Sunday, July 10, 2016

Great films of 1939: "The Women" July 23 at the Daystar Center

Great films of 1939: The Women
Where: The Venue 1550 at the Daystar Center, 1550 S. State Street, Chicago, IL
When: July 23, 2016
Time: 6:45 p.m.
Hosted by Stephen Reginald

The Women (1939) features an all-star female cast directed by George Cukor in the film version of Clare Boothe's Broadway play. Set among the pampered Park Avenue set played by Rosalind Russell, Joan Fontaine, Paulette Goddard, Mary Boland and Norma Shearer. Joan Crawford plays the manipulative Crystal Allen out to steal Mary Haine's (Shearer) husband so she can live on Park Avenue too. The film has the added dynamic of the real-life professional rivalry between stars Crawford and Shearer.

Director George Cukor (center) with cast of The Women
The Women has been remade as a musical in 1956 and updated in 2008, but neither version holds a candle to the original.

In 2007, the film was voted to the National Film Registry for preservation.


Part of the “Great movies of 1939” series. Discover some of the greatest movies from Hollywood’s most famous year.


Have some Joe and Enjoy the Show!
Before the movie, grab a cup of coffee from Overflow Coffee Bar, located within the Daystar Center. You can bring food and beverages into the auditorium; we even have small tables set up next to some of the seats. General Admission: $5 Students and Senior Citizens: $3.

Join the Chicago Film club; join the discussion
Twice a month we screen classic films and have a brief discussion afterward. For more information, including how to join (it’s free), click here. The Venue 1550 is easily accessible by the CTA. Please visit Transit Chicago for more information on transportation options.


Stephen Reginald is a freelance writer and editor. He has worked at various positions within the publishing industry for over 25 years. Most recently he was executive editor for McGraw-Hill’s The Learning Group Division. A long-time amateur student of film, Reginald hosts “Chicago Film Club,” a monthly movie event held in the South Loop, for the past two years. Reginald has also taught several adult education film classes at Facets Film School, Chicago.


Daystar Center located at 1550 S. State St. works through a grassroots network of collaborations and partnerships with individuals and other nonprofit organizations. Through this web, they’re able to provide educational, cultural, and civic activities that enrich and empower their clients, guests, and community members. To learn more about classes and events offered at the Daystar Center, please visit their Web site.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy Fourth of July!

Ava Gardner wishes you and our military a Happy Fourth of July 

Friday, July 1, 2016

Happy Birthday, Olivia de Havilland...100 years young!

Olivia de Havilland (1916) turns 100 today. Not only is de Havilland the last surviving cast member of Gone with the Wind (1939), but she’s also one of the last links to Hollywood’s Golden Age. Her career in Hollywood started in 1934 when she signed a five-year contract with Warner Bros.

Olivia de Havilland as Maid Marion  in The Adventures of Robin Hood, directed by Michael Curtiz

As a contract player, de Havilland performed in a variety of movies from the classical, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1935) to the adventure spectacle, The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938). A seemingly effortless performer, she excelled in both comedy and drama. In 1935 she costarred with Errol Flynn in the swashbuckler adventure Captain Blood. Flynn and de Havilland’s classic good looks plus their on-screen chemistry made them one of the movies most popular screen teams. Other collaborations included Charge of the Light Brigade (1938), Four’s a Crowd (1938), Dodge City (1939), Santa Fe Trail (1940), and They Died with Their Boots On (1941).

As Melanie Hamilton in Gone with the Wind directed by Victor Fleming

When David O. Selznick acquired the rights to Margaret Mitchell’s best-selling novel, Gone with the Wind, every actress in and out of Hollywood wanted to play Scarlett O’Hara except de Havilland. She had her sights set on playing Melanie Hamilton. Unknown to de Havilland, Selznick wanted her for the part. Jack Warner at first refused to loan her to Selznick, but de Havilland appealed to Warner’s wife and she got the role and an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress (she lost to Hattie McDaniel).
With Charles Boyer in Hold Back the Dawn, directed by Mitchell Leisen

With the success of Gone with the Wind, you’d think that Warner Bros. would have given de Havilland bigger and better roles, but she found some of her best parts on loan to other studios. She made Hold Back the Dawn (1941) at Paramount and received her first Academy Award nomination for Best Actress, losing famously to her younger sister Joan Fontaine. Eventually, she would fight Warner Bros. in court over the terms of the typical Hollywood contract and their habit of putting stars on suspension for turning down roles. She won the case and in many ways it was the beginning of the end of the studio system.

With John Lund in To Each His Own, directed by Mitchell Leisen

With her court case behind her, de Havilland signed a contract with Paramount. Her first picture for them was the comedy, The Well Groomed Bride (1946) costarring Ray Milland. But it was her next picture, To Each His Own (1946) directed by Mitchell Leisen, that would be one of her greatest successes. The movie was a hit and de Havilland won the Best Actress Oscar for her performance. More great roles followed, including playing twins—one good, one evil—in The Dark Mirror (1946). She starred in the groundbreaking film about a woman suffering from mental illness in The Snake Pit (1948). For that performance she was nominated for another Best Actress Oscar. She didn’t win that year, but her performance was honored with awards from the National Board of Review, New York Film Critics Circle Award, and the Venice Film Festival Volpi Cup. With all the honors and new acclaim, de Havilland was in demand; all the major directors in Hollywood wanted to work with her.

Playing identical twins in The Dark Mirror, directed by Robert Siodmak

Another great role came her way when she starred in the William Wyler production of The Heiress (1949). De Havilland’s performance is a tour de force of emotion with her character starting out as an innocent and shy woman to one who becomes worldly-wise, hard and steely by the film’s end. The Academy honored de Havilland with another Best Actress Oscar. Once again, de Havilland was in demand from the best directors in Hollywood. Elia Kazan wanted her to star as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951). She turned that role down, saying she wasn’t able to relate to the character being too happy after the birth of her son. Ironically, the role went to Vivian Leigh, her costar in Gone with the Wind. Leigh would go on to win her second Oscar.

With David Ladd and Alan Ladd in The Proud Rebel, directed by Michael Curtiz

Other big roles came her way including star turns in My Cousin Rachel (1952), Not as a Stranger (1955), The Ambassador’s Daughter (1956), and one of my personal favorites, The Proud Rebel (1958) costarring Alan Ladd who would become a lifelong friend. After the film Libel (1959), de Havilland’s film career began to slow down. She made occasional films like the romantic drama Light in the Piazza (1962), Lady in a Cage (1964), and to the help out old friend Bette Davis, she replaced Joan Crawford in Robert Aldrich’s Hush…Hush Sweet Charlotte (1964). During the 1970s, she appeared in supporting roles in several movies. She also starred in television movies, including Roots: The Next Generation (1979) as the wife of a former Confederate officer played by Henry Fonda. The production reunited the two stars who played husband and wife in The Male Animal (1942). In 1986 de Havilland won a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress playing the Dowager Empress Maria in the miniseries Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna.

A great beauty and a great talent, de Havilland was and is one of the true legends of classic Hollywood.


Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is honoring de Havilland as the July star of the month.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Preston Sturges series: Screening of “Sullivan’s Travels” June 28 at Daystar Center



Preston Sturges series: Sullivan’s Travels
Where: The Venue 1550 at the Daystar Center, 1550 S. State Street, Chicago, IL
When: June 28, 2016
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Hosted by Stephen Reginald


Veronica Lake and Joel McCrea
Sullivan’s Travels (1942) is a satirical look at life in Hollywood as only Preston Sturges could tell it. It centers around successful movie director John L. Sullivan (Joel McCrea) and his quest to learn more about life so he can film the deadly serious novel O Brother Where Art Thou?

Sullivan’s previous films were profitable comedies, but the director yearns for something more. He wants to be taken seriously like Frank Capra.

To learn about life, Sullivan disguises himself as a hobo. Along the way he meets a disillusioned young actress (Veronica Lake) who convinces him to take her along on his quest. Together they experience many adventures where they discover that a little laughter goes a long way in tough times.

But then the movie world is suddenly turned upside down when Sullivan goes missing. Sullivan’s Travels features the great Sturges stock company featuring William Demarest, Robert Greig, Eric Blore, Esther Howard, and Franklin Pangborn.

Backstory: Veronica Lake was six months pregnant when she signed on for this film, which made Preston Sturges furious. Fortunately, Sturges was able to film Lake in such a way that it is almost impossible detect.

Veronica Lake getting last minute makeup attention on the set

Have some Joe and Enjoy the Show!
Before the movie, grab a cup of coffee from Overflow Coffee Bar, located within the Daystar Center. You can bring food and beverages into the auditorium; we even have small tables set up next to some of the seats. General Admission: $5 Students and Senior Citizens: $3.

Join the Chicago Film club; join the discussion
Twice a month we screen classic films and have a brief discussion afterward. For more information, including how to join (it’s free), click here. The Venue 1550 is easily accessible by the CTA. Please visit Transit Chicago for more information on transportation options.


Stephen Reginald is a freelance writer and editor. He has worked at various positions within the publishing industry for over 25 years. Most recently he was executive editor for McGraw-Hill’s The Learning Group Division. A long-time amateur student of film, Reginald hosts “Chicago Film Club,” a monthly movie event held in the South Loop, for the past two years. Reginald has also taught several adult education film classes at Facets Film School, Chicago.


Daystar Center located at 1550 S. State St. works through a grassroots network of collaborations and partnerships with individuals and other nonprofit organizations. Through this web, they’re able to provide educational, cultural, and civic activities that enrich and empower their clients, guests, and community members. To learn more about classes and events offered at the Daystar Center, please visit their Web site.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Great Films of 1939: "In Name Only" June 11 at Daystar Center

Great films of 1939: In Name Only
Where: The Venue 1550 at the Daystar Center, 1550 S. State Street, Chicago, IL
When: June 11, 2016
Time: 6:45 p.m.
Hosted by Stephen Reginald

In Name Only (1939) stars Carole Lombard and Cary Grant in rare dramatic form in this marital melodrama directed by John Cromwell (Since You Went Away).

Grant is Alec Walker, a man stuck in a loveless marriage with his wife Maida (Kay Francis). Maida married Alec for his money and his social position; she never loved him. One afternoon Alec runs into Julie (Lombard), a commercial artist with a young daughter named Ellen (Peggy Ann Garner). They are instantly attracted to each other, but Maida stands in the way of their happiness.

Carole Lombard, Cary Grant and Kay Francis mug for the camera in this
publicity photo for In Name Only
Although the public loved Lombard and Grant for their comedy performances, both are believable as a couple deeply in love. Will their love survive Maida’s intrigue?

One of the great melodramas of the late-1930s, In Name Only was praised by the critics. Variety said, “In the steering of the story director John Cromwell has made every situation as believable as could be accomplished in order to sustain the dramatic undercurrent, strife and the beleaguered romance which has developed. Cary Grant and Carole Lombard emerge highly impressive.” Frank Nugent of the New York Times called the film “Soap opera par excellence…blessed with a peerless cast.”

In Name Only premiered in New York at the city’s famed Radio City Music Hall on August 4, 1939 where it was held over for several weeks.


Have some Joe and Enjoy the Show!
Before the movie, grab a cup of coffee from Overflow Coffee Bar, located within the Daystar Center. You can bring food and beverages into the auditorium; we even have small tables set up next to some of the seats. General Admission: $5 Students and Senior Citizens: $3.

Join the Chicago Film club; join the discussion
Twice a month we screen classic films and have a brief discussion afterward. For more information, including how to join (it’s free), click here. The Venue 1550 is easily accessible by the CTA. Please visit Transit Chicago for more information on transportation options.


Stephen Reginald is a freelance writer and editor. He has worked at various positions within the publishing industry for over 25 years. Most recently he was executive editor for McGraw-Hill’s The Learning Group Division. A long-time amateur student of film, Reginald hosts “Chicago Film Club,” a monthly movie event held in the South Loop, for the past two years. Reginald has also taught several adult education film classes at Facets Film School, Chicago.


Daystar Center located at 1550 S. State St. works through a grassroots network of collaborations and partnerships with individuals and other nonprofit organizations. Through this web, they’re able to provide educational, cultural, and civic activities that enrich and empower their clients, guests, and community members. To learn more about classes and events offered at the Daystar Center, please visit their Web site.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day 2016

Remembering those who sacrificed all for our freedom

John Wayne, Donna Reed, and Robert Montgomery in They Were Expendable

Sunday, May 29, 2016

More than mistaken identity

Perhaps you’ve seen this type of slideshow from lifedaily before. They’re usually links posted beneath a news story on that news company’s Web site and tend toward gossip. Most of the time I ignore these slideshows, but I clicked on this one because it featured an image of a movie star I admire that piqued my curiosity.


This is a picture of Gene Tierney (I think this is a publicity still from Tobacco Road) identified as a prostitute who had an affair with JFK during his presidency. It’s true that Tierney dated Kennedy, but that was before he was married and before he was president. And I’m certain Tierney, with all her well-documented troubles, was never a prostitute. This kind of sloppiness makes you wonder what if anything “reported” is true. Not sure if any of Tierney’s relatives have seen this, but if they have, I think they may have a lawsuit in the making.

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