Dame-May-Whitty

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A group photograph of MGM’s stars and starlets under contract, taken for the studio’s 20th anniversary in 1943.

James Stewart, Margaret Sullavan, Lucille Ball, Hedy Lamarr, Katharine Hepburn, Harry James, Brian Donlevy, Red Skelton, Mickey Rooney, William Powell, Wallace Beery, Tommy Dorsey, George Murphy, Jean Rogers, James Craig, Donna Reed, Dame May Whitty, Reginald Owen, Keenan Wynn, Diana Lewis, Marilyn Maxwell, Esther Williams, Blanche Ring, Sara Haden, Fay Holden, Bert Lahr, Frances Gifford, Ben Blue, Chill Wills, Keye Luke, Barry Nelson, Desi Arnaz; Louis B Mayer, Greer Garson, Irene Dunne, Susan Peters, Ginny Simms, Lionel Barrymore, Spencer Tracy, Walter Pidgeon, Robert Taylor, Pierre Aumont, Lewis Stone, Gene Kelly, Jackie Jenkins, Van Johnson, Fay Bainter, Marsha Hunt, Ruth Hussey, Marjorie Main, Robert Benchley, Ann Richards, Marta Linden, Lee Bowman, Richard Carlson, Mary Astor, June Allyson, Richard Whorf, Frances Rafferty, Spring Byington, Connie Gilchrist, Gladys Cooper, Henry O'Neill, Bob Crosby, Rags Ragland.

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That’s the kind of fella I am. I make my mind up about something and then I do it.

Gaslight (1943). Years after her aunt was murdered in her home, a young woman moves back into the house with her new husband. However, he has a secret that he will do anything to protect, even if it means driving his wife insane.

One of the best finds in doing this project has been discovering Charles Boyer. He’s charming and creepy, kind and malicious - his range as an actor is genuinely a pleasure to encounter and an honest rarity. He’s so foreboding in this, but keeps his edge of charm which really props Ingrid Bergman’s equally wonderful performance as a woman losing her grip. It’s a terrific film. 8.5/10.

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250 Favorite Classic Films in no particular order
Night Must Fall (1937)
Well, here we all are perfectly ordinary English people. We woke up this morning thinking, hmmm, here’s another day. We got up, looked at the weather, talked… Here we all are still talking and… all the time…there may be something lying in the woods, hidden under a bush… with two feet showing, perhaps a high heel catching the sunlight with a bird perched on the end of it, and the other, the other stockinged foot with blood that’s dried on the stocking… and somewhere, somewhere there’s a man walking about and talking just like us, and he got up in the morning, and he looked at the world… and he killed her.

“The Lady Vanishes,” 1939. My favorite film directed by Alfred Hitchcock in the 1930s, it starts in the snowbound mountains of a fictional European nation and veers into a long train ride into hostile territory, hitting many of Hitchcock’s pet concerns along the way. The two cricket-obsessed lingerie salesman who are forced to share a bed were so popular they went on to star in their own films, radio shows and even a TV series. Dame May Whitty is one of the most delightful older women in any Hitchcock film, and she gets to do some wonderfully silly things like outrun gunfire and whistle a tune that somehow carries the secret clause in a treaty. Probably the most whimsical film Hitchcock ever made. 

They’ll tell you at MGM about how brainy, how cultured their Miss Garson is. And she is that. But nothing gets her like a love story. When she started working on “Madame Curie,” her current film, she read every book on that remarkable woman. But what got Greer were Marie Curie’s notes about making jam, notes scribbled in the midst of most scientific reports. “A womanly woman,” sighs Miss Garson, quite unaware that she is also describing herself.