Born on this date: John S. Robertson in 1878; May Allison in 1890; Benny Fields in 1894; Cliff Edwards in 1895; Carl Esmond in 1902; Burl Ives in 1909; Louise Henry in 1911; Dorothy McGuire in 1916; and Gene Barry in 1919.
All links lead to each actor's IMDb page, set to open in a new tab. Classic Movie Daily subscribers can look for images of May Allison and Dorothy McGuire from among today's birthdays. A trip to my Centenarians post is recommended in honor of Carl Esmond's birthday.
TCM TV Alerts through tomorrow at 7 am:
These titles play on TCM's US schedule and all quoted times are for my own local Eastern time zone.
Picking up from yesterday's Hot Saturday alert (and if you've just finished that one up now, here's a link to my review again).
—8:00 am Ruggles of Red Gap (1935), this was subject of one of the earliest reviews on the site. Charlie Ruggles gets on my nerves more times than not, but I love him here, especially towards the beginning of the film where he and Mary Boland really get to shine. Laughton dominates most of the proceedings, and that's a good thing, he's great here!
—9:30 pm Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), one of Frank Capra's best. He, Gary Cooper, and Jean Arthur all all fully-formed by this point, providing exactly what you'd expect from them—this movie is near tops for each!
—12:00 am Greed (1924). By the time I felt able to discern such things for myself, I decided that rather than the indisputable genius most books told me von Stroheim was, he was much more selfish egomaniac, who had to do things his own way. I recall being somewhat outraged by a lack of creativity years ago when I was caught unprepared by an English lit. assignment to read McTeague by Frank Norris—without being told that it was the source material for Greed! No need of a script, he just filmed the book, as was written. I still think von Stroheim was selfish in trying to film it all, and I penalize him for not having enough nerve or vision to attempt abridging Norris' novel with any cuts. At the same time, I've loved any version of Greed I've ever watched, no matter how chopped up it may be. And ZaSu Pitts, who I often have a Charlie Ruggles reaction to, gives one of the most fantastic dramatic performances that I've ever seen. Guess I'll have to give von Stroheim some credit for that. In the end though, I prefer him as an actor.
I knew I'd forget something when I did that little link round-up yesterday. Makes sense though, the posts I did link to were all written in the past week, this one is from a couple of years ago. Topping off our Richard Dix celebration of the past week, do take a look at Erich Kuersten's post about John Monk Saunders at Acidemic. Saunders wrote the source material for the Dix vehicle Ace of Aces (1933), as well as another movie covered here in recent months, The Last Flight (1931). Kuersten's piece talks about both of those as well as a few other titles filmed from Saunders' source material.
Last week Karen of Shadows and Satin nominated me for a "Liebster" award — Thank you, Karen! In the past I haven't done anything more than acknowledge such nominations with a word of thanks: I really do appreciate being recognized by my blogging friends like this, but until recently I didn't have a place for less formal posts like this. Now that I've carved out this little daily space that's so much more relaxed than other parts of the site, I figured, why not give it a shot.
Now I'm still a pretty bad citizen because I'm not going to entirely play by the rules, but I will answer Karen's 11 questions, because they're pretty good! Here goes:
Very hard not to go all-Warren William here, but I contained myself.
2. What’s your favorite movie-related book?
It's impossible to pick one. I think of my books as a whole more than I do any single volume. I used to really cuddle up with my massive AFI volumes covering 1931-40, but they've become neglected since all of that information is now available online. Ditto my 1932-38 New York Times Film Reviews. The Times doesn't make them all free, but I don't recall paying for any recently. I love Mick LaSalle's two pre-Code books, those were extremely influential in driving me towards hunting down every movie that LaSalle named between their covers. When it comes to biography I still stand by my friend John Stangeland's volume about Warren William, probably because I had researched the subject so intensely myself and John still hit me with surprises. I know Warren is a bit niche for some, so for a more mainstream biography James Curtis' Spencer Tracy is one of the best books I've ever read, the most accomplished and probably most important film biography so far this decade.
3. Name an underrated film that you’d recommend?
The Sin of Nora Moran (1933). See here. It's more than a poster.
4. What movie do you watch every time it comes on TV?
Pick any named on this page. Except those under #10, of course.
5. What’s your favorite western?
Still love Stagecoach (1939).
6. If you had Aladdin’s lamp, what three wishes would you make?
To keep this classic movie related I'll say:
8. Name one thing you believed as a child that turned out not to be true.
They told me we'd all be living on the moon by now. When it comes to movies, well, I suppose I would have saved a lot of space and money if I didn't buy so heavily into VHS!
9. What is your favorite guilty pleasure movie?
Currently, an indie piece of trash called Mad Youth (1940, IMDb). Can't get enough of it since TCM first played it during a Betty Compson day last year. Took a ton of notes on it a few months ago. I'll probably subject you to a review later this year.
10. Name a movie that it seems everyone has seen except you.
I'm light on '50s/'60s classics. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, IMDb) comes to mind, though I'm otherwise pretty solid with Kubrick. I haven't yet made it through Lawrence of Arabia (1962, IMDb), maybe when I get a pencil-shaped TV. Most Marilyn Monroe between Monkey Business (1952, IMDb) and The Misfits (1961, IMDb).
On a related note, I finally saw Planet of the Apes (1968, IMDb) within the past 6 months. I don't know how I missed it growing up in the '70s and '80s.
11. Humphrey Bogart or Robert Mitchum?
Bogie every time. But I think I'm better defined by my answer to Walter Huston or John Huston. Answer: the one with the link.
Thanks for the nomination, Karen, that was fun! I'll let it die off here though because I'd want to nominate most of the same people that Karen did anyway.
I should be back tomorrow. Might do another double-issue, or I might skip a day, but I want to see how Sunday goes before committing to either of those choices.
Issue count: Since going Daily on April 6, I've mailed posts to subscribers 67 out of 69 days.