Even in 1924 Peter Pan wouldn’t grow up 2

Film
 So come with me, where dreams are born, and time is never planned. Just think of happy things, and your heart will fly on wings, forever, in Never Never Land! — J.M. Barrie I’m very excited to see PETER PAN (1924), the delicious silent film offering of the Los Angeles Conservancy’s annual summer film fest, ...

1927 was a very good year 1

Film
Fritz Lang’s METROPOLIS with 25 minutes of lost footage restored and live accompaniment by Alloy Orchestra: a huge event for cinephiles. It was the penultimate closing-night event of TCM Classic Film Festival. Everyone loved it. Everyone except arts•meme … I found it overwhelming and incomprehensible. What tickled me, however, was watching the acknowledged German masterpiece dating ...

Ernest Borgnine chats about JUBAL

Film
Cowboy actor Glenn Ford’s steady presence and a rapturous Grand Teton setting made the Technicolor ‘psychological western,’ JUBAL (1956), my favorite film of TCM Fest. Yes when arts•meme isn’t kvelling over Mozart or Balanchine, she likes a good western! Actor Ernest Borgnine, the prodigious character actor who co-stars with Ford and Rod Steiger in the ...

Icy Gene Tierney in blazing Technicolor 1

Film
We enjoyed the restored LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN (1945) the Technicolor/noir-esque soap opera starring Gene Tierney and Cornel Wilde, a top-grossing 20th Century-Fox film of the 1940s that had kind of gone missing. The love story-turned-sour reminds us of the negative trajectory of Flaubert’s Madame Bovary or, frankly, of the many noir potboilers in which a ...

Luise Rainer @ 100 1

Film
Yesterday at TCM Fest, I met a handsome, well dressed actor named Vincent DePaul who was still glowing after his luncheon with Luise Rainer. The 100-year old German-born actress is being honored at today’s TCM Classic Film Fest screening of The Good Earth (1937). Vincent shared this photo with me.

Pavlova’s “Dumb Girl,” her sole Hollywood hurrah

Dance · Film
We recently wrote about Anna Pavlova’s foray to Hollywood in 1915 to star in “The Dumb Girl of Portici” at Universal Pictures under female director Lois Weber. That’s Pavlova getting manhandled on the left. At the far right stands Weber, megaphone in her hand. Espying the chaos, bedecked in jodphurs and kneeboots, is Weber’s husband, Philips ...

Anna Pavlova visits Hollywood 3

Dance · Film
It was standard practice at Universal Studios in the silent film era to have observers on the set. We wrote about this in a previous post. One movie star proved the exception to this rule. Not an actor, but a dancer. And not just any dancer, but ballet’s first superstar, Anna Pavlova, the great globe-trotting ballerina ...

Uncle Carl Laemmle’s two-bit boxed lunch 1

Film
From the get-go — for Universal Pictures that would be 1909 — film industry pioneer “Uncle” Carl Laemmle, a keen entrepreneur, allowed visitors on film sets. In the early days of Los Angeles film making, shooting took place in open air. Who needed lights? Indoor production came later. To accommodate curiosity seekers, Laemmle erected a ...

Rambova’s Aztec costume for Kosloff 2

Dance · Fashion · Film
Ballets Russes dancer Theodore Kosloff and his protegee Natacha Rambova pose at left, costumed for their Aztec dance number on the Keith Orpheum vaudeville circuit. Kosloff brought to the stage the role in which he made his cinematic debut  — Guatemoco, the Aztec prince, in Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Woman God Forgot” in 1917. Here’s a ...

Say a dance prayer for Gene Kelly in Pittsburgh 2

Dance · Film
Come on, home town! What’s this I hear about twenty years of fruitless effort to erect a statue of dancer Gene Kelly  — in a city where bridges, steel mills, skyscrapers, and sports stadia get built with ease? In a recent Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article, retired entertainment columnist Barbara Cloud gripes that she’s grown despondent waiting ...