January 18 was the day of Archibald Leach's birth, in 1904, in Bristol, England. Leach, a one-time stilt walker and vaudevillian, would become world famous in the 1930s under a different name... Cary Grant.
Grant originally came to the United States as part of a stage troupe and stayed when everyone else went home. After spending almost a decade in vaudeville and on stage, he went to Hollywood and his new bosses at Paramount pictures renamed him Cary Grant (the initials, C.G., were already popular with moviegoers--Clark Gable and Gary Cooper were two of the biggest movie stars in the world).
Many people across the country observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by participating in the MLK Day of Service, coming together--this year on Monday, January 16--to serve their neighbors and their communities. Whether you are going to participate in a service project or not, the following films tell stories of service and activism that will impress and inspire you.
Sunken City: Rebuilding Post-Katrina New Orleans When Hurricane Katrina devastated and nearly destroyed the city of New Orleans, it was only through the efforts of millions of volunteers that life found a way to carry on. Celebrate the achievements of the people who rebuilt this shattered city, and explore the government structure whose haphazard response may have threatened the lives, and livelihood, of many.
Born on January 11, 1972, native New Yorker Amanda Peet turns 40 today.
Peet's career took time to build, with the actor spending a lot of her time on television and in ensemble pictures before The Whole Nine Yards brought her more prominent attention. She's now starred in over forty films.
Dame Margaret Natalie Smith, aka Maggie Smith, was born December 28, 1934 in Essex, England. She is a highly respected actress, winner of 2 Academy Awards, 2 Golden Globes, 2 Emmy Awards, 2 SAG Awards, and a Tony. Her films have ranged from the serious to the comedic. She currently stars in the television series Downton Abbey. Check out one of the titles from her vast filmography today!
Not everyone has glamorous plans for New Year's Eve and probably those of us who don't are perfectly content just to stay home. Here are some films that include memorable New Year's Eve moments. Eat, drink and be merry, for next week it will be time to suck it in and check out our yoga and fitness DVDs.
From chick flicks to bad adventure, and comedy to action, these DVDs will help you usher in 2012 with a smile, a tear, or amazement that they were even made:
I don't like to think of myself as a total sap, but when it comes to holiday movies I seem to like them syrupy sweet and starring Bing Crosby. What am I talking about?
I love those movies from the 1940's and 1950's that are my strange harbinger of the holiday season. The holiday movie genre pulls out all the stops when it comes to tugging at your heartstrings. These are tales of generals missing the war, elderly mothers from Ireland reuniting with their priestly sons, mistaken motives, unrequited love, all coupled with people bursting into songs often on elaborate Hollywood backlots. Here are my top three:
Are you experiencing an overload of sweetness this holiday season? Then you may need some respite in the form of movies featuring people not at their best during the festivities.
A Budapest gift shop is the setting for antagonistic co-workers Alfred Kralik (Jimmy Stewart) and Klara Novak (Margaret Sullavan) who are lonelyheart pen pals but don't realize it in The Shop Around the Corner. Here's a clip of Alfred counseling Klara on her choice of blouses:
Shot in 1951 and adapted from the Tennessee Williams play that captivated Broadway audiences, A Streetcar Named Desire was Hollywood's first film made for adult only audiences. Although the script's references to homosexuality and rape had to be toned down to satisfy the Motion Picture Production Code, the film still managed to shock and amaze, and its raw power can be felt six decades later.
As Blanche DuBois, Vivien Leigh gave an anguished, indelible performance that some critics believe reflected her own bipolar condition; she later had trouble distinguishing herself from the character. And Marlon Brando's sly portrayal of crude, sexy Stanley Kowalski made him the crown prince of his generation of actors and helped to redefine American film artistry.
For a non-mumbling version, take home the 1995 CBS Playhouse 90's version with Alec Baldwin, Jessica Lange, John Goodman and Diane Lane.