Thank you for checking out the Chester County Library Multimedia Department’s blog! All of our new blog posts can be found at: https://stayconnectedwithchescolibraries.com/. There you will find posts of new releases, staff picks, events, etc.
Those Who Wish Me Dead
Great Electric Airplane Race
The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard
Original Cast Album: “Company”
Ship That Changed the World
The Truffle Hunters
The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It
Riders of Justice
Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway
12 Mighty Orphans
In the Heights
Beasts of No Nation
A Discovery of Witches series 2
Indian Doctor complete series
NCIS season 18
Chicago Fire season 9
S.W.A.T. season 4
NCIS: Los Angeles season 12
NCIS: New Orleans final season
Blue Bloods season 11
Fear the Walking Dead season 6
The Good Doctor season 4
Murdoch Mysteries season 14
Amerikinda: 20 Years of Dualtone
Famous Friends by Chris Young
Live From the Ryman and More by Sheryl Crow
Love Will Be Reborn by Martha Wainwright
Release Me 2 by Barbra Streisand
Yellow by Emma-Jean Thackray
Human by One Republic
Screen Violence by Chvrches
Samara Joy by Samara Joy
Billy Summers by Stephen King
Vortex by Catherine Coulter
Complications by Danielle Steel
The Madness of Crowds by Louise Penny
A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins
The Noise by James Patterson & J. D. Barker
Bloodless by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
DVD: The Adventures of Robin Hood
This definitive version of the classic tale stars Errol Flynn, perfectly cast as the titular thief, and Olivia de Havilland as his Maid Marian. Filled with swashbuckling action, romance, humor, and dazzling technicolor cinematography, this film has the true spirit of adventure that any good Robin Hood film ought to. It truly stands the test of time.
CD: Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette
This landmark alternative rock album– with its grungy sound and honest, even aggressive lyrics– is sure to give you big 90’s vibes. This album, with hits like “One Hand in My Pocket,” “Ironic,” “You Oughta Know,” and “Head Over Feet,” topped charts in its decade and still gets a lot of play today. It’s easy to see why; the fuzzy guitar, canned drums, and Morissette’s own distinct vocals combine to create a style that is iconic, and truly all her own.
DVD: The Blues Brothers
“Jake and Elwood Blues, two hoodlum brothers searching for redemption, set out to locate and reenlist the members of their defunct rhythm and blues band in order to raise some honest money.”
Audiobook: The Lady With the Gun Asks the Questions by Kerry Greenwood
“In these four stories, the 1920s’ most elegant, witty, and irrepressible sleuth, Phryne Fisher, is up to her eyes in intriguing crime, along with the ever loyal Dot, the ingenious Mr. Butler, and all of Phryne’s friends.”
This biopic dramatizes the heroic life of Harriet Tubman (played by Cynthia Erivo), former enslaved person turned lead “conductor” of the Underground Railroad. Born Araminta “Minty” Ross in Dorchester County Maryland, Tubman daringly escapes north to Pennsylvania relying on help from an underground network of abolitionists. Increasingly lonely in a strange northern city, and inspired by a “Moses-like,” prophetic calling, Tubman returns south on numerous missions to free her people.
Audiobook: The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work by Alain de Botton
Fascinating study of the modern “workplace” with profound philosophical commentary on how we can find value and make the most out of seemingly mundane jobs. Flashier jobs like lawyers, doctors, and businesspersons may get romanticized and broader attention for having the greatest immediate impact on our world, but De Botton encourages us to reconsider those assumptions and suggests how even a simple biscuit manufacturer or electrician contributes to human progress.
DVD: The Farthest: Voyager in Space
In 1977 NASA launched two Voyager probes. Their mission: go where no human-made device had gone before, the outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus). The mission succeeded spectacularly and the probes are now traversing interstellar space. The chances that a sentient alien civilization will discover them is slim, but…
CD: Boston by Boston
In 1976, the year before Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours broke into the stratosphere, Boston had done the same and saved the group from dissolution via “More Than a Feeling,” “Foreplay/Long Time,” and “Peace of Mind.” This is a seminal rock album.
DVD: The White Queen
A complicated and fascinating period of English history. Shows the story of the women involved during the War of the Roses. Rebecca Ferguson is superb as Elizabeth Woodville.
Audiobook: The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
This book is a pseudo-history book hidden in a mystery book. What makes it stand out is the history it presents throughout. Da Vinci’s painting of the last supper will never look the same after you read this book. One of the most fun books I’ve ever read, will keep you on the edge of your seat!
DVD: The Skeleton Twins
“Maggie and Milo are estranged twins who are reunited after ten years of being apart. Follow their unforgettable journey to reconnect, as they realize that the key to fixing their lives may just lie in repairing their relationship.”
Audiobook: A Colony in a Nation by Chris Hayes
“Hayes examines the surge in crime that began in the 1960s and peaked in the 1990s, and the unprecedented decline that followed. Drawing on close-hand reporting at flashpoints of racial conflict, as well as deeply personal experiences with policing, Hayes explores cultural touchstones, from the influential “broken windows” theory to the “squeegee men” of late-1980s Manhattan, to show how fear causes us to make dangerous and unfortunate choices, both in our society and at the personal level. With great empathy, he seeks to understand the challenges of policing communities haunted by the omnipresent threat of guns. Most important, he shows that a more democratic and sympathetic justice system already exists– in a place we least suspect.”
All quoted summaries are from catalog.ccls.org.
“And I think that, therefore, a lot of the novels being written in our own time, how intelligent and amusing, do not have any lasting power. They do not have that tension, that convincingness of what is absolutely new. They are novels written by people who have too many models, and possibly the same thing is true of the cinema, which is a fair comparison. The first 50 years of the cinema were absolutely great years. Original minds were at work establishing the ways to tell a story. And what is happening now is a copying, a pastiche-ing of what was done by great men.”
–S. Naipaul, PBS Online NewsHour, March 3, 2000
It is a common perception—and true—that the 1930s was a golden age for film in the U.S. The kinks inherent in converting from silent to sound were overcome in quick time, and as a new art, or half-art (there are many silent masterpieces), sound era filmmakers experimented and often perfected various aspects of movie-making. The influx of European filmmakers like directors Fritz Lang, Josef Von Sternberg and Ernst Lubitsch, escaping increasingly fascistic and censorious Europe, helped immeasurably to produce movies that were entertaining (especially during the Great Depression), a way for immigrants to learn English, and dealt with hot button social issues.
Even after the Production Code was instituted in 1934 to placate citizens or such organizations as the Legion of Decency complaining about violence, sex, and irreligiosity, Hollywood’s best found a way to subvert the Code and make innovative and artistic movies. The final year of the decade was and remains the greatest year in cinema history. Genre variety was on view in Destry Rides Again, Gone With The Wind, Gunga Din, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Dark Victory, The Women, Love Affair, Son of Frankenstein, The Wizard of Oz, Stagecoach, The Roaring Twenties, and Goodbye, Mr. Chips.
World War II quashed the boom. Most Continental markets were closed to U.S. product. Escapism and patriotism were dominant themes.
Little remarked upon was the second golden age in Hollywood that ran from approximately 1948 into the mid-1950s. The late 40s had witnessed a plethora of what became known as film noir, the “dark cinema.” It seems plain that the horrors of WW II caused many filmmakers, some of whom like George Stevens and John Huston, and actors like James Stewart and Clark Gable, who witnessed the war first-hand, to tackle the angst that no one really wanted to dissect or that everyday citizens were generally unaware of. Below the surface of a heady postwar economy that was creating material benefits for a large proportion of the population lay a dark underbelly of criminality which in film noir was home to a plethora of sociopaths.
Naturally not all films or even crime films made up the majority of studio product. But times had irrevocably changed, and especially under Fox studio head Darryl F. Zanuck, issues that were addressed included racism (Pinky), antisemitism (Gentleman’s Agreement, Crossfire), alcoholism (Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman, The Lost Weekend), and mental illness (The Snake Pit).
Exclusive of lavish musicals and some westerns, this remained for the most part a black and white cinema, which not only worked for noir but for movies where story counted for more than special effects and on-location shooting.
Without knowing it, mid-century Hollywood had been primed for a new golden age. Depending on your sensibilities and opinion of what constitutes excellence, this period can be dated from approximately The Treasure of the Sierra Madre to On the Waterfront. These movies were models of craftsmanship and include:
A Foreign Affair (Paramount, 1948). Director Billy Wilder’s acerbic comedy-drama filmed in the rubble of postwar Germany.
Hamlet (Rank/Universal, 1948). An impeccable rendering of Shakespeare’s most famous play features Laurence Olivier, who else? He gives an Academy Award-winning performance, needless to say.
I Remember Mama (RKO, 1948). The superb thirties screwball comedienne Irene Dunne was transitioning into more mature parts, and this George Stevens production gave her an exceptional role as Marta Hanson, gently guiding her Norwegian immigrant family through growing pains in early 20th Century San Francisco.
Red River (United Artists, 1948). The definitive cattle drive epic with John Wayne has more compelling scenes than you can shake a stick at and made Montgomery Clift a star.
The Search (MGM, 1948). Montgomery Clift is a U.S. soldier in postwar Germany who takes in a young refugee whose mother is desperately trying to find him. Gut-wrenching. Like A Foreign Affair, it was filmed on location amidst the ruins.
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (Warner Bros., 1948). John Huston, who’d filmed carnage on the Italian front in WW II, directed the mysterious B. Traven’s novel in which gold-seekers in Mexico confront bandidos and their own demons. Alfonso Bedoya, known as “The Face That Kills,” introduces the much-parodied “Badges? We ain’t got no badges. We don’t need no badges. I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ badges!”
All the King’s Men (Columbia, 1949). Robert Penn Warren’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of political corruption gave bulky character actor Broderick Crawford the role of a lifetime and won him an Academy Award. The movie also won Best Picture. “It could have been whole world, Willie Stark.”
Champion (United Artists, 1949). Kirk Douglas scores mightily as a boxer on the rise whose drive to compete comes to a terminal finale.
The Heiress (Paramount, 1949). In another early outing, Montgomery Clift ingratiates himself with the plain but well-off Olivia de Havilland, much to the annoyance of her father played by Ralph Richardson.
A Letter to Three Wives (Fox, 1949). Joseph L. Mankiewicz won Academy Awards for direction and writing this tale of three spouses (Jeanne Crain, Linda Darnell, Ann Sothern) wondering which of their husbands had an affair with mutual friend Adie Ross.
Twelve O’Clock High (Fox, 1949). Gregory Peck scored another triumph and an Academy Award nomination as General Savage, assigned a U.S. bomber group whose previous commander Keith Davenport (Gary Merrill) was perceived to have burned out. Savage is a hard-ass but even he must come to terms with the need to send his B-17 crews over Germany with the certainty that many won’t return. The film was nominated for Best Picture. Others serving with distinction in the all-male cast include Paul Stewart, Millard Mitchell, and Philly’s own Hugh Marlowe. Dean Jagger won a Supporting Actor Academy Award, and his character begins the story from the perspective of 1949, when in an intensely melancholic scene he surveys the now-desolate British airfield and lets his mind wander backward in time. Alfred Newman’s score compliments perfectly a flawless movie.
White Heat (Warner Bros., 1949). Thirties era numero uno film gangster returns in rare form as the psychopathic, mother-fixated Cody Jarett. Bullet-ridden at the top of an oil tank, he’s “Made it, Ma! Top of the world!”
Adam’s Rib (MGM, 1950). Spencer Tracy is an assistant district attorney, Kate Hepburn his wife, defense attorney for the woman (Judy Holiday) accused of attempted murder. Beware the licorice pistol.
All About Eve (Fox, 1950). Again, Joseph Mankiewicz garners directing and writing Academy Awards, and Bette Davis is nominated for playing stage icon Margo Channing, idolized by sneaky wannabe star Eve (Anne Baxter). “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.”
The Asphalt Jungle (MGM, 1950). John Huston directs the first full-fledged heist movie in which the planning and aftermath are as important as the robbery itself.
Born Yesterday (Columbia, 1950). Judy Holiday won an Academy Award for her definitive dumb—but capable of learning—blonde Billee Dawn opposite William Holden and Broderick Crawford.
Father of the Bride (MGM, 1950). Spencer Tracy is ignored when his daughter (Elizabeth Taylor) plans her wedding. A scene that must rank with the most hilarious in movie history is Tracy’s nightmare in which he arrives late at church and can’t negotiate the aisle due to a rippling floor and his tuxedo being torn from his body. At the altar, Taylor must avert her eyes from a dad making a travesty of her special day.
The Gunfighter (Fox, 1950). Gregory Peck teams up again with director Henry King to star as Ringo, a gunman of renown trying to escape his past. Every young punk (perfectly cast Richard Jaeckel and Skip Homeier) is in pursuit to take his mantle. Millard Mitchell of Twelve O’Clock High is back, with Karl Malden as Mac the bartender.
Sunset Boulevard (Paramount, 1950). Yet again director Billy Wilder creates a masterpiece. Faded, reclusive movie star Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) takes up with young man (William Holden), who becomes her live-in lover. It features the paramount tribute to Hollywood as the insane Desmond descends the stairs between reporters, thinking she’s preparing to make another movie, and marches into the camera and our psyche.
Ace in the Hole (Paramount, 1951). Journalist on the outs Chuck Tatum (Kirk Douglas) sees a return to glory by ingratiating himself with a man trapped in a mine and presenting his story. Trouble is, Tatum may be impeding the man’s rescue. Another exemplary Billy Wilder outing.
Strangers on a Train (Warner Bros., 1951). Tennis star Guy Haines (Farley Granger) and rich scion Bruno Antony (Robert Walker) discuss knocking off each other’s worst nightmares in a film that for some is director Alfred Hitchcock’s best. Trouble is, Granger doesn’t take Bruno seriously and is in for a shock.
A Streetcar Named Desire (Warner Bros., 1951). Uncouth New Orleans denizen Stanley Kowalski (Marlon Brando) allows his wife to provide temporary residence for her sister Blanche Dubois (Vivien Leigh), who relies “on the kindness of strangers” but goes off the deep end when Brando forces his attentions on her. Noteworthy in several ways: Brando’s iconic method acting, Leigh’s 2nd Academy Award, Alex North’s jazz score. “Stella!”
Come Back, Little Sheba (Paramount, 1952) As the middle-aged recovering alcoholic “Doc,” robust Burt Lancaster reveled in the chance to play against type. As his frumpy wife Lola, Shirley Booth repeated her stage role and won an Academy Award.
The Lusty Men (RKO, 1952). Brokedown rodeo competitor Jeff McCloud (Robert Mitchum) takes wannabe star Wes Merritt (Arthur Kennedy) under his wing while Kennedy’s long-suffering wife Louise (Susan Hayward) resists temptation.
Viva Zapata! (Fox, 1952). Director Elia Kazan’s second film outing with Marlon Brando is a biopic of the Mexican revolutionary during the early days of the 20th century. Antony Quinn won the first of two Supporting Actor Academy Awards, the second being for 1956’s Lust for Life.
From Here to Eternity (Columbia, 1953). James Jones’ scandalous novel of the peacetime army in Hawaii on the eve of World War II became the movie they said couldn’t be made but turned into a multi-Academy Award winner, including Best Picture. Supporting Actor and Actress awards went to Frank Sinatra and Donna Read. Burt Lancaster, also nominated, holds it all together as Master Sergeant Milt Warden, engaging in an affair with company commander’s wife Karen (Deborah Kerr) and trying to make sure thuggish Fatso Judson (Ernest Borgnine) doesn’t mess with his platoon.
Executive Suite (MGM, 1954). William Holden and Barbara Stanwyck head one of the finest power casts of all time. In support: Fredric March, June Allyson, Paul Douglas, Walter Pidgeon, Louis Calhern, Shelley Winters, Nina Foch.
On the Waterfront (Columbia, 1954). With the assistance of director Elia Kazan, Marlon Brando wins his first Academy Award as Terry Malloy, dockworker by day, boxer on the upswing by night. But mobster Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb) and Terry’s duplicitous brother Charley (Rod Steiger) muddle his chances for a championship bout. Won the Best Picture Academy Award, and newcomer Eva Marie Saint Best Supporting Actress. Brando’s taxi cab conversation with Rod Steiger became a classic: “You don’t understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contenda! I coulda been somebody. Instead of a bum, which is what I am. Let’s face it.”
M. C. Escher: Journey to Infinity
Never Gonna Snow Again
The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run
Wrath of Man
No Man’s Land
Picture a Scientist
Tulsa: The Fire and the Forgotten
The Virus That Shook the World
Backstrom series 1
Sicilia!: Where Does Your Hidden Smile Lie?
Spiral: from the book of Saw
Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy
Fighting for Fertility
A Quiet Place Part II
The Birthday Cake
Playing For Keeps season 2
The Brokenwood Mysteries series 7
Gangs of London season 1
Shameless season 11
The Spanish Princess season 2
Star Trek Discovery season 3
The Walking Dead season 10
American Gods season 3
Finding Your Roots season 7
Keeping Faith series 3
Unforgotten season 4
Better Mistakes by Bebe Rexha
Day By Day by White Flowers
Jam & Lewis Volume 1 by Jam & Lewis
Dark Nights: Death Metal Soundtrack
Hideaway by Wavves
Red Rocks 2020 by Nathaniel Rateliff
Southern Soul: From Memphis to Muscle Shoals & More by Lucinda Williams
Layla Revisited (Live at Lockn’) by Tedeschi Trucks Band & Trey Anastasio
For Once In My Life: A Celebration of Motown by Il Divo
Grapefruit Season by James Vincent McMorrow
SOB Rock by John Mayer
Welcome to the Madhouse by Tones and I
10 Babymetal Years by Babymetal
All Over the Place by KSI
Chloe Flower by Chloe Flower
Detour de Force by Barenaked Ladies
Hotel Surrender by Chet Faker
Iconic Woman of Country by various artists
Deadpan Love by Cautious Clay
Sling by Clairo
Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night by Bleachers
A Residency in the Los Angeles Area by Naia Izumi
Gold-Diggers Sound by Leon Bridges
McCartney III Imagined by Paul McCartney
662 by Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram
Bills & Aches & Blues by various artists
Downhill From Everywhere by Jackson Browne
For Free by David Crosby
Triage by Rodney Crowell
Strange Beauty by Hemai
Aretha by Aretha Franklin
Happier Than Ever by Billie Eilish
Into the Mystery by NEEDTOBREATHE
The Neon Remixed by Erasure
Welcome 2 America by Prince
Electro Melodier by Son Volt
Stand For Myself by Yola
Texas to Tennessee by Clay Walker
Aquarius by Toby Lee
The Cellist by Daniel Silva
The Therapist by B. A. Paris
Black Ice by Brad Thor
False Witness by Karin Slaughter
It’s Better This Way by Debbie Macomber
Beginning in the month of August, the Chester County Library will no longer be charging rental fees for certain items in our Multimedia collection.
All of the DVDs in our collection can be checked out for free starting this month, which means you can watch as many of your favorite movies and shows as you want without spending a cent! As before, movies are available for one-week loans, TV series for two-week loans. And even our most popular new releases, a three-day loan, are totally free! But it’s not just movies– this change applies to many other items in the collection as well.
Our Binge Boxes are mini movie collections, usually of about 4 to 6 DVDs, set around a theme (see our list of Binge Boxes here!). These are great for vacations, parties, or cozy nights in, and are available for free one-week loans.
Audiobooks are also free to check out! These include all of our books on CD as well as our collection of Playaways— small, portable MP3 players that you can listen to with headphones or an AUX cord in your car. These are great for long car trips or workouts and, like all of our audiobooks, are available for three-week loans.
Our collection of Great Courses— full-length, in-depth courses taught by award-winning professors –is now free as well! They come in both audio and video formats, and can be taken out for a three-week loan. Browse our Great Courses here!
This huge selection of exciting materials is now available at no cost to you– so if there is any part of the collection you’d like to explore, now is the time to start! For any questions concerning this change, please call the Multimedia department at 610-344-5667.
DVD: Ever After
Maybe my favorite adaptation of Cinderella, this movie has everything you could want from a fairy tale retelling: a great cast (especially Drew Barrymore as a spunky and active heroine), splendid costumes, lots of humor and heart, and of course a sweeping love story!
CD: Greatest Hits: Sound and Vision by Blondie
This “greatest hits” album lives up to its name by including all ten of the iconic rock band’s US chart-toppers, and several of their UK hits as well. All the best songs from their Parallel Lines album are here, along with classics such as “The Tide is High,” “Call Me,” and “Maria.”
DVD: Independence Day
“Massive spaceships appear in Earth’s skies and wonder turns to terror as the ships blast destructive beams of fire down on cities all over the planet. The world’s only hope lies with a determined band of survivors.”
Audiobook: Shoot to Thrill by P.J. Tracy
“When Minneapolis homicide cops are called to a derelict stretch of the Mississippi River, they see a bride, facedown, dead in the water. But it’s not long before the Monkeewrench Crew discovers a frightening link between the unlucky bride and the latest, most horrific use of the Internet yet.”
Liam Neeson at his best in this intense action thriller! A US Air Marshall must identify the individual threatening to kill a passenger every 20 minutes for ransom. So many twists & turns you’ll be left guessing (probably incorrectly) along with Bill Marks (Neeson).
CD: This Land by Gary Clark Jr.
The winner of the 2020 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album. Clark is a master on the guitar, and he’s evolving into a leading figure in the industry with a unique blend of blues and rock.
DVD: War and Peace
Sergei Bondarchuk directs and stars as Pierre in this epic of epics based on Leo Tolstoy’s historical novel that follows several segments of Russian society during Napoleonic times. Stupendous battle scenes depict Austerlitz and Borodino, and the grand balls may only be topped by those in The Leopard (1965). Tender and life-altering moments for the young and vibrant Natasha contain equal pleasures.
Audiobook: 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari
Harari has written three best-selling books in the past few years, all of which expand the reader’s mind: this, Homo Deus, and Sapiens. In 21 Lessons Harari makes what should be self-evident: put on the back burner the age-old question about the meaning of life. Priority number one must be, “how do we stop suffering?”
DVD: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Fun, action packed adventure based on the video game. With great costumes and sets, this fantasy will keep you entertained all the way through.
CD: La Vie en Rose Original Soundtrack
This soundtrack to the 2007 Edith Piaf biopic, La Vie en Rose features not only iconic Piaf songs but is also filled out by pieces from the original score that convey the feelings and themes of the film.
Libby Audiobook: The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
“A supernatural thriller set in South Carolina in the ’90s about a women’s book club that must protect its suburban community from a mysterious stranger who turns out to be a real monster”
CD: Jaime by Brittany Howard
“Jaime is the name of Brittany Howard’s sister, a sibling who died from a rare cancer when she was 13 years old. Howard began reckoning with the enduring ramifications of her loss when she started writing a memoir, an exercise that eventually led to her 2019 solo debut Jaime. Running a tight 35 minutes but containing a lifetime’s worth of drama and insight, Jaime is bracing in its adventure and generosity. Trace elements of Americana can be heard… but Jaime could never be mistaken for an Alabama Shakes album. It’s too funky and too fluid in how it embraces noise, art, and soul… Jaime plays the way memories do: specific facts get lost to a truth that gets larger as years pass, where the familiarity can be reassuring yet melancholy. Howard’s embrace of all the mess of life gives Jaime its sustenance. Her audacity is apparent upon the first listen, but subsequent spins are profound and nourishing.”
All quoted material from catalog.ccls.org.
Although film aficionados are familiar with Coleen Gray (1922 – 2015), she is not a household name. Nevertheless, her career on the big screen and TV was long and contained a number of highlights. Not many had such a promising start in multiple first-class films. Who knows why that didn’t continue? Poor agent? Unwilling to go the casting couch route with a studio exec? Marriage and family? (Somehow Jeanne Crain managed to be a 20th Century Fox mainstay from 1944 into the 50s despite birthing 7 children, although she did give up the plum role of Eve to Anne Baxter in the 1950 classic All About Eve.)
After small and/or uncredited appearances in several films, Gray got the “and Introducing” honor as Victor Mature’s neighbor and future wife Nettie in the seminal noir Kiss of Death (1947). (Until relatively recently, Richard Widmark’s overpowering debut as the giggling psychopath Tommy Udo sucked all the oxygen from the other players. Of late, Mature has come in for well-deserved kudos.)
In her next film, the same year, Gray not only had another superstar to play against but initiated her unheralded spate of memorable lines. Nightmare Alley has become an increasingly hailed noir that Tyrone Power was keen to use as a way to demonstrate that he was more than just a pretty boy—maybe Hollywood’s handsomest star. He’d taken a step in that direction the previous year in The Razor’s Edge and wanted to keep that ball rolling. In Nightmare, he played con man Stan Carlisle and Gray his wife who eventually had enough and stood up to him: “Wait a minute, mister. You’re not talking to one of your chumps. You’re talking to your wife. You’re talking to somebody who knows you red, white and blue, and you can’t fool me anymore. There’s only one way I can stop you from doing this thing, and that’s to leave you.”
In 1948 Gray was John Wayne’s girl in the epic cattle drive saga Red River. Her role as Fen was small but significant. She pleaded with Tom Dunson (Wayne) to stay with the wagon train rather than leave the customary trail with crusty old Groot (Walter Brennan): “Listen to me, Tom, listen with your head and your heart, too. The sun only shines half the time, Tom, the other half is night.” He didn’t listen and regretted it the rest of his days.
Although it wasn’t on the same scale or have the same prestige as her earlier movies, The Sleeping City (1950) with Richard Conte was a good crime drama set in a hospital. Once more Gray had the best lines, a monologue: “Blemishes are hid by night and every fault forgiven. The world should live by night. Dark draws people together. They can feel the need for each other. But the world gives the night to the sick, keeps for itself daylight and lets men look into faces filled with fear and hatred. Are you filled with fear and hatred?”
Like Marie Windsor, Mari Blanchard, Peggie Castle, Beverly Garland, Marla English and several others, Gray can in retrospect be labeled a B-movie queen of the 50s. See: Apache Drums, Copper Sky, Las Vegas Shakedown (“Nothing happens to school teachers.”), Star in the Dust, Destination 60,000, The Vampire, Hell’s Five Hours, The Leech Woman.
Occasionally Gray was in what would later be recognized as an important, even classic movie. See Stanley Kubrick’s multi-layered heist film The Killing (1956).
In the western The Black Whip (1958) Gray provided audiences with another memorable rant. As dance-hall floozie Jeannie, she confronted Hugh Marlowe: “What do you know about women like me? Do you think I chose this kind of life?”
In Johnny Rocco (1958) her character’s wit and wisdom was topped by Stephen McNally, her co-star from the same year’s Hell’s Five Hours. McNally apologized for his misstep: “Sorry, I call all dames Jack.”
The 1960s found Gray a fixture in TV series. She appeared on Perry Mason in 4 episodes between 1960 and 1966. In 1966 she was a regular on the daytime soap opera Days of Our Lives. She guest starred on innumerable other shows and many years later was a friendly, appreciative guest at film conventions.
The World to Come
The Reason I Jump
American Experience: American Oz
Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns
Escape from Extinction
Life at the Waterhole
Punk the Capital: Building a Sound Movement
American Experience: The Blinding of Isaac Woodard
American Immigration: Fear, Myth, and Reality
Land of Azaba
To the Ends of the Earth
Godzilla Vs. Kong
Anything for Jackson
Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts
Human: The World Within
Streetwise/tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell
It's Not a Burden: the Humor and Heartache of Raising Elderly Parents
Last Call to Normandy complete series
Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal season 1
I Hate Suzie season 1
Fuller House season 5
The Walking Dead: World Beyond season 1
Becoming Evil: Serial Killers of the Old West
Umbrella Academy season 1
Purge the complete series
January Flower by Mat Kearney
Scaled and Icy by Twenty One Pilots
Sour by Olivia Rodrigo
Long Lost by Lord Huron
Makeover by K. D. Lang
Carnage by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
Laysongs by Chris Thile
Weekends Look a Little Different These Days by Brett Young
Man on the Moon III: The Chosen by Kid Cudi
In the Heights Official Motion Picture Soundtrack by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Now Serving: Royal Tea – Live from the Ryman by Joe Bonamassa
Big Mess by Danny Elfman
Now That’s What I Call Country Volume 14
Soul Original Score
Wary + Strange by Amythyst Kiah
The Golden Casket by Modest Mouse
Jordi by Maroon 5
Bodies by AFI
Mammoth WVH by Mammoth WVH
Cande Y Paulo by Candy Y Paulo
Changephobia by Rostam
Now That’s What I Call Country Classics 00s
The Lady Has A Past by Amanda Quick
Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard
Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean
Legacy by Nora Roberts
Golden Girl by Elin Hilderbrand
Our Woman in Moscow by Beatriz Williams
Unfinished Business by J. A. Jance
The Warsaw Orphan by Kelly Rimmer
The Bullet by Iris Johansen
The Maidens by Alex Michaelides
Dream Girl by Laura Lippman
The Secret Keeper of Jaipur by Alka Joshi
The Fiancee by Kate White
The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict & Victoria Christopher Murray
Jackpot by Stuart Woods & Bryon Quertermous
Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: The Black Order by Tom Clancy & Jeff Rovin
Changes by Sheldon Pearce
Instructions For Dancing by Nicola Yoon
The Box in the Woods by Maureen Johnson
Blackout by Nicola Yoon
Chester County Library is celebrating Pride all throughout the month of June, and you can celebrate with us by checking out some of the LGBTQIA+ movies in our collection! This is a list of true-life stories about members and allies of the LGBTQIA+ community, their lives, and the struggles and triumphs they face.
An Act of Love (2015, Not Rated)
After officiating his son’s same-sex wedding, Rev. Frank Schaefer was put on trial in the United Methodist Church, the second-largest protestant denomination in the country.
An Honest Liar (2014, Not Rated)
James Randi has made a life for himself exposing sham faith healers, psychics, and con-artists, creating many disguises and deceptions to do so. But a revelation about his personal life shows his actions in a new light.
Beyond Gay: The Politics of Pride (2009, Not Rated)
In a time when Pride has become a celebration more than a protest, the Vancouver Pride Society journeys to places where Pride is an event of political action against still-rampant homophobia.
Born to Be (2020, Not Rated)
Follows the work of Dr. Jess Ting, a pioneering surgeon at the Mount Sinai Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery, where trans and gender non-conforming people have access to transition-related care.
Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin (2003, Not Rated)
Bayard Rustin was a major player in the Civil Rights movement, one of the first “freedom riders” and an adviser to Martin Luther King Jr. But his role was severely diminished after being outed as homosexual.
Call Her Ganda (2018, Not Rated)
When a Filipina transwoman is brutally murdered by a US Marine, three women demand justice for the murder and call for an end to American imperialism.
Deep in Vogue (2018, Not Rated)
Follows and celebrates the unique and colorful lives of the members of Northern Vogue, a vogue ballroom in Manchester, England.
Do I Sound Gay? (2015, Not Rated)
After a breakup, journalist David Thorpe confronts his anxiety about sounding gay, enlisting the help of actors, vocal coaches, and experts to explore the “gay voice” and what it represents in our culture.
Freddie Mercury: The Greatest Showman (2019, Not Rated)
A celebration of the life and work of the rock legend, featuring interviews with his friends, colleagues, and collaborators, as well as rare archive footage.
The Freedom to Marry (2016, Not Rated)
Follows the trajectory of the movement for marriage equality, and the many activists who fought to win the equal right to marry.
Gender Revolution (2017, Rated TV-PG)
Katie Couric talks with scientists, experts, and everyday people, to answer questions about gender identity and explore how science and society help to construct ideas of gender.
Growing Up Coy (2016, Not Rated)
When Coy, a six-year-old transgender girl, is banned from the girls’ bathroom at her school, her parents file a discrimination suit which becomes one of the most high-profile cases in recent history.
Growing Up Trans (2015, Rated TV-14)
Explores the lives of transgender kids and teens, and the struggles and choices they and their families face along the path to transition.
The Guys Next Door (2016, Not Rated)
Follows the life of a modern gay family. Erik and Sandro live together with their daughters, who they had by a surrogate—their friend Rachel, who has three teens of her own.
Homosaywhat? Who’s Pushing Hate? (2019, Not Rated)
Explores how cultural institutions and public figures have advanced systemic anti-LGBTQIA+ prejudice in society, from history to the current day, as well as how this prejudice can still be deeply harmful.
How to Survive a Plague (2012, Not Rated)
Tells the story of LGBTQIA+ activists who fought to end the AIDS epidemic, making their voices heard in the pharmaceutical industry to help hasten a treatment for the devastating disease.
Lady Valor: The Kristen Beck Story (2014, Not Rated)
A former U.S. Navy Seal shares her journey as she transitions, and contemplates the ideals of the country she served—what do they mean to her now as a transgender woman?
Making the Boys (2010, Not Rated)
The Boys in the Band was the first ever gay play (and subsequently Hollywood film) to reach a mainstream audience. This film explores how the play and film came to be made.
McQueen (2018, Rated R)
An intimate portrait of the life and work of legendary fashion designer Alexander McQueen, including interviews with his friends and family and archival documents.
Memories of a Penitent Heart (2016, Not Rated)
A filmmaker digs into her family’s past to uncover the truth about her uncle’s death, and to find his partner Robert. An exploration of the AIDS crisis and how faith can be used as a tool of hate.
The Most Dangerous Year (2019, Not Rated)
2016 was a dangerous year for transgender people, thanks to a slew of transphobic bathroom bills. This movie follows the battles fought by transgender people and their families for justice and fair treatment.
Out in the Open (2013, Not Rated)
A celebration of the things that make us beautifully different, this movie interviews people from all walks of life in an attempt to foster understanding, especially for LGBTQIA+ teens.
Out in the Silence (2009, Not Rated)
When a gay filmmaker’s wedding announcement causes controversy in his hometown, he returns to the town to help a teen who is being mercilessly bullied in school.
Paris is Burning (1990, Rated R)
Made over the course of seven years, this groundbreaking documentary explores the Black and Latine Harlem drag-ball scene, and the evolution of vogue culture in 1980s New York City.
The Queen of Ireland (2015, Not Rated)
Explores the life, art, and advocacy of Rory O’Neill, AKA Panti Bliss, an Irish drag queen and LGBTQIA+ activist.
Rebels on Pointe (2017, Not Rated)
Les Ballets Trockadero Monte Carlo is the world’s first-ever all-male drag ballet company, started on the heels of the Stonewall riots. This film shows the past and present of this notorious group.
Seahorse: the Dad Who Gave Birth (2019, Not Rated)
After years of soul-searching, a transgender man longing to start a family makes the choice to carry his own baby. This movie follows his pregnancy and birth and explores the tender universality of family.
To Be Takei (2014, Not Rated)
A look at the extraordinary life of trailblazing Star Trek actor George Takei, from his childhood in Japanese internment camps to his present-day life with husband Brad.
Transformer (2018, Not Rated)
A body-builder, record-holding power lifter, former Marine and father of three undergoes a gender transition and starts living her truth with a new name: Janae.
49 Pulses (2016, Not Rated)
Examines the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida—one of the worst shootings in U.S. history.