Hello, every body.  Joe Morella and Frank Segers, your classic movie guys, catching up today with reader email.  We love to both receive and comment on the responses we get especially since they are invariably interesting, even provocative. (They also have a way of keeping us on our toes.)

Our pal Page on our June 22 blog, Debating THE WIZARD OF OZ — How Old Was Judy, Anyway?, with reference to Judy Garland versus Shirley Temple as to who originally was sought to play the role of Dorothy:

Having just watched the hour long anniversary special that re-aired on TCM last week, I couldn’t wait to see what you two had to add. Thanks for clearing up the rumors on Judy since (the role of Dorothy) was originally supposed to go to Shirley. So glad they went with Judy though as I’m sure everyone else is. Luckily, Shirley didn’t have the singing voice required. Great additional info you’ve provided here on the books and the iconic film.

Thanks, Page.  But keep in mind that although Temple was considered for The Wizard of Oz, the Fox star was not contractually available to MGM. Besides, the two powerhouses of producer Mervyn LeRoy and assistant producer Arthur Freed had their eyes on Judy from the beginning.

Wyatt Kingseed responded to our June 26 blog, ‘The Third Man’ Quiz — Test Your Knowledge Of This Classic Thriller, making the following observation about the movie’s ending:

My favorite film. No faults for me, including the zither. Thanks for the post. I don’t find the ending ambiguous though; Cotton doesn’t get the girl. I love how he tosses his cigarette down in final resignation. Valli is captivating.

Yes, Joseph Cotten doesn’t get the girl (Valli), but we still feel there is still a touch of ambiguity to the movie’s remarkable final scene.

Cotten was more confused than resigned. In his autobiography, the actor confessed to being clueless as to just how director Carol Reed would end the scene. After Valli’s character silently walks past him, nobody uttered a word…I continued to puff on my cigarette, and began to get quite panic-stricken. Was there more to the scene? Had I gone blank? What was Carol waiting for me to do? I took one more puff, then in exasperation threw the cigarette to the ground, at which point Carol shouted through his laughter…’cut.’

Roda Bradford makes a point in response to our Jan. 6 blog, YOUNG HUSBANDS And LOVERS — Loretta Young, That Is, quoting from the blog: “However, in the late 1960s the Catholic church changed its rules, and couples were allowed to divorce and receive the sacraments.”  The subject here is Young, a devout Roman Catholic, and her marital status.

This is simply not true.  Divorce always has been and remains absolutely forbidden by the Church.  There is a procedure called annulment, which determines if the marriage was never valid in the first place.  (For example, if one party was coerced against his or her will; or one or both parties were actually under-age.)  In the late 1960s and for many years afterwards, this procedure was badly abused by many bishops caught up in what some have called the “silly season” following the second Vatican Council.  Perhaps that is what happened here.  The situation got so bad that annulment became known as “Catholic Divorce”.  Things have been tightened up again and annulments are generally back to being true annulments.  Anyway, I thought you might be interested in this distinction.  It would be interesting to know more about the Young-Lewis dissolution in this regard.

Joe’s response: As I understand it second husband Tom Lewis and Young were allowed to get a civil divorce so that financial settlements could be made.  As we made clear, in the eyes of the church they were still married which is why Loretta did not marry designer Jean Louis until after Tom Lewis’ death.

That’s Loretta, above, with Clark Gable, the reputed father of her illegimate daughter. But some contend that Judy Lewis’ father could have been Loretta’s by great love Spencer Tracy (pictured below).  Both affairs and Judy’s birth were years before she met and married Tom Lewis.

Finally, Page again on We Ask Again: Are Classic Movies Best Viewed in Theaters? published on June 25:

An interesting article and debate. Unfortunately here in OKC (Oklahoma City) we don’t really have any theaters that dedicate any time to classic films. So often my fellow bloggers are announcing certain classics, actual events where they live where they get the opportunity to see them on a big screen, perhaps for the first time and I always get a bit sad, jealous that we aren’t that fortunate.

There are a few classics I’d love to see on the big screen and although I go to the movies a lot during the winter when the better films come out I’ve got a couple of films I’ve seen over the years that just didn’t work on television.  For example, ‘Gorillas in the Mist’ and ‘The Last of the Mohicans’ with their beautiful cinematography need to be seen on a large theater quality screen in order to truly enjoy them. Same for ‘Titanic.’

In closing, I would love to be able to see ‘Wings’ and the original ‘Ben Hur’ on the big screen just once!



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