Wednesday, January 2, 2013

TCM January 13 Star of the Month: Loretta Young

This month marks the centenary of the birth of actress Loretta Young, who wa born January 6, 1913. January 6 is a Sunday, and TCM rarely does its Star of the Month tributes on the weekend. Frank Sinatra in 2008 is the only one I can think of, and he had two nights each week, with Sunday being one of them. Anyhow, TCM is honoring Young on Wednesday nights in January so that they can run her films over five nights instead of four: they've got enough movies that they can run to cover five nights of prime time. As it is, the movies continue into Thursday mornings.

Tonight kicks off at 8:00 PM with Laugh, Cluwn, Laugh, a movie I briefly mentioned on Young's birthday back in 2009, and is a good one for anybody who enjoys silent movies. I've also briefly mentioned Life Begins (overnight at 12:30 AM) before. Loretta Young is, as most Hollywood actresses were, too glamorous to play a prisoner. Hollywood also makes preganacy look like far more of a breeze than it apparently is -- I'm a childless man, so I wouldn't know. For whatever realism flaws it has, though, it's a fun movie; in fact, part of the fun is the time capsule nature of the movie.

I don't think I've ever seen The Show of Shows (3:45 AM) before. This is a movie similar to The Hollywood Revue in that it's an all-star movie with no plot. Instead, Warner Bros. used a lot of its contract players in what was essentially a sound test for them, putting them in discrete scenes to show off their talents while at the same time seeing how well their voices worked with the new sound technology. Loretta Young appears with her real-life sister, Sally Blane, in a scene called "Meet My Sister". Everything I've read (which admittedly isn't much) suggests that the entire movie was filmed in two-strip Technicolor, but that only the finale survives in color, something which isn't unusual for the time.

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