Musical Monday: That’s Entertainment! (1974)

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:
That’s Entertainment! (1974)


Jack Haley, Jr.

As themselves narrating: Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Peter Lawford, James Stewart, Mickey Rooney, Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Fred Astaire, Liza Minelli, Bing Crosby

A feature film documentary celebrating 50 years of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, featuring film clips from 1929 into 1958.

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“Is that Pedro?” -Happy Thanksgiving from Comet Over Hollywood

Sometimes holiday family gatherings can be awkward, if not disastrous.

One cinematic example of an unhappy Thanksgiving is in “Giant” (1956) starring Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean and Rock Hudson.

The film follows Bick (Hudson) and Leslie (Taylor) and their life as cattle ranchers in Texas. Leslie, originally from Maryland, marries Bick after knowing him for a short time, and their marriage is tumultuous.

At one part of the film, Leslie travels back to Maryland with her children to evaluate her marriage, participate in her sister’s wedding and spend Thanksgiving with her family.

During the visit, Leslie’s three children become attached to the turkey named Pedro…


(Comet Over Hollywood/Screen Cap by Jessica P)

Here is to hoping your Thanksgiving is less dramatic.

Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful for everyone of you who reads Comet Over Hollywood and shares the love of classic film.

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Musical Monday: “A Date with Judy” (1948)

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 500. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

dateThis week’s musical:
A Date with Judy” (1948) –Musical Monday #105


Richard Thorpe

Jane Powell, Elizabeth Taylor, Wallace Beery, Robert Stack, Selena Royale, Carmen Miranda, Leon Ames, Xavier Cugat, Scotty Beckett

Best friends Judy (Powell) and Carol (Taylor) both have a crush on a college aged soda jerk (Stack). While planning her parent’s (Royal, Beery) anniversary party, Judy and Carol fear that Mr. Foster is having an affair with a Latin dancer (Miranda), who is really teaching him rumba lessons to surprise his wife.

-The movie was based on a radio series with the same name.
-The songs “It’s a Most Unusual Day” and “Judaline” debuted in this movie.
-Carmen Miranda’s song “Cuanto la Gusta” was one of her favorite songs. The album reached number 12 on the Billboard charts.
-After this film, Robert Stack was supposed to make a musical remake of the Marion Davies film “Peg O’ My Heart,” that never materialized, according to John Fricke’s book “Judy: A Legendary Film Career.”
-Jane Powell and Elizabeth Taylor were around the same age in this film. Powell said in her TCM Private Screenings Interview that she was a bit jealous that Taylor was dressed in more mature costumes and got to wear green eye shadow.
-This film followed Taylor’s demure roles in “Cynthia” and “Life With Father” and made her more of a “vamp” and a woman. Her next film would be as a sophisticated young engaged woman in “Julia Misbehaves,” according to “How to Be a Movie Star: Elizabeth Taylor in Hollywood” by William J. Mann.
-Elizabeth Taylor is dubbed by Jean McLaren.

Jane Powell and Elizabeth Taylor in "A Date with Judy" (1948)

Jane Powell and Elizabeth Taylor in “A Date with Judy” (1948)

-Wallace Beery trying to dance the rumba.

Notable Songs:
-“It’s a Most Unusual Day” sung by Jane Powell
This song is my favorite in the whole film. It’s light, it’s cheery and fun.
-“Judaline” sung by Jane Powell, Scotty Becket and a quartet
Another fun song. Not serious but light and cute.
-“Love is Where You Find it” sung by Jane Powell
It demonstrates Jane Powell’s excellent singing abilities. Confusion over if she or Kathryn Grayson sung it first on film.

My Review:
This is my favorite Jane Powell movie, as well as one of my all-time favorite films. I recall once in high school when I came home upset about something. I turned on this movie and all of my cares were forgotten- that is the effect “A Date with Judy” has on it’s audience.
It may be frothy and light, but it’s happy. Jane Powell is as adorable as ever and the Technicolor is awesome.
The film has a top notch cast including musical performances from Carmen Miranda and Latin bandleader Xavier Cugat.

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Actress Beauty Tip #31: Elizabeth Taylor perfume

This is the thirty-first installment of the monthly classic actress beauty tips that I have read about and tested.

Elizabeth Taylor Holding Perfume Bottle

Elizabeth Taylor in 1991, introducing her perfume at Macy’s

Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears and Taylor Swift.

These celebrities may not have a perfume named for them if it wasn’t for English born actress Elizabeth Taylor.

The two time Academy Award winning actress is known for her violet colored eyes, glamorous beauty, love of diamonds and multiple marriages.

With a mix of her affair with jewelry and Old Hollywood glamour, Elizabeth Taylors’s White Diamonds perfume has been the top selling celebrity perfume since 1991. Even since her 2010 death, the perfume makes $200 million worth of sales each year.

Taylor wasn’t the first celebrity to create her own perfume. In 1957 Givenchy created a scent for Audrey Hepburn called L’Interdit, that was only released after Hepburn had worn it a few years. French actress Catherine Deneuve and Italian actress Sophia Loren both had perfume scents at one time that are no longer sold, according to a Jezebel article.

white diamonds 2

White Diamonds advertisement.

But what sets Elizabeth Taylor’s perfume apart is the fact that is still sold after 20 years.

Ever since I was a child, the gold liquid in Taylor’s rhinestone incrusted bottles intrigued me.  But my mother warned me White Diamonds wasn’t the most pleasant smelling perfume. Since Mom isn’t a perfume wearing woman, I hoped she was wrong.

Recently, with Comet’s beauty tips in mind, I picked up a small bottle of White Diamonds and felt slightly glamorous that I owned an Elizabeth Taylor product.

But the day I wore White Diamonds, I felt anything but glamorous. I actually felt ill, because it smells terrible. I sprayed my wrist once and overpowered by the smell.

As I gagged, I tried to figure out how this perfume had such a strong staying power. I wonder if it’s simply that it is put out by one of the most important actresses and pop culture figures of the 20th century.

To Review: White Diamonds is a very heavy and strong scent. I personally didn’t like it and can’t imagine wearing it all day. I think Elizabeth Taylor’s excellent marketing and Old Hollywood sophistication is what has kept it on the shelves for over 20 years.

Have you ever tried wearing it? What is your opinion?

This post is part of the Summer Under the Stars blogathon

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Liz and Dick (2012)……


That was pretty much how I felt as the credits rolled Sunday night after the premiere of “Liz and Dick, the Lifetime dramatization of the tumultuous romance that Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton had during the 1960s.

Like most film fans, I was aghast when it was announced that Lindsay Lohan would be playing Elizabeth Taylor in a biopic. (In all honesty, I’m not the biggest fan of classic Hollywood biographical films, because they don’t seem accurate and draw on all the negatives of that performer.)

As Burton and Taylor's romance begins on the set of "Cleopatra"

As Burton and Taylor’s romance begins on the set of “Cleopatra”

However, many of us seemed to relax and laugh off the film when it was released that the film was made for the small screen, rather than for theaters.

Sitting down Sunday night, I was prepared for a good laugh, thinking the movie would be hilariously bad like camp classics “Susan Slade” (1961) or “Harlow” (1965).

But no. “Liz and Dick” wasn’t bad in a humorous way, it was just bad and unforgivably boring.

The 88 minute movie- two hours with commercials- dragged and seemed as long as Taylor’s three hour epic “Cleopatra” (1963).

The only actor who actually seemed like they were trying in the film was Grant Bowler who played Richard Burton.

Lohan seemed to go through the motions, even not trying to imitate Elizabeth Taylor’s voice. In one scene, Taylor has a temper tantrum and starts throwing things and knocking over tables. Lohan’s efforts were hilariously half-hearted.

Though Lohan’s has received bad publicity over the past several years, many people were saying this was her comeback, and she told new sources that she was excited about the role.

“I’m a huge Elizabeth Taylor fan and I relate to her on a lot of levels,” Lohan said in a Behind the Scenes interview. “Such as living in the public eye and the stress of what other people say about you, whether it’s true or not.”

The odd narrating technique.

The odd narrating technique.

But whatever excitement Lohan may have had for the role didn’t show through at all. On the contrary, she acted like she wanted to be anywhere but there.

Aside from the acting, the writing in the film was horrible.

The film begins with Burton and Taylor sitting in director’s chairs, dressed in black and telling us their story like we are in an interview. This made absolutely no sense to me, and I wasn’t sure why it was necessary.

The first twenty-three minutes involved Taylor and Burton sneaking around like 16-year-olds and having sex.

There were other hilariously odd lines like Taylor shouting “I’m bored! I’m so bored!” in which the viewers replied, “So are we.”

We were just as bored.

We were just as bored.

Other unintentionally hilarious moments were:

-Friend: “You’ve been married four times.” Liz: “Who’s counting?!”

-“I won’t live without you!” Liz shouts as she runs away from the camera like a six-year-old

-Liz having hysterics about her chubby fingers.

-1980s Liz, with Lohan looking more like Joan Collins from Dynasty than Elizabeth Taylor

The most angering part of the film is that Burton and Taylor’s second marriage was barely mentioned. The couple was married from 1964 to 1974 and then remarried again in 1975 to 1976.

Lohan looking like she's on the set of "Dynasty"

Lohan looking like she’s on the set of “Dynasty”

The appeal of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton’s romance is that they loved each other so passionately that they couldn’t live with or without each other and that did not show through on the screen to me.

In all honesty, in the last 30 minutes of the movie, I was so disgusted and bored, I was barely paying attention. The real entertainment from the film was those live tweeting, making witty remarks and sharing my sentiments.

A few of my favorite tweets from that evening:



liz and dick


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Actress Beauty Tip #26: *Halloween Edition*

This is the twenty-sixth  installment of the monthly classic actress beauty tips that I have read about and tsted.  

Need ideas thinking of a Halloween costume? This Comet Over Hollywood beauty tip is dedicated to one fairly easy classic movie related costume.

Elizabeth Taylor as “Cleopatra” in the 1963 epic.

Though Egyptian queen Cleopatra has been played by Theda Bara in 1917 and Claudette Colbert in 1934, the version that is best remembered is the 192 minute 1963 extravaganza starring Elizabeth Taylor. If you Google “Cleopatra make-up,” most of the photos and tutorials model their make-up off of Taylor’s portrayal.

What do you do: Put on a ton of eye make-up. Seriously.

I honestly didn’t follow a structured make-up video, I just looked at the above picture of Liz Taylor and copied it the best I could.

1. I used black Revlon liquid eye liner and drew large, swooping rectangles to the sides of my eyes and filled them in.  I also lined my bottom lid with a very thin line.

2. I used a turquoise colored Revlon powder eye shadow and applied that all the way up to my eyebrow and to where the extended eyeliner ended.

3. Put on a tad bit of bronzer. I’m pretty pale and didn’t want to look like a ghost with so much heavy make up.

4. Put on a black wig and some sort of headdress or band to go with it. I had a gold sequined headband that came in handy. Maybe throw on some large, gold, Egyptian looking earrings and jewelry as well.

5. Since I have blond eyebrows and was wearing a black wig, I applied some dark gold eye shadow to my eyebrows so the hair would match better.

Tad-ah! Now you look like Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra. Or Cher. Whichever you prefer.

J.P. dressed up as Cleopatra. This was so much fun, but I look ridiculous in a wig.

To review: So you end up looking a little ridiculous, but I always have a blast putting on a ton of make up that you would never wear in your daily life.

Whatever you decide to be for Halloween, have fun and stay safe! If it’s classic movie related, stop by Comet and share your photos.

Tune in next month for November’s beauty tip.

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Lovely Liz: Goodbye to Elizabeth Taylor

Miss Taylor was gracious enough to sign my photo when I wrote her in 2008.

I got out of yoga this morning around 10 a.m. ET and had four texts telling me Liz died. I have to admit I teared up a bit when I called my mom about it after that. One of my professors even said he was surprised I wasn’t wearing all black today.  No, Elizabeth Taylor isn’t one of my all time favorite actresses.  She isn’t one of the actresses I’m trying to see all of her movies, but only because I don’t care to see most of late 1960s, 1970s and 1980s films. I have seen all of her movies made up until the early 1960s.

I’m not going to go on about how Liz was married so many times.  Or  her work for AIDS, though I admire her work that she did for her friend Rock Hudson. I just plain want to celebrate Liz’s life and career.

She first caught our attention as Priscilla, Nigel Bruce’s granddaughter in “Lassie Come Home” (1943).  She stole our hearts-and kept them for decades- with her sparkling blue-purple eyes, adorable smile and her plead to her grandfather to keep Lassie the collie in his dog kennels. Originally wanted for the role of Bonnie Blue Butler in “Gone with the Wind,” Taylor’s father wanted to keep her out of movies, however, I wonder if he anticipated how big a star she would become.

Liz with her green eyeshadow in “A Date with Judy”

Taylor was one of the few actors who gracefully transitioned from child actor to teenager to successful adult actor. She was allowed to look like a grown up young lady in “A Date with Judy” with green eye shadow, grown up gowns and older Robert Stack. Jane Powell, who was still the same age, said she was a little jealous of this as she still dressed like a teenager in the film.

Miss Taylor grew up quickly. Taylor went from a sophisticated young woman to a sexy, shapely and independent woman in the mid and late 1950s.

I think Liz looked her prettiest in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and then, for me, she started to go downhill. She started gaining weight, the 1960s began and movies started to change.  I start to lose interest in her films once you get past “Butterfield 8.”  “The Sandpiper” is lousy, “The VIPs” is star studded but overly dramatic and I couldn’t even finish “The Comedians” out of boredom.  However, I haven’t seen “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” yet, but I have it taped and plan to watch it when I get the chance.

In her white gown in “Ivanhoe” with Robert Taylor

My favorite movies of Taylor’s are “Giant”, “A Date with Judy,” “Cynthia” and “Father of the Bride,” but there are so many other great ones.   She is a great bratty, selfish Amy in “Little Women” and   looks beautiful in “Ivanhoe,” especially the white dress she wears. “Father of the Bride” and “Father’s Little Dividend” are family favorites at my house. My dad is the only man in our family (3 daughters, mom and our female dachshund) so he sympathizes with Spencer Tracy.

Elizabeth Tayor was the last really big super star of the Golden Era.  Though Doris Day, Lauren Bacall and Esther Williams are still living, they aren’t on the same scale as Miss Taylor. Taylor was Hollywood royalty with her highly publicized life and two Oscar winning roles. No one was quite like her or ever will be.

So I bow down to the last royalty of the Golden Age. Farewell, Miss Taylor. You will be greatly missed.

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Elephants and overbearing housekeepers

Have you ever seen a movie that is so similar to another one, yet you know it isn’t a remake?

I’m not saying something like Disturbia (2007) and Rear Window (1954) which are so similar it might as well be a remake and there was a court case over the fact that the screenwriter of Distrubia copied Rear Window.

Two movies I feel are very similar are Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca (1940)and Elephant Walk (1954).

Both have very similar plots. The odd thing is that both of these films were movies adapted from books. Elephant Walk was written by Robert Standish in 1948 and Rebecca was written by Daphne Du Maurier ten years prior in 1938.

Let’s briefly over view the plots before we proceed with the comparison.

Rebecca (1940): A young woman (Joan Fontaine) meets a rich widower (Laurence Oliver) and has a whirlwind romance. They fall in love and marry after not knowing each other for very long. Shortly after moving into her new home, the young bride finds that she is not in control of her own household. Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson) the house keeper underminds everything the 2nd Mrs. DeWinter tries to do and constantly reminds her that she is not as good as the deceased wife, Rebecca.

Elephant Walk (1954): Rich plantation owner John Wiley (Peter Finch) from Ceylon comes to England specifically to find a bride who ends up being Ruth Wiley (Elizabeth Taylor). She marries him after only knowing him a brief time and finds plantation life in Africa difficult. Not only is life in Africa strenuous, but also the fact that the head man servant, Appuhamy (Abraham Sofaer), won’t let Ruth run her home. It makes things difficult because everyone idolizes John’s father, the late Mr. Wiley, and talks about him as if he is still alive.

If you don’t see the similarities through the plot summaries, then this will help:

1.) Both movies have a creepy housekeeper that won’t let the heroine run her home. It doesn’t make things any better when their husbands are cold and don’t stand up for them at all.

In both films, the servants worship someone who is dead and continue to act as if they are alive. In Rebecca it is Mrs. Danvers constantly reminiscing about old times with Rebecca of when she would get ready for parties and brush her hair as Rebecca told her about her evening. In Elephant Walk it’s Appuhamy still serving his late master and acting as if he is alive and giving orders.

Judith Anderson as Mrs. Danvers in Rebecca

Appuhamy played by Abraham Sofaer in Elephant Walk

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