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Happy Birthday to Classic Movie Legend, George Sanders, born today, July 3, in 1906!

The sophisticated and quite often ‘villainous’ George Sanders…

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George Sanders as Addison DeWitt in All About Eve directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz in 1950George Sanders in his Oscar winning role for Best Supporting Actor as the acerbic theater critic, Addison DeWitt, in All About Eve (directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz 1950).

“I am Addison DeWitt. I am nobody’s fool, least of all yours.”
– George Sanders as Addison DeWitt

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George Sanders, Joan Fontaine and Judith Anderson in Rebecca directed by Alfred Hitchcock 1940George Sanders as the despicable Jack Favell in Rebecca (directed by Alfred Hitchcock 1940) pictured above with Joan Fontaine as Mrs. de Winter and Judith Anderson as Mrs. Danvers.

“You know, old boy, I have a strong feeling… that before the day is out, somebody’s going to make use of that… rather expressive, though somewhat old-fashioned term ‘foul play’.” -George Sanders as Jack Favell

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George Sanders in The Black Swan directed by Henry King 1942George Sanders as the blaggard pirate, Captain Leech, in The Black Swan (directed by Henry King, 1942).

“You’re under my cannon and I can blast you out of the water with a wink.”
– George Sanders as Captain Leech in The Black Swan

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Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

 

 

 

 

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Elaine Stritch

Prominent Roles

The Scarlet Hour (1956) as Phyllis Rycker
Three Violent People (1956) as Ruby Lasalle
A Farewell to Arms (1957) as Helen Ferguson
The Perfect Furlough (1958) as Liz Baker
Providence (1977) as Helen Wiener
Two’s Company (1975-1979) as Dorothy McNab
September (1987) as Diane
The Cosby Show (1989-1990) as Mrs. McGee
An Inconvenient Woman (1991) as Rose
Law & Order (1992/1997) as Lanie Stieglitz
Small Time Crooks (2000) as Chi Chi Potter
3rd Rock from the Sun (1997/2001) as Martha Albright
Monster-in-Law (2005) as Gertrude
30 Rock (2007-1012) as Colleen Donaghy
ParaNorman (2012) as Grandma

Josh Kaye for Classic Movie Hub

 

Happy Birthday to Classic Movie Legend, William Wyler, born today, July 1, in 1902!

While in college, I read an essay called William Wyler, The Jansenist of Mise en Scene, by famed French film theorist Andre Bazin. And I must say, even though I was a fan of Wyler before, I realized I did not credit him enough as one of greatest and surprisingly unique directors.

In the essay, Bazin paints Wyler as a paradox in the world of classic film directors. Unlike his contemporaries such as John Ford or Alfred Hitchcock, his films are devoid of any aesthetic or thematic uniformity, while his story telling style differs from project to project. It is this very lack of consistent style, however, that Bazin argues creates the cinematic purity of a Wyler film. You see, rather than taking the liberty of infusing his own directing flare on the films he directed, like many of the Classic greats, he objectively looked towards the script’s source material to draw directing inspiration. By not limiting himself to what he found comfortable or even perhaps interesting, Wyler was able to improve on his craft on a film to film basis. To imitate his own past techniques would be to abandon the precise technique necessary to create an aesthetic and tone that fits the source material. By never imitating himself, Wyler’s strength as filmmaker came from his ability to transpose the style of his source material to film in a purely cinematic manner. This continuously developing form without continuity, this “style without style,” as Bazin calls it, is the very essence Wyler as a film making paradox.

So, on his birthday, let us celebrate this subtle but versatile director by looking at three films that remain true to their source material.

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Bette Davis as Regina Giddens in The Little Foxes (1941, William Wyler director)

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Dana Andrews, the best years of our lives, Classic Movie Acress, William WylerDana Andrews and Teresa Wright in The Best Years of Our Lives (1947, William Wyler director)

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Gregory Peck, Roman Holiady. Classic Movie Actor, William WylerAudrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday (1953, William Wyler director)

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Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub

 

Happy Birthday to Classic Movie Legend, Charles Laughton, born today, July 1, in 1899!

I like to think of Charles Laughton as somewhat of a film and theatre Renaissance man. Acting, he did that. Directing, he did that, too. Producing, on his list of skill sets. Yes, Laughton was certainly a multi-talented and multi-dimensional man. And his ability to switch from theatre to film, film to television and then circle right back to theatre also makes me believe he was the rare breed of human who can keep up with the times without feeling the need to sacrifice the past. So, let us celebrate this Renaissance man: the actor, the director, and the TV host.

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Charles Laughton as the tortured Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939, William Dieterle director)

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Charles Laughton, Night of the Hunter, Classic Movie Director, Charles Laughton

Charles Laughton directing Robert Mitchum in The Night of the Hunter. (1955, Charles Laughton director)

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Charles Laughton as the substitute host for The Ed Sullivan show. Did you know he was the first person to introduce Elvis on the show? Because I know I didn’t until I started doing research for this article.

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Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub

Happy Birthday to Classic Movie Legend, Olivia de Havilland, born today, July 1 in 1916!

One of the more depressing things about this job, well, really the only depressing thing about this job is the fact that almost everyone I write about is dead. A bit of a downer, I know. So, every once in a while when I’m silently lamenting to myself about how I’ll never have the chance to meet Billy Wilder or never see Katharine Hepburn, I like to think about Olivia de Havilland. At 96 years-old today, she is alive, kicking, and even receiving France’s most prestigious accolade, the Légion d’honneur. Presented to her by former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, no less. So, let’s honor this living legend by celebrating some of her most shining silver screen characters.

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Olivia de Havilland as Melanie Wilkes in Gone with the Wind (1939, Victor Fleming director)

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Olivia de Havilland with frequent co-star Errol Flynn in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1939, Michael Curtiz director)

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Olivia de Havilland in her Oscar winning role The Heiress (1949, William Wyler Director)

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Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub

Happy Birthday to Classic Movie Music Legend, Richard Rodgers, born today, June 28 in 1902!

I must confess, I absolutely love classic music!  And in celebration of one of the most prolific composers in American history, here is a brief pictorial tribute to Richard Rodgers — the first person to win the ‘EGOT’ (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar AND Tony). And, if that isn’t enough, Rodgers also won the 1950 Pulitzer Prize for Drama (for South Pacific, in recognition of music as an integral and important part of the theatrical experience)!

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Pal Joey, Rita Hayworth, Frank Sinatra, Kim Novak, Rodgers and Hart, directed by George Sidney

Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart wrote the songs for Pal Joey starring Frank Sinatra, Rita Hayworth (left) and Kim Novak (right). Iconic songs included “I Could Write a Book,” “The Lady is a Tramp,” “My Funny Valentine” and “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered.”

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The Sound of Music starring Julie Andrews, music by Rodgers and Hammerstein, directed by Robert Wise

Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II: what can I say except that there are SO MANY wonderful musicals written by Rodgers and Hammerstein — among them Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I and Flower Drum Song. My all-time favorite however (ever since I was a little girl) is without-a-doubt, The Sound of Music. Who could ever forget the iconic image of Julie Andrews whirling around in the beautiful Alps singing the title song!

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In this Sept. 6, 1999 file photo, Jerry Lewis sings "You'll Never Walk Alone" as his final song of the 1999 Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon in Los Angeles.  (Rodgers and Hammerstein, Carousel)

Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II: And last but not least — the ultimate tribute — Jerry Lewis singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” (from Carousel) as the final song of his annual Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon. (source: ABCnews.go.com: Sept. 6, 1999 Jerry Lewis sings “You’ll Never Walk Alone” as his final song of the 1999 Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon in Los Angeles.)

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Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

 

Happy Birthday to Classic Movie Legend, Billy Wilder, born today, June 22 in 1906!

The dictionary describes a hero as follows: A person who is admired for courage or noble qualities. And of course, every child has a hero growing up. For some it was Superman, for others it was their parents and for me? Well, for me it was birthday boy, Billy Wilder.

Years ago, when I was a little lass in middle school, I decided I wanted to be in the movie industry. What exactly did I want to do, you ask? Well, I wanted to make movies by writing them. And as an aspiring young screenwriter, it should come as no surprise that my idol became Billy Wilder. It seemed to me, no matter what genre he took on, be it comedy or noir, drama or satire, Wilder knew how to hit every beat, progressing the story along at the perfect pace with the perfect actors to make the perfect movie. Surely the credit belonged to the craft of being a great writer, right? I mean, he writes what goes on the screen. Well, that’s what Wilder thought — that is until he sent his scripts to the directors. One by one, he saw his movies being altered sans his consent or his approval. So, what did he do? He did the most proactive thing he could; he became a director himself, taking complete control over his own ideas.

So, I followed in my idol’s footsteps and decided to become a director. As it turns out, that was the defining moment in my life, thus far. From there I studied film as much as I could, easily watching at least two movies a day. I eventually applied to multiple film schools on the east coast and chose to attend  the Purchase College Film Conservatory AKA the best decision I’ve ever made.  So please, indulge my fan-girl heart as we look at three films directed by my hero, the man who unknowingly impacted the course of my life, Billy Wilder.

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Billy Wilder directs Gloria Swanson in my favorite film Sunset Boulevard (1950)

…..Audrey Hepburn as sabrina in sabrina, classic movie actress, billy wilder

Billy Wilder directs Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, and William Holden in my first Wilder film Sabrina (1954)

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shirley mclaine and jack lemmon. the apartment, classic movie actress, billy wilder

Billy Wilder directs my favorite romance, Jack Lemmon and Shirley McLaine in The Apartment (1960)

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Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub

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