September 1st, 2009

carole lombard 02
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"Let's get ready to 'Rumba'!"

Perhaps that's how fabled ring announcer Michael Buffer could introduce one Carole Lombard movie. (For the uninitiated, Buffer's trademark slogan is "Let's get ready to rumble.") Anyway, if you're in the Los Angeles area on Labor Day, you will have a chance to watch this Lombard-George Raft dance vehicle.

Moreover, it will be shown at one of Hollywood's most famous theaters -- Grauman's Egyptian, on Hollywood Boulevard:

By themselves, those things would be exciting -- but there's much more to it than that. This is part of a five-day event, Cinecon 45, that begins this Thursday. As its Web site ( proclaims, "Cinecon is a five day celebration of the movies, screening nearly thirty rare silent and early sound feature films and as many short subjects from the nation's leading film archives and Hollywood studio vaults, and is dedicated to showcasing unusual films that are rarely given public screenings." Sounds like a lot of fun.

"Rumba" will be shown at 1:35 p.m. Labor Day; actually, you may want to come in at 1:30 to see the 1945 Disney cartoon "Hockey Homicide," one of a series of hilarious "Goofy does sports" shorts. But the schedule ( is chock full of fascinating movies. From my perspective, a few highlights include:

* "Trial Marriage" (1929), Thursday at 9:10 p.m. See Thelma Todd in a drama filmed at Columbia, along with Lombard's friend Sally Eilers and Jason Robards Sr.

* "The Playboy Of Paris" (1930), Thursday at 10:40 p.m. Maurice Chevalier is so associated with those wonderful Ernst Lubitsch films that one can often forget he made other films, too, such as this rarely revived comedy that also stars Frances Dee, Stu Erwin and Eugene Pallette.

* " Easy Living" (1937), Friday at 1:40 p.m. Written by Preston Sturges, directed by Mitchell Leisen and starring Jean Arthur as a woman whoselife amazingly changes when a fur coat lands on her while she rides a double-decker bus. With Edward Arnold and Ray Milland.

* "The Silencers" (1966), Sunday at 2:50 p.m. Why am I including the first Matt Helm movie? Because appearing for a Q&A will be Dean Martin's co-star, the wonderful Stella Stevens (shown below from the film, and who's probably best known for working with the other half of the Martin and Lewis team). Did you know Stevens has directed several films of her own?

* "The Bride Comes Home" (1935), Monday at 9:20 a.m. This was the second teaming of Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray, following their success in "The Gilded Lily." Robert Young is the second lead; wonder if this is a Ralph Bellamy-type role?

Cinecon does not offer admission to individual films -- but you can obtain day passes good for that day's entire schedule (such passes also provide access to dealers' rooms for film memorabilia), ranging from $25 to $30 . For more information, go to

Seems like a lovely way to spend a Labor Day weekend...seeing Lombard and her contemporaries on a big screen (and in a venue where many of these films were originally shown). And if Michael Buffer is in the neighborhood, maybe he will introduce "Rumba."
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carole lombard
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70 years ago today...

...Nazi Germany invaded Poland, triggering the start of World War II -- a battle the U.S. would largely watch from the sidelines for more than 2 1/4 years.

Here's some footage from that time:

Let us not forget.
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