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Classic Hollywood: (Femme) Fatale Attraction

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Classic Hollywood: (Femme) Fatale Attraction Classics on Chestnut

Classic Hollywood: (Femme) Fatale Attraction

The honey-soaked hive of Film Noir Bad Girls is always buzzing with Queen Bee candidates. Barbara Stanwyck from Double Indemnity. Jane Greer from Out of the Past. Audrey Totter from, well, every pic Totter ever made. But for pure “Wait...what?!” shock value, few dames can rival the on- and off-screen tale of Gloria Grahame, whose boudoir eyes and va-va-va-voom figure rocked Hollywood. Read More Read More
Classic Hollywood: Jean Arthur Classics on Chestnut

Classic Hollywood: Jean Arthur

“Never have I seen a performer plagued with such a chronic case of stage jitters. I’m sure she vomited before and after every scene. When the cameras stopped, she’d run headlong to her dressing room, lock herself in and cry. Those weren’t butterflies in her stomach. They were wasps.”  So wrote director Frank Capra of Jean Arthur, the woman he called “my favorite actress.” I discovered Jean in my teens while reading Capra’s autobiography, The Name Above the Title. Who was this appealing, neurotic star, so publicity-shy that she was dubbed the “American Garbo” by Movie Classic magazine in 1937? Read More Read More
Classic Hollywood: "Wild Bill" Wellman Classics on Chestnut

Classic Hollywood: “Wild Bill” Wellman

William Wellman’s life was as colorful as the movies he directed. Born on February 29, 1896, Bill grew up outside Boston. He was a hockey-playing brawler and juvenile delinquent, who took joyrides in stolen cars and once tossed a stink bomb at his high school principal – a super-awkward move considering his Mom was a probation officer for wayward boys (like her son)! Read More Read More
Classic Hollywood: Omaha Idols Classics on Chestnut

Classic Hollywood: Omaha Idols

When I was a kid, I assumed most great actors came from New York, as if proximity to Broadway bestowed talent by osmosis (see: Bogie, Cagney, DeNiro, Pacino). But I soon learned that legends could come from places like Milwaukee (Spencer Tracy), or sleepy towns in Ohio (Clark Gable), Pennsylvania (James Stewart) and Montana (Gary Cooper). In fact, two of the 20th century’s biggest names grew up far from Times Square...in Omaha, Nebraska. Read More Read More
Classic Hollywood: Sturges & "Sullivan" Classics on Chestnut

Classic Hollywood: Sturges & “Sullivan”

Preston Sturges had one of the greatest winning streaks in screen history. Over a five-year period in the 1940s, he wrote and directed seven hit comedies. What’s more, he won an Oscar for scripting the pic that kicked off that incredible run (The Great McGinty), and scored two of the five Original Screenplay nominations in 1944. Yet like a comet, he burned hot, fast and bright before burning out and dying at age 60 in 1959. Read More Read More

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