Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Happy Birthday to Ms. Gloria Grahame

You probably know Gloria Grahame for her small but pivotal part in It's a Wonderful Life as Violet, the attractive blonde in Bedford Falls who fails to land Jimmy Stewart and is a headcase in the Pottersville segment of the movie.

But Grahame's career included a lot of noir, some musicals (she's in Oklahoma! as Ado Annie), and a life off-screen that was dramatic, to say the least.  If you follow older films and want to see some top notch noir, I recommend (very highly):

  • Crossfire
  • The Big Heat
  • In a Lonely Place
  • Human Desire

But this list is not even close to comprehensive when it comes to her body of work.

Like a lot of women of her generation in Hollywood, her rise was incredibly fast and her path out of Hollywood was rocky, to say the least.  Curiously, Annette Benning is playing Grahame in an upcoming movie that covers the final years of Grahame's life, from what I can tell.  Looks promising, as far as these movies go.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

(TL;DR) The Whitest Christmas of All: Hallmark Christmas Movies

Hollywood is Weird

I am 90% positive I've previously mentioned my fascination with basic-cable Christmas movies.  I'm not talking about the endless rerunning of Elf, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, or other films that had a theatrical life before finding a permanent second life as seasonal programming somewhere on the basic-cable dial.  I'm talking about the made-for-TV 2 hour films that appear on The Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Lifetime and the Up Network, running in an endless loop, 24-hours-per day, starting this year a few days before Halloween.

Look, I'm not against Christmas.  But, as Jamie wisely pointed out to me, if you're starting your Christmas movies October 20-something, that makes Christmas last fully 1/6th of the year, and that's insane.  And, it bulldozes two fairly major holidays inbetween.

What's fascinating is that this model must be wildly profitable for Hallmark and the other networks for Hallmark to start running these channels as 24-hours-per day holiday movies so early.  These movies have their own little pocket of stars, the top of the heap features former Full House co-star Candice Cameron Bure and former Party of Five sib Lacey Chabert.  Others flirt with the stardom.  Alicia Witt's in a few of these, Lori Loughlin (also Full House), and you'll see a few other actors pulling double or triple duty as stars, but you can guarantee at least one or two new movies per year from Chabert and CCB.