Showing posts from October, 2015

Deanna Durbin juggles murder and romance in... Lady on a Train (1945)

Ever since I became a classic film fan, I've been hearing about Deanna Durbin. Since Wizard of Oz was a giant favorite of mine, and since Durbin was the unofficial rival of Judy Garland, I was steadfast in believing that Durbin wasn't for me. It honestly made no sense, I know. I never had any interest in Ms. Durbin until this year's 1947 Blogathon, where I read a piece about Something in the Wind, an appealing picture starring Durbin, John Dall, and Donald O'Connor. I don't know what happened, but suddenly I couldn't wait to get my hands on anything Deanna Durbin. I bought a collection of her films (found here) and I fell in love. This gal was sweet and cute, but also smart and scrappy -- and yes, she could sing. Lady on a Train is one of her best, and in the spirit of Halloween, I thought it was a good time to bring you some murder and mayhem (of the fictional kind, of course). By the way, there will be major spoilers throughout this post, so if you don't…

Double Trouble: That Night in Rio (1941) and On the Riviera (1951)

Here's my second entry to this blogathon, dedicated to looking at Hollywood's favorite pastime: remakes. You can see the other entries here.
As I said yesterday -- okay, insisted -- I try not to hold grudges against remakes. Despite coming from the same source material, remakes can be vastly different from the original, such as the two films I talked about yesterday, the comedy masterpiece Libeled Lady and the fun musical Easy to Wed. Today's case is a little different because both movies are like Easy to Wed: colorful, lightweight, and very easy on the senses. That Night in Rio was 20th Century Fox's chance to team up three of its biggest stars: Alice Faye, Don Ameche, and Carmen Miranda. Ten years later for On the Riviera, Fox again saw the opportunity to cash in on big names: multitalented Danny Kaye and Fox royalty Gene Tierney. Interestingly enough, these movies are both remakes of Folies Bergè…

Twice the laughs: Libeled Lady (1936) and Easy to Wed (1946)

This is one of two entries I'll be writing up for the fun They Remade What?! Blogathon, which looks at that popular Hollywood activity of remaking its own films. You can check out my other post tomorrow and here's the complete roster.
Let me get this out of the way: Libeled Lady is without a doubt one of the most quintessential films ever made. It has a stellar cast, a script so clever you can't believe it, fast-paced direction, and plenty of other adjectives. It's simply a wonderful comedy, a movie that we will sadly never see the likes of again. So, why did MGM deign to try and repeat Libeled Lady's magic? Well, money, of course. But also because Hollywood doesn't really seem to care whether or not they're taking a favorite of yours and messing with it any which way they can. And that's why people appear to hate remakes as much as they do -- it feels like a personal aff…