Oct 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

I'm too old for trick-or-treating, unfortunately (note that I didn't say 'too mature'), but I could settle in for a Hitchcock movie marathon this evening. Have a safe and happy Halloween, and remember - no throwing flour a la Tootie Smith!

*photo courtesy of Legs - A Tribute to Cyd Charisse

Oct 23, 2006

Fred and Ginger: The Complete Collection

Amazon loves the classic movie fan.

After seeing the stunning Astaire & Rogers Ultimate Collector's Edition, set for an October 24th release, I know it can't be otherwise - this set is a classic movie lover's dream. Glossy, remastered, and all-inclusive, all ten of the screen team's films are here, from their earliest pairing in 1933's Flying Down to Rio to their unlikely collaboration in The Barkleys of Broadway nearly twenty years later. The collection is stuffed with extras, too: miniature photo cards, reproductions of selected original pressbooks for the films, and even a cd of Fred and Ginger's finest and best-loved film tunes. As if this wasn't enough, the Astaire Rogers Ultimate Collection is priced at just slightly more than the boxed sets containing only five of their movies, at a cool 69.99 - perfect for my Christmas list, and yours, too.
You know you want it.

The Astaire Rogers Ultimate Collection is available for pre-order through Amazon.com through October 24, 2006, upon which date it will be officially released. The set will be available in most retail outlets like Best Buy and Barnes & Noble, but the 69.99 price is not guaranteed in these stores, and there's no beating Amazon's free shipping on the item, anyway.
Want to own this stunning set, but you already have the first volume of the 2005-released Fred and Ginger dvds? Amazon can remedy that, too. Simply order the A&R Partial Ultimate Collection, which includes everything except for the five discs you already own. Confusing, yes - but Warner Home Video still deserves kudos for the release of these beloved films in such a stunning set.

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Oct 16, 2006

A Study in Studiousness

I just wanted to apologoize to everyone who visits the site, be you a regular poster or just sailing in out of curiosity, for my lack of new posts in recent months. A study in studiousness - truly, that's what I've been these past eight weeks. School is hectic as ever, and when added to juggling two jobs and a social life, my schedule is beyond consuming, leaving precious little time to indulge in my favorite classic movies (and even less time to devote to writing up posts that I feel are up-to-par). I haven't given up squeezing in an occasional late-night gem on TCM though - a.m. classes be damned!

Not until this week have I felt that I've finally rearranged my prioritites and obligations enough to allow for more time viewing, researching and writing about classic film. Having said that, I hope you do return here often to share your thoughts, comment on my posts, and send me suggestions and questions! I truly enjoy feedback and appreciate you taking the time to not only visit my page, but to contact me. Thanks again and enjoy - Hillary

Cyd Charisse is the Epitome of Perfection!

Watching The Harvey Girls last night - a typically spectacular Freed-Unit musical with Judy Garland toting pistols and belting out memorable numbers on trains and in saloons (God, I want everything this woman ever sang, spoke or acted) - I couldn't help but notice her raven-haired costar, one stunning Miss Cyd Charisse. Though her face was almost too young to be easily recognizable to fans of her later work (Singin' in the Rain and The Band Wagon, both early '50's musicals, are prime and oft-cited examples of Charisse's incomparable talent), her demeanor was undeniably that of a tried-and-true star - and there is simply no way of not noticing an actress like her.

Like her fellow supporting players Virginia O'Brien and the usually fail-safe Marjorie Main, Charisse was a memorable facet of the movie, playing the sweet, genteel dreamer among the gaggle of young women who have settled in the late-1800's west to open the newest branch of a pioneering restaurant chain. If after the first half of the film you still can't seem to find her amongst all the other Harvey Girls (her elegant dark coloring stands out against the numerous brownettes flooding the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe), then her participation in the hauntingly pretty "It's A Great, Big World" sequence will put to rest any qualms regarding who, exactly, Cyd Charisse is.

Though unlikely that she could carry a film on her own, as her striking beauty and incomparable dancing skills are arguably her greatest assets in Hollywood (as well as being her trademark), she nonetheless brands the films she stars in with a distinctly feminine elegance that seems a natural consequence of her presence. Her powerful dance sequences showcase her impressive physical prowess well into the 1960's, and her glitzy gowns and satin accessories do nothing if not accentuate her powerfully delicate body...she was sexy, yet she never portrayed a blatantly sexual character (hellooo, Ava Gardner). Charisse's dance is never compromised for the sake of the glittery musical; rather, it is glorified and made to shine, which is owed to Cyd herself as much as her silks, sequins, and saucy jazz accompanist.

Alright, enough of my elementary musings on dance theory. All I have to say is, Cyd Charisse is a truly talented performer who brought her raw skill and beauty to the silver screen, a pioneering woman in a sect of entertainmen dominated by men. There will only ever be one Cyd Charisse.

A million miles I have danced, or more/In hopes Prince Charming would cross the floor/I can't understand it, I've waltzed and I've whirled/Alas and alack...it's a great, big world... - lyrics from "It's A Great, Big World" off The Harvey Girls Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Update 10/16: The Harvey Girls will be shown today on Turner Classic Movies as part of their Angela Lansbury birthday tribute. It's airing 6:15 PM Eastern Time - don't miss it!