Category Archives: Movies

Hollywood in Stitches, Part II

Tweet Part I is here. “Hurry up and wait!” Anyone who has worked on a major Hollywood production is familiar with this ironic command. There is a tremendous amount of down time on a Hollywood film. It takes hours to set up lights, rig camera and sound, and make sure the sets and props are […]

Also posted in Doris Day, Feminism, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Glamour, Gloria Stuart, Hollywood, Hollywood in Stitches, Hollywood Stars, Hollywood Still Photography, Joan Blondell, Katherine Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Mary Astor, Vivien Leigh | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Responses

Take #1: The Meaning of Leaning in Hollywood

Tweet Leaning boards ( also called Slant boards) were invented for Hollywood players to relax between takes. Frequently, the costumes were cut on the bias, and tailored so snugly that the actor could not sit down without bursting a ladder of seams. In fact, most of the time, there were no zippers or buttons on […]

Also posted in Adrian, Fashion, Glamour, Hollywood, Hollywood Stars, Hollywood Still Photography, Jean Harlow, Leaning Boards, Photography, Rita Hayworth, Tony Curtis | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Responses

Silent Star Alma Rubens: “I am a Dope Fiend But Not a Jewess!”

Tweet Many persons who have followed my career on the screen and stage mistake me for a Jewess. This belief perhaps was strengthened when I married Ricardo Cortez, my third husband, the only one I ever really loved, and whom I am now trying to divorce. Although I didn’t find it out until almost a […]

Also posted in Alma Rubens, Book Reviews, Books, Hollywood, Hollywood Stars, Ricardo Cortez, Silent Movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Responses

Hollywood Hat Game

Tweet There was a time when wearing a hat was  de rigueur. Fine millinery was considered a sign of good taste, good breeding, and good fashion. Hollywood actresses were rarely seen in public without hat, gloves and a designer outfit. Those were the days when Hollywood insisted on projecting style and glamour. Of course, with the […]

Also posted in Glamour, Gloria Swanson, Hollywood, Hollywood Hats, Hollywood Stars | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 8 Responses

In Memoriam: Mickey Rooney, 1920-2014

Tweet At five feet, two inches, he was the biggest star in the world. Mickey Rooney (born Joseph Yule, Jr.) was probably the most talented star Hollywood ever produced. His astonishing career started in the silent era as a child actor. Rooney made the transition to sound with ease, and his career saw work in radio, television […]

Also posted in Ava Gardner, Colleen Moore, Hollywood, Hollywood Stars, Hollywood Wedding Nights, Mickey Rooney | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Responses

Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1960s: Psycho

Tweet We begin our survey our survey of the Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1960s. For the Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1950s, click here. For the Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1940s, click here. For the Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1930s click here. For the Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1920s click here. 1. Psycho, 1960 […]

Also posted in Alfred Hitchcock, Great Movies, Greatest Movies of the 1960s, Hollywood, Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1960s | Tagged , , , , , , | 14 Responses

Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1950s: Some Like It Hot

Tweet We continue our survey of the Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1950s. For the Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1940s, click here. For the Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1930s click here. For the Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1920s click here. 19. Some Like It Hot, 1959. “Look at that!” Jack Lemmon tells […]

Also posted in Billy Wilder, Greatest Movies of the 1950s, Marilyn Monroe, Some Like It Hot, Tony Curtis, Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1950s | Tagged , , , | 10 Responses

Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1950s: Night of the Hunter

Tweet We continue our survey of the twenty greatest movies of the 1950s. For a complete listing of the greatest movies of the 20, 30s and 40s, click here. 13. Night of the Hunter, 1955 Night of the Hunter, more than any other movie I have ever seen, succeeds brilliantly in evoking the terrors of […]

Also posted in Great Movies, Greatest Movies of the 1950s, Lillian Gish | Tagged , , , , , , , | 27 Responses

Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1950s: Rear Window, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Seven Samurai

Tweet We continue our survey of the twenty greatest movies of the 1950s. For a complete listing of the greatest movies of the 20, 30s and 40s, click here. 10. Rear Window, 1954 Photographer L.B. “Jeff” Jefferies (James Stewart) breaks his legs while photographing a car racing accident. Now, he is confined in his Greenwich […]

Also posted in Alfred Hitchcock, Great Movies, Greatest Movies of the 1950s, Hollywood | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 27 Responses

Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1950s: Shane, The Big Heat, Ugetsu

Tweet We continue our survey of the twenty greatest movies of the 1950s. For a complete listing of the greatest movies of the 20, 30s and 40s, click here. 7. Shane, 1953. The gunshots in Shane are unlike any other gunshots in Hollywood history. They are heart-stopping thunderbolts, from either heaven or hell. Shane, a […]

Also posted in Great Movies, Greatest Movies of the 1950s, Hollywood | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 34 Responses

Thanksgiving: The Children of Israel and the Children of the Children of Israel

Tweet As far as I know, there are only two countries in the world that were founded on the idea of hope. America and Israel. And what was the hope? The hope of achieving religious freedom, and freedom from the tyranny of centralized government. The Children of Israel, fleeing Egyptian slavery and religious persecution, settled […]

Also posted in America, Israel, Thanksgiving | Tagged , , , | 2 Responses

Fay Wray: Beauty and the Beasts, Part I

Tweet Actress Fay Wray achieved screen immortality as Ann Darrow, the girl in King Kong’s paw, the beauty who tamed, at least for a while, the raging beast. For most of us growing up after Hollywood’s Golden Age, Fay Wray (born Vina Fay Wray; September 15, 1907 – August 8, 2004) was nothing more than […]

Also posted in Fay Wray, Hollywood | Tagged , , , | 7 Responses

Days of Heaven

Tweet There was a moment on my walk this morning, at about 5:30 a.m., when I just stopped dead in my tracks and watched the horizon change from blue-black to blushing violet. In the movie industry, this stretch of time is known as magic hour. Cinematographers who shoot in these few precious moments, if they […]

Also posted in 2012 Election, Mitt Romney, Obama Watch, Screenwriting | Tagged , , , , , | 18 Responses

Mary Pickford: She Built It

Tweet Being a Conservative means conserving the wisdom of our ancestors, preserving what is best of our cultural heritage. Too often, modern man plunges headlong into the future and never looks back. Nowhere is this more evident than with the history and preservation of silent films.  Last week I spoke with a  group of high […]

Also posted in 2012 Election, Hollywood, Mary Pickford, Silent Movies | Tagged , , | 18 Responses

2016: Obama’s America, Plus a Mild Digression About Bette Davis

Tweet Into the San Fernando Valley we rode, 10.2 miles from Casa Avrech, to see Dinesh D’Souza’s documentary 2016: Obama’s America. Karen ordered our tickets in advance through Fandango. There are no theater listings for 2016 in the LA Times. They claim there was a computer glitch, but I think we all know what’s really […]

Also posted in 2012 Election, 2016: Obama's America, Obama Watch, Remembering Ariel | Tagged , , , , , | 20 Responses

Mae Clarke, Jimmy Cagney: The Tricks of the Trade

Tweet In Lady Killer (1933) Dan Quigley (Jimmy Cagney) a movie theater usher, gets fired and drifts into a life of petty crime with a gang of con men and their slinky, hardboiled gun moll, Myra, played by the incomparable Mae Clarke. On the lam from the police and the gang who betrays him, Dan […]

Also posted in Hollywood, Jimmy Cagney, Mae Clarke | Tagged , , , , | 19 Responses

Joan Bennett Wants You To Be Attractive

Tweet Besides starring in several noir classics, The Woman in the Window ( 1944), Scarlet Street (1945), Hollow Triumph (1948) and our favorite, The Reckless Moment (1949),  Joan Bennett delivered the most famous adulterer’s line of dialogue in Hollywood history. In 1951, Bennet’s marriage to producer Walter Wanger was on the rocks. Wanger’s distinguished career […]

Also posted in Hollywood, Joan Bennett | Tagged , , , , | 11 Responses

Three Notable War Movies from Britain, Russia, & Finland

Tweet After the 1973 Yom Kippur War, a close friend who commanded a tank in the Sinai and killed at least 35 Egyptian tanks—“You forget to count after a while”—in a drunken moment said to yours truly: “You know what’s great about desert warfare? No civilians. No cities. No nothing. Just you and the enemy. […]

Also posted in Finland, Great Movies, Hollywood, War Movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Responses

Movie Posters: Hollywood’s Golden Age

Tweet The major studios had a staff of artists who designed posters and lobby cards. These talented men and women toiled in relative obscurity, but the sophistication of their graphic designs are simply jaw dropping. Major films usually had several versions of posters that went out to theaters.

Also posted in Hollywood, Movie Posters, Silent Movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 19 Responses

The Religious Wisdom of Preston Sturges

Tweet The Great McGinty (1940) charts the rise and fall of a Depression era hobo to mayor of a city, then Governor, and finally exile in a banana republic. Though a satire, Preston Sturges, certainly the greatest writer-director in Hollywood history, was a keen observer of American political life. McGinty, played by Brian Donlevy, finds […]

Also posted in Hollywood, Preston Sturges, Screenwriting, Wisdom of Hollywood Screenwriters | Tagged | 12 Responses
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  • Annual Ariel Avrech
    Memorial Lectures

    Young Israel of Century City
    Eleventh: June 8, 2014
    Michael Medved: "Shifting Alliances: Why Liberals No Longer Reliably Support Israel — And Conservatives Do." Blog Post | Audio (mp3 97MB)
    Tenth: June 9, 2013
    David Horowitz: "The War Against Judaism on the University Campus." Blog Post | Audio (mp3 16MB)
    Ninth: June 3, 2012
    Joel B. Pollak: "The Mainstream Media's Betrayal of Israel." Blog Post | Audio (mp3 15MB)
    Eighth: June 5, 2011
    Yossi Klein Halevi: "What is Expected of a Survivor People: Lessons My Father Taught Me." Blog Post | Audio (mp3 18MB)
    Seventh: June 13, 2010
    Dennis Prager: "Happiness is a Mitzvah, Not an Emotion." Blog Post | Audio (mp3 80MB)
    Sixth: June 21, 2009
    Rabbi Steven Pruzansky: "Conformity in Jewish Life: Vice, Virtue or Affectation?" Blog Post | Audio (mp3 64MB)
    Fifth: June 15, 2008
    Rabbi Dr. Gil S. Perl: "What Was the Rosh Yeshiva Reading: Intellectual Openness in 19th Century Lithuania." Blog Post | Audio (mp3 70MB)
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