Thursday, January 16, 2020

THE CAROLE LOMBARD MEMORIAL BLOGATHON: We're Not Dressing, 1934


The Carole Lombard Memorial Blogathon is being hosted by Crystal of In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood and Vince, whose site Carole & Co. is the last word on the talented and timeless Carole Lombard. Join the tributes HERE


Wealthy Doris Worthington (Carole Lombard) has the world at her feet as she travels the Pacific in her self-named yacht. Wealthy Doris Worthington also has man trouble. The two gigolo princes at her beck and call (Ray Milland and Jay Henry) are beginning to bore her. Her Uncle Hubert (Leon Erroll) doesn't approve of the princely pair, and he drinks a tad too much. Singing sailor Steve (Bing Crosby) attracts her attention and annoys her greatly because he attracts her attention. The girls in her life aren't much better as pal Edith (Ethel Merman) waits around for the discarded prince or the soused uncle, whichever is handy. Doris's pet bear "Droopy" vies for the undivided attention of singing sailor Steve.

Uncle Hubert's shenanigans cause the yacht to sink and while the bulk of the crew is rescued, singing sailor Steve and the rich folks end up on an apparently deserted island. In time honoured J.M. Barrie (The Admirable Crichton) fashion, singing sailor Steve, as the only practical person among the castaways, takes charge. Only Doris retains her stubborn pride in the face of starvation and privation.

Bing Crosby, Carole Lombard

On the other side of this not-so-deserted island, we find married naturalists George Burns and Gracie Allen. Droopy the bear finds them as well. Eventually, Doris finds them and uses that secret knowledge to play a trick on singing Sailor Steve. After a tender moment of romance, and a nasty moment of anger and retaliation, which feels out of place in this comedy, the whole kit and kaboodle are rescued and sent their separate ways before reuniting for the final clinch and song.

Directed by Norman Taurog, the whole business runs an hour and a quarter including nine Harry Revel and Mack Gordon songs and reprises, plus a couple of Burns and Allen routines. Carole had six movies released in 1934 with We're Not Dressing her first foray into Screwball and Twentieth Century one of her greatest in the genre. In between, we have Now and Forever, The Gay Bride, Bolero, and Lady by Choice.

Leon Erroll, Ethel Merman, Ray Milland, Jay Henry

Many writers are credited for the plot and dialogue, which is fairly thin, relying on the idea and the talents and personalities among the cast. Ethel Merman at 25 is a bright and shiny talent and plays well opposite funny man Leon Erroll. Of the gigolos, this was the only movie for Jay Henry, while Ray Milland simply oozed charm and instinct.

Bing Crosby, Carole Lombard

According to Bing's autobiography Call Me Lucky (1954), and the first volume of Gary Gidden's biography The Early Years (2001),  Bing and Carole got along famously with an appreciation for each other's sense of humour. The shooting of the movie on Catalina Island was a picnic for all. These film personalities show fun chemistry in this lightweight picture, and it is indeed a shame that we would not have another opportunity to see them together.




















Friday, January 10, 2020

BEYOND STAR TREK BLOGATHON: DeForest Kelley on Zane Grey Theatre


The Beyond Star Trek blogathon is the brainchild of our hosts Quiggy of The Midnite Drive-In and Hamlette's Soliloquy. The blogathon explores the careers of Star Trek actors beyond and before their involvement with the influential and enduring series. Your exploration begins HERE and HERE.

DeForest Kelley
January 20, 1920 - June 11, 1999

DeForest Kelley is immortalized in pop culture for making the role of Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy on Star Trek such a memorable and beloved character in the franchise. Nonetheless, it is fitting that Mr. Kelley was awarded the In Memoriam citation from the Golden Boot Awards, presented by the Motion Picture and Television Fund for significant contributions to the western genre. His film and television credits include numerous westerns films including Tension at Table Rock, 1956, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, 1957, Warlock, 1959, and Gunfight at Comanche Creek, 1963. 

Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, John Hudson, DeForest Kelley
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral directed by John Sturges

DeFrest Kelley's television western appearances are plentiful beginning with The Lone Ranger through to Gunsmoke, Rawhide, Wanted: Dead or Alive, Trackdown, The Virginian, and Bonanza before settling in on the little series Gene Roddenberry touted to executives as "Wagon Train in space."

DeForest Kelley
Warlock directed by Edward Dmytryk

Dick Powells Zane Grey Theater (1956-1961) provided DeForest Kelley with a paycheque and the chance to display his acting versatility in the four guest spots looked at here. The anthology western series was produced by Four Star Productions (founders: Dick Powell, David Niven, Charles Boyer, and Joel McCrea. McCrea bowed out early on and was replaced by Ida Lupino). Zane Grey Theater ran on CBS from 1956 to 1961.

STAGE FOR TUCSON
Written by John McGreevey and Harold Shumate
Directed by Bernard Girard
First aired on Friday, November 16, 1956

"What's the matter with you -- with everybody? One failure, one hurt and you think you can spend the rest of your life feeling sorry for yourself!"

The usually quiet stop at the Dragoon Springs waystation, run by Sandy Neal (Mona Freeman) will be the site of violence and transformation. Marshal Tharpe (Rusty Lane) has word a notorious bank robber and murderer has escaped Las Cruces on the incoming stage to Tucson. They must keep the passengers at the station until the arrival of a neighbouring rancher (Tyler McVey) who can identify the criminal. Will the murderer's gang arrive first?


The disparate group includes a drummer (Eddie Albert), a one-armed veteran of the Civil War (John Ericson), a disgraced doctor (Ian McDonald), and a runaway couple. Les Porter (DeForest Kelley) has convinced the married May Farrell (Jaclynne Greene) to run away with him, and her husband's money. It is evident from their testy exchanges that things are not going well. Porter is only interested in the money and guilt is overwhelming Mrs. Farrell.

Porter's true character, a chance at redemption for the doctor and the soldier, and a new life for pretty and feisty Sandy await those who stand up to villainy and bloodshed.

VILLAGE OF FEAR
Written by Antony Ellis
Directed by Christian Nyby
First aired on Friday, March 1, 1957

"Sometimes violence is the only way. I wish it was different."

Allan Raikes (David Niven), a traveling bookseller is surprised to ride into a deserted town and then shocked to be taken hostage by a gang of thieves and murderers. Brill (George Wallace) had ridden into town with his gang to rob a gold shipment. In a shootout, his kid brother was killed and Brill has hanged the sheriff and taken the townspeople hostage until they reveal his brother's shooter.

The "book man" has the respect of the outlaw for his knowledge, and is thrown in with the frightened hostages and tasked with seeking out the outlaw's killer. Raikes will use his experience as a soldier and his knowledge of human nature to help the townspeople in their plight.


Holton (Peter Hansen) and Donnelly (Ross Elliot) are stable forces in the group, but nerves are frayed and the future seems hopeless. Sherm Pickard (DeForest Kelley) is almost certain he knows who shot the young outlaw. His fear shows in his proclamations and actions. Is he a loose cannon or someone who can be depended upon in the fight for the lives of all?

SHADOW OF A DEAD MAN
Written by Frederick Louis Fox and Aaron Spelling
Directed by Robert Gordon
First aired on Friday, April 11, 1958

"I guess we all got reasons for the things we do."

Logan Wheeler (DeForest Kelley) believes he has completed a question. He has captured Raney Benson (Barry Sullivan), wanted for bank robbery. It is not a purely mercenary act on Logan's part. His father Zachary Wheeler (Carl Benton Reid) lost his $600 savings in the robbery and Logan wants the reward for his father and sister Jessie (Whitney Blake), whom he hasn't seen in years.


On the return trip, the two men learn about each other's lives. Benson is not a lifetime criminal. His ranch went under financially, and this was his first "job". He didn't get any of the money, just a wanted poster and a reward. When Logan is bitten by a rattlesnake Benson has the opportunity to escape, but he opts to take Logan safely to his family. Logan Wheeler dies imploring his family to help Benson.

Zachary and Jessie bury Logan with a headstone proclaiming he is Raney Benson. Despite her engagement to Mark Wilkins (Richard Shannon), Jessie doesn't try to fight her growing attraction to Benson. Zachary can see that the feeling between his daughter and the bank robber is genuine and worries for her future. Mark discerns the truth and goes to Sheriff Kenney (Fred Kohler Jr.), whose arrival brings an unexpected twist to the story of the star crossed lovers.

CALICO BAIT
Written by Raphael Hayes
Directed by Robert Ellis Miller
First aired on Thursday, March 31, 1960

Kelley's final episode on Zane Grey Theater is this 4th season episode. I was unable to access the episode online and, as far as I can tell, that season has yet to be released on DVD. I probably saw it when we had an all-western channel in the vicinity 20 years ago.

The premise as a Deputy (Robert Culp) on the trail of a murderer (Burt Douglas). He uses the outlaw's girlfriend (Inger Stevens) as bait and comes up against trouble in the form of his own attraction to the woman, and opposition from a fellow named Swain (DeForest Kelley). I imagine someone out there has a clearer memory of Calico Bait.


----####----



DeForest Kelly at home, 1968

Doesn't this look like a comfortable place to sit back and enjoy a western or two?













Thursday, January 9, 2020

THE BUTLERS AND MAIDS BLOGATHON



Ladies and Gentlemen of the Blogging World, Rich of Wide Screen World and I cordially invite you to a blogathon tribute to the outstanding, and maybe not so outstanding, butlers and maids of the large and small screens.

From Hattie McDaniel to Thelma Ritter. From Eric Blore to John Gielgud. From Hazel to Mr. Belvedere. We all have a favourite or two, and here you can tell us all about them. Or perhaps you have scary memories of some servant in a horror film (eek!). 

The Butlers and Maids (and chauffeurs, and cooks, and gardeners, etc.) Blogathon will be presented to the public on February 22nd and 23rd. 

Please R.S.V.P. the invitation here or at our host's estimable site here.


Participants:

Caftan Woman, Personal Maid's Secret (1935)

MovieMovieBlogBlog II (Steve), Another Fine Mess, 1930

Maddy Loves Her Classic Films (Maddy), If You Could Only Cook, 1935

A Shroud of Thoughts (Terence), My Man Godfrey, 1936

Second Sight Cinema (Lesley), Ruggles of Red Gap, 1935

Strictly Vintage Hollywood (Donna), Sunset Blvd., 1950

Old Hollywood Films (Amanda), The Fallen Idol, 1948

Hometowns to Hollywood (Annette), Higher and Higher, 1943

The Midnight Drive-In (Quiggy), Clue, 1985

Taking Up Room (Rebecca), Benny and Joon, 1993

Grand Old Movies, Thank You, Jeeves!, 1936 and Step Lively, Jeeves!, 1937

Once Upon a Screen, (Aurora), Rebecca, 1940

Pale Writer (Gabriela), Cluny Brown, 1946

Another Old Movie Blog (Jacqueline), Sullivan's Travels, 1941

Critica Retro (Le), Murder by Death, 1976

The Story Enthusiast (Brittaney), Imitation of Life, 1934

RealweegiemidgetReviews (Gill), The Others, 2001












Wednesday, January 1, 2020

CAFTAN WOMAN'S CHOICE: ONE FOR JANUARY ON TCM


Clare Spiegel and Jane Mayer collaborated as Clare Jaynes on four novels and many short stories. Their first novel in 1942, Instruct My Sorrows was adapted by Catherine Turney (A Stolen Life) for the Warner Brothers 1946 release, My Reputation. The movie was directed by Curtis Bernhardt (High Wall), filmed by James Wong Howe (Kings Row) with a memorable score by Max Steiner (Mildred Pierce).

Barbara Stanwyck, Bobby Cooper, Scotty Beckett

There is a mourning wreath on the door of the elegant Drummond home in Lake Forest. Never before has Jessica Drummond been so aware of the uncertainty of life. Uncertainty had been hidden from her by her controlling mother and then the man she fell in love with as a teenager. Their happy family of two sons, ages 14 and 12, lived under the cloud of illness for two years. Now Jess must find out who she is as a young widow and mother.

Uncertainty is a way of life for the entire country for the year is 1942 and people of all classes are dealing with death, with ration cards, and with victory gardens. Uniforms are worn by men and women who rush to face the uncertainty from which Jessica has been protected.

Barbara Stanwyck

Jessica sees how single women are the subject of gossip, she faces the unwanted advances of the husband of a friend (Jerome Cowan), and she is forever and always dealing with her intractable mother (Lucile Watson)

Jessica's boys Keith (Bobby Cooper) and Kim (Scotty Beckett) are pulling away toward their own crowd and leaving soon for boarding school. Red Cross work keeps Jessica busy, and she has the sympathetic support of her maid Anna (Esther Dale). However, Jess is deeply lonely and not coping with her bereavement.

Barbara Stanwyck, George Brent

Close friends Ginna and Cary Abbott (Eve Arden, John Ridgely) convince Jess to go with them to Tahoe and forego her usual "trip south with mother." It is on a ski trail that Jess meets Major Scott Landis (George Brent). Scott makes no secret of his interest in Jess but she is reluctant to pursue a romance. They part less than amicably but are excited to meet again when the Major is transferred to Chicago.

In the midst of her own environment, Jessica finds herself drawn to Scott instead of to the more suitable family friend Frank Everett (Warner Anderson) that everyone has chosen for her. Her involvement with the Major finds Jessica the subject of nasty gossip that gets back to her sons.

Barbara Stanwyck was adept at drama, comedy, and action. In My Reputation, she presents a frank portrait of a woman at a crossroads in her life, who wears her heart on her sleeve for us to see. Many choices surround Jessica Drummond. Will she continue to be cowed by her mother? Will the humor and acceptance of her friend Ginna point the way toward freedom?

George Brent is the perfect leading man here. His witty portrayal of an outsider to Jessica's world represents the changing times, personally and societally. Everything is upended when attraction turns to affection. Courage and sincerity in abundance will be needed to see them through.


TCM is screen My Reputation on Thursday, January 16th during a daytime schedule which appears to be devoted to the subject of gossip, beginning with Affair With a Stranger and concluding with The Women. It will be quite a day!


Movie Connections:

Barbara Stanwyck and George Brent in The Purchase Price, 1932 the first five co-starring films including So Big, 1932, Baby Face, 1933, The Gay Sisters, 1942 and My Reputation.


Edith Head was borrowed from Paramount to design the gowns for Barbara Stanwyck in My Reputation. Other Stanwyck projects at Warners featured Edith's designs: The Gay Sisters, Cry Wolf, The Two Mrs. Carrolls and Christmas in Connecticut.


Barbara Stanwyck in Samuel Fuller's Forty Guns, 1957. Her character is named Jessica Drummond just as in the earlier My Reputation.












Saturday, December 28, 2019

THE SECOND FRED ASTAIRE AND GINGER ROGERS BLOGATHON: Professional Sweetheart, 1933


Michaela of Love Letters to Old Hollywood and Crystal of In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood are hosting The Second Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers Blogathon on December 28-30th. Enjoy the tributes HERE and HERE.


Ginger Rogers made her Broadway debut at the age of 19 in a featured role in the Ruby and Kalmar 1929 musical Top Speed. Among the ensemble was Ginger's future RKO dance compatriot, Hermes Pan. The following season saw Ginger in the Gershwin's Girl Crazy as well as with the release of her first five film roles filmed in New York City for Paramount. The first of these movies, Young Man in Manhattan starred future Ginger leading man Norman Foster with his then-wife Claudette Colbert (1928-1935).

Ginger Rogers as Molly Gray in Girl Crazy, 1930

Young Ginger had talent to burn and would need all of her energy when her career continued under contract to RKO in Hollywood. 1931 would find her finishing up one last Paramount picture and making two films at her new studio. In 1932 Ginger appeared in five releases, and in 1933 audiences would see the appealing newcomer in ten features including well-remembered supporting roles in Gold Diggers of 1933 and 42nd Street for Warner Brothers, and Flying Down to Rio for her home studio pairing her for the first time with Fred Astaire. Ginger was placed in a mix of dramas, comedies, and musicals and Professional Sweetheart was one of those comedies.

Maurine Watkins, the playwright who gave the world Chicago wrote the screenplay for Professional Sweetheart as well as for Hat Check Girl, another of Ginger's 1933 movies. In 1942 Ginger would play the lead in Roxie Hart, based on Chicago. Professional Sweetheart's director William A. Seiter worked with Ginger and Norman Foster again in Rafter Romance, and with Ginger in Chance at Heaven, Roberta, and In Person.

Frank Darien, Franklin Pangborn, Frank McHugh, Gregory Ratoff, Ginger Rogers

The premise of our movie has Ginger as Glory Eden, the Purity Girl, the singing star of a popular radio program sponsored by The Ippsy Wippsy Wash Cloth Company. The product has been well-represented by the Purity Girl and the product is all. Gregory Ratoff is president of the company, Frank McHugh the public relations genius, Franklin Pangborn the designer of the Purity Girl's image, and Frank Darien the legal advisor. They all have a stake in maintaining the status quo for the product. Their only problem is maintaining that status quo with their temperamental star.

The listed group of scene-stealers, along with Lucien Littlefield as a radio announcer are at the top of their game with the amusing and trenchant script which points out the hypocrisy of the advertising game and the audience's knowledge of the same. Throw in Zasu Pitts as a sob sister Sunday Supplement writer and Allen Jenkins working the corporate espionage angle for rival washcloth magnate Edgar Kennedy and you have a recipe for success.

Ginger Rogers, Theresa Harris

Glory Eden was practically plucked from an orphan's home and put in the role of radio star. New York City and her sequestered lifestyle does not equal her vision of life in the big city. 

Glory: "I want a playboy. An international playboy. All the girls got 'em. I think they're cute."

Glory's maid Vera, in a decent-sized role for criminally uncredited Theresa Harris, teaches new dance steps and fuels Glory's desire for dens of inequity, gambling, and dives.

Ginger Rogers, Norman Foster

The plan is to keep Glory happy by giving her a "professional sweetheart" chosen from the thousands of fan letters on file. The process of elimination and chance brings Norman Foster as Jim Davey, a poetry-spouting backwoodsman from Kentucky. They bring the fellow north, and that's when the script goes south. Foster's character is unbelievably naive and the supposed relationship with Glory is never fleshed out. The he-man and little-woman scenes back in Kentucky are best forgotten. It is as if we are suddenly watching an entirely different, and less entertaining movie.

Professional Sweetheart begins as a clever and witty spoof, but once the romance angle appears it slows to a muddled mess, sputtering to an improbable and hurried wrap-up for our leading players, and more frustration for fans of jazzy Vera played by Theresa Harris.

It is easy to enjoy the first part of Professional Sweetheart with Ginger, the relative rookie, holding her own among a cast of well-honed pros. It will be best to imagine your own, better finale. Nonetheless, fans should take a look at the busy young performer at the beginning of her stellar career. Ginger Rogers always had the goods!












Friday, December 20, 2019

JOAN BLONDELL CELEBRATES CHRISTMAS EVE, 1947

Joan Blondell
1906 - 1979

Joan Blondell is the TCM Star of the Month this December. It is safe to assume that rights issues have stood in the way of the network programming two of Joan's most acclaimed performances in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, 1945 and Nightmare Alley, 1947. However, I can't imagine anything standing in their way of giving us the holiday-themed Christmas Eve, 1947. A late night or early morning time slot would suit the oddball little film. TCM Underground, anyone?

Independent producer Benedict Bogeaus (Captain Kidd, Dark Waters, The Crooked Way) was the man in charge. The story is from Arch Oboler (Lights Out) with a screenplay by Laurence Stallings (What Price Glory) and Richard H. Landau (Back to Bataan).

My first viewing (yes, there have been more than one) of Christmas Eve occurred in my teen years in the wee small hours. I think that is the proper venue for this episodic (or we might say "choppy") movie with a great cast and a strange story.


Ann Harding plays Aunt Matilda, a wealthy New Yorker in a battle with her nephew Phillip played by Reginald Denny. Phillip is trying to take control of her finances by having Matilda declared incompetent. Aunt Matilda's kind habits can be considered "eccentric" when viewed a certain way and Phillip is counting on that view.

Christmas Eve was my introduction to Ann Harding, the uniquely glamorous leading lady of the 1930s. Ann was a mere 45 when she took on the role of senior citizen Matilda. Also released in 1947 is another Christmas mainstay featuring Ann as a wealthy woman more within her demographic, It Happened on Fifth Avenue.

Reginald Denny appeared in two other films produced by Benedict Bogeaus, The Mocamber Affair also from 1947 and Escape to Burma in 1955. 

Judge Alston played by Clarence Kolb agrees to give Matilda time to reach out to her three adopted sons in her defense. The trouble is that these sons have gone out into the world and are not aware of Matilda's dilemma. Matilda hires a private eye played by Joe Sawyer to track down these men, and we are frequently updated on their whereabouts as we head to the film's finale, 90 minutes hence.

George Brent is Michael, a ne'er-do-well playboy who has often clashed with Phillip over Aunt Matilda and her business holdings. Michael wins and loses fortunes and girlfriends. Joan Blondell is Ann, the one girl he can't shake. She trusts and believes in Michael or, let's say, she wants to trust and believe in Michael.

Joan still had looks and personality to burn, and she was at the top of her considerable game. During this decade, she was moving into the character actress phase of her career after those busy 1930s at Warner Brothers. That this curiosity of a film was released the same year as her Oscar-worthy turn in Nightmare Alley boggles the mind. 


George Raft is Mario and he is on the lam in South America, one step ahead of the Feds represented by John Litel. Mario also has a girl he loves, Claire played by Virginia Field. Does Claire love Mario or is she part of the unsavory crowd of Nazis led by Konstantin Shayne who threatens Mario's freedom and life?

George and producer Bogeaus worked together on two other movies, Mr. Ace in 1946 and Jet Over the Atlantic in 1959.

The son, as well as the plot given the shortest shrift in this kooky script, is Jonathan played by Randolph Scott. A cowboy on the rodeo circuit, he returns to the fold on Christmas Eve and becomes involved in a stolen baby racket being investigated by reporter Jean Bradford played by Dolores Moran. Douglas Dumbrille is the bad guy who didn't see them coming.

Scott's only other film with Benedict Bogeaus is Captain Kidd, 1945 with Charles Laughton.

Will Aunt Matilda's boys make it home in time, especially Mario? What plot twists are waiting for us? What will the future hold for Aunt Matilda and her devoted sons and staff? Maybe you can guess, but that's alright. You've stayed awake this long, so you might as well stick it out to the end. And by next Christmas, you'll find yourself unexpectedly thinking about that peculiar little movie you watched last year and wondering if you'll find it again.















Friday, December 13, 2019

FAVOURITE MOVIES: The Bishop's Wife, 1947


Robert Nathan's (Portrait of Jennie) 1928 story The Bishop's Wife became the movie project of independent producer Samuel Goldwyn, and a costly one. Originally cast with Teresa Wright, Cary Grant as the Bishop and David Niven as the Angel, and directed by William Seiter (If You Could Only Cook), Goldwyn decided to make changes when he was less than pleased with the first few weeks of shooting. Henry Koster (Harvey) became the director, Loretta Young was borrowed from RKO to replace a pregnant Teresa Wright, and Cary became the Angel and David, the Bishop.

The exemplary leading players are supported by the talented Gladys Cooper, Elsa Lanchester, Monty Woolley, Sara Haden, James Gleason, Regis Toomey, and Isabel Jewell.


Nathan's novel was of a darker tinge than the film, urging the reader to consider matters of theology and spirituality in the midst of the weight of a post-industrial era and a rapidly changing civilization. The Robert E. Sherwood screenplay, uncredited rewrites by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett, handles these issues in a mostly lighter manner with the hint of strangely comforting melancholy.

David Niven

Episcopalian Bishop Henry Brougham (David Niven) has risen quickly in his career thanks to the backing of the wealthy Mrs. Hamilton (Gladys Cooper) who desires the building of a cathedral dedicated to the memory of her late husband. The work of raising funds for the project adds to Henry's worries and takes time away from his wife and daughter. He prays for guidance and assistance.

Loretta Young

Julia Brougham (Loretta Young) is a supportive wife but feels the pang of the fun and friendships that have gone out of their lives since leaving their old and poorer parish. She is lonely for the old times and friends and worn out from the endless round of boring committees. She prays for guidance and assistance.

Cary Grant

Dudley (Cary Grant) is the Heavenly answer to their prayers. "I'm not one of the more important angels. I just happen to be assigned to this district temporarily. You see, we're everywhere, helping people who deserve to be helped."

Dudley, the immortal trouble-shooter must divine the difference between what these people in his care think they want and what they truly need. "I didn't come down here to do silly tricks" is Dudley's response to Henry's request for a miracle, for example, make a desk fly around the room.

Henry must find a balance between his professional and personal obligations, as well as get himself out from the debt of political favour owed Mrs. Hamilton. Julia must not despair in her efforts to maintain a happy family.

Dudley has a fun-loving side that is evident when he and Julia visit the Brougham's friend, Professor Wutheridge (Monty Woolley). There is no other way to describe the "miracle" of the constantly refilling bottle of wine. The Professor will be comforted by Dudley's promise that he will have time to complete his history of Rome. Yes, it is at the close of the year that while we rejoice in the comforts of the holiday, our minds also go to questions of mortality.


A meeting between Henry and Mrs. Hamilton is filled with subtle slapstick. You may not think those words go together appropriately, yet there is no other way to describe the delights of David Niven stuck in a chair and Gladys Cooper's attempts to help. This amusing scene is followed by the Mitchell Boychoir and their glorious singing of Charles Gounod's Noel. We are expertly led from amusement to the lump-in-the-throat thrill of music.

Cary Grant, David Niven, Loretta Young

Dudley performs his minor (if minor they be) miracles of tree decorating and index file organizing, and snowball throwing. However, his main business is reminding these people, Mrs. Hamilton included, of the truly important things in their lives; their relationships. What they do with these reminders, such as Henry's jealousy of Julia and Dudley's closeness, is entirely up to them.

Dudley: "I know it isn't easy but you've got to take me on faith."
Henry: "Yes, but for how long?"
Dudley: "For just long enough. Until you can utter another prayer and say that you have no further need of me. Then I'll be gone and forgotten."

Yes, Dudley will be forgotten as life continues for those for whom he has given an immeasurable Christmas gift.

The Bishop's Wife as traditional holiday viewing has become dearer to me with the passing years. May you enjoy it by the lights of your tree, with a loved one, with your memories, and an ever-refilling bottle of wine.


Classic Christmas movie connection:



It's a Wonderful Life, 1946 cast members featured in The Bishop's Wife, 1947 include Karolyn Grimes (Zuzu Bailey/Debby Brougham), Robert J. Anderson (young George Bailey/Captain of the Opposition Snowballers), and Sarah Edwards (Mrs. Hatch, Mary's mother/Mrs. Duffy, the organist).












THE CAROLE LOMBARD MEMORIAL BLOGATHON: We're Not Dressing, 1934

The Carole Lombard Memorial Blogathon is being hosted by Crystal of In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood   and Vince, whose site Ca...