Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Richard III and Disinformation in TOWER OF LONDON (1939)

One probably doesn't go looking for timely political commentary in a film like Tower of London (1939), which offers a mashup of history and horror in its retelling of the bloody rise and fall of England's most reviled monarch. Much of the plot is familiar to viewers thanks to broad cultural awareness of Shakespeare's version and, perhaps, renewed 21st century interest that resulted from the discovery of Richard's bones in 2012. Tower of London, which was released in 1939, is very much a Hollywood vision of the Wars of the Roses, with Basil Rathbone starring as the murderously ambitious Richard. It generally favors the lurid and romantic over the strictly historical, a bent indicated by the presence of supporting players like Boris Karloff and Vincent Price. It's striking, then, to recognize the way in which this film depicts the insidious use of disinformation and a weaponized mob to influence political forces. Just like the hidden political operatives who manipulate our elections today, Richard III and his henchman, Mord, utilize a massive, medieval version of social media to undermine their opponents and assist their own ambitions.

We might not, at first, recognize the importance of the disinformation campaign to Richard's ascent. Shocking physical violence often overshadows the subtler efforts that propel the repugnant royal toward the throne. In the film, Richard has his enemies executed, drowns one brother in a vat of malmsey, has his young nephews brutally murdered, and conspires in the deaths of numerous other rivals. While he is a skilled swordsman, he normally avoids holding the murder weapons himself, preferring instead to have Mord commit the crimes or to fabricate grounds to get his enemies sent to the scaffold. Richard's general preference throughout is for the most underhanded, devious means of accomplishing his goals; his double dealing keeps everyone around him off balance and guessing at his true motives.

That inclination toward secretive, secondhand villainy fits perfectly with Richard's deployment of the rabble to spread lies and gossip that support his rise to power. We see in the film how Richard conducts this propaganda campaign, with Mord once again as his intermediary. Richard gives Mord the funding and the message to circulate, which Mord then takes to a collection of beggars who function as his network of infiltrators and spies. Somewhat comically, we see the mob rehearse their assigned lines under Mord's direction and then repeat them as they pretend to be casual spectators interspersed among the crowds. They work exactly like modern Russian agitators and other operatives on social media, taking their orders from the top and then presenting themselves as independent, sincere peers to the unsuspecting community. Their misinformation and propaganda spread through the kingdom until citizens rally in support of Richard and demand that he be crowned king, never suspecting that their actions have been carefully manipulated for that very end. The people affected by Richard's lies don't seem to realize - or care - that he has the blood of so many people on his hands.

Fortunately for history, Richard's propaganda is only temporarily successful, and, as we now know, his thoroughly abused corpse ended up buried beneath a Leicester car park. Tower of London ends on a positive note, with Queen Elyzabeth (Barbara O'Neil) rejoicing that she has saved her daughters from Richard's murderous reign and will one day see an heir to her line once more on the English throne (in reality, her eldest daughter, Elizabeth of York, would become Queen to Henry VII and the mother of Henry VIII). The bloodshed and damage, however, were not undone for the many who lost their lives during Richard's rise and fall, and modern viewers can't assume that a new Henry Tudor will show up to right the ship of state in our current global political crisis. While we might rightly relish the horror-tinged spectacle that Tower of London offers, we should also take to heart its dire message about the insidious efficiency of misinformation and the deliberate manipulation of the masses through whisper campaigns, whether they're conducted in a marketplace or on Facebook. Now is the winter of our discontent, indeed, and Richard's modern counterparts are hard at work to ensure that no glorious summer follows.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Classic Films in Focus: DARK WATERS (1944)

Somewhere between Lifeboat (1944) and Gaslight (1944) lies the plot of Dark Waters (1944), in which Merle Oberon stars as the survivor of a U-boat attack whose fragile sanity is tested by a collection of nefarious characters. All three pictures appeared in the same year, but the first two are decidedly better films, while Dark Waters holds interest primarily for its cast. Joining Oberon for this wartime swamp Gothic are Franchot Tone, Thomas Mitchell, Elisha Cook, Jr., and Fay Bainter, with Rex Ingram making sporadic but memorable appearances as a former employee who suspects that something is amiss at the old plantation. Dark Waters fails to deliver enough creepy atmosphere to achieve its Gothic ambitions, and the ending is more a hard stop than a proper conclusion, but Oberon is fascinating to watch as she tries to figure out whether she's going or being driven insane.

Oberon's perpetually imperiled heroine is Leslie Calvin, whose family flees the Japanese descent on Batavia (present day Jakarta) only to fall victim to a German U-boat attack at sea. Leslie survives many days in an open boat before ending up in a New Orleans hospital. After months of convalescence she travels to a nearby plantation owned by her aunt and uncle, where she hopes to recover from her post traumatic stress. She meets a handsome doctor (Franchot Tone), who quickly falls for her, but everything else goes awry as she is constantly exposed to situations that recall her ordeal and unsettle her sense of reality. Leslie begins to suspect that the manipulative Mr. Sydney (Thomas Mitchell) and his sidekick, Cleeve (Elisha Cook, Jr.), are tormenting her on purpose, but to what end?

Gothic mystery is a fine setting for Oberon's exotic beauty, but she gets better material to work with in both Wuthering Heights (1939) and The Lodger (1944), where her characters have more energy and more successfully developed plots. Franchot Tone's country doctor, George, doesn't spark much chemistry, but he seems to be the only available man in the area aside from Elisha Cook Jr.'s creepy Cleeve. It doesn't take two minutes to recognize both Cleeve and Sydney as the villains of this piece, and Thomas Mitchell has a handful of effectively menacing scenes, but Fay Bainter's Aunt Emily is neither disturbing nor reassuring, and it's hard to justify John Qualen's presence as Uncle Norbert, since he barely comes out of his room to utter a few lines at dinner. Fine actors inhabiting the background don't get enough to do, either, especially Rex Ingram and Odette Myrtil, who turns up as the mother of a large, friendly Cajun family.

There's enough potential in Dark Waters to see the movie it could be, and that warrants a viewing, especially for contrast with moodier explorations of similar plots and atmospheres. The Louisiana bayou makes an evocative setting, and the premise of Leslie's very justified anxiety about water and boats creates numerous opportunities for her to be tormented. We know from the beginning where the third act of this story will inevitably end (hence the title), but when the film finally reaches that point it seems in a hurry to wrap things up, and quite a few loose ends are left dangling. The pacing is more of a shock because there had apparently been plenty of time to linger on an earlier fais do-do sequence that adds nothing to the story. It's hard to say if director Andre De Toth or the writers are to blame for these issues, but De Toth certainly made tighter pictures over the course of his career.

Do pause a moment to appreciate the underused Nina Mae McKinney as the housemaid, Florella, who unfortunately disappears from the picture in the third act. For more of Merle Oberon, try The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933), The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934), or That Uncertain Feeling (1941). See earlier roles for Franchot Tone in Bombshell (1933), Dancing Lady (1933), and Dangerous (1935). Thomas Mitchell is best remembered for more sympathetic characters in Stagecoach (1939), Gone with the Wind (1939), and It's a Wonderful Life (1946), while Elisha Cook, Jr. offers more of his usual type in The Maltese Falcon (1941), I Wake Up Screaming (1941), and The Killing (1956). For a more thoughtful and provocative treatment of a similar atmosphere, try I Walked with a Zombie (1943), or, for some really excessive gaslighting bayou horror, go for Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964).

* As of February 2019, DARK WATERS is available for streaming on Amazon Prime, but the print is rather muddy, especially in the outdoor night sequences.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

2018 Movie Log in Review

2018 was an exceptionally busy year for me beyond my usual activities, so it's no shock that I didn't watch as many films this year as I have in previous years. A part-time volunteer effort became a full-time job on top of homeschooling my high schooler and keeping up with other volunteer work, but I learned a lot and am really proud of the work I did in 2018, and I know most of the classic movies will still be waiting for me when I can get back to them, even if the dearly departed FilmStruck no longer graces my Roku homescreen.

The total number of films watched for 2018 is 114, which is really not much lower than my 2017 count of 120. Hopefully I'll get those numbers back up in 2019!

Here's the full list, including repeat viewings, for 2018.

The Long Hair of Death (1964)
Brides of Dracula (1960)
Crimson Peak (2015)
The Limehouse Golem (2017)
Calamity Jane (1953)
Mrs. Miniver (1942)
My Favorite Wife (1940)
East Side, West Side (1949)

The Shape of Water (2017)
The Lady Eve (1941)
Million Dollar Mermaid (1952)
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Labyrinth (1986)
Dodge City (1939)
Singin' in the Rain (1952)
Fallen Angel (1945)
Another Man's Poison (1951)
Black Panther (2018)
A Royal Night Out (2015)
Queen of Blood (1966)
The Monster of Phantom Lake (2006)
House of Ghosts (2012)
Dance, Girl, Dance (2017)
Coco (2017)

Ball of Fire (1941)
Decoy (1946)
Easter Parade (1948)
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Justice League (2017)
Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
Flash Gordon (1980)
The Wrong Arm of the Law (1963)
Crooked House (2017)
Ready Player One (2018)

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (2017)
Sunshine Cleaning (2008)
Double Indemnity (1944)
Easy Virtue (2008)
Isle of Dogs (2018)
Dr. Strangelove (1964)
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Fiend without a Face (1958)
Fast and Furious (1939)

After the Thin Man (1936)

Found Footage 3D (2016)
Another Thin Man (1939)
All This and Heaven, Too (1940)
Black Panther (2018)
Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)
Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)
Merry Andrew (1958)
The Wicker Man (1973)

Julia Misbehaves (1948)
Oceans 8 (2018)
Incredibles 2 (2018)
Queen Christina (1933)
Murder, She Said (1961)
The Ladykillers (1955)
Game Night (2018)

Whisky Galore! (1949)
Antman and the Wasp (2018)
Murder at the Gallop (1963)
The Time Machine (1960)
Panama Hattie (1942)
Blonde Crazy (1931)
Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2018)
To All the Boys I've Loved Before (2018)
The Man in the Iron Mask (1939)

Set It Up (2018)
Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
Lady in the Lake (1946)
Sierra Burgess is a Loser (2018)
The Kid (1921)
Smokey and the Bandit (1977)
The Oblong Box (1969)
The Breakfast Club (1985)
The Man in Grey (1943)
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

The Set-Up (1949)
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)
Ball of Fire (1941)
Slice (2918)
High Spirits (1988)
The House That Dripped Blood (1971)
The Comedy of Terrors (1963)

The Devil's Bride (1968)
Tension (1949)
The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964)
When Ladies Meet (1941)
HE Who Gets Slapped (1924)
Paper Moon (1973)
Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
Auntie Mame (1958)
Lili (1953)
Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018)
White Christmas (1954)
Mamma Mia! (2008)
High Society (1956)
The Glass Slipper (1955)
Where East is East (1929)
Love, Actually (2003)

The Nutcracker (1993)
Beauty and the Beast (2017)
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017)
A Christmas Story (1983)
Ghostbusters (1984)
Ghostbusters II (1989)
Scrooged (1988)
Spider-man: Into the Spiderverse (2018)
The Christmas Chronicles (2018)
Mary Poppins Returns (2018) 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Classic Movie Tourism: King Kong on Broadway

Some 85 years after the great ape's original screen debut, King Kong has made a triumphant return to New York City, this time as the star of his own Broadway musical. There have been plenty of sequels, reboots, revisions, and reincarnations featuring the oversized cinema gorilla, but I've never seen anything quite like this version of the familiar tale. It's an amazing marriage of puppetry and performance that brings Kong to life in a completely new way while also issuing some loving correctives to the thornier aspects of the original film.

The result is truly breathtaking, even if the songs aren't quite as memorable as one might like. I didn't come out of King Kong humming any particular tune, but I did come out with a stunned sense of awe and a weepy teenager overcome by the emotional rapport the audience develops with the incredibly sympathetic Kong. The eponymous ape moves, grunts, and breathes like a living thing, but his soulful and expressive eyes are his most impressive feature. Once you see him, you believe in him, even though the talented puppeteers working his enormous body are always in view.

The new stage production keeps the setting and some of the primary characters from the 1933 film, namely the ape himself, heroine Ann Darrow, and ambitious filmmaker Carl Denham. It eliminates the heroic love interest so that the focus stays squarely on Ann and Kong, and this Ann doesn't need a big, strong man to come and rescue her anyway. She's a brave, kind, adventurous protagonist whose version of the famous Fay Wray scream is a war cry of empowerment rather than a distress signal. The musical also eliminates the racist elements of the movie - there are no human natives on this Skull Island - and goes one better by making Ann herself black. These changes sharpen the focus of the story and breathe new life into it, making this a Kong adventure that resonates with a broad modern audience.

The human performances also make this new incarnation worth catching while the original cast is still attached. Christiani Pitts is a firebrand Ann, feisty and capable, and she gives powerful voice to songs like "Queen of New York" and "The Wonder." Eric William Morris understands the slippery line required for the selfish but seductive Carl; we have to like him enough to see why Ann goes with him in the first place, but Carl is the closest the musical comes to a villain, since he's incapable of understanding the perspectives of Ann or Kong, much less appreciating that they might have equal claims to happiness and self-determination. Lumpy, played by Erik Lochtefeld, offers an antidote to Carl with his sadly sweet affection for Ann, though I couldn't tell if it was the character or the actor or both who strongly brought James Cromwell to mind during his scenes.

As a feminist with a lifelong love of classic movies, puppetry, and musicals, I'm probably the perfect audience for a show like King Kong, but even if you're only casually interested in one or two of those categories this is a production worth seeing. It offers a fresh and thoughtful take on a story most of us think we already know, and it shows how that story can continue to change and appeal to new audiences. 85 years later, King Kong is alive and well on Broadway, and I hope that this show will enjoy all of the success that it truly deserves. It's absolutely stunning, and my entire family loved it.

Related posts:

Classic Films in Focus: KING KONG (1933)

Classic Films in Focus: MIGHTY JOE YOUNG (1949)

Friday, November 16, 2018

The End of FilmStruck

For the last six months my movie watching and review writing have been severely curtailed due to pressing work on other efforts, but I always comforted myself with the thought that FilmStruck would be there waiting for me after November 6 passed. Now, alas, the cruel corporate gods at AT&T have declared that FilmStruck is to end this month, and my comforting hope has evaporated. I only have two weeks left to enjoy the best movie streaming service ever to grace my television with its presence, and I can't seem to get through my long watchlist fast enough.

Originally I had doubts about FilmStruck because they seemed more interested in being an art house service than one with a robust catalog of classics, but once they teamed up with TCM they really took off as a platform for serious classic film fans. It was an especially welcome pairing to me because I love TCM but don't watch it at home, where we don't have cable. I was also annoyed by their lack of availability on Roku during their early rollout, but I signed up as soon as that became an option. Once I started using FilmStruck, I fell in love with its ever expanding catalog and delightful curation of spotlight collections.

When FilmStruck leaves us, we'll be stuck with the lame offerings of Hulu and Netflix once again, and many of the movies I enjoy won't be available except as expensive made-to-order DVDs. I don't know where Criterion will go with its films, given that it ended its partnership with Hulu to move over to FilmStruck (and thus made Hulu practically useless except for watching Saturday Night Live without the commercials). Many actors and film directors are joining with fans to call for FilmStruck to be saved, but I doubt AT&T cares, which means that this holiday season is one that the Grinch is stealing from classic movie lovers. It's going to be a blue Christmas for all of us when we watch our last Lon Chaney silent or Ernst Lubitsch comedy at the end of November, and I'm thinking of telling my in-laws that I'm sick just so I can stay home on Thanksgiving and watch movies all day instead of putting up with small talk over the turkey.

With so many movies and only two weeks left, I'm trying to concentrate my viewing time on the hardest to find films, things I haven't seen before and am unlikely to be able to see another way. For me that means digging into the silents, especially the Chaney offerings like HE Who Gets Slapped (1924) and Laugh, Clown, Laugh (1928). I'm not going to bet on any future platform being willing to give so much space to silents. Warner is reportedly going to roll out some kind of new streaming service at the end of 2019, but given the way things have gone since the end of 2016 we could all be living in a Mad Max post-apocalyptic hellscape by then.

So, fellow FilmStruck fans, what movies are on your list for the last two weeks of streaming? Offer your suggestions in the comments below!

UPDATE: Later on the same day that I made this post, Criterion announced that they will launch their own streaming platform starting in Spring 2019. This is good news for folks who particularly value the Criterion titles, although we'll have to wait to see if the now also promised upcoming Warner service will cater to the classic movie fans who were more drawn to the Warner and TCM offerings. The standalone Criterion Channel will be $11 a month, and you can sign up now to become a charter member on their website.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

High School Movies, Then and Now

Netflix recently released a handful of romantic comedies set in high schools, including To All the Boys I've Loved Before and Sierra Burgess is a Loser, and their arrival has provided an opportunity to watch a new generation of high school movies and reflect on those that came before, particularly the iconic 80s films of John Hughes. A lot has changed since The Breakfast Club made its debut in 1985, but the basic anxieties of middle class American high school students seem to be the same: fear of rejection, longing for love/acceptance, frustration with parents, and a combination of both hope and fear at the prospect of growing up, whatever that means. At the same time, modern high school movies have opened up in terms of characters - and who gets to be a protagonist - in ways many of us Gen Xers could never have imagined when we were teens, and that's a heartening evolution even when the new movies have problems of their own in terms of representation or execution.

I admit to being mystified by many of the situations depicted in high school movies. My own high school experience was so catastrophically miserable that I escaped to college a year early and never looked back. I didn't see myself in the high school pictures of the 1980s - I was an aggressively nerdy girl who devoured books whole and got kicked out of class for asking too many questions (no, really; I spent 10th grade doing "independent study" for World History because I showed up to class having already read every damn book about Ancient Egypt in the school library and went full Hermione Granger on the subject until the teacher got sick of me, which took all of three days). However, thanks to the gendered roles in movies like The Breakfast Club, I got pegged as the Ally Sheedy "weirdo" instead of the Anthony Michael Hall "nerd" type, although to be fair I probably would have been beaten up and bullied equally often under either label. At any rate, I didn't see myself in the movies then and still don't see much of that younger me in the movies now (thank you forever, J.K. Rowling, for giving me both Hermione AND Luna Lovegood as variations of the girl I once was). My own teenager, now a high school senior, also doesn't "get" high school movies thanks to being homeschooled. She tried 9th grade at a local school and quickly decided it wasn't for her. We're neither of us the people for whom these movies get made.

On some level I find high school movies interesting precisely because most of them seem like stories about alien worlds to me. What is this thing called popularity? What's with the wild parties? Did my peers actually do stuff like that and I was just oblivious? (Spoiler: They did, and I was.) The new Netflix high school movies have a sweetness about them that I also find appealing; there's less sex and a lot more focus on girls' complex emotional lives and their relationships with other girls. We didn't see a lot of that in the 80s, and it's encouraging to see it now, even in the darker Netflix TV show, Stranger Things, where Nancy's whole vengeance and truth-finding arc is driven by her love for and guilt about Barb. Speaking of Barb, Shannon Purser's brief but compelling performance on Stranger Things made me delighted to see her as the protagonist in Sierra Burgess is a Loser, and even if the film gets into trouble with its Cyrano de Bergerac revision it's still worth watching because Shannon Purser is so good and so authentic as the kind of girl we didn't see in high school movies before. I'd like more movies with Shannon Purser, please.

I do think high school movies have come a long way in terms of how they depict adolescent experience and whose stories they're willing to tell, but there's still plenty of ground yet to be covered. I have no idea if the Andy Hardy pictures resonated with the real lives of teenagers in the 1930s, but they certainly glossed over the darker realities of youth in the Great Depression. Now we get a wider range of views, from the 2012 film The Perks of Being a Wallflower to Love, Simon (2018) and To All the Boys I've Loved Before, which blends its rom-com setup with explorations of what it means to belong to two cultures and what's like to grow up with an absent or deceased parent. Browsing through the posters for high school movies I do think we could use more young people of color in leading roles and more stories about lesbian, trans, and non-binary teens that aren't dark dramas or tragedies because those kids need to see themselves in hopeful, romantic, and light-hearted comedies, too. If I'm still pleased in my mid-40s to see high school movies include more characters I can identify with, then imagine how important it is to today's 16 and 17 year olds to get that in the high school movies they're watching.

There's a 99% chance that your high school experience was really different from mine (but more likely that it was also catastrophically miserable in its own special way). What do you make of high school movies now that you look back at the ones you saw when you were a teen? What do you see in the new ones being made today? Feel free to share in the comments!

PS - I can't end this post without a special shout out to Sky High (2005), a live action Disney film that has long been a favorite high school movie in my house of dedicated comic book nerds. It's goofy and even absurd but pitches the high school experience in a way that my husband, kid, and I all find immensely appealing. It offers diverse characters, lots of self-aware humor, and some very entertaining action scenes that take school fights to a whole new level. Plus, it has Bruce Campbell, Kurt Russell, Lynda Carter, and Cloris Leachman in it!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Classic Films in Focus: BLONDE CRAZY (1931)

Blonde Crazy (1931) is a Pre-Code cracker that really puts the slap in its slapstick, with Joan Blondell regularly smacking costar James Cagney as the pair make their way through a series of scams and double crosses. Cagney's conman deserves Blondell's tough love; his Bert is too smart for his own good and always on the make, especially when attractive women turn up, but Cagney works the flawed charm of the character for all he's worth, and he and Blondell have excellent chemistry. Director Roy Del Ruth skillfully handles the mix of comedy and drama in this Depression Era tale of likable schemers, which also features Louis Calhern, Ray Milland, and Guy Kibbee.

Cagney plays enterprising hotel bellhop Bert, who uses his job primarily as an opportunity to run crooked schemes. He helps Anne (Joan Blondell) get a position at the hotel in order to chat her up, but when she forcefully rejects his smooth talk he ends up making her his partner instead. The pair work their way up and out of the hotel, but in the city they become entangled with big time conman Dapper Dan (Louis Calhern) and his partner, Helen (Noel Francis). Anne eventually tires of Bert's relentless schemes and falls for the seemingly straight arrow Joe (Ray Milland), but Joe turns out to have a few crooked angles of his own.

There's plenty of tantalizing Pre-Code action in Blonde Crazy, with illicit booze, gambling, adultery, honey traps, robbery, and Joan Blondell's brassiere stuffed full of cash. It's a world of moral relativity that Blondell's character enters somewhat by accident; she's not naturally crooked but is tough enough to handle herself in spite of constant sexual harassment. Anne isn't much bothered by Bert's scams because he usually swindles other swindlers, but she draws the line at outright robbery. When she decides to get out of the game and marry Joe, Bert realizes that he's missed out on his opportunity for a better life with Anne by his side, and he quits, too. Bert's inclination to go straight is then ironically thwarted by Anne's distress when Joe is revealed as the worst crook of them all.

Cagney and Blondell carry the picture with their performances, with Cagney clearly relishing the wolfish energy of his character and Blondell striking just the right balance between cynicism and vulnerability. Bert's favorite endearment, a drawled "Hoooney!" that he often directs at Anne, rolls out of Cagney's mouth with a cocksure smirk that perfectly sums up his personality. Supporting the pair most notably are Louis Calhern and Noel Francis as con artists who make a mark of Bert and cheat him out of his own ill-gotten cash. Their ruthless efficiency makes our protagonists look like angels, but Anne figures out a way to get even with them. Guy Kibbee makes a memorable appearance as one of Bert and Anne's early marks, while Ray Milland pops up fairly late in the picture as the rival for Anne's affections. We don't really see enough of Milland's Joe to form opinions about him until the very end, and it's kind of a shame that Milland doesn't get to work that shifty glint in Joe's eye a little more before his final act of selfish betrayal.

Roy Del Ruth, who started in the silent era, directed a wide variety of pictures, including Born to Dance (1936), It Happened on 5th Avenue (1947), and The Alligator People (1959). For more of Cagney and Blondell together, see The Public Enemy (1931), The Crowd Roars (1932), Footlight Parade (1933), and He Was Her Man (1934). Ray Milland is just a young up-and-comer in Blonde Crazy; catch him in his prime in the 1940s in The Major and the Minor (1942), The Uninvited (1944), and The Lost Weekend (1945).

Blonde Crazy is currently streaming on FilmStruck.