All posts by laurenchampkin

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, Dance 

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. 

Grace Kelly – Princess of Monaco

I would like to thank Virginie for asking me to take part in the Wonderful World of Cinema Grace Kelly Blogathon. I have chosen to write about Grace Kelly’s time as Princess Grace of Monaco.

Most people think of Grace Kellly ( 1929 – 1982 ) as one of the most photographed women of the 2oth century. Alongside this, they remember her elegance, beauty and style. 

Grace Kelly shot to fame as a budding actress in the 1950’s, starring in amongst other films, ones made by Hitchcock. Her image was styled by the film industry and she truely blossomed throughout her eras. 

Whilst working in the South of Francefor the Cannes Film Festival in May 1955, Grace Kelly’s life completely changed it’s course. Although planned as a photo opportunity for the French magazine Paris Match, her meeting with Prince Rainier 111 of Monaco started a short courtship and they were married a year later. Grace Kelly item played upper-class, even some Royal parts on screen, which is funny as it was similar to her future real-life role. 

At the age of 26, Grace Kelly gave up her acting career after her wedding day was televised and in the news. She wanted to devote her time to her new role as Princess of Monaco. Grace focussed on her new husband & family duties but also using her forcible drive and celebrity to support the principality, cultural causes and many charities.

Grace Kelly’s approach to wonderful clothes and material items was of course very candid: ” Our life dictates a certain type of wardrobe. ” Yet she saw fashion as an expression of character: ” I think it is important to see the person first and the clothes afterwards. ”

Grace Kelly had three children, Caroline, Albert and Stephanie and stuck to her Anerican roots. Therefore, having Monegasque and U.S. citizenship.

Sadly, Grace Kelly passed away on 14th September 1982 but her everlasting beauty and amazing story lives on as she was truely a style icon and a fabulous Princess.  


The Silent Cinema Blogathon – The Gold Rush



I am very honoured to co-host and participate in this wonderful Silent Cinema Blogathon. Also to be able to share my review of the great Charlie Chaplin film The Gold Rush. 

The Gold Rush was written, produced, directed and starred Charlie Chaplin. It was released on June 26th 1925. It was later re-released in 1942. It had a budget of $923,000 but worldwide it made a profit of $4 million.

Charlie Chaplin’s character ( The Lone Prospector ) is a weak man but he is looking for fame and fortune through the tough men during the Klondike Gold Rush who marched across Chilkoot Pass. The Lone Prospector’s comrades mock him because of his different and patient ways. As a result, he becomes a victim of the harsh conditions of the North frozen parts. The Lone Prospector gets stuck in a blizzard where the storm ensues which nearly takes his life. This is when he comes across the Black Larsen’s ( Tom Murray ) cabin. Larsen is not happy and struggles to throw the Lone Prospector back out into near possible death when Fate, which saves the destinies of children, turns up as in Big Jim McKay ( Mack Swain ). The renegade is calmed by Jim and he and the Lone Prospector enter the cabin while the Black Larsen is forced to gain food for them. A bear comes into the cabin and is killed to alleviate the pair’s long hunger.   

The storm subsides and so the two leave to head for the nearest town. Jim makes his way to his hidden mine, which is the richest in Alaska. Jim arrives at his property to find Larsen in there. A fight starts where Larsen hits Jim so hard with a shovel that Jim falls into unconsciousness. Larsen panics and quickly flees but is swept up to his own demise in an avalanche. Luckily, Jim recovers from the attack but has lost his memory. 

The Lone Prospector makes his arrival in one of the gold trail’s boom towns. This is where he is the buffoon and amusement and victim of mockery from the dance hall people. He notices Georgia ( Georgia Hale ) and grows very fond of her too.  

Georgia is the absolute queen of the entertainers in the dance hall. In his usual shy and foolish way, the Lone Prospector puts up with the jibes and pokes of the dance hall to adore and watch Georgia. A cruel joke by Jack Cameron ( Malcom Waite ) , who is the leader of the camp, gives him a note of love from Georgia. The Lone Prospector obviously thinks she has written the note and starts to look for her enthusiastically throughout the dance hall. This is when Jim enters the dance hall with part of his memory restored.

Jim’s only concern is to get to the cabin to find his lost mine. He located the Lone Prospector and takes him, screeching, to show the way to the cabin so they can be rich with millions of dollars. Not counting on the love struck Lone Prospector seeing Georgia on the balcony. This is when he breaks away to tell her that he loves her much to her surprise and the crowd’s too. Jim drags the Lone Prospector harshly from the hall as the Lone Prosoector is shouting to Georgia that he will return to have her when he is a millionaire. Jim and the Lone Prospector return to the cabin, which has food unlike before.   

While they are sleeping at night time, there is another blizzard. The cabin gets blown half-way over a cliff. Hence, the Lone Prospector and Jim arise to a lot of tense moments before the Lone Prospector is luckily pulled from the cabinet by Jim as the cabin falls to the abyss.  

A year later, the pair make a return to United States as wealthy men but much to the Lone Prospector’s disappointment, Georgia has disappeared and can’t be found. The Lone Prospector still adores her but gives up the search. Jim and the Lone Prospector’s strike of fame has magnified the news so much that the newspapermen march on to board the liner to get interviews. The Lone Prospector agrees to put on his old clothes for a photograph. He trips up and falls down the stairs into Georgia’s arms. She was on her way back to the United States as a steerage passenger. The reporters immediately pick up on the romance and ask who Georgia is. The Lone Prospector discreetly whispers in Georgia’s ear, who nods in agreement. They happily pose for pictures and the reporters shout ” What a great story this will make. ” Indeed it was too. 

This film was said by Charlie Chaplin himself to be the one for which he most wanted to be remembered. 

Amazingly, even though it was a silent comedy, it still received Academy Award nominations for Best Sound Recording and Best Music when it was re released in 1942.


I wish to thank Crystal for the kindness and encouragement you have shown me by asking me to co-host this wonderful blogathon.