Announcing the SEVENTH Annual What A Character! Blogathon – Dec. 14-16, 2018

9th August 1933: Jean Harlow (1911 - 1937) is Hollywood sex goddess Lola Burns and Frank Morgan (1890 - 1949) is her father, Pop Burns, in 'Bombshell', (aka 'Blonde Bombshell') directed by Victor Fleming. Mary Forbes (1883 - 1974) plays Mrs Middleton.
Frank Morgan and June Brewster are just two of the superb character actors in BOMBSHELL (1933). Image via Doctor Macro

When you re-watch your favorite films, what keeps you coming back for more? A great story with sharp writing? No doubt. Beautiful costumes, swanky set designs, and stunning cinematography? Most assuredly. But the performances are key to any movie. While we all look forward to the popular leading actors, it is the stand-out, scene-stealing supporting actors that feel like “home.”

Wise-cracking Eve Arden, nurturing Louise Beavers, sassy Thelma Ritter, double-take pro Edward Everett Horton, tart-tongued Edna May Oliver, gravelly-voiced Eddie “Rochester” Anderson, fatherly Charles Coburn, frazzled Franklin Pangborn, bullfrog-voiced, barrel-chested Eugene Pallette, cigar-chomping Ned Sparks… these and so many more lovable character actors are who we look forward to seeing as our dearest old chums. We all could use a trusted sidekick.

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John Ford’s STAGECOACH (1939) was rife with talented characters.

For the 7th consecutive year, we as the blogathon hosting trio of Aurora of Once Upon A Screen and @CitizenScreen, Kellee of Outspoken & Freckled and @IrishJayhawk66, and myself, Paula of Paula’s Cinema Club and @Paula_Guthat invite you to join us for the WHAT A CHARACTER! BLOGATHON 2018, December 14, 15, 16, as we pay tribute to the brilliance of the supporting players.

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Curse of the Demon (1957) gifs

With a ton of alternate titles and a couple different versions (U.S. and U.K.), this film based on the short story “Casting the Runes” by M.R. James is both genuinely creepy and a fitting part of Turner Classic Movies’ tribute to Peggy Cummins, who passed away on December 29, 2017 at the age of 92. If you haven’t seen it, or even if you have, you ought to, plus it’s the TCM Party tonight at 9:45 p.m. Eastern with guest host Jim Phoel aka @DraconicVerses.

It’s got some really gorgeous black-and-white cinematography by Edward Scaife (who also shot The Third Man) under the direction of dollar-from-a-dime maestro Jacques Tourneur (Out of the Past, Cat People, I Walked with a Zombie). I made some apparently oversized gifs from it (too big for tumblr) and I’m parking ’em here. More gifs after the jump…

curse of the demon plane

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Announcing the 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon!

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences handed out its first Awards at a dinner party for about 250 people on May 16, 1929, to honor movies released from August 1, 1927 – August 1, 1928. The organization’s first president, Douglas Fairbanks, hosted and presented at the ceremony, held in the Blossom Room of the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood. The brainchild of MGM studio mogul Louis B. Mayer, the Academy was formed in 1927 as a non-profit dedicated to the advancement and improvement of the film industry. Some might argue about some of those achievements, but there is one thing that is sure to impress classic movie and Hollywood fans: When the music plays to open this year’s Oscars on March 4, 2018, it will be the 90th time the film industry has honored achievements in movies. Check out all the 1929 nominees and winners.

If you look through 90 years of Oscars ceremonies, you’ll find numerous surprises, disappointments, and controversies, any number of which may spur debate from film aficionados. That’s where we come in. For the sixth consecutive year, I am joining forces with Kellee of Outspoken & Freckled and @Irishjayhawk66 and Aurora of Once Upon A Screen and @CitizenScreen to bring you the 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon. Given Oscar’s special anniversary and all of the memories, we hope you’ll consider joining us to make this the best and brightest outing yet. Details & list of participating blogs after the jump…

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Same Song, Different Movie: “Cry to Me” by Solomon Burke


The idea for this post is shamelessly borrowed with permission from my friend Michael at It Rains … You Get Wet and his fascinating Same Song-Different Movie series, which

looks at the use of “needle dropped” songs, many of them popular tunes, in movies. Specifically, in more than one. Yet they are not officially considered part of a film’s score. A score consists of those orchestral, choral, or instrumental pieces some consider background music. Both music forms are equally utilized as cues by filmmakers for a specific purpose or to elicit certain reactions by the audience.


On December 6, 1961, singer Solomon Burke recorded the country/soul/R&B mashup “Cry to Me.” The song’s upbeat melody, crisp tempo, and soaring vocal belie its themes of loneliness and weariness. It was released  in 1962 as a single with “I Almost Lost My Mind” on the b-side and placed on Billboard’s Hot R&B (peaking at #5) and Hot 100 (#44) charts upon its release. The song was written and produced by Bert Berns (aka Bert Russell), a Juilliard-trained musician, with whom Burke had a rocky relationship. Burke had rejected two other Berns compositions during the same session and was reluctant to record “Cry” as well — until Burke decided to speed it up. The song became one of the singer’s biggest hits, cementing his image as the “King of Rock ‘n’ Soul,” and it soon had a permanent place in the popular music songbook. Per Wikipedia, the varied and numerous artists to cover the immortal track include Betty Harris, the Pretty Things, the Rolling Stones, Raul Malo of the Mavericks, and the late great Tom Petty. The song was recently used in two mostly different features to very different effect, released less than a year apart: ’71 (2014) and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015). While both films share certain plot keywords and deal in varying degrees with covert operations, the tone of each couldn’t be more different.

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What A Character! Day 1

The anticipation is over! Today we bring you the first day of the 6th annual What A Character Blogathon, hosted by yours truly and my fellow co-hosts, the classic film loving ladies: Paula of Paula’s Cinema Club @Paula_Guthat and Aurora of Once Upon A Screen @CitizenScreenings. As promised, this annual event celebrates the character actors. […]

via It’s here! 6th Annual WHAT A CHARACTER! Blogathon: Day One — Outspoken and Freckled

Announcing the SIXTH ANNUAL What A Character! Blogathon – Dec. 15-17, 2017

When you think about your very favorite classic movies, what makes them your favorites? The films worth watching multiple times, endlessly discussing, or just chilling out with…what makes them the cinematic equivalent of comfort food? Sure, great writing is key, but those lines are just words without the right actors delivering them. Beautiful costumes are great, but without the right actors wearing them, they’re just clothes. Stunning, authentic art direction and set design are wonderful, but empty, without the right actors inhabiting that world. And gorgeous cinematography can only hold your eye for so long, without the right actors being lit. And so on…
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Review: Sophia Loren: Movie Star Italian Style

Happy birthday, Sophia Loren! Out September 26 from Running Press and TCM, Sophia Loren: Movie Star Italian Style by Cindy De La Hoz is an image-laden coffee-table-style book about the woman Charlton Heston referred to as “the only honest-to-God international movie star.” The book starts with a brief biography of Loren, then goes into capsule summaries and nuggets of behind-the-scenes info for nearly all of her credited roles, with special emphasis on her Italian productions. This comprehensive listing of her films will likely spur further viewing for many readers.

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Hitchcock – Girls Who Wear Glasses

Update 11 August 2017: This was published by mistake before it was done but I figure i am just going to leave it as a work in progress. I just completed TCM Presents The Master of Suspense: 50 Years of Hitchcock online course. I’m just throwing out an idea out here and that’s Girls Who Wear Glasses (GWWG) as a motif. Considering that one of them is Hitchcock’s own daughter Patricia, and it appears about as often as paintings, it’s significant, but it doesn’t really get talked about…not that I saw anyway.

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Announcing the 5th Annual 31 DAYS OF OSCAR Blogathon!

31 Days of Oscar BlogathonWelcome for the fourth time to the 31 Days of Oscars Blogathon redux, making this the fifth installment of our grand celebration of all things Oscar!

Kellee of Outspoken & Freckled, Aurora of Once Upon A Screen, and yours truly of Paula’s Cinema Club started this event to coincide with Turner Classic Movie’s 31 Days of Oscar marathon. For 31 days, TCM spotlights the movies and players that have made a legend of the golden statuette. This Blogathon is our way to pay tribute to the network and the movies we love. We hope you join us in the effort. Details after the jump!

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WHAT A CHARACTER! 2016 – Day Two

DAY 2 of the WHAT A CHARACTER! Blogathon hosted by AURORA

Once upon a screen...

I’m thrilled to be hosting Day Two of the 2016 What A Character! Blogathon. This is the fifth consecutive year that I co-host this tribute to the lesser known players that enriched so many movies. As you probably know my co-hosts are the fabulous Kellee of Outspoken & Freckled who kicked things off with Day One and Paula of Paula’s Cinema Club who hosts the third and final day tomorrow. As always, I’m honored to be in cahoots with these two ladies.

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If you want a refresher on the back story for the What a Character! Blogathon take a look at the Announcement post, which includes the entire list of participants and chosen character actors. Otherwise I’m getting to the main course of this entry, the tributes to memorable supporting players. Let me just say one more thing – as I read the submissions from the first two days of this event it…

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