Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Palm Beach Story (1942) a Sturges Hit!

The Palm Beach Story (1942) / Paramount Pictures
Directed By: Preston Sturges
Starring: Claudette Colbert, Joel McCrea, Mary Astor, & Rudy Vallee

Gowns Designed By: Irene (gowns for Claudette Colbert)


It is the 1940's and Gerry (Colbert) and Tom Jeffers (McCrea) have been married for five years and it is not working out as they thought it would. Financially they are in big turmoil with no money and bills including their luxurious apartment overdue. Gery meets a wealthy businessman whom just comes into her apartment with his wife to possibly take it over. This businessman hears of Gerry's woes and provides her with $700 to start things off better and to pay debts. Gerry is very taken back and goes and buys food but trouble begins when Tom comes home. Tom does not believe his wife on how she wound up with this newly found money and they argue.

Gerry is very unhappy and decides to get a divorce down south so she takes her money and travels to Palm Beach. While in Palm Beach Gerry meets her 2nd husband that is very wealthy named J.D. Hackensacker III (Vallee) who will make all worries go away and at the same time provide the needed finances that her Tom needs for his work. Gerry comes up with a scheme to get close with J.D. and get moeny for Tom. Tom shows-up in Palm Beach and then meets J.D.'s sister The Princess Centimillia (Astor) who now has her eyes set on him. The plans go up and down where many unexpected things occur like twins and more. This is one of the best classic comedies to watch, a sheer delight!



Wedding gown sketch by Irene




Maid of Salem (1937) Colbert and MacMurray in Salem!

Maid of Salem (1937) / Paramount Pictures
Directed By: Frank Lloyd
Starring: Claudette Colbert, Fred MacMurray, Gale Sondergaard, Louise Dresser, Beulah Bondi, Bonita Granville, & Virginia Weidler.

~ The motion picture is based on the book with the same title by Arthur Miller who also wrote "The Crucible."


It is Salem, Massachusetts in the 17th Century and the townspeople are in the hysteria of all things witches and evil by the devil. It is what we know in the society scared of the unknown and rather throw a target on poeple that they were taken over or were pure evil though they had mental, physical or were jsut going through bad times.

Barbara Clarke (Colbert) is a young lady whom resides in the town of Salem and she meets a dashing man Roger Coverman (MacMurray). The two young people fall in love with one another though Roger is an unknown person hailing from Virginia. The stranger stirs up the nervousness from the people in the town thinking he is possibly evil. With Barbara showing affection for him the town also starts to think that she too is a wicked witch going to do harm onto them.

The question now is will the town let their own fears of the unknown take over to do away with the young couple or will they escape to their freedom, one will have to watch to find out!



Escape (1940)

Escape (1940) / MGM Studios
Directed By: Mervyn LeRoy
Starring: Norma Shearer, Robert Taylor, Conrad Veidt


This film takes place in Germany during WWII. A famous German actress named Emmy Ritter (Alla Nazimova) is captured and held within a Nazi concentration camp. Emmy is scheduled for execution in the near future to her dismay. The camp's doctor; Ditten (Phillip Dorn) is a true fan of Emmy's and promises upon her demise he would personally deliver a letter of her's to her children. Her son, Mark Preysing (Taylor) is American citizen and sets himself into Germany to locate his mother. What Mark finds is a lot of dead ends since even his mother's close friends do not want anything to with the matter in fear of the ramifications. Finally, Mark receives information from a German officer whom confides with him that his mother is arrested and he should do no more work but return immediately home to the United States.

A postmark of a returned letter provides Mark an idea of where to go within Germany to locate his mother. When arriving in this region Mark has a chance encounter with Countess Ruby Von Treck (Shearer), who is an American born widow.The Countess at the beginning of their meeting is scared and does not want to assist Mark with locating his mother. Eventually, the Countess decides to help and speaks to her lover General Kurt Von Kolb (Veidt) about the location of Emmy. The Countess finds out from the General that Emmy is being viewed as a traitor in a very secret trial and is now sentenced to death from her supposed actions.

At a great meeting Mark meets Doctor Ditten whom provides the letter that Emmy wrote to him. The actions that actually occurred is revealed to Mark where his mother is not truly dead but was rescued out by him. What unfolded at the concentration camp is that the Doctor actually drugged Emmy which placed her into a coma state which looked like she passed away. This made the camp guards happy and the Doctor was able to remove her out of the camp. Mark sends a longtime friend Fritz Keller (Felix Bressart) to collect the coffin which has his mother. What occurs is that the German police take notice to the nervousness of what is being done and takes Fritz to the camp for in-depth questioning. The good result is that Mark is able to take his mother's body away so that part was a success.

Another issue arises which is the weather where Mark and his mother are unable to travel due to the horrible snow that is blocking traveling. Mark seeks refuge for his mother and himself at the lovely home of the Countess. The next day Mark meets the very jealous General of this new man that is staying at the countess's home. Mark then puts his mother into a disguise to make it out of Germany but the plan is dashed by the smart General who finds out of what is going on. The General confronts the Countess who in turn pleads for his silence though he does not listen. The Countess then decides to take her pretend affections for Mark right into the General's face which gets him into a blind fury and so much so that he feels the affects of a heart attack. While this happens this provides time for Mark and his mother to escape safely out of the home and eventually out of Germany.








The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) / RKO Studios
Directed By: Williams Dieterie / Nominated for 2 Oscars including Best Music
Starring: Charles Laughton, Maureen O'Hara & Edmond O'Brien


This true classic based on the novel by Victor Hugo was made in 1939 by RKO Studios. This gem is part of the best year of motion pictures and stands the test of time to be a wonderfully acted film by Charles Laughton, Maureen O'Hara, and Edmond O'Brien.

The film centers on the relationship between a very lonely and socially a cast-off Quasimoto (Laughton) and Esmeralda (O'Hara). Frollo (Cedric Hardwicke) gazes on the gypsy girl, Esmeralda, in the church during Fool's Day and sends Quasimoto to catch her. Quasimoto, with the girl, is captured by Phoebus, Captain of the Guards, who frees the girl. The courts sentence Quasimoto to be flogged, and the only one who will give him water while he is tied in the square is Esmeralda. Later, at a party of nobles, Esmeralda again meets both Frollo, who is bewitched by her, and Phoebus. When Phoebus is stabbed to death, Esmeralda is accused of the murder, convicted by the court and sentenced to hang. Clopin, King of the Beggars, Gringoire the Husband of Esmeralda, and Quasimoto, the bellringer, all try different ways to save her from the gallows.