Spring, Sequels & Romantic Chemistry Class (for Movie Peeps)

Lauren Bacall 1945

Lauren Bacall

You don’t have to say anything, and you don’t have to do anything. Not a thing. Oh, maybe just whistle. You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and… blow.

From To Have and Have Not, 1944, Warner Brothers

Snow, Ice, Rain, Go Away…

… come again another day.


I rarely try to speak for the entire northeastern United States, but I doubt I’ll receive many letters of protest when I say that we’re pretty much up to our patooties with the precipitation—both the snow kind and the rain. We could use a tad more sunshine. Whatta ya say, Spring?

Sequel to It Had to Be You… Toot Tootsie Goodbye


Copyright protected design by fiona jayde media

If there’s one thing lousy weather is good for, it’s editing.

Book two in my 1920s romantic mystery series, Toot Tootsie Goodbye, has been drafted, bled over, trimmed, polished, critiqued, edited, beta-read, tweaked,  sneered at (by me), cried over (by me), cheered on, cursed at (by me), and apologized to (me)—not necessarily in that order.

It’s currently being combed and brushed out. (Copy edited.)

Yeah, I know. It should be this difficult to make a baby, yes?

January, 1925
Homicide detective Sean Costigan and tabloid reporter Trixie Frank are on the road to romance but at cross-purposes at work when they investigate the New Year’s Eve murder of “Poor Little Rich Girl” Abigail Welles after she comes into control of a family fortune.

Cover art design will be by Fiona Jayde. Learn more About Fiona here.

More updates to come. 🙂

  CLASSIC MOVIERomantic Chemistry (for Classic Movie Peeps)

I sucked at science. Especially chemistry, but there’s one kind of chemistry I never tire of studying—the kind that ignites when two characters meet—on screen or on paper. It can be the platonic kind of chemistry (Thelma and Louise, Butch and Sundance) or the diabolical kind (Sherlock and Moriarty, Kirk and Khan), but today I’m thinking about the romantic kind. We know it when we see it…

Battle of the Sexes
Katharine Hepburn ♥  Spencer Tracy
Rosalind Russell ♥ Cary Grant.

 Burn Up the Screen
Lauren Bacall. ♥ Humphrey Bogart

 Sexy and Fun
Myrna Loy ♥ William Powell
Claudette Colbert ♥ Clark Gable
Julia Roberts .♥ Richard Gere

Sweet and Funny
Meg Ryan ♥ Tom Hanks

Break Every Dish in the House Before We Make Up (Again)
Vivian Leigh, ♥ Clark Gable
Elizabeth Taylor ♥ Richard Burton

Who are your favorite couples when it comes to spontaneous combustion?  Chemistry homework: Sample these March and April TCM picks. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 22

"GIlda... are you decent?"

“GIlda… are you decent?”

8:00 a.m. Gilda (1946) Film Noir TCM.  An American gambler is stunned when his ruthless boss returns from a business trip married to  a seductive woman from his past.  Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford.

 Why? Hot, hot, hot! And all without removing one stitch of clothing. (Well, maybe one stitch.) Hayworth proves herself more than a pin-up girl with a terrific emotionally-charged performance and a vocal rendition of “Blame it on Mame” that knocks the socks off.

It’s a performance that’s incomplete, though, without Ford’s perfect counterpoint as her angry former lover.Watch these two play with fire in an uber-dangerous love-hate triangle. (“I hate you so much, I would destroy myself to take you down with me. Now I’ve warned you. Now that’s all fair and even…”) Will both get burned?

Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town

Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town

10:00 a.m. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) Drama/Comedy/Romance TCM. An eccentric small town poet must contend with big city opportunists when he inherits an unexpected fortune. Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur. (Director – Frank Capra)

Why? Classic heartwarming  Capra fare. Cooper could do more with his eyes than most actors could do with a five-minute soliloquy. In this precursor to Meet John Doe, he’s cast perfectly as the whimsical but no-guff-taking Longfellow Deeds. Jean Arthur proves a fortuitous replacement for Capra’s first choice to play his love interest, cynical girl reporter Louise “Babe” Bennett. (First choice? Carole Lombard, who turned down the part for My Man Godfrey.)

Tuesday, April 7

Bogart & Bacall in To Have and Have Not

Bogart & Bacall in To Have and Have Not

3:30 a.m. To Have and Have Not (1944) WWII Adventure/  Romance TCM. An American charter boat captain’s determination to mind his own business is sidetracked by a beautiful drifter and a plea for help from the French resistance. Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall. (Director – Howard Hawks.)

Why?  Holy burn-up-the-screen romantic chemistry, Batman! Witness the birth of perhaps the most famous screen-to-real life star couple in cinema history. Bacall was only nineteen in this, her film debut, when she caught Bogart’s eye. And it’s  easy to see why.

The story, loosely based on a novel by Ernest Hemingway, bears more than a passing resemblance to Casablanca.  It’s entertaining, but it’s Bacall who coolly and neatly steals this show, from her first sultry shot leaning up against a door–“Anybody got a match?”–to her last saucy little wiggle out the door.

Sunday, April 19

James Stewart and Jean Arthur

James Stewart and Jean Arthur

9:45 a.m.   You Can’t Take it With You (1938)  Romance/Comedy TCM.  Fireworks erupt between families when a girl from a middle-class free-thinking clan falls in love with the son of a wealthy Wall Street banker.  Jean Arthur, James Stewart, Lionel Barrymore. (Director – Frank Capra.)

Why?  More feel-good Capra fare. Jean Arthur positively shines and Jimmy Stewart melts girlish hearts in this charming comedy. The lovely romantic chemistry between these two rings so true, it’s as if they forgot the camera was there.

Lionel Barrymore (pre-Mr. Potter) is also superb in his role as the benevolent family patriarch and, yes, that’s sixteen-year-old future dancing star Ann Miller playing Jean’s ditzy sister. Seven academy award nominations and two wins—Best Picture and Best Director.


And that’s a wrap!
I’ll say toodle-oo with The Lauren Bacall Whistle clip from To Have and Have Not
Or, for music aficianados, how about some “Put the Blame on Mame”?
(Go on. You know you want it.) Have a great week!


Times listed are EDST. Check here for your U.S. time zone Turner Classic Movie monthly schedule.

 (Missed something? You may be able catch it for a week or more on demand at Watch TCM)


Photo credits:

Lauren Bacall – By Liberty Publications (page 51 Screenland) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Gilda – By Trailer distributed by Columbia Pictures (DVD with the film & the trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town – By Columbia Pictures (YouTube screenshot from the film trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

To Have and Have Not – By Liberty Publishing (page 48 Screenland) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Trailer screenshot (You Can’t Take It with You trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Fall Forward, Peanut Butter Cups & Classic Movie Junkie

Bogart and Bergman in Casablanca“Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.”

From Casablanca, Warner Brothers, 1943

Fall Forward… Or “She got the Left-Over Halloween Peanut Butter Cup Blues”

Are peanut butter cups getting smaller?  Or am I getting bigger?

The answer, I fear, is… yes.

There’s an old mnemonic: Spring forward. Fall back.

We set the clocks back a couple weeks ago. (Or has it been a month? I can’t remember.) We sell ourselves cheap. In exchange for one extra hour of sleep, it’s now getting dark too early. Way too early.

I find myself pondering lofty left-over Halloween peanut butter cup questions much too soon in the evening simply because we’re being plunged into darkness by 6:00 p.m. I’m developing a vitamin D deficiency, and my brain is getting fuzzy before toddlers go to bed.

Can you tell I’m blue?

Why do we do this? Do we live in the Land of the Midnight Sun? Can we see Russia from our back yards?  No! So, why can’t we just keep Daylight Savings Time for a wee bit longer?  Or, better yet…

Fall forward.

Wait a minute. Yeah… Let’s fall forward. Think about it. Days getting shorter? Duh. Make ‘em longer. That would put us on DDST (Double Daylight Savings Time). How cool is that?

Fall forward. Be happy! Who doesn’t love sunshine?

I’m going to get lapel pins and lawn signs made up. And I’m writing a suggestion letter to the governor. We just got a new one here in the Keystone State. He’s all fresh and perky and he’ll need something snazzy to do when he gets to the office on January 2nd.  My letter will be Right on Top.

Wow. I feel much better now. My mind is beginning to clear.

Pass me some sunscreen, will you?  🙂

Classic Movie Junkie’s November Blow Out

Even a casual perusal of the TCM schedule this month turns up several heavyweight, multiple Academy Award winners and iconic genre classics. I certainly can’t do these films justice in a thumbnail review, but, dang it, here’s my best shot. Don’t miss a one!

 Saturday, November 15

Saint and Brando in On the Waterfront

On the Waterfront

8:00 pm  On the Waterfront (1954)  Drama. TCM.  A young longshoreman defies the powerful and violent mobster who controls the city docks. Marlon Brando, Eva Marie Saint, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb, Rod Steiger.

Why? Witness Brando in his prime and Eva Marie Saint in a stunning film debut that won her an Oscar. I love this story about the triumph of the human spirit. I adore the characters—including Malden’s waterfront crusading priest—and a fist-pump-worthy ending that makes me want to queue this up and watch it all over again. The sweet romance between Brando and Saint is sublime and is at the heart of this classic drama.

Nominated for twelve Academy Awards, it won eight, including Best Picture, Best Director (Kazan), Best Actor (Brando), Best Supporting Actress (Saint), and Best Score (Leonard Bernstein).

Tuesday November 18

Casablanca_Trailer Shot


8:00 pm  Casablanca (1942)  Drama/Romance. TCM An expatriated American nightclub owner is drawn into WWII when his former love walks into his club on the arm of an Allied underground leader. Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Raines,

Why? Set in Africa at the outset of WW II and filmed soon after America joined the war, Casablanca is a five-star Best of the Best Academy Award winner that will never age and never disappoint. Bask in the matchless romantic chemistry of Bogart and Bergman that, according to behind-the-scene sources, was wholly accidental and would never be recreated. (They barely spoke off screen.)

Casablanca features some of the most instantly recognizable lines and timeless songs ever recorded on film. “Play it, Sam… Play ‘As Time Goes By’.”

Sunday, November 23

Bogart and Bacall

Bogart & Bacall

 2:00 pm   The Big Sleep (1946) Film Noir/ Mystery / Romance TCM. Private eye Philip Marlowe is hired by a wealthy retired general to pay off his daughter’s blackmailer. He stumbles instead into a puzzling case of murder. Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Martha Vickers.

Why?   The twisting-turning mystery is of secondary interest in this film noir classic. This is a Hollywood-sanitized Hays Code version of Raymond Chandler’s detective novel, The Big Sleep, but it makes up for what’s glossed over with clever Chandleresque dialogue and smart romance. Watch Bogie and Bacall burn up the screen without removing a stitch. Excellent from start to finish.

Friday, November 28



6:00 pm  Psycho (1960)  Suspense/Horror. TCM. A woman on the run from the law checks in to a remote motel run by a timid young man and his domineering mother.  Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, Martin Balsam.

Why? For the first-time viewer—are there any out there?—the red herring opening is only the beginning of a creepy, suspenseful chill-ride with a twisted ending that’s unforgettable. This is arguably Hitchcock’s finest film—certainly his most universally recognized—in which the Master of Suspense shows exactly how it’s done. That is, scare the bejeebers out of an audience while showing very little actual violence on screen.

I wonder…  who could pull off that sort of artistry today?


 Times listed are EST. Check here for your U.S. time zone Turner Classic Movie monthly schedule.


Photo credits:

Casablanca  By Trailer screenshot (Casablanca trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 On the Waterfront – By Trailer screenshot (On the Waterfront trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Bogard & Bacall – Promotional photograph by Warner Bros. [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Promotional photograph of actor Anthony Perkins (1960s) – [Public domain], via Wikimedia Common – Author Unknown













Classic Movie Junkie – Mystery, Suspense and …

Humphrey Bogart screen shotBrigid O’Shaughnessy: I haven’t lived a good life. I’ve been bad, worse than you could know.

Sam Spade: You know, that’s good, because if you actually were as innocent as you pretend to be, we’d never get anywhere.

The Maltese Falcon, Warner Brothers, 1941

Six more weeks of winter.

Welcome to a belated installment of Classic Movie Junkie.  Why the late-day posting?  It’s been a busy week but mostly because I was out and about from morning till night on Saturday, which is the day I usually do my movie schedule browsing.

The cold snap around here let up for a bit last week, which meant I could go out with no scraping of the windshield, shoveling my way clear, or just plain freezing my bejabbers off.  In fact, as I was driving home yesterday, I noticed the country road was wet from the melting snow and I could smell the mud from the empty fields. It smelled like… dare I say it?  Spring? Or, at least, a cruel teaser of it because, as of today, Punxsutawney Phil has spoken.  It’s six more weeks of classic movie-watching winter for us northeastern U.S. folks. 🙂

Here’s this week’s watch list.

Thursday, February 6 

Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman

Grant and Bergman in Notorious

1:30 am  Notorious (1946)  Spy Thriller/Romance. TCM. An American spymaster convinces the daughter of a convicted German spy to do whatever it takes to infiltrate a murderous nest of post-war Nazis in Brazil. Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains

  This Hitchcock-directed thriller is one of his finest. The chemistry between Grant and Bergman simmers even as the suspense builds. Check out the steamy 2-1/2 minute kiss that craftily found its way around the production code’s three-second rule.

Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn

6:00 pm  Wait Until Dark (1967 ) Suspense/Thriller. TCM. An innocent blind woman is terrorized by criminals who believe a cache of heroin is hidden in her apartment. Audrey Hepburn, Richard Crenna, Alan Arkin.

Why?  Some aspects of this 60s nail-biter are contrived, but Audrey Hepburn’s Oscar-nominated performance still stands up beautifully. Alan Arkin’s does as well. He’s just plain skin-crawling as the deadly Mr. Roat. In 2004, the Bravo cable channel ranked Wait Until Dark’s hair-raising climactic scene number 10 among its 100 Scariest Movie Moments.

Saturday, February 8

 10:30 am  The Maltese Falcon (1941)  Hard-boiled Detective/Noir/Mystery. TCM.   A cynical P.I. is drawn into a tangled murder case that involves suspicious cops, squabbling criminals, a lying femme fatale and a priceless 16th century statuette.  Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre, Sidney Greenstreet.

Why?  Before there was Philip Marlowe, there was Sam Spade. This is one of the best ever of the film noir genre. Bogart set the standard for all hard-boiled detectives to follow in his performance as Hammett’s P.I. Sam Spade. He’s supported nicely by Mary Astor as unrepentant fibber Brigid O’Shaughnessy, Peter Lorre as sneaky bad guy Joel Cairo, and Sydney Greenstreet as the amiable but villainous “fat man.”

Trivia Corner

Bogart sealed his film noir persona for all time when he later portrayed another iconic hard-boiled P.I. drawn from the pen of a master of pulp detective fiction.  Who was the P.I.?

Have a great week!

Times listed are EST. Check here for your U.S. time zone Turner Classic Movie monthly schedule.


Photo credits:

 Bogart – By trailer screenshot (Invisible Stripes trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Notorious – By RKO Radio Pictures (corporate author) (Chicago-Sun Times) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Hepburn – By Audrey1.com (http://media.audrey1.org/photos/8/2107.jpg) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons