I’m at the point in Summer Under the Stars when I’m getting a stockpile of movies and kind of randomly picking which to watch when, so my comments from here on out are unlikely to seem to relate to the schedule.
I picked up several Robert Walker movies but I’ve only watched one, The Princess and the Bellboy (1945). I chose it mainly because Hedy Lamarr was also in it and I’ve always liked her–based for the most part on seeing a few particular movies she was in repeatedly. This was also one of only a couple Walker films shown without some war as the setting.
As I previously mentioned, I’ve known of him but the only movie I’m sure I’ve seen is Strangers on a Train, long long ago. I’ve grown so tired of how every detective/mystery show on TV uses this plot device for a pair of murders at some point, I’ve become resistant to ever watching the movie again.
The yappy quality of his voice came as a surprise; not sure why, just didn’t expect it. Once I adjusted to that “I just took a puff of helium” sound, I enjoyed the movie in spite of the silliness of the plot with a princess requesting a bellboy–completely unschooled in dealing with royals– as her personal attendant while she’s staying in his hotel.
Never quite figured out why some emotionally based ailment would prevent June Allyson from getting off the couch/walking or who all the people were who also lived there and apparently could hear everything that happened in her apartment (apartment building? rehab center? ???). Nor why the Princess and her entourage appeared to be entirely unmoved by the death of her uncle, the King… But it’s the kind of light comedy I like and to me it had a bit more of the flavor of 30’s movies of its type than 40’s, which I also like (30’s).
A lot of my early taste in old movies was shaped by my parents, who didn’t especially like Joan Crawford and then –probably unfairly– exacerbated by Mommy Dearest and the resulting image of her as a bitch. So I’ve seen a few things but not very many.
I watched Dancing Lady (1933) first, and found myself shocked by seeing her singing and dancing. While I’d describe her dancing as heavy-footed, I didn’t know she could do it at all, nor sing. It was fun to see her so young and relatively more innocent looking — I’ve mostly seen her a bit older and with a harder appearance.
I chose it in part because Gable was one of her co-stars (Franchot Tone also played a big role) and I feel like I’ve tended to just see the same Gable films over and over. If you can overlook Crawford’s unlikely climb from burlesque performer to Broadway star, it was fun and had some elaborate dance numbers. Fred Astaire now gets pretty high billing though I only spotted him at the end.*
Next up was Sadie McKee (1934) one of those sagas that stretches credulity, from her close friendship with Tone when she was his family’s cook’s daughter to her undying love for the spineless ass, Tommy. But Crawford was good and I enjoyed seeing a second Franchot Tone film.
Two in a row with him led me to look him up on Wikipedia and finally found out the odd first name (which I’ve never figured out how to pronounce) was his mother’s maiden name–also that both sides of his family were wealthy and he was married to Crawford for a while.
My final choice, The Women, is one I’ve seen many times. Probably a source of not thinking too highly of Crawford 🙂 The cast — Norma Shearer, Paulette Goddard, Rosalind Russell, Joan Fontaine, Mary Boland, Marjorie Main and more –is stellar, the pace fast and I never get tired of it.
*I have a habit of working on the computer while the T.V. is on, so I do miss stuff…