Film | The Seven Year Itch

I have been collecting classic films for about 12 years now but I will always remember my first 'classic purchase' being the Marilyn Monroe Diamond Collection. The sets includes great movies like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and How To Marry A Millionaire. Another movie in that set I finally got around to watching again [after almost 6 years] is The Seven Year Itch. There are very few modern movies that I can watch again and again and still find it as fresh as the first time I viewed it. I am always surprised [even though by now I shouldn't be] most classic films I enjoy the tenth time just as much as the first. The Seven Year Itch definitely is one of those films.

This 1955 Billy Wilder film starring Tom Ewell and Marilyn Monroe had me entertained from start to finish. The plot is fairly simple... a married man [Tom Ewell] must deal with his paranoid driven fantasies about 'terrorizing' women after sending his family north for the summer. He finds himself trying to prove to his wife how attractive he is to women, even though she isn't there. And he seems to be doing fine with his wife's request that he not drink or smoke until he meets his new upstairs neighbor, a blonde model (Marilyn Monroe) who just wants a cool place to sleep at night.

We never learn the girl's name, but we do learn a few other things...
- when it's warm outside you can stick your undies in the ice box to stay cool
- You can tell when music is Classical because there is no vocal
- Dipping potato chips into champagne is real crazy
- A stairway to nowhere is just elegant

- You don't have to worry about a married man asking you to marry him because he is already married

I have only seen Tom Ewell in this film and The Girl Can't Help It, but he has become one of my favorite character actors. He goes from paranoid to happy effortlessly. You especially notice his fine acting toward the end of the film where he is paranoid his wife is on her way home and would find The Girl in the shower to happily making cinnamon toast in a split second. A very fine actor and he really does make this movie what it is. I can't imagine anyone else playing Sherman.

This film is of course where we get the infamous skirt blowing scene. If someone knows nothing else about classic films, they know about Marilyn Monroe's skirt blowing up as she steps over the subway grate. This is another one of those things where the publicity for a movie comes from such a small part of the actual film. I discussed this in the post about Suddenly, Last Summer. There was such chaos and hooplah made about this that when you see the actual scene in the film you are left underwhelmed. You never get to see a full shot of the skirt blowing up. Once The Production Code got its hands on the scene, we are left with just a shot of her legs and half of the dialogue on the cutting room floor. The great thing about this picture is that it doesn't even need all of that, it would be just as great without that scene. 

We already know how the original subway scene was cut to almost nothing, but there were other cuts from the final film. There was another fantasy scene where The Girl comes down acting as gangster's mole [played like Mae West] and she and the janitor were going to blackmail Sherman. It was said by Billy Wilder that Marilyn couldn't pull off Mae's hard-boiled style and axed the scene. In some of the promotional shots for the film Marilyn is seen with Ewell wearing shorts and a tied up top, but that outfit never made it into the film. I couldn't find any information about this, but I assume this was the original outfit for the scene where she wears the pink pants/blouse. I am pretty sure the Production Code wouldn't have allowed this outfit to be worn in the film. The bathtub scene where The Girl is telling the plumber about being terrorized by Sherman was also cut in half. In the original scene the plumber is so shocked by the story that he drops his wrench in the water and reaches in to get it. Obviously the movies didn't need these scenes, but I always find it fun to know what could have been.

Bottom line... very funny movie. If you haven't seen it yet, you are missing out.

Quote Of The Week

Just watched The Seven Year Itch the other night and this is one of my favorite quotes from the film... it's just silly [especially in the context of the scene]. Make sure you check out the post I made about The Seven Year Itch.

Blog | Upcoming Blogathons

Today while browsing the web, I came across three more Blogathons! I am always up for posting with a theme, so Blame Mame is going to take part in the following...

Name: World In Film
Theme: Classic Movies Around The World
Date: September 9-12th
Hosted by The Great Movie Project

Name: Juxtaposition 
Theme: The Women ('39) vs The Women ('08)
Date: September 12-16th
Hosted by Pussy Goes Grrr

Name: Darling Deborah
Date: September 30th
Hosted by Waitin' On A Sunny Day

And on top of those, we still have the Fashion In Film and Carole-tennial(+3) Blogathons lined up.If anyone knows of any other Blogathons [especially Classic Film related] that are coming up, please comment.

Actors | Stars To Watch

I was sitting on my recliner the other day looking at videos on YouTube of some of my favorite classic stars, when it struck me that I haven't seen many films of the stars I consider 'favorites.' As I thought about it more, two of the video clips ['Shimmy Like My Sister Kate" and "Too Darn Hot"] I look at often are from films I have never seen!

I decided to make a list of stars who's films I would like to become more accustom. That is what this post is all about. The star's, the films I have seen, and the films I want to see most. 

I also added a few stars who's films I have never seen. These are stars I see in post around the blog-o-sphere and run across their films at the stores often. Stars that others have created blogs/websites dedicated to, but I have yet to enjoy myself.

These are the stars that are at the top of my list of filmographies to explore...

I've seen On The Town & Easter Parade
I would like to see Kiss Me Kate

Everytime Ann comes on the screen, tap dancing with a smile that goes from cheek to cheek, I can't help but want to see more. The way she effortlessly moves and the way she looks into the camera really makes you feel like she is looking right at you, wanting you to have just as much fun as she is having on screen.

Cyd Charisse
I've seen The Band Wagon & East Side, West Side
I would like to see Silk Stockings, Party Girl, & Brigadoon

This is another star who captivates me with their dancing whenever I seen them on screen. The 'Girl Hunt' number in The Band Wagon is in my top three classic film scenes of all time. The way she dances is just elegant. I have watched some of her other dance scenes on the internet and I am definitely want to see more.

Betty Grable
I've Seen How To Marry A Millionaire
I would like to see Pin-Up Girl & How To Be Very Very Popular

The scene from Wabash Ave where Grable sings 'Shimmy Like My Sister Kate' is another of my favorite videos to watch over and over, but I have never seen that film. Betty Grable was known for having the best gams in the business and from what I have heard a beautiful voice... what more could you ask for?

Ava Gardner
I've seen East Side, West Side
I would like to see The Killers & Mogambo

Jimmie Stewart
I've seen Wife vs Secretary, The Philadelphia Story, & Ziegfeld Girl
I would like to see Rear Window & Vertigo

Lauren Bacall
I've seen How To Marry A Millionaire
I would like to see To Have And Have Not & Key Largo

Joan Blondell
I've seen Three On A Match & The Public Enemy
I would like to see Blonde Crazy & Night Nurse

FYI... just realized she was in Grease.

Natalie Wood
I've seen Imitation of Life
I would like to see West Side Story

The next two are stars who's films I have never seen, but I definitely want to...

James Dean
I would like to see Giant, Rebel Without A Cause, & East of Eden

Carole Lombard
I would like to see To Be or Not To Be & My Man Godfrey

I look forward to learning more about this funny lady in the upcoming Carole-tennial blogathon!

If there are any big fans of these stars that would like to leave suggestions on films to check out... please leave me a comment!

...Is it STILL August?

DANG, y'all!
 ...Ain't it 'bout time for summer to fade on out for 2011? These 95+ degree Fahrenheit days are getting a mite MUCH, folks...

Anyway, Ginger appears somewhat bored as well, it appears...but of course in her typical devastatingly beautiful manner... although that jacket isn't quite in place for the season...well, unless you're an Alabama football fan, which I am definitely NOT... but hey, if ANYBODY can rock a houndstooth (AND be able to get a 'Roll Tide' outta me), it's Ginger! ...but something tells me she was an Oregon fan...well, if a fan at all... it wasn't quite as 'intense' to be a sports fan in Ginger's heyday...

OK...well, just an update...first of all...HEY, Y'ALL!!! It's been a few! Well, it seems like my daughter starting school has gotten us all in the 'early bedtime' regimen... which is good, except for G-ology time...and the past few weekends have been slammed with stuff... hoping this upcoming Labor Day weekend will affords a bit of time to crank out some cool G-ology posts... if anything, this Saturday (9/3), my boy 'Bam-Bam' (a.k.a. Reed) turns 2 years old!

As far as Ginger stuff, well, just not much happening... I have noticed that Fox Studios have released some '4-in-1' DVD sets, one of which has "Black Widow" in it, Ginger's 1954 film noir role... included is a bonus feature, "Ginger Rogers at Twentieth Century Fox"...might it contain a blurb about "Hat Check Girl"? Hmmm...seems like the pic from 'BW' below indicates Ginger has forgotten about the hazards of extensive phone usage, from "The Thirteenth Guest" days... but  she looks awesome in this movie, although it is a 'pan-o-rama' framing, which tends to be a bit lacking in the close-up!
Of course, Ginger made quite a few movies for Fox (eleven, to be exact...), so this bonus feature alone may be worth the purchase for G-ologists...and, you also get three other 'noir' movies, "Call Northside 77" starring Jimmy Stewart, "Dangerous Crossing" starring Jeanne Crain, and "Laura", starring Gene Tierney and Vincent Price. Here's the link:

Fox Studio Classics w/Black Widow

Well, hope summer has been fun for y'all... and here's hoping autumn works out as well! Hope to post some stuff in a few days...including the review of "Professional Sweetheart"... and some other stuff, like trivia, maybe? a poll? some new stuff? Hopefully... but, in the meantime, as always...



Blog | Updates

Just the other day I was thinking to myself how I wish Blogger had a feature similar to Facebook's 'Like' feature. It would be nice for those readers who want to give feedback, but may not have an actual comment to make. Well, while reading a few blogs on the blog roll (points to right side of blog) I read on Frankly, My Dear (who just added it to the blog) that the feature existed. Well if you look at the bottom of the posts, below the comments, you will see this new gadget. So if you like a post you have read here on Blame Mame, please click the 'Yes' link... I think the other options are self explanatory. Please remember if you have a comment to make, please continue to leave those as well!

I also wanted to point out that Blame Mame now has over 20 followers. I want to give a big THANK YOU to everyone who visits the blog! Remember if you read the blog often, please click the link on the side bar or top bar to follow Blame Mame!

On Wednesday, August 31st... Blame Mame will be 3 months old! I can't believe the blog has been open for almost 3 months now. I was excited to join the Classic Movie Blog Association, but I just read they aren't accepting any new members until 2012.

Once again, thanks to everyone who takes their time to visit Blame Mame!

Film | Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

I guess I have been on an Elizabeth Taylor kick lately because this is my second film starring her that I have watched this week. I picked this film up for 40% off at Barnes and Noble right after Taylor's recent passing. The store had a 'featured' end cap with some of Liz's movies on mark down. My wife recently began reading a book where Stephen King described it as "the most riveting look at the dark side of marriage since Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?", which got us interested to pop in the DVD. And boy... I was not ready for what came after.

You are cordially invited to George and Martha's for an evening of fun and games.

This 1966 film starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton is definitely full of games (such as "Humiliate the Host", "Hump the Hostess" and "Get the Guests"), the fun, however, would depend on what type of person you are. The film takes us through one night with Martha and George, a drunken couple who will try anything to bring each other down. Along the way, Nick and Honey (a young newly wed couple) join the ride, only to be brought down with them.

There are only 2-3 different locations in this movie, but most of it takes place at George and Martha's home. This movie does not rely on fancy camera work and different scenery to make its story work, it relies solely on the characters. The performances these actors produced and the emotions they convey on screen are remarkable. You feel for every one of them and by the end of this disastrous night, I was just as exhausted as the people in the film.

I recommend this film to any movie fan, not just those of Classic Hollywood. The acting is superb and I think it is one of the best movies out there. You shouldn't miss this one.

A few things I learned [from IMDB] about this film...

- Every credited member of the cast received an Academy Award nomination.

- Elizabeth Taylor gained nearly 30 pounds to play the role of a middle-aged wife just for this film.

- Early candidates for the role of Martha included Bette Davis, Ingrid Bergman, Rosalind Russell and Patricia Neal. Early candidates for the role of George included James Mason, Cary Grant, Henry Fonda, Arthur Hill, Jack Lemmon and Peter O'Toole.

- Jack Lemmon was the only actor to be offered the role of George in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? before Richard Burton was cast. He accepted the role but quickly changed his mind the next day without offering any explanation.

- According to director Mike Nichols, actress Marlene Dietrich visited the set and completely ignored Elizabeth Taylor, only speaking with Richard Burton and Nichols. Elizabeth later commented "It's a very strange thing to be ignored on your own movie set."

- The only Best Picture Academy Award nominee to be nominated for every award category in which it was eligible.

- The first movie to successfully challenge the Production Code Office and eventually force the Motion Picture Association of America to overhaul the Production Code Seal with the eventual classification system (G-GP-M-X) in 1968.

- The first movie to be given the MPAA tag: "No one under 18 will be admitted unless accompanied by his parent."

Film | Suddenly, Last Summer

I had heard of the film Suddenly, Last Summer before, but it wasn't until the movie poster at my work sparked my interest, that I learned what this film was about. The picture of Elizabeth Taylor in the white swimsuit are famous, and are everywhere on the web, but they don't really get you excited to see the film.

It was just a few days ago, after seeing the movie poster that I looked the film up on IMDB to read reviews and watch the trailer. Well... I was hooked. I needed to get this film and it would have taken too long to get it from Netflix because I have a film at home already, so I went in search of buying the DVD. Thank goodness, Barnes and Noble had the movie and on top of that... it was only $9.99. It isn't often they have a movie in store I am looking for specifically.

A Classic Hollywood film about murder, homosexuality, lobotomy, pedophilia, incest, greed... count me in. I know that sounds sick, but I am always up for a movie with a juicy plot. I have also only seen Taylor, Hepburn, and Clift in one... maybe two other movies, so I was glad to see them in dramatic roles like this.

The only son of wealthy widow Violet Venable dies while on vacation with his cousin Catherine. What the girl saw was so horrible that she went insane; now Mrs. Venable wants Catherine lobotomized to cover up the truth. ~ IMDB

I was not expecting to enjoy this movie as much as I did. You definitely have to be paying attention to the dialogue or you will miss the lines you are supposed to be reading between. Elizabeth Taylor's betrayl of Catherine, a girl who witnessed a gruesome murder who is accused of being insane, was spot on. I found her so believable and her acting was superb. It really has me wanting to see more of her other films. Monty and Katherine left me a little cold. While they both are wonderful actors, I wanted to feel for them much more. Hepburn's grating tone in this film was a little distracting for me, especially in the scene where she is talking with the doctor in her son's garden. With those things said, I would watch this movie 100 more times. 

If you are a fan of any of these actors or just want a dramatic, riveting film to watch... you have to check this one out!

As a side note, after seeing this film and how Liz's white swimsuit was such a large part of the publicity, but such a small part of the actual film, I have a new idea for a future post here on Blame Mame.

To learn more about Suddenly, Last Summer, visit IMDB.

Photography | George Hurrell's Style

In my regular life, I work at a photo store where I do sales and photography. I am still relatively new to shooting in the studio, so I am always fascinated by the way lighting can dramatically change the look of a picture. You have different lighting for children, different lighting for head shots, different lighting for different colored backgrounds... there is so much simple lighting can do to make a picture pop!

Jane: "I feel like a guinea pig."

George: "You won't when we've finished with you."

I know I have already done a post about George Hurrell, but I wanted to do another one to share these behind the scenes photos of Hurrell's 1942 photo shoot with Jane Russell at the Beverly Hills Studio. Jane Russell (21 at the time) was a relative unknown in Hollywood. Her big break in the 1943 film The Outlaw (which we all know what this film did for her career) hadn't come out yet. Hurrell was paid $4000 by Howard Hughes to take pictures of his newest protege.

As you can see in these pictures, Hurrell usually shot in a sparsely decorated, dark room with dramatic overhead lighting. The lights usually at full power to give the large lighting contrast we have grown to know as his signature style. His camera angles were usually higher than the subject, and the subjects were usually positioned in unusual poses, but the results were always beautiful.

And here is the final result...

Quote by Jane and George found at TCM Fan Community.

Quote Of The Week

Music | Classic Hollywood: Gleek'd

As I just revealed in my last post, the FOX TV series 'Glee' is one of my favorite things of all time. I decided to do a little post about some Classic Hollywood [the time frame is a little stretched, but oh well] songs/musical numbers that have been Gleek'd.

01. Happy Days Are Here Again/Get Happy

Original Performer: Judy Garland & Barbara Streisand
Gleeks: Lea Michele & Chris Colfer



02. Le Jazz Hot

Original Performer: Julie Andrews
Gleeks: Chris Colfer

I couldn't find the video... just the music. :[

03. Don't Rain On My Parade

Original Performer: Barbara Streisand
Gleeks: Lea Michele

04. Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Original Performer: Judy Garland
Gleeks: Matthew Morrison

This post really has me excited for Season 3 of 'Glee' to start in September.

Award | The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award

Wow, Blame Mame has been honored with another blog award. This time Sophie at Waitin' On a Sunny Day has chosen this blog to receive The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award! Thank you so much for the honor!

Feel free to use this on your own blog if you like.

 I don't know if it goes against the 'rules', but I decided to give the award image a little Classic Hollywood makeover. To see the original image, please click here.

Once you receive this award you are supposed to share 7 things about yourself and nominate 12 of your favorite blogs to be honored with this award. Since I just nominated 5 blogs with a Liebster Awards, I am going to add 7 new blogs to my awarded list. So here it goes...

A few things about myself...
- I have many pets. [3 dogs, 1 cat, 2 chickens, 6 lizards & 1 ferret]
- Besides my dogs, birds are my favorite thing to photograph.
- My wife and I have been best friends since we were in 6th grade.
- 'Glee' is one of my favorite things of all time.
- I am obsessed with all things Disney.
- I have one tattoo. [barcode with my wedding date above ankle]
- A 7th grade Social Studies project started my love of Classic Hollywood.

My honorees for this award...
- Sarah at And...scene!

And there you have it... The Irresistibly Sweet Award.

Reel Life | Too Darn Hot

I finally made it to get my hair cut today and while I was there I had a Classic Hollywood moment. It has been ridiculously hot here in New Orleans. With the heat and humidity I am always in the mood for a cold shower. 

Well, while I was getting my hair cut, Ms. Carol (the nice lady who does my hair) wiped her forehead and said in a breathy voice "It's just too darn hot!" The first thing that came into my mind is Ann Miller's number from Kiss Me Kate, "Too Darn Hot." I love this song and was actually just singing it yesterday. 

From there my mind went into singing "Heat Wave", the Marilyn Monroe song from There's No Business Like Show Business. I was just having a heat induced party in my mind. That tends to happen as I get my hair cut because I tone out what everyone in the shop is talking about because I usually am not interested in their small talk. This was another one of those pointless post, but I felt like sharing.

Here are the videos I was watching in my mind...