In Alfred Hitchcock’s Suspicion (1941)-The honeymoon starts to end – birthday today 10/22 Oscar winner here Joan Fontaine is upset when screen great Cary Grant as her dream husband Johnnie is not too happy to inherit family heirloom antique chairs.
Happy Birthday to the very talented Jerry Orbach who would have been 81 today-In addition to his acclaimed skills in Broadway musicals I do not have “to try hard to remember” his diverse and convincing acting skills as Martin Landau’s shady hit man brother in Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) and as Lenny Briscoe on TV’s Law and Order who knew how to make a classy arrest with humor and often get the truth out of Manhattan doormen about a suspect’s activity!
Man’s best friend-In one of my all-time favorite movie moments from The Artist (2011)— hero dog Uggie runs swiftly to get help from a first responder for his fire trapped best friend George Valentin. You can hear Uggie’s running and barking rage as his paws hit the pavement in the brilliant Oscar winning music score by Ludovic Bource. Me with Uggie, the movie star dog from “The Artist” at his autobiography signing— He has a very good paw signature!
TCM Perennial star Fred MacMurray has a large range-in director Mitchell Leisen’s Remember The Night (1940)- is a prosecutor that graciously celebrates Christmas with shoplifter Barbara Stanwyck…However in contrast the Billy Wilder masterpiece The Apartment (1960) casts Fred as cheat Jeff Sheldrake who goes Christmas shopping in his wallet to insult and break mistress Shirley MacLaine’s heart with a crisp $100 bill- and we later see Sheldrake’s children playing with their new store bought toys around the Christmas tree in the background as Sheldrake heartlessly hears the news of Shirley’s suicide attempt instigated by the demeaning Christmas gift. It is so much fun to watch Fred’s versatility!
Much underrated actor Art Smith is brilliant as the out spoken all-knowing prison doctor aware of all the secrets of the “men on the inside” led by Burt Lancaster and eyewitness to the prison administration failures in Dassin’s Brute Force (1947) on TCM 11/02/16. …Catch him in the heartbreaking Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948) as the all-knowing but mute butler sensitive to Joan Fontaine’s lifelong obsession with his master Louis Jourdan …and in Nick Ray’s In a Lonely Place (1950) where Art Smith plays the loyal friend and agent trying to keep his loose temper client (the great Bogart) out of trouble and in with Gloria Grahame.
In Wilder’s Sunset Blvd. (1950)-Old school Hollywood Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) and Max (Erich Von Stroheim) double parked while sending errand boy Joe Gillis (William Holden) on a mission into Schwab’s where he had a chance meeting with new school Hollywood script reader Betty Schaefer (Nancy Olson) and assistant director Artie Green (Pre Joe Friday actor Jack Webb.)
An underrated character actor (of many) in Dassin’s Brute Force (1947) on TCM 11/2/16 is Roman Bohnen as the weak out of touch warden in contrast to his role in Wyler’s The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) as Fred Derry’s (Dana Andrew) poor but sensitive “other side of the tracks” father who proud of his son’s war record does one of the best out loud letter readings in Cinema history.
On TCM 10/20/16 -Room Service (1938) the Marx Brothers stage the death of their young playwright to stall the hotel owner Wagner from evicting them. They perform a mock memorial service and with their heads bowed say their playwright died too soon with Chico adding “Yeah an hour too soon.” Catch Ann Miller and Lucille Ball here.