Archive for April, 2011
“Every Night at Eight” is a 1935 American comedy musical film by Paramount Pictures starring George Raft, Alice Faye, Patsy Kelly, and Frances Langford. It was directed by Raoul Walsh and produced by Walter Wanger from a screenplay by C. Graham Baker, Bert Hanlon and Gene Towne based on the story ‘Three On a Mike’ by Stanley Garvey.
Dixie Foley (Alice Faye), Susan Moore (Frances Langford), and Daphne O’Connor (Patsy Kelly) are three humble factory workers who occasionally sing together for the fun of it. They have dreams of becoming famous and decide to ‘borrow’ their bosses dictaphone to make a record of their singing. They get caught and are fired. Out of work with no money and the rent due, the three friends decide to enter an amateur contest on a local radio station to try to win the $100 prize. The contest is won by a big band, but the band leader “Tops” Cardona (George Raft) is impressed by the girls harmonizing and hires them as singers for his band. They quickly rise to the top and get their own radio show, but problems arise when the girls tire of “Tops” strick rules and decide to go out on their own. Also complicating matters is Susan secretly falling in love with ‘Tops’.
The plot is a little thin, but with all the musical numbers the movie is quite enjoyable. Alice Faye and Frances Langford get most of the solos, Patsy Kelly spouts wisecracks and also sings, and the cool and stylish George Raft gets to do a little dancing as he conducts the orchestra.
Musical numbers include: “Take It Easy” (Alice Faye, Frances Langford and Patsy Kelly); “Speaking Confidentially” (Alice Faye); “I’m in the Mood for Love” (which becomes a big hit and standard for Frances Langford); “Every Night at Eight” (Alice Faye, Frances Langford and Patsy Kelly); “I Feel a Song Comin’ On” (production number – Alice Faye, Harry Barris, Chorus); “Then You’ve Never Been Blue” (Frances Langford).
Adele Mara was an American actress, singer and dancer who appeared in films during the 1940s and 1950s. During the 1940s, the blond actress was also a popular pinup girl.
Adele Mara, was born Adelaide Delgado on April 28, 1923 in Highland Park, Michigan. By the time Mara was 15 years old, She was a singer-dancer with Xavier Cugat and his orchestra in Detroit. While on tour with Cugat in New York City she was discovered by a Columbia talent scout and signed a contract with Columbia in 1942. Her first role was in “Blondie Goes To College” (1942) and had leading roles the next couple years in what turned out to be run of the mill “B” movies such as “Vengance Of The West” (1942) with Tex Ritter and “Alias Boston Blackie” with Chester Morris. After her contract with Columbia was up Mara signed with Republic studios. There she was transformed into a platinum blonde where during WWII, the beautiful Mara became a popular pin-up girl with GI’s worldwide. With Republic Pictures Mara also went on to star in several movies opposite some of the biggest name actors of the time: “Bells of Rosirita” (1945) with Roy Rogers, “Twilight On The Rio Grande” (1947) with Gene Autry, “Wake Of The Red Witch” (1948) with John Wayne, “Night Time In Nevada” (1948) with Roy Rogers, and in what was probably her best part, in “Sands Of Iwo Jima” (1948) again with John Wayne. Other movies of note during this time were: “Blackmail” (1947), “Web Of Danger” (1947), “Angel In Exile” (1948), and “The Avengers” (1950). Her movie career would fade in the early 50’s and Mara would move into television where she had a number of guest roles, mostly in westerns. All told, Mara had over 90 roles in movies and television in her career.
In 1952, Adele Mara married TV mogul Roy Huggins who produced many hit shows including “77 Sunset Strip” (1958) and “Maverick” (1957) Mara had guest spots in several of his shows. The couple had three sons and would remain married for 50 years until his death in 2002.
Adele Mara died May 7, 2010 of natural causes in Pacific Palisades, California.
Athos (Van Heflin): “To die among friends. Can a man ask more? Can the world offer less? Who wants to live ’till the last bottle is empty? It’s all-for one, d’Artagnan, and one for all.”
“Three Musketeers” (1948) is a star studded MGM adaptation of the classic novel The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. The cast reads like a who’s who of grade ‘A’ stars from that era: Lana Turner as Lady de Winter, Gene Kelly as d’Artagnan, June Allyson as Constance Bonacieux, Van Heflin as Athos, Angela Lansbury as Queen Anne, Frank Morgan as King Louis XIII, Vincent Price as Cardinal Richelieu, Keenan Wynn as Planchet, John Sutton as the Duke of Buckingham, Gig Young as Porthos, Robert Coote as Aramis, Reginald Owen as Treville, Ian Keith as Rochefort (Richelieu’s chief henchman), Patricia Medina as Kitty (Lady de Winter’s maid), and Richard Stapley as Albert.
Gene Kelly, in a non-singing non-dancing role, is very good as D’Artagnan, as he shows off his athletism with amazing action and swordplay sequences and even though he has many serious scenes, Kelly’s personality shows as he is able to bring humor into his role when needed. Lana Turner is also very good as the beautiful but cold and deadly Lady de Winter. In this version, Constance Bonacieux is the goddaughter of D’Artagan’s landlord and she is beautifully portrayed by June Allyson. Allyson’s and Turner’s scenes together towards the end of the movie are very suspenseful and tragic, and are among the movie’s best. Vincent Price is well cast as the strong Cardinal Richelieu and convincingly delivers one of the best lines in the movie as he whispers in the king’s ear, “I am the State your Majesty. I am France!” The acting by the rest of the cast is also well done!
Filmed in technicolor and directed by George Sidney, the movie is fast paced, with expert action scenes and great swordplay. Energetic, romantic, humorous, tragic, and suspenseful, this adaptation of “Three Musketeers” is one of the best ever done.
Stella Dorothy Sebastian was born on April 26, 1903 in Birmingham, Alabama. Her father was a preacher and her mother a painter. As a child she wanted to be a dancer and an actress, but her parents looked down upon both professions. So at age 15, shortening her name to Dorothy Sebastian, she ran away to New York City to pursue her goals. She took up acrobatic dancing at the prestigious Ned Wayburn School but was constantly rejected by agents as she tried to land a role as an actress. She finally got her first job in show business as a chorus girl in the revue “George White’s Scandals” in June 1924. The show opened at the Apollo Theatre and ran for 198 performances, closing in December. Then in 1925 she signed a contract with MGM and her first role was in “Sackcloth and Scarlet” (1925) which also starred Alice Terry. She went on to make several movies with MGM in the late 20’s, most notably: “A Woman Of Affairs” (1928) with Greta Garbo, “Our Dancing Daughters” (1929) with Joan Crawford and Anita Page, “Spite Marriage” (1929) with Buster Keaton (with whom she was romantically involved with at the time), and “Our Blushing Brides” (1930) with Joan Crawford, Robert Montgomery, and Anita Page,. At the end of her five-year contract with MGM, she asked for a raise (her weekly salary came to $1,000), but was refused. Out of a contract, her career faltered. She was relegated to supporting roles although some were in “A” grade movies such as; The Women (1939) and “Reap The Wild Wind” (1942) with John Wayne. All told, Dorothy Sebastian starred in or had minor roles in over sixty movies in her career.
Dorothy Sebastian was involved in several well-publicized court cases: a tax evasion charge (1929), bitter divorce proceedings from ex-husband William Boyd (better known as “Hopalong Cassidy”), a drunk-driving charge after a party at Buster Keaton’s house in November 1938, (naively suggesting that a meal of spaghetti and garlic had been responsible for “retaining the intoxicating odor of the wine”), and a charge by a San Diego hotel of not paying a $100 account, which was later dismissed. She eventually counter-sued the hotel for defamation of character and was awarded $10,000.
Sebastian married Hopalong Cassidy star William Boyd in 1935 in Las Vegas, Nevada following a romance which began on a set at Pathe Pictures. The marriage lasted four years and they were divorced in 1939. In 1947, Sebastian married Miami Beach businessman Harold Shapiro to whom she remained married until her death. Sebastian died of cancer in 1957 at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California. She is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.
For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Dorothy Sebastian has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6655 Hollywood Blvd.
Full of melody! Full of young love! The happiest musical ever made!!
Don Hewes (Fred Astaire): “Miss Brown, what idiot ever told you you were a dancer?”
Hannah Brown (Judy Garland): “You did!”
Easter Parade is a 1948 American musical film starring Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Ann Miller, Peter Lawford and featuring music by Irving Berlin. The film won the 1948 Academy Award for Best Scoring of a Musical Picture. It also received the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Written American Musical. It was the most financially successful picture for both Garland and Astaire as well as MGM’s highest-grossing musical of the year. It finished second only to “Road To Rio” with Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and Dorothy Lamour.
Don Hewes (Fred Astaire) and Nadine Hale (Ann Miller) are a famous dance team. Don is also in love with Nadine, or at least he thinks he is. Nadine tells Don she has an offer to do a show where she would be featured as a solo dancer. Don tries to change her mind, and it looks as if he has succeeded (“It Only Happens When I Dance With You”), until Don’s best friend, Johnny (Peter Lawford), turns up. Nadine reveals that she and Don are no longer a team, and it is obvious that Nadine is attracted to Johnny. Angry, Don leaves to drown his sorrows at a bar where he brags that he does not need Nadine and that he can make a star of the next dancer he meets. Of course Don chooses Hannah Brown (Judy Garland), a relatively unpolished, unknown dancer and promptly begins to train her to be his new partner. This creates all sorts of gaity and fun as personal and professional jealousies erupt, along with romantic complications as Hannah falls in love with Don who loves Nadine who is attracted to Johnny who becomes infatuated with Hannah.
Trailer for Easter Parade (1948)
Filmed in Technicolor, with a dozen Irving Berlin musical numbers performed by two of the greatest entertainers of all time in Fred Astaire and Judy Garland, along with the beauty and magnificent dancing of Ann Miller, “Easter Parade” is a must see. Highlights include: Fred Astaire”s solo to “Drum Crazy” while in a toy shop, Ann Miller’s great tap dance to “Shakin’ The Blues Away”, and Fred Astaire and Judy Garland dressed as bums while performing “We’re A Couple Of Swells”.
Gene Kelly was originally scheduled to play Don, but he broke his ankle. It was at his suggestion that he be replaced by Fred Astaire. Cyd Charisse was up for the role of Nadine, but a torn ligament in one of her knees forced her to drop out. She was replaced by Ann Miller.
Sidney Sheldon revealed this in an interview decades after the film came out: On the first day of filming, before the first scene, Sidney Sheldon was telling Judy Garland a story. Though it was time to shoot, Judy pressed him to continue on, ignoring the calls. When Sidney jokingly asked if she wanted to do the scene, Judy said no because the first scene was a kissing scene with Fred Astaire and she had never met him before, though it was assumed that they had since Astaire and Garland were both already big stars at the time. Sidney introduced Judy to Fred, and they all went on to filming the movie.
The song “Easter Parade” that the movie was based upon was first sung in Irving Berlin’s 1933 Broadway revue “As Thousands Cheer” by Marilyn Miller and Clifton Webb and was inspired by the annual event in New York City where people stroll down Fifth Avenue displaying their new hats (some very outrageous) and their Easter finery. The song also appeared in the Irving Berlin movie “Holiday Inn” (1942).