Saturday, August 1, 2020

Did You Know? - Lynda Carter Has Other Wonders

American actress Lynda Carter is best known for playing the beautiful Diana Prince, an Amazonian princess, on the television series Wonder Woman ( 1975-1979 ). For four years she entertained television audiences with her superhuman powers, deflecting bullets with her golden bracelet and capturing criminals with her magic lasso. Lynda Carter truly became her character and Wonder Woman remains part of her identity to this day. 

However, Ms. Carter is also famous for another talent: singing. Lynda always enjoyed singing and during the 1970s she recorded an album titled Portrait. Two of the songs that she helped co-write were performed on an episode of Wonder Woman in 1979. Later, when the series ended, Carter had a variety of her own musical television specials - Lynda Carter's Special ( 1980 ), Encore! ( 1980 ), Celebration ( 1981 ), Street Life ( 1982 ), and Body and Soul ( 1984 ) - where she performed with other popular singers of the time, such as Tony Orlando, KISS, Merle Haggard, Kenny Rogers and Ben Vereen. 
When she is not doing Wonder Woman appearances, Lynda still tours across the country today performing songs from her latest albums -  Crazy Little Things and Red Rock N' Blues.

Want to hear her in action? 

Lynda performs "Toto - Don't It Feel Like Paradise" ( a song she co-wrote ) from her 1978 album:

Lynda and Tom Jones perform "With You I'm Born Again":

"Did You Know?".....sometimes we just feel like sharing interesting fragments of television and movie history and now we have a place to do just that. If you have a hot tip that you would like us to share on Silver Scenes, drop us a line! 

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Once to Every Woman ( 1934 )

Grey's Anatomy 1934. Well, not quite. But if you want to see what a 1930s style version of a hospital melodrama looks like ( they really haven't changed much over the years ) then it is well worth checking out Once To Every Woman. This Columbia Pictures quickie is quite entertaining and features two appealing actors of the era - Fay Wray and Ralph Bellamy.
Ralph Bellamy is Dr. Barclay, a brilliant young surgeon who works under the watchful eye of his mentor, Dr. Selby ( Walter Connolly ), head surgeon of a city hospital. Lately, the two doctors have had conflicting opinions about what kind of operation to perform and, much as he regrets his decision, Dr. Barclay is considering leaving the hospital for a position elsewhere. 

Meanwhile, Nurse Fanshawe ( Fay Wray ) has some decisions to make herself, too. She has a soft spot for Dr. Freddie Preston ( Walter Byron ), but everyone at the hospital, except herself, knows that he is a playboy who likes to fondle the nurses behind closed doors. She wishes he would care about his profession more. She dislikes Dr. Barclay but nevertheless admires him for his work ethics. When he saves one of her patients using a skillful and untested surgical technique, her opinion of the doctor changes....and she realizes that Dr. Freddie may not be the man for her after all. 
Once to Every Woman is quite an odd and forgettable title to this really enjoyable Pre-Code film. It could have been called Miss Fanshawe's Dilemma or A Day in Ward K because most of the action takes place within the confines of the hospital ward in the span of one day. The physician and novelist A.J. Cronin, who was famous for writing "The Citadel" and "The Green Years", wrote the short story that this film was based on - "Kaleidoscope in K" ( another misleading title ). 

Director Lambert Hillyer had a long and prolific career at Columbia Pictures. During his heyday, he was turning out anywhere from 4-10 films per year, mostly westerns. Once to Every Woman is not a nail-biting melodrama, but Hillyer never lets it get boring and its 70-minute runtime moves along swiftly. 
Also in the cast is Mary Carlisle, J. Farrell MacDonald and Ben Alexander. Once to Every Woman has not yet been released on DVD but is available online to stream. 

Saturday, July 18, 2020

The Impossibly Difficult Name that Movie Game

Look at all those bicyclists! The young and old alike are enjoying a good pedal around town. Can you remember which film this screenshot is taken from? If you can, then drop the title in the comment box below and, if you guess correctly, you win a prize! 

Want to read more rules to the game? Just click here

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Magic Couples of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Movies have always reflected the hopes and dreams of the public, especially in terms of romance. Since almost every movie genre - from mysteries to swashbucklers, from war to love stories - features a leading man and a woman, it is not surprising that thousands of different screen couples exist on film. Only a relatively few couples created real magic, and of these, a surprising number worked for MGM.

At the studio with "more stars than there are in heaven," Louis B. Mayer and Irving Thalberg acted as divine matchmakers. If a couple proved successful in a film, it was likely they would be recast as a team, especially if they were both under contract to MGM. Thalberg, for example, noticed a chemistry between Joan Crawford and Clark Gable when they co-starred for the first time in Dance, Fools, Dance ( 1931 ). He set the story department to finding scripts that would suit the two actors. Subsequently, Crawford and Gable made eight films together, in most of which she played the working girl who rose to fame and glamour, and he was the rugged he-man who loved her. Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney, the perennial happy-go-lucky teenagers, co-starred in nine MGM movies. And Myrna Loy and William Powell, the quintessential happily married couple of the forties, made thirteen films together in as many years. 

What made a great screen couple? The answer is as difficult to determine as it is to explain what makes a relationship work in real life. Like all great lovers, screen couples exude mystery and wonder. "We're inevitable, " John Gilbert tells Greta Garbo in Queen Christina ( 1934 ), "Don't you feel it?" She does and so do we. Great lovers always seem inevitable, part kismet, and part coincidence. 

Casting two actors together creates a third entity, a single ideal. And no movie studio in the world paired couples together with as much frequency as MGM. In some cases, screen couples served to perpetuate a series, such as Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O'Sullivan in the Tarzan films, or Lew Ayres and Laraine Day in a succession of Dr. Kildare episodes. But the great MGM screen couples came to symbolize a singular aspect of romance: Greta Garbo and John Gilbert ( Temptation ); Clark Gable and Jean Harlow ( Lust ); Joan Crawford and Clark Gable ( Glamour ); Myrna Loy and William Powell ( Sophistication ); Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy ( Sentimental Love ); Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney ( Good, Clean Fun ); Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon ( Enduring Love ); Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn ( Mutual Admiration ). 

Perhaps the popularity of these couples can be attributed to moviegoers' longing for the romantic ideals these costars projected on the screen. Certainly, their popularity also was a reflection of the times. Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy sang sentimental arias to each other, lavishly adorned in period costumes, while the world suffered through the Great Depression. Their love was always chaste and their relationship was as idealized as someone like Louis B. Mayer couple imagine. In Mrs. Miniver ( 1942 ), Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon stoically endured the hardships of World War II. ( Winston Churchill said that the movie did more for the war effort than a fleet of destroyers ). But the common bond and the lasting appeal of the majority of screen couples from this era also had to do with equality of the sexes. 
We may think of the liberated woman as a phenomenon of the seventies, but just look at the female characters of the thirties and forties. They were women who stood up to their men; Women who could wisecrack, work, even fight, if necessary, for the things they wanted and for the men they loved. They were equal partners in solving a crime, running a business, singing duets, or dancing on Broadway. These women held their own with men in the bedroom, the boardroom, and even the barroom, when necessary. In a classic scene from The Thin Man ( 1934 ), Myrna Loy discovers that William Powell has consumed six martinis, and tells the waiter, "....bring me five more martinis, Leo, and line they right up here."

These women matched their men, drink for drink, or any other way, and the men loved them for it. 

The influence of MGM's screen couples continues today on late-night television and in video rental stores, where these movies of yesteryear are still popular, reinforcing the fantasies created by Hollywood's most powerful dream machine. Obviously, we still want to believe that, in real life, Loy and Powell or Garson and Pidgeon stay happily married for decades. "Ah! Sweet mystery of life, " as Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy would croon. And the mystery was this: Why can't real life work like the movies?

- Peter Hay

The above article was an excerpt from "MGM: When the Lion Roars", written by Peter Hay and published by Turner Publishing Inc ( 1991 ). 

Thursday, July 9, 2020

From the Archives: The Treasure of Lost Canyon ( 1952 )

Catch that chicken, Mr. Powell!!

The Treasure of Lost Canyon is one of those films that get lost among all of the other features that came out in the early 1950s, but it really is quite a treasure in itself. Its a sweet family film about a country doctor who adopts an orphan boy and their quest for a lost treasure chest of gold coins. The story was based upon Robert Louis Stevenson's "The Treasure of Franchard". 

From the Archives is our latest series of posts where we share photos from the Silverbanks Pictures collection. Some of these may have been sold in the past, and others may still be available for purchase at our eBay store :

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Book Review: Harryhausen - The Lost Movies

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of stop-motion special effects maestro Ray Harryhausen. I've been enjoying re-watching many of his films throughout the year but doubly entertaining is discovering all the wonderful books written about Harryhausen and his work. 

A recent find is Harryhausen-The Lost Movies written by John Walsh. This glossy 188-page book from Titan Books is packed with illustrations, storyboard sketches, posters and photographs that shed some light on the nearly 70 film projects that Ray Harryhausen began but never completed. These were ideas that were conceived but never quite made it to the incubation stage. 

Some of them are really quite fascinating - The Time Machine ( 1954 ), King of Geniis ( 1969 ) and Conan ( 1969 ). Also interesting are the projects that Ray Harryhausen turned down - Moby Dick ( creating the whale model of Moby Dick for the 1956 film version ) and Night of the Demon ( 1959 ). 

The title is a little misleading because the book is mainly comprised of "Unused Ideas" and were not films that were lost overtime - merely potential projects that went unrealized. But, title confusion aside, Harryhausen - The Lost Movies ( $39.95 ) makes a great addition to the library of any Harryhausen fan. 

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea ( 1961 )

"Dive! Dive!"

Film producer/director Irwin Allen let audiences dive deep into the waters of adventure with Voyage of the Bottom of the Sea, his second of three feature films that he made at 20th Century Fox studios in the early 1960s. Prior to gaining a reputation as "The Master of Disaster" because of his disaster-themed films of the 1970s, Allen tried his hand at writing, producing and directing adventure pictures. His first production for Fox - Lost World ( 1960 ) - was co-written by Charles Bennett and its success at the box-office led to the two men collaborating on another Jules Vernes-like story. They took some inspiration from "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" and created a clever story about a modern era atomic submarine 

Walter Pidgeon stars as the cigar-chomping Admiral Nelson, inventor and commander of the newly-built atomic sub Seaview. The Seaview is on diving trials in the Arctic Ocean when they discover boulder-size pieces of ice crashing into the sea around them. They surface and find that temperatures are over 100 degrees and the sky is aflame. A meteor shower had pierced the Van Allen radiation belt and caused it to catch on fire. Admiral Nelson and his right-hand man, Commodore Emery ( Peter Lorre ) believe that the Earth can be saved from burn-up if a missile were to be shot into the Van Allen belt to create an explosion. According to their calculations, this missile can only be launched from the Mariana Islands, and so the Seaview races to the south to reach the islands before the entire world burns. 
Along for the ride is Dr. Susan Hiller ( Joan Fontaine ), a psychologist who is studying crews for their reaction to stress, Vice-Admiral B.J. Crawford ( John Litel ), and Congressman Parker ( Howard McNear ). The voyage progresses smoothly until doubts begin to arise in the mind of Captain Lee Crane ( Robert Sterling ) as to whether the admiral is making a sound and safe decision. Lt. Connors ( Barbara Eden ) has complete faith in the admiral but cannot explain the unusual happenings onboard the Seaview...acts of sabotage that appear to be of Admiral Nelson's doing. 
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea is a fun adventure flick packed with action. The race-against-time element makes the story exciting enough, but Allen threw in a touch of mystery with the added story of the saboteur. There are also two octopus attacks and a great mine-field sequence. 

The Van Allen radiation belts had only recently been discovered when Irwin Allen began writing Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and so much about them was still unknown. The idea of the Van Allen belt catching on fire was later proven to be impossible, but at the time, it probably sent shivers down audiences thinking about it being an actual possibility. 

Even though most of the film takes place within the confines of the Seaview, the film never feels stagebound. The sets, created by Herman Blumenthal, were very imaginative ( they were later reused for the television series ). The Seaview itself is an especially good design. 
Irwin Allen plunged $1.5 million dollars into the making of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and it paid off handsomely. Critics gave the picture mixed reviews but audiences loved it and the movie raked in over $8 million dollars. 

Teen singing-sensation Frankie Avalon helped to lure in the young female audience. His part was not very dramatic and, surprisingly, he didn't sing in the film but you can hear his voice crooning the opening credits. 

Also in the cast was Michael Ansara ( who fell in love with and married Eden after making the movie ), Regis Toomey, Henry Daniell, Skip Ward and Mark Slade. 

Friday, June 19, 2020

From the Archives: Gun for a Coward ( 1956 )

Janice Rule is clinging to her newly-found boyfriend Jeffrey Hunter in this publicity photo for "Gun for a Coward" ( 1956 ), an entertaining western from Universal Pictures. Fred MacMurray was the star of the film but this handsome young couple provided all of the romantic interest. 

From the Archives is our latest series of posts where we share photos from the Silverbanks Pictures collection. Some of these may have been sold in the past, and others may still be available for purchase at our eBay store :

Friday, June 12, 2020

The Impossibly Difficult Name that Movie Game

This seems like a photo of two rather stuffy but industrious looking gentlemen - or are they not what they seem? Are they crooks? I'll let you figure that one out as you ponder which film this screenshot was taken from. 

If you have no idea what this game is about, simply click on this link here for the rules and the prizes. 

Sunday, May 31, 2020

British Pathe - Bottle Gardens ( 1965 )

Live in an apartment? Don't have room for a garden? Start a bottle garden! That's what the chap in this 1965 British Pathé newsreel did. 
All you need is a large bottle, dirt, plants, and a teaspoon on a stick, and you'll be growing a tropical garden in no time at all. You'll probably need a little patience, too, to "drop" the plants in properly but they look quite lovely when they are displayed all in a row. 

Supposedly, bottle gardens date back to Victorian times when the bottles were used to transport the flowers in ships from exotic locations to England. If you decorate them with a bow, they would probably make a great gift as well! Why give someone a bouquet of flowers when you can give them a garden? 

Ready to watch Bottle Gardens? Simply click on the link below: 

Bottle Gardens ( 1965 ) - 1:49 minutes

Similar British Pathé newsreels: 

Garden without Soil ( 1950 ) - 1:38 minutes

Roof Flower Garden ( 1958 ) - 1:24 minutes

Carnation Farm ( 1966 ) - 2:08 minutes

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Nugget Reviews - 26

It is has been long, long time since we have shared some nugget reviews, so we are starting up that series once again with a motley assortment of American and British classics. 

Chasing Yesterday ( 1935 ) 14k

Sylvestre Bonnard, a Parisian bibliophile, is in search of an old and rare book that he and his long-lost love once tore a page from. He travels to her country estate and discovers that she had a daughter, who has only recently become an orphan. Sylvestre attempts to adopt her after he meets with her cruel and miserly guardian. Anne Shirley, O.P. Heggie, Elizabeth Patterson, Etienne Girardot. Directed by George Nicholls Jr., RKO Pictures. 

When I first heard about this story I thought it was about an old man who fell in love with a teenage girl and I stayed cleared of it for many years, but I should have known that RKO would only put out wholesome fare with their favorite child actress - Anne Shirley. It is really a sweet film and O.P. Heggie is adorable as the Parisian book lover. Simple 1930s entertainment, but enjoyable. 


Moment to Moment ( 1966 ) 14k 

A married woman meets a handsome young sailor while vacationing on the French Riviera and, while attempting to break up their affair, accidentally shoots him. Together with her neighbor, she disposes of his body over a cliff but quickly finds the police on her doorstep asking questions. Jean Seberg, Sean Garrison, Honor Blackman, Arthur Kennedy. Directed by Mervyn LeRoy. Universal Pictures. 

Alfred Hitchcock was the master of suspense films throughout the 1950s and 1960s but director Mervyn LeRoy clearly gave him some competition with this production. Moment to Moment is classified as a "psychological thriller" which means if you like cat-and-mouse detective films you'll love this one. It has a clever twist at the end, features beautiful on-location filming in France, a lush Henry Mancini score, and who can resist pretty Jean Seberg? Especially when she gets to have a romance with a John Gavin look-a-like!


The Franchise Affair ( 1951 ) 14k

A lawyer is called to defend two women who are accused of kidnapping and imprisoning a young schoolgirl in their house. Michael Denison, Ann Stephens, Dulcie Gray, Marjorie Fielding. Directed by Lawrence Huntington. Associated British-Pathe. 

The British always had such great scriptwriters! This film has a simple plot and yet it is so engrossing. Two spinsters are accused of kidnapping a schoolgirl...everyone in town believes they did it, all the evidence points towards them, and yet Michael Denison believes them innocent ( and so does the audience ). So what is going on? A good mystery, that's what. 

Tarzan the Magnificent ( 1960 ) Eltc.

Tarzan must escort a prisoner out of the jungle in order that he can claim the reward, however, the prisoner's father and brother are hot in pursuit and are bent on killing Tarzan. Gordon Scott, Charles Tingwell, Lionel Jeffries, Betta St. John. Directed by Robert Day. Paramount Pictures. 

Ever since Johnny Weismuller first donned the loincloth as the jungle man Tarzan, he was a good box-office drawer throughout the 1930s-1950s. By the 1960s, Weismuller was showing his age, so Gordon Scott took over the role and quite admirably, too. This film had great African location filming, a good cast ( Lionel Jeffries is always a delight ) but unfortunately, the script was too simple. It was mainly a chase between the bad guys and the good guys. 


Easy to Love ( 1953 ) 14k

An overworked and underpaid performer at Cypress Gardens finally decides to leave her boss and have a fling in New York City, but then discovers that she loves her boss and wishes to return. Esther Williams, Van Johnson, Tony Martin, Edna Skinner. Directed by Charles Walters. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. 

Who can resist a Esther Williams film? They're colorful, comical and often feature some great musical numbers, too. Easy to Love has a particularly catchy-tune performed by Tony Martin: "That's What a Rainy Day is For".  It's a jolly fun film and the water-skiing finale at Cypress Gardens is uber impressive. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

From the Archives: Flight from Ashiya ( 1964 )

Yul Brynner was such a good actor and he made a number of great films. He gave an especially good performance in this picture - Flight from Ashiya ( 1964 ) - as the pilot of a U.S Air Force Rescue Service helicopter who, in the midst of a storm, must rescue survivors from a shipwreck.  I read the novel ( written by Elliott Arnold ) back in school and always loved the excitement of the story. 

From the Archives is our latest series of posts where we share photos from the Silverbanks Pictures collection. Some of these may have been sold in the past, and others may still be available for purchase at our eBay store :

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Classics for Comfort - Five Favorite Comfort Films

Comfort Films was the chosen theme for this year's Classic Movie Blog Association spring blogathon and what a perfect choice it is! With most people confined to their homes because of Covid-19, we are turning to our favorite old films for some comfort. 

A whole bunch of titles popped into my mind at the mere thought of comfort films but then I got to thinking, just what is a "comfort film"? Is it a film you turn to for merriment? Is it a film that allows you to cry freely, or is it a film that brings to mind old and cherished memories? For as many definitions as there are of the word comfort, there are films that will fill that need, but thankfully, we are limited to only five choices for this event! 

The Chalk Garden ( 1964 ) - Emotionally Satisfying

There are a LOT of films that I find emotionally satisfying but this one really fills a need. I haven't figured out yet just what that "need" is, but I feel so happy and sooo comfortable when I get to sit back with a cup of tea and enjoy The Chalk Garden. It is probably one of my most well-worn DVDs and what I love about the disc is it's one of those that loops around when the film ends, so I get to enjoy the opening credits ( and Sir Malcolm Arnold's lush score ) all over again right after the film ends. 
Enid Bagnold's play is rich with hidden meaning and crisp biting dialogue. On the surface, it is a story about a young teenager ( Hayley Mills ) who attempts to delve into her new governess' mysterious past and expose her secrets so that her grandmother ( Edith Evans ) can fire her. "Everyone has something in their past. Some dark and terrible secret, " she explains. Along with the butler Maitland ( John Mills ), she relishes crime stories, so this is quite a fun challenge for her, but the latest governess proves to be quite a hard nut to crack. That is the plot on the surface, but beneath it, Bagnold touches on so many different facets of life, sharing wisdom about honesty, trust, relationships, independence, and love. We all have our own chalk gardens that we are not tending to. 

The cat-and-mouse aspect of the film is also strangely satisfying. With the first viewing, you are anxious to see whether Miss Madrigal will expose Laurel's deep secrets before her own are exposed, but with subsequent viewings, it is more entertaining to watch the relationship that develops between these "beloved enemies". Laurel later discovers that her perceived enemy turns out to be her dearest friend...another valuable life lesson that many of us learn in time. 

If you like this one then you'd also enjoy Marnie, another psychological thriller. This one is from the master of suspense - Alfred Hitchcock. I'm a nut for real thought-provoking dramas. 

Read my full review of The Chalk Garden here. 

Miss Marple Mysteries - Rainy Day Comfort

On some days you just want to sit back and enjoy a rainy day with an old friend, and what better old friend than Miss Marple? I'm referring to the Margaret Rutherford mysteries, of course. Agatha Christie fans can argue till their face is blue that Rutherford was nothing at all like the Miss Marple of the novels, but I love her for precisely that reason - she made the character uniquely her own. 

There were four Miss Marple films made between 1961-1965, all staring the indomitable Ms. Rutherford and her husband Stringer Davis. Murder She Said launched the series and remains one of the best, but all the others are entertaining in their own way. Murder at the Gallop ( 1963 ) takes place at a riding establishment, Murder Ahoy ( 1964 ) on a ship, and Murder Most Foul ( 1965 ) in a theater. 
Ron Goodwin's catchy theme music puts a smile on my face every time and, if it's an especially rainy morning, these are great films to play on the tele while you take forty winks.

Read my full review of the Miss Marple Mysteries here

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir - ( 1948 ) - Romantic Mushy Comfort

We all need our occasional dose of romantic mush. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is wonderful because it isn't your usual love story - it is about a widow ( Gene Tierney ) who falls in love with the ghost of a sea captain ( Rex Harrison ) in a coastal town in England in the 1900s. The film is beautifully filmed, atmospheric, has a great Bernard Herrmann score, and what I like best about it is the setting - Whitecliff by the Sea. The movie was actually filmed in Monterey, California, but it seems so quintessentially British. 
If you like this one, too, then you have to check out The Loves of Joanna Godden, a British film which was released the same year and is also set in 1900s England. My sister and I only recently discovered this Edwardian gem and it has already been viewed six times over. Like The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, it spans time in segments and features an independent single woman as its main character. It is quickly becoming our new comfort film favorite. 

Read my full review of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir here. 

Blue Hawaii ( 1961 ) - Sick-in-Bed Comfort/Cheers-me-up Comfort

Another form of comfort that movies provide is distraction. When that beef stew unsettles your tummy, then it's nice to crawl into bed and let it grumble aloud while you watch a colorful film that takes your mind off of your stomach...and Blue Hawaii is just what the doctor ordered. It was filmed on location in beautiful blue Hawaii at the height of the tourist season and is packed with music, good humor, a bevy of bathing beauties, and the "King of Rock 'n Roll" himself, Elvis Presley. This film has long been my bedside remedy for any kind of ailment and it never fails to provide a good dose of comfort. 

The Trouble with Angels ( 1966 ) - Soul-Satisfying

Lastly, and most importantly, we all need a little soul nourishment. The Trouble with Angels always brings a smile to my heart and my soul. Hayley Mills and June Harding play two mischievous school girls who are forced to attend an all-girls Catholic school in Pennslyvania. The school is run by the stern-faced ( but warm-hearted ) Mother Superior played by Rosalind Russell. 

The film spans all four years in the girl's school life and, in wonderful little vignettes, reveals their comedic escapades throughout the terms. This would make it just a great comedy but what adds depth to the film is the drama as Hayley Mills comes to understand Mother Superior and decides for herself that she wants a relationship with God more than anything else. 
After countless viewings, I'm always discovering subtle touches in the story, the filming, and especially the acting. It always makes me cry and wonder anew at how beautiful life is. This was the last film that Ida Lupino directed and certainly her best. Sadly, actress June Harding passed away just a few months ago. 

Read my full review of The Trouble with Angels here. 

This post was my contribution to the Classics for Comfort Blogathon being hosted by the Classic Movie Blog Association. How would you define a comfort film? Check out this link here to read about all the films that other classic film fans considered to give them comfort.  

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

The Impossibly Difficult Name that Movie Game

Don't you love films that feature telephone booths? Fortunately, there were heaps of them made, Unfortunately, that makes solving this puzzle mighty tricky.....but that's the reason I included the shot with the man in it. If you recognize him, you might recognize the movie. :-) 

If you have no idea what this game is about, simply click on this link here for the rules and the prizes. 


Congratulations to Vienna for correctly identifying this screenshot from She Played with Fire aka Fortune is a Woman ( 1957 ) starring Jack Hawkins and Arlene Dahl. In this scene, Bernard Miles is playing the middle-man to a blackmailer and telling his prey where to meet him for the money exchange. 

Saturday, May 16, 2020

6 From the '60s - Favorite Films of the 1960s

Back in March, Rick of the Classic Film and TV Cafe announced the subject for the annual National Classic Movie Day blogathon - 6 From the '60s - and what fun it has been trying to narrow down the choices to only six favorites.

My sister and I were first introduced to classic movies through the films of the 1960s since this was the decade that our father loved the most growing up in. He started us off on children's classics from this time period and then worked us back to his favorites from the 1950s and then 1940s. Most of my personal favorite films have ended up being the ones from the 1960s as well, so it was difficult to choose only six. These are not what anyone would call "top recommendations" or "best films" of the 1960s - they are just six favorites that are especially dear to me ( and I am sure to many others as well ). 


Send Me No Flowers ( 1964 ) 

How can one write about favorite films of the 1960s and not even think about Rock Hudson and Doris Day! This lovely couple practically started a whole new genre of "bedroom comedies". Of the four films that they made together, Send Me No Flowers is probably the most underrated. Rock Hudson plays a man who thinks he is dying and, with the aid of his friend Tony Randall, plots to find a husband for his wife Doris Day after he is gone. This was the film that introduced me to Doris Day and it has always remained my favorite. The suburban setting is marvelous, the dialogue is very witty and the comedic delivery of this dialogue from all the main actors is what makes this such a gem. The main title theme song - performed by Day of course - is happiness itself.  

Favorite Scene: The country club dance, especially when Burt ( Clint Walker ) begins to dance with Judy and steps on her toes!

Good Neighbor Sam ( 1964 )

And speaking of suburban is another underrated gem that features some beautiful suburban ranch sets. Good Neighbor Sam showcases Jack Lemmon in one of the funniest roles he ever played. Sam ( Lemmon ) and his wife Min ( Dorothy Provine ) help her old school friend Janice ( Romy Schneider ) move in next door. When Janice discovers that she inherited $15 million from a long-lost uncle, they naturally help her claim her inheritance - which includes proving that she is still happily married. The catch is, she isn't. So Sam pretends to be her husband and things work well until her real ex-husband shows up! I've watched this film countless times and never tire of it. It's chock full of familiar character actors from film and television, including Edward G. Robinson, Edward Andrews, Louis Nye, Charles Lane, and Joyce Jameson. The location scenes around San Francisco are great, Romy Schneider never looked more alluring and the whole plot idea of a woman "loaning" her husband to her best friend is too much fun. 

Favorite Scene: When Sam spends the evening at Janice's house, eats a steak dinner, and then comes home and pretends he hasn't eaten, only to be fed burnt macaroni and cheese ( "Here's some more of that crust that you love" ). 

The Pink Panther ( 1963 ) 

Now, this is a real childhood favorite and one that's probably a favorite for many. Heist films were all the rage in the 1960s, but The Pink Panther is great because it is played for laughs. David Niven makes such a debonair jewel thief ( he also starred in the original Raffles ) and the beautiful location setting of the film ( in Paris, Cortina d'Ampezzo and Rome ) really make this a delight. My sister and I loved watching this on winter evenings when we were youngsters. Peter Sellars made the character of Inspector Clouseau so lovably bumbling that he reprised the role in four more films. 

Favorite Scene: The informal dinner party at the Princess' mountain lodge. Sir Charles thinks he is going to have a private dinner with the princess and then discovers that it is a party affair. 

The Parent Trap ( 1961 ) 

No favorite list of mine would be complete without a Hayley Mills film included and, in this case, there are two - both from Walt Disney Studios. The Parent Trap tells the story of twin sisters who were separated at birth and meet up at a summer camp by accident. They then switch places with each other in order to meet the parent they never knew. This was the movie that launched Hayley Mills career in Hollywood. She was such a talented child actress and she plays both parts so well that you really DO believe that there are twins in this movie! 

Most favorite films are chosen for a reason and, in my case, location settings have a lot to do with why I enjoy a certain movie. The Parent Trap was filmed in and around beautiful Big Bear Lake in California and at the Walt Disney ranch and these sets conjure up wonderful summer feelings of camping, hiking, and being out in the woods. Since they are a family of two sisters and a mother and father, it also makes me think of my own home life...especially Saturday evenings with my mom cooking stew in the kitchen. 

Favorite Scene: There are too many favorite scenes in this movie, but the stew scene does stand out as one of the tops. This is when Mitch ( Keith ) and the twins come back from a camping trip with Vicki and Mitch sees Maggie ( O'Hara ) in the kitchen making stew. It reminds him of the old days when they were married and he realizes that he still loves her and wants to marry her again. 

That Darn Cat ( 1965 ) 

This Disney classic was made when Hayley was a few years older and this acted as a nice transition film for her. She was no longer a child star and not quite ready for adult roles. In the film, she plays Patty, a teenager who has a bent for getting into trouble. Her cat comes home one night with a wristwatch around its neck and scrawled on its backside are the letters HEL. Patty believes it belongs to a kidnapped woman who was trying to write "help" and so she enlists the aid of the FBI and her cat becomes an agent. This is a light-hearted mystery comedy and always enjoyable to watch. Walt Disney knew how to pick good talent and the cast in That Darn Cat is especially great - Dean Jones as the FBI agent, Dorothy Provine as Patty's sister, Frank Gorshin as one of the criminals, William Demarest and Elsa Lancaster as the neighbors, and Roddy McDowall as an obnoxious coworker. 

Favorite Scene: When Zeke ( Dean Jones ) tracks "DC" the cat around the town and follows her into the drive-in movie theatre where Patty and her boyfriend ( Tom Lowell ) happen to be watching a surfing film. 
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang ( 1968 ) 

Ian Fleming's classic story about a magical motorcar was brought to the big screen by Albert "Cubby" Broccoli in an attempt to mimic a Walt Disney film. He hired the best crew, including the Sherman Brothers to compose such a wonderful score, and created quite an entertaining musical. This is another childhood favorite that I simply cannot resist. Although, I must admit that the first half of the film is what intrigues me the most. Once Professor Potts and his family arrive at the castle of Baron Bomburst the story is primarily fantasy. Nevertheless, it is a favorite I never tire of. Sally Ann Howes is "truly scrumptious" and, once again, the settings are beautiful. The movie was shot on location in France, Germany, and England ( at a windmill that Hayley Mills later purchased for herself ). This film also reminds me of my own childhood and seeing the children wait while their father repairs the car, brings back fond memories of hearing my dad clanking away in the garage repairing automobiles. 

Favorite Scene: When Sally Ann Howes sings "A Lovely Lonely Man" on the grounds of her mansion ( which happens to be Heatherton Hall at Pinewood Studios ). 

So there you have it....six favorites from the 1960s. And not a single drama in the lot!

It was very difficult making a choice of only six films for this blogathon, especially because The Comfort Films Blogathon is next week and so many of these titles would have been repeated for that list. So, because of that, favorites like The Chalk Garden, Blue Hawaii, and the Miss Marple Mysteries were omitted. Other runner-ups include It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World ( 1963 ), The Ghost and Mr. Chicken ( 1966 ), The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie ( 1968 ) and First Men in the Moon ( 1964 ). 

Be sure to check out other film fan favorites from this blogathon by clicking the link here. 

Thank you, Rick, for picking such a swell topic for this year's National Classic Movie Day blogathon!

Thursday, April 30, 2020

From the Archives: The Kentuckian ( 1955 )

Lovely Diana Lynn poses as Susie Spann in this publicity photo from the MGM western drama The Kentuckian ( 1955 ) starring Burt Lancaster. 

From the Archives is our latest series of posts where we share photos from the Silverbanks Pictures collection. Some of these may have been sold in the past, and others may still be available for purchase at our eBay store :

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Eddie Albert and Earth Day

Oliver Wendell Douglas, the hapless gentleman farmer of the television sitcom Green Acres ( 1965-1971 ), loved the Earth dearly and never grew tired of talking about the miracle of how little tiny seeds planted in the ground would begin to grow stretching their arms toward the sun, eventually shooting - or "shoosting into the sky" as his wife Lisa Douglas would say - into tall corn plants. This character was very much like the actor who portrayed him - Eddie Albert - a man who was deeply committed to the environment. 

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of Earth Day, a day that Eddie Albert helped to inaugurate. And it is no coincidence that April 22nd also happens to be this actor's birthday. 

Eddie Albert had a long career acting in film ( Brother Rat, Roman Holiday ), theatre ( The Music Man ), and television that spanned nearly sixty years. In 1965, Albert accepted the role of Oliver Wendell Douglas for the new CBS sitcom Green Acres. He had previously turned down the leads in My Three Sons and Mister Ed, but when his agent told him of this new idea about a "city slicker who comes to the country to escape the frustrations of city living", Albert jumped at the role - "Swell, that's me. Everyone gets tired of the rat race. Everyone would like to chuck it all and grow some carrots. It's basic. Sign me."

It is difficult to define how much of Mr. Douglas was the written character and how much was Eddie Albert himself. Albert had studied organic farming methods long before it was fashionable, and the front yard of his Pacific Palisades home stood out from its neighbors with its cornstalks, tomato vines, and other vegetables flourishing in place of a manicured lawn. He also helped to bring gardens to inner cities throughout the United States when he founded the City Children's Farms. 
Outside of acting, Albert had a broad range of interests and accomplishments. An adventurer in his youth, he once bought a boat and sailed around California and Mexico, where he later joined a circus as a trapeze artist. After service in the Pacific during World War II ( he was awarded the Bronze Star for saving 70 Marines in the bloody battle of Tarawa ), he joined Dr. Albert Schweitzer in the Congo to help make educational films that brought awareness to the public about the conditions of malnutrition that existed in third-world countries. 

Throughout the 1960s and 70s, he actively fought agricultural and industrial pollution and shared his opinions on various talk shows about the disgraceful treatment of our planet's natural resources. TV Guide once described him as an "ecological Paul Revere," to which the actor responded, "Ecologist, hell! Too mild a word. Check the Department of Agriculture; 60% of the world is hungry already. With our soil impoverished, our air poisoned, our wildlife crippled by DDT, our rivers and lakes turning into giant cesspools, and mass starvation an apparent inevitability by 1976, I call myself a human survivalist!"

It became his lifelong crusade to raise awareness about pollution and pesticides and, through his endeavors, he helped to ban the use of the pesticide DDT. He lectured everywhere, from high schools to industrial conventions, and even produced films to aid in campaigns against pollution. He founded the Eddie Albert World Trees Foundation, chaired the Boy Scouts of America's conversation program, and was a world envoy for Meals for Millions. 

Of all his interests outside acting, Albert is best known for being a humanitarian and environmentalist and it is this work that led to Senator Gaylord Nelson's founding of Earth Day in 1970. As early as 1962, the senator had hoped to create a grassroots movement that would highlight the needs of the planet. In honor of Eddie Albert's work, he chose April 22nd, Albert's birthday, to be the day we celebrate the Earth. Eddie attended the inauguration ceremony for that first Earth Day and, for the remainder of his life, he always delighted in celebrating the Earth in place of his birthday. 

Sunday, April 19, 2020

The Price of Fear - BBC Radio Serial

In July 1973, BBC Radio aired "Remains to be Seen", the first episode of The Price of Fear, a newly written radio series that featured the voice of the master of macabre - Vincent Price. 

This late-night horror anthology serial featured 30-minute tales of spine-tingling drama penned by some of the most popular authors of the day. Each episode was introduced with a shrill violin theme followed by Price's euphonious voice welcoming listeners with "Hello, there..."

John Dyas, the producer of the series, was good friends with Vincent Price and his wife Coral Browne and came up with the idea of having Price host a radio series that would echo the classic horror programs of the 1930s and 1940s. "Merely to cast Vincent as narrator would have been all too easy," says Dyas. "My intention was to make the series far more personalized, to involve Vincent in the action, to make him a participant, even a helpless onlooker of the dreadful events we would concoct for him."*

Vincent Price loved the concept and embraced the opportunity to work in radio again. Beginning in 1936, Price had a long career in the medium and was featured in nearly 1000 episodes ranging from suspense programs like Escape and Suspense, to dramas such as Lux Radio Theatre, to guest appearances in comedies such as The Jack Benny Show. Price is probably known for being the voice of The Saint between 1947-1949. 

BBC initially aired five episodes of The Price of Fear nightly in the summer of 1973 and these proved to be so popular that an additional five stories were ordered for the fall season. The series continued in 1974 and 1975 and then was brought back in 1983, this time with Price acting solely as a narrator. 

The first-episode cast gathering during a break: Mervyn Johns, William Ingram, Diana Bishop, Robin Browne, Avril Angers, Vincent Price, Clive Swift, and Michael Gwynne. 

The series was delightfully eerie and Price injected his own tongue-in-cheek humor into the narrative which made them doubly enjoyable. The stories were also unique because of the writing talent involved. Science-fiction and detective novelists like Robert Arthur, Charles Birken, William Ingram, and Stanley Ellin all helped contribute highly imaginative stories of phantom encounters, bizarre love triangles, and spooky tales of revenge. 

Listeners with keen ears will recognize the voices of some of the actors, many of whom were popular in British television. 

Below are three episodes from The Price of Fear. To listen to all 22 episodes and to read more behind-the-scenes info about this series, check out The Sound of Vincent Price website. 

Lot 132 ( 10/6/73 )

Price sells a portrait of Nathaniel Blackwell that he purchased at an auction to a friend who then ax-murders his family! Before he can regain the painting it is sold again and Vincent worries that he may not be able to track it down before another murder occurs. 

The Waxwork ( 10/13/73 )

Price recalls the time he met writer Raymond Hewson, who died under mysterious circumstances while spending the night in a Baker Street waxworks museum.

Specialty of the House ( 4/13/74 )

Vincent Price has a fondness for Lamb Amirstan, the "specialty of the house" at Sbirros, an exclusive New York restaurant. Is it just a coincidence that every time this dish is served one of the restaurant's regular customers disappears? 

* From an article by Peter Fuller, published on The Sound of Vincent Price.

This post is part of The Vincent Price Blogathon being hosted by Realweegiemidget Reviews and Cinematic Catharsis. Click here to read more articles about Vincent Price - Enjoy! 

Friday, April 17, 2020

The Bat ( 1959 )

"When it flies, someone dies!" 

Mystery writer Cornelia Van Gorder ( Agnes Moorehead ) has just rented a secluded country estate known as "the Oaks" and finds herself involved in a real-life mystery when she learns that one million dollars has been stolen from the local bank and the loot is believed to be hidden somewhere in the Oaks. Cornelia and her houseguests decide to hunt for the money but need to act quickly because a masked killer known as "The Bat" desperately wants to find it himself and he prowls the house at night in search of the money!

"The Bat" was originally written in 1920 by America's foremost mystery writer Mary Roberts Rinehart. The novel was an enticing mixture of mystery, horror, and comedy. It was one of the first stories to feature an "old dark house" mystery with its creaky mansion, secret passageways, hidden money, and mysterious masked killer, and it spawned a whole genre of similarly themed stories and films, including The Cat and the Canary. 

"The Bat" was so popular it was made into a play by Avery Hopwood and Rinehart that same year and ran for 867 performances on Broadway. Roland West brought it to the screen in 1926 with Emily Fitzroy and Louise Fazenda playing the leads. This silent horror film caused quite a sensation in its time, so in 1930, with the advent of sound, Roland West decided to duplicate its success by filming another version, cleverly calling this remake The Bat Whispers. Grace Hampton starred as Ms. Van Gorder with Maude Eburne playing her maid Lizzie and Chester Morris as Lt. Anderson. 
The Bat Whispers was notable for inspiring Bob Kane to create his own masked character based on the Bat - Batman. His comic hero not only had a similar name but also dressed in black, wore a cape and used the Bat's famous batwing logo silhouetted against a circle of light. 

"There's a storm comin' up and it's gonna be a snorter!"

Allied Artists 1959 release of The Bat was the third remake and, as the old saying goes, "third time's a charm". This budget production is a fun adaptation chock-full of red-herrings, inventive story twists, and clues that you can puzzle out for yourself. It's perfect entertainment for a dark and stormy night and, like a corny drive-in film, you can watch it over and over and never tire of it. This is in no small part due to the presence of its two leading actors - Vincent Price and Agnes Moorehead. These legends always gave 100% to all of their performances and they lend this minor production a touch of class. 

Agnes Moorehead was an exceptional actress. She had a long career in radio where her distinct and highly educated voice was put to good use in thrillers such as "Sorry, Wrong Number" ( Suspense, May 25, 1943 ). She made many films in Hollywood as a supporting player but was rarely given a lead, so it is good to see her in a starring role and Cornelia Van Gorder was a tailor-made part for Moorehead. Ms. Van Gorder is a middle-aged mystery writer with a pithy sense of humor. She's intelligent, strong-willed, and not easily scared by the Bat. "I have a gun - and I know how to use it!", she declares. It would have been nice to see a series of mystery films developed around this character. 

Vincent Price was given top billing even though he plays a secondary role in The Bat, that of the suave and suspicious Dr. Malcolm Wells. Price added a Shakespearian touch to all of his parts that made his characters seem admirable no matter how vile they may be. This quality made him one of the most beloved villains of the silver screen and, throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Price was cast primarily in horror films such as The House of Usher, Tales of Terror and The Mask of Red Death. Dr. Malcolm Wells is not a sinister character but he is cunning. He is also one of the prime suspects in the story, hence, Price's facial expressions and the deliverance of his lines suggest that his character has wicked intentions. 
As far as villains go, the Bat is quite a character himself. He not only terrorizes women but uses a clawed glove to rip their throats. And, like most movie killers, he only strikes at night. 

"Some say the Bat leaves no fingerprints!" - Lizzie
"Well, that's understandable. Having no face he probably has no fingers either." - Cornelia

The Oaks is the perfect setting for a mystery writer and, shortly after the murders begin, Ms. Van Gorder decides to write a story about this "fantastic criminal" and the events that happened over the past week.

Along with Ms. Van Gorder in the house is her faithful maid Lizzie, portrayed by Lenita Lane ( Castle in the Desert ), her reliable chauffeur-turned-butler Warner ( John Sutton ), and a stern housekeeper ( Riza Royce ). Also in the cast is Gavin Gordon as the hard-nosed Lt. Anderson, Harvey Stephens as bank president John Fleming, John Bryant as his nephew Mark, and Darla Hood ( Little Rascals ) and Elaine Edwards as the weekend houseguests. 

Crane Wilbur ( House of Wax ) wrote the screenplay for The Bat and also directed the film. Wilbur was the cousin of Tyrone Power. Directing was not his forte so there are some inconsistencies in the story but he created a tense mysterious atmosphere and the film moves at a swift pace with plenty of excitement in every scene. He also injected the script with a number of twists and many that you are left wondering if the man revealed as the "Bat" at the end of the movie was indeed the same man masquerading as the killer throughout the film. That's one mystery that Crane Wilbur just leaves dangling. 

This post is our contribution to The Vincent Price Blogathon being hosted by Realweegiemidget Reviews. It's a three-day celebration of Price so be sure to check out all of the film reviews and posts here.

Want to see more of Vincent Price? The trailer for The Bat features Vincent Price as a host daring the audience to come and see the film. It's a great teaser!