Thursday, 29 March 2012

Completely having kittens.. ..with Anne Francis

Glad you could make it to this corner of blogland, ladies and gents!

~ This is part of a meme hosted by Michelle @ THE TRUE BOOK ADDICT ~

My lovely guest today is Anne Francis 

- who brought some hungry friend..

Hope you all have a nice day - and something to nibble in reach..



Monday, 26 March 2012

Start with a smile - and dance with Joan Crawford and Alan Jenkins!

I hope you all have a great start into your week - and smile a lot!!

How about doing a little bit of jitterbug - with two people I love?

Here they are:

Alan Jenkins and Joan Crawford!

Don't you just love that? This sure looks like fun!!

Have a great week!!

Thank you very much for listening!

Yours truly


Friday, 23 March 2012

Up to the Screen – Mr. Skeffington

This new series will feature books which became films. I'd like to read all those old bestsellers which at some point of their "career" became sparkling pictures on the big silver screen.. And maybe one or two of you like also to know a bit more about the persons who delieverd the stories which became classics - or maybe "just" movies ..  

I am going to start with a book which became not only one of my favourite books this year but also one of my favourite films ever – and which perfectly fits into the Mirror, Mirror series at this blog: 

MR. SKEFFINGTON (1939/40) by Elizabeth von Arnim.

In a nut-shell: 

Lady Frances “Fanny” Skeffington is going to be 50 years old in a few days. After a heavy illness she lost all her beauty which she once was so famous for. But what’s even worse: She starts to see her ex-husband Hiob Skeffington everywhere. In the few days until her birthday she will meet some of her old admirers again – but time changed many things not solely her beauty.. 

 The author - also just in a nut-shell

Elizabeth von Arnim was born as Mary Annette Beauchamp August 31, 1866. 

In 1891 she married Henning August von Arnim-Schlagenthin which made her a  German citizen - because her husband was German. They lived for some time in Berlin, Germany - and later moved with their children to a manor in Pomerania (which would by now be an area in East Germany/ West Poland). 

Her first novel was published anonymous in 1898. Later she changed her nom de plume into Elizabeth - and she also liked to be called by that name privately. 1908 the family had financial troubles - and private one, too: Elizabeth divorced her husband and moved with her five children to London. 

~ H. G. Wells ~
She and author H.G. Wells (You might know one or two films based on one of his books: - THE INVISIBLE MAN (1933) or THE TIME MACHINE (1960) or maybe WAR OF THE WORLDS (2005) .. - he will be featured in this series too - that's for sure!) became lovers for some years in which she for some times lived with her cousin - author Katharine Mansfield - until she left H.G. Wells in 1913 for Frank Russell - a British politician. 

When WWI broke out Elizabeth changed her citizenship back into a British one. She and Frank Russell married in 1916 - the same year (in which also died one of her daughters..) she run away from her husband which caused a scandal in London's high society - though she came back to him in 1917 and tried to save their marriage - not with much success though they stayed married until Frank Russell died in 1931. 1939 Elizabeth emigrated to the United States. She died February 9, 1945 in Charleston, South Carolina - her ashes were brought back to England in the autumn of that year.

Elizabeth von Arnim is one of my favourite authors - which is based mainly in her very ironical style..

Wanna see more of Elizabeth von Arnim's works?

Besides MR. SKEFFINGTON which was brought to the big screen in 1945 with Bette Davis and Claude Rains in the leading parts - there is only one other of her novels adapted for film - but that two times: THE ENCHANTED APRIL (1922). In 1935 with Ann Harding and my beloved Frank Morgan (and I really would love to see this film some day.. )

~ isn't he adorable??  She is too - yes.. but he IS Frank Morgan!! ~

and in 1992 with another actor I love: Alfred Molina. Besides him Joan Plowright,  Jim Broadbent and Miranda Richardson were also part of the cast - another one I am yet to see.. - That cast really sounds amazing!  

Besides those films there was a Television play in 1958 based on THE ENCHANTED APRIL.

About the book MR. SKEFFINGTON:

Unlike the film the book is set just on these few days until Fanny’s birthday - and in London, England. The famous end scene is pretty much the same like in the film – and though you know what will happen: It’s amazingly exciting! 

The tone of the book is - as almost always when it comes to Elizabeth von Arnim's books - quite ironical. And I just love that!

~ Any questions left WHY I love this film? ~

Another thing which is in my opinion a bit different from the film: Fanny is a much sweeter and loveable person in the novel – which does not mean that Bette Davis didn’t do a good job in the film – she certainly did. As I said before it's one of my favourite films..

The German title of the book is DIE SIEBEN SPIEGEL DER LADY FRANCES (= The seven mirrors of Lady Frances) – and I had the lucky opportunity to read this book in a 1958 print – and this one issue was even never read before: I actually had to cut some of the pages! That was a bit sad - but somehow pretty marvellous, too. 

~ just a little side note: Fanny Skeffington's birthday is March 12 .. ~

I really can relate to Fanny in the book - and I guess aging and loosing your atractivity was always a problem the female part of the world population had to deal with.. Nevertheless this book left me very positive - and I think I might re-read it some day..

I certainly both recommend the book and the film - no matter how old and/or (un-)attractive you might be..



Thursday, 15 March 2012

Completely having kittens.. ..with Roddy McDowall

And again this blog is completely having kittens!

~ This is part of a meme hosted by Michelle @ THE TRUE BOOK ADDICT ~

Our guest today?

Another one of my favourites:

Mr. Roddy McDowall!!

He is posing with a beautiful pal - and as far as I know it's just a joke - a publicity still for THAT DARN CAT (1965).. 

~ Hope you have noticed that little stool the cat is sitting on - it's just a stunt!
- well.. I for sure hope it is.. ~

Have a great day!



Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Some puppy love.. ..with Gene Tierney

Wellcome to a new Puppy Love Tuesday issue!

Our guest today (- and just btw this month's star guest at Monty's and my blog LET THE SHOW BEGIN...):

Miss Gene Tierney!

The SPARKLE'S-team has met her during work..

~ with a very handsome friend
- oh.. and well.. yes: Clark Gable was there, too.. ~

... and had the luck to visit her also on set!

 She was filming THE EGYPTIAN (1954) with some very elegant co-stars:

(We want to thank 20th Century Fox for this oportunity!) 

And here is little Miss Tierney's with her younger sister Pat - together with Argus:

Thank you very much for listening!

Have a lovely day!

Yours very well and truly


Monday, 12 March 2012

Start with a Smile! Learn how to smile with Elizabeth Taylor

How to smile really beautifully??

Our guest Elizabeth Taylor shows you how:

Open your eyes - and: Show lots of teeth!

~ (this picture was taken by Roddy McDowall just btw.. )~ 

It's really easy, huh?

Have a great week, folks!

Yours truly


Sunday, 11 March 2012

Thank you very much, Rianna!

Rianna of FRANKLY, MY DEAR passed an award on to this blog. It's the 7x7 Link Award.

Thank you so very, very much, Rianna! You know I love your blog - and actually I would love to give you this award, too - but I guess that wouldn't be according to the now following rules:

1. Tell everyone something no one else knows about.

2. Link to one of my posts that I personall think best fits the following categories: Most Beautiful Piece, Most Helpful Piece, Most Popular Piece, Most Controversial Piece, Most Surprisingly Successful Piece, Most Underrated Piece, and Most Pride-worthy Piece.

3.Pass this award on to seven other bloggers. 


1. Well.. let's see.. Something no one else knows about? I don't think that something like that excists.. Ok - by excluding some persons (e.g. me and my cats): In this very moment my kitchen is a mess - and I am going to wash the dishes as soon as I'll have finished this post.

2. Most Beautiful Piece:

Maybe my Farewell post for Elizabeth Taylor.. 

Most Helpful Piece:

Though I liked the series about the stars who struggled with Breast Cancer - I do no think that this blog is helpful at all - but that might be for my readers to decide. Actually I have regularly the feeling that this blog better should be closed because it's so damn boring and ridiculously dispensable.

Most Popular Piece: 

Due to mentioning (and posting one of) the pictures she did in Playboy magazine my post about Barbara Parkins  is the most popular one here. It has almost 10,500 hits so far.. Thanks to all those lovely guys with one hand in their pants..

Most Controversial Piece:

Frankly, this blog isn't as controversial as I want it to be: I am simply afraid that I could hurt someone's feelings. I dislike many actors and films that are beloved favourites of some of my friends..

Most Surprisingly Successful Piece:

That would be the second favourite of my visitors: The Disney Villainesses..  I guess more people hunting for pictures here..

Most Underrated Piece:

I have wonderful followers who tend to comment on my posts - which is awesome, because it's great to know that people actually read what I post (or at least look at the pictures..). So I was to be frank a bit disappointed when my review of a silent film with the great Anna May Wong PICADILLY (1927) - was kind of ignored. But I am almost over that.. So: no problem. It's after all not a that good post, I guess.

Same goes for the review of Ingrid Bergman's only film she did in Germany.. - Well.. Maybe THOSE are controversial posts here..

Most Pride-worthy Piece:

Well.. I think I have three review posts I really, really like:


MARTY (1955)

I'd like to give this award to just five blogs. Blogs which in my opinion are just great - and should be read by many more readers - as I said before I'd love to have Rianna's blog here too - but she already has an award - so here are my five favourites:

Patti of THEY DON'T MAKE 'EM LIKE THEY USED TO - a great friend writing marvellous reviews. So many and frequently that I am feeling very, very "inferiority complexed" whenever I visit her blog.. We agree on many actors and films - not on all of course. That would be actually quite boring..

DKoren of SIDEWALK CROSSINGS - the moment I visited this blog for the first time and I saw this fabulous header I knew: that's a place to stay. Wonderfully written posts indeed. 

Perfect Number 6 of NO TIME LIKE THE PAST - a cool lady with a heart for all the cool guys and women of the 1960's - and much more.. Her picture posts are just awesome.

Whitney of WE HAVE THE STARS - I love this project of hers: To watch and review the "Oscar-films". Whitney has a wonderfully witty way to write.  I enjoy her posts very, very much.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Sarah of THE WICKER BAR - Sarah had another film blog (CINEMA SPLENDOR) before but decided to move to another (new) blog - where she would discuss also other stuff - and it's great!

Thanks again to Rianna - have a virtual hug, dear! 

Thank you all so very much for listening!



Saturday, 10 March 2012

Do you remember.. ..Laird Cregar?

~ This is part of the Gone too soon Blogathon
hosted by Jnpickens @ COMET OVER HOLLYWOOD

As followers of this blog know (hello to all of you who visit via COMET OF HOLLYWOOD, too!!) since February this blog is themed: "Mirror, Mirror - It's all in the looks" is dealing with all ways of posts/ topics I can relate to this theme.. It was meant to run just for February - but with a miniseries about Berlinale Film Festival I overrun myself here a bit - so I prolongued the theme.. 

From the moment I started this theme I planned to do a post about one of my favourite actors. My followers know by now that I have two #1 actors (Vincent Price and Peter Lorre) following those two with just a smidge difference are my two #2 actors: John Garfield - and Laird Cregar.

The original idea was - after I posted about Karl Dane to start another series here: The Do you remember? series.- Actually it's a bit strange with me: whenever I learn something new to me I am immediately sure that everybody else knews it for years - that it is common knowledge. So I felt a bit silly to write about him - but then I was very suprised to learn that not every single person in the world knew about Karl Dane.. 

~ The Great Dane - and a German Sheperd.. ~

Frankly - it felt quite cool to get people to know him and I decided to start a series in which I feature some favourites of mine - even if everybody knows all about them - just my own declarations of love for those people.. 

Anyway - though I had this experience with the Karl Dane post - I am again very sure that most people know about Laird Cregar. (I have a feeling like some people are actually here to read a bit about him..) 

I am very, very happy to be part of a giant blogathon dealing with those people who are "gone too soon". So for I was anyway about to post about Laird Cregar I decided to join the party and connect with some other bloggers around - and I hope that you people will at least not be too much disappointed with my try.. 

So - finally:  

Here we go - and here's our guest:

~ Laird Cregar ~

Have some facts about him (including his filmography):

Laird Cregar was born Samuel Laird Cregar on July 28, - the year was either 1913, 1914 or 1916 - there are several sources saying different things.. Most sources state 1913 though - and they all agree about that he was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.. 

~ Young Samuel Laird Cregar
- who dropped his first name Samuel when he decided to become an actor.. ~

He went to school in England at Winchester Academy, where his parents sent him to. There he was working as a page boy and bit player at the Stratford-upon-Avon Players. Back in America besides other jobs he did to simply survive he trained to become an actor. There were times that he was that flat broke that he had to sleep in his car. He made some impressions on stage with an one-man-show in which he portrayed Oscar Wilde

~ still young.. but no film star yet.. ~ 

His film debut was in 1940 when he had a little part in OH JOHNNY, HOW YOU CAN LOVE - it was merely a walk-on part - but finally a start.. The same year he also had a little part in a Warner Bros. B-movie Western GRANNY GET YOUR GUN starring Harry Davenport and May Robson

~ Belgium poster for OH JOHNNY, HOW YOU CAN LOVE (1940) ~

In 1941 - after accepting a studio contract from 20th Century Fox - he had three appearances in films which gave him a bit more of a funny image:

In HUDSON'S BAY (1941) he was a zany fur trapper - I must admit that I do not know this film. But for I adore Paul Muni I really, really want to see that one!

~ Publicity still for HUDSON'S BAY
with Paul Muni and John Sutton ~

In BLOOD AND SAND (1941) which starred Tyrone Power,jr and Linda Darnell  he was a vain critic - can you get a better cast? Hardly.. 

 and in CHARLEY'S AUNT (1941) his character had to fawn over/ make love to Jack Benny's character who was pretending to be a woman.. For Laird Cregar who was reportedly homosexual this part could be at the same time just an easy bit and a real challenge.. There are sources saying that he had the tendency to fall in love with his leading men - but I don't know whether that is true or not. All I can say that you work really, really close together with your partners when you're an actor - and that sometimes it's hard to seperate acting from "mere feelings".. 

~ Edmund Gwenn and Laird Cregar - longing for a little loving of Ms. Jack Benny.. ~

Another interesting thing about this film: though he was supposed to act as the father of James Ellison - he was actually younger than Ellison who was born in 1910..  Because of his tall and due to his weight of about 300 pounds (ca. 136kg) very impressive figure he always appeared to be older than he actually was: not even 30 at that time..

~ aside a film camera.. sporting a very cute space width.. ~

But the same year he had a part in a film which showed him from quite a dark and diabolic side - a part which would lead to other parts of that kind. He was really very, very impressive here. His acting is one of the finest you can find.. Well, in my opinion it is for sure.. 

~ in I WAKE UP SCREAMING (1941) - really madly in love.. ~

Then followed a part as a classic villain of this time periode: Gestapo officer Herr Funk in JOAN OF PARIS (1942) opposite  the always wonderful Paul Henreid and the fantastic Michèle Morgan.

~ Publicity Still for JOAN OF PARIS (1942) ~

Also in 1942 he worked like many other stars of that time in Hollywood Canteen - here he is carrying a dinner tray:

It followed a Screwball comedy - starring Gene Tierney and Henry Fonda: RINGS ON HER FINGERS (1942). Here he was part of a crooked couple - the other half was: My beloved Spring Byington!! Too amazing for words.. 

~ Publicity Still for RINGS ON HER FINGERS (1942 )  ~

Afterwards he was in the film which might be one of his best-known: THIS GUN FOR HIRE (1942) - which marked the breaktrough for Alan Ladd (In 1943 Laird Cregar reprised his film character in a Lux Radio Theater version).

~ in THIS GUN FOR HIRE (1942) - still not even 30 years old.. ~

I found a cute little snippet of a publicity shot for THIS GUN FOR HIRE - showing 6'3'' (1,90m) high Laird Cregar and his tiny leading lady Veronica Lake (4'11½'' / 1,51m):

~ ... ~

A drama with Maureen O'Hara, George Montgomery and again John Sutton followed: TEN GENTLEMEN FROM WEST POINT (1942). Sorry.. But I haven't watched this film yet - so I can't give you any infos about Laird Cregar here.. 

~ Spanish poster for TEN GENTLEMEN FROM WEST POINT (1942) ~

In THE BLACK SWAN (1942) he teamed again with Tyrone Power, jr. - and again his part was more funny when he portrayed historical character Sir Henry Morgan.. I am not really overwhelmed by this film - but his part  makes it at least bearable for me.. So does the presence of a ridiculous looking George Sanders - and also Anthony Quinn and the fantastic George Zucco.. An amazing cast in a film which leaves me a bit startled.. 

~ in THE BLACK SWAN (1942) ~

In 1943 he had a part in HELLO, FRISCO, HELLO - another historical setted film.. I am yet to see this film - so I can't tell you anything about his part here.. I am sorry again..

~ Poster for HELLO, FRISCO, HELLO (1943) - well.. obviously.. ~

Again with Gene Tierney (though they had no scene together) he worked in Ernst Lubitsch's HEAVEN CAN WAIT (1943). He had started to loose weight - and looked in my humble opinion gorgeous as "His Excellency" who is actually no one less but the devil.. This is (as I believe) the first part I ever saw him in - and I fell for him immediately. He was not only tall and elegant - but also very witty and impish.

~ dashing in HEAVEN CAN WAIT (1943) ~

In 1943 he was in HOLY MATRIMONY with Monty Woolley and Gracie Fields. And again: A film I am yet to see.. 

~ Maybe it's just me.. But I think Monty Woolley and Laird Cregar bear a certain  resemblance.. ~

His second to last film was THE LODGER (1944) - in which his character was suspected to be Jack the Ripper.. Again his acting is marvellous. Besides this film has the great Sara Allgood and again George Sanders.. This film will be reviewed at this blog this year.. (just saying..)

~ with loosing weight he also started to look younger..
well.. maybe because he also had  some plastic surgery.. ~

His last film also paired him again with Linda Darnell and George Sanders: HANGOVER SQUARE (1944) - which is more than just worth a look.. I love this film from A-Z - it even has a cat.. 

~ as an talented musician with strange blackouts in HANGOVER SQUARE... ~

Tragedy had it that Laird Cregar who became more and more obsessed with his weight lost so much of it in such a short time that his body had trouble to deal with it. 

~ besides undergoing a at that time in late 1944 new procedure (stomach bypass surgery)
 he did a lot of sports to loose weight.. ~

~ happy with his achievements.. ~

On December 9, 1944 at the age of 31 (taking that he was born in 1913) he died due to a heart attack. Vincent Price delivered the eulogy at Laird Cregar's funeral. In one of his last interviews Laird Cregar said:

 "I have a feeling the studio is almost beginning to consider me an actor now, instead of a type."

And though I have no idea what would have happened when Laird Cregar would have lived for let's say 50 more years - I would have hoped for some films together with Vincent Price and Peter Lorre.. I am sure that - whatever parts he would have gotten then: he would have succeeded in them. 

His epitaph reads

"I am with you always."

- and for me for one he always will.


Thank you very much for listening!

Yours truly