You know you’re in for a treat when a book begins with a definition of the word heel: “A contemptibly dishonorable or irresponsible person.”¹ A “heel” is the type of character perfected by Hollywood actor Ricardo Cortez (1900-1977), for which he received critical acclaim. Example: “Mr Cortez is one of the screen’s best menaces”². Or: “Ricardo Cortez… Continue reading Ricardo Cortez: The Obscure but Magnificent Heel
Dear Reader, we can tell life may not be at its most joyous right now, and that you need some Canadiana to cheer you up. Here’s something for you: Stardust and Shadows: Canadians in Early Hollywood, a book that discusses the contributions of 18 influential Canadians in fledgling Hollywood. Now, you may be asking – and rightly so –… Continue reading Young Canadians in Old Hollywood
Dear Reader, we believe all humans have certain universal and inalienable rights; among them, the Right to be a Know-It-All. If, for example, you’ve always wanted to know more about film noir – and who doesn’t? – you’ve come to the right place. (Wait – we’re not suggesting we’re an authority on film noir. Good heavens! But,… Continue reading Want to be a Film Noir Aficionado? Start Here.
We can tell you’re dying to know about our recent classic Hollywood discovery. You’re going to be excited! We’ve gone all fangirl for Jane Hall, a young woman who thumbed her nose at tradition and became a scriptwriter at MGM Studios in the late 1930s. Not only did she write screenplays, she also wrote witty behind-the-scenes-in-Hollywood articles for Good Housekeeping. Just look… Continue reading Jane Hall Goes Hollywood
True Story: One of our very first jobs was at a local television station, and part of our executive duties (ha ha) was to purge files in a forgotten cabinet. This task had obviously been put off for years; the cabinet was so full of paper it nearly exploded when you opened the drawers. It was while… Continue reading The Cool Kids’ Guide to Classic Film
Why didn’t Helen Twelvetrees become a legendary movie star? She had the talent: Just watch her in the little-known drama, Young Bride (1931). She plays a naive librarian who marries a slick-talking con artist (Eric Linden). One evening, shortly after their honeymoon, a restless Linden tells Twelvetrees he needs his space, needs to get out and see people. She, understandably, doesn’t… Continue reading Helen Twelvetrees’ Rotten Luck
It’s a good thing we (as in, yours truly) are not famous. We’d make a boorish celebrity, the type that sends staff on stupid errands, e.g. “Bring me a truckload of M&M’s – and don’t come back until the yellow ones have been picked out!” You know the type. But once in a while a genuinely decent… Continue reading Who on Earth was Ann Blyth?
We have a soft spot for urbane, smooth-talking movie characters. A character like that is as much of a treat as a second helping of dessert. The person who tops our list in that department is British actor George Sanders. Tall, witty, and with a voice like a chocolate fountain, he is the person we always cheer for on screen,… Continue reading Memoirs of a Professional Cad
Dear Reader, we have a confession: we are very old-fashioned. You know, the type who believes dessert is incomplete without whipped cream – and the more the better. We’re also old-fashioned because we don’t entirely object to the Motion Picture Production Code. This was a form of censorship imposed on Hollywood in 1930, but not strictly enforced until… Continue reading Pre-Code Adventures in Hollywood
Early one morning, a Los Angeles delivery driver discovers a body inside a parked car. It’s likely bodies are often found in parked cars around L.A., but when this body is identified as a Hollywood insider, questions – and eyebrows – are raised. There are several interested parties associated with the dead man; yet, no one seems as determined to find the answers… Continue reading A Modern Hollywood Whodunnit