Tag Archives: James Cagney

“In the 20s, you were a face. And that was enough. In the 30s, you also had to be a voice. And your voice had to match your face, if you can imagine that.” — Joan Blondell

It’s Joan Blondell’s birthday today. I am sure I saw Joan Blondell in her 1930s movies when I was a kid, although maybe not the Pre-Codes. That would come later. My real introduction to her, though, came through her performance … Continue reading

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“I have an idea that the Irish possess a built-in don’t-give-a-damn that helps them through all the stress.” — James Cagney

It’s his birthday today. One of my favorite actors. From Who the Hell’s in It: Conversations with Hollywood’s Legendary Actors, by Peter Bogdanovich: He was different from most of the great stars of the golden age in that he often … Continue reading

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“I never retired.” — Doris Day

“I like joy; I want to be joyous; I want to have fun on the set; I want to wear beautiful clothes and look pretty. I want to smile, and I want to make people laugh. And that’s all I … Continue reading

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“A good director must be able to inspire whoever he was coaching so that the actor would live the scene. Make-believe must become reality.” — Raoul Walsh

It’s his birthday today. Raoul Wash directed a number of great films (in a career as vast as his, the names stick out), but one also thinks of the great PERFORMANCES in these great films, often from actors who were … Continue reading

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September 2022 Viewing Diary

The Deep End (2022; d. Jon Kasbe) I’m into cults but I actively avoid woo-woo, so somehow Teal Swan escaped my radar. Well, she’s on my radar NOW. This Netflix doc is extraordinary because Teal Swan participated in it, she … Continue reading

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August 2021 Viewing Diary

Pig (2021; d. Michael Sarnoski) I wish I could write at length about some of these. I just don’t have the time these days. I absolutely loved Pig, about an isolated woodsman-truffle-hunter (Nicolas Cage) whose beloved truffle pig is stolen. … Continue reading

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The Male Gaze (literally)

I’ve decided to post these as they come up: a continuation of my ongoing collection of (mostly) men looking at themselves – and having private moments – in the mirror. Here’s James Cagney in Picture Snatcher, about a former gangster … Continue reading

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She’s got legs. And she knows how to use them.

The Crowd Roars (1932) Viva Las Vegas (1964) Joan Blondell – whose legs we see in the first grab – lived long enough to appear – very entertainingly – in an Elvis movie (Stay Away Joe, 1968). She and Elvis … Continue reading

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Podcast: Watch With Jen: a Pre-Code discussion!

Had so much fun appearing as a guest on Jen Johans’ podcast, Watch With Jen, for a discussion of Pre-Code films, the Wild West of Hollywood in between (roughly) the years 1930 and 1934. I pitched a couple of ideas, … Continue reading

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June 2021 Viewing Diary

La Notte (1961; d. Michelangelo Antonioni) Pauline Kael included La Notte in her infamous essay titled “The Come-Dressed-As-the-Sick-Soul-of-Europe Parties”. Now you can debate her on this opinion – and I think she’s off (although I think it’s a hilarious title). … Continue reading

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