Sunday, November 29, 2015

Dancing Legs Quiz ~ November Edition

Hurray for vacation! It has been a pleasure to have time to work on my blog again. With that being said, no month would be complete without the Dancing Legs Quiz.

Take a look at the following partial pictures. Each dance routine debuted in a movie released in November. Can you guess these famous dancing legs? Give yourself bonus points if you can name the movie.



Saturday, November 28, 2015

Lured (1947) ~ Spoiler Version

It was killing me to dance around spoilers in my last post, but the film is a whodunit and respect is due to those who like figuring out the murderer on their own.

If you have viewed the movie, don't give a snit about spoilers, or just like wild film theories, please read on. 

By the way, TCM will be showing Lured again on Thursday, December 3rd at 8 pm EST as part of its George Sanders birthday tribute. You could always view it and then come back. ;-)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Lured (1947) ~ Film Noir's Taxi Dancer

Normally associated with light, fluffy comedies (Annabel series, MGM musicals, and—of course—I Love Lucy), Lucille Ball seems an unlikely candidate to traverse the dark streets of the underworld. This is exactly where she found herself, though, when her agent arranged a loan out to Twentieth Century Fox for The Dark Corner in 1946 and United Artists for Lured in 1947. In her autobiography, Love, Lucy, Ball explained that she was less than thrilled with her agent’s arrangement:

All my affairs were being handled by this agent*, and I wanted to have a serious discussion with him about what I was doing, what was going to further my career, what kinds of roles were good or bad for me. But he couldn’t be bothered, and next thing I knew, I had been loaned out to a totally strange studio without my consent or even my knowledge. (143)
*Notice how she does not mention the agent’s name—what a lady!

Ever the trouper, she made the best of the situation and put on fine performances in both thrillers. (Critics concur—see what New York Times writers Bosley Crowther and E.J.B. penned here and here about the films.)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

September/October Viewing Journal

Since my last viewing update in mid-September, I have been immersed in the community college and middle school worlds of lesson planning, teaching and grading. Life is busy but good. My students are fantastic, my colleagues are supportive and my family has been incredibly understanding of my crazy hours. Now and then I even get to catch a movie. Here is what I have been up to classic movie-wise:

*Impressed by Ruth Chatterton's performance in Female (1933), I DVR-ed The Crash (1932) last June. I finally got around to watching it in September. The film stars Ruth Chatterton and her husband at the time, George Brent. Her role is no more than a glorified prostitute, trading herself for stock secrets to assist her Wall Street banker hubby in getting ahead. The turning point occurs when Linda's (Chatterton) sexiness fails, and she is unable to obtain crucial information. Unwilling to admit that she has lost her pizzazz--horror of horrors! as this is her only commodity--Linda lies, which results in everyone they know, from servants to the high-brow company they keep, to lose their shirts in the Wall Street Crash of 1929. She alone is plagued with guilt. At no point does the movie suggest that her jerk of a husband--equally to blame--should share the guilt. In the end, the intended message is one that the Depression Era audience would have wanted to hear: money is the route of all evil. (To avoid spoilers, I won't tell you how the message is achieved. Suffice it to say that the movie follows one of the formulas outlined by Jeanine Basinger's I Do and I Don't.) However, there is a more subtle message warning women of the dangers of getting old and not admitting it to yourself. Accept your place on the shelf of the once sexy, the movie tells viewers.