Hey night owls and West Coasters, Paula here to close out our 10th Annual What a Character! Blogathon! It always brings me so much joy to see so much love for the backbone of studio-era Hollywood, the supporting players.
I was a late bloomer with Lured. I didn’t see Douglas Sirk’s remake of the 1939 French film Pieges until the mid-teens of the present century. This comedy/drama/film noir is a bit complicated, and I don’t want to reveal too much for those who haven’t seen the film. It’s so much fun, you deserve to see it for yourself. But here goes: Never-lovelier Lucille Ball portrays Sandra Carpenter, an American showgirl stranded in London. She’s working as a taxi dancer when her friend and co-worker Lucy (Tanis Chandler) disappears, probably the latest victim of the “Poet Killer,” a shadowy murderer who advertises for his prey in the personals section of the newspaper and taunts the police by mailing love poems to them. When Sandra goes to Scotland Yard to try and find Lucy, she is recruited by Inspector Harley Temple (Charles Coburn) to go undercover for the Yard. She will be essentially acting as bait for the killer, answering any and all personal ads that look sketchy enough to be leads. The first seeks a dress model. She goes to the studio of Charles van Druten (Boris Karloff), a former fashion designer, who is certainly unhinged. Is he the Poet Killer?
Meanwhile, Sandra had been trying to audition for a better dancing gig, in a new show with real producers, Robert Fleming (George Sanders) and Julian Wilde (Cedric Hardwicke). Long story short, while answering another personal ad, Sandra encounters “unmitigated cad” Fleming, and sparks fly. She’s on duty at the time, but he keeps turning up in the most unlikely places as she pursues the investigation. Hmm…
Unable to resist those actors, Aurora, Kellee, and I decided to dedicate a blogging event in their honor, and the WHAT A CHARACTER! Blogathon was born. Now, for the 10th consecutive year, we continue the tradition.
This announcement also serves as a heartfelt thank you to all who have participated in this event so graciously for nine years. The talent, enthusiasm, and passion with which you have approached our beloved character actors are beyond anything we could have imagined. We hope you join us again for this special celebration!
The 10th Annual WHAT A CHARACTER! Blogathon takes place on Saturday, December 4, 2021.
Let the hosts know which character actor you choose by leaving a comment below.
We prefer no repeats, i.e. previously published posts.
Character actors can be from any era of film or television.
Please include the name and URL of your blog and your Twitter handle if you have one to help us promote your work properly.
Publish your post on or before December 4, 2021.
Please include the event banner (designed by yours truly from an idea by Aurora) on your blog to help us promote this special event
HAVE FUN and spread the word!
A tenth anniversary is a big deal, a fact recognized by both TCM and The University Press of Kentucky, who have offered books to give away to a lucky 10 U.S. and Canada WHAT A CHACRACTER! bloggers.
While you may well be familiar with TCM, you may not know about The University Press of Kentucky, which has a wonderful array of film history-related biographies and analytical studies in its Screen Classics series. For our event, Director of Sales & Marketing Brooke Raby has offered a sampling of their offerings, one copy of each of the following titles:
Thank you to Brooke for the terrific list of books.
One Last Thing: Much gratitude to my friends and co-hosts, Kellee and Aurora, without whom this blogathon would not exist, and both of whom were instrumental to the development of TCM Party. One decade down: forever to go. Happy WHAT A CHARACTER! Anniversary!
Chosen Actors and Participating Blogs
Felix Bressart – Taking Up Room
Jack Carson – Second Sight Cinema
Hans Conried – A Shroud of Thoughts
Elisha Cook, Jr. – Whimsically Classic
Wally Cox – Journeys in Classic Film
Diana Dors – Real Weegie Midget Reviews
Mildred Dunnock and Patricia Collinge – The Last Drive In
Hope Emerson – Shadows and Satin
William Frawley – By Rich Watson
Theresa Harris – Blog of the Darned
Kathleen Harrison – Caftan Woman
Edward Everett Horton – Silent Film Music
Jessie Royce Landis – Michele Price
Lured (1947) Supporting Cast – Paula’s Cinema Club
Subsequent to Day 1 over at Outspoken and Freckled, and Day 2 at Once Upon A Screen, I am presenting Day 3 of our annual tribute to the names below the title, those scene-stealing supporting players who add immeasurably to our favorite films.
First up, Gary Pratt takes a good look — literally — at Donald Pleasance, particularly as half of a beautiful friendship in The Great Escape in a guest post on Outspoken and Freckled.
Lesley at Second Sight Cinema looks at late-blooming Charles Coburn, who nonetheless became “as indispensable to the movies as he had been to the American stage for nearly four decades.”
Aurora at Once Upon A Screen… profiles another late bloomer, the inimitable Majorie Main, whose “physical look, her mannerisms, dry wit, and that voice! all made a package that was not easy to forget.”
The Lady Eve shines the spotlight on Joyce Compton, declaring, “there’s more to [her] story than her turns as scatterbrained, Southern-fried blondes.”
Kellee at Outspoken & Freckled sheds some very deserved light on Frank McHugh’s life and career.
To be continued with more character actors to come…
‘Tis the season to recognize the names below the title, as our yearly recognition of those supporting players whose faces you know (but names you might not) concludes today.
Check out Day 1 by Kellee at Outspoken and Freckled and Day 2 at Aurora‘s blog Once Upon a Screen. All the nitty-gritty blogathon details are in the Announcement post. Thanks to my partners in cinematic tribute for making this such a fun project and to Turner Classic Movies for the blogathon title and inspiration. And now on with the show…
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.
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.
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…
As a classic movie devotee, I’ve always wondered how two so different people as Henry Fonda and Jimmy Stewart — somehow he is never “James” — could maintain such a lasting and close friendship as theirs apparently was. I’d heard about the model airplane they built together, and the double dates. Yet Fonda was a New Deal Democrat who was married 5 times, had issues with his kids, and seemed to keep to himself; Stewart was a conservative Republican, got married once for life, had a decent relationship with his kids, and seemed to know everybody. The new double biography Hank and Jim: The Fifty-Year Friendship of Henry Fonda and James Stewart, by Scott Eyman, acclaimed author of John Wayne: The Life and Legend, reconciles this conundrum, and in the process reveals that these two actors were more alike than I knew. Giveaway winner announced after the jump. Continue reading “Review: Hank and Jim and the 50-Year Friendship PLUS Giveaway”→
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.
Ava Gardner — Grabtown, North Carolina’s Christmas gift to the world — was probably most familiar to me as one of the quintessential femmes fatales, Kitty in The Killers, and as the determined, loyal woman who saved her husband Frank Sinatra’s career by getting him the role of Maggio in From Here To Eternity. She was certainly the former, and she may have been the latter (she certainly tried), but she was much more than these things. My concept of Gardner has been considerably expanded, by a new biography of the star, Ava: A Life in Movies.