Day and Cagney in LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME presented in CinemaScope

Shot in spectacular CinemaScope and starring two of Hollywood’s most beloved talents, MGM gave the story of recording, radio, stage and screen star Ruth Etting the star treatment in its own right.  With Charles Vidor at the helm, a screen play by Daniel Fuchs and Isobel Lennart from a story by Mr. Fuchs and produced by […]


Buster Keaton, Prohibition and WHAT! NO BEER? (1933)

It’s late 1932 and the repeal of prohibition is looming.  President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had made the ban on alcohol a central issue in his campaign and within a year’s time Americans – who were increasingly for repeal – would be able to manufacture and purchase alcohol legally.  Amidst the fervor for beer Metro Goldwyn Mayer […]


Season’s Greetings, “Good News” from MGM

It’s been an unusually busy few weeks around my neck of the woods, but I didn’t want the holiday season to go by without extending wishes to all those who’ve been so supportive of Once Upon a Screen. To you and yours… And because I think we could all use good news these days following […]


Paging Dr. Kildare for MGM’s 90th Anniversary

About a month or so ago I received the Dr. Kildare Movie Collection to review from the fine folks at Warner Archive.  The set is a nine-film, five-disc collection of the popular MGM Dr. Kildare movie series starring Lew Ayres and Lionel Barrymore.  Watching the films in this series was my first venture into anything […]


Yes! There are no maracas in Warner Archive’s KONGO (1932)

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) manages a fairly elaborate production number to end the 1932 pre-code musical, KONGO.  A scantily clad Lupe Velez leads a conga line through jungle terrain.  Velez shakes and shimmies as she leads the procession, a celebration of the new love affair forged in the remote location between Conrad Nagel and Virginia Bruce.  Off to […]


Mark of the Vampire (1935)

In the small village of Vioska in Czechoslovakia… Sir Karell Borotyn is found dead in his study – his body completely drained of blood.  He has two small wounds on his neck.  The local doctor, Doskil, immediately suspects that this is the act of a vampire, a fear that runs rampant throughout Vioska.  Dr. Doskil […]


A Free Soul (1931)

By all accounts, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) producer and boy wonder, Irving Thalberg didn’t have the eye for talent that the studio’s chief, Louis B. Mayer had.  But Thalberg was a whiz at developing talent.  In 1931 much of Thalberg’s energies in that regard were focused on a young actor in whom he placed high expectations. The actor’s […]

Verne And Julie

Gable and Crawford: King and Queen of Hollywood

This is the story of Hollywood royalty.  Sparks flew and embers are still visible in their movie pairings – eight in total – all at Metro Goldwyn Mayer.  Of all the stars in the heavens they were two of the brightest… Gable and Crawford By 1931 Joan Crawford‘s star was already shining brightly. Not only was […]


History of Columbia Pictures, Part 1

I’ve had this entry, a history of Columbia Pictures, done for some time but it never seemed the right time to publish it last year given 2012 was a year of Centennial celebrations for both Paramount Pictures and Universal Studios. It didn’t seem quite right to post the Columbia story then, but it does now. […]


Morality and Relationships, IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT

The home of the classics, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) played Frank Capra‘s 1934, Best Picture Academy Award winner, It Happened One Night this past weekend.  This is, for some reason, a film I never think of when I consider Capra’s great films, and he made many of them, but I was reminded on Sunday of […]

kelly FEAT

Gene Kelly does Summer Stock

The blogosphere is all abuzz this week in celebration of the life and work of Gene Kelly.  Today would have been his 100th birthday.  I just had to do something to honor him.  By way of a simple tribute to him and my (sentimental) favorite of his films, I jump on the Gene Kelly love […]


The Barkleys of Broadway

There are countless, unforgettable films made during the golden age of Hollywood that were the result of “accidents,” where for one reason or another stars or directors ended up on a film because it was meant to be.  The Barkleys of Broadway is one of those. Kismet:  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) had intended Charles Walter’s, Easter Parade […]


High Society in The Philadelphia Story

For the most part, I am not a fan of film remakes and am certainly against the remaking of great classic films.  There’s just no need for it.  Remakes are very rarely any good – especially when compared to the originals.  My feeling is leave our classics alone and expose new generations to them, rather than […]



“Doo-dloo-doo-doo-doo Doo-dloo-doo-doo-doo-doo Doo-dloo-doo-doo-doo-doo Doo-dloo-doo-doo-doo-doo… I’m singing in the rain Just singing in the rain What a glorious feelin’ I’m happy again…” I spent the entire night “Doo-dloo-doo ing.”  It’s not a complaint, mind you, it’s pure joy as I am one of the lucky who saw the MGM classic, Singin’ in the Rain on the […]

An-American-In-Paris FEAT

To Louis B. Mayer, That’s Entertainment!

In 1924, MGM was formed by a merger of Louis B. Mayer’s Metro Pictures Company with the Goldwyn Pictures Corporation. Under Mayer’s influence, MGM productions were characterized by elaborate sets, gorgeous costuming and pretty girls. Such pictures as Ben-Hur, Grand Hotel and The Good Earth gained MGM the reputation for entertaining films of consistently high […]