It’s been an excellent few months for fans of the film noir genre. Several noir films were screened at the 3rd Annual TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood back in April. There’s the new Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics III DVD collection filled with hidden gems. Also the Noir City Film Festival at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood just wrapped up its fantastic run on May 6th. In March, the much anticpated book Film Noir: The Directors,edited by Alain Silver and James Ursini was released.
If you’re anything like me, you love photos of classic movie stars engaging in very normal, unglamorous activities. Although many were staged for studio publicity, it’s nice to pretend these are candid images from the private family album. Cary and Randolph washing dishes, Bogie and Bacall lounging on the sofa, Katharine on a skateboard, Shirley and Sachi with matching hairdos and pearls– all well known “home life” photos. Steven Rea, film critic for The Philadelphia Inquirer, has assembled an impressive collection of images featuring beloved icons alongside one of the simplest modes of transportation: the bicycle.
I have a confession: before snagging a copy of the book Oeuvre I thought “who in the world is Drew Struzan?” Once I opened the book, I immediately knew who he was. Chances are you know who he is too, even if you have never heard his name. Struzan is the mastermind behind some of the most popular and iconic movie posters ever created. He is a frequent collaborator with George Lucas, who penned a lovely foreword to Oeuvre. In addition to his working relationship with Lucas, Struzan is a favorite of directors Steven Spielberg, Guillermo Del Toro, and Frank Darabont.
Jean Harlow epitomizes the essence of old Hollywood glamour and stardom. Although she died young, she has an immortal presence that has lasted for over 70 years. Perhaps it’s because we never saw her grow old. Her youthfulness, beauty, and sexuality are all perfectly preserved as if she were truly alive and breathing. Harlow in Hollywood: The Blonde Bombshell in the Glamour Capital (1928-1937) is a loving and dedicated tribute to “The Baby.” The book is filled with photos from author Darrell Rooney’s personal collection (one of the most complete Harlow collections in existence),and a well written biography by Mark A. Vieira that only a fan could compose. Vieira describes Harlow as intelligent, well-read, friendly, and loving–and always seeking love.
When thinking about men’s fashion in old Hollywood, there are two actors who immediately come to mind: Cary Grant and Gary Cooper. Both had impeccable taste and appreciated high quality, custom tailored clothing, and both had wardrobes inspired by European fashion. Although Grant looked great in everything, he didn’t always look comfortable in more casual attire. This is not the case with Gary Cooper. He somehow made a cowboy hat and jeans look attainable to the every man, yet kept a look of sophistication.
I have never heard anyone speak harshly of Myrna Loy. In fact, just the mere mention of her name elicits such a positive response it is hard not to crack a smile. My first encounter with Myrna’s films was her work with Cary Grant in The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer and Mr. Blandings Builds His Dreamhouse.
I have never considered myself a huge Judy Garland fan, but that’s not to say I don’t like her. I adore her. I respect her. I hold her in the highest regard. I suppose I never considered myself a fan because I do not feel worthy of that title. Honestly, like those who abused and exploited her, I have taken her for granted. She’s more than Dorothy, you know.