Born on Nov 30-Virginia Mayo was often cast so well as a partner in crime with the evil dark handsome Steve Cochran. The two of them were up to no good in: Howard Hawk’s A Song is Born (1948) against Danny Kaye; Raoul Walsh’s White Heat (1949) where Virginia and Steve have the nerve to murder Cagney’s Ma, and most all in Wyler’s The Best Years of Lives (1946) where they openly cheat in front of good guy Dana Andrews.
On TCM Sat 9/24- A Face in The Crowd (1957) – written by Budd Schulberg and directed by Elia Kazan – a timeless story about the rise of drifter “Lonesome” Rhodes (played by Andy Griffith in a striking screen debut) from a local country jail into an overnight media sensation after being discovered by local Arkansas radio host Marcia Jeffries (played to perfection by the great Patricia Neal). But will Lonesome be spoiled by his success?
We Humphrey Bogart fans feel like jumping into High Sierra (1941) to warn our hero as criminal mastermind Roy Earle (but nice guy NOIR sap) that Maria played by the brilliant Ida Lupino is his true love not Joan Leslie as Verma – Even Pard the dog has better early clarity on who really is his master’s lady.
It is just cinematic magic when Olivia as Jody encounters American Lieutenant Gregory Pierson in WW II London…. will get to you every time you see To Each His Own (1946).
On TCM Sat 9/24 – Caged (1950) – A very disturbing NOIR directed by John Cromwell with Eleanor Parker as Marie Allen a teenage newlywed sent to prison for being an accessory to a robbery, Agnes Moorehead as Ruth Benton, sympathetic reformist warden, Oscar nominated here Hope Emerson as Evelyn Harper, the sadistic matron right out of NOIR hell. I must issue a warning to cat lovers-it might be hard to deal with the very disturbing fate of the kitten found in the jail yard that Eleanor Parker tries to make it a pet.
Raging Bull (1980) was another Martin Scorsese masterpiece that was worthy of winning both the 1980 Best Picture and Director Oscar- Catch the transition montage in washed out color of Super 8 mock home movies that give us an inside view of the La Motta family (Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Cathy Moriarty) through their own point of view.
A TCM perennial – Producer/writer Dore Schary’s Sunrise at Campobello (1960) set in 1921 when FDR was stuck by polio with screen greats Greer Garson (as Eleanor Roosevelt), Ralph Bellamy (as FDR), Hume Cronyn (as FDR’s confidante Louis Howe) and Jean Hagen (as FDR’s private secretary Missy LeHand) all uniquely cast against type in this inspirational movie of how a future world leader overcame physical handicaps.
On TCM 10/13/16-very impressive NOIR Raw Deal (1948) directed by Anthony Mann and creatively shot by Oscar winning Cinematographer John Alton with escaping convict/fall guy Joe Sullivan (Dennis O’Keefe) set up by gangster Raymond Burr. Along for the ride with their doomed love Joe are his moll girl played by the great Claire Trevor and in an extraordinary performance as a nice girl social worker is Marsha Hunt. Catch the low camera angle shots enhancing the villainy Burr; the embedding of Trevor’s image within a clock to emphasize the approaching doom; and the contrasting very bright beach location where Marsha Hunt attempts to escape from the darkness.
Born on 9/17/28- yesterday was the birthday of the inspirational Roddy McDowall. He left us in 1998 but will forever live on the screen as Huw Morgan in John Ford’s masterpiece How Green Was My Valley (1941)—where Mr. Gruffydd (Screen great Walter Pidgeon) keeps his promise to the fearful that he will never walk again bed ridden young Huw Morgan (Roddy McDowall): “you will see the first daffodil out on the mountain.” —in a great scene where he later takes the lad up a daffodil laden local hill—and with the intervention of faith and perseverance as well as Ford’s divine camera and Roddy’s fine acting, Huw is able to walk down the hill with Mr. Gruffydd, a moment that will live forever for us classic movie lovers.
The much underrated Ray Collins plays low keyed but crucial roles enhancing classic movies and later television shows such as….
- Citizen Kane (1941) he plays political opponent Jim Gettys who successfully blackmails Kane (Orson Wells) into withdrawing from politics.
- Leave Her to Heaven (1945) he plays Cornell Wilde’s very mild attorney who is eyewitness to the Noir descent of his client via the temptation of Ellen (Gene Tierney).
- The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) he plays bank manager Mr. Milton concerned that employee Al Stephenson (Fredric March) is granting risky GI Bill loans.
- Perry Mason TV series (1957-1966) he is Lt. Arthur Tragg a very professional homicide detective of great integrity respected by the famous attorney played by Raymond Burr.