Meet cute Monday #3

I was initially going to pick a different clip than the one I ended up with today, but then this past week it was Ronald Colman’s birthday and I just had to pick a clip with him in it, despite him also featuring in the first meet cute post I wrote only a few weeks ago. This time around I picked the meet cute from the movie that made me fall in love with him a year ago: Random Harvest from 1942, co-starring Greer Garson. Colman plays a shell shocked World War I veteran who has lost his memory and meets a lovely young woman in a tobacco shop on Armistice Day…

The director Meryn LeRoy apparently said in his autobiography that between Colman and Garson, “the English language was never spoken more beautifully on film.”

Greer Garson once said that filming the ending of Random Havest was one of her favourite scenes she ever filmed. The pay off, after all these two have gone through in this story, is indeed so beautiful. They were magic together. Yes, this movie is melodrama, but it’s top tier due to the wonderful performances by the two lead actors.


I came across this little video on Instagram and realize that it’s Ronald Colman’s birthday today, his 132nd one!

I first (re-)discovered Colman last year in February but this is the first year I can commemorate his actual birthday. Ronald Colman died in 1958, way before I was even born, but that doesn’t mean he is forgotten. To celebrate, here a few pictures that I have collected…

If you are so inclined, some Ronald Colman fan videos that I made can be viewed here. Happy remembering Ronnie day!

Meet cute

According to the online Cambridge dictionary a “meet cute” is defined as:

(in a film, etc.) a humorous or interesting situation in which two people meet, that leads to them developing a romantic relationship with each other

I completely love a good meet cute in a movie. I was searching for a few the other day (how I came to do so doesn’t really matter) but they never seem to show them quite how I want them, i.e. they only show a small part or I can’t find them as a scene as such. So, I decided to open an Instagram account and share some meet cutes in movies and on TV that I like! Not sure how long I will be able to keep up posting meet cutes but this past weekend I posted three as a test and it’s fun, so I’ll be continuing this for a little while at least.

I started with a Ronald Colman one from the 1931 movie Arrowsmith:

… followed by the wonderful meet cute from one of my fave movies ever, Roman Holiday

This evening I posted a third from the 2011 movie The Adjustment Bureau which has one of my fave meet cutes ever.

Well, I say this is one of my favourites but I have so many that I love! And so I will keep exploring and collecting them on my new Instagram account and will link to them here on blog as well. Posting 3 meet cutes may be a bit of initial overkill. I already have more clips lined up, but will post them another time. Maybe I will make this a “Meet Cute Sunday” item on my blog? We’ll see where this little journey will take me…

Colourised Colman

Yes, Ronald Colman is still on my mind and now and again I return to my little quest to find more colour images of him (like here and here) as there just aren’t enough colour images of the man out there. He was magnetic in black and white and I have this theory that he must have been even more mesmerizing in colour.

He only did two films in colour and had a very brief appearance in colour in the third. In 1944’s Kismet he was covered in lots of make-up and turbans so, in essence, hidden, until the end when he is dressed in black and his salt and pepper hair looks a little tousled. He looks devastatingly handsome in colour there. I wish he had looked like that throughout the whole movie (without the beard)…

In his little guest appearance in 1956’s Around the World in Eighty Days, his brown eyes shone nicely in the sun but he was a little hidden, dressed in a white uniform with pith helmet, and his appearance was ever so brief in a blink or you’ll miss it scene.

In his final movie from 1957, The Story of Mankind, he was also already older. The version I have is a little grainy and you rarely see him close up.

So, there are a few (moving) images in colour of an older Ronald but there are no (moving) images of him in colour as a younger man as far as I have been able to find. I can’t do anything about that but it occured to me that maybe I could do something about seeing more colour photographs of him.

I found this website where you can colourise black and white photos online and I’ve been throwing a whole bunch of images into the ‘colouriser’. Lots of the pictures don’t turn out quite right but some do come out with nice results and I want to share my favourites here. I don’t know Photoshop, so haven’t been able to enhance these myself, they come pretty much as is from the colouriser.

I’ll start with my absolute favourite colourised photo result, which really shows Ronnie’s warm brown eyes so beautifully! He had quite large eyes too, it must have been difficult to not lose yourself in them while meeting the man in person. Click on the image yourself to enlarge it and see what I mean. I think this is early 1940s Ronnie.

There is also a nice result from an end 1920s/early 1930s picture…

That photo must have been taken around the time he made Condemned (1929) with Ann Harding and Arrowsmith (1931) with Helen Hayes, from which I also now have two quite nice colourised pictures.

There are two pictures with female co-stars where especially the co-stars come out really nicely in colour. The eyes of Kay Francis in Raffles (1930) and Loretta Young in Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back (1934) are quite stunning in these.

I also like how these images with Signe Hasso in A Double Life (1947), Ginger Rogers in Lucky Partners (1940), Jane Wyatt in Lost Horizon (1937) and Greer Garson in Random Harvest (1942) came out…

He looks his absolute sexiest with a bit of ruffled hair, as in A Tale of Two Cities (1935). The colouring quality isn’t great but the magnetism cannot be denied…

Also, another one from A Tale of Two Cities. Yes, Isabel Jewell is too yellow in the face but boy, Ronnie sure is in control of that white shirt open at the neck and sexy body language look. And two more ruffled hair pictures: one from The Talk of the Town (1942) and the other from Under Two Flags (1937).

I find that colourising from studio photographs works better than colourising from screenshots I took from the movies. Here are two more from A Tale of Two Cities, the second one also featuring actress Elizabeth Allen. Ronald Colman was very attached to his moustache and was hesitant shaving it off for Two Cities but I do think it’s one of his best looks.

This slightly ruffled Random Harvest look isn’t half bad either in colour (don’t mind his ear on the left of this picture, which is very off-colour). His brown eyes come out nicely in this one as well.

I am quite taken by this one of Ronald Colman in A Double Life – I love him with glasses!

I also really like two colourized shots from the mid 1920s with his frequent co-star Vilma Banky. The first one is from their final silent movie together, The Winning of Barbara Worth (1926) and I suspect the second one was taken on that set as well.

There’s a nice one from the end 1940s with his wife Benita Hume, when they did radio together (even though the blue hand that looks like it could fall off his arm any minute)…

I also really like these two behind the scenes shots, from A Tale of Two Cities and Random Harvest. I presume he’s not really wearing one brown and one blue sock in Random Harvest, it’s probably a colouring mistake, but I do like to imagine that he wore mismatched socks.

And I really love these candid ones from Ronnie in his garden, from the beginning 1930s and beginning 1940s, I believe. He sure looked good in blue.

Judging from these pictures alone it must have been quite something meeting him in real life full colour. In a 1926 Photoplay interview (during the silent film era when he had only been famous for two years) this is confirmed:

“He gives you the feeling that, for all his reserve, you are one of the people capable of getting under it. He conveys that impression at the very moment of meeting. It’s a beautiful trick. When you are introduced his first glance meets yours quite politely, but casually. An instant later his eyes flash interest, a deep interest in you whom he has just seen that moment. It’s enough to make any woman glow like a red-hot stove. Of course it may be due to his being a marvellous actor. Every woman in his life must have felt that she, out of all the world, was closest to him. And afterward she must have known that she didn’t know him at all. He makes you feel that he could be the most charming person in the world, the most wonderful companion, the most ardent lover. These things are in the depths of his cynical and amused eyes, in the well-bred tones of his fine voice, in his flattering attention to your silliest words.” (Source)

I wish I could have caught a glimpse like that of the real Ronald Colman in colour for myself. Alas, that does not seem to be in the cards as Ronald was very publicity shy, he rarely gave interviews and there seem to be no video interviews (more than snippets in news reels) either. There is more to be found of publicity shy actors nowadays (*cough* Richard Armitage) than of publicity shy actors from the 1920s – 1940s…

More Colman in colour & another treasure

OK, just one more Ronald Colman post (it’s been sitting in my drafts for a few weeks) and then I’ll shut up (for now). In an earlier post I was wishing for more Ronald Colman in colour as he seems to mostly be immortalized in black and white. I’ve been collecting images over the past few weeks and found some interesting things.

The most exciting bit is a very short promotional film in two-tone technicolour from 1929(!!) where he introduces the then-governor of California. They promote talking pictures, which was still a new phenomenon at the time. Alas only the governor gets a close-up, a pity they didn’t give Ronnie the same treatment! I would have loved to see his expessions better and his brown eyes properly.

There’s also a 1952 colour clip of Ronald Colman presenting the Best Actress Oscar with a funny little intro with Danny Kaye as well. I love how unfazed he is by Danny Kaye and plays along. And I just love Danny Kaye too, he was a great comic. In this clip Greer Garson accepts the Oscar on Vivien Leigh’s behalf and even gives Ronnie a little kiss, which gives me lovely Random Harvest vibes.

Apart from those two clips, I also found a few late in life pictures of Ronnie in colour. The first picture includes his wife, Benita; the last one includes Zsa Zsa Gabor.

I found a few colour images for a TV show called The Halls of Ivy that he did with Benita (after their radio show of the same name had been a success). However, these do look like they could originally have been black and white as well.

The radio shows are available on YouTube but I wish I could somehow get my hands on the TV show. So far, except for one episode, no such luck.

I also found a cool all-star picture that seems to have been coloured in from an original black and white image (I’ve seen mostly black and white versions of this). This is apparently a radio broadcast at NBC in 1939 by the ‘English colony’ of actors in Hollywood on occasion of the visit of the English King and Queen to the US.

From left to right: Greer Garson, Leslie Howard, smoking in the background is George Sanders (tidbit: he married Benita after Ronnie died), Vivien Leigh, Brian Aherne, Ronald Colman and Basil Rathbone.

Except for a large amount of coloured in movie posters and stills (there are more than I share here, but this is to give an idea) there really isn’t that much Colman in colour that I can find…

And last but not least, as I was searching for the Colman in colour pictures, I also came across this one about a month ago…

Yes, another book. It’s from Ronald’s Oscar winning performance and I just couldn’t resist. I almost paid more in shipping and customs fees than I paid for the book but still it was quite affordable. Worth it too, as I also imagine it’s quite a rare one. The book arrived today to my great joy! It tells the story of the film in prose form and inside there are also black and white images from the movie. I’m not including all images here as some of them are real story spoilers. I know these aren’t in colour but I couldn’t resist sharing my new little treasure here as well.

And while I’m off the original topic anyhow: I also made another Ronald Colman video that I put up on YouTube a few days ago. It’s all about the love in his and his leading ladies’ eyes…

For the coming weeks there will be very little Ronnie to focus on: I’m going on a holiday! It only came up a few weeks ago and we very impulsively just went ahead and booked. Mr Esther, Junior and I will be flying to Israel this Saturday, along with my younger brother and a distant cousin. We’re heading to the wedding of another cousin’s son and then adding on some extra time before and after. Last time I was in Israel was 9 years ago, I’m so excited to be going back to my childhood home again.

Anyway, anything more Ronnie related will have to wait until I get back. I still need to find that ultimate Ronald Colman colour picture because I so want to see what his eyes really looked like and how deeply brown they actually were. His role in Kismet gives me a little bit of an idea…

… but the images are not clear enough.