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Thursday, 23 December 2010

"Sag mir wo die Blumen Sind" - Marlene Dietrich, 1963


This is one of my favourite, if not my favourite, rendition by Marlene. Just listening to it gives me goosebumps - her voice conveys so much emotion in such an understated way - but seeing her performing it in this video is a whole other thing. She's not acting, and in a way, I don't think she's even performing. She's living the song - living the the angry sadness of the words.

Sag wo die Soldaten sind
Wo sind sie geblieben
Sag wo die Soldaten sind
Was ist gescheh'n
Sag wo die Soldaten sind
Über Gräbern weht der Wind
Wann wird man je verstehn
Wann wird man je verstehn

Sag mir wo die Gräber sind
Wo sind sie geblieben
Sag mir wo die Gräber sind
Was ist gescheh'n
Sag mir wo die Gräber sind
Blumen blüh'n im Sommerwind
Wann wird man je verstehn
Wann wird man je verstehn

Marlene sang two other versions of this song: the original English version (if you're not aware, Sag mir wo die Blumen sind is the German version of the song Where Have All the Flowers Gone?) and a French version, Où vont les fleurs? Whilst her French and English renditions are both quite beautiful, I think that the German version is the version which best captures the meaning of the song.

On tumblr today the wonderful Cara of illustratedstorybook (who is a fount of Marlene knowledge - I've learnt so much from her.) posted a quote from Rosemary Clooney about Marlene.

"Seeing Marlene and hearing Marlene in Las Vegas was always a thrill for me. I saw Marlene on the stage and she just - she was a vision. She really wanted to be perfect in any way that she could - every way that she could. To listen to her sing though, always made me a little sad because there was a wistfulness about Lili Marleen, about Where Have All the Flowers Gone?… Not wistfulness there - there was an anger because of the words and the way that she interpreted it. It was uh, it was quite special."

Firstly, I would have LOVED to have been able to see Marlene perform on stage. We're so lucky that we have quite a lot of recordings of her performances, and that we have her records and films, but what I would give to go back in time and see her there - in front of my very eyes - giving those wonderful, legendary performances! Secondly, Rosemary completely summed up my feelings for Marlene's three versions of Where Have All the Flowers Gone?. There are no other versions of the song which adequately capture it's pain and sorrow, in my opinion. I'd always disregarded the song, but as soon as I heard Marlene's interpretation of it I couldn't get it out of my head. She turned it into a beautiful, painful, and exquisitely profound song. You can hear her heart aching as she almost chokes on the poignancy of the question, Where have all the flowers gone?/long time passing/Where have all the flowers gone?/long time ago.

I could probably go on about this song for hours, but I won't. I'll just leave you to listen to it, and soak it up.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

New Layout!

I've wanted to change my layout for quite a while now but, not being able to design a layout myself and having searched and searched but failed to find a layout to my liking, I'd almost given up. However, today I decided I'd give it another go and I finally found something I like. I thought I'd have a Christmassy/Wintery theme for the time being, and then change it to something more "neutral" after New Year. I'll probably keep the header though, I like seeing my dear Deborah there! Anyway, I hope you like it!

Aaaaand, here's a photo of Arlene being usual her lovely, beautiful self ;D

Photo of the Day
























Deborah and Jean, two of my favourite people!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Movie Blogger Sponsored Survey

Hey there! Over at the LAMB there's a movie survey taking place sponsored by PriceMinister, and if you post about it (note: you have to post about it, not just take the survey) you win a free DVD (you can choose from Inception, La Dolce Vita (the only classic), The Hangover, The Ghost Writer, Lost Highway, and Eclipse).

You can take the survey here: http://www.priceminister.co.uk/events.html

Also, check out PriceMinister's large classic film selection.

:)

It's you, Lili Marleen, it's you, Lili Marleen...






















Recently I've been really loving Marlene Dietrich. I've always liked her, but only in the last few months have I begun to appreciate how talented and absolutely fabulous she really was as a actress/singer/performer.

I've seen just over 10 of her films, and my favourites have to be the Dietrich/Von Sternberg films: Der Blaue Engel (1930), Morocco (1930), Dishonored (1931), Shanghai Express (1932), Blonde Venus (1932), The Scarlet Empress (1934), and The Devil is a Woman (1935). I thought I'd seen them all, but then I realised I'd got confused and two of the films I saw weren't actually Von Sternberg's! I've now seen all of them except The Scarlet Empress, and I have to say that I think they're all magnificent films. The first four are my favourites, and if pressed, I would say that Morocco is probably my favourite of all of them.

I recently watched Mata Hari (1931) and, although I'd heard that it was very similar to Dishonored, I was taken aback at how similar they really were. From what I gather, Paramount rushed into making Dishonored with Marlene starring when they found out that MGM was putting Greta Garbo in MH. Although the MGM film was overall much sleeker and more lavish in it's sets, costumes, and even dialogue, I much preferred Dishonored - it was more real and more engaging, in my opinion. Let me know which is your favourite, and why, if you've seen them both :)

Onto Marlene as a singer. I LOVE her voice. I could listen to it for days. She may not have been the greatest singer in the world, but her unique and beautiful tone is more compelling to listen to than some of the "greatest" West End/Broadway voices. A few years ago my singing teacher said to me that my "... voice is like Marlene Dietrich's.". Like Marlene, my singing voice, as well as being quite low, isn't clear and precise. It's not really husky like Marlene's, but it's... muffled. I think that's the best way to put it! Anyway, I think that's one of the most lovely compliments I've ever received. I was grinning for a long time after she said that ;D

If you've never listened to any of Marlene's songs, I suggest you listen to:

Lili Marleen
La Vie en Rose
Where Have All the Flowers Gone/ Ou Vont Les Fleurs/ Sag Mir Wo Die Blumen Sind
Ich Bin Von Kopf Fuss Auf Liebe Eingestellt
Johnny Wenn Du Geburtstag Hast
Dejéuner Du Matin
Der Trommelmann
Meines Blonde Baby

There are hundreds of her songs to choose from, so you should really give her a chance to make you swoon with her gorgeous voice ;)

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Oh, how I love Christmas films!

I love Christmastime. I love the carols and songs, I love the mince pies and ginger wine, I love the decorations, I love going to Midnight Mass, I love being with family... I love EVERYTHING about it! I also, obviously, love Christmas films and the films that, whilst not of a particularly Christmassy nature, are usually shown on British t.v. during Christmastime. I love the old ones and the new ones, just as long as they're about Christmas I'm happy. Therefore, I thought I'd share with you some of my favourite Christmas films. I wouldn't normally post about post-1970 films, but for this post the majority of the films are modern films.

White Christmas (1954)

























I remember my Mum buying this film in HMV when I was about 8. I also remember thinking it would be a load of rubbish. Oh, how wrong I was!! I adore this film. Everything about it is perfect - the Christmas theme, Rosemary Clooney's voice, Rosemary Clooney's fabulousness in general, Vera-Ellen's dancing, Bing Crosby's voice and Danny Kaye's comedic talent. It's not just one of my favourite Christmas films, but also one of my all time favourite films. If you haven't seen it, you should go out, buy it and come home immediately to watch it!

Home Alone (1990)
























I grew up watching this film. I've lost count of how many times I've seen it now, but it NEVER gets old. I could watch it a hundred more times and I'd still love it as much. There's no film that gets me more in Christmassy mood than this film (and it's sequel).

Home Alone 2: Lost In New York (1992)
























I can never decide whether I love the first Home Alone film or this, it's sequel, better. They're both hilarious and poignant in so many ways, and can always put a smile on my face. The best way to watch both of these films is to watch them with my Dad - his laughter whilst watching Harry and Marv stand on nails/set their heads on fire/get electrocuted etc. etc. is so infectious.

Miracle On 34th Street (1947)
























I think I actually saw the 1994 version of this film before the original, and I do love them both, but you really can't beat Maureen O'Hara, Natalie Wood and Edmund Gwenn. The film is one of the most magical Christmas films there is.

Elf (2003)

























I first saw this film about 3 years ago, when I was watching t.v. and just happened to flip over the channel and catch it at the beginning. I couldn't stop watching, and I've adored it ever since. It still makes me laugh, even though I've seen it more times than I should probably disclose ;) I think it's the perfect blend of humour, poignancy, and make believe. I really love the beautiful way in which Buddy looks at the world and it's many marvels - with so many of them being things that we wouldn't normally think of as marvels. The world would be a much more joyful place if more people saw the world like Buddy does :)

Love Actually (2002)

























I refused to watch this for ages because it didn't sound like it would be my cup of tea at all, but when I finally watched I fell in love with. There are only a select few modern romcoms that I like, and this is probably my favourite of the bunch. It has a (mostly) superb cast - Alan Rickman, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Bill Nighy, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Hugh Grant, to name but a few. Some of the storylines are truly beautiful, with my favourites being David (Liam Neeson) and Sam (Thomas Sangster), Jamie and Aurélia, Billy Mack (Billy Nighy) and Joe (Gregor Fisher). It's not a children's Christmas film, but nevertheless, there's a really magical atmosphere about it.

Shrek (2001)

























In recent years, Shrek always seems to be shown on British t.v. on Christmas Eve, and I only ever seem to get around to watching it then, so I know it's really Christmas when Shrek is on the t.v.!

The Holiday (2006)
























I definitely don't think that this is one the most enjoyable Christmas films ever made, and half of the plot just makes me yawn, but Kate Winslet's character, Iris, and the story surrounding her really intrigues me. I love the film just for Iris and the snowy scenes really, but I think if it wasn't set at Christmas I wouldn't be so enthusiastic.

Other favourite films to watch at this time of year...

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001, 2002, 2003)

























Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001)
























The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005)

























How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
























The Family Stone (2005)

























I know I've not posted for a while, but hopefully I'll be back to posting more regularly soon :)

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Photo of the Day
























This is basically a belated "Happy Birthday" post for the divine Arlene Francis. I adore everything about her, and I feel like a horrible person for not making a birthday post for her on the 20th. However, I did make several birthday posts on Tumblr, so I hope that will placate her! ;D

Happy belated birthday, Arlene!

45 Years On, The Sound of Music Cast Reunite...

Photo from dailymail.co.uk

I'm sure that you've all seen, or at least heard about, the reunion of The Sound of Music cast for the 45th anniversary of the iconic film. They did infact reunited 5 years ago for the 40th anniversary, but Christopher Plummer was not present. So, it was with great excitement that I watched the videos of the reunion, which some wonderful person had uploaded onto You Tube. The only thing which could have made the whole thing a little bit more perfect would have been if Eleanor Parker had been included (and if Oprah had thought of some interesting questions to ask, rather than ones which have been asked a million and one times before...). I knew a few months ago that Eleanor wasn't going to be there, but she had been asked so I'm just glad they didn't forget about her. I completely understand her not wanting to appear at the reunion because she has distanced herself from that world for several years now... but a part of me will always wish she had attended, bringing some of that sorely missed Golden Age glamour and elegance to our t.v. screens.

I've seen The Sound of Music well over 500 times (I guesstimated that number a couple of months ago ;D ) and it's been a huge part of my life since I first saw it aged 4. I have so many happy memories attached to it, and one of my dreams is to go to Austria someday, find an alp, to the top of it and then skip around singing "The hills are alive with the sound of music... with songs they have sung for a thousand years..."!! :') This film always cheers me up - even if just for a few minutes whilst watching Do-Re-Mi or My Favourite Things. I can't imagine a life were I don't have a few lines from I Have Confidence to sing when I'm nervous about something, or where I Climb Ev'ry Mountain doesn't make tears stream down my face. I desperately love The Sound of Music.

During the show, it was mentioned that a book is going to be published next year full of the memories of the cast (I think mainly the children) of the film, and also some rare, or never seen, photographs etc. etc. I can hardly wait to get my hands on it!! The blu ray box set that has been released for the the anniversary also looks stunning, but I don't have a blu ray player so I feel it's rather a huge amount of money to spend on it.

Photo from theblurayblog.com

Here are the videos of the reunion - you might want to watch them as soon as you can because who knows when they'll be taking down from You Tube! I warn you, you will most probably need tissues ;)



Tuesday, 26 October 2010

It's Survey Time!!

Hello there! I feel like it's been an age since I last posted on here. I've written a few posts, but I just don't seem to be able to articulate what I want to say - so they're stuck in drafts! Anyway, I'm here to do Amanda of A Noodle in a Haystack's fabulous cinema survey! As well as being fun to answer, I'm hoping it might be the key that will gently ease me back into blogging regularly! :D



1. What is your favorite movie starring William Powell and Myrna Loy, excluding all of The Thin Man films?

Libeled Lady



2. Name a screen team that appeared in only one film together but are still noteworthy for how well they complimented each other.

Greer Garson and Ronald Colman in Random Harvest?



3. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers' best film together?

Hm, I love ALL of Fred and Ginger's films (YES, that includes The Barkleys of Broadway), but I consider their best film to be Swing Time (1936)



4. Your favorite actor named "Robert"?

Hmm, it's a close call between Robert Taylor and Robert Mitchum.




5. An actor/actress who, when you see one of their movies, you always wish that someone else was in his/her role?

I love both of these actresses in their films, but I sometimes think I'd like to see Deborah Kerr take on some of Greer Garson's films (Random Harvest, Mrs. Miniver, Blossoms in the Dust, Madame Curie) and vice versa. I'd love to see how different, or similar, their performances would be.

6. An actor/actress that someone close to you really loves that you can't stand or vice versa?

I LOVE Barbara Stanwyck, but my Mum finds her really annoying. (I'm trying to convert her... no luck yet, though!)



7. An actor/actress that you both agree on completely?

Errol Flynn :D



8. Complete this sentence: Virginia O'Brien is to Ethel Merman as...
...I have no idea? LOL, I'm so unimaginative...

9. What is your favorite film starring Ray Milland?

Hm, Dial M For Murder and Arise, My Love.

10. You had to have seen this one coming: what is your favorite movie of the 1960s?

Probably...


11. An actor/actress that you would take out of one film and put into a different movie that was released the same year?

I'd take Maureen O'Hara out of Everything But the Truth and put her in The King and I. I adore Deborah in the role of Anna Leonowens as you all know, but I think it would be really interesting to see how Maureen would play the role. She was, after all, at one point considered for the part, but Rogers and Hammerstein weren't at all fond of the idea!

12. Who was your favorite of Robert Montgomery's leading ladies?

Carole Lombard in Mr. and Mrs. Smith


13. You think it would have been a disaster if what movie starred the actor/actress who was originally asked to star in it?

I'm not sure it would have been a disaster, but I think if Joan Crawford had played Karen Holmes in From Here To Eternity it wouldn't have been as big a success as it was. I love Joan, but I think she would have been too much for the role.

14. An actor/actress who you will watch in any or almost any movie?

Deborah Kerr and Greer Garson.

15. Your favorite Leslie Howard film and role?

I'm not really a Leslie Howard fan... probably Henry Higgins in Pygmalion - even though I hated the film!

16. You have been asked to host a marathon of four Barbara Stanwyck films. Which ones do you choose?

Baby Face, Christmas in Connecticut, Lady of Burlesque and No Man of Her Own. I WANT TO PICK MORE!

17. What is, in your mind, the nearest to perfect comedy you have ever seen? Why?

It really depends on how you define perfect. If, by perfect, you mean everyone loves it... I might go with The Odd Couple. Comedy is always difficult to watch in my house as we all find different types of comedy funny, but when we watched The Odd Couple we were all in stitches, and we had to re-watch some scenes because we loved them so much!



18. You will brook no criticism of what film?

MANY FILMS. The ones that, if criticised, would get me most annoyed are: Mrs. Miniver, Gone With the Wind, An Affair to Remember, The Sound of Music, The Quiet Man, and Breakfast at Tiffany's.

19. Who is your favorite Irish actress?

MAUREEN O'HARA!!



20. Your favorite 1940s movie starring Ginger Rogers?

Kitty Foyle


21. Do you enjoy silent movies?

I REALLY enjoy silent movies! ;D

22. What is your favorite Bette Davis film?

All About Eve, The Star and Marked Woman. I can't pick between them!

23. Your favorite onscreen Hollywood couple?

Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon, without a doubt. I utterly adore them.



24. This one is for the girls, but, of course, the guys are welcome to answer, too: who is your favorite Hollywood costume designer?

Edith Head




25. To even things out a bit, here's something the boys will enjoy: what is your favorite tough action film?

Can I get away with saying North By Northwest?



26. You are currently gaining a greater appreciation for which actor(s)/actress(es)?

Irene Dunne, Norma Shearer, Lillian Gish, Marion Davies, Greta Garbo, Jean Arthur.

27. Franchot Tone: yes or no?
can I say "eh". ;D

28. Which actors and/or actresses do you think are underrated?

Eleanor Parker, Marlene Dietrich, Joan Fontaine, Joan Blondell, Agnes Moorehead, Lucille Ball, Deborah Kerr, Rosalind Russell.

29. Which actors and/or actresses do you think are overrated?

Elizabeth Taylor, Lana Turner, Humphrey Bogart, Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe.

30. Favorite actor?

Cary Grant


31. Favorite actress?
Deborah Kerr (with Greer Garson, Barbara Stanwyck and Eleanor Parker following closely at her heels)



32. Of those listed, who is the coolest: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Steve McQueen, or Patrick Stewart?

Steve McQueen



33. What is your favorite movie from each of these genres:

UGH, these change ALL the time!

Comedy: The Women

Swashbuckler: Scaramouche

Film noir: Mildred Pierce

Musical: The Sound of Music or The King and I

Holiday: White Christmas

Hitchcock: Suspicion

Thanks for the fun survey, Amanda! :)

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Apologies and An Affair To Remember

I feel terrible about not updating my blog more regularly, but I've just had no inspiration whatsoever - I'm so sorry! However, I'm getting more ideas for posts, so hopefully soon I'll start blogging more regularly again. :)

Anyway, this is my An Affair To Remember tribute. I've wanted to make the video for 3 years - ever since I first heard the song and though "This is perfect!"! I'm really pleased I finally got around to making it, and, as today is the 3rd anniversary of Deborah's passing, let's think of it as sort of a memorial to her, yes? ♥


Monday, 11 October 2010

Photo of the Day



Greer relaxing beside the pool.

Summer's over now in England - it's getting colder every day. I do love Autumn and Winter and the cosiness that comes with the cold, the rain, and the snow, but I much prefer Spring and Summer!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Photo of the Day



Ahhh, that smile!! Rita seems to be having a lot of fun in the snow!! :)

Friday, 1 October 2010

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Happy Birthday, Deborah!


Yesterday was the birthday of my second favourite actress, today is the birthday of my favourite actress, the absolutely wonderful Deborah Kerr. As with Greer, I am tongue-tied for anything to say about this lady. I've loved and adored her for more years than any other actress or actor. She's stuck with me through the good times and the bad times, and, though I'm only 17, I very much doubt that she'll ever move out of the cosy, little room she has in my heart.



I first fell in love with her when I saw The King and I aged 4/5. Since then, I've only grown to love and admire her more and more. I'm not exaggerating when I say it felt like my heart had broken when I heard that Deborah had died - up until then I'd still hoped that someday I would be able to meet her and tell her how much I admired her. Well, at least now, in heaven, she knows how much I, and all of her fans, loved her.


Well, without further ado, I'm going to give you 6 reasons why I love Deborah so much. :D


Reason #1

LOOK AT HER SMILE? When Deborah smiled, rays of sunshine danced around the room. It was so unpretentious...so genuine.


Reason #2

She was one of the sweetest, most darling people to ever grace this earth. Basically everything I said about Greer Garson's kind and caring nature goes for Deborah too. I also believe that Deborah was really quite a sensitive person, and this clearly shows in her portrayal of many of her characters in films.


Reason #3

Deborah's voice is absolutely darling! The softness, the sweetness, that slightly cheeky edge to it...utter perfection! I used to spend hours trying to speak like her...but to no avail. My voice is a little bit too alto-y to replicate Deborah's delicious tones!


Reason #4

She was absolutely too beautiful to be true. She personified the "English Rose", despite the fact that she was actually Scottish ;D Her beautiful red hair, those "doe eyes"...she was divine.


Reason #5

She loved her family so much, and I just adore that. She made a huge effort to keep her daughters out of the "paparazzi"'s hands, and it paid off. You can tell that she loved ALL children as she has the greatest rapport with the children who have been in films with her - I bet she was an absolute darling to them! :')


Reason #6

Her grace and elegance were astounding. The way she walked (perhaps thanks to her Aunt who made her lie on the floor everyday to give her great posture ;D ), the way she talked, and generally just the way she conducted herself around people. If she didn't agree with someone, or if someone was talking rubbish, she wasn't rude to them, she stated her point, or corrected the person, in the most genteel way imaginable. I wish I was like that ;D

Well, once again, there you have my "6 Reasons"! I hope you enjoyed reading them :)

To finish off this post, here is a video I made last month, in honour of Deborah...


...and a few photos :D









♥♥♥
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