Saturday, 16 November 2013

My Old Hollywood Alphabet

Hey, if it isn't Marcela!
I'll be damned.

It is true, folks. I'm alive! Marcie the cat is alive! And guess what? I got a whole new post coming your way today. My absence can be explained by a series of factors: I was busy, stressed, otherwise engaged and, I have to admit, a little forgetful. I feel bad for casting this blog aside like it's disposable, but I'm committed to coming back to it. Besides, I'm a little frustrated with the lack of movement on this blog lately. There was a time when a post started a great big discussion between you readers and everyone chipped in. Come on, guys, comment! Let's all get ourselves involved in this blog which, remember, is not just mine: It's also yours. Rant over. Let's begin.

I did this post because I thought it would be a really fun thing to do and it would make me remember a few things I love about Old Hollywood that I have maybe forgotten. Why don't you join me? I wanna make up for the lost time by making a long one, so grab your coffee, fellas!

Adam's Rib

It's fitting that this should be the first entry on this list, since, after careful thought, I have come to regard this as my favourite film. It's hard and dangerous to make such a statement, but Adam's Rib is truly everything I look for in a flick. It's funny, romantic, political, well-written, well-directed and mainly, well-acted. It flares the talents of Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Tom Ewell and Judy Holliday, who make up a hilarious foursome, perfect for the movie's spunky story and lively script. So blindly do I trust this movie that I use it as an initiation for non-movie lovers. It's been my experience that this movie is infallible.  

Barbara Stanwyck

Barbara Stanwyck is quite possibly the most underrated actress who ever lived. There's no explanation and no excuse for even cinephiles never having heard of her, the Academy never having given her an Oscar and her films not figuring in most lists of "essentials" or "must-sees". Barbara was a strong, sparkly-eyed woman with a beautiful life story and so much talent that one struggles to believe it. In a class of her own in film noir, her best work can be seen in "Sorry, Wrong Number", "Double Indemnity" and "The Strange Love of Martha Ivers". In other genres, don't miss her in "The Lady Eve", "Ball of Fire" and, oh God, "Stella Dallas". 


Screwball, slapstick, romantic or dramatic: Any time of comedy will be right up my alley. As a person that loves to laugh, there's nothing like kicking back with one of these flicks after a hard day. It's such a fantastic genre that even Alfred Hitchcock, so well-known for suspense, took a crack at it with "Mr. And Mrs. Smith." And what is the best one, you ask? "Bringing Up Baby", bar none. You call it a cliche, I call it a classic. 


Tell me you're favourite director and I will tell you who you are. Directors are, for me, the most instrumental part of filmmaking. The really good ones will add personal touches to every scene, like a celluloid fingerprint that real fans have no trouble spotting. From Hitchcock's cameos, to Frank Capra's common men, to George Cukor's female leads, there's nothing like a unique and idiosyncratic  director. As one delves into their filmography, one discovers more about the man (or woman!) behind the cameras and the name above the title: Film lovers, above filmmakers, looking to express themselves in the greatest medium known to man.

Elizabeth Taylor

I've always known, even if subconsciously, who Elizabeth Taylor was. But it wasn't until recently when I became a real fan and found out that the difference between having heard of her and adoring her is simply in knowing her. When one discovers Dame Elizabeth's beaming talent (Can we TALK about Virginia Woolf?), fascinating life, rich personality and kind heart, I assure you she does just the same she did to me: Swipe one off one's feet. I have no words to explain what this face means to me anymore. May she rest in peace, and may I get over the fact that I was just one year late in becoming her fan or I could've caught her alive. 

Fred and Ginger 

She does it backwards in high heels, but, heaven! He's in heaven! And our hearts beat so that we can hardly speak! But all that I know is they'd be hard to replace, and that night and day, they are the ones, even though he says tomAHto and she says tomAYto... Let's call the whole thing off! 
"Top Hat", "Swing Time", "The Gay Divorcee" and "The Barkleys of Broadway". 


The mother was perhaps the greatest voice to ever reach the film screens. At least so we thought until the daughter came. And all the while the father was directing some of the best movies of their day. Some family!

Howard Hughes

If Old Hollywood was a club, Howard Hughes would be an honorary member. His primary job was in aviation, as the owner of Hughes Aircrafts, but a number of movies depended upon Hughes' money and will to be made. From "Hell's Angels", which he produced, to "The Philadelphia Story" which he bought from the playwright who wrote it. Not to mention the amount of female stars he bedded and tried to take down the aisle - only to be turned down by most of them. An influential engineer, filmmaker and businessman, he is certainly a historical personality.  

Ingrid Bergman

Possibly my second favourite actress, after Audrey Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman awed me from the first time I saw her. The variety of roles she took on was always very inspiring and her courage and determination were a trademark. With her sweet smile and charming accent, I've never seen an actress make her way into so many hearts so fast, but if anyone deserves it, it is Ingrid. Go watch her in "Notorious", "Casablanca", "Gaslight" and "Spellbound." Oh, also watch her in this.

James Stewart

Jimmy Stewart is perhaps the best "guy next door" actor who ever lived. His earthy handsomeness, lovely voice and beautiful ability for nuance and emotion make him the perfect actor for playing everyday men. I have fallen in love with every single character I've seen him play, because he adds a degree of charm to them. Make sure to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" (yes!!), "Rear Window", "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington", "Vertigo" and "The Man Who Knew Too Much".

Katharine Hepburn

Nothing more to say about this one. 

Lauren Bacall

Lauren Bacall is now a symbol of life for me. After a couple of years of being her fan I realised how much life she has inside her and I don't just mean her reaching the great age of 89, but the amount of experiences, dreams, love and struggles in those 89 years. I find that she is a woman open to anything life may give her and she is ready for it with maturity and courage. And what a talent. Make sure to watch "To Have and Have Not", "Dark Passage", "How to Marry a Millionaire" and "Written on the Wind". 

My Fair Lady

I could've danced all night...


My favourite genre. This genre to me, represents how movies are art, not a business. (Okay, they're both, but mainly the former.) The flattering lighting, the intricate crime stories, the sexy couples, the femme fatales and the hyper masculine sensual leading men. Just watch one. Or read this

Olivia de Havilland

I wish I could say I'm immensely familiar with Olivia De Havilland's filmography. But what I wanna talk about is a story that happened with her and Lucille Ball. I'll let Lucy herself tell you: "Then, one day, Kurt Frings, a well-known agent, drove the twenty-five miles out from Hollywood to our ranch to see me. He told me that Olivia DeHavilland had sent him. She had heard about my difficulties and thought perhaps he could help me. I hardly knew Olivia except to say hello. I was bowled over by her kindness. Olivia DeHavilland had been involved in the same kind of “package” dealing with the same agent that had been representing me. She had refused roles and had been put on suspension. Olivia fought a bitter eighteen-month court battle with the agent and won. Because she courageously fought the system, we all benefited.

The Philadelphia Story

My first favourite movie, and the reason I fell in love with Katharine Hepburn. Read this.


The films I would like to watch next are: The Bitter Tea of General Yen, Spitfire (I know), Clash By Night, Monkey Business and Anne of a Thousand Days, which brings me to...

Richard Burton

My little Welsh stallion...❤ I would marry this man in a heart beat, and it is not only because he is handsome and sexy like no other actor of his or any other day. He was beautifully talented, his voice echoed and made the floor shake all around him and loved with awe-inspiring passion. And plus there's his writing. How can a guy who's not even published be one of your favourite writers? Like this:
"One of these days I will wake up — which I think I have done already — and realize to myself that I really do love," he wrote. "Who invented that concept? I have wracked my shabby brain and can find no answer. But for the moment, the prospect of you sleeping in the next room is the only thing in the world worth living for." 

So Proudly We Hail

My favourite war movie. Check out a review here

Tracy and Hepburn

Chemistry. Love. Secrecy. From romantic comedies, to political melodramas, to family tearjerkers. There will never be a couple, on or off screen, like Tracy and Hepburn. Read this, then this, then this


Some call it typecasting, I call it personality.


Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand, Julie Andrews, Mitzi Gaynor, Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Lauren Bacall, Marni Nixon, Debbie Reynolds, Rex Harrison, Richard Burton.
No doubt that the Golden Age of Hollywood was also the Golden Age of movie musicals.


Arguably the best screenwriter in history. "Sunset Boulevard", "Some Like It Hot", "The Apartment", "Double Indemnity", "Sabrina", "Witness for the Prosecution", "Ninotchka", "Ocean's Eleven"...
We had faces then, but we still needed writers. And Billy Wilder is as good as they come.

X, Y and Zee

Just because the critics said that in this movie, Elizabeth Taylor looked fat and losing her beauty to age. I beg to differ. 


Some people are surprised at how young some Hollywood stars were when they made certain movies. Olivia de Havilland was 23 in Gone With The Wind, same as Elizabeth Taylor in Giant. Lauren Bacall was 19 in To Have and Have Not, same as Hedy Lamarr in Ecstasy. Debbie Reynolds was 17 when filming Singing In The Rain. I have no idea why I can think of so many female examples of very young women playing older characters, but I can't think of a single male one. The contrary, however, older actors playing younger characters, is abundant for men. 

Zero Oscars for Greta Garbo.

Because that will always be a bummer.

Hope y'all enjoyed it, pals and gals, and see y'all later!

P.S. If you like Cate Blanchett, like me, I recommend you go watch Blue Jasmine, Woody Allen's new movie. The script is not the best, but it is truly Ms. Blanchett's best work. I'm rooting for her for the Oscars!


  1. Oh, how lovely! Let's go for letters:
    Adam's Rib was my first film with Kate, and in less than a month I was hooked in classic Hollywood.
    I want to watch The Strange Love of Martha Ivers soon, I mean, before the year ends.
    I actually got extra sad when Elizabeth died. I was already her fan and it devastated me.
    In Ingrid Bergman you wanted to say she is your second favorite actress, second to Kate, right? ;)
    The Bitter Tea of General Yen, Monkey Business (Cary + Ginger one, not the Marx Borthers one) and Anne of a Thousand Days are very cool movies.
    In mid-December there will be shown My cousin Rachel with Burton and De Havilland on Telecine Cult. I won't miss it!

  2. Hey Marcela,
    I have always loved the polished and sophisticated design of your blog. Can you tell me where
    you got the design for the page tabs (ie Home, About, Best, Poetry) that you used to have? I think they were in the shape of movie star caricatures.
    Keep up the good work!!