Monday, August 27, 2012

We are a felt loving family! aka finger puppets and other felt-like goodness!

 ^These people have nothing to do with felt or actually this post.

This post is purely for shameless self-promotion. I hope that's okay. I merely wanted to inform all who were anxiously awaiting its return that my finger puppet shop is back in business, under a new name!

You can now fulfill all your classic finger puppet dreams over at the phantom asthmatic. Currently listed are James Dean, Michael Caine, and How to Steal a Million Audrey. There will be more. Believe me.

I also wanted to take this time to mention my sister Sarah's Etsy, feltpdxlove. It was her shop that reminded me of my long-lost love of felt and its brilliance. Honestly, she takes felt and turns it into art. Her felt family portraits are so adorable that is almost hurts.

^This is my sis and her husband in felt form.

Anyway, all this clearly just means that my other sister needs to jump on the felt train. Train's leaving the station, Shannon! Next stop felted cheese knife covers!

-Millie

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Tyrone Power Day: Why You Should Be Watching Him + DVD GIVEAWAY!


Well, well, well. I personally do not have TCM, but my sources tell me that today is indeed Tyrone Power day on TCM. I only know this because Kate has been annoyingly counting off the days until this glorious day.*

*I may or may not be lying.

The schedule has an interesting mix. It relies perhaps a bit too heavily on '50s films -- AND THERE'S NO JAMIE-BOY IN SIGHT -- but every Ty is still awesomely perfect.

There are many reasons why you should be watching today. Tyrone Power is truly an underrated actor -- during his life and even more so today. He also even rather underestimated himself.

He longed (and fought) for roles with gravitas, and he excelled in those that he was given (my personal favorite of those would have to be Nightmare Alley aka Mind-Searing Brilliance). But, I don't know if he realized just how good he was in the less-obviously-weighty-drama roles.

He started out as sort of the romantic lead to popular female co-stars and quickly became a swashbuckling, fencing hero (one of the best fencers in Hollywood, according to Basil Rathbone), only to also play rollicking war heroes and misunderstood outlaws and to be the victim of a crazy amount of movie natural disasters. And that was just in the first few years of his profession.

He filled a screen, but never overtook it. He could play characters that were larger than life (Zorro, Jesse James), but make them actual characters. He could project himself into any role, but still make the performance unique and different.

And on top of this, he played an incredible amount of actual jerks -- but with so much charm that one cannot help but LOVE HIM FOREVER.

So, yes. These are reasons why you should be watching Tyrone Power: he was awesome, brilliant, talented, hilarious, cool, and impossibly beautiful (just try watching a movie with him and Gene Tierney and NOT gasp at the sheer gorgeousness of the two).


Suffice to say, I'm a fan.

And, I'm not even sad about not having TCM today -- because I already have far too many Ty films on DVD. I'm thinking a marathon is in order. {Starting with The Black Swan. And the perfection of Jamie-boy.}

And, honestly, I think EVERYONE should have Ty dvds on hand so they don't have to wait for TCM -- they can watch him any time of the day or night. (Just don't watch them alone in your room at 3am while drinking ice tea and eating pretzels. Apparently, that's "sad" or "pathetic" or something. Not that I would know.)

With that in mind, I am going to give away a copy of Jesse James. It's brand-new, still in its lovely plastic wrap. Jesse James is honestly rather strange. But, also awesome. Ty and Henry Fonda play the James brothers with matching mustaches.


This is a classic Ty role, because you will completely find yourself believing in the goodness and heroism of poor, misunderstood Jesse James. You will also hate Randolph Scott with an undying passion, but that's normal.

GIVEAWAY INSTRUCTIONS:

To enter to win this DVD, all you have to do is leave a comment telling me why Kate should love Tyrone Power (aka why is Tyrone Power awesome). If you have never seen Ty in anything (you poor soul), let me know why you want to now see him. Leaving a comment that says "his face" is perfectly acceptable.

It would be lovely if you were following me, but not necessary. 

The contest will be open until September 25th when the winner will be chosen at random.

U.S. entries only please, I'm just a poor student!

Now that that's all done, you should scurry off and watch Ty on TCM!

-Millie

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Happy 87th Birthday, Honor Blackman!


I don't know what exactly to say about this awesome human being, but honestly, she is perfect.

An actress, an activist, and a serious judo expert -- she also never ages.


The first female action hero on television, she also plays the best evil villains.


She's cooler than everyone else who has ever been cool -- and she can beat up everyone else too.


I honestly have "learn judo" on my list of life goals because of her.

And did I mention that she never ages?


photo was taken last year at an Avengers reunion.

Happy 87th Birthday, lovely lady! I hope you have many more!

-Millie

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Desert Sands (1955) and um a bunch of other movies that kinda star the same person

The Millie needs help. I'm dying over here.

Since we last spoke, I've watched four more Ralph Meeker films. THAT'S A PROBLEM. (Honestly, I've also been extremely and shockingly productive at life since we last spoke, so that's actually good.)

I clearly have a scarily addictive and obsessive nature, which means there are two things to be glad of in this situation. One, I have never taken drugs. And two, I am stalking a dead person instead of one who can call the police on me.


Anyway, the four films in question are The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown (1957), Jeopardy (1953), Something Wild (1961), and the aforementioned Desert Sands.

There were all interesting in there way, I suppose. TFPN was perfectly lovely because it was Jane Russell + Ralph Meeker + Keenan Wynn (Seriously, I was so excited when I saw he was in it. He is one of my favorites). It was cool because Jane often gets stuck with such BORING actors, it was nice to see her playing with a couple of actors who don't cause one to fall asleep half-way through their first line.


Then came Jeopardy. This was staunchly recommended to me by the lovely author of Sidewalk Crossings -- and because she is the true expert on everything Ralph Meeker {her first words after I mentioned on the blog that I saw Kiss Me Deadly: "Ooohhhhhh!!!! Wasn't it awesome? Isn't he amazing? And he's mine, all mine! mwah-hah-hah!"}, I, of course, promptly found it on YouTube.

Brilliant. I adore The Stanwyck more than almost anyone else (including some of my relatives), and in this she was of course awesome. Although, REALLY, Barry Sullivan? Kate understands. Barry Sullivan is so boring -- it's DREADFUL. This movie was actually the most animated I've ever seen him and he was trapped under a log the whole time. 

Honestly, I know that Mr. Meeker was evil and all -- but I was still kinda hoping that Barry and THAT SERIOUSLY ANNOYING CHILD OF HIS would both, um, "accidentally" not get saved.


"FREEDOM!"

Next was Something Wild, but I took no screenshots. It was not a screenshot taking kind of movie. I mean, it was brilliantly done -- but also extremely disturbing. I shall probably not be viewing it again.



Finally, I just finished Desert Sands. And that is mainly what I intended to write about, BECAUSE THIS MOVIE IS HILARIOUSLY AWFUL. And when I say hilariously awful, I mean it. I was chortling maniacally out loud by the ten-minute mark. 


^This isn't the ten-minute mark, nor is it something to chortle at. I actually don't know why I'm posting this.

And the chortling and cackling only got louder and louder as the film progressed.

Seriously. The movie was terrible.

John Carradine played an evil Arab who sounded...well, EXACTLY, like John Carradine.

And then there was a battle and the battle was over in three minutes. But, not before Ralph got shell-shocked unconscious.

And well there was the "exotic" sister of the evil chief and she was hell-bent on killing EVERYONE...personally. And then she got a glimpse of Ralph Meeker...

 ^Legitimately the first glimpse. She sort of "fell" off her horse or something.

...one thing led to another, and by the end of the movie she had betrayed her entire people, allowed many of her loyal followers to be killed, and was personally responsible for the death of her uncle and the older brother who had raised her.

^This is her being led away with like the five remaining members of her tribe. Note that her brother and uncle had both been killed within the hour and that all around her are the gruesomely dead bodies of her tribe members. She is smiling at Ralph Meeker.

In the end, I'm not sure if we were supposed to think that Americans/white people in general are superior to everyone else or that Ralph Meeker has a super-power -- and it's his face.


I'm kinda thinking it's the latter.

^This is Mr. Meeker smiling back at the girl as she was being led away, no doubt chortling to himself.

I actually think my favorite part of the movie was the immensely shocked expression on the face of the evil chief when his brilliant idea to leave all of his horses and all the French Foreign Legion prisoners unattended in shed backfired when they, um, rode the horses out of the shed. (I didn't screencap it because you really need to see it for yourself.)

Anyway, thus ends the third day of Meeker obsession.

Don't worry though, I shant be focusing solely on him. You don't need to run from my blog in droves. Coming up is a Hitchcock project that I'm really excited about (I missed his birthday because I was camping. It was a tragedy), a DVD giveaway (what?! yes.), and the rest of my 19 favorite '60s TV characters (that is one series that I am actually going to finish).


-Millie

Monday, August 20, 2012

Quotables: Ralph Meeker Edition

Jane Russell and Ralph Meeker in The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown (1957)

Kiss Me Deadly (1955): The Millie's new favorite movie ever.


How had I never seen this film? (aka how did my life have meaning?!)

I mean, I've heard of it. It's held in pretty high-regard around the classic film community. I had just never seen it. I picked it up from the library the other day because there was nothing else around and the cover was so random looking.

It was absolute perfection. And so was Ralph Meeker's face.

Honestly, I loved it. It was so brilliant and random and fascinating. I mean, there was a stinkin' MacGuffin that DID NOT turn out to be a MacGuffin. WHAT?! (I dub thee a reverse MacGuffin.)

Kiss Me Deadly has this eery quality in which it seems both representative of its time and also completely out of its era. It makes the film absolutely striking and unique.

But, the most wowzie kazam part of the entire very wowzie kazam film was Ralph Meeker's performance as Mike Hammer.


The man is perfect.

{Seriously, why have I never noticed Ralph Meeker before? I've seen him all over the place in supporting roles. And when I'm searching through my classic photos folder, I'm always stumbling over the photo of him that's saved for Deb's guest post on an Alfred Hitchcock Presents he starred in. I actually have always sort of subconsiously paired Deb and Ralph Meeker. Not that I'm creepy or anything.}

His performance was wunderbar. Although my excessive and vocal love for people like Vincent Price may make you think that I prefer over-actors (and I do love them), I so adore understated actors. Subtle actors like Dana Andrews or Joel McCrea have a hard time being appreciated and even Steve McQueen is looked on as a "movie star," instead of a brilliant -- yet quiet -- actor. All this random digression is just to say that Ralph Meeker gave a wonderful, understated performance.

Also, the man was the most cheerfully smiling "hard-boiled" detective since, well, ever. I mean, okay, some times the cheerful smiling was actually kind of evil (like when he was beating up innocent old men for fun), but most of the time he was just smiling for the fun of it.



^Note: I did not take multiple more screenshot examples of him smiling. And they are NOT saved in my computer.

Honestly, half the time it was like he was trying to compete with Dana Andrews in Laura to be the most adorable film noir detective ever. And then the next minute he looked highly amused while crushing an old guy's fingers in a drawer and Dana's achievement was saved.

Anyway, I am quite intrigued and shall be seeking out more of Mr. Meeker (I would have started Googling before the movie was over, but it was so bloody good [literally...heh heh] and I couldn't stop staring at his face the screen.

The other actors were also great and there are tons of recognizable character actors. So many of the performances felt atypical and random -- they fit well into the tone of the movie.

Because, really, nothing was typical about the movie. From the clearly awesome answering machine (I want it) to the fact that Mike Hammer hangs out in a black night club (it seems perfectly natural in the story, but it wasn't exactly a normal '50s movie thing) to the reverse MacGuffin (the sound effects accompanying it are mind-searingly unsettling).

Anyway, I'm pretty sure I'm the last person to see this film, but there is someone out there who has never seen it -- GO WATCH IT NOW. You will not regret your decision.


Well, this review certainly did not live up to the promise of brilliance that was in my brain as I pondered the movie. But, do I care? No. I'm off to watch The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown. Don't ask. Okay, it has Ralph Meeker in it, but that is totally not why I am going watch it.

-Millie

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