Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Another Part of the Forest - on TCM!


This is a publicity portrait of Ann Blyth in character as the charming, scheming young Regina Hubbard in Another Part of the Forest (1948).  This Friday, March 31st, Turner Classic Movies is broadcasting this excellent film that has so long been out of circulation (and apparently is now available on DVD). 

Another Part of the Forest, from the play by Lillian Hellman, is a prequel to her more famous The Little Foxes. The movie version of The Little Foxes starred Bette Davis, and in Another Part of the Forest, Ann plays Bette's character as a young woman. She sets fire to the screen.  You thought Veda Pierce was bad.

I go into detail on the movie here at my post at Another Old Movie Blog, and, of course, my book Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. covers this movie in depth as well.

Also starring Edmond O'Brien, Dan Duryea (playing the father of the character he played in The Little Foxes), and the wonderful Fredric March as the devious family patriarch, the movie is one of the finest produced in Hollywood's heyday.  Tune in to TCM at 11:30 p.m. ET.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Mildred Pierce - On TCM today!


Ann Blyth and Joan Crawford face off again in Mildred Pierce (1945) today on Turner Classic Movies, 9:30 a.m. ET.  From my book on Ann's career -- Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star.:

He had not wanted the “goody-goody” Ann for the role of the evil daughter Veda, either, and need not have considered her when a vast number of young starlets were clamoring for the role.  Ann’s agent, Al Rockett campaigned on her behalf, insisting that she be allowed to test.  In a most unusual occurrence, established star Joan made the test with her.  As quoted by Joan C. Scrivani in her article on Mildred Pierce for Scarlet Street, 1994, Joan remembered:

“I was there when Ann came in.  She was so lovely that my first reaction was she’s too sweet; she’ll never be able to play the bitchy scenes.  But we read together and she was wonderful.  Then we tested together.  Ann was perfect.  She was the right age, the right type, a superb actress and singer.”

The test was directed by Michael Curtiz.  Ann remembered for an interview with Jessie Lilley in Scarlet Street:

“We took scenes from the movie as though we were actually shooting the movie.  We just didn’t read for the part; we filmed the test.”


Curtiz later told her, “in his wonderful Hungarian accent, (imitating him) ‘Don’t worry Annie. You haff de part.’” 

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The audio book for Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. is now for sale on Audible.com, and on Amazon and iTunes.


Also in paperback and eBook from Amazon.


Also in paperback from CreateSpace, and from my Etsy shop: LynchTwinsPublishing.



Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Girl on the Magazine Cover


Publicity is a necessary part of a professional actor's job, and for film stars back in Hollywood's heyday, it was usually the job of a large studio publicity department.


In this era, scandal mags were just beginning; glamorizing the stars was still the order of the day.


We can only imagine what it must have been like for a young star to see her image on a seemingly endless array of magazine covers.


We see Ann grow stylishly into from a fresh-faced starlet to an elegant veteran of the screen, while still at the very young age of twenty-nine.


Some of these magazines would one day become dog-eared treasures of lifelong fans.


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The audio book for Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. is now for sale on Audible.com, and on Amazon and iTunes.


Also in paperback and eBook from Amazon.



Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Robert Osborne interviews Ann Blyth


We note the passing this week of Robert Osborne, beloved host of Turner Classic Movies.  Mr. Osborne was very knowledgeable about classic films, a respected author and columnist on the subject, and the gentlemanly guide to our favorites on TCM.  He will be sorely missed by his millions of fans.

At the TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood in 2013, where Ann Blyth was a special guest, Mr. Osborne interviewed Ann on her career.  The occasion is discussed in my book, along with photos.  The segment was taped for TCM, and was broadcast in August 2013.  Today I'd like to direct you to one of the many talented classic film bloggers who write with such expertise and passion.  She is Raquel Stecher, who writes the Out of the Past blog.  She attended that interview between Mr. Osborne and Ann Blyth, and her post here is about that event.

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The audio book for Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. is now for sale on Audible.com, and on Amazon and iTunes.


Also in paperback and eBook from Amazon.


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Stairway to Heaven - Ann Blyth on radio

With sheet music in one hand and a microphone in another, we don't know if Ann Blyth is in the act of a musical recording or a radio performance in the above magazine photo.  She performed many times on radio, and a listing of those performances is part of the appendices of my book Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star.  Here's a link for you to have a listen to one of those radio performances, in the Lux Radio Theater production of "Stairway to Heaven".

This, as with many Lux episodes, is a condensed story from the film version.  The original fantasy film starred David Niven.  This radio show stars Ray Milland as an English pilot during World War II who is caught between heaven and earth, wanting to return to the American WAC with whom he has recently fallen in love.  Ann Blyth plays his love.  She was nineteen years old at the time of this performance.  The cast also includes Nigel Bruce, Alan Reed (whom most of us remember better as the voice of Fred Flintstone), William Johnstone, and Herb Rawlinson.  It was broadcast October 27, 1947. Toward the end of the episode, when the stars are saying goodnight, host William Keighley announces Ann's upcoming film with Charles Boyer "Mortal Coils."  That was the working title of the film that was eventually named A Woman's Vengeance.  Enjoy.
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The audio book for Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. is now for sale on Audible.com, and on Amazon and iTunes.


Also in paperback and eBook from Amazon.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Our Very Own - sheet music

Pictured here is the sheet music for the title tune of the movie Our Very Own (1950).  Where soundtracks of blockbuster movies may come to us today in mp3 form or CDs, there was a time when a popular film could generate brisk sales of sheet music.  The 1950s may have heralded the end of the timeline for this bit of movie merchandise.

Ann Blyth starred as a high school senior about to graduate, who discovers through the angry taunt of her sister that she was adopted. This rocks her world, and she must unravel not only the truth but how she feels about it. It's a gentle, intelligent movie, with strong support by Farley Granger, Jane Wyatt, Donald Cook, Joan Evans, Ann Dvorak, and a very young Natalie Wood.  We discussed the movie in depth here at my Another Old Movie Blog.

The tune, "Our Very Own" is heard in the film's opening credits, but only as an instrumental.  Below we have some wonderful singers treating us to the lyrics.  Have a listen to Jo Stafford, Vaughn Monroe, and Sarah Vaughan. 

Jo Stafford


Vaughn Monroe


Sarah Vaughan



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The audio book for Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. is now for sale on Audible.com, and on Amazon and iTunes.


Also in paperback and eBook from Amazon.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Mildred Pierce - An Oscar-Winning Visit


It's time again for another visit with that notorious Mildred Pierce.  Here Ann Blyth pays a visit to Joan Crawford to celebrate the night Joan Crawford won the Academy Award.

As part of its month-long celebration of "31 Days of Oscar", Turner Classic Movies is showing Oscar-winning and Oscar-nominated films, this year in alphabetical order.  We're up to the "M's", and that means Mildred Pierce (1945).

Joan Crawford did not attend the awards ceremony that night, due to illness, or what she claimed was illness but may have been a severe care of nerves.  Here Ann visits her bedside, and we have a glimpse of the off-screen affectionate rapport between the big star and the newcomer that was so important to their riveting chemistry on screen.  Their relationship began when Joan Crawford volunteered to do Ann's screen test with her.  From my book on Ann Blyth's career:

"Ann felt that Joan’s making the test with her was very generous, as testing with newcomers was not a normal chore for a star...

She played with me… She tried to do everything in my favor.  And that wasn’t just in the test.  It was all through the picture.

Joan Crawford returned the admiration in an article for the Saturday Evening Post in November 1946:
 
Ann, as the daughter, was perfect. I loved every scene with her except where I had to slap her and she had to slap me…After I slapped Ann, I burst into tears and found myself apologizing frantically. Later, it wasn’t quite so hard to have Ann slap me, but my hand was shaking so the scene faded out, and then it was Ann who was remorsefully apologizing."


Mildred Pierce will be shown this coming Friday, February 17th at 1.pm. on Turner Classic Movies.

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The audio book for Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. is now for sale on Audible.com, and on Amazon and iTunes.


Also in paperback and eBook from Amazon.