Greta Garbo – Anna Karenina (1935)

Anna Karenina opened in New York at the Capitol Theatre. It won the Mussolini Cup for the best foreign film at the Venice Film Festival. Greta Garbo achieved a New York Film Critics Circle Award for her portrayal of Anna Karenina.

Anna Karenina’s husband is a Czarist official called Karenin. While Anna tried to lure her brother Stiva away from a life of bad corruption, she falls for military officer Count Vronsky. This leads to the demise of her marriage and also her high position in 19th Century Russian Society. This culminates in her not being allowed to see her son Sergei leading to a devastating end.

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Review of Father Of The Bride (1950)

Spencer Tracy received an Oscar nomination for his performance in this classic comedy. The movie was also nominated for Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Writing and Screenplay.

Spencer Tracy wanted Katharine Hepburn to be his screen wife for this movie but the common feeling was that they were too over romantic as a team to play a domesticated happy couple with children. Hence why Joan Bennett won the part. 
Father Of The Bride is an American comedy film made in 1950 and was directed by Vincente Minnelli. 

It is about a man struggling to cope with the preparations for his daughter’s up and coming wedding. Spencer Tracy stars in the main jovial role. Other stars in the film are Leo G. Carroll, Billie Burke, Joan Bennett, Don Taylor and Elizabeth Taylor. 

The Letter


The Letter was released on November 22 1940. It was produced by Hal.B.Wallis and directed by William Wyler. It starred alongside Bette Davis, James Stephenson and Herbert Marshall.

Leslie Crosbie (Bette Davis) shoots and kills a man whilst in Singapore. She made claims that he attempted to take advantage of her. Alongside her husband Robert (Herbert Marshall), she is she arrested. They hire attorney Howard Joyce (James Stephenson) to defend her case. Unfortunately for Leslie during the trial Howard discovers a damming letter that puts doubt on Leslie’s story. They become involved in a blackmail scheme linked with the dead man’s widow and a Malayan clerk. 

Review of My Man Godfrey


My Man Godfrey was directed by Gregory La Cava and was an American screwball comedy film made in 1936.

In 1957, the film was remade with David Niven and June Allyson in the starring roles where as in the 1936 version they were Carole Lombard and William Powell. 

The story involves a high socialite, ( Irene Bullock ), who hires a derelict to be her family’s butler when much to his ( Godfrey “Smith” Parke ), she falls in love with him. 

It’s an interesting dynamic as years earlier William Powell and Carole Lombard were actually married in real life. 

Mrs Parkington

   
Mrs Parkington is a drama film and was made in 1944, based on Mrs Parkington the novel by Louis Bromfield. It also starred Walter Pidgeon and Greer Garson and was directed by Tay Garnett. 

Susie Parkington, (Greer Garson), in her 80’s remembers her marriage some six decades earlier after which came the revelations that her husband, Augustus, (Walter Pidgeon), was still involved in a romantic way with the French Baroness Aspasia Conti, (Agnes Moorhead). 

Susie Parkington reminisces over the untimely passing of her mother and sadly one of her own children. Both events having a massive impact on her life. Her son constantly needing financial help leads Susie to ponder on her fortune fading away. 

A Look at Drew Barrymore

Drew Blythe Barrymore was born on February 22nd 1975 and is an author, director, model, producer and actress from America. A descendant of the very well-known Barrymore family. A popular family of cinema and stage actors. Drew’s grandfather was the late acclaimed actor John Barrymore. 

Drew’s first ever appearance was in an advertisement when she was just eleven months old. She made her film debut in 1980 starring in Altered States. In 1982, Drew starred in Steven Speilberg’s epic movie, E.T. The Extra – Terrestrial. Speilberg is one of Drew’s God-Parents. This was her movie-breaking role and she starred as Gertie in the movie. This led to her rapidly becoming one of Hollywood’s highly recognised child actresses of all time. This resulted in Drew later developing herself in many comic roles. 

Drew had a troublesome childhood that culminated in alcohol and drug abuse and sadly two periods in rehabilitation. She later wrote her autobiography in 1990 called Little Girl Lost. When an adult, Drew starred in several films which include Bad Girls, Poison Ivy, Scream, Everyone Says I Love You and Boys on the Side. 

Drew has been an Ambassador Against Hunger for the UN Workd Food Programme and has made numerous donations to help this cause. In 2010, she famously won the Golden Globe Award and the Screen Actors Guold Award for Best Actress in Miniseries or Television Film for her role of Little Edie in Grey Gardens.

In 2007, Drew was featured on the cover of the 2007 People magazine’s most Beautiful People. 
  

Dance, Fools, DanceĀ 

This movie was released on 21st February 1931 and written by Aurania Rouverol and directed by Harry Beaumont. It had a budget of $234, 000 and made $1,268,000 of Box Office sales.

Joan Crawford plays a former socialite named Bonnie Jordan. Bonnie is a junior reporter and her brother Rodney, played by William Bakewell, is implicated in a beer-running gang. Rodney drives the car that hunts and guns down a rival group. Bert Scranton ( Cliff Edwards ) who is a journalist colleague of Bonnie’s ends up being murdered when he finds out too much. Jake Luva ( Clark Gable ) who is the chief of the gang is the main of plotting Scranton’s murder leading to Bonnie investigating. She nearly loses her own life after finding out what the gang have been up to but in the end they are brought to account and punished. 

Gone With The Wind Starring Olivia de Havilland


 

The 1939 movie Gone With The Wind gave movie enthusiasts their first real taster of Olivia de Havilland as a dramatic actress. Beforehand, de Havilland had gained a seven – year contract with Warner Brothers which lead to them using Errol Flynn as her frequent co-star. They had previously been seen together in Captain Blood 1935. 

Gone With The Wind was a drama based on The Civil War and using knowledge from the great Margaret Mitchell novel. It was one of the top films of that year. The character Melanie Hamilton was played by de Havilland. Melanie was a kind and gentle soul opposed to Vivien Leigh’s fearless and fiery portrayal of Scarlett O’Hara. Melanie and Scarlett fought for the attentions of Ashley Wilkes ( Leslie Howard ) which resulted in Melanie winning his affections. Scarlett eventually ended up with the very handsome Rhett Butler ( Clark Gable ). 

Olivia de Havilland’s portrayal of Melanie won her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Sadly, she lost out to fellow cast actress Hattie McDaniel. 
 

One Hundred and One Dalmations


One Hundred and One Dalmations was made in 1961. It was a film of adventure created in America using fine animation. It was produced by Walt Disney Productions and was an adaptation of Dodie Smith’s 1956 novel. The plot is as follows:-

Roger Radcliffe is a songwriter who lives in London in his batchelor flat. He owns a dalmation called Pongo. Pongo becomes bored with the single life so decides to find a mate for himself and hopefully a wife for Roger too. While gazing out the window looking for a suitable pairing, he spots one ideal pair, Anita, obviously a woman and her female dalmation, Perdita. He rushes to get Roger to the park to arrange a possible meeting. Happily, Roger and Anita fall in love and get married. 

Perdita later gives birth to a litter of puppies, 15 in total. That night Cruella De Vil pays a visit. She is a former school friend of Anita’s. Cruella offers to buy the whole litter but Roger refuses saying they are not for sale. A while later, Cruella gets her entourage of henchmen to steal them. Namely two men called Horace and Jasper. Scotland Yard cannot find the puppies so Pongo and Perdita use the “Twilight Bark”, a canine gossip line, to get help from other London dogs.

An old sheepdog called Colonel alongside his fellow companions, Sergeant Tibbs, a tabby cat, and a grey horse called Captain find the puppies in Hell Hall which is Cruella’s dilapidated and abandoned family estate. Also known as The De Vil Place. They also find many other dalmation puppies there which had been bought from numerous dog stores. Tibbs finds out that they are going to be made into dog-skin fur coats. This leads to Colonel getting this information back to London. When Pongo hears of this, he and Perdita immediately leave to retrieve their puppies. They have to cross the Stair River. It’s bleak winter and the river is fast running and covered with large pieces of broken ice. At the same time, Tibbs overhears Cruella ordering Horace and Jasper to murder the puppies due to fear of the police being on their tail. Tibbs  tries to rescue them while Horace and Jasper are busy watching television but their show finishes and come for them before it is possible to get them all out of the house. Pongo and Perdita then break in and come face to face with Horace and Jasper just before they are about to kill the puppies. Colonel and Tibbs lead the puppies away from the house as the adult dogs attack Horace and Jasper. 

After a joyous reunion, Pongo and Perdita realise that there are a few extra puppies with them. Thus totalling 99 altogether including their own. Totally shocked at evil Cruella’s plans, they kindly decide to adopt all of them. Also, in the knowledge that Anita and Roger would happily agree. They make their way back to London in deep snow and solid frozen waters. They get help from other animals on their journey. Cruella, Horace and Jasper attempt to run after them. The dogs even cake themselves in soot in one town to seem to be Labrador or retrievers. Soon after that they clamber inside a London bound moving van. Cruella sees them as the van is leaving due to the snow melting and clearing the soot away. In anger Cruella follows the van but rams her car and then Horace and Jasper, who are trying to cut up the van, crash into her. Safely to say, both vehicles are totally wrecked and fall into a deep ravine. Cruella and her henchmen are stranded, battered and finally defeated. Cruella shouts in anger as the van drives speedily away. 

Anita and Roger in London are trying to celebrate Christmas and Aldo his first hit single, a song based on Cruella. They are still very much missing the dogs and puppies. All of a sudden, there’s barking outside then Nanny opens the door and the house is overwhelmed with dogs. They wipe away the remaining soot to happily realise their dogs have returned home. When counting, there was found to be 84 extra puppies there. Hence, they used the money from the song to purchase a large house in the country so they can keep all 101 Dalmations. 

The Great Lie

  
The Great Lie is an American Classic drama film which was written by Lenore J. Coffee and was released on April 12th 1941. Below is my take on this fabulous Bette Davis film.

Sandra Kovak, played by Mary Astor, is a concert pianist and her aviator husband Peter Van Allen, played by George Brent, find out that their spur of the moment marriage is indeed invalid. This is due to Kovak’s divorce not being formally finalised before they got married. As a result of this, Van Allen leaves Kovak and marries his old flame Maggie Patterson (Bette Davis). Van Allen leaves to embark on a business trip to Brazil when his aircraft disappears in action. It is guessed that it had crashed in the jungle and he was therefore killed as a result. 

Kovak discovers that she is pregnant by Van Allen and Pattison gives her a proposal. Pattison suggests that she be allowed to raise the child like her own in exchange for financially supporting Kovak. They both depart for Arizona in anticipation of the birth. Kovak gives birth to a boy and names him after his father. 

Kovak starts working on a world tour when Van Allen surprisingly returns home as he has obviously survived the plane crash. Pattison leads him to believe that the child is their son. Kovak returns and starts to taunt Pattison as she feels that she truely wants them back for herself. Therefore she demands that Patterson comes clean and admits to Van Allen that she misled him. Patterson does true fully admit the whole situation but Van Allen is horrified by Kovak’s behaviour and then says that she can have the baby but he will stay with Patterson. Kovak in acceptance of the idea that Van Allen truly loves Patterson leaves with the child but knows that she will be the greater mother. 

A very maternal and quite noble role for Bette Davis. I found this classic to be a great opportunity for Davis to display a fantastic portrayal of being dramatic in distress.