Thursday, May 22, 2008

Lifetime Achievement Viewing

Some time ago I had made set goals to watch every single film which feature my top favorite personalities. I say personalities because these are people I am captivated by and it extends beyond any acting abilities or their appearance in good stories (sometimes they lack both!). Hunting for those films reach makes watching their work even more enjoyable.

Norma Shearer ~ 17 out of 61
Bobby Darin ~ 5 out of 14
Sandra Dee ~ 10 out of 24
Marilyn Monroe ~ 25 out of 29
Blonde Bette Davis ~ 14 out of 33
Doris Day ~ 17 out of 39

Lately I've come across a few more opportunities to advance towards my final goal. Sandra Dee's Tammy Tell Me True (1961) and Tammy and the Doctor (1963) were released on DVD a few months ago and Netflix just added it to their extensive library. I immediately added it to my queue, bypassing the original film Tammy and the Bachelor (1957) with Debbie Reynolds, which I guess I really should have seen first to fully understand the storyline. But while Debbie Reynolds is cute, I've always found Sandra Dee even cuter and much more fun to watch on screen!

With The Forbidden Hollywood Collection Vol. 2 I got an opportunity to see The Divorcee (1930) and A Free Soul (1931) in their entirety. Two marks on my list. But these I knew would eventually turn up on DVD. However, two more even rarer opportunities presented themselves recently. My friend Frank is a Laurel & Hardy fan and let me borrow one of his DVDs which contains the short film Stolen Jools (1931) a comedy which features many MGM stars, including Norma Shearer. And TCM recently had a Robert Montgomery marathon (one of Norma's best-known leading men), and they showed Their Own Desire (1929), (which I taped) an elusive film I know very little about but am very happy to see.

There are other actors whose film work I'd like to view in their entirety, but making a goal of it would be quite a feat, and very likely impossible (Robert Mitchum, Kirk Douglas, etc). Those whom I think may be manageable and whom I would like to add include:

Kim Novak
George Sanders
Tom Conway
Dennis Morgan
Bonita Granville
Susan Peters
Richard Barthelmess

Do you have anyone whose life's work is your goal to consume? Or have you already seen the entire canon of films of a favorite star? Let me know!


  1. I actually found your blog because I receive Google alerts on Sandra Dee. I'm also trying to view all of her films. If you haven't read the book her son wrote called "Dream Lovers," I highly recommend it to you. It tells the life stories of Sandra and Bobby. They have both become personal heroes to me.

  2. Wow, you have seen a lot of films!

    I could say I have seen two-thirds of all the movies James Dean has appeared in, but he only did 3 films!

    I am more of director-person. Hitchcock is probably my most consumed director. I have seen several of his pre-Hollywood movies, and everything from 1940-1976 with the exception of The Paradine Case and Under Capricorn.

  3. Hi, I'm a new fan of Norma Shearer. I recently watched The Barretts of Wimpole Street, and I'm halfway through Strangers May Kiss (from the recent Montgomery tribute). I look forward to searching through your archives.

  4. Tonya - Thanks for stopping by. Is "Dream Lovers" the bio written by their son? Is it still in print? I have a Bobby Darin bio on my To be Read list, but would gladly add that one.

    Kevin - I'm lending you Giant! No excuses, I bet that's the one you haven't seen. How many Hitchcock films have you watched?

    Craig - Yay. Norma Shearer rocks. I recommend watching Private Lives for a good laught. Her and Montgomery are very funny in that. And it has Una Merkel!!!

  5. Thanks for recommendation. I'll look out for Private Lives on TCM. Una Merkel made the best of a tiny role in the original Maltese Falcon, so I'm eager to see more of her.

  6. Hi R.,

    Like you I'm a serious pre-code junkie! I especially love Norma Shearer and "Blonde Bette Davis" movies--just saw Ex-lady a few weeks ago--In addition to scouring Netflix and Amazon, I've managed to get a small handful of pre-code DVDs from ebay. (A friend of mine is going to loan me her VCR so I can start watching the movies I've purchased on VHS) I also adore early Joan Crawford movies, especially the ones where she teams up with Clark Gable and Robert Montgomery. I would be more than happy to loan you any of the DVDs from my small and growing collection, so far, I have: Smilin' Through; Strangers May Kiss; Girl from 10th Avenue; Ex-lady; This Modern Age; Front Page Woman and Untamed. I hope you were able to see the wonderful Robert Montgomery movies that aired last week on TCM--I discovered a few new pre-code actresses:) Feel free to email me if you'd like to borrow any DVDs--I'm a book/DVD loaner--my theory is I want as many people to enjoy the movies and books I love as possible!

  7. Have you watched Their Own Desire yet?

    I saw where it was on TCM the other morning, and ALMOST DVR-ed it, but didn't for some reason...

  8. My mom and I are working our way through the Best Picture list. On my own I'm working through the 1000 list to make my own 'Must Watch' list.


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