Monday, December 5, 2011

EBay find

I recently purchased this photo from eBay, it’s a photo from Natalie’s biggest movie, 1934’s “The Thin Man”. Natalie didn’t have a big part, but it was important, she dies early, but her death starts off the hole mess. If you haven’t seen The Thin Man your missing out on one of the best movies ever! They ended up making I think 5 more Thin Man movies, but none are as good as the first. First off to me this movie is the ultimate “Art Deco” movie, not just the scenery but the people themselves. Natalie is the perfect example of art deco, look at those art deco drawings of the men in top hats and the chic women, all the women look like Natalie, down to the clothes and perfect hair. William Powell and Myrna Loy are the perfect couple, even they look streamlined, the elegant clothes, they were perfect together, and don’t forget about that fantastic tight black gown that Minna Gombell wears towards the beginning, art deco at it’s finest. The whole look of this movie just blows me away, I know it’s Hollywood, but that’s the world I want to live in, cool clothes and gorgeous women, Natalie, Myrna Loy, Minna Gombell and don’t forget the heavenly Maureen O’Sullivan. The fact that this movie was kind of a throwaway, a rush job that no one thought would be a hit, makes this movie even more amazing, great story and great acting, sadly the sequels just don’t come close. Now don’t get me wrong, I love all the Thin Man movies, but as William Powell and Myrna Loy age they begin to look less streamlined, and as we move into the 40’s the clothes change and it just doesn’t look right, these characters are art deco, and when they leave that world behind it’s just not right. Plus the scripts started to get lame, they basically just keep repeating the same jokes over and over again, if it worked in the first movie, why change it, but after a while they became too predictable.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Future projects?

Although I’m still searching for more info on Ms Moorhead, there are plenty others I’m interested in, those whose career came and went, some were big stars, some just bit parts, but all very important and mysterious. I’ve already talked about the great Marjorie Gateson, who seems just as mysterious as Natalie, my first search for info on her came up with very little, although TCM recently showed “Kings Vacation” with George Arliss, in which Marjorie had a big part. The idea of writing a book about Natalie Moorhead would be great, but as of now impossible, without finding someone who knew her personally or access to her personal papers, but what about a book dedicated to those who time has sadly forgot. Even the novice movie fans know Charlie Chaplin, Humphrey Bogart, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Clark Gable, and Greta Garbo, but who knows Aileen Pringle, Betty Compson, Toby Wing, Dorothy Mackaill, Kay Johnson, and Helen Vinson? Although I still plan to keep this blog Natalie Moorhead centered, you may start seeing reviews and info on the following actress that I find fascinating and sadly forgotten.

Betty Compson 1897-1974
Absolutely beautiful and a cute voice, an awesome combination, Betty was a big star in the silent’s and early talkies, but soon dropped to bit parts, then low budget movies, then gone. Although she went on to have a solid career after the movies making ash trays for clubs and restaurants with her ex boxer husband in the 60’s to 70’s. But why did she drop when she had such talent and unbelievable beauty?

Dorothy Mackaill 1903-1990
Another big late silent and early talkie star, whose career sadly fell apart, although she stayed in Hollywood and was a part of the scene. I’ve read she quit pictures to take care of her sick mother, but why didn’t she come back, she had the talent and was one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen.

Kay Johnson 1904-1975
If you haven’t seen “Madam Satan” your missing out on a fun movie, a bit strange, but fun. Kay Johnson seemed to be very big for about a year or two in the early 30‘s, two big Cecil B Demille movies, and a few other big movies, then gone. I about went crazy when I saw her in “Mr. Lucky” in 1943, a very small part, but she looked a good as ever. Like Natalie she had a unique look and voice, how can you not love her?

Toby Wing 1915-2001
Easily one of the sexiest women of all time, Marilyn Monroe is nowhere close, she’s sexy and cute, a dangerous combination. Now can she act, not really, she a had few movies with bigger parts, but she mostly had bit parts, just walking around in her underwear or chorus in musicals, but who cares about acting with Toby. Toby was just plain fun, but a quickly as she appeared she was gone, why? I’ve read she became a teacher, wow, can you imagine having a former movie star as your teacher?

Jean Parker 1915-2005
I’ve talked about beauties, but none compare to Jean Parker, just stunning, and that voice, what a goddess, I fell in love with her the first time I saw her. She started in smaller parts became a big star in B movies, then disappeared, why? She wasn’t so great in the dramas but in comedies she was fantastic, they made over 6 Maisie movies with Ann Southern, and about 7 Torchy Blane movies with Glenda Farrell, now I love Glenda and Ann but come on those Kitty D’Day movies with Jean are perfect, why only did they only make 2?

Mary Brian 1906-2002
She got her start as Wendy in the silent Peter Pan, became a big star in the early talkies, but again was just about gone in the 40’s, with those looks and voice, how can you not love her. She had a brief fling on TV on “Meet Corliss Archer”, then retired and became a painter.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Silver Screen magazine 1931

I know it’s been a long time since I last posted, but I’ve been very busy with other projects, and haven’t had time to do much research or watch movies. But I did finally find the Sept 1931 issue of Silver Screen magazine, the only magazine that I know of that had a feature on Natalie Moorhead. I’ve been searching for years, the problem was I knew of the article, the magazine, and the year, but not which month, finally I stumble upon it and probably spent more than I should have, but I had to have it. The story is fun, but nothing I didn’t already know, still sounds like a Hollywood made up story, which doesn’t help when trying to find some real information. I really need to find someone alive who knew Natalie, so many questions, and no way of finding the answers. Although the story wasn’t anything new, the issue did have some other great stuff like a feature on Ruth Chatterton, one of my favorites, plus a story on the great Clara Bow, oh and I can’t forget the Natalie Moorhead Maybelline ad. Hopefully soon I can start adding some more reviews and information, I’m currently looking into Natalie’s three (or is it 4) husbands, stay tuned.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Another great find!!!

I picked up this awesome book at a local used book store for $20, that’s a deal! It’s “Stars of the Photoplay” kind of a Hollywood yearbook put out by Photoplay magazine from the year 1930. I love movies from the 20’s to the 40’s, but the early 30’s is my favorite time, most of my favorite actors/actresses are from that period, I love the pre code stuff, I just thank those actors had a more interesting life, those who had to go from silent to talkies. And of course Natalie is in it, she was on the way to bigger things at this point, but the thing that gets me is that is says she was married to Raymond Phillips, strange I have fond no evidence of this marriage anywhere, it only lasted 7 months, but it’s very strange that no story I have ever seen mentions this person, only Imdb has mentioned it. Some of my other favorites who are in this include: Jean Arthur, Mary Astor, Clara Bow, Evelyn Brent, Mary Brian, Nancy Carroll, Ruth Chatterton, Maurice Chevalier, Ina Claire, Claudette Colbert, Betty Compson, Ronald Colman, Gary Cooper, Ricadro Cortez, Marion Davies, Sally Eilers, Kay Johnson, Helen Kane, Lila Lee, Harold Lloyd, Dorothy Mackaill, Frederic March, Colleen Moore, May Pickford, William Powell, Aileen Pringle, Charlie Ruggles, Gloria Swanson, and many others!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Cross Examination (1932)

Again sorry for the poor quality photos, computer issues keep me from using screen shots, just my trusty old camera. This was a good little movie, a bit predictable, yet a different take on the typical courtroom drama. Unlike most courtroom movies that end in the courtroom, this movie takes place from start to finish in court. The story comes through as flashbacks, so really no one is the star, they all have smaller parts. Natalie is billed third but she has a smaller part than some of the others, she does fine in her little part, again as the other woman, the wife who is cheating with a young man. Over all the acting was fine, not bad for a lower budget picture.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Discarded Lovers (1932)

A classic example of Natalie Moorhead being surrounded by poor acting. Even worse Natalie gets top billing yet is killed off after only 25 minutes. Her lines flow smoothly, the way she walks and moves, she looks very natural and real, while some of her costars are very stiff and sometimes have little pauses between lines. Like always she looked fantastic and acted perfectly, her usual role as a user of men, a somewhat villain and victim. She plays an actress who left her first husband for an actor, then ruined him, while she ruined a few other men, in all about 5 people want her dead, and when she dies of course they all seem guilty. I figured it out very quickly, a lot of these lower budget mysteries fail in this aspect, the suspects seem to obvious, the person who looks most innocent ends up being the killer, been there done that. J. Farrell MacDonald played the police sergeant and he was fine, I’ve always liked him, but the others were pretty rough. It was great to see Natalie in a starring role even if it was only in half the film, she looked great, she’s a goddess, her clothes looked great for a lower budget picture. I really loved the sets, again for a lower budget movie the Art Deco sets where great, very impressive, Natalie’s house was an Art Deco lovers dream, then again Natalie herself is an Art Deco dream, if you don’t know what I mean by that, I’ll explain it in a future post.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Enough is enough

I work at the local library, and this week we received two new coffee table books on Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland, oh my god, do we need anymore books of them, give me a break. It seems every year new books are put out on Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, Bette Davis, Grace Kelly, Marlon Brando, get over it, they weren’t the only people in Hollywood back then. First off let me just say I think they are all over rated, Marilyn wasn’t attractive at all and she was a horrible actress, very annoying, and although I like the Wizard of Oz, I can’t stand Judy’s annoying whinny voice, she‘s the same in all of her movies. Marlon Brando acted the same in every picture he did, no talent, the same goes for Bette Davis, the queen of over acting. They’ve all been dead for so long, so what more can come out about them that we need more books every year, please find someone else to write about. For example I would love a book about Ruth Chatterton, not only was see very beautiful but quite talented, although she made to many over melodramatic movies. She was a major Hollywood star in the early 30’s, at one time one of the highest paid stars, she also was a star on Broadway, wrote a few novels, and was an aviator at a time when women didn’t fly. I’ve read she sponsored some air races, and I’ve seen photos of her with Amelia Earhart, so I’m sure she has a very interesting story, sadly she died in the 60’s, but then again so did Marilyn.

Why not a coffee table book full of photos on Clara Bow, ten times better looking than Marilyn and twice the talent. How about some nice books on Jane Wyman, a beauty and a fantastic actress, what about Judith Anderson, she was in some great movies and a star on Broadway, yet we have nothing. Like Jane Wyman, Ida Lupino had the looks and talent, not only as an actress but a director, where’s my coffee table book on her? How about a book on Olivia DeHavilland and her Sister Joan Fontaine, I’m not talking about just bios, I want the big books full of pictures and information. How about Gene Tierney, can you just imagine how bad Leave Her to Heaven would have been if Bette Davis had her role, Gene Tierney is one of the greatest beauties of our time and yet we get nothing, by the way her autobiography is a great book.

Even Loretta Young doesn’t have a big book, she had a long and interesting career in movies and early TV. How about a book on William Powell, the coolest guy ever in movies, or how about Edward G. Robinson? I know this is off topic, but I’m just tired of seeing new books every year on the same people, I am so sick and tired of Marilyn Monroe, please some one tell me what is so good about her. To get back on topic, I ordered two more Natalie Moorhead movies, so expect some more reviews shortly.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The King of Gamblers (1937)

An interesting movie starring one of my favorites, Claire Trevor, about a woman who gets caught up with the wrong people, but the typical happy ending. Natalie plays “woman at the table” one quick little scene with a line, although it doesn’t sound like her to me. At one point it looks like she was about to say something then it cuts to another angle, then she does say something but it doesn’t sound like her, was she over dubbed? I’m fairly sure that’s her, she’s credited as “woman at table” and it looks like her, but the voice just doesn’t seem right. I’d like to know a little more about this movie.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Heart of Arizona (1938)

I waited a long time for this movie, and finally I got a copy and it was better than I thought. Sadly the tape was used and had seen better days, but I recently saw that it’s available now on DVD, I may have to buy it. This was probably Natalie last leading part, and probably her first in a few years. I didn’t know what to expect, she always plays beautiful women with fancy clothes, very chic, but now she was going to play a cowgirl. She really pulled it off, she was a brunette at this point, I think that helped the look, the short blonde bob probably would have looked strange in that setting. First off this is a Hopalong Cassidy movie, so Natalie isn’t the star, but I would say she was probably third on the list, a leading character. She plays Belle Star, a woman with a troubled past, trying to go straight, and raise her daughter. Hopalong Cassidy and his partner are both in love with her, but of course trouble starts when another rancher tries to frame Belle with stolen cattle. Of course there is a shoot out in the end and sadly Belle gets shot trying to save Hoppy and gang, so much for the happy ending. This was a rare movie for Natalie as she doesn’t play the villain, she is actually Hoppy’s love interest, she did a good job with a western, to bad she didn’t make more, her career could have kept going, she looks great in the western clothes. It was really interesting seeing this woman who usually plays rich beautifully dress women riding a horse, it just seemed so strange, but Natalie could do it all, I hate to repeat myself but, why wasn’t she a star?

Monday, July 18, 2011

I Want a Divorce (1940)

I watched this movie the other day, not bad, I prefer my Joan Blondell and Dick Powell in comedies, but it was still pretty good. Why do I bring this up, well I’m working on a detailed filmography for Natalie Moorhead and I found out that this movie was one of her last. Funny I don’t remember seeing her in this, so I went back and skimmed through it, I still didn’t see her. IMDB lists her has Mrs. Tyrell, I don’t remember that name even coming up, and if her character is given a name then she must been seen or at least say something, if not she would just be woman at table or something like that. Now the copy I have looks like it was recorded from TV, it looks like they skipped commercials. Maybe her quick scene was cut out by mistake, or maybe the station cut some of it in order to fit a time slot, they used to do that for TV, thank god for TCM. I guess I’ll have to sit and watch it again sometime, I have a couple of ideas where she may be, but for now lets count this with “The Women” as one of the “Where’s Natalie?” movies.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Show Girl in Hollywood (1930)

I somehow missed this on TCM when I was putting together my recording schedule for this month, but I saw in just in time to record it and I’m glad I did. It was a fun little early talkie staring the always fun Alice White, but the good part came at the end. During the last few minutes, the characters are arriving at a movie premier, and when on of the characters gets out of the car, he has two woman with him, but wait a minute, that blonde looks familiar, could it be? The blonde then says a little line, and a few minutes later we see them again sitting in the theater, it sure looks like her. So I grabbed my filmography and sure enough, it was Natalie Moorhead, in one of her first movies, it wasn’t much but a very important part of her history, and now I have over half of her 64 movies, so close yet so far away.

Monday, July 11, 2011

New information found!!

I deleted my bio post because I have found a lot of new info that changes many things. I’ve updated the quick info post and I am currently revising the bio. Many thanks to a coworker of mine for finding a copy of the 1910 census, which answered a lot of questions and created many new ones. I’ve also found a copy of the 1880 census which gives me some info on Natalie’s parents, very interesting. The best thing is finally putting and end to the question of Natalie’s age, she was born in 1901, and her real name is Morehead, not Messner. I’m extremely happy to have this info, but I’m really more interested in the years after her retirement, 1941-1992, still too many questions that need answered, if I could only find someone alive who knew her.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Manslaughter (1930)

This movie stars the beautiful Claudette Colbert and Fredric March, Fredric wasn’t great, but he will be in future movies, but Claudette was great, she is easily one of the greatest actresses of all time, she’s great in comedies and drama’s, you can’t go wrong with Claudette. Natalie have very little to do in this movie, really not much to say, she had a small part as Claudette’s friend, said a few lines and that’s it.