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!