“The hottest combination that ever hit the screen!” – declared Louella O. Parsons in late August 1951. It’s possible that Louella was still in party-mode, having passed her 70th birthday just a few weeks before. No point in holding back now! Jane Russell and Robert Mitchum have IT. Apparently, not since way-back in ’21 – between Agnes Ayres and Rudolph […]
In celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the Dorothy Starr Sheet Music Collection at San Francisco’s Main Library in Civic Center, Janet Roitz and Sean Martinfield present Ladies of the Nightclubs, a talk exploring songs from night club scenes in classic Hollywood films. Click on the photo below to see our promo on YouTube: Drawing […]
“Ethel Waters, the gleaming tower of regality who knows how to make a song stand on tip-toe.” Brooks Atkinson…
Ethels’ power to get a song up on its feet was never more evident than in her rendition of “Quicksand” written especially for her by the team of Al Dubin and James Monaco.
When the studios needed a charismatic blonde to play a determined but desperate woman heading straight to the final curtain – Gladys George was the ideal choice. She is the doomed “Madame DuBarry” in MGM’s lavish Marie Antoinette (1939), the hard-boiled owner of a speakeasy in The Roaring Twenties (1932), the ultimately tragic heroine of […]
What’s the best film for getting acquainted with Hollywood soprano Jeanette MacDonald? Click on the photo to find my answer on YouTube. My first encounter with Jeanette MacDonald was through a local broadcast of MGM’s major box office hit from 1936, San Francisco. It’s been a long-term affair ever since – with both her and […]
Ann Blyth enters as the youngest in our series, Ladies of the Nightclubs. As Veda in the 1945 production of Mildred Pierce starring Joan Crawford, Ann was assigned a familiar rag from 1911, “Oceana Roll” – lyrics by Roger Lewis, music by Lucien Denni. By the time filming began at Warner Brothers Studios, the song […]
As Janet and I continue our front row view of films that include some variety of nightclub scene featuring – as Rosemary Clooney might put it, “girl singers” – we are also keeping an eye on how much of this material is appearing in an expanding archive referred to these days as, The Great American […]
Ethel Waters is on a very long list of popular and revered celebrities who appear in the 1943 film, Stage Door Canteen. The title refers to an actual New York City location that was staffed and operated by members of the American Theatre Wing. Its purpose was to offer refreshments and entertainment to enlisted folks […]
On January 30, 2013 the Castro Theatre will screen two film noir gems: THE SNIPER, 1952 and EXPERIMENT IN TERROR 1962, both noted for their cinematic tribute to the streets of San Francisco – a city born to be shot in black and white.
For Track 5 of “Ladies of the Nightclubs” we explore a familiar question: What becomes a legend most? Sometimes the answer is: Another legend. The 1961 film, THE ROMAN SPRING OF MRS. STONE, is packed with legendary artists of all sorts.
*See important note!