Daffy Duck: How to Succeed in Show Biz

Before Daffy Duck was a Big Star, he was a character actor in Looney Tunes animated shorts. His career began in Porky Pig‘s star vehicles, starting with 1937’s Porky’s Duck Hunt. Daffy was created by the saucy animators at Leon Schlesinger Productions (later Warner Bros. Cartoons, Inc.) as a colourful but supporting cast member of Porky’s dramatis personae, as outlined in this studio… Continue reading Daffy Duck: How to Succeed in Show Biz


Bob Hope, Swashbuckler

Swashbuckling movies are always lots of fun, but… let’s face it. Sometimes they’re just begging to be spoofed. Come on – swashbuckling movies revel in men with floppy hair, swishy clothes and impractical footwear. These guys are our first line of defence against evil highwaymen and pirates? It can be a bit of a stretch, no? That’s… Continue reading Bob Hope, Swashbuckler


Warner Bros. Animated Pop Quiz

Hooray! It’s time for a Pop Quiz. What – did you think we were never going to have a Pop Quiz? Where’s the fun in life if you can’t enjoy a surprise test every now and then? Today’s quiz is based on the Warner Bros. animated short, Hollywood Steps Out. This eight-minute film is a send-up of Hollywood… Continue reading Warner Bros. Animated Pop Quiz


The Complexities of an Italian Straw Hat

Conventional wisdom tells us the world was a simpler place before the popularity of cars, computers and celebrity culture. We’re not so sure about this, now that we’ve seen the 1927 silent French comedy The Italian Straw Hat (Un Chapeau de paille d’Italie). This film, adapted from a popular and frequently-produced French play, is set in 1895 and takes place during the… Continue reading The Complexities of an Italian Straw Hat

Comedy · Musical

The 42nd Street Cooperative

In an effort to be Smarter, we’ve been reading Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression by Morris Dickstein. Dickstein’s book is filled with all sorts of Thoughts and Information on the 1930s. One example is an analysis of Depression-era films, specifically the Oscar-nominated musical, 42nd Street (1933). Here are Dickstein’s conclusions: Until [the end]…nothing… Continue reading The 42nd Street Cooperative

Comedy · Drama

A Love Affair, Recycled

You really can’t beat Rita Wilson’s monologue in the 1993 romantic comedy, Sleepless in Seattle. In the film, a chagrined Tom Hanks is describing a potential meeting his young son has arranged with a stranger (Meg Ryan) at the top of the Empire State Building on Valentine’s Day. Wilson immediately recognizes this rendezvous from the 1957 classic film, An… Continue reading A Love Affair, Recycled


The Disorderly Universe of Laurel and Hardy

1939 saw the release of some of the greatest films in Hollywood history. The Flying Deuces ain’t one of ’em. Now, that’s not to say it’s a bad film, because it has amusing scenes and great aerial photography. However, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. In the late 1930s, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were still working for producer Hal Roach. During a break between… Continue reading The Disorderly Universe of Laurel and Hardy


Lauren Bacall’s Millionaire-Marrying Racket

How to Marry a Millionaire is our go-to comedy. This 1953 technicolor confection stars Betty Grable, Marilyn Monroe and Lauren Bacall as three models who pool their resources to rent a way-too-expensive Manhattan penthouse. The women have moved into this upscale residence because they’re hunting millionaires. We’re aware this film has been accused of being a shallow,… Continue reading Lauren Bacall’s Millionaire-Marrying Racket

Comedy · Drama

Alice Guy: Entertaining Since 1896

They say Alice Guy (Alice Guy-Blaché) made over 600 movies between 1896-1920. Sure, a lot of these films were under 15 minutes, and she did have her own studio. Even so. Over six hundred movies. Although Guy’s work is slowly gaining more recognition through recent publications and a biopic Kickstarter campaign, she remains largely unknown. Now, we’re not saying Guy should be popular just… Continue reading Alice Guy: Entertaining Since 1896


John Barrymore: How to Suffer Nobly for Art

We (as in, yours truly) have an affinity for outlandish characters – whether in real life on on the screen. One of favourite oversized movie characters is the fictional Broadway producer Oscar Jaffe, as played by the legendary actor John Barrymore. You’ll find Jaffe in the comedy Twentieth Century (1934), a film adaptation of the play by the same name that was reworked… Continue reading John Barrymore: How to Suffer Nobly for Art