Saturday, September 29, 2012

Weekend Cinema Spotlight: Houseboat

"Houseboat" (1958)

I haven't had to chance to spotlight as many Cary Grant films as I would have liked but since this is officially the last weekend of September (oh my that went fast!) But I thought I would spotlight one of my favorite Cary Grant films.

Houseboat was actually my first Cary Grant film and I remember first watching it at Grandma's house. At this point I was watching classic films on my own accord, looking back I wonder what my Grandma thought of me watching them instead of MTV hehe

This is film has a lovely cast; Grant, Sophia Loren (as Cinzia), Martha Hyer (as Carolyn), Harry Guardino (as Angelo), and Paul Petersen (as David).

The film begins with Tom Winters (Grant) coming home after the death of his estranged wife. He is now in charge of his three children and although his former sister in law, Carolyn (Hyer) has been longing to take her position but his side...things change one night at a concert.

Cinzia Zaccardi is the daughter of a famous Italian conductor. Before you know it she has landed a job as Tom's maid, little does he know that she is clueless about such things. Cinzia is yearning for a different life that the one she has as do Tom's children, creating a special bond between them. Although things are complicated by Carolyn's advances, Tom's friends assuming Cinzia is something other than a maid, and Angelo's advances-Cinzia and Tom find that they have fallen in love with one another. 

I found many scenes of this films endearing, like Robert (Charles Herbert) playing the harmonica and the way Grant and Loren interacted with the children. I know this may come as a huge surprise but this is the only film I have seen with Loren in it. I know! Shame on me! I did find her character to be charming and sweet but there were scenes that annoyed me, like when she was convincing Tom's daughter Elizabeth (Mimi Gibson) to not sleep in her father's bed. I suppose I never like it when women get involved in the raising of another person's child and act like that child's mother. 

For example, in the "Sound of Music"...I know most people adore that film and I enjoy it but I cannot stand how a former nun suddenly marries a well-known wealthy man and she in her own way demands to be their mother. That's probably the most annoying part of this film for me-these children just lost their mother and suddenly a "new" one is thrown at them. Ahhhh, yes I have issues with that. I am a firm believer that people cannot just walk around taking the places of others-dead or alive-but I supposed that is the old school approach to family and marriage most likely taken in those times. LOL I know, I just digressed...hehehe

Interesting Facts About Houseboat:
  1. Original screenplay was written by Besty Drake, Grant's third wife. 
  2. Grant originally wanted it to star her but his extra-marital affair with Sophia Loren complicated the project. Drake's script was drastically re-written by two other writers to accommodate Loren and bears little resemblance to Drake's concept.
  3. Carlo Ponti obtained a Mexican divorce from his first wife and married Loren by proxy, while she was in Hollywood, filming Houseboat (1958) - and dating co-star Cary Grant (17 September 1957).
  4. It is said that Grant was devastated that Loren married Ponti. He had a difficult time filming especially the final scene of the film where the marry and kiss. He was a good sport though, he congratulated them both and shook Ponti's hand.
  5. Parts of the movie, "Houseboat", were filmed in Fort Washington, Maryland on the Potomac River and Piscataway Creek at the present site of Fort Washington marina
  6. The eldest son of the character of Tom Winters (Grant) is Peter Peterson who also starred in The Donna Reed Show.
  7. Martha Hyer who plays Carolyn, the former sister in law of Tom's, can also be seen in Sabrina with Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart.
  8. Melville Shavelson who directed this film also directed another favorite film of mine-Yours, Mine, and Ours
  9. All three child actors who worked with Grant and Loren said that they treated them with great care and kindness. Not all film actors take a liking to children-it was nice to hear that these two great stars were.
  10. Edith Head designed Loren's stunning dresses. I mean the woman could wear a plastic bag over her body and she would still be gorgeous but Head's dresses really were divine!

This film is fun, heartwarming, and terribly sweet. Grant was just a fox in this role....I mean he really was...woweeeee! The child actors were incredible and really made this film special for me.

I didn't forget about reviewing the book written by his daughter, Jennifer Grant. I just need more time to finish it! hehe

I hope you all enjoyed my posts about this amazing man and actor! Tune in for another post inspired by Sophia Loren's amazing wardrobe from this film!


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bunny at the 1960's World's Fair!

In 1964 and 1965 New York hosted the World's Fair at Flushing Meadow Park in Queens. The World's Fair was and still is a celebration of technology, music, food, and culture.  My father, who must have been at least fourteen or fifteen years old actually played in a band at the one of the theaters. The story goes that he borrowed one of my grandma's wigs (getting the hair that big those days required the use of wigs) and sang songs from The Rolling Stones. According to my dad he sounded like Mick Jagger and I believe him! I so wish someone had a recording of his voice or a video-how neat would that be to see!! Ahhhh my dad singing-swoon!!!!

I have seen this park a dozen or more times but I had never been inside of it. So I decided that it would be amazing to do a 1960's themed shoot at a place that meant so much to my dad and also a place that was filled with so much history.

This is a view of the park-The Unisphere and the Observatory Towers (they were also seen 
in the film "Men in Black") were my background. The park was gorgeous that day and 
the trees (I love trees!) were just stunning. It really was a beautiful day for a shoot!

I worked with Christina Marotto Photography and with Veronica Vintage who does my hair and makeup--what an incredible team we three make. The shoot was hard work for all of us but so much fun-these two girls were a blast to hang out with!

I wore a beautiful 1960's light green dress which was given to me by a sweet friend named Swing Sister. She really helped make my shoot extra special and I am so grateful to her!!! So much work and planning goes into a shoot especially when it is on location. I borrowed the cardigan, belt, and crinoline from Veronica Vintage and the second and third dress were borrowed from Brittany~Va Voom Vintage.

I borrowed authentic 1964-1965 World's Fair pamphlets from my father-I actually bought them for him years ago. They were so neat so read through. How fun must it have been to see all that culture and technology in a pre-internet world!!

As you all know, making a shoot a successful one takes a team of people. My children slept over my dad's house for the weekend, my husband (even though he was exhausted) drove me to my Veronica Vintage's house for hair and makeup. And then all the prepping that had to go on about a month or two in advance. I am so grateful to all those who helped me have an amazing and successful shoot. Honestly, this is my best shoot to date. I have grown so much as a model in the past year and this is the shoot I felt the most confidant!

Before I get to share with you some photos, I have a say a HUGE thank you to my photographer, Christina Marotto and my hair/makeup artist Veronica Vintage. Seriously-they were just amazing! I learned so much about posing and what works for my body and what doesn't-ahhhh I loved it!! 

So without further adieu, here are some of my photos from my 1960's World's Fair Shoot! 

So what do you all think? My team is amazing right? I am one very, very blessed and lucky Bunny! I truly am. And I still have more to share-you will see them in the coming month. I will give you a tease-birds are involved!! hehe

If you are interested with working with me, my photographer, or my hair/makeup artist, just simply click on the links I added above. My photographer also has a limited time only ad on Living Social. Go check her out!!!

I have another special shoot coming up in late October. It is turning out to be a 1950's shoot but I am still working on the themes. It will be my most challenging shoot to date because the hours will be insane but oh my-I know it will be all worth it in the end!

I loved sharing my 1960's inspired shoot with you. I also hope you feel a little inspired to put yourself in front of a camera too. It is an amazing experience-I love it!!!

xox, Bunny

Monday, September 24, 2012

Downton Abbey 1920's Fashion

As many of you know, Downton Abbey recently began their third season. I find it especially thrilling because they are now entering into an entirely different decade. The roaring twenties is the time frame in which we will see the Crawley family and their staff experience life in a entirely different way.

One of the other reasons that I personally find it thrilling is because it gives me an opportunity to learn more about this decade as well as visualize what life could have been like during that time. I love learning about people and how they lived-don't you!

An important aspect of any time in history is what the people wore. In the 20th Century especially for women, we have witnessed each decade bringing forth new and inventive ways of expression through clothing, accessories, hair, and makeup.

Here is a glimpse to the fashions have already popped up at the Downton Abbey estate-circa 1920:
Headdress has always been important in women's fashions. Unfortunately, not so much today especially with common, everyday folks. Hats shifted and changed but they were still very stylish. Cloche hats became incredibly popular in the 1920's and they went so well with the also popular bob hair cut and finger waves.
Women began to leave behind the tight laced corsets and embraced dresses with a lower waistline, as well as showing a bit of their calves which was a huge deal! Women also began to wear trousers (oh the scandal!) and sportswear. Rayon was used to make stockings and metal hooks and eyes replaced buttons and lacing. Such an exciting time for fashion (and for women!!).
If you are looking for authentic pieces of 1920's clothing to wear yourself, look no further because Etsy has loads of amazing pieces. Be aware that unfortunately many pieces are expensive because of the age and delicate nature of the garments. 

Here an outfit I put together-I just love the colors! I wish I could have found a better hat to match though!
All pieces are authentically 1920's: OneTwo, and Three

For those of you who are big fans of "Downton Abbey" like I am, we have been with the Crawley family and their staff since 1912. For them it is now 1920 and so many changes have already occurred and so many more to come! It is exciting to see characters change with the time or fight against it, hoping to hold on to the traditions of the past. Both are beautiful and neither way of being is wrong.

As a women, I am grateful that we have made so much progress, not just in the way we are able to express ourselves with dress but also in how many opportunities we have as well. Thank you to the turn of the century suffragettes and the flappers of the 1920's. So many more decades to cover , my hope is that "Downton Abbey" stays with us for many years to come!


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Dress like Melanie Daniels from "The Birds"

Tippi Hedren's character, Melanie Daniels from Hitchcock's The Birds, managed to stay stylish even after a long, unexpected trip to Bodega Bay. Looking prim and proper and still stunning after being attacked by seagulls and a future mother 'n law, now who wouldn't want to recreate such an iconic look. I mean if Miss Daniels can make it work for her after all that, couldn't we?

Here is a traditional take on her look:
All pieces are authentic 1960's: (1) Viva Vintage Clothing

There are days where Melanie wore her gold necklace and days she didn't but it's a simple yet gorgeous piece to have. She also has her handy dandy cigarettes with her especially when she is stressed out (ie. dead seagull on Annie's doorstep), but I am not a supporter of smoking so that will be up to you.

Here are some amazing dresses that have been inspired by birds (the animal not film):

If you feel inspired by Miss Daniels outfit, you can throw some black crows on  yourself (not real ones please! hehe) and  you have an instant Halloween costume!!!

This post was loads of fun to do. Let me know if you like seeing a fashion post after a film review-I would love to do more!!


Friday, September 21, 2012

Special Cinema Spotlight: The Birds

"The Birds" (1963)

I'm sitting in a dark theatre and I begin to hear these loud, piercing sounds. I wondered what they were....and then wondered no more when I looked at the screen and saw birds flying. I never noticed the sounds that birds make at the beginning of this film. I have seen it many times as it is one of my favorite Alfred Hitchcock films, but let's just say that after seeing this movie on the big screen I will never look at birds the same way again!

On Wednesday night I headed off to a night with TCM's Robert Osborne at a special screening of The Birds. Okay so I didn't really spend the night chatting it up with Robert Osborne but I did see him on the big screen as he introduced the film and also shared an interview with the film's star Tippi Hedren.

Before I get into the film itself-the two photos below are a little taste of the kind of advertising Hitchcock did before releasing his films. The man was a genius story teller and a genius at getting the word out about his works. Remember this was many, many years before the Internet was around so it takes smarts, creativity, and a certain savviness to do what he did and the way he did it.
There are so many things I didn't notice and in many ways I felt like I was watching the film for the first time. In the beginning of the film you see Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren's character) walking into a bird shop. A little boys whistles at Melanie as she walks by, she turns around and smiles happily because someone noticed how fabulous she is. Then moments later Hitchcock makes his famous cameo while walking two of his own dogs. He made cameos in almost all of his films. Goodness how did I not notice these things before!
The story begins when Melanie meets a dashing and incredible handsome Mitch Brenner who was played by Rod Taylor (who was also in another film I spotlighted, The Time Machine). There they exchange flirtations and inquiries about love birds (how ironic). Before long Melanie is on an adventure to Bodega Bay where Mitch's family lives to surprise his sister Cathy (played by Veronica Cartwright) for her birthday. Joining the cast is Jessica Tandy as Mitch's mother and Suzanne Pleshette as Annie Hayworth, a school teacher at Bodega Bay and former flame of Mitch's.

As Melanie goes from spending a few hours to spending the weekend in this sleepy seaside town, various bird attacks begin happening and yet no one knows why.

I must share with you that there were quite a few actors in this film that played smaller roles but after digging a little I found out more about them and realized that Hitchcock put some amazing players into his film. I get the impression that it didn't matter whether a role was big or small but he made sure he brought along some amazing talent to his masterpieces.

One such talent was an actress named Ethel Griffies, whose role was that of the ornithologist (science of birds). She was the women in the Tides Restaurant that informs Melanie and Mitch that it is impossible for different types of birds to flock together or attack in the way that they did at the school. Griffies was a veteran actress who was first brought onto the stage as a baby in 1881 by her parents! So incredible!

Another surprising actor was the drunk who was screaming about the oncoming Apocalypse-it was Karl Swenson who went on to play Lars Hanson in "Little House on the Prairie"! When you get the chance and if you are as intrigued about people and film as much as I am-head on over to Wikipedia and read all about the other actors who were in the film because each of them had such interesting lives!

Now you may wonder-was this film really scary? I mean it's from the early 1960's and birds really can't be scary but seriously hearing the sounds of the birds all around me in the theatre brought chills down my spine. There were a few scenes that will make you gasp or wonder to yourself, what would you have done?

Here are a few photos of the school children being attack by the birds-they used mechanical birds because they wanted to frighten the children without scarring them for life. Plus it was safer that way! Also included are photos from behind the scenes of the making of this film as well as Hitchcock giving instructions to his actors.

Does the film end with a "happily ever after"? Yes and No. Yes, Mitch and Melanie are in love and together. Yes, Mitch's mother embraces her future daughter in law, giving Melanie a chance to finally have a mother's love. But you wonder as they drive off into the sunset with all of these birds surrounding their car if they will find the rest of California or the world facing the horrors that they faced. And you wonder if worse awaits them when they arrive at their destination. We do not know but that is the joy of a great makes you wonder!

For those of you who are interested in learning more about this film and the star of the film, Tippi Hedren, in October of this year an HBO film called "The Girl" will be coming out. It stars Sienna Miller and Toby Jones (who was in Doctor Who so you know I love him even more!! hee). Let me know if any of you see it!
I really hope you all enjoyed this post. It was such a pleasure to see it on the big screen but if you haven't seen it at all try and rent it. You will be pleasantly surprised!!!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Bomb Girls in the Big Apple!

Yesterday I found some great photos of two members of the cast of Bomb Girls~Ali Liebert and Jodi Balfour. If you are a fan of this show you really need to join their Facebook page!! These photos are courtesy of the Bomb Girls FB Page.

My jaw dropped when I saw that they came to NY this week. I wish I knew! I wish I were there! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh But how neat are these photos!!! Make your way to their page and follow!!

I love how they love New York as much as New Yorkers love it! And how neat is that photo above! Dreams do come true!!! CONGRATS to this entire cast and its crew! I so look forward to Season Two!! (Hey! That Rhymed!! hehe)


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Call the Midwife!

Oh my! Another fantastic show to watch! This one is set in the 1950's and based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth. Call the Midwife is based on the experiences of the Anglican Sisters of the Community of St. John the Divine. Jennifer Worth was one of their district nurses, unfortunately she passed away before she could see her books brought to life on the small screen.

Call the Midwife main cast

Jessica Raine as "Jenny Lee" doing what she does best

A preview of "Call the Midwife"

Jenny with the Sisters

The real Sisters whose lives are portrayed in the show. 
Learn more about them here.

I looked at the show and as soon as I am up to date with Bomb Girls I am heading to "Call the Midwife"! I mean how can I not? There are babies and nuns and real down to earth stories that we can all relate to. And I know you don't know but I have a soft spot for nuns-I adore them.

Are you going to see this show? Let me know if you have already and what you think about it!


Monday, September 17, 2012

A Downton Abbey Wedding!

Are you a Downton Abbey fan? If you aren't yet, oh boy, you should be! I must warn you, you will be hooked instantly. Not to give too much away to those who haven't seen the show or the first episode of Season Three-but it ended on a very high note. Much the same way it ended in Season Two-with Mary and Matthew FINALLY getting engaged! 

Here is Lady Mary Crawley in 1920 on her wedding day:

And the long awaited Mr. and Mrs. Crawley....yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!

In the spirit of a Downton Abbey wedding, here are some authentic 1920's photos of brides on their wedding days. Take notice of their AMAZING dresses and veils. Makes me want to renew my vows and plan a vintage wedding!! heheh Enjoy!

Weren't these brides and their dresses just divine! Just the detail alone makes me want to swoon! The final photo is of Queen Elizabeth's mother on her wedding day on April 26, 1923. Just stunning!!


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