Friday, November 29, 2019

Sunshine Blogger Award

Paul Batters from Silver Screen Classics has nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. A big thanks to Paul whose writing I very much respect. 

Here are the rules for the Sunshine Blogger Award.
      1. Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
      2. Answer the eleven questions from the blogger who nominated you.
      3. Nominate eleven bloggers.
      4. Create eleven new questions for your nominees to answer.

Here are my answers to Paul's question.
  1. Which actor or actress who hasn’t received an Oscar do you think deserves one? And for what film?
Edward G. Robinson. With his looks an unlikely box office draw, he carved out a niche for himself in Hollywood and always made his presence felt. He could elevate any movie even if the material was beneath him.
He was never even nominated but should have been, at least for The Sea Wolf, Double Indemnity, Key Largo and Scarlet Street.

  1. Who is your favorite child actor and name a film they were in which you love.
First, a confession. I hate children in movies. Despicable little twerps. They’re supposed to add the human element, cute and cuddly, but are usually simply precautious, all-knowing, smug, cloying and as such annoying. 
I make an exception for Gigi Perreau in Has Anybody Seen My Gal? She was charming and is one of the few children in films I did not actively want to send to have a lobotomy.

  1. If a biopic was made of you during the classic film era (1920s to 1960s), who would you like to play you and why?
Lauren Bacall ca. 1946. The Look. Nuff said.

  1. Which famous starry couple (of any time and place) would you want as neighbors? 
Reel couple: Nick and Nora. Perpetually sloshed and living the high life, they solve mysteries while making marriage look like fun. They not only love each other, but like each other. 
Real couple: Frank and Ava, though their constant loud fights probably would get on the neighbors’s nerves very quickly. But the parties at Sinatra’s Twin Palms Estate in Palm Springs must have been fun. Plus I'd get the Rat Pack.

  1. Of all the classic monsters, which one do you feel associated with and why?
Unfortunately I have to skip this question. I’m not really into horror/monster movies and can’t think of one.

  1. Is there a classic era actor/actress that you have a crush on?
One?? Darling, what kind of a question is that? What can I say, my heart is big and I have a one-track mind. 
Here it goes: Robert Mitchum, Kirk Douglas, Paul Newman, Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Richard Widmark (not as Tommy Udo though), Robert Stack, William Holden, Stanley Baker, Clint Eastwood, Rory Calhoun, Steve Cochran, Jason Statham (have to include a modern one) and so many more.
Plus a one-off: Groucho Marx, just for his snarky zingers.

  1. If there was ONE actor or actress (living or deceased) whom you could interview for your blog, who would it be and why would you choose that person?
I’m not sure it’s just one but I would love to talk to actors and directors who worked primarily for Poverty Row studios. Nobody set out to work for PR, but many started out there and got stuck. PR meant crackpot plots, haphazardly constructed cardboard sets, no-name actors. Yet these cinematic slums produced many fine pictures. Film critic Dave Kehr wrote in 1990: “A director on Poverty Row labored on films in the absolute certainty that no film critic would see them, no sophisticated public would encounter them, and no financial reward whatever would accrue to their auteurs.” No glory at all, yet they soldiered on.

Peggy Cummins of Gun Crazy fame is the one I’d like to talk to most. Her career in Hollywood unfortunately never took off, but she was in what is now considered one of PR’s greatest classics. When it came out, literally nobody saw the movie. She died in 2017 and was a guest at several Noir festivals where - very belatedly - she finally got at least some recognition. I’d love to know how it was working on the set with Joseph H. Lewis and how it felt to only get recognition decades later.

  1. Which film character’s closet would you love to raid? 
The question is more, which closet would I not raid. Clothes were fantastic from the 30s to the mid-60s. Grace Kelly’s entire wardrobe in To Catch a Thief and Rear Window, Eleanor Parker’s dresses in The Naked Jungle, Jane Russell’s wardrobe in His Kind of Woman. Kay Francis wore a lot of fab outfits in the 30s. Plus Gilda’s and Kitty Collins’s black dresses.

  1. Marry, Kiss, or Kill: Which film character would you marry, which would you share a hot, pre-code kiss with, and which would you kill like a noir anti-hero or villain(ess) with a score to settle? (And why did you pick these 3?) 
Marry, that’s not so easy because a lot of my crushes are not the marrying kind, especially the Noir (anti)heroes. I’ll probably go with one of those upright and stalwart Western heroes. John Wayne's character(s) in Ford's Cavalry Trilogy.
Hot pre-Code kiss: the obvious choice, Clark Gable. But then there’s always Warren William (must be pre-Code William though), the man we hate to love.
Kill: Many villains are bad but also very entertaining, so we need them alive. It would have to be someone truly despicable. I go with Noah Cross from Chinatown.

  1. Of all the classic film studios, which is your favorite and why?
Hard to say. I think I’ll differentiate by genres. For Noir, RKO was great though Howard Hughes did his damnedest to drive the studio into the ground and in the end succeeded. For my second favorite genre - Westerns - Universal International is hard to beat. And Warner Brothers for their fantastic gangster movies.

  1. Choose a film where you would love to change the ending. Explain what that change would be and why you would do it. 
There are a number of Noirs/crime films out there that frustrate with their code-imposed endings to the point of inducing anger simply because the ending doesn’t at all fit the tone of the movie. Sometimes these tacked-on happy endings are so soapy that they almost drive the movie off the cliff. 
Two I can think of are Tomorrow Is Another Day (1951) and The Hunted (1948). Both clearly cried out for a downbeat ending but the studio tacked on a happy one. Both would be minor classics with the bleak vision intact.

The 11 Nominees for the Sunshine Blogger Award are:

Many people already have been nominated, so I won’t nominate them again. A few on the list unfortunately don’t seem to update their blogs anymore (or not very often) but they belong on my list nevertheless.












Here are my 11 questions for the bloggers (not all original).
  1. Is there a movie that didn’t have a sequel but cried out for one?
  2. Who is your favorite movie villain of all times?
  3. Which movie do you think is better than the book it’s based on?
  4. If you could live in a movie, which one would it be?
  5. Dream date with a classic movie star?
  6. Worst miscasting in Hollywood history?
  7. Favorite quote from any movie.
  8. Which film character’s closet would you raid?
  9. Your favorite guilty pleasure movie?
  10. You can hop on a time machine, which era/decade would you go to? And would you go even if there’s only a 50/50 chance of coming back?
  11. What classic song/soundtrack/theme would be the soundtrack of your life?

12 comments:

  1. Margot, congratulations on your most deserved nomination for SUNSHINE BLOGGER AWARD. You are a wonderful thinker and writer and I enjoy reading your blogs so much.

    Keep on doing what you do. I would enjoy reading a blog on JOHNNY GUITAR(1954) by you, in the future.

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    1. Thanks Walter. I doubt I'm a thinker, ha, but I hope I'm a half-way decent writer.
      Johnny Guitar, now that's an interesting idea. Not my favorite weird movie, somehow I like Forty Guns better. Any other recommendations to write about?

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  2. I like your answers. I had to laugh at your description of children in the movies. Those despicable little twerps! And it seems like it would be quicker to ask if there's a classic era actor you don't have a crush on.

    Can you think of any other films from Poverty Row that are regarded as classics now? Are they all crime films or are there some in other genres?

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    1. As I said about my many many crushes, my heart is big. :) I can easily come up with a few more.

      I'm not sure if I would call the following movie bona fide (PR) classics, but I think Decoy (obviously a favorite), the oddly-named I Wouldn't Be in Your Shoes, The Guilty and Suspense - all Monogram pictures - are worth seeking out.

      Then there's always Republic Pictures though they were never wholly a PR outfit, especially not from the late 40s on. They had John Wayne and made so many really good films. Apart from Wayne movies there is Too Late For Tears, Johnny Guitar, House By the River, Moonrise, City That Never Sleeps and The Great Flamarion to name just a few. I think they're all fantastic.

      Edgar Ulmer made Detour and Strange Illusion for PRC, and Ruthless - which had quite a high budget and is very good - for Eagle Lion. All worth seeking out.
      I'm sure there's a lot of good horror films made by PR too.

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  3. Thanks for those. I've heard of some of them. I wasn't sure if Republic qualified as poverty row, maybe it did originally before it became more ambitious.

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  4. Hi Margot....I'm still chortling regarding your despicable little twerps remark...how very true!

    Nice to see a nod for THE GUILTY as cruel and mean spirited as it's possible for a Noir to be,
    furthermore Don Castle had a frailty that made him an ideal Noir lead,and sadly his life in many
    ways played out like a Noir as well.
    As for poverty row BLONDE ICE (Jack Bernhard again) is pretty good.
    'though not poverty row noir, the B Unit at Paramount made some really nifty little gems,I'll name
    just a scant few,all worth tracking down: PERSONS IN HIDING,WOMEN WITHOUT NAMES,PAROLE FIXER.
    Then there's Brit Noir and it's comforting to see one of the best COSH BOY (The Slasher) getting
    it's Blu Ray debut on both sides of the pond. COSH BOY proved that Lewis Gilbert could work
    wonders on a nothing budget. His later much larger budget THE GOOD DIE YOUNG is way overdue for
    a Blu Ray release-the film has a Noir cast to die for.

    Margo congratulations on your nomination and on a personal note it's all rather splendid to see
    Walter making a most welcome return to blog land.

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    1. Hi John, many a good movie has been ruined by having a child in it. Only teenagers are worse. :)

      Blonde Ice is indeed quite good. Saw it on youtube once, the copy though was pretty bad. I agree that there's a lot of great Brit Noir. I tracked down a few Colin wrote about.

      And yes, where was Walter hiding?

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  5. Margot, sorry to take so long to respond back, but that is the way it is in my new world. I knew that John K, the bringer upper, would bring up some lower(I like his use of the term "nothing") budget gems. Also, Jay's comment about Poverty Row movies that might be considered Classics Today, got me to thinking if that rascal or rascalette actually exists? If the beast does exist, I'm sure DETOUR(1945) and DECOY(1946) would be at the top of that list, followed by DILLINGER(1945). Whether they are Classic or not, doesn't really matter, as long as we enjoy viewing them.

    There are so many others that are worth seeking out, which depends on personal taste, of course. Margot you named some good ones from that Poverty Row powerhouse Monogram Pictures. I think most of us, of our ilk, like Monogram's programmers because these diamonds in the rough could address topics that the major movie studios couldn't or wouldn't touch, because it might have soiled their reputations, so to speak.

    Well, I have to go, so I can't say much more, but here is a Monogram Pictures movie snatched from the headlines of the day, BLACK MARKET BABIES(1945) directed by William "One-Shot" Beaudine. This movie triggered my memory of a true crime baby kidnapping adoption criminal ring, which operated near(as the eagle and crow flies) where I grew up. Some well known celebrities adopted their babies from this adoption agency. Also, there are no despicable little twerps in BLACK MARKET BABIES.

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    1. Congratulations! And thank you for including me in the Sunshine Blogger selections. I made a decision a few years ago to forego such honours, even though I enjoy reading all of the interesting responses.

      I particularly got a kick out of your child actor response. I have more of a fondness for the group, but I definitely agree with you about Gigi in that movie where she and Coburn were a fabulous team. PS: When in need, I'd like to borrow something from your all encompassing closet.

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    2. Walter, yes PR was flying under the radar a good bit and could get away with things bigger studios could not. Dillinger is a good one, well really everything with Lawrence Tierney is watchable.

      I've got a lot of good movie recommendations from you and John, and also from Colin. I've heard about Black Market Babies but haven't seen it. I'll try to track it down.

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    3. Paddy, I understand, quite a few bloggers don't participate in these awards.
      As for the clothes, mi closet es tu closet, or something like it. :)

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  6. Just backtracking somewhat I am just a little surprised that you prefer Westerns to classic
    Horror,especially being a Noir expert. Some of those Universal Horror B pics have a certain Noirish
    element to them. Here I'm thinking about such B fare as House Of Horrors,Horror Island,Fog Island
    and Night Monster among others. These minor films are being given the Blu Ray treatmwent by Shout
    Factory in very appealing 4 film sets, but I have to admit they are not cheap.
    I hope that some of these films might appear later as more affordable stand alone releases.
    I do wish that some brave outfit would give the same treatment to the Republic B Crime/Noirs.
    There are far too many of these films to list here,and sadly they are very hard to track down.
    I've seen a few of them including a couple of interesting films from George Blair:Lonely Heart
    Bandits and Women From Headquarters.
    Mark over at Where Danger Lives rather likes Blair,the only writer I have encountered to give him
    any kudos. I think that I enjoyed Women From Headquarters a lot more than Mark did,but that's the
    way it goes sometimes.
    From a personal point of view my first love is Westerns especially those made in the 1950's.
    After that I love classic Horror,Univeral,Hammer,Corman/Price and also 50's Sci Fi.
    With Noir,my third favourite,I only dabble in, but am more drawn to the Crime Thriller type as
    opposed to tales of twisted desire,'though I don't mind a bit of that as well.
    One of my all time fave Noirs is The Street With No Name which I would love to see up-graded to
    Blu Ray.
    Finally,I am so pleased to see the always engaging Walter back in blog land,here and elsewhere
    although his "in my new world" comment does concern me somewhat.

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