Friday, May 25, 2018

Enjoy Your Weekend!

     Display your flag, enjoy your weekend ... most importantly, pause and remember those heroes that gave their all for their country.  

I have a weekend planned of grilling a tri-tip roast, watching baseball and checking out TCM's War Marathon.  They Were Expendable is being shown Saturday.  Bob makes my weekend perfect.  Hope yours is as well.  

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Just a Nice Family Home in Beverly Hills ...

I have read about and seen photos from the November, 1938 "House and Garden Magazine" article on Bob's then new colonial style home for some years.  It was only recently that a light bulb went on in my head and I decided to actually hunt down a copy of the magazine.  Anyway, it is a very nice article with loads of pictures and Elizabeth discussing the interior design.

All of the photos are included below.  There are a few Bob portraits identified as being from this article, but they aren't actually.  I'm guessing MGM sent over their own photographer for the portraits.  

One of the very few family photos ... nifty doggie. 

The other side of the house, the formal front of the home.  Inside the bay window is a breakfast nook.

An inside look of the nook, part of the dining room.  Betty points out that it is Bob's breakfast nook and he eats there by himself.  Hmm..

The article points out that the revolutionary war mural that covers the dining room walls is actually wallpaper.  The mural must have been a great topic for their dinner discussions (or not!)

One side of the living room ... I like the small child's chair back by the piano. 

The other side ... the antique cobbler's bench being used as a coffee table was a house-warming gift from Edward Everett Horton.  (Horton was in three of Bob's movies ... But the Flesh is Weak, Biography of a Bachelor Girl, and Here Comes Mr. Jordan.) 

This library shot is the most-often seen photo from the shoot.  I'm not sure how comfy the couch looks, but at 10 feet it is certainly a long one.  That's Bob way at its end.  I've enlarged that part for you ... the best part ...

This is a reading room off the library, more books, of course.  The bookcase has a dual purpose ...

... cleverly hiding the bar.  The small enclave also leads to the wine cellar.  Betty points out that a bar would not be true to a colonial home ... but a necessity for Hollywood parties!

The master bedroom.  Well, the twin beds are an improvement over the separate bedroom arrangement they had before! 

Another shot of the bedroom.  Bob and Betty had individual dressing rooms.  Betty's included a bathtub and Bob's a shower and a day bed.  (And what am I missing here ... why a daybed in his dressing room?)

The outside of the house that is always shown, including the main entrance door with the rounded arch. 

And the photo that becomes the famous postcard.  Such a nice home and gorgeous setting.

A closer look at the garage ... I think that's Bob 1935 Bentley sports car in the open bay of the garage.  Yeah, nice home.  Nice everything.

And, of course, the pool with pool house.  One can pretend that they're still back east, but the pool is the essential part of a Hollywood estate. 

There is no mention of the servant's quarters ...

Monday, May 21, 2018

Happy Birthday, Mr. Montgomery!

                         Robert Montgomery, b. May 21, 1904

Hope you get to watch at least some of today's marathon!  What better way to celebrate his day ...

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Marathon, Part 2 (One Day To Go!)

And now for the other five movies being shown tomorrow ...

Untamed (1929) receives a 4.6 rating on IMDB.  Ouch.  Granted, the movie is one of those rather awkward transition from silent to sound movies.  The use of titles for scene changes at the beginning is right out of the silents.  Hey, we are still learning about sound films, give us a chance!  If you are a Crawford fan, you will enjoy the beginning.  Joan, as "Bingo", gets to both sing and dance.  It is interesting to see musical numbers being used in the early sound pictures, whether it had anything to do with the rest of the movie or not.  Even Bob has to sing a love song to Bingo.  Too much.

I would suggest going 21 minutes into the movie and watch it from Bob's entrance on, the movie improves greatly.  This is Bob's third movie.  His transition is from stage to the talkies and he still has room for improvement.  But it is simply fun to watch him, the young, very exuberant Bob, still working on his basics, the way he walks, what to do with his hands when standing still.  The boxing scene is great fun, with some attempt of disguising just how skinny and small-framed the young Bob is.  But he can throw a lot of punches very fast!

Three years later, Bob has improved significantly.  In But the Flesh is Weak (1932), he has become the Bob we know so well ... so handsome, elegant and smooth.  The rating is only 5.7, probably so low because of the main plot of Bob and his Dad being gigolos with the quest of Bob marrying  a wealthy woman.  Yes, not exactly politically correct these days, but it was all fun in 1932 having men in the usual role held by women, of looking for a sugar daddy.  The beginning has a great scene of Bob preparing for and taking a bath, do watch that if nothing else.  I have always felt the big weakness of the film was Bob's co-star, Nora Gregor.  She was quite popular in Europe, but did not catch on in Hollywood.

                   Bob and Nora Gregor in But the Flesh is Weak

In Made on Broadway (1933), Bob gets to play a different role.  He is a fast-talking, streetwise fixer, not his usual suave, upper crust self.  He meets his match in Sally Eilers, and the two work to make her into a celebrity.  He begins to fall in love with her, while his wife, Madge Evans, waits patiently to see if he returns to her.  Bob is quite good in the role, interesting to watch.  IMDB's rating is 6.5.  That's fair.

In the same year, Bob made When Ladies Meet.  Based on a very sophisticated and successful play, the movie has simply a great cast; Ann Harding, Myrna Loy, Frank Morgan, Alice Brady along with Bob.  It is a witty play about current day morality.  Myrna is in love with Frank who is married to Ann, while Bob is in love with Myrna and will do anything to get Frank out of the picture.  It sounds strange to have Myrna in love with Frank rather than Bob, but Mr. Morgan makes it believable.  The laughs are provided by Alice Brady, and the "country home" set by Cedric Gibbons is amazingly beautiful.  I seriously want that home for myself.  The movie's rating is 6.9.  The main complaint would be that it could be viewed as being too talky. 

Lastly, Trouble for Two (1936) reflects being made after they began enforcing the Hayes Act.  Bob gets to kiss Roz Russell gingerly and that's about it on the sex front.  It is based on a story by Robert Louis Stevenson, "The Suicide Club", and is primarily a somewhat strange mystery, with Bob and Roz as European royals, and Frank Morgan (again!) as Bob's watch dog.  It is rather an adjustment for me watching Bob with a mustache and a curly wig!  It is also an under use of Ms. Russell, as often happens.

My, but it is getting late (or early, depending on your perspective!)  Hope my rambles make sense.  Remember, Monday is Bob's Day! 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Marathon Discussion Part 1 (2 Days To Go!)

Nine movies being shown on Bob's birthday ... of course they are not all great movies, but they do have Bob in them.  That's reason enough to watch each at least once, perhaps a second time to follow the plot rather than just appreciating Mr. Montgomery. 

I would place four in the category of "must-see" Bobs, and you probably have seen them all.  Night Must Fall was Bob's favorite movie.  He put a lot of effort in the role and his performance is just wonderful.  The final scenes are just superb.  He deserved the Best Actor nomination ... at least.  

                   Rosalind Russell and Danny in Night Must Fall

Mr. & Mrs. Smith is a delight.  Carole Lombard and Bob enjoyed working together and it shows through in their performances. There are a number of classic scenes that do not fail to make you laugh, no matter how many times you have seen them.  The IMDB rating is only 6.5.  I disagree wholeheartedly ... too many Hitchcock fanatics dissing the movie because it is a comedy and not your typical Hitchcock.  That's their loss.

Private Lives was first a play written by Noel Coward, and this is a faithful adaptation.  I'm sure it would have been just fantastic to see Coward and Gertrude Lawrence perform it on the stage, but Bob and Norma Shearer acquit themselves quite well.  An enjoyable movie, the leads ably supported by Una Merkel and Reginald Denny, the discarded spouses.  Did you know Laurence Olivier played Denny's role on the stage?  My fun newly acquired factoid for the day ...

                     Norma Shearer and Elyot in Privates Lives

And Hide-Out is purely a joy to watch.  Such a sweet romantic comedy, with one of the screen's best matches.  Yes, Maureen O'Sullivan was actually as good-looking as Bob.  If they had only made the sequel ...

Let's see, that leaves five movies to discuss.  I watched two of them earlier this evening, which is why I'm approaching my total collapse time already.  And three more to catch up on tomorrow.  Watching five Bob movies ... ah, the hard work I do for the blog!  Until tomorrow ...