Joan Blondell

Joan Blondell

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Grease Review


Excellent
It's the goo they put in their hair.

It's the goo they slather on their hotrod cars.

Continue reading: Grease Review

Footlight Parade Review


Extraordinary
With modern musicals being about as embarrassingly bad as they come (the nadir being Christopher Columbus' deplorable Rent), it's good to stop and take stock of the golden days of the movie musical. One of the splashy musical's most prominent heroes was Busby Berkeley, a choreographer who knew a lot about dance and even more about subtext. Through both his Gold Diggers pictures, Dames, 42nd Street, and Wonder Bar, you can see his dance style saying as much about the story as it is acting as a subversive agent. However, it never got so sly and perverse as it did in Lloyd Bacon's exceptional Footlight Parade.

In his finest non-dramatic role, James Cagney plays Chester Kent, a stage musical director who turns into a prologue director when silent pictures go all talkie. Prologues are lavish musical numbers they put on before and in between films, and Kent is the best in the business at them. When the possibility to sign a 40-theater deal comes up, Kent goes nutty and must rush out three ace prologues in three days. Keep in mind; this is all while dealing with his contemptible fiancée, Vivian (Carole Dodd), his loyal, loving assistant, Nan (Joan Blondell), two business partners who are ripping him off, and a spy in his dance company that is stealing his ideas. And then there are the two main leads that are falling for each other (sweetly played by Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler).

Continue reading: Footlight Parade Review

The Public Enemy Review


Excellent
The opening and closing titles of Warner Bros' The Public Enemy contain a solemn message that implies that the movie isn't meant so much to entertain but to enlighten. Studio head Jack Warner's mandate in the early '30s to produce movies that drew attention to salient social issues in Depression-wracked America resulted in a slew of melodramas (I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang from 1932 being its high water mark) and gangster movies that poised themselves as morality fables.

The Public Enemy, like Warner's own Little Caesar from a year earlier, is classically molded in the template of the early-'30s gangster genre. It follows the rise and fall of a vicious hoodlum who finally repents his ways but falls prey to the very cycle of violence that he himself instigated. Thankfully, the movie's prudish show of outrage at the liquor racket and its plea for civic order is overshadowed by its Pre-Code mischief and the sheer delight of watching James Cagney hone the cock-of-the-walk persona that made him an instant star.

Continue reading: The Public Enemy Review

Nightmare Alley Review


Excellent
As noir goes, Nightmare Alley is long and meandering -- and just about as dark as it gets.

A pet project of Tyrone Power, this film gives us Power in probably his greatest role ever. He starts off as a standard-grade con man, then works his way into the carnival as an aide to the mentalist (Joan Blondell in a solid mid-career role). Power's Stanton woos the "electric girl" (the hauntingly beautiful Coleen Gray), and together they eventually launch a mentalist act of their own, playing in black-tie nightclubs and landing radio spots and more. But when a psychiatrist (Helen Walker, the "bad dame" of the film) tempts him into scamming wealthy tycoons with visions of loved ones from the beyond, Stanton winds up in deep shit. His eventual return to the carnival is one of cinema's most poetic, ironic, and heart-rending moments.

Continue reading: Nightmare Alley Review

Desk Set Review


Good
She's a crack researcher at a publishing firm. He's a computer expert (well, a 1957 computer expert) that's tasked with implementing a system in her department. Together they're Hepburn and Tracy in what would be their second-to-last film together (the final movie being Guess Who's Coming to Dinner 10 years later). Desk Set is quaintly funny and has a few memorable moments -- namely since modern audiences will chuckle over the enormous "electronic brain" installed in the office, a computer that can do more than today's machines are able to do. The typical screwball comedy banter is less fun here than in many contemporaries -- and especially than in many of the duo's prior outings -- but it's ultimately harmless fun with a gossamer message about technology and gender roles.

The Cincinnati Kid Review


Extraordinary
A fairly obvious attempt to make The Hustler of poker, with Steve McQueen playing the role of Fast Eddie (McQueen and Newman were rival screen heroes at the time). The Cincinnati Kid artistically falls just short of that standard -- the characters are not as fully developed as in The Hustler -- but it's just as much fun, and one of McQueen's best films.

McQueen is the Kid, a young card player who believes he is the best in the country. Edward G. Robinson is the Man, the aging veteran that McQueen must knock off his pedestal. McQueen is cocky, confident, appealing, and fundamentally decent; Robinson is complex and opaque, with one of the greatest poker faces in cinema. The inevitable showdown between the two is a battle of wills and nerve which lasts a night, most of the next day and another night.

Continue reading: The Cincinnati Kid Review

Grease Review


Excellent
It's the goo they put in their hair.

It's the goo they slather on their hotrod cars.

Continue reading: Grease Review

Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? Review


Good
Dated satire on the ad business, with all-out mockery of television thrown in to boot. Aging but still funny.

Support Your Local Gunfighter Review


Good
In my world view, westerns should never be rated G, but Support Your Local Gunfighter is as good as any kid-friendly shoot-'em-up could possibly be. This sequel to Support Your Local Sheriff! sets up the congenial James Garner as a man mistaken for a vicious gunslinger (who oddly enough was an expert gunslinger in the original film) -- well, need I say that wacky hijinks ensue? It's reasonably funny as farce, forgettable as everything else.
Joan Blondell

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'Modern Family' Casts TV's First Transgender Child Actor

'Modern Family' Casts TV's First Transgender Child Actor

Jackson Millarker will star in episode ‘A Stereotypical Day’ set to air in the US on Wednesday evening.

'Will And Grace' Comes Back For Mini Episode To Voice Support For Hillary Clinton

'Will And Grace' Comes Back For Mini Episode To Voice Support For Hillary Clinton

The cast had teased something big was coming and all was revealed on Monday night.

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Justin Theroux Reveals Why Marriage To Jennifer Aniston Works

Justin Theroux Reveals Why Marriage To Jennifer Aniston Works

The couple have recently found themselves dragged into the Brangelina divorce and even forced to deny split rumours.

Drake Launches Intense New Short Film 'Please Forgive Me'

Drake Launches Intense New Short Film 'Please Forgive Me'

The rapper teams up with Apple Music on his latest project.

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Joan Blondell Movies

Grease Movie Review

Grease Movie Review

It's the goo they put in their hair.It's the goo they slather on their hotrod...

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Grease Movie Review

Grease Movie Review

It's the goo they put in their hair.It's the goo they slather on their hotrod...

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