Watching 1939: Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

In 2011, I announced I was trying to see every film released in 1939. This new series chronicles films released in 1939 as I watch them. As we start out this blog feature, this section may become more concrete as I search for a common thread that runs throughout each film of the year. Right now, that’s difficult. 

1939 film:  Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

Release date:  May 12, 1939

Cast: 
Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Rita Hayworth, Richard Barthelmess, Thomas Mitchell, Allyn Joslyn, Sig Ruman, John Carroll, Noah Beery Jr., Milisa Sierra, Pat Flaherty, Don ‘Red’ Barry (billed as Donald Barry), Victor Kilian

Studio:  Columbia Pictures

Director:  Howard Hawks

Plot:
Barranca Airways is run by Geoff Carter (Grant) in South America. Geoff and his pilots fly hazardous missions over mountains and in bad weather to carry air mail in and out of South America. His closest friend is veteran flyer Kid Dabb (Mithcell). Performer Bonnie Lee (Arthur) gets off a boat one night and meets Geoff and some of the fliers while waiting for her next boat. She ends up staying; intrigued by the flying business and Geoff. The business is complicated when Bat MacPherson (Barthelmess) and his wife Judy (Hayworth) arrive. Bat previously bailed out of a crashing plane which had the brother Kidd (Mitchell), and Bat’s wife is also Geoff’s old flame.

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Musical Monday: Music in My Heart (1940)

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:
Music in My Heart (1940) – Musical #261

Studio: Columbia Pictures

Director: Joseph Santley

Starring:
Rita Hayworth, Tony Martin, Edith Fellows, Alan Mowbray, Eric Blore, George Tobias, Joseph Crehan, Marten Lamont, Joey Ray, Julieta Novis
Themselves: Andre Kostelanetz and His Orchestra, The Brian Sisters

Plot:
Hopeful musical understudy Robert Gregory (Martin) is going to be deported. He’s given a chance to be the lead in a show as long as he gets on a boat at 12 a.m. His taxi wrecks with another taxi with passenger Patricia O’Malley (Hayworth) who is racing to meet the same boat to marry a millionaire (Mowbray). When they both miss the boat, Patricia takes in Robert and her younger sister (Fellows) tries to play matchmaker while Robert is avoiding being deported.

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Musical Monday: Tonight and Every Night (1945)

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.

tonightThis week’s musical:
Tonight and Every Night” (1945)– Musical #181

Studio:
Columbia

Director:
Victor Saville

Starring:
Rita Hayworth, Janet Blair, Lee Bowman, Marc Platt, Leslie Brooks, Florence Bates, Professor Lamberti, Shelly Winters (uncredited)

Plot:
Told as a retrospective story to a LIFE magazine reporter, a theater in London never closed or missed a performance during the German blitz in London throughout World War II. The stars of the show were Rosalind Bruce (Hayworth), Judy Kane (Blair) and Tommy Lawson (Platt) are the stars of the show. Rosalind is an American and ends up falling in love with British flyer Paul Lundy (Bowman).

Trivia:
-Loosely based on the Windmill Theatre in London, which never closed during World War II and the German blitz
-Rita Hayworth took time off after filming “Tonight and Every Night” to have her baby, daughter Rebecca, who she had with Orson Welles, according to a “Movie of the Week” feature in the Feb. 12, 1945, issue of LIFE magazine.
-Originally was set to be a drama with Ida Lupino and Merle Oberon. After Hayworth’s success in “Cover Girl,” Columbia cast Hayworth in the film instead and made it into a musical, according to Turner Classic Movie Host Ben Mankiewicz.
-Because Rita Hayworth was pregnant during the filming, costume designer Jean Louis had to find creative ways to hide her pregnancy.
-Based on the play “Heart of a City.”
-Choreographed by Jack Cole, who dances during the number “What Does an English Girl Think of a Yank?”
-Rita Hayworth was dubbed by Martha Mears

Highlights:
-Rita Hayworth’s “You Excite Me” number, choreographed by Jack Cole
-Marc Platt’s dancing, particularly when he is auditioning

Notable Songs:
-“Tonight and Every Night” performed by Janet Blair, the cast and Rita Hayworth, dubbed by Martha Mears
-“You Excite Me” performed by Rita Hayworth, dubbed by Martha Mears
-“The Boy I Left Behind” performed by Janet Blair, Rita Hayworth, dubbed by Martha Mears
-“What Does an English Girl Think of a Yank?” performed by Rita Hayworth, dubbed by Martha Mears (mainly notable for the dancing.)
-“Anywhere” performed by Janet Blair

My review: (with vague SPOILERS)
“Tonight and Every Night” is my favorite Rita Hayworth film. This is a fairly forgotten and underrated musical, which is a shame. “Tonight and Every Night” explodes with gorgeous Technicolor and has a few fantastic dance numbers choreographed by Jack Cole.

This isn’t your average fluffy musical. I think what I like best about this lively film is that it’s set during World War II and mixes musical comedy with a serious theme: the German blitz on England during World War II. The storyline focuses on a theater in London vowing never to close or end a performance during the Blitz. This plot makes the film interesting and gives it weight. In the film, the actors even decide to make a dormitory out of the theater, sleeping in dressing rooms and making a little canteen. Rita Hayworth’s romance with Lee Bowman is more of a subplot to this than the main focus. (SLIGHT SPOILER) “Tonight and Every Night” also takes very sad and serious turn at the end that leaves me in tears every time. Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz said 1945 audiences were unprepared and shocked by an ending that wasn’t happy. Most musicals from the dawn of sound to the 1950s didn’t leave the audience sad. Out of the pre-1959 musicals I have seen, this is the only one that leaves me sad.

Mankiewicz also said that this film originally wasn’t intended to be a musical and was going to star Ida Lupino and Merle Oberon. While I can picture how this film would have played out, I am happy that it ended up being a musical — even if Rita Hayworth was dubbed.

While singing may not have been a strong suit of Hayworth’s, her dancing is superb. I often find that Hayworth’s dancing skills are overlooked, as she’s often remembered for film noirs like “The Lady from Shanghai” or “Gilda.” However, I would list her in the top 10 best dancers in Hollywood of the classic era. Her best dance numbers in this film are “You Excite Me” and “What Does an English Girl Think of a Yank?”

Another fantastic dancer in this film is Marc Platt. Not a well-known name, Platt was also one of the brothers in “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” and danced in “Oklahoma.” This seems to be one of the few films that he had a speaking role in. Most notably in this film, Platt auditions for Florence Bates dancing to classical, opera, boogie-woogie and a Hitler speech.

Also in the film is Janet Blair who is beautiful to look at and has a lovely singing voice. She and Rita Hayworth compliment each other well on-screen.

“Tonight and Every Night” will maybe make you laugh and smile, and maybe even cry, but it’s a fast-moving Technicolor marvel that you shouldn’t miss.

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Musical Monday: “Paddy O’Day” (1935) *St. Patrick’s Day Edition*

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.

paddy o'dayThis week’s musical:
Paddy O’Day” –Musical #480

Studio:
20th Century Fox

Director:
Lewis Seiler

Starring:
Jane Withers, Jane Darwell, Pinky Tomlin, Rita Hayworth (as Rita Casino), Russell Simpson, Vera Lewis, Louise Carter

Plot:
Paddy O’Day (Withers) is an Irish orphan who travels from Ireland to the United States to live with her mother. When she arrives, she learns that her mother is dead. With the help of some friends Paddy make along the way, she is able to stay in the United States and not return to Ireland.

Trivia:
-This is one of four films Jane Withers made in 1935. The others were “The Farmer Takes a Wife,” “Ginger” and “This is the Life.”
-Rita Hayworth’s sixth film role. Rita is credited as Rita Cansino. She changed her last name to “Hayworth” the next year.
-This is Rita Hayworth’s firs prominent film role.
-Jane Withers and Rita Hayworth became friends while making this movie. Withers gave the eulogy at Hayworth’s funeral in 1987.
-Judy Garland was considered for a performance in this film, according to Judy: A Legendary Film Career by John Fricke

Rita Hayworth and Jane Withers in "Paddy O'Day" (1935)

Rita Hayworth and Jane Withers in “Paddy O’Day” (1935)

Highlights:
-Young Rita Hayworth dancing at the very beginning of the film.

Notable Songs:
-Keep the Twinkle in Your Eye sung by Jane Withers (three times)
-Changing My Ambitions sung by Pinky Tomlin
-I Like a Balalaika sung by Jane Withers

Pinky Tomlin, Jane Withers and Rita Hayworth in "Paddy O'Day" (1935)

Pinky Tomlin, Jane Withers and Rita Hayworth in “Paddy O’Day” (1935)

My Review:
Paddy O’Day” is an adorable film and a good example of the type of films child star Jane Withers starred in at Fox. While Shirley Temple made the big budget, glittering A films at Fox, Withers was in the B movies at Fox.
However, she was very popular because she seemed like a regular kid and was more relatable, said TCM Primetime host Robert Osborne.
The only issue in this film is that Withers has a cringe worthy Irish accent. But she’s so adorable that you can look past it. I also wish Jane Darwell had a larger role.
It’s also fun to see 16-year-old Rita Hayworth dancing in the movie, looking young, fresh and not yet glamorized.
One interesting note: Jane Withers didn’t have a major crying scene. This is unusual for a 1930s child star. Most child stars boasted their crying talents.
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day with this Irish themed, fun film!

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Musical Monday: “You’ll Never Get Rich” (1941)

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.

richposterThis week’s musical:
You’ll Never Get Rich” (1941) –Musical #48

Studio:
Columbia Pictures

Director:
Sidney Lanfield

Starring:
Fred Astaire, Rita Hayworth, Robert Benchley, Osa Massen, John Hubbard, Frieda Inescourt, Guin ‘Big Boy’ Williams

Plot:
Broadway choreographer Robert Curtis (Fred Astaire) gets mixed up in the philandering of producer Martin Cortland (Benchley). Cortland buys a bracelet for a pretty chorus girl Shelia Winthrop (Hayworth) but Cortland’s wife (Frieda Inescourt) find the bracelet after Shelia refuses it. Robert gets mixed up in Courtland’s explanations to his wife, and is able to escape the confusion when he is drafted into the Army.

Trivia:
-Rita Hayworth’s first starring role in a large budget film for Columbia Pictures. It was successful at the box office and turned Hayworth into a star.
-During the filming of this movie, the famous LIFE photo of Rita Hayworth in a negligee on a bed was published, making her even more famous along with this movie.
-Nominated for two Academy Awards: Best Music, Original Score by Cole Porter for the song “Since I Kissed My Baby Goodbye.” The second was for Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture by Morris Stoloff.

Robert Benchley tries to woo Rita Hayworth with a bracelet in "You'll Never Get Rich"

Robert Benchley tries to woo Rita Hayworth with a bracelet in “You’ll Never Get Rich”

-Fred Astaire appeared in two pictures with Hayworth. This film and “You Were Never Lovelier.” Though he liked dancing with Hayworth, he didn’t want to do any more pictures with her. He wanted to get away from being associated as a team with any particular actress, such as Ginger Rogers, according to “Encyclopedia of American Cinema.”
-Astaire said Hayworth danced with “trained perfection and individuality,” according to his autobiography “Steps in Time: An Autobiography.”
-The film had a working title of “He’s My Uncle,” according to “The Complete Lyrics Of Cole Porter.”

The Stars on the Film:
Rita Hayworth on the film:
-“The brass at Columbia had forgotten the fact that I was a dancer, until Fred Astaire, who knew my background, reminded them,” Rita Hayworth is quoted in the book “Hollywood Gold: Films of the Forties and Fifties” by John Howard Reid. “When Fred came to Columbia to make ‘You’ll Never Get Rich,’ they asked who they wanted as a dancing partner. Fred asked for me! That surprised me, but Fred knew what he was about. He knew my work. The film was a huge success and as a result, I was loaned out to Fox for ‘My Gal Sal.'”

Fred Astaire on the film:
Rita danced with trained perfection and individuality. Of course, she knew through experience what the dancing business was all about,” Fred Astaire is quoted in the book “Hollywood Gold: Films of the Forties and Fifties” by John Howard Reid. “That was apparent when I started working with her. I enjoyed making both ‘You’ll Never Get Rich’ and ‘You Were Never Lovelier‘ because of Rita.”

“She’s a natural. She’s constantly surprising me. Nothing is too difficult for her. She watches, goes up, practices up and the next day she has it perfect,” in the Oct. 1941, “Born to Dance-Together” in Movie Stars Parade.

Highlights:
-The film begins with Robert Benchley riding in a vehicle. He tells the chauffeur to slow down and we see the credits in the form of billboards along the road.
-The first musical number is an interesting dance number that mixes modern dance and tap dancing together.

-Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth’s duet tap dance at the beginning of the film when Astaire is showing her how to do a dance in the show. The number show’s off just how good a dancer Hayworth is.

-Popular 1940s singer Martha Tilton shows up at the end as a specialty performance for the “Wedding Cake Walk” number.

Singer Martha Tilton makes an appearance singing "The Wedding Cake Walk."  (Comet Over Hollywood/Screen Cap by Jessica Pickens)

Singer Martha Tilton makes an appearance singing “The Wedding Cake Walk.” (Comet Over Hollywood/Screen Cap by Jessica Pickens)

Notable Songs:
-Shootin’ the Works for Uncle Sam sung by Fred Astaire
-The Wedding Cake Walk sung by Martha Tilton

My Review:
The biggest point of interest with “You’ll Never Get Rich” is this is the film that made Rita Hayworth a star and showed Fred Astaire could have other dancing partners besides Ginger Rogers.
While Fred Astaire sings a few songs and we hear two songs from the Four Tones group, this musical seems to focus more on dancing. It’s a vehicle for Rita Hayworth, showing off how good of a dancer she is, so she isn’t dubbed like she is in musicals in the future.
The plot is a bit zany and runs on miscommunication jokes, however it’s a fairly cute and entertaining film. The thing that stands out the most are the excellent dancing numbers with Rita Hayworth and Fred Astaire.

Rita Hayworth and Fred Astaire dancing in the "So Near and Yet So Far" number.

Rita Hayworth and Fred Astaire dancing in the “So Near and Yet So Far” number.

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Classic Christmas Addiction

Part of why I love Christmas is getting to watch my favorite classic holiday films such as “Christmas in Connecticut”, “White Christmas” and “Remember the Night.”

But I also love looking at Christmas related photos with classic actors and actresses.

Every day since December 1, I’ve been posting a Christmas related photo on Comet Over Hollywood’s Facebook Page, and searching for the day’s photo can be an addicting task.

Even long after I find the photo of the day, I keep browsing-marveling at the ridiculousness of vintage Christmas photos.

I’ve found these classic photos can be divided into categories. Here are some examples:

Glamour: These photos show actors looking beautiful and wealthy at their homes during Christmas.

gina

Gina Lollabrigida looking glamorous in her Christmas tree

Copy of Carole Lombard

Carole Lombard

glam paulette goddard

Paulette Goddard

glam jean harlow1

Jean Harlow

glam Anite Page

Anita Page in 1932

glam christmas jennifer jones

Jennifer Jones

Adorable and cute: These involve child actors or actresses looking sweet and angelic. 

cute jackie cooper

Jackie Cooper

Bacall And Bogart

The Bogart: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall and their son Stephen.

cute leslie

Joan Leslie

cute keatons

Buster Keaton and Natalie Talmadge with Junior and Bob

cute our gang

The children of Our Gang

cuteNatalie Wood

Little Natalie Wood

cute Shirley Temple

Shirley Temple in 1935

cute Priscilla Lane

Priscilla Lane

rita hayworth

Rita Hayworth

Ridiculous or funny: Photos that try way to hard to make a photo Christmasy or make it a sexy Christmas photo.

Dorothy Jordan and Gwenn Lee, I don't even understand what's happening.

Dorothy Jordan and Gwenn Lee, I don’t even understand what’s happening.

Joan Crawford

Joan Crawford flirting with Santa in 1932

Janet Leigh

Janet Leigh with a Christmas tree hat

Esther Williams

Esther Williams in unreasonable winter clothing

funny Maureen Osullivan

Maureen O’Sullivan…..dressed as a choir boy.

funny Margaret Obrien

Margaret O’Brien…wrapped as a package?

funny Clifton Webb

Clifton Webb as the most unlikely Santa Claus

Visit Comet for more holiday fun this month!

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Actress Beauty Tip #24: Rita Hayworth olive oil hair rinse

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

This post is  part Day 8 TCM Summer Under the Stars Blogathon for Rita Hayworth Day on TCM. 

Rita Hayworth in the 1940s

Rita Hayworth is best known for her beautiful, flowing red hair.  The love goddess was one of the most beautiful actresses of the 1940s and 1950s and caused an outrage when she cut her long hair short and dyed it blond for “Lady from Shanghai.” Her hair cut was part of the reason the movie failed in the box offices.

I’ve always wanted to look more like Rita Hayworth, who is one of my favorite actresses, but I didn’t go as far as dying my hair from blond to auburn. Instead, tried something that kept Hayworth’s locks looking lush.

Hayworth used to condition her hair with oil after shampooing for shine and softness, according to Glamour magazine.

As someone with oily hair, I balked at this beauty tip. But tried it anyways.

This is what I did, as instructed by Glamour:

WARNING: This will leave your shower slippery due to the olive oil, so make sure to use soap to clean your shower afterwords. I’ll admit, I almost fell a few times.

1. I shampooed my hair (shampoo of choice-Drama Clean by Herbal Essences) and rinsed.
2. Poured a large amount of olive oil in my hand and worked it through my hair.
3. Wrapped my wet hair in a towel with the olive oil in it, and let it sit for 15 minutes.
4. Rinsed my hair with hot water. Then used a small amount of shampoo to wash out the oil.
5. Poured lemon juice over my hair to cleanse my hair of the remainder oil out. Rinse.
6. Dried hair with hair dryer.

At the end of it all, my hair felt a little bit oily, but not as much as expected. It ended up feeling very soft and flowy. I tested the beauty tip in the evening and washed my hair again this morning. I still felt like I could see a difference in softness after being washed again.

To review:  While reviewing actress beauty tips I’ve rinsed my hair with champagne, taken a milk bath and exfoliated with sugar, but none of that bothered me as much as putting olive oil in my hair. Though it left my hair soft and silky, it was too much of a mess to actually use in my daily life. I also had planned on this to be a two-part beauty tip, ending with a Rita Hayworth hair style tutorial. However, I was concerned the lemon juice left my hair too dry and didn’t want to risk using a curling iron.

Make sure to read out other posts on Rita Hayworth during the TCM Summer Under the Stars blogathon at http://scribehardonfilm.wordpress.com/ and http://sittinonabackyardfence.com/ for the month long classic film celebration!

Stop by back in September for another classic actress beauty tip.

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