Musical Monday: Somebody Loves Me (1952)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

This week’s musical:
Somebody Loves Me (1952) – Musical #457

somebody loves5

Paramount Pictures

Irving Brecher

Betty Hutton, Ralph Meeker, Robert Keith, Adele Jergens, Billie Bird, Sid Tomack, Henry Slate, Nick Adams (uncredited)
Themselves: Jack Benny

Biographical film on entertainer Blossom Seeley (Hutton) and her rise to fame and her marriage to performer Benny Fields (Meeker). The film begins in 1906 the night of the San Francisco earthquake and goes through the 1920s.

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Favorite new-to-me films of 2022

In 2022, I didn’t watch as many due to several life changes. I only watched a little over 400 feature-length films, but still saw several great ones. Below are my favorite new-to-me films of 2022, in order of when I watched them:

cat ballou3

Cat Ballou (1965)
Directed by Elliot Silverstein
I watched this in memory of Dwayne Hickman (and now we’ve lost Michael Callan), and had a great time. I wish we had more Hickman and Callan buddy films! Bittersweet to see Nat King Cole in this, since he died shortly after.

private war2

The Private War of Major Benson (1955)
Directed by Jerry Hopper
I wanted to watch this film for several years and was happy to finally watch it. An interesting different role for Charlton Heston and lots of cute kids. I loved seeing young Sal Mineo in an early role.

carnival of sinners

La main du diable/Carnival of Sinners (1943)
Directed by Maurice Tourneur
This may actually be my all-time favorite film of 2022. I watched this in January 2022 and it has stuck with me ever since. The visuals and storytelling are simply stunning. With an intriguing plot that keeps you wondering “How will our main character get out of this predicament?” My jaw was quite literally dropped throughout most of the film. Highly recommend seeking this one out. Few films have captivated me like this one.

this happy breed

This Happy Breed (1944)
Directed by David Lean
A visually stunning film with bright Technicolor that interestingly contrasts with the poignant story. Like real life families, you see the happiest and most crushing moments of their life. There are some very sad moments in this film, and the end left me worrying for one of the main characters, as if she was a real person. It’s overall so stunning, and I love John Mills.

sound of hte mountain

Yama no oto/Sound of the Mountain (1954)
Directed by Mikio Naruse
A beautiful and sad film about how you can do everything to a relationship, but it may not matter. In this case, it’s about a husband and wife.
Naruse also shows how separated the husband and wife are by showing the wife with her father-in-law more than she is with her spouse, showing you can love someone’s family more than you may love them. Really crushing but lovely.


Obsession (1976)
Directed by Brian De Palma
Featuring composer Bernard Herrmann’s last score, this film caught me off guard. I wasn’t sure if I’d even like it, but the end unexpectedly left me in tears. I loved the cinematography that gave the feel of steamy, humid New Orleans heat. I part suspected the end twist and was shocked I was correct. I also love Cliff Robertson. As someone born and raised in the south, the only downside was John Lithgow’s exaggerated (and bad) southern accent.

last of sheil

The Last of Sheila (1973)
Directed by Herbert Ross
Probably my second favorite film of the year, and the only one on this list that had a rewatch. This is an excellent all-star “whodunit” cast. The Last of Sheila is such a fun film to watch and has excellent dialogue throughout. You keep guessing and laughing throughout.


Un carnet de bal/Dancing Card (1937)
Directed by Julien Duvivier
I would love to have the gall to be a woman in her 30s, revisiting all the men who loved me when I was 16 and say, “Do you remember me?” without saying my name or giving any context. I loved the vignettes of this story and seeing what happened to each lover. Also visually stunning. Probably my third favorite film of the year. The film LYDIA was later loosely based on this story.

the river3

The River (1951)
Directed by Jean Renoir
Visually stunning in Technicolor, this is a very quiet, methodical coming-of-age story. It had some very sad moments where you thought, “This isn’t really going to happen, right?” and then it does. The film is equally heartwarming and heartbreaking.

lady godiva

Lady Godiva Rides Again (1951)
Directed by Frank Launder
I had the best time watching this movie. This was a fun, humorous look at the world of beauty contests and the rise and fall of a beauty queen. I loved Dennis Price playing a self-absorbed movie star, and the small roles played by Alastair Sim, Googie Withers and Trevor Howard. Not the best film ever made, but lots of fun. Also, you can catch a quick glimpse of Joan Collins in this film.

cash on demand

Cash on Demand (1961)
Directed by Quentin Lawrence
A thrilling, holiday-themed heist film that keeps you wondering what will happen. Peter Cushing gives an excellent performance in this.


The Underworld Story (1950)
Directed by Cy Endfield
That Dan Duryea. Even when you’re supposed to like him (I think?), you still aren’t sure if you can trust him. Duryea gives an excellent performance as a slimy reporter who may or may not be on the level, but also may be the only person you can turn to in this film. Howard Da Silva may steal the show, though. Stunning cinematography by Stanley Cortez. The only downside in this film is the odd casting of Mary Anderson, but otherwise I loved the film.

7 women

7 Women (1965)
Directed by John Ford
Beautifully photographed, this film yields excellent performances from a largely female cast, including Anne Bancroft, Sue Lyon, Margaret Leighton, Flora Robson, Mildred Dunnock, Betty Field and Anna Lee. Eddie Albert gives a great performance, as a weak man who tries to be strong and ends up failing. The only downside of the film is the dubious casting of Mike Mazurki

captain newman md

Captain Newman, MD (1963)
Directed by David Miller
Tony Curtis brings the comic relief, Gregory Peck brings the balance, but Bobby Darin and Eddie Albert provide the stand out performances. Darin deserved an Academy Award-nomination for this one. Wow!

niights of

Le notti di Cabiria/Nights of Cabiria (1957)
Directed by Federico Fellini
I can’t believe I saw “Sweet Charity” before seeing this. Needless to say, this film is worlds better than the American musical remake. This was a crushing film with some sweet and funny moments. I can’t believe it took me this long to see it.

dirty dozen

The Dirty Dozen (1967)
Directed by Robert Aldrich
Remember that scene in “Sleepless in Seattle” where they pretend to cry about a scene in “The Dirty Dozen”? Well, I actually did cry during “The Dirty Dozen”— largely because of the Donald Sutherland character. I really enjoyed this non-conventional World War II film with an all-star cast. Shout out to Robert Ryan looking really cool in sunglasses.


Brainstorm (1965)
Directed by William Conrad
A thrilling film with lots of twists and turns, that really makes you start wondering about the lead character, played by Jeffrey Hunter. Dana Andrews plays a rare bad guy role, and Hunter is excellent. Also doesn’t hurt that Andrews and Hunter are both very handsome.

beast must die

La bestia debe morir/The Beast Must Die (1952)
Directed by Román Viñoly Barreto
This is an excellent film noir thriller, that tells you right off what happens, but then uses flashback to show why it happened. While it is exciting, it also is mixed with heartbreak as we see the motive for the lead character seeking revenge.
I ended this year with seeing the French retelling of this story, and while it is similar, I think the Argentinian story is slightly better done.

my man and i

My Man and I (1952)
Directed by William A. Wellman
This film caught me off guard with how great it was. Ricardo Montalbán plays a naïve, unbelievably sweet guy, Shelley Winters plays a woman who is a mess, and Wendall Corey is just a bad dude. Claire Trevor, as Corey’s wife, gives Ricardo Montalbán a look that could melt butter. This was just a great story and I really didn’t expect to love it as much as I did.

reluctant saint

The Reluctant Saint (1962)
Directed by Edward Dmytryk
Another film that I didn’t expect to love as much as I did. Maximilian Schell is fabulous and broke my heart the whole time — but in the best way. I usually think of Schell playing suave or forceful characters, but here he is a sweet, mild man. It’s a quiet, lovely film.

hell to eternitty2

Hell to Eternity (1960)
Directed by Phil Karlson
This is somehow different than most World War II films made after the conflict ended. The film is based on the real life person, Guy Gabaldon, whose adoptive family was Japanese. Hell to Eternity is a thoughtful film. Vic Damone appears in a small role, playing a character that differs from his previous MGM youthful roles. It also features some surprisingly graphic battle scenes, which were unique for 1960 cinema.

Honorable Mention:
The Eve of Saint Mark (1944)
The Turning Point (1952)
Von Ryan’s Express
Let There Be Light (1946)
Return from the Sea (1954)
Night of the Iguana (1964)
The Great Mr. Nobody (1941)

Musical Monday: Show of Shows (1929)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

This week’s musical:
Show of Shows (1929) – Musical #721

show of shows3

Warner Bros.

John G. Adolfi

Master of Ceremonies: Frank Faylen

Armida, Johnny Arthur, Mary Astor, William Bakewell, Richard Bartelmess, Noah Berry, Sally Blane, Monte Blue, Irène Bordoni, Joseph A. Burke, Marion Byron, Georges Carpentier, Ethlyne Clair, James Clemens, Ruth Clifford, William Collier Jr., Betty Compson, Chester Conklin, Heinie Conklin, Dolores Costello, Helene Costello, Jack Curtis, Viola Dana, Alice Day, Marceline Day, Sally Eilers, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Louise Fazenda, Pauline Garon, Albert Gran, Alexander Gray, Lloyd Hamilton, Julanne Johnston, Sôjin Kamiyama, Lupino Lane, Frances Lee, Lila Lee, Ted Lewis, Winnie Lightner, Beatrice Lillie, Jacqueline Logan, Myrna Loy, Nick Lucas, Tully Marshall, Shirley Mason, Otto Matieson, Philo McCullough, Patsy Ruth Miller, Bull Montana, Lee Moran, Chester Morris, Jack Mulhal, Edna Murphy, Carmel Myers, Marian Nixon, Molly O’Day, Sally O’Neil, Gertrude Olmstead, Kalla Pasha, Anders Randolf, Rin Tin Tin, Bert Roach, Sid Silvers, Ann Sothern, Ben Turpin, Ada Mae Vaughn, Alberta Vaughn, Lolita Vendrell, Edward Ward, Alice White, Ted Williams, Lois Wilson, Grant Withers, Loretta Young, John Aasen

With 23 songs and skits, there is little plot to this film. It is a talent revue to exhibit the speaking and singing talent of Hollywood stars during the dawn of sound.

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75 years and five versions of Miracle on 34th Street

Released on June 4, 1947, the 20th Century Fox film, MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET celebrates 75 years in 2022. Since its release, the film and story have continued to be a holiday favorite. While the 1947 film continues to be celebrated, the story was retold and adapted for five times over the span of 47 years.

The original film was released two years after the end of World War II as the United States prospered economically. MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET provides some commentary on this — despite being able to purchase whatever you want, some of humanity was getting lost. Writer Valentine Davies was inspired to write this story when he saw a long line outside of a department store during the holiday rush.

The film’s plot follows Doris Walker (Maureen O’Hara), who works at Macy’s Department Store in New York City and oversees the annual Thanksgiving Day parade. On the day of the parade, Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) observes that the man who should play Santa is drunk. Outraged, he notifies Doris Walker, who quickly asks Kris play the role of Santa and hires him as the Macy’s store Santa Claus.

Doris is disillusioned by her divorce, something she has passed down to her young daughter, Susan (Natalie Wood). When their neighbor, lawyer Fred Gaily (John Payne), befriends Susan, he’s surprised and bothered that the child doesn’t believe in Santa Claus, isn’t familiar with fairy tales, and has a hard time connecting with her classmates when they play pretend.

When Susan meets Kris, she is surprised that his beard is real, and he can connect with a Dutch war orphan. While Doris convinces Susan that he’s just a nice, bilingual old man, Doris realizes that Kris actually believes he’s Santa Claus. She’s concerned that maybe he isn’t sane and is dangerous. Fred champions Kris, clashing with Doris. When Kris’s sanity is challenged by Macy’s store psychiatrist Dr. Sawyer (Porter Hall), the sanity hearing comes to trial.

Most of the television adaptations follow a similar format to this plot. To celebrate the anniversary of MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (1947), I sought out each version and have provided a review of each below:

Actors John Payne, Maureen O’Hara, Edmund Gwenn, and young Natalie Wood stand before a Christmas tree in a still from director George Seaton’s film, Miracle on 34th Street.

The 1947 original
The cast includes:
Edmund Gwenn as Santa Claus, Maureen O’Hara as Doris Walker, Natalie Wood as Susan Walker, John Payne as Fred Gaily, Porter Hall as Dr. Sawyer

With a story by Valentine Davies, George Seaton adapted the story for screen and also directed the film. This holiday film was released in June 1947, which LIFE magazine called a “bland disregard for seasonal timing.” The reason for the timing? 20th Century Fox studio head Darryl F. Zanuck believed that more people went to the movies over the summer. Regardless of the timing, the film was a success.

Actress Maureen O’Hara was reluctant to do the film, because she had just returned home to Ireland when she was called back. However, later in her autobiography, she said making the film was a special experience.

Several scenes were shot on location in New York City, as George Seaton wanted to get the holiday feel of the city. In fact, part of the urgency to start filming was that Seaton shot the 1946 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with Edmund Gwenn playing Santa Claus on the parade float. Scenes were also filmed inside the real New York City Macy’s Department store at night.

“Everyone felt the magic on the set, and we all knew we were creating something special,” O’Hara later said.

O’Hara wrote that she and young Natalie Wood formed a bond, often walking together through the department store at night. Wood would call O’Hara “Mama Maureen” and O’Hara called Wood “Natasha,” which was her birth name.

“We used to tease and call her a little old lady, and she was. She was the finest, most professional young actress in the business,” O’Hara said of Wood.

O’Hara, Payne and Gwenn were all friendly on set, as well, and would go window shopping at night on Fifth Avenue when they were in New York. This was one of four films that O’Hara and Payne co-starred on, and Payne always hoped to do a sequel of MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET, according to Maureen O’Hara.

When the film was in post-production, it was screened for Macy’s and Gimbels department store executives, who had the opportunity to veto the picture, but they were all positive about the final product.

MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET is still a special film, and I think the warm camaraderie of its co-stars shows. I think sometimes this gets dismissed as a holiday children’s film, but I don’t think this is really a kid’s movie. On its surface, it’s about a man who says he’s Santa Claus and determining if he is or isn’t. But this 1947 film covers some pretty serious, adult themes: bitterness following a divorce, the sanity of an elderly adult, humanity lost in a commercial world and post-war life.

The scene with Kris Kringle talking and singing with the Dutch child makes me cry every time.

Wood thought Edmund Gwenn was the real Santa Claus, and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences inclined to agree.

“Now I know there’s a Santa Claus,” Gwenn said when he accepted his Academy Award for Best Supporting actor.


My version of the Miracle on 34th Street novella

Off camera
After the release of the film, Valentine Davies adapted the film into a 120-page novella. In the book’s forward, Davies notes that publishing a book after the film’s release seems backward, but he was tasked to do so by 20th Century Fox. The brief book is like the film but has a few differences. For example, Fred and Doris already knew each other and has Fred attempted to court her (though in the film, they meet on Thanksgiving Day). There is also a detail about Kris Kringle not being able to eat a venison steak at dinner, which is used in the 1955 Thomas Mitchell adaptation.

“Miracle on 34th Street” was presented on the hour-long Lux Radio Theater program, with Maureen O’Hara, John Payne and Edmund Gwenn reprising their roles. The radio show aired on Dec. 22, 1947; Dec. 20, 1948, and Dec. 21, 1954, on CBS radio. Per usual with Lux Radio Theater, these adaptations are lots of fun.

There was also a 1963 Broadway musical show version called “Here’s Love” starring Janis Paige, Craig Stevens and Laurence Naismith.

1955 “The 20th Century Fox Hour”
The cast includes:
Thomas Mitchel as Kris Kringle, Teresa Wright as Doris Walker, MacDonald Carey as Fred Gaily, Sandy Descher as Susan Walker, Hans Conried as Mr. Shellhammer, Ray Collins as the Judge, John Abbott as Dr. Sawyer, Dick Foran as the district attorney

This version was part of the anthology series, “The 20th Century Fox Hour,” which was televised on CBS and aired on Dec. 14, 1955. In this hour-long special, much of the dialogue is similar, though some plot points are slightly changed. For example, Kris and the psychiatrist Dr. Sawyer come to blows when Sawyer is lecturing children that Santa isn’t real, rather than in his office.

Teresa Wright is great (per usual) and I love MacDonald Carey — also a fun SHADOW OF A DOUBT reunion!

But Thomas Mitchell as Kris Kringle is what makes this hour-long television special rough to watch. Academy Award-winning Mitchell is excellent in most films but does not work as a Santa character. Mitchell plays Santa more like he’s Gerald O’Hara right before his horse accident in GONE WITH THE WIND or Uncle Billy in IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE. And when Kris hits Dr. Sawyer, in this one it actually does seem like assault! Mitchell is incredibly versatile so this performance was confusing.

Several cast members also talk really fast … maybe because they are trying to cram too much into 45 minutes?

This version is fine, but it’s disappointing that this one isn’t better because it has an outstanding cast.

“The producers had a lot of ground to cover and their task was complicated by the fact that the longer movie version was a recipient of an Oscar … You won’t miss the parts that were cut from the original,” one 1955 review said. I didn’t miss the scenes, but just missed the original.

1959 “NBC Friday Night Special Presentation”
The cast includes:
Ed Wynn as Kris Kringle, Mary Healy as Doris Walker, Peter Lind Hayes as Fred Gaily, Susan Gordon as Susan Walker, Orson Bean as Dr. Sawyer

Airing on Nov. 27, 1959, and presented on the anthology television series “NBC Friday Night Special Presentation,” this version was filmed live and in color. Mary Healy and Peter Lind Hayes were married in real life as they played Doris and Fred. This is the only version not released by 20th Century Fox.

After the original 1947 film, this version was my second favorite. The story telling is a bit different because this was performed as live television. For example, we see Susan right off with her mother, as she accompanies her at the parade. Another example is that Susan doesn’t ask Kris Kringle for a house, but for Mr. Gaily and her mother to fall in love.

Ed Wynn plays Kris in a similar fashion to Edmund Gwenn: a sweet and kind person who loves all people, not just children. The only downside to this version is the character of Dr. Sawyer the psychiatrist, who is a bit too goofy. With thick-rimmed glasses, he acts like a cartoon character psychiatrist.

“Certainly, I believe in Santa Claus,” Ed Wynn said in a Dec. 15, 1959, interview. “… The only fist fight I’ve ever had was over Santa Claus. It was 40 years ago.” Wynn goes on to say that he was with his son, Keenan, outside Macy’s in New York when a man said there was no such thing as Santa. Wynn told him to shut up and they got in a fist fight.

“Yes, strange that outside of Macy’s. And some 40 years later, in Miracle on 34th Street, I played a character as Macy’s Santa Claus,” Wynn said.

For many years, this live television production of “Miracle on 34th Street” was thought to be lost. But now, a print lives at the Library of Congress. I was able to access this film to watch thanks to the Library of Congress.

1973 made-for-TV special
The cast includes:
Sebastian Cabot as Kris Kringle, Jane Alexander as Karen Walker, David Hartman as Bill Schaffner, Suzanne Davidson as Susan Walker, Roddy McDowall as Dr. Sawyer, Jim Backus as Shellhammer, Tom Bosley as the Judge

This 90-minute television film aired on Dec. 14, 1973, on CBS. In 1973, press clippings announced that this version would be a musical, and while there is a title song, this film is nearly a verbatim remake of the 1947 (save a few edits, like name changes and a random neighbor who appears once seemingly as Karen Walker’s competition, never to be seen again).

“With a perfectly good Hollywood comedy like ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ as a Christmas perennial on television, it’s reasonable to wonder why a network would try to top it with a remake. The answer is, it hasn’t,” wrote Howard Thompson in his Dec. 14, 1973, New York Times review.

Much like a carbon copy piece of paper, this copy of the original film feels lifeless and dull. At 93-minutes, it feels as long as GREED (1924) and I struggled to stay awake. Maybe it’s because all the actors — except for Sebastian Cabot and Roddy McDowall — appear to sleepwalk through their acting. Jane Alexander is especially lifeless. The plot is also less about being disillusioned and divorced, as Karen and Bill begin dating immediately. I was so excited to see McDowall in this, but this was another Dr. Sawyer who was treated like a cartoon character.

Originally, Natalie Wood was offered the role of Karen Walker, her daughter would play Susan and Robert Wagner would play Bill Schaffer. Wood declined, which is disappointing. I think this would have been better, or at least interesting.

1994 remake
The cast includes:
Richard Attenborough as Kris Kringle, Elizabeth Perkins as Dorey Walker, Dylan McDermott as Bryan Bedford, Mara Wilson as Susan Walker

This 1994 remake was made in response to the success of “Home Alone” (1990), looking for another film that focused on cute kids at Christmas, according to Mara Wilson’s autobiography. Macy’s department store approved the use of their name in every single other version of this film retelling, but they refused for this one. Instead, the film features a fictional store named Cole’s.

“We feel the original stands on its own and could not be improved upon,” said a Macy’s spokesperson when John Hughes’s production company approached them.

This was a wise decision on Macy’s part, because this film is such a mess. Just plain awful. It has all the earmarks of a 1990s children’s comedy, all within the first 15 minutes:
• A butt joke/pants falling down gag when the drunk Santa is climbing up on the parade sled.
• A ridiculous fall. When the drunk Santa climbs on the parade float, the sled falls backwards.
• A poop joke. Mara Wilson’s character says all that is left in the parade was people scooping up horse poop.
• A super villain that might not make much sense. Instead of Dr. Sawyer, we have a competitor department store wanting to take over Cole’s and/or hire Santa. It was unclear what their villainous goal was.
• Something high tech: Susan leaves her mom a message on a VHS tape.

There’s also a strange Santa-getting-dressed montage and an ambush wedding on Christmas Eve, thanks to Santa!

I think even as a stand-alone film and not as a remake (where you inevitably compare it to the film), it would be bad.

Here’s the thing: The original 1947 film is not meant to be a children’s film like this one is. While this is a children’s film, there are some plot points that are much too complex and left me as an adult scratching my head. For example, rather than using the U.S. Postal Service to provide legal proof that Santa is real, the Judge provides a lengthy (lengthy) monologue about the use of “In God We Trust” on the U.S. dollar bill. And if we can use “God” on legal currency without being able to prove that God is real, then Santa is real. Phew.

What can I say positive about this film? … Elizabeth Perkins has great hair. If you pretend Richard Attenborough’s character is actually the professor from JURASSIC PARK and is hiding out as Santa, it makes it more interesting … interesting, but not better.

What a mess of a movie. Throughout, I found myself longing to watch the 1973 Sebastian Cabot version instead.

In summary
When I started this MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET journey, I knew nothing could hold a candle to the 1947 film. It’s beautiful, charming, moving and just a lovely story. The cast is unmatched. Even with similar scripts and excellent actors, no other version captures the sentiment and magic of the original 1947 film.

Here is my ranking of each version:
1. 1947 starring Edmund Gwenn
2. 1959 starring Ed Wynn
3. 1955 starring Thomas Mitchell
4. 1973 starring Sebastien Cabot
5. 1994 starring Richard Attenborough

There is one scene that truly only worked in the original:
The scene with the little Dutch orphan. In the other versions, Santa Claus is just simply able to speak another language. Sebastian Cabot can speak Italian to a child, and Richard Attenborough speaks to a little girl using sign language. But none of them are nearly as moving.

In the 1947 version, it’s not simply that Kris Kringle can speak the same language as the Dutch child. It’s that she is a war orphan, and he is the first person who can get through to her. I can’t even type that without getting teary. It’s a really lovely scene and no other version matches that same emotion.

Edmund Gwenn isn’t your stereotypical jolly Santa, laughing for no reason. Gwenn plays a Santa that loves people and is trying to bring back humanity and community to a world blinded by consumerism and commercialism.

Even the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences believed he was Santa enough to give him the award of Best Supporting Actor. No other actor who has portrayed Jolly Ole Saint Nick has won the award before or since.

I’m inclined to agree with their assessment — Gwenn is the best Santa Claus on film.

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Musical Monday: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

chitty4This week’s musical:
Chitty Chitty Ban Bang (1968) – Musical #724

United Artists

Ken Hughes

Dick Van Dyke, Sally Ann Howes, Lionel Jeffries, Gert Fröbe, Anna Quayle, Benny Hill, James Robertson Justice, Heather Ripley, Adrian Hall, Desmond Llewelyn

Caractacus Potts (Van Dyke) is a down-on-his-luck inventor restores a former winning race car. He takes his children (Hall, Llewelyn) and an acquaintance, Truly Scrumptious (Howes), on a picnic where he tells them a magical adventure story about the car.

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Modern Screen sugar-rationed holiday recipes

margret o'brien

The holidays are a time for baking and partaking in sugary sweet treats. However during the years of rationing, preparing these goodies was made difficult.

Though rationing ended with the close of World War II in 1945, sugar continued to be rationed through June 1947. Modern Screen provides some holiday candy recipes in the Jan. 1947 issue with substitutes that will still allow for goodies. “Visons of sugar plums’ needn’t remain visions because of sugar scarcity! Other sweeteners make equally delicious desserts,” the magazine touts.

These recipes are delicious enough for young stars like Margaret O’Brien (who this time, doesn’t claim to have prepared the candy, but the magazine says she would enjoy them.

all candy

These recipes include:

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Musical Monday: Cinderella (1965)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

cinderella 1965 11This week’s musical:
Cinderella (1965) – Musical #144


Charles S. Dubin

Lesley Ann Warren, Stuart Damon, Walter Pidgeon, Ginger Rogers, Pat Carroll, Barbara Ruick, Celeste Holm, Jo Van Fleet, Trudi Ames, Betty Noyes, Bill Lee,

Set to music by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, the story focuses on Cinderella (Warren), a lonely young woman whose father has died and she lives only with her stepmother (Fleet) and stepsisters (Ruick, Carroll). Her stepmother and stepsisters have made Cinderella their servant, while Cinderella dreams of a better life. The Prince (Damon) is in search of a wife, and the King and Queen (Pidgeon, Rogers) hold a ball so he can find a wife. Cinderella’s fairy godmother (Holm) helps her get to the ball, but she must leave by midnight.

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Musical Monday: The Pied Piper of Hamelin (1957)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

pied piper5This week’s musical:
The Pied Piper of Hamlin (1957) – Musical #723


Bretaigne Windust

Van Johnson, Claude Rains, Lori Nelson, Jim Backus, Kay Starr, Brian Corcoran, Doodles Weaver, Stanley Adams, Rene Kroper

The people of Hamelin are working to build a clock tower for a visit from the king. Because of this, they are driven by the mayor (Rains) to work constantly, with play and schooling outlawed. When the town is invaded by rats, a magical Pied Piper (Johnson) is called to play a special tune to rid the town of the rodents — the pure of heart won’t be able to hear his tune. After the piper frees the town of rodents, the mayor refuses to pay the piper, who says they will rue the day. Townsman Truson (also Johnson) begs the town to pay the piper before it’s too late and he fulfills his threat.

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Musical Monday: Let’s Face It (1943)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

let's face it 2This week’s musical:
Let’s Face It (1943) – Musical #722

Paramount Pictures

Sidney Lanfield

Bob Hope, Betty Hutton, Zasu Pitts, Phyllis Povah, Dave Willock, Eve Arden, Dona Drake, Marjorie Weaver, Raymond Walburn, Andrew Tombes, Joyce Compton (uncredited), Yvonne de Carlo (uncredited), Kay Linaker (uncredited), Noel Neill (uncredited), Barbara Pepper (uncredited),

Three wives — Maggie Watson (Arden), Cornelia Figeson (Pitts) and Nancy Collister (Povah) — are suspicious of their husbands who went on a “fishing trip.” Staying at a health farm near an Army base, the women connect with soldier Jerry Walker (Hope) and ask if he and two friends can come to the Hamptons with them to get back at their husbands. The problem being that Jerry is supposed to be getting married to his long term girlfriend, Winnie Porter (Hutton), who also runs the health farm.

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Musical Monday: Up in Arms (1944)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

up in arms6This week’s musical:
Up in Arms (1944) – Musical #205

Samuel Goldwyn Productions, Distributed by RKO

Elliott Nugent

Danny Kaye, Dana Andrews, Dinah Shore, Constance Dowling, Louis Calhern, Lyle Talbot, Elisha Cook Jr., Benny Baker, George Matthews, Tom Dugan, Walter Catlett, Lillian Randolph (uncredited)

The Goldwyn Girls: Virginia Mayo, Betty Alexander, Gale Adams, Gloria Anderson, Betty Bryant, Jan Bryant, Alma Carroll, Joan Chaffee, Linda Christian, Virginia Cruzon, Myrna Dell, Cindy Garner, Dorothy Garner, Myrna Dell, Inna Gest, Renee Godfrey, Ellen Hall, Eloise Hardt, June Harris, Mary Ann Hyde, Mildred Kornman, June Lang, Rosalyn Lee, Florence Lundeen, Mickey Malloy, Dorothy Merritt, Lorraine Miller, Mary Moore, Kay Morley, Diana Mumby, Lee Nugent, Dorothy Patrick, Shelby Payne, Helen Talbot, Ruth Valmy, Virginia Wicks, Audrey Young

Narrator: Knox Manning

Hypochondriac Danny Weems (Kaye) is drafted into the Army. He’s in love with Mary (Dowling), who is in love with his pal Joe (Andrews), and Virginia (Shore) is in love with Danny. Despite all of his imaginary illnesses Danny (and Joe) are drafted. When Danny learns they are shipping off, he can’t bear to imagine leaving without Mary and sneaks her on to the ship.

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