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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Video: The Greatest Stars of Hollywood's Golden Age

(If you must have politics, please scroll down. I'm taking a break from posting about politics this weekend)

With a hat tip to Will Profit of Capitalist Preservation:


  1. I love every one of them -- and many others too. I don't care what faults they exhibited in their personal lives, the legacy they bequeathed to us becomes more precious -- and seems more marvelous -- with each passing year.

    It did strike me how very young most of them were when they died! It seems wrong that the stalwart, laconic, quietly heroic Gary Cooper should have left us at age sixty, or that the unforgettably charming, pixyish-but-ever-ladylike, Audrey Hepburn should have been taken from us at age sixty-three -- or Clark Gable and Humphrey Bogart while still in their fifties.

    And could anyone believe that Marilyn Monroe would be eighty-seven years old, if she were alive today?

    Bu where were Lilian Gish, Claudette Colbert, Joan Crawford, Betty Grable, Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Barbara Stanwyck, Cary Grant, Fred MacMurray, Betty Hutton, George Brent, Dana Andrews, Henry Fonda, Lana Turner, Elizabeth Taylor, Ricardo Montalban, Leslie Howard, Claire Trevor, Joan Bennet, Spencer Tracey, Constance Bennet, Gene Tierney, Joan Fontaine, Agnes Moorehead, Claude Rains, Joseph Cotton, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Orson Welles, Gloria Swanson, Leslie Caron, Mel Ferrer, Kathryn Grayson, Jane Powell, Nelson Eddy, Jeanette MacDonald, Howard Keel, Jane Wyman, Viveca Lindfors, Trevor Howard, Vivien Leigh, Olivia DeHavilland, Hattie McDaniel, Ann Sheridan, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Coleman, Greer Garson, Robert Cummings, Ray Milland, Myrna Loy, William Powell, Doris Day, Robert Mitchum, Donna Reed, Janet Leigh, Gordon MacRae, Shirley Jones, Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, George Sanders, Gladys Cooper, Rymond Burr, Deborah Kerr, Dame May Whitty, Charles Boyer, Maurice Chevalier, Kay Thompson, Angela Lansbury, Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, and on and on?

    Whom did I omit? ;-)

    At any rate, thanks for the memories, and may God bless each and every one of the special people who have helped make our lives feel more special and significant.

    I can tell you this: All of these guys sure are a great comfort to me in my old age!

    ~ FreeThinke

  2. How could I have left out Loretta Young, Celeste Holm, Rosalind Russell, Herbert Marshall, Teresa Wright, Flora Robson, Maureen O'Hara, Charles Laughton, Cedric Hardwicke, Ann Blyth, Margeret O'Brien, Mary Astor, Debbie Reynolds, Brian Keith, Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Todd, Billie Burke, Joel McRae, Larraine Day, Dirk Bogarde, Dorothy McGuire, Elsa Lanchester, Tyrone Power, and Ethel Barrymore?

    Who else?

    ~ FT

  3. FT,
    I know all of those names you posted. I know their faces!

    The little film clip certainly did omit too many of the great stars.

    Factoid: My father was a dead ringer for Humphrey Bogart. Dad lived much longer -- until age 86.5. Up until just a few days before Dad died, he was living on his own and doing his own grocery shopping. We should all be so lucky to age that gracefully!

  4. A dead ringer for Bogart?

    That's fantastic. I'm glad he enjoyed a good long life.

    I never get tired of watching The Maltese Falcon -- or any of the films he made with Bacall.

    A favorite among those is a lesser known one called Dark Passage. Bogart begins the film by falling out of the back of a pickup truck after stashing himself inside an oil drum -- an escape from prison for a murder he didn't commit.

    Who should just happen to come along in time to pick him up but Lauren Bacall!

    The story is improbable but the performances are so great and the sense of "atmosphere" so wonderfully romantic it doesn't matter that the whole thing is incredible. I think it's one of the greatest in the "film noir" category, but then I got to see it with my parents when it was brand new at the local drive-in, fi you would believe. Seeing the film today brings my parents back to life, so of course it's very special to me.

    Funny! I was only seven, but I never forget the opening scenes, the apartment with the spiral staircase, or Agnes Moorehead's portrayal of "The Bitch from Hell" who falls out the window and crashes to the ground below.

    And then,the background music was "You're Just Too Marvelous." Who could forget that?

    Very interesting how the past really can be preserved in movies, isn't it?

    ~ FreeThinke

  5. They always forget Buster Keaton, the greatest comedian of all time and out first film genius (well second after D. W. Griffith).

    Sherlock Jr. was a very innovative technical film.

    Keaton vs. Chaplin and Chaplin always seems to win for some reason. Keaton was much more of an innovator.

  6. FT,
    I've seen every of Bogart's movies several times -- including Dark Victory, more of a vehicle for Bette Davis than for Humphrey Bogart and Ronald Reagan.

    I don't watch Bogart's films much now. They make me miss Dad so much.

    As for the music in those old movies, well, I miss that kind of music today. Our DirecTV service does offer a Silver Screen movie channel. Lots of Mancini there -- but older material as well. I do love Mancini's music, BTW, especially The Thorn Birds and the theme from The Molly Maguires. Those pieces are not as well known as other pieces by Mancini, whom I did see twice in live concert. Fantastic, I tell you!

  7. If I read closely enough you forgot Carol Lombard, Freethinker.

  8. What a fantastic video to start the day with!

  9. I did forget Carole Lombard, didn't I? -- also Garbo, Michele Morgan, Barbara Bel Geddes, Patricia Collinge, Wendy Hiller, Maggie Smith, Jean Simmons, Maria Ouspenskaya, Janet Gaynor, Cathleen Nesbitt, Tallulah Bankhead, Margaret Rutherford, Simone Signoret, Sophia Loren, Lionel Barrymore, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, Walther Mathau, Dick Van Dyke, Julie Andrews, Shirley Maclaine, James Garner, Gina Lollobrigida, Hardy Krueger, Max von Sydow, Karl Malden, Peter Ustinov, Liv Ullman, Melina Mercouri, Jean Arthur too. And Arthur is one of my very great favorites!

    I forgot Dorothy Lamour, Ann Miller and Tippi Hedren too. Also Eleanor Powell, Eleanor Parker, Lizabeth Scott, and Dick Powell, June Allyson, Peter Lawford, Richard Burton, Glenn Ford, Natalie Wood, Robert Wagner, Judy Holliday, Broderick Crawford, Paulette Goddard, Michael Rennie, Thelma Ritter, Alexis Smith, Paul Newman, Kurt Kasner, Jean Pierre Aumont, Charlton Heston, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Geirge burns, Jack Benny, Joanne Woodward, Louis Calhern, Frederic March, Florence Eldridge, Batty Garrett, Carmen Miranda and George Raft.

    Shame on me! I have to admit I'm slipping badly.

    I'm surprised you didn't chide me for leaving out Jean Seberg, Jeanne Moreau, Jacques Tati, Marcello Mastroianni, Giulietta Massina, and Jean Lous Trintignant.

    ~ FreeThinke

    And what do you think of Theda Bara and Clara Bow?

  10. What about Harold Lloyd?

    ~ FT

  11. I think Some Like it Hot stinks on ice. Why does TCM keep showing it and touting as a Great Cinematic Achievement?

    ~ FT

  12. FYI:

    The Clock is one of my favorite films of all time.

    Charles Laughton and Ray Milland with great comic relief from Elsa Lanchester.

    ~ FT

  13. What about Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks?

    Who was Ramon Navarro?

    ~ FT

  14. I wouldn't call Tati, Hollywood, FT, although the art of Keaton died with him, tragically.

  15. Bill Irwin!

    Already 61. My God!

    It was only yesterday he was "a fresh young talent."

    ~ FT

  16. I just stumbled across THIS BLOG SITE. Apparently, the blog owner there is a great admirer of Gene Tierney.

  17. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and Laura are among my many "favorite" films.

    Gene Tierney was so exceptionally beautiful it almost hurt sometimes just to look at her, but she also had an aura of high quality about her rarely seen in Hollywood.

    Claudette Colbert and Audrey Hepburn had it, while Elizabeth Taylor and Lana Turner -- beautiful as they were -- never did.

    Constance and Joan Bennett, Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine had it. Rosalind Russell had it whenever she wanted to claim it.

    Who in Hollywood has it today?

    ~ FT

  18. Hubby and I were talking about this a few weeks ago. All the old, really good and talented Hollywood stars are dying off (or already dead). It truly is a shame. We don't have many really good actors any more. The stuff Hollywood puts out isn't worth the price of a ticket most times.

    Right Truth

  19. Ducky's right about Keaton; he was a total genius and gets ignored.

    Always, I'm glad you blogged this today.
    Last night, I watched DEVOTION, a film about Emily Bronte and her family. At one point, they had Ida Lupino (Emily, who wrote WUTHERING HEIGHTS) on screen by herself and suddenly the music included about six bars of the theme from Wuthering Heights. I couldn't hum that for you now, but when I hear it, I know it's from that film...I thought that was an amazing touch considering most people would never have drawn the connection. I was stunned by it...just those few measures of the theme BUT arranged very differently. SO cool, that little touch. I like to think the musical arranger for DEVOTION had hoped somebody'd notice.

    I love all the old stars....can't even really pick a favorite.

  20. Who in Hollywood has it today?

    Ashley Judd

  21. A few more screen goddesses, FT.

    Setsuko Hara, Bibi Andersen, Liv Ullmann, Sharmila Tagore, Mieko Harada, Anna Magnani, Stefania Sandrelli, Zhanna Prohorenko, Natalya Bondarchuck, Ana Torrent, Hanna Schygulla, Angela Winkler, Behnaz Jafari, Gong Li, Delphine Seyrig, Isabelle Huppert, Maria Onetto, Catherine Deneuve ... just to give things an international flavor.

    All are post war but largely pre 1980. Things have gone down hill.

  22. What class. Those actors all had their faults, but they didn't put them on open display.

  23. Z,
    I saw Devotion on the on-screen guide, but didn't watch the film. From what you've said, I should have!

    I put up this post because I'm so weary of the news lately. So many of us in the blogosphere are screaming past each other these days.

  24. Setsuko Hara? Sorry, but I just don't "do" Japanese films. Never had much opportunity and never felt attracted. Frankly resent the recent emergence on TCM of this particular genre complete with illegible subtitles. I'm sure I've missed a great deal. The joys of Chemical Engineering and Nuclear Physics have escaped me as well.

    No one can grasp it all.

    I'd forgotten Bibi Andersson -- whose name is properly spelled with two esses and an o-n at the end. I did mention Liv Ullmann.

    Never could stand Anna Magnani -- the stench of garlic wafting down from the screen was just too powerful for me. The spectacle of lower class types roughing each other up is something I always strive to avoid.

    The Umbrellas of Dherbourg with Catherine Deneuve was unforgettable, but mostly for the music of Michel Le Grand. Denueve, of course, was one of the great beauties of all time. She's an old lady now, of course. Sic transit gloria mundi!


    This sad news just in about Bibi Andersson:

    Bibi Andersson suffered a stroke.

    The beloved and talented Swedish actress Bibi Andersson recently suffered a stroke, and is now taken care of at a hospital in France where she lives. It wasn’t long ago that Bibi Andersson was called “a living icon” by British The Guardian, and she has indeed had a remarkable career. Only 15 years old, Andersson made her debut in a commercial for the soap Bris, shot by none other than Ingmar Bergman. Her breakthrough came in 1966 with the film “Persona” (also by Bergman) where she stars alongside Liv Ullman. Andersson received her latest prize, a Guldbaggen, last year for her part as Moder Rikissa in the film “Arn – the Knight Templar”. Bibi Andersson, who is 73 years old, lives in southern France with her husband Gabriel Mora Baeza.

    There but for the grace of God, go I -- and every one of us not so afflicted. Seventy-three no longer seems such an advanced age to me.

    ~ FreeThinke

  25. I don't think Buster Keaton has been "ignored" at all. Turner Classic Movies has presented a well-organized retrospective tribute to him accompanied by a showing of some of his films more than once in recent memory.

    His work is, indeed, very interesting and inventive. He certainly took enormous risks to do what he did. He must have been a great athlete, but what has he "said" in his films that offers much light to later generations?

    Chaplin -- for MODERN TIMES alone -- deserves immortality. He caught the dilemma of the individual caught between seduction by the abundance and convenience of mass production and the inhumanity, terror and confusion that surrounds it.

    That's quite a profound statement -- especially when it's been made clownishly in the confines of a highly entertaining comedic romp.

    And I'm not a great fan either of Chaplin or of silent movies in general.

    In Limelight with Claire Bloom Chaplin showed us he had a most beautiful voice and perfect English diction. It has often struck me as highly ironic that he became most famous for his silent films.

    So he was a Communist! So what? He was also a great artist, and I've always believed we should forgive that rare and wonderful breed just about anything, since life would be nothing but dull duty and deadly drudgery without the contributions artists have made.

    Bullshit Artists are something else, of course.

    ~ FreeThinke

  26. I've seen more movies with Jimmy Stewart than any of the others combined. These were classy actors and actresses. Thanks for posting. I really enjoyed the video.

  27. I also know most of the names (and faces) of the list by FT.

    Interestingly my wife and I had the pleasure of meeting Dirk Bogarde in 1984 at the festival in Cannes. We won a prize to go there and stay at a plush hotel, so plush that Dirk Bogarde was in the room next door. A charming man (obviously very gay), he actually knocked on our door and assumed we were "somebody important" and invited us to lunch and then at three late parties. He was, I believe, on the Jury of the Festival as was the French actress Isabelle Huppert (Lou Lou).

    We watched Bounty (Anthony Hopkins and Gibson) and Cal (Dame Helen Mirim), I do not remember the rest (it might have been the beer).

    We still have a photo of us two with the Bogarde and Huppert on our piano.

    A certainly am a sucker for the generation before of actors....

    Damien Charles

  28. Sure wish we had actors as talented as them now a days.

  29. Oh the TALENT is there in super-abundance, it's just being ignored, abused, misdirected or neglected in favor of moving the culture farther and farther away from the hallmarks that used to define Western Civilization and closer and closer to Neo-Barbarism.

    It's all part of "The Plot," that no one wants to believe in, and unfortunately it's working brilliantly.

    ~ FreeThinke


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