Category Archives: Dinner At Eight

Knee issues, and a need for a generous benefactor!

So fine, the last 3 days have generally been quiet, mainly due to the state of my knee (stiffness) after the tumble I had, but given I’m actually running out of time now, and need to get a few places, I’ll have to grin, and bear it, I guess? Today is the only day I havent actually been out, but not been going mad either. Well, if money was no object, I might have gone mad yesterday, but more on that at the relevant point.

Friday, I had planned to go out, but I knew I wasnt going to go far. Yes, the knee was sore, so any serious trips was out of the question. So I did some reference work in the morning, planning to go down into Hollywood “proper” for a late lunch at least, and maybe do a bit on the strip, as it has to be done at some point. The beauty of the bus service up here, by Dash, is that you can follow the progress of the bus at all times. So, when I see it at a certain point en route, I head out for the bus stop, to catch it. Which is fine, until the ‘old lady’ pulls up a little stiff on the way there, and as she’s about to cross the road to catch it, she sees it going down, on the other side of the road, missed it. And no, I wasnt going to wait 25 minutes (or so) for it to return. So instead, I just headed up the hill, and ate at the local cafe up there instead. Then I went shopping, came home, and that was it. Well, I might have watched some baseball, but otherwise…

Yesterday, I did get out, and I got to where I planned to get to, as well. Down town LA, there was a vintage clothing fair, so I went to investigate. As someone used to these things costing a couple of pounds to get into, at most, the entry fee of $15 was a bit of a shock. But hey, this is the US, I’d gone down there for this, so…I went for it. I guess the difference between my normal purchases (vintage look), and the genuine vintage stuff, unsurprisingly, is the price! A look at a couple of nice looking items quickly confirmed I wouldnt be buying anything at those prices! The main delight, I found this, in pink, quite literally. Fredericks of Hollywood, so really quite an item.

Jean ready for bed

Given the original was an Adrian design, and Fredericks didnt actually exist until 1947, its not the same one, but matches it almost exactly. Yes, I loved it, and even got to put the gown on, and it was wonderful! Oh, the cost, a mere $375 lol! So unless I can find my own Dan Packard, I’m not going to own, or wear it, but…oh goodness, it was wonderful. It made the trip, and entry cost worthwhile at least.

Today has ended up being a stay at home day. There is no bus service, its a mile-mile and a half into town each way, and I’m pretty sure my knee would have objected very strongly to that. There were a couple of movies I considered, but I decided to play it safe, probably wise.

The snag is, I’ve realised I’m beginning to run out of time, and still got 4 trips I want to do! So I’m going to have to ignore the knee, and just get on and do it! In truth, if I could find a benefactor/sugar ‘daddy’, so that I could stay on a little longer, I’d love it, but not going to happen. I should see the 1st game of the World Series, but the 2nd game, I’ll be flying, and the rest will be in the silly hours of the morning in the UK, so…Yes, I know, not going to happen, but…

Right, finally, the video. Yes, that lingerie item, as featured in Dinner At Eight. I know, I wish…

Dinner At Eight (1933)

This posting is an added extra bonus for my readers, as part of the Classic Movie History Project Blogathon, wonderfully run by Movies Silently, Once Upon A Screen, and Silver Screenings. Well, fine, thats their Twitter tags, I know them by other names too, but for you…that will do.

So, in no great shock horror moment, I’ve picked a Harlow movie to review. To be honest, it was a toss up between this, and Bombshell (where Jean pretty much plays herself) for my choice, and Dinner At Eight won out, probably because of the closing line, at her expense.

Its said that MGM tossed a pile of stars at this movie, and it shows. 2 Barrymore’s amongst many, and of course, Jean Harlow. Funnily enough though, for me, its none of them that steal the movie, its Marie Dressler, as Carlotta, and Wallace Beery, as Packard who do that.

It is a Pre code movie, and it shows. In that half the characters are having illicit affairs, and just about everything else goes too. For those readers who dont know what I’m talking about, prior to 1934, things were a bit more “relaxed” as to what was permitted in movies, than was for the next 30 years or so. The other thing you can tell, is that its set in the Depression era, as most of the characters are either down on their luck, or heading that way.

Yes, most. The Packard’s are the newly rich, and I suspect not entirely in a lawful way, but anyway…Everyone else seems to be struggling with money, or loves, or…something! And irony, the 2 people who said dinner is being held for, go off elsewhere instead!

Jean, as Kitty, is sassy, tarty, and having a sly affair with her doctor. Beery, as her husband, makes the perfect foil for her. But one stands out amongst others, and that is Marie Dressler, as Carlotta, the down on her luck actress. She plays the part with relish, and of course, at the end, just before they go into dinner, shoots Kitty down in flames wonderfully. This is it!

There are tales that it was either added to the script at the last moment, and no one told Jean, to get a natural reaction. Equally that Dressler simply ad libbed the line into it, but I would be amazed if that was the case, given the way films were made back then.

The sad irony of this movie, is that Dressler makes a comment about death, and how even the young cant stop it coming, after a failed, drunk actor committed suicide. Why ironic? Well of course, as is well known, just 4 years later, the very young Jean Harlow was dead, at 26, due to kidney failure, which wasnt curable back then. But also, just 2 years after this movie was made, Dressler was dead too, from cancer, at the age of 65.

If you want to see an excellently cast, superb movie about life in the Depression era, then you should try to see this. Its not actually (at time of writing) available in full on You Tube, but it can be cheaply picked up at Amazon, or Ebay, and other places as well I’m sure.

Yes, there is crossover with Harlow, and Kitty, a character, to put it mildly. But if you want a light hearted biog of Jean Harlow, go watch Bombshell. Its not strictly true, but its a closer match than either of the films made about her in the 60’s. Of course, it doesnt include the end of her life, but anyway…

Lastly, the video. Well, the song has the perfect title, so…