Saturday, December 15, 2012

Perfect Time for a Holiday Affair

HOLIDAY AFFAIR

Released: December 24, 1949
Directed: Don Hartman
Starring: Robert Mitchum, Janet Leigh

Christmas is not too far away and comparison shopper Connie Ennis (Janet Leigh) buys a train from Steve Mason (Robert Mitchum) at Crowley's Department Store. Her business like attitude clues Mason into her profession and when she returns the train the next day, his suspicions are confirmed. He threatens to expose her but when Connie tells Mason about her six year old boy and how she's a widow, he decides to let her go which gets him fired. The two become fast friends, but Connie's fiance, Carl (Wendell Corey), is highly suspicious. Complications arise when Connie's son, Timmy, likes Mason more than Carl and Mason declares his intentions on Connie.
HOLIDAY AFFAIR is a bit of a rollercoaster of a film. Things seem to happen that make no sense and much is sort of out of the blue but it's enjoyable if you just sit back and let it happen. Robert Mitchum agreed to do the film in order to fix his image after he was busted for marijuana possession. You can only imagine what that means. The child who plays Timmy is cute but a bit annoying at times. Mainly you're going to want to yell at Leigh for not getting with Mitchum sooner. It's obvious who she should be with and there's nothing really stopping from taking advantage of that. Not terrible, not great, but enjoyable nonetheless.

I want everything just the way it is,
LW

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Is There Nothing Sacred?

NOTHING SACRED

Released: November 26, 1937
Directed: William A. Wellman
Starring: Carole Lombard, Frederic March, Charles Winninger

Caught in his lie, Wally Cook (Frederic March), is demoted to obituary editor for the Morning Star by his boss Oliver Stone (Walter Connolly). During his stint writing obituaries, Wally hears about a girl, Hazel Flagg (Carole Lombard), who's dying of radium poisoning. As a way to redeem himself, he finds himself in Warsaw, Vermont to give Hazel the time of her life before passing on. But unbeknownst to Wally and the Morning Star, Hazel Flagg doesn't have radium poisoning, but Hazel wants to go to New York. So she pretends to be dying while getting help from her town doctor, Dr. Enoch Downer (Charles Winninger), to pull of the charade.
NOTHING SACRED is marked by being the first screwball comedy to be shot in color, a feat in itself as color reproduction on film was not an easy task. However, as a film in itself, it's not that great. The story is a bit rushed, and the acting only so-so. Carole Lombard was the queen of screwball comedies but she's not at her best in this film. Frederic March is dashing, but there's not much there to endear him to us. Is it an enjoyable film? Absolutely. But it lacks substance. There are many funny bits, so enjoy NOTHING SACRED for what it is.

Where's your sense of chivalry?
LW

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

It Seems You've Commited Murder, My Sweet

MURDER, MY SWEET

Released: December 9, 1944
Directed: Edward Dmytryk
Starring: Dick Powell, Claire Trevor, Anne Shirley

Detective Phillip Marlowe (Dick Powell) has been hired by Moose Malloy (Mike Mazurki) to find his former girlfriend, Velma, a pretty, innocent, red head. Complications arise when Marlowe is hired as bodyguard to Lindsay Marriott, a gigolo of sorts. When Marriott is killed over a jade necklace, and Marlowe knocked unconscious, he refuses to let the case go. Each lead brings him closer to the truth, but who's Velma? What does she have to do with the necklace? Who was that girl in the middle of the woods? Is Amthor the connection to Moose, Velma, the necklace, and Marriott's death?
MURDER, MY SWEET is based off of Raymond Chandler's novel, Farewell, My Lovely. This being a film noir, it's hard to describe just exactly what's happening, but this is an incredible movie. Dick Powell, a song and dance man, is cast against type as Phillip Marlowe. And WOW, is he incredible. I think he's the best Phillip Marlowe I've ever seen. The characters are appropriately shady and you're definitely going to suspect everyone. The drug scene is pretty intense and a trip for the ages. A wonderful film. Glad I finally got around to watching it.

It's a long story and not pretty,
LW

Sunday, January 1, 2012

I'm No Bachelor Mother

BACHELOR MOTHER

Released: August 4, 1939
Directed: Garson Kanin
Starring: Ginger Rogers, David Niven, Charles Coburn

Polly Parrish (Ginger Rogers) is a salesgirl at John B. Merlin & Son who has just been fired because the holiday rush is over. Upset, Polly goes to several employment agencies, and witnesses a woman placing a baby on the front stoop of an orphanage. Afraid it is going to fall, she graciously picks it up, but is then thought to be the mother by the orphanage workers. Refusing to "acknowledge" the baby as her own, the workers track her down at her job and talk to her boss, David Merlin (David Niven). David, feeling bad for her, gives Polly back her job, a five dollar raise, and a "Christmas gift", which is of course, the baby back. A fella from work takes her to David's house and drops off the baby, who he thinks is the boss's kid. David returns the baby angrily and the two develop an unusual friendship. Polly and David, that is. Things are complicated when David's dad, John B. Merlin (Charles Coburn), thinks the baby is his grandson.
BACHELOR MOTHER is a wonderful film. I first "saw" the film on Lux Radio Theatre, then later I watched the remake: BUNDLE OF JOY. The remake is ok, but BACHELOR MOTHER is delightful. Ginger Rogers is gorgeous and very funny. As is David Niven, surprisingly. He's always so straight laced and it was great to see him be goofy and fun. Plus his impersonation of Roger's dancing is memorable, to say the least.

Ha ha,
LW

Sunday, December 18, 2011

This Here's A Magic Town

MAGIC TOWN

Released: October 7, 1947
Directed: William A. Wellman
Starring: James Stewart, Jane Wyman

Lawrence "Rip" Smith (James Stewart) is an opinion pollster looking for the perfect town. The one town that mirrors the opinions of the entire nation. His polling company closes down, but before he's about to give up he finds a discarded telegram that answers his prayer. The town is Grandview, a wholly unremarkable town that's on the verge of change. Rip needs the town to stay the same and cuts down the idea proposed by Mary Peterman (Jane Wyman) to build a new civic center. The two become enemies, but that doesn't stop Rip from trying to get to know her. He and his team secretly poll the townspeople while posing as insurance salesmen. Rip, who's never really felt at home, quickly falls in love with Mary, the town, and the basketball team. Mary discovers Rip's secret and, being the acting editor, prints it in the newspaper. Rip asks her not to because he knows that no one, not even a nice town like Grandview, should be told they're special. Will Grandview disintegrate? Will Mary see the error of her ways? Will Rip and Mary get together? Will the civic center ever get built? Find out, and watch MAGIC TOWN.
This is a sweet little film. Probably not one of James Stewart's or Jane Wyman's most well known films, but it is a great picture. It has it's funny moments and touching ones. You might hate Wyman for a while, but that's because Mary isn't the brightest person in the universe. I always feel awful sorry for Rip. He tries so hard to make things right. There's basketball, headache powders, and insurance policies. Fun fact, this is one first movies released about the opinion polling, the newest science. It was also a commercial flop. But this little film is wonderful and it was the loss of many people who wouldn't come out.

I wanna see the editor of this imitation newspaper,
LW

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

There's Always The Muppet Movie

THE MUPPET MOVIE

Released: June 22, 1979
Directed: James Frawley
Starring: Jim Henson, Frank Oz

Kermit the Frog sings Rainbow Connection in the swamp. Dom DeLuise (or Bernie the agent) persuades Kermit to go to Hollywood. He rides off on his bicycle and meets up with Fozzie Bear. They slowly accumulate, and meet, all the other Muppets, while trying to avoid Doc Hopper (Charles Durning) who wants Kermit to be the spokesfrog for his frog legs restaurant chain.
That is, in a nutshell the plot. Now considering it is a muppet film, and the first muppet film, it is zany, fun, and musical. There are many wonderful songs, including the ever famous Rainbow connection. You get to see and hear the muppets as they original were. Not to mention Rolf! I absolutely adore Rolf, and after Jim Henson past away, you don't really see him in films. In this one, he's got a pretty big(ish) part. THE MUPPET MOVIE breaks the fourth wall (if it didn't I'd be deeply depressed), makes several movie jokes, reads the script, and generally carry on. Not to mention cameos from some wonderful stars. I won't guarantee you'll love this movie. I absolutely adore the muppets. Always have, but there are some people without souls who don't like them at all. If you love the muppets and haven't seen the movie that started it all, then you're missing out. Then you should watch their other films. And show. And even the one that's in theatres now. Do it!

This is a narrative of very heavy duty proportions,
LW

Monday, December 12, 2011

I Can See It In The Milky Way

THE MILKY WAY

Released: February 7, 1936
Directed: Leo McCarey
Starring: Harold Lloyd, Adolphe Menjou

Burleigh Sullivan (Harold Lloyd) is an shy and inept milkman. His sister, Mae (Helen Mack), is harassed by a drunken Speed McFarlan (William Gargan), the middleweight champ of the world, and his bodyguard/sidekick Spider Schultz (Lionel Stander). Burleigh attempts to stop them which results in Speed being knocked out. Speed's manager, Gabby Sloan (Adolphe Menjou), is terribly upset by this, especially when they see the small fellow that is Burleigh. He informs them that he didn't knock out Speed; Spider did. Burleigh then tells them how as a child he was always picked on so he learned how to dodge, bob, and weave. It's all in the footwork. Gabby gets an idea to make him a boxer but Burleigh refuses. Unfortunately, Burleigh gets fired from his job over his horse, Agnes. He needs the money and decides to take up boxing much to the dismay of his sister and girlfriend.
MILKY WAY was Harold Lloyd's most successful talkie. It has several funny bits, but I felt it relied more on dialogue from Lloyd, than actual action. You're a silent star Lloyd, don't try the talking business. Of course, I haven't seen much of Lloyd's work other than GRANDMA'S BOY. I suppose I like the idea of silent stars sticking to their element. In the world of sound, words don't have to be the cause, but the result. Anyways... this film is rather entertaining. However, having seen the 1946 remake, THE KID FROM BROOKLYN, starring Danny Kaye, I knew what was going to happen. I also found the remake far superior. Maybe it's my inevitable love for Kaye, or perhaps it's because I felt Lloyd could do better. Either way, they're both good films, but while this version ties the knots, the remake shows you how it was done. In other words, the story makes much more sense. Now I'm just rambling.

I'm delivering grade A milk, for better babies!
LW