Top of the World: Olivia de Havilland Turns 101!

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Today, the strong, lovely, talented, legendary Olivia de Havilland is turning 101 years old and we are very lucky to still have her with us! Aging gracefully, she certainly is one of the most beautiful women of that age! For the occasion, Crystal from In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood and Laura from Phyllis Loves Classic Movies are hosting The Second Olivia de Havilland Blogathon + Eroll Flynn!

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For the occasion, I’ve decided to present you a top 10 of my most favourite Olivia de Havilland’s films! Remember, these are my personal favourites, so it’s purely subjective. I ask you to respect my choices.

Just to give you an idea, I’ve seen a total of 12 of her films so far.

Here we go!

10. A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Max Reinhardt and William Dieterle, 1935)

I’m not THAT much a fan of this film, but I’ve decided to put it at #10 as 1- It has to be praised for the excellent performances (including Olivia’s one), 2- A Midsummer Night’s Dream remains, after all, my favourite Shakespeare play, 3- I love the magic and poetry embodied by the dreaming cinematography and 4- the two other ones I saw, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex and Santa Fe Trail left me a bit indifferent.

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9. Hush… Hush… Sweet Charlotte (Robert Aldrich, 1964)

Quite a creepy film, but I’ve always found Olivia de Havilland’s performance quite interesting as it is very different from the innocent Melanie Hamilton for example! And who would say no to a film reuniting her, Bette Davis, Joseph Cotten and Agnes Moorehead?

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8. The Proud Rebel (Michael Curtiz, 1958)

This western was the last collaboration between Curtiz and De Havilland. Somehow it’s not too well-known, but I think it deserves more recognition. It’s a beautiful film and our Livie is absolutely touching in it.

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7. My Cousin Rachel (Henry Koster, 1952)

One thing: I STILL have to read the book by Daphné du Maurier. Ok, this film contains his flaws, but it remains an appreciable one to see. Olivia is quite fascinating playing this ambiguous Rachel! Who is she really?! This film is a good way to size her versatility as an actress.

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6. The Strawberry Blonde (Raoul Walsh, 1941)

I actually just watched this movie today in honour of the celebrated one! I quite enjoyed it! It was a lot of fun. Olivia and James Cagney (such a great actor!) looked just adorable together. The presence of Rita Hayworth and Jack Carson was, of course, highly appreciated as well. A good comedy movie to watch when you feel like not concentrating too much!

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5. The Dark Mirror (Robert Siodmak, 1946)

I’ve always loved psychological movies and this one makes no exception to the rule. Playing two roles in one film never looks like an easy task, but, here, Olivia did it wonderfully. A fascinating film.

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4. The Adventures of Robin Hood (Michael Curtiz and William Keighley, 1938)

Of course, we all like the collaborations between Olivia de Havilland and Errol Flynn. This one has to be my favourite one without hesitation. Olivia is so lovely as Lady Marian and the film itself is a wonderful entertainment!

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3. The Snake Pit (Anatole Litvak, 1948)

I’ve said that I’ve always loved psychological movies. Well, this one is another great example. I love to see the evolution of the characters in these. Here, Olivia de Havilland certainly gives one of her best and more challenging performances. She received an Oscar nomination for her performance.

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2. The Heiress (William Wyler, 1949)

And happy birthday to William Wyler, who was born on July 1st too! Well, if Olivia won her second Oscar with this film, it’s not without reasons. An extraordinary performance, full of subtleties and perfectly calculated. She gives an extraordinary essence to her character and it’s hard to surpass her. I’ve loved this film since the first time I saw it. Of course, I don’t think William Wyler ever made a bad film…

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  1. Gone With the Wind (Victor Flemming, 1939)

Ok, I know, this is not a very creative #1, but what can I say? I love the film ok! There would be so much to say about it, but for what concerns Olivia, she illuminates the screen and is in perfect harmony with the rest of the cast. I couldn’t think of anyone better to portray Melanie Hamilton. This is the first film of hers I saw. What a great introduction to her filmography! 🙂

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Well, that’s it! Of course, don’t hesitate to share your choices with me!

I want to thank Crystal and Laura for hosting this amazing blogathon. Please take a look at the other entries here:

The Second Olivia de Havilland Blogathon + Errol Flynn Day 1

Happy 101 birthday dear Olivia!

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ClassicFlix (Teen Scene) – Review #18: Dead End (1937)

From March 2015 to April 2017, I was writing the monthly Teen Scene column for the website ClassicFlix. My objective was to promote classic films among teenagers and young adults. Due to the establishing of a new version of the website, it’s now more difficult to access to the old version and read the reviews. But, I’m allowed to publish my reviews on my blog 30 days after they had been published on ClassicFlix! So, I decided to do so as you could have an easy access to them. If you are not a teenager, it doesn’t matter! I’m sure you can enjoy them just the same! My eighteenth review was for the 1937’s classic Dead End directed by William Wyler. Enjoy!

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Known as one of Hollywood’s most prolific movie directors, William Wyler had a career that began in the ’20s and ended in the ’70s. He was a favorite of the Academy and won no less than three Best Director Oscar for his tremendous work on Mrs. Miniver, The Best Years of Our Lives and Ben-Hur. Today, Wyler is mainly remembered for Ben-Hur, but his versatility as a movie director allowed him to direct this trio, but also many masterpieces in other genres.

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Today, we’ll explore a Wyler film with a smaller budget that deserves more recognition: Dead End. Released in 1937, Dead End is an adaptation of Sidney Kingsley’s Broadway play of the same name. The screenplay is written by Lillian Hellman (who also wrote the screenplay for Wyler’s The Little Foxes) with Samuel Goldwyn producing.

Dead End reunites a stellar cast with Joel McCrea, Sylvia Sidney, Humphrey Bogart, Claire Trevor, Wendy Barrie, Allen Jenkins, Marjorie Main and the “Dead End Kids” consisting of Billy Halop (Tommy Gordon) as the head of the gang.

Dead End takes place in New-York city at the border of the East River. On the left, there are the rich people living in newly built luxury buildings; on the right, there are the poor living in deteriorated houses. On the slum side the Dead End Kids: Dippy, Angel, Spit, TB, Milty and their leader Tommy occupy the streets. Tommy’s sister, Drina (Sylvia Sidney) is discouraged by her miserable life, and is afraid Tommy might become a criminal later. It doesn’t help when “Baby Face” Martin (Humphrey Bogart) and his friend Hunk (Allen Jenkins) come back to their hometown to visit Martin’s mother that he hasn’t seen in ten years, as well as his girlfriend Francey (Claire Trevor).

Baby Face Martin is a criminal who’s killed eight people and encourages Tommy to pursue a criminal life. Dave Connell (Joel McCrea) is here to watch Baby Face Martin and make sure he won’t commit any significant crimes. Drina loves Dave, but his attention seems to be kept by the rich Kay Burton (Wendy Barrie).

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Dead End makes us realizes that Hollywood movies aren’t always glamorous. Like with Sullivan’s Travels (also starring McCrea) it shows us what real life is, a sentiment expressed by its wonderful acting performances starting with the underrated Sylvia Sidney. Sidney certainly was able to play emotional ones. There’s something so honest about her performance, which matches the mood of the film perfectly.

It’s the same with Joel McCrea. We can see he is an actor with no pretension. His character puts equilibrium to the film’s heavy atmosphere.

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Humphrey Bogart is, well, Humphrey Bogart! Whatever role he plays he will always be unique.

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The Dead End kids are a bunch without fear or pity. Thanks to them and their strong performances, we realize kids can be scary too. However, producer Samuel Goldwyn regretted hiring them for the movie, as they behaved badly on the set and damaged material.

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The rest of the cast is ace too, especially Claire Trevor and Marjorie Main. Claire appears on screen for less than five minutes, but she was brilliant enough to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Marjorie Main appears in a brief cameo as well, but is unforgettable in her terribly heartbreaking scene with Humphrey Bogart.

Dead End earned three Academy Awards nominations: Best Picture, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography and Best Actress in a Supporting role for Claire Trevor.

It’s not surprising Dead End was nominated for Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction because it is quite impressive visually. The film noir lighting goes perfectly with the film’s atmosphere. The night scenes are the most visually impressive, especially when Joel McCrea and Humphrey Bogart chase each other on the roofs of New York.

William Wyler wanted to film on location in New York City, but Goldwyn wanted it made in a studio. Even if that’s the case, we feel we are in New York. The illusion is perfect, especially with aerial shots at the beginning and the end of the film viewing the East River.

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Lillian Hellman wasn’t nominated for an Oscar, but she does a strong job. She also wrote for the stage, so it’s no wonder she was a great choice for the adaptation of Sidney Kingsley’s play.

Dead End was declared one of the ten best films of 1937 by Film Daily. Doesn’t it make you want to see it? Because if you do you won’t regret it, I’m sure!

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I Fall for Fred Derry

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The Best Years of Our Lives (William Wyler, 1946) is, without a doubt, one of the best post-war movies that has been made in Hollywood. It’s touching, sad, beautiful, etc. This 9 Oscars winning picture has all the ingredients to be a favorite among classic film lovers. On my side, if Fredric March delivers my favorite Oscar-Winning performance by an actor in a leading role, it’s for Dana Andrew as Fred Derry that I’ve developed a real crush through the years. Today, forget about the cinematography, forget about the editing, forget about the music. We are here to focus on our imaginary love for Derry! Meow!

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This article is part of the Reel Infatuation Blogathon 2017 hosted by Ruth from Silver Screenings and Font & Frock. A way to finally cry over our impossible love for movie stars and movie characters. I had A LOT of options, but Fred Derry/Dana Andrews it is!

Reel Infatuation 2017

Before continuing, if you haven’t seen the movie and wish to know more what it’s all about, please click here. But, basically, it’s the story of three American soldiers going back home after the war and struggling with the challenges of a new life and a country that has changed a lot during their absence.

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So, Fred Derry is the first character to be introduced to us, in an airport (that’s an important precision to make since I’ve always enjoyed taking the plane. One point for Fred!). He wears his very chic army uniform that perfectly draws the line of his amazing body. He imposes himself in an impressive elegance.

When he later is on the plane to go home with his new friends, Al Stephenson (Fredric March) and Homer Parrish (Harold Russell), and making jokes with them, we can notice his absolutely cutie-pie smile that will make our heart melt. *Sigh. Plus, he seems to be one with a great sense of humour, which is a quality I always priories. I mean, what would be life without some laughs?!

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Later, when the three friends are reunited at Butch’s (Homer’s uncle’s bar), Fred makes the acquaintance of Al’s wife Milly (Myrna Loy) and his daughter Peggy (Teresa Wright). We immediately know that this one won’t leave him indifferent. Oh! How we’d like to be in her place, drinking a glass with him, very close from one to each other. Hey, they say their love is impossible since Fred is already married, but imagine how impossible it is for me! Ok, I have to give one point to Marie Derry, since she is played by Virginia Mayo. Virginia. Awesome name, isn’t it? 😉 But with my dark brown hair, I’m personally much more the Teresa Wright type. But I like doing the party like Marie. I guess I’m somehow a mix of both!

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At the end of their most entertaining evening/night at Butch’s, Fred once again does everything for me to want to go in the television screen and be on his side. First, when he gets out of the Stephenson’s car to go to Marie’s apartment, he always hurt his head on the car’s door frame. He’s like so cute and so clumsy! ❤ And he apologizes. Poor Fred! ❤ He shows a beautiful vulnerability that we love. Of course, just like Milly and Peggy, I too would have gotten out of the car and bring him home for the night (because it seems that Marie isn’t in here  to welcome him). But, I personally would be less resistant than Peggy on a certain point. When she puts him to bed and he takes her in his arms exclaiming “Peggy!” in an amusing way and she managed to liberate oneself quite rapidly saying “I’m not THAT Peggy”, that makes me think “Well, girl, if you’re not ‘THAT Peggy’, I would like to be her without problem.” Anyway, we later learn that his wife is a real b****, so I personally wouldn’t have felt sorry.

During the night, Fred once again breaks our heart when he has a nightmare. His tears simply make us want to take him in our arms and comfort him. Luckily, Peggy is once again here to take care of him. Because, yes, men can cry too!

Unlike Al who works at the bank, Fred doesn’t make a fortune. He works in the new department store, part time in the perfume section and part time in the ice cream bar. Ok, I have a confession to make: I LOVE ice cream. It’s like my favourite food ever. So, I certainly would have liked to have one prepared by Fred! I love this scene where he explains to Peggy how he used to be such a good soda jerk before the war. He seems very passionate by the thing!

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Finally, we have to give more points to Fred on 3 main occasions: 1- When he cooks dinner for him and Marie. Marie wants to go out, but they can’t as he is too poor. But hey, a man cooking dinner! That’s certainly not something we see often in classic films. Good initiative Fred! I tell you, he is a man to marry. 😉 [SPOILERS] 2- When he FINALLY kisses Peggy. Ok, they kind of regret it as he is married, but how I wish to be at Peggy’s place. He seems to be a very good kisser. Anybody can confirm? 😛 And 3- When he kisses Peggy again at Homer’s wedding, but this time there is no regrets since he and Marie are divorced. (YES!) [END OF SPOILERS]

So yeah, we have all the reasons to fall for Fred Derry, he is at the same time so handsome (that smile! that body!), but also so cute in his mannerisms. He’s also funny, but serious when it’s time to be. Dana Andrews certainly chose a great role for his career. Ok, he was around 37 when he starred in The Best Years of Our Lives, which is like 15 years older than me… Hey, it’s not THAT bad! A girl can dream anyway! Of course, I have a lot of competition against Peggy. Àlala…

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Before living you, I want to thank Silver Screenings and Font & Frock for hosting this most original blogathon! We never take enough times to talk about our movie crushes!

To read the other entries, click on the following links

Reel Infatuation Blogathon 2017- Day 1

Reel Infatuation Blogathon 2017- Day 2

Reel Infatuation Blogathon 2017- Day 3

See you!

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