Hello, everybody. Joe Morella and Frank Segers, your classic movie guys, here today to catch up with some welcome reader comments on a couple of our recent blogs.
(You’ve heard this from us a million times before but here we go again: we love to hear from you, so please, comment away.)
Our Aug. 21 piece on felines in movies (Holy Cats! Feline Stars) drew comments from what sound to us like true animal (and classic movie) lovers.
Regular reader Mike Sheridan writes:
When I saw this headline my first thoughts went to Simone Simon. I’m so glad this “not to be forgotten” actress was given some due.
Simone was a real siren back in the day, if not a handful for the director and the studio. She truly was one that you loved when on screen. Her rendition of “Seventh Heaven” with young Jimmy Stewart is one of my favorites. Thanks for the kudos to a deserving girl.
We agree. French native Simon (born in 1911; died seven years ago in Paris at 94) was not only a superb actress, but was a distinctively attractive one. British writer-critic David Thomson notes that Simon’s small, pretty face, a little pinched round the nose and slanted in the eyes suggested a feline cast to her features. In any case, she was gorgeous (yup, that’s her above).
Simon started making films in France in 1931, and embarked to Hollywood five years later. Of her French films, don’t miss 1938’s Le Bete Humaine directed by Jean Renoir, in which Simon plays a saucy mate to actor Jean Gabin.
In Twentieth Century Fox’s Seventh Heaven, directed by Henry King and released in 1938, Simon plays opposite the young Stewart. It’s a pleasant matchup. She is probably best remembered for her starring role in RKO producer Val Lewton’s 1942 classic Cat People. Simon is certainly worth a blog of her own, and we are inspired to put one on our schedule.
In our Feline Stars blog, we made mention of The Adventures of Chartran, a mid-Eighties family-oriented adventure made in Japan in which several felines were used to play the ‘lead’ part of an orange tabby cat who braves several close calls in the wild.
The picture was adapted for U.S. release as 1986’s The Adventures of Milo and Otis, pairing the cat with a pug canine and attaching a Dudley Moore narration.
Wyatt Kingseed writes: I loved “Milo and Otis.” Dudley Moore’s best film. Quite funny narration. I watched it with my kids over and over. One of my favorite cats is the feline who appeared in “I Remember Mama.”
Wyatt must be referring to the 1948 movie original directed by George Stevens and costarring Irene Dunne and Oscar Homolka as the heads of a Norwegian immigrant family in San Francisco and not to the TV series sponoff which ran from 1949 to 1957, costarring Peggy Wood and Judson Lair. Frankly, our recollections of a cat in the Television version are, shall we say, shaky.
Wyatt had this to say in response to our Aug. 16 blog, Paul Henreid & Edmond O’Brien: Underrated Actors In Underrated Movies:
Like O’Brien a lot. He’s great in the 1960s with “Seven Days in May,” “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” and “The Wild Bunch.”
We, too, especially like the actor’s excellent turn as the feisty old geezer in that last one, director Sam Peckinpah’s superb 1969 western. In it O’Brien almost outdoes the memorable Walter Huston portrayal of the indestructible “Howard” in son John Huston’s The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre, starring Humphrey Bogart as the all-too destructible”Fred Dobbs.”
Mike Sheridan surprised us with his response to our “spot the celebrities” exercise of Aug. 20 (Mystery Monday Photo: 2 Outta 3 Ain’t Bad). We figured two personalities in the photo (Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe) would be instantly identifiable, but not the third (composer-crooner Buddy Greco).
Fellas! That’s the world renowned Buddy Greco! Everyone recognizes Frank (Sinatra), but I cannot identify the girl, my best educated guess is M.M. but wouldn’t bet money on it.
You could have, Mike.