthrightness, her confidence and charm, her outspokenness - in real life it must have been hard to take for all but the most resilient souls.

Of course I would love to be like her, but I doubt if the people around me could bear such an irrepressible force, such relentless candor, such constant pushing and prying. It would be like living with a whirling dervish. One would feel the need to glue the ornaments down.

But she was undoubtedly marvellous on film, to look at and to listen to. Worth a few photos, I'd say.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

TCM in Britain: Iconista is Very Cross Indeed

My router died last week and I was without internet for 3 days. I'm still catching up.

One of the first things I did when I got back online was check out TCM's US site. I've been meaning to do so for weeks. How I wish I hadn't!

Oh, how lucky Americans are. Classics movies just pour from TCM like wine at a Roman banquet. Dear, dear Americans! Come to Britain and experience our version of TCM. A film called Hot Millions has been playing for months now. Joan Crawford might turn up once every six weeks, but only in Mildred Pierce - a film I love, but not to the exclusion of all others. If you want to see how little TCM loves the Brits, just visit their British site and, if you can get it to work properly on your browser, check out the "listing page". You will find the whole month's viewing appear as a amateurish pdf through which you have to scroll back and forth trying to keep track of the clumsy three column layout. The government's fact sheet on Filling in Your Tax Return is more user friendly.

Let me compare today's offering. In the US, TCM is screening Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, You Can't Take It With You and My Favorite Wife in succession and before midday. I dare not even look at their prime time offerings lest I choke with rage and frustration.

In the UK we have Calling Bulldog Drummond (again - but at least it's not Travels With My Aunt again). Then In Our Time; Ida Lupino? Yes. But a classic? I think not. That is followed by Light in the Piazza, a film made in 1962 and starring Olivia de Havilland; no doubt she provides a worthy performance, but this was clearly not the height of her career.

Indeed, TCM describes Light in the Piazza as "a lovely romance with pragmatic undertones". It says of In Our Time, "what it lacked in action, [it] made up with a strong cast". Do these sound like ringing endorsements? I suspect that In Our Time's only point of interest is the appearance of Nazimova for the first time since the 20s, a fact made more poignant because it was to be her last screen performance. She died the following year.

Nazimova as Camille 1921

Feel free to comment if you've a) heard of any of these films, or b) ever enjoyed watching them. Perhaps I'm just too narrow-minded. My personal theory is that, when TCM buys films for the US, it is required to buy up a load of dross which it happily offloads onto the European market assuming we don't know any better, or care.

So, AJ, you carry on enjoying your Kay Francis season. Tonight we have The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight: "a caper comedy with early starring role for Robert De Niro as a member of a gang of ludicrously bumbling crooks . Based on Jimmy Breslin's novel. Actor: Robert De Niro, Jerry Orbach, Leigh Taylor­Young, Jo Van Fleet, Lionel Stander. Director: James Goldstone. 93 mins, PG, Colour (1971)"

I can hardly wait.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Anita Page Dies Aged 98

This article is quoted from the BBC report

Veteran actress Anita Page, whose career dated back to the silent movie era, has died aged 98 in Los Angeles.

Page counted Buster Keaton, Lon Chaney and Joan Crawford among her co-stars during an 84-year career which saw her start out as an extra in 1924.

Her big break came in 1928 when she starred alongside Crawford in Our Dancing Daughters.

Anita Page, Joan Crawford, and Dorothy Sebastian in a publicity photo from "Our Dancing Daughters" (1928)

More recently, she had completed a cameo role in forthcoming horror movie Frankenstein Rising.

Page died in her sleep at home on Saturday morning, friend Randal Malone told the Associated Press news agency.

Her daughter, Linda Sterne, said her mother had been good friends with Marion Davies and Jean Harlow, and for a period in the 1930s had lived as a guest in a California castle owned by newspaper magnate William Hearst.

"She was the best mother I could have," Sterne said. "She was wonderful."

With Lon Chaney in While The City Sleeps

Page starred alongside Chaney in 1928's While The City Sleeps, while the following years she co-starred in musical The Broadway Melody, the first talkie to win a best picture Oscar.

With her friend Bessie Love in The Broadway Melody

Her other work included two of Keaton's sound films: Free and Easy in 1930, and the following year's Sidewalks of New York.

With Buster Keaton

She also starred alongside Walter Huston in 1932's Night Court, and The Easiest Way, in which Clark Gable had a small role.

With a young Gable in The Easiest Way

But Page stopped acting when she fell in love with US Navy aviator Herschel House. The couple married in 1936, six weeks after they met, and she settled down to life as an officer's wife, hosting many parties at their home in San Diego Bay.

After House died in 1991, Page returned to acting, starring in suspense thriller Sunset After Dark in 1994.

Anita Page photographed by George Hurrell