Drama · Musical

The Great Gabbo: Mad Ventriloquist Skills

The next time you’re in the mood for a truly strange film, give this one a try. Now, we don’t mean strange as in occultist or supernatural; we mean strange as in, What kind of movie is this? We’ve recently glommed onto The Great Gabbo (1929), an early “talking picture”. It stars Erich von Stroheim as… Continue reading The Great Gabbo: Mad Ventriloquist Skills


The All-Black Musical and Vincente Minnelli

Cabin in the Sky (1943) has always been a controversial musical. Because it features an entirely African-American cast, it was banned in several U.S. cities when it was first released. It remains controversial today because of its use of black stereotypes. Having said that, our goal is to look at individual aspects of this film, as part… Continue reading The All-Black Musical and Vincente Minnelli

Comedy · Musical

The Doris Day Guide to Making Movies

Have you ever wanted to be in the movies? Once upon a time, we (as in, yours truly) wondered if we could be an actress. Sadly, our acting career went no further than the role of Concerned Citizen in a public service announcement. But in the comedy It’s a Great Feeling (1949), Doris Day plays… Continue reading The Doris Day Guide to Making Movies

Comedy · Musical

Guilty Pleasure: Elvis in Spinout

One of our newest guilty pleasures is the 1966 Elvis Presley comedy, Spinout. Now, as is usually the case with guilty pleasures, there are several reasons why you should not watch this film, namely: A non-progressive view of women A flimsy plot Presley’s, uh, “minimalist” acting style In Spinout, Presley plays a race-car-driving musician who is… Continue reading Guilty Pleasure: Elvis in Spinout

Comedy · Musical

James Cagney’s Mass-Produced Theatre

Modern movie audiences are getting ripped off. Get this: In cinema’s earlier days, audiences were presented with live musical performances, known as prologues, before the feature film. So, instead of the in-theatre advertising we endure today, audiences enjoyed genuine musical theatre that introduced the film. According to Vaudeville Old & New: An Encyclopedia of Variety Performers in America, Vol. I, prologues were meant to… Continue reading James Cagney’s Mass-Produced Theatre

Comedy · Musical

The Rococo Lucille Ball in Louis XV’s Court

Confession: We (as in, yours truly) have a biased view of movies set in France. In our eyes, these movies can do no wrong. This is because we went to Paris in our impressionable youth and came home all très sophistiqué. We wore a bemused expression to match our jaunty silk scarf, and we took to drinking lattés from a bowl.… Continue reading The Rococo Lucille Ball in Louis XV’s Court

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 · Musical · Western

The Algonquin Table of the Old West

You would have a skewed view of life if you only watched musicals. For example, look at the recently-restored Rodgers and Hammerstein western-comedy musical, Oklahoma! (1955). This film is about a group of farmers and ranchers in turn-of-the-20th-century Oklahoma, who hold a box lunch social to raise money for the schoolhouse roof. This film makes it look like these… Continue reading The Algonquin Table of the Old West

Comedy · Musical

Guilty Pleasure: Beach Party (1963)

Please, no judging. Here is today’s confession: We are endlessly fascinated by the Frankie + Annette Beach Party movies. There were a handful of these movies made between 1963-66, each one worse than its predecessor – and that is saying something. These films, made by American International Pictures, were targeted to teenagers and include lots of music, dancing… Continue reading Guilty Pleasure: Beach Party (1963)

Comedy · Musical

The Gold Digger’s Fashion Guide

We are of the opinion that a person should marry for love. But, for those who insist on finding a millionaire and marrying for money, may we recommend some valuable fashion advice? We ourselves had no idea what to wear when chasing millionaires until we saw the perfect Millionaire* Chasing Attire in the 1941 musical comedy Moon Over Miami.… Continue reading The Gold Digger’s Fashion Guide