Sister Celluloid

Where old movies go to live

Category Archives: The Story Behind the Film

MoMA Presents “Leo McCarey: Seriously Funny,” Covering the Undersung Director from the Silents Onward

“I only know I like my characters to walk in clouds, I like a little bit of the fairy tale. As long as I’m there behind the camera lens, I’ll let somebody else photograph the ugliness of the world.” —Leo McCarey If you’re anywhere near New York this month, prepare to walk in the clouds. …

Continue reading

A Film Noir Feast! TOO LATE FOR TEARS and WOMAN ON THE RUN Are Gorgeously Restored on DVD

A double dose of classic noir has just hit the DVD shelves. Two lost gems, Too Late for Tears and Woman on the Run, have been restored to their dark and gorgeous glory by the UCLA Film & Television Archive. The DVD sets—which include standard and Blu-ray discs as well as tons of special features—mark the first of what …

Continue reading

TINTYPE TUESDAY: Dan Duryea — Gardener and Cub Scout Leader!

Welcome to another edition of TINTYPE TUESDAY! A few years ago, between films of a double feature at the Film Forum in New York (Black Angel and Criss Cross), this old guy sitting next to me muttered, to no one in particular, “I wonder if that was really Dan Duryea playing the piano.” And I …

Continue reading

TINTYPE TUESDAY: Judy Garland Is Trapped in a “Summer Stocky” Wardrobe

Welcome to a special venting edition of TINTYPE TUESDAY! I just need to get something off my chest, okay? Or rather, something off Judy Garland’s… I watched Summer Stock again last night—so much fun, so underrated, and one of Judy’s most difficult films to complete, though, as usual, you’d never know it from her performance. And …

Continue reading

Ginger and Jimmy in VIVACIOUS LADY: The Backstory Was Even Crazier and Sexier Than the Movie

Vivacious Lady may be a fabulous screwball comedy, but what went on behind the scenes was even loopier. A year before the film was made, Ginger Rogers and director George Stevens had an affair while filming Swing Time, which, as these things tend to do, wrapped when the picture did. Then she started dating an up-and-comer named …

Continue reading

TINTYPE TUESDAY: Peeking Behind the Curtain of THE WIZARD OF OZ!

Welcome to another edition of TINTYPE TUESDAY! This week, we’re off to see The Wizard of Oz—and you won’t believe what was going on behind that curtain. The tornado in Kansas was nothing compared to the blizzard of cast and crew changes—not to mention the many mishaps, including a couple of near-fatalities. Even Toto didn’t escape …

Continue reading

Beatrice Lillie Lets Her Farce Flag Fly in Clive Brook’s ON APPROVAL

Work, family, social obligations… we’ve all got pressures. But they’re weak tea compared with what Beatrice Lillie was up against. She was dubbed the funniest woman in the world. Fortunately for her, she pretty much was. But sadly for us, she made just a handful of films. Why leave the stage when Noel Coward and …

Continue reading

STREAMING SATURDAY! Melvyn Douglas and Burgess Meredith Give Merle Oberon THAT UNCERTAIN FEELING

Welcome to another edition of Streaming Saturdays, where we embed a free, fabulous film for you to watch right here every week! Settling in to watch That Uncertain Feeling, there are some things you can be certain of. With Ernst Lubitsch at the helm, you know it’ll be witty and sophisticated. And you assume Melvyn Douglas will elegantly knock your socks …

Continue reading

THE MIRACLE WOMAN: All Eyes Are on Stanwyck, Especially Capra’s

There’s a certain luminous quality that shines through when a director is in love with his leading lady. In Frank Capra’s The Miracle  Woman, starring Barbara Stanwyck, it’s all over the screen. This was the second film for these kindred spirits—whose relationship got off to such a rocky start, the real miracle is that they ended up working together at all. In 1930, …

Continue reading

Hollywood Gets Drunk on Itself in SOULS FOR SALE

In the early 1920s, Hollywood was in for a good spanking. And not the fun kind. Director William Desmond Taylor had been murdered. Wallace Reid, known as “the screen’s most perfect lover,” was lost to the embrace of morphine. And Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle had endured three sordid trials before finally being cleared of murder, but …

Continue reading