Feature: Guess that Poster 2013

It’s that time of year again: time for a new banner for the website. Can you figure out from which 1932 movie the poster cross section in the header is derived? This is again not an easy one and is cut from a horizontal poster or perhaps lobby card for the flick. As for hints, it features my favorite actor and an actress who was quite famous on the stage as well as screen. Although I found this movie to be a bit strange in its story of love and prostitution to keep one’s husband alive, the poster is quite captivating.

If you have a guess, click “comments” below or fill in the box. I’ll reveal the answer in a week or two and share the full poster for comparison.

For a reminder of past banner challenges, see the 2012 and 2011 versions. For more movie poster-centric posts and quizzes go HERE.

AND THE ANSWER IS… Continue reading

Rage in Heaven

Ring a Ding Ding

Rage in Heaven (1941)

Rage in Heaven (1941)

Rage in Heaven has the distinction of a stellar cast and a clever and enticing plot, but it stops short of being a terrific movie merely by virtue of the time it puts into telling its story. It is not that the film feels rushed by any means, but it could have packed a bigger punch for audience members if it had drawn out the action and put more time into letting the narrative sink in. At around 85 minutes in run time, the picture definitely could have elongated its duration.

The story opens at a French mental asylum where a patient named Ward Andrews –whom we do not see– escapes. He suffers from a personality disorder that makes him emotionally detached and potentially capable of murder. In the next scene, we see one Ward Andrews, played by George Sanders, encounter his childhood and longtime best friend Philip Monrell, played by Robert Montgomery. The two reignite a friendship and Monrell invites his pal to his mother’s English estate where he is returning after some time in Paris, from where Andrews is also returning.

Upon arrival at Mrs. Monrell’s (Lucile Watson) home, Philip first encounters is mother’s new companion/secretary Stella Bergen, played by Ingrid Bergman. He is immediately captivated by her. The scene also alludes that Mrs. Monrell is anything but well. She convinces her son that he must finally take a role in the family-owned steel mill.

During the brief time Ward spends at the Monrell home, Stella becomes quite enthralled by him but declines to indicate any willingness to enter a relationship. When Ward leaves, followed by Mrs. Monrell’s retreat to a better climate, Philip works to convince Stella to marry him.

The couple are quite happy at first, but Philip becomes apparently upset by any creature that siphons away any affection Stella could instead shower upon him. He kills a kitten given to her by Ward, making it look like an accident but flying into a rage at the slightest suggestion by household staff that the circumstances seem odd.

At some point during the story it becomes plain that Philip was in fact the man in the French asylum, who assumed his friend’s name while there. His dispassionate personality and growing jealousy about his wife’s relationships –particularly her fondness for Ward– play out to an increasingly frightening degree. Philip invites Ward to visit and offers him a job as his chief engineer at the steel mill, only to attempt to kill him. The danger escalates for Ward and Stella and the plot takes an unexpected turn that puts Ward on death row.

Rage in Heaven does a great job of gradually revealing Philip’s insanity. What it does not do is draw out the suspense and drama associated with the twist in plot, which I am loathe to discuss here and spoil for those unfamiliar with the story. Suffice it to say, the movie would have been an excellent one if the last quarter of the film had been elongated.

Montgomery does a fantastic job; however, for those unfamiliar with his work, he might come off as a boring actor. Montgomery –who made a plethora of movies in the roll of wealthy playboy– is certainly cast against type here and pulls off his role by playing with a completely flat personality. The upbeat and sometimes zany performances we usually get out of the man are absent here as he works to play the emotionally bereft psychopath. So to the unknowing viewer, Montgomery’s performance might seem lackluster next to the typically stellar Bergman and Sanders.

At the close of Rage in Heaven, I could not help but think it would make an excellent remake. The story could be translated into modern times; however, there is a certain haste about the end of the story and the attempts to save Ward from his death that would be lost given modern technology. Still, a new version set in the 1940s would make for a delightful rendition, given certain changes to heighten the drama.

2013 CAPA Summer Movie Series (Columbus, OH)

It’s my favorite time of year in central Ohio, or nearly. CAPA, our local arts organizing group, has announced its lineup for the 2013 Summer Movie Series held in Downtown Columbus’ historic Ohio Theatre. For those of you unfamiliar with this seasonal gem, the June 28 through Aug. 25 series features a plethora of classic movies shown in the theater that was originally built as a movie house and is now used for concerts, ballets, etc.

Among this year’s offerings are two Hitchcock movies, which you know delights me. The wonderfully amusing The Trouble with Harry, To Catch a Thief and the Jimmy Stewart rendition of The Man Who Knew Too Much will certainly be on my schedule.

Other prize showings include An American in Paris, Grand Hotel, Citizen Kane, Bonnie and Clyde, The Thin Man, 1974’s The Great Gatsby, and Touch of Evil.

I have been notoriously bad about achieving all the CAPA Summer Movie Attendance goals I have set in years past, and I won’t pretend this year will be any better. I do hope to at least catch the Hitchcock flicks, but I’ll admit The Man Who Knew Too Much won’t be at the top of my list.

Feature: Name that Movie Poster 18

Welcome to the next installment of Name that Movie Poster. Can you guess what movie the poster advertised despite my having concealed its title and key players’ names? If you cannot guess off the bat, tell me the quiz is too hard and I’ll give you a hint. To see if your skills of deduction are correct, submit your answer via the box below (NOT THE COMMENT BOX). Any ideas on this seasonal poster.

For more Name that Poster games and other poster-centric posts go HERE. poster

RBuccicone:

Movies, Silently has posted an absolute gem in the 1910 version of the Wizard of Oz. The movie is complete with dance numbers, intricate sets and fantastic costumes for the animals. It tells the same story we came to love in 1939 but does it all in 13 and a half minutes. You’ve got to see this!

Originally posted on Movies, Silently:

Treasure from the public domain.

Why, yes, there were OZ movies before 1939. Step back in time some 103 years to enjoy the original 1910 version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Everyone talks about creative control nowadays and authors are regularly shocked at the changes Hollywood made to their beloved novels. Oz creator L. Frank Baum took matters into his own hand and commissioned motion pictures that would capture the excitement and fantasy of his Oz novels.

(Ok, technically there was a multimedia presentation in 1908 but this is the first true Oz movie.)

Enjoy!

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Feature: Caught in the ‘Tender Trap’

TCM will be playing one of my favorite Sinatra movies this weekend, The Tender Trap. The story is a cute comedy about perpetual bachelor Sinatra and the young woman who ensnares him for domestic life –Debbie Reynolds. The song “The Tender Trap” refers to “love” being the tender trap, but the movie is about marriage being that fate. For that reason I thought the movie a fitting title to use for part of the engagement photos Ryan and I had done last August at an old movie theater in Bexley, Ohio. I convinced the staff to change the marquis for us and below is the result. I couldn’t help but share it!

We’re getting married this October and are planning several Art Deco and movie elements to the festivities, which I’m sure you will appreciate, so I might be sharing more details in the future. Tender TrapPhoto by Chantal Stone Photography

Feature: Name that Movie Poster 17

Welcome to the next installment of Name that Movie Poster. Can you guess what movie the poster advertised despite my having concealed its title and key players’ names? If you cannot guess off the bat, tell me the quiz is too hard and I’ll give you a hint. To see if your skills of deduction are correct, submit your answer via the box below (NOT THE COMMENT BOX). Here’s another holiday themed poster for your Xmas enjoyment.

For more Name that Poster games and other poster-centric posts go HERE.poster

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