I hope you're having a wonderful Christmas and holiday season! I'm still shocked to have finished wrapping all of my presents on time, what with all of the time I spent trying to wrap up this latest edition of Classic Movie Monthly!
Classic Movie Monthly #4 is now available for your Kindle (or other reading device, see details on Amazon page). In keeping with new tradition, the introduction to the issue is reprinted below so you can get a feel for what's inside.
My apologies for running a few days late with this one—the two "reprinted" essays wound up receiving extensive overhauls, so the month slipped away fast!
Issue #4 of Immortal Ephemera’s Classic Movie Monthly comes with some Christmas flavor. Many of the most beloved holiday classics tend to come along a little later than the period I favor writing about, but I managed to cover three favorites that at least take place around the holidays.
Up first is Sweepings (1933), which is not a Christmas movie at all, though its best scenes do take place during the holiday shopping rush. Sweepings is a saga about family and legacy set around the growth of a vast shopping center born of the Great Chicago Fire and extending into the twentieth century. The movie stars Lionel Barrymore and a host of others, most notably Helen Mack—who steals my article the same way she did the movie. Several short passages from Lester Cohen’s source novel are excerpted to accentuate some of the movie action. Cohen also handled the adaptation of his own novel, which was directed by John Cromwell. This article originated as a post at Immortal Ephemera, but has had a major overhaul for Classic Movie Monthly #4.
Next is a movie of an entirely different tone. Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938) is the Hardy family movie set at Christmas time, though it’s better known as the Hardy movie featuring Judy Garland’s first appearance in the series. Andy counts down the days to Christmas on the December page of his calendar with a special eye towards Carvel High’s Christmas Eve dance. Andy’s problem is that he has two dates to the dance, but no car to take them in. In trying to solve this problem Andy winds up with a car, but without a date. Garland helps out along the way. Lana Turner is also featured as a high school vamp. This article includes background on the entire Hardy Family series and how this entry fits into that series. Another piece that originated at Immortal Ephemera with edits and new material for publication in Classic Movie Monthly.
This issue also contains a brand-new article about Remember the Night (1940), the most Christmassy of our three features, though more romantic comedy than anything else. This first pairing of Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray opens on Christmas Eve and concludes just after the New Year. Directed by Mitchell Leisen from the last screenplay Preston Sturges wrote before being allowed to direct his own work. From genesis as Sturges screenplay Beyond These Tears through the resulting critical praise, this extended essay looks at some of the action of the movie with background information about production and the many personalities associated with the film. Stanwyck, MacMurray, Leisen, Sturges all rate coverage, as does one additional performer who makes his imprint near the beginning of the movie, character actor Willard Robertson.
This issue’s highlighted collectible is another old British tobacco card release. Collectors immediately take notice of the 1934 Carreras “Film Stars” issue because of their unusual shape: these cards are oval. Included in this guide is a brief history of the Carreras company, a detailed description of the cards with sample images, and a complete checklist to the seventy-two card set.
TCM Ten is back with ten recommendations of 1930s films playing on Turner Classic Movies in January 2017. A capsule review is included for one of the ten selections, The Toast of New York (1937).
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday season with continued thanks for your support and interest. Keep warm and be merry, I’ll be back to break the chill during the latter half of January. Wishing you a very Happy New Year—
Once again, you can preview or purchase Classic Movie Monthly #4 (eBook) HERE.
Wishing you a very Happy New Year!