Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Rewind Review: Those Were the Days ( 1940 )

William Holden displays the good ol' Siwash spirit of horseplay in Paramount Pictures minor wisp of nostalgia Those Were the Days set in the fictional college of Siwash at the turn of the century. 

After getting himself in a scrape that ought to land him six months in jail ( the film proves that collegians were wild hooligans even in 1904 ), Petey Simmons ( Holden ) ardently woos the judge's daughter in order to win favor with her pop ( Vaughn Glaser ) when it comes time for the sentence to be ruled. The hapless youth finds his weasel of a plan backfires when he falls in love with the sparkling lass, played by Bonita Granville. 

Squeaky-voiced Ezra Stone, famous for portraying Henry Aldrich on radio and later directing The Addams Family series, provided ample support to Holden and his hi-jinks. Also cast were Judith Barrett, William Frawley, Richard Denning, and Alan Ladd in a flash one-line part. Those Were the Days aka Good Ol' Siwash was based on the popular Siwash stories written by Knox College alum George Helgeson Fitch.

To promote the film, Paramount's publicity team strapped Jeanne Cagney and William Henry in a 1902 runabout and set them off puttering to a gala hosted by the Los Angeles Horseless Carriage Club.

William Holden started his career at Paramount where he was one of the members of the studio's "Golden Circle" of young players in 1938, along with Susan Hayward, Betty Field, Robert Preston, Patricia Morison, Ellen Drew, Louise Campbell, William Henry, and Evelyn Keyes. Columbia Pictures borrowed Holden for Golden Boy and then returned him to Paramount a star. 

Those Were the Days gave Holden his first star billing and a chance to demonstrate that winsome charisma that would soon launch him to stardom. Alas, that's about all it did. Unlike the splendid A Yank at Oxford ( MGM, 1938 ), the film failed to capture a love for the college nor sympathetic support for its hero. Theodore Reed's direction was sluggish from the start and the script could have used a greater dose of humor and wit. Today, Those Were the Days is forgotten along with good ol' Siwash University. 

This post was originally published on Silver Scenes in July 2014. 

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Film Albums: Connie Francis Sings Award Winning Motion Picture Hits

For this month's Film Albums post, we have a gem of an album from MGM Records: Connie Francis Sings Award-Winning Motion Picture Hits. If you like Connie Francis and you like movie music, you will love this album because there is a nice selection of songs spanning the 1920s to the 1950s all of which are well-suited to Connie Francis' powerful voice. 

In 1961, Billboard Music Week surveyed the world of music listeners and Connie Francis was ranked the number one female vocalist in the world since she had Top Ten hits in 14 countries. Her popularity wasn't surprising. Ms. Francis had a beautiful and very versatile voice and she covered just about every musical genre from rock n' roll to country music, lounge, folk, Latin, and, of course, Italian music. But what she did best were "standards", lovely ballads like Moon River and All the Way...both of which are featured on this album. Also included are songs from the films Pinnochio, The Wizard of Oz, and The Days of Wine and Roses which had just earned composer Henry Mancini the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1963, the same year this album was issued. 

Track Listing

Side One:

Days of Wine and Roses

Secret Love


When You Wish Upon a Star

Whatever Will Be Will Be ( Que Sera Sera )

Over the Rainbow

Side Two:

Moon River

Lullaby of Broadway

You'll Never Know

The Last Time I Saw Paris

High Hopes

The Way You Look Tonight

All the Way

Top Music Picks: Moon River, The Last Time I Saw Paris, High Hopes, The Way You Look Tonight

Click here to listen to the album on Youtube. 

Thursday, May 25, 2023

The Impossibly Difficult Name that Movie Game

Oh, we've got a dilly of a screenshot for this month's Impossibly Difficult Name that Movie Game puzzle! These two diners are clearly not enjoying themselves but you can only guess for what reason they are unhappy.

As always, if you are not familiar with the rules of the Impossibly Difficult Name that Movie game or the prize, click here!

Friday, May 19, 2023

Check it Out! Iconic TV Homes Being Demolished

Recently ReMind Magazine posted an article about the famous Partridge Family and Bewitched house sets being demolished at Columbia Ranch. We are sharing the article below, which came from their website, Check it out!

These houses sat empty for many years on the lot so it is understandable that they would want to demolish them to make way for more soundstages, but it is surprising that no one ever approached Warner Bros studios ( who now owns the Columbia Ranch lot ) to purchase the houses! If I had several million dollars lying around handy, I certainly would have offered to buy the Bewitched house and move it to a new location. 

The article does not mention anything about the Baxter residence from the television series Hazel ( 1961-1966 ) but that house will probably be demolished as well since it sat right next to the Bewitched house. 

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Announcing The Intruder Blogathon!

It has been quite a while since Silver Scenes hosted a blogathon, so we are planning to host several within the next year to make up for the lack of them earlier! The first event is one which may definitely be classified as a niche theme but it is quite dear to my sister's and my heart so we are excited to unveil The Intruder Blogathon, running from June 16th-18th. 

For this blogathon, you are asked to review a film where a character ( sometimes a man, sometimes a woman, and other times a child ) comes into the main character's life unexpectantly and changes it for the better. 

It is a common theme in films. Our dad has a particular fondness for movies where strangers create a change in someone's life and years ago he suggested that we host a blogathon on this theme. He often tells us that sometime in everyone's life an "intruder" will arrive who will come unexpectantly and change your life. There are a lot of intruders who can mess up your life, too, but we aren't referring to those. 

Why does he call these people "intruders"? Because they come into your life unexpectantly and seem to intrude in your everyday routine. Sometimes these intruders and the change they bring are welcomed instantly, but many times the change they cause in the person's life is not realized until they have stayed for a little while. Usually, during the first encounter, they are perceived as an unwelcome intruder. 

Take, for example, the character of Hal Carter in Picnic ( 1955 ). He was a drifter who seemed to have arrived at an inopportune time to wheedle a job out of his old friend Alan. Madge ( Kim Novak ) and Millie ( Susan Strasberg ) greet his arrival with excitement. Their neighbor Helen Potts ( Verna Felton ) calls his visit "a breath of fresh air", but Mrs. Owens ( Betty Field ) considers Hal to be a bad influence on Madge. By the end of the film, his character influences all of the main characters in a positive way. 

The Sound of Music ( 1965 ) is another popular example. Maria von Trapp ( Julie Andrews ) certainly wasn't welcome by Captain von Trapp ( Christopher Plummer ) on her initial visit but within a few short weeks, she transformed the entire Trapp household in a positive way. 

Now, a movie like The Man Who Came to Dinner ( 1942 ) certainly wouldn't fit into this theme! Nor would Night of the Hunter ( 1955 ). Harry Powell ( Robert Mitchum ) was definitely a stranger who made an impact on the main characters but not in a good way

Many times, these intruders come for only a short while and leave, like in The Bishop's Wife ( 1947 ) where Dudley came for only a little while, touched the lives of everyone he met, and then suddenly left.

Give it a little thought and you'll find lots of "Intruder" themes in films and television....and from here on you will probably be keeping an eye out for the theme in everything you watch. Before long, you'll be saying "That's an Intruder film!"

The Rules: 

  • You can write about any classic film, television movie, television series ( e.g. The Fugitive ), or television episode that fits The Intruder Blogathon theme of someone coming into the main character's life unexpectantly and changing it for the better. ( We like to refer to "classic" as being pre-1975 but we will stretch it to 1995 for this event. )
  • Share what you like about the film but, more importantly, tell us how that character influenced the other characters in the story. 
  • The Intruder Blogathon will run from June 16th-18th, 2023. Some banners are down below. Please post them on your blog to help spread the word. 
  • Ready to join? Leave a comment on this post with your blog name and web address and the film of your choice. Duplicate titles are welcome. 
In case you need any help, here are a few ideas of films that you could write about ( the actor listed plays the character who "intrudes" ). 

                                              IDEAS FOR FILMS YOU CAN PICK: 

Topper ( 1937 ) - Cary Grant and Constance Bennett

Holiday ( 1938 ) - Cary Grant

Gold Rush Maisie ( 1939 ) - Ann Sothern

The More the Merrier ( 1943 ) - Charles Coburn

Dear Ruth ( 1947 ) - William Holden

The Bishop's Wife ( 1947 ) - Cary Grant

The Romance of Rosy Ridge ( 1947 ) - Van Johnson

Rachel and the Stranger ( 1948 ) - Loretta Young

Spring in Park Lane ( 1948 ) - Michael Wilding 

Come to the Stable ( 1949 ) - Loretta Young

All I Desire ( 1953 ) - Barbara Stanwyck

Shane ( 1953 ) - Alan Ladd

Picnic ( 1955 ) - William Holden

Strange Lady in Town ( 1955 ) - Greer Garson

Pollyanna ( 1960 ) - Hayley Mills

The Music Man ( 1962 ) - Robert Preston 

Mary Poppins ( 1964 ) - Julie Andrews

The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao ( 1964 ) - Tony Randall

The Chalk Garden ( 1964 ) - Deborah Kerr

The Sound of Music ( 1965 ) - Julie Andrews

Bedknobs and Broomsticks ( 1971 ) - The Children or David Tomlinson

Pete's Dragon ( 1977 ) - Sean Marshall or Elliott the Dragon



The Wizard of Oz ( 1939 ) - Whimsically Classic
To Be Announced - Realweegiemidget Reviews
The Queen of Outer Space ( 1958 ) - Taking Up Room
Mr. Belvedere Rings the Bell ( 1952 ) - Silver Scenes
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town ( 1936 ) - The Wonderful World of Cinema
Holiday ( 1938 )Crítica Retro
The Romance of Rosy Ridge ( 1947 ) - Silver Screenings
The Loner ( 1965-1966 ) - Hamlette's Soliloquy 

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

From the Archives: The View from Pompey's Head ( 1955 )

If you want to stump anyone with a rare film title, just mention A View from Pompey's Head ( 1955 ). This title was added to my To Watch list when I was in my teens and it was nearly ten years before I finally tracked down a copy to watch. It's quite a good film about a lawyer who returns to his hometown and the sweetheart he left behind. Plus, it stars one of the best actors of the 1950s - Richard Egan - along with the beautiful Dana Wynter. 

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, May 6, 2023

Derby Day ( 1952 )

May is known in the sporting world as Derby season and taking place this evening is one of the most popular derby races in America, the 149th Kentucky Derby. If you are like most classic film fans, you will probably be enjoying a good horse-racing film tonight to tie in with the Derby. It may be The Story of Seabiscuit, Riding High or National Velvet ( check out our post Horse Racing Films of the 1940s and 1950s for other titles )....but if you want a treat that is slightly different than your usual Hollywood fare, look no further, for we have a title for you: Derby Day ( 1952 ).

Derby Day is a marvelous British ensemble drama starring Anna Neagle and Michael Wilding and a host of popular British actors from the era. The story focuses on four different groups of people, all of whom are attending the famous Derby Day race at Epson Downs. Unlike some ensemble pieces that keep all of the stories separate, Derby Day has the different groups interact with one another at the race, which is rather nice to see. 

First, there is Google Withers who is in a right good pickle. She was carrying on an affair with her lodger ( John McCallum ) when her husband returned from work early and caught them together. McCallum gives him a kick and the poor bloke takes a nasty tumble backwards down the stairs. They quickly hide his body and then McCallum heads to Epsom Downs to contact a man whom he knows can "fix it" so that he can escape from England before the police catch him. 

Michael Wilding is attending the race to make some sketches for a newspaper, but he really has another reason for wanting to go. The taxi he is traveling in happens to break down on the road there and he is kindly offered a lift by Lady Forbes and her brother-in-law ( Anna Neagle and Edwin Styles ). They eventually find that their lives are intertwined more than they had realized. 

Peter Graves plays Gerald Berkeley, a hammy film star, who is attending the race because he was "won" in raffle. The old woman who won a Day-with-a-Film-Star sprained her ankle and so her young and pretty French maid, Suzanne Cloutier, is taking her place....much to the delight of Mr. Berkeley. 

Lastly, Gordon Harker and Gladys Henson play a taxi-cab driver and his wife who have talked about attending Derby Day in person for the past 40 years but never had an opportunity until today. 

Each of these characters is well-developed and their happenings at the race are highly entertaining. It could have been written in such a way that Anna Neagle and Michael Wilding's characters took center stage and the other stories were not as enjoyable, but instead, they are equally engrossing. Every three or four minutes the focus changes between the characters so you never tire of any of the couple's dramas.

Derby Day was the last of six films that Neagle and Wilding were paired in, a pair that critic Godfrey Winn deemed "the greatest in British films". All of their pictures were produced and directed by Neagle's husband Herbert Wilcox, who also had his own highly successful Herbert Wilcox Productions company. 

Most horse-racing films give you a look at the jockeys, horses, and all of the drama behind the scenes, but Derby Day doesn't cover any of that. It is unique because it is all about the people, the atmosphere of the Derby Day race at Epsom, and the general feeling of excitement of attending a race like that in person. 

So if you are not attending the 149th Kentucky Derby this evening and want to savor the excitement of a day at the races ( even one spent looking at the tele ), then give Derby Day a try. It is available via streaming online or on DVD from Network Distributing. 

Note: In the U.S., Derby Day was released under the title Four Against Fate.