Friday, November 11, 2022

Angela Lansbury Noir: A Life at Stake (1955) and Please Murder Me! (1956)


It was only with her passing last month that I found out Dame Angela Lansbury had made a couple of low budget films noir during her long, storied career. I was aware, of course, that she had played some memorably unpleasant female characters over the years. There was Nancy, Ingrid Bergman's devious maid in Gaslight (1944), Lansbury's first film performance, and one for which she was Oscar-nominated. Then, two years later she portrayed the spiteful dance-hall queen, Em, nemesis of Judy Garland in The Harvey Girls (1946). Between those films, though, she had been Elizabeth Taylor's wholesome older sister, Edwina, in National Velvet (1945), and had, in a lovely Oscar-nominated turn, played the heartbreaking tavern singer, Sibyl Vane, in The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945). It would’ve been difficult to predict then, judging from the level of talent and range she displayed in her early performances for MGM, that Angela Lansbury would someday venture into down-and-dirty film noir from a neighborhood south of Poverty Row. There may have been a hint in one of her final films under her MGM contract, though. Just before she left MGM and her career began to languish, Lansbury appeared in Kind Lady (1951). A notable and noirish suspense thriller, it was one of her last under her studio contract. In it, Ethel Barrymore starred as a wealthy art collector, with Lansbury as part of a gang of malicious thieves set on taking over the woman’s life, fleecing her of all she has and then killing her.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Fun in the Sun: Excitement on the French Riviera in Alfred Hitchcock's "To Catch a Thief" (1955)

 

Romance, adventure and intrigue, plus dashing Cary Grant and delectable Grace Kelly. All of this along with a tour of the glittering French Riviera courtesy of Alfred Hitchcock. Who could resist such high style fun in the sun - and moonlight?

What rapidly turns into an adventure begins with a mundane shot of a sedate travel agency where a colorful poster in its window proclaims, "If you love life, you'll love France." The scenario shifts quickly, plunging into the poster image of the Riviera and then, suddenly, to the face of a middle-aged woman who is screaming frantically as she discovers her jewels have been stolen. Running to the sea-view balcony of her hotel suite she cries out over the Promenade des Anglais, "Help, help, police!"  It soon comes out that the Riviera has lately been plagued by a rash of robberies all having the earmarks of a legendary jewel thief, now retired, by the name of John Robie (Cary Grant), once known as "the Cat."

Thursday, May 5, 2022

THE CAFTAN WOMAN BLOGATHON

Today we celebrate our friend and fellow classic film (and more) blogger, Patricia Nolan-Hall aka/Paddy, Paddy Lee - and Caftan Woman, the name of her award-winning blog. When Paddy left us on March 7th, we lost one of classic film's most passionate champions and finest, most devoted bloggers. She was also conscientiously supportive of other bloggers and an avid participant in just about any/all classic film/TV/popular culture blogathons that came along.  And so, we have chosen to join together and honor Paddy with a blogathon of her own, The Caftan Woman Blogathon - Honoring Patricia Nolan-Hall.

For the Caftan Woman Blogathon: Champagne for Caesar (1950)


In memory of our friend and world class classic film lover and blogger, Paddy, we gather to celebrate her with this, our Caftan Woman Blogathon: Honoring Patricia Nolan-Hall. Click here for links to all participating blogs.

~

Thursday, March 31, 2022

THE CAFTAN WOMAN BLOGATHON - HONORING PATRICIA NOLAN-HALL

Patricia Nolan-Hall

The Caftan Woman Blogathon – Honoring Patricia Nolan-Hall will be hosted here at Lady Eve’s Reel Life and at Jacqueline's Another Old Movie Blog on Friday, May 6th.

On March 7th, the classic film blogger world lost one of its great writers and champions of classic film, Patricia Nolan-Hall, also known as Caftan Woman, the name of her delightful blog.  You can visit her blog here. 

Paddy was very supportive of other bloggers, and eagerly contributed to many blogathons, always graciously commenting on the posts of others.  It seems fitting to celebrate her time with us with a special blogathon in her honor.

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Variations on a Genre: “Vehicular Noir” and “Noir on the Sea and in the Forest” ...

In this post, veteran noir programmer Don Malcolm considers the sub-genre implications of rare films noir - from the US, Croatia and Germany - set to screen when Midcentury Madness '22 returns to San Francisco’s Roxie Theater on March 12 and 13.