Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Happy St. Patrick's Day with Ann Blyth and Bing Crosby

We celebrate upcoming St. Patrick's Day with Ann Blyth and Bing Crosby in Top o' the Morning (1949).  As noted in my book, Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star.:

Bing Crosby remarked of Ann in a Modern Screen article:

“She looks so small and fragile, but she’s got an awful lot of drive.  There’s nothing in Hollywood that’s going to stop this kid.”

For more on Top o' the Morning, have a look at this post on my Another Old Movie Blog.  I'll leave you today with a foot-stomping scene from the movie and the song "The Donovans."  Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Ann Blyth interviewed in new book on director Michael Curtiz

Ann Blyth fans may be interested to read the excellent new biography of her favorite director, Michael Curtiz, by Alan K. Rode. Two of her films were directed by Curtiz:  Mildred Pierce (1945), for which she was nominated for a Best Supporting Oscar at the age of 17, and her last film (pictured above with Paul Newman), The Helen Morgan Story (1957).

Michael Curtiz – A Life in Film, published by the University Press of Kentucky (2017) is a well-written and well-researched study on one of Hollywood’s most talented, and yet perhaps most overlooked, directors.  Mr. Rode rectifies Curtiz’s omission among the great auteurs with a fair and unblinking examination of the director’s foibles, even occasional cruelty, but chronicling his impressive body of work and his unique cinematic storytelling.  The book is foremost a tribute to a complex but talented man.

The author interviewed Ann Blyth for this book, and she supplies her memories of working with Michael Curtiz and her experiences on her two films with him, praising his talent and reaffirming how much she enjoyed working with him.  She sensed that, “…he was always seemed to be in my corner.  I remember that we talked about this later on in years when I worked with him again and I wished that that had happened more often…He had a wonderful way and would say all kinds of crazy things, but there was always a twinkle in his eye….I was very, very fond of him.”

There is a photograph in the book of Curtiz directing Ann in the memorable scene in Mildred Pierce where she sings “The Oceana Roll” in the waterfront dive owned by Jack Carson.  For more on Ann’s interview, and for an in-depth review on the life and career of this director whose hits include Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), Casablanca (1943), and White Christmas (1954) to name only a few perennial favorites, Michael Curtiz –A Life in Film is a treat for classic film buffs who have waited a long time for a book-length biography on this director.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Mildred Pierce (1945) on TCM!

It's that time again -- Mildred Pierce (1945) on Turner Classic Movies today at 4 p.m. ET. Have a look here at my post on the Oscar award Joan Crawford won for this role on my Another Old Movie Blog here, and for more on Ann's experience in this movie, see my book, Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Ann Blyth Borrows Joan Crawford's Oscar

Ann Blyth once confiscated Joan Crawford's Oscar award for a scavenger hunt.

Above, we have a photo of Ann congratulating Joan for her Best Actress win when director Michael Curtiz, Ann, other movie friends and a lot of press brought the statue to Joan's sickbed (as she claimed to have missed the ceremony due to illness) to celebrate.

With the Academy Awards fast approaching, let's take a moment for a footnote in the glamourous careers of Joan Crawford and Ann Blyth -- for a nutty and classy episode of their friendship.  As reported in Photoplay magazine in April 1949, Ann recalled for friends who hoped she would win an Oscar one day that she already had one, for an evening, at least.

"Her task in a Scavenger Hunt had been to bring back Joan Crawford's Oscar won for 'Mildred Pierce.'  And since Ann had played Joan's daughter in that film, the star handed over the Oscar, assuring Ann that no one else in the world could pry it away from her.

'And I was so afraid something would happen to it, I kept it beside me on the pillow all night."

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Candlelight and love songs - Ann Blyth and Robert Mitchum

Today we celebrate Valentine's Day with a lovely scene between Ann Blyth and Robert Mitchum singing love songs to each other in One Minute to Zero (1952).

From my book, Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star.:

Their most intriguing scene together, however, is playing sitting opposite each other at a kitchen table after she has made supper for him at her apartment in Japan, their first date.  The candles burn down, and both, slightly slumped over the table, he with his chin on his hand, give the impression of being all talked out.  A soothing, lazy tune, in a delicately Asian style, penetrates their silence, coming, we are told in a quick camera shot from a record on a portable record player.  Suddenly, Robert Mitchum begins to sing along to the tune, in Japanese.  Catch Ann’s expression of surprised delight.  She is glued to his face, watching him sing, fascinated by him.  It opens the door to their romance.  She sees there is more to him than just a blustering alpha male dismissive of her opinions on the war...

As Robert Mitchum lazily smokes a cigarette (his trademark sleepy performance punctuates pretty nearly everything he does in this movie), he coaxes Ann, who confesses she knows only the English words to that tune, to sing.  So now it’s her turn at bat, and Ann sings an English verse of “Golden Moon.”  It is low, quiet, and lovely, and the really tender aspect about this scene is that they both appear to be singing “live.”  It does not appear they’re lip-syncing to a pre-recorded track.  It’s easier to keep the flow of singing and dialogue in this quiet, moody setting by having them do it live.  What we get is a very casual, natural, and intimate moment.

Here is that moment, from a clip on YouTube.  Happy Valentine's Day...

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Great Caruso on TCM!

Ann Blyth plays the wife and number one fan of The Great Caruso (1951), which you can see tomorrow, Thursday the 8th, on Turner Classic Movies at 3:45 p.m. ET.  This lavish musical also stars Mario Lanza as Caruso, and features the wonderful Dorothy Kirsten and beautiful selections from several operas.  For more on The Great Caruso, see this blog post at my Another Old Movie Blog, or my book, Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. now sold at Kobo

This is to announce that Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. is now available as an eBook through Kobo!  Order yours through this link.

It is currently also sold through Amazon in eBook, paperback, and audiobook.  I'm very pleased to welcome the worldwide readership of devoted Kobo customers!