31st 01 - 2009 | 6 comments »

The Break that Refreshes: Leslie Caron

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By Marilyn Ferdinand

You have an infuriating lack of talent for doing simple things, Catherine? Why state the obvious? Just look at that hair! Maybe after Walter teaches you how to land a fish, he’ll show you a few hair-grooming tips. That is, if either of you can figure out what you’re doing. Wake up!

Father Goose (1964)


24th 01 - 2009 | no comment »

The Break that Refreshes: Cathy O’Donnell

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By Marilyn Ferdinand

Going out in the dead of night just to give Bowie a chance to bleed all over her upholstery? I’ve tried to tell Keechie that she’s got to pull herself together and dump this guy. Hasn’t she read The Rules? Rule Number 9 says, “Observe his behavior so you do not end up with Mr. Wrong.” I keep saying, “Keechie, bullet wounds and bad company are BAD signs.” All she says is “Could be.” Ah, I give up.

They Live By Night (1948)


17th 01 - 2009 | 1 comment »

The Break that Refreshes: Gloria Grahame

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By Marilyn Ferdinand

I see Jonathan has been up to his old tricks again. I went over to his place a while back to complain about the hubby leaving me alone, too—saying he was going out to get more soap for the rug shampooer and then disappearing for a few hours. Jonathan pretended to be all innocent and everything, but he had that story about killing Arbogast in his back pocket, only when he told it to me, he had a knife and sent Arbo plummeting backward down the stairs. What did he take me for, a chump? I watch Hitchcock movies. I’m no sucker. Sad to say, Helen fell for his cheap seductions. You just take what you want, Jonathan, you don’t ask permission. You won’t get away with it much longer, you pirate!

Odds Against Tomorrow (1959)


10th 01 - 2009 | 2 comments »

The Break that Refreshes: Colleen Moore

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By Marilyn Ferdinand

I know this is going to sound incredible, but not a day after I wished for a commentary by Colleen Moore, a reclusive Chicagoan who knew Ms. Moore very well produced a wire recording of her talking about Ella Cinders that includes some long-buried remarks about this seminal comedy. Here’s an excerpt:

“When I did this scene, it was from a painful memory. That s.o.b. director, Ally, that’s what I called Al Green because he was such a tomcat, didn’t think I could get that surprised look on my face. He broke in on me in my bath, and that’s what he said he wanted. That s.o.b.

“That’s the crew for the film. You can read my lips in this. ‘I’m awfully sorry. I didn’t know this was a movie.’ I stuck to the lines. I remember Mary Pickford getting caught out talking like a sailor in The School Teacher and the Waif, and guess who she played. She wasn’t much fun after that, I can tell you. You can’t do that with movies these days. Sound killed the inside joke.

“Oh, and here’s sweet Harry Langdon. A pity what happened to him. He was a real gent, even if he did pinch me under the blanket in this scene. I had a hard time getting the timing right for the up and down part. He pinched me to keep my cues in this part, too. Now that I think about it, Harry had a few problems. I guess it’s not so surprising what happened to him after all. The s.o.b.”

Ella Cinders (1926)


27th 12 - 2008 | 3 comments »

The Break that Refreshes: Billie Burke

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By Marilyn Ferdinand

This season has been hell on some of my friends. While I was relieved of all responsibility for cooking and hosting the holiday dinner, some of them were not so lucky. Poor Millicent faced a crisis that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. It appears only she and I appreciate its seriousness…

Dinner at Eight (1933)


20th 12 - 2008 | 3 comments »

The Break that Refreshes: Wendy Hiller

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By Marilyn Ferdinand

Now I know we’re all thinking about what gifts we’re giving and likely to receive this holiday season. Well, almost all. I’m far more worried about my New Year’s resolution—learning the new slang. Here’s a clip from my instructional video so that you can see just what a challenge I’ve set for myself. But it’s got to be done; I’m tired of being one of the old fogeys of film blogging.

Pygmalion (1938)


13th 12 - 2008 | 3 comments »

The Break that Refreshes: Shirley Henderson

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By Marilyn Ferdinand

Now that I’ve picked my top 20 actresses for Nathaniel’s movie meme, I thought I’d show you why I like them. Consider these clips, one each week, the break that refreshes.

Shirley Henderson (center principal) singing “Three Little Maids” from Gilbert and Sullivan’s light opera The Mikado in director Mike Leigh’s Topsy-Turvy (1999).


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