Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Love To, Sabrina

SABRINA

Released: September 22, 1954
Directed: Billy Wilder
Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, William Holden

Sabrina Fairchild (Audrey Hepburn) is the chauffeur's daughter who is hopelessly in love with David Larrabee (William Holden), the youngest son of the household. She's sent to a culinary school in Paris, but rather than her infatuation with David dying, it only grows. She returns to Long Island a beautiful and sophisticated young woman who suddenly grabs the attention of the playboy David Larrabee. Unfortunately for Sabrina, David's engaged to the daughter of Linus Larrabee's (Humphrey Bogart) business partner. Linus, David's brother, needs this marriage to occur so he can see his new business come to life. Linus decides to take matters into his own hands, and possibly, Sabrina's heart.
This really is a beautiful movie. Despite how much Bogey hated the making of this film, I think this is one of Humphrey Bogart's greatest roles. Audrey Hepburn is just a lovely thing and you can believe her as a plain girl that transforms into a beautiful woman. William Holden is quite funny and this is just a great movie. There are so many memorable parts that I can't just choose one. During the filming of SABRINA, Hepburn and Holden were involved in a highly publicized affair, which made filming PARIS WHEN IT SIZZLES a bit difficult as Holden tried to reignite the affair. Edith Head also won an Oscar for Best Costumes, but she only designed Hepburn's pre-Paris outfits. Hubert de Givenchy designed Hepburn's more famous or noteworthy gowns. This was the beginning of their wonderful partnership.

It's all in the family,
LW

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Don't Question The Major And The Minor

THE MAJOR AND THE MINOR

Released: September 16, 1942
Directed: Billy Wilder
Starring: Ginger Rogers, Ray Milland, Rita Johnson

Susan Applegate (Ginger Rogers) is tired of being hit on in all of her career endeavors. Finally fed up after being sexually harassed by the greasy Mr. Osborne (Robert Benchley), Susan decides to head back home to Stevenson, Iowa where life is not so exciting, but at least she'll have some type of security. She has saved up the train fare in an envelope, but when she tries to get her ticket, the price has gone up. Not having enough for full fare, Susan disguises herself as 12 year old Su-Su Applegate. In an attempt to get away from the conductors, she hides in Major Phillip Kirby's (Ray Milland) drawing room. He honestly believes she's twelve and agrees to let her stay the night. But the next morning his fiance, Pamela Hill (Rita Johnson), stops by and she get's a horrible idea. Kirby needs Su-Su to clear his name but Susan's roped in by Pamela's kid sister to help Maj. Kirby. That is, if the entire military academy will let her.
This is a really cute film. I've seen it a million times. Despite the fact that a thirty something Ginger was trying to be a twelve year old, it isn't bothersome at all. I know I begin to believe her. The whole premise is heart warming. Plus a bunch of thirteen year old, hormone crazed boys are chasing her all around a military school. THE MAJOR AND THE MINOR was also Billy Wilder's American directorial debut. He will go on to greater and more wonderful things, but it's nice to see this film. It's funny, cute, and just fantastic. Ray Milland is very handsome, and you get to see just a little bit of Ginger's dancing abilities.

I'll try and be a better lightbulb, Uncle Phillip,
LW

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Half A Sixpence Is Better Than Half A Penny

HALF A SIXPENCE

Released: February 20, 1968
Directed: George Sidney
Starring: Tommy Steele, Julia Foster, Cyril Ritchard

Arthur Kipps (Tommy Steele) is an apprentice to a tyrannical shop owner who lives in the shop cellar along with three other shop workers. Every day he gets letters from his childhood sweetheart, Ann (Julia Foster). She writes that she's coming to town and they meet for the first time in years. They still both love each other and Arthur gives her half a sixpence as a token of their love (they had found the sixpence years earlier). A playwright on a bike (Cyril Ritchard) runs Arthur over and reveals some startling news to him. Arthur is the grandson of a wealthy man and he has left everything to Arthur. Arthur's life begins to change, but will he lose sight of the woman and people he loves, or will he give it all up for society?
A 1960's British musical. That basically sums up the entire film. It's very 60's and quite British. It was originally a stage musical as a vehicle for Tommy Steele. But Tommy Steele is so amazing that he can do just about anything. He's just fantastic as Artie, although there are times that you want to kill him (Artie, not Tommy). The songs are super catchy. This is probably one of my new favorite musicals.

You don't have any pockets,
LW

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Let's Talk About Sex and The Single Girl

SEX AND THE SINGLE GIRL

Released: December 25, 1964
Directed: Richard Quine
Starring: Tony Curtis, Natalie Wood, Henry Fonda, Lauren Bacall

Bob Weston (Tony Curtis) is managing editor of STOP magazine, the dirtiest rag in town, and he's proud of it. He wrote an article based off Dr. Helen Gurley Brown's (Natalie Wood) book, Sex and the Single Girl, raising the question of whether she is, or isn't (a virgin). Helen is terribly upset that she refuses to even talk to Bob, who's planning an expose that'll ruin Dr. Brown and get him a Pulitzer Prize. Bob's henpecked neighbor, Frank Broderick (Henry Fonda) is constantly getting into fighting matches with his wife, Sylvia (Lauren Bacall). Bob takes Frank's problems to Dr. Brown, pretending to be Frank, in order to help out his friend's marriage and get his story.
I really love SEX AND THE SINGLE GIRL. It's a fantastic film. Tony Curtis is really at his comical best. He plays a very charming rat. He honestly believes in what he's doing. Lauren Bacall is hilarious as the nagging wife. Natalie Wood is quite entertaining and Henry Fonda is great. A fantastic movie. Some might think it's dated, but I think it plays just as well today. My only problem is the car chase scene at the end. It's way too long. But other than that, a wonderful film. A plus side is everyone tells Bob Weston that he looks like Jack Lemmon.

This man is ugly,
LW

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Bells Are Ringing In My Ears

THE BELLS ARE RINGING

Released: June 23, 1960
Directed: Vincente Minelli
Starring: Judy Holliday, Dean Martin

Ella Peterson (Judy Holliday) is a switch board operator at the Susanswerphone answering service. Ella is a big hearted girl who loves to solve her subscribers' problems. She plays Santa Claus for a little boy, gives the musically inclined dentist hints at music publishers, and plays 'mom' to a playboy playwright, Jeffrey Moss (Dean Martin). Ella is hopelessly in love with Jeff even though she's only heard his voice and listened to his problems. Afraid that Jeff is going to ruin his last chance at success, she sneaks into his apartment to help him write his newest play. The two fall in love but Ella feels guilty because she's given him a fake name and she's not being honest. A side plot is about a man named Otto who wants to use Susanswerphone as his Titanic Records headquarters, but rather than taking orders for records, he takes orders for horse betting. Another side plot are two detectives who think Susanswerphone is only a front for an escort service.
It is a very discombobulated story, but the songs are good and Judy is wonderful. This is her last film and she's really putting her heart into it. The best part is she's not playing a dumb blonde. Dean Martin isn't terrible and you do kind of feel for him. A lovely film, but not the best.

Uh...Uh...I said uh!
LW

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Guys And Dolls Are Everywhere

GUYS AND DOLLS

Released: November 3, 1955
Directed: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Starring: Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons

Frank Sinatra is Nathan Detroit, a gambler who's having a difficult time trying to find a place to hold his crap game. No one wants to house him due to the fact that Lt. Brannigan (Robert Keith) is "putting on the heat." As if that wasn't enough, Adelaide (Vivian Blaine), Nathan's fiance of fourteen years, is tired of waiting around. She wants to get married now. Luckily, Nathan can solve at least one of his problems. Sky Masterson (Marlon Brando), a reckless and impetuous gambler, has just rolled into town. Nathan bets a thousand bucks that Sky can't take any girl of his choosing to Havana, Cuba. And Nathan picks Sgt. Sarah Brown (Jean Simmons), the most devoted member of the Save A Soul Mission.
GUYS AND DOLLS is a highly amusing musical. First off, the numbers are very catchy. If they don't get stuck in your head, then you're not watching GUYS AND DOLLS. Secondly, the way the characters talk is very unusual. They don't talk like normal human beings talk. You'll notice right off the bat. This picture is very funny, entertaining, and enjoyable. You really invest yourself in the characters. GUYS AND DOLLS is also known for Marlon Brando's and Jean Simmons' singing. In that neither were singers but they used their own voices. No dubbing! It's a great film to watch over and over again, or will be if you haven't seen it yet.

Everybody in the whole world who hates me is now here,
LW

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

You Can't Take It With You My Friend

YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU

Released: August 23, 1938
Directed: Frank Capra
Starring: Jean Arthur, Lionel Barrymore, James Stewart

Alice Sycamore (Jean Arthur) and Tony Kirby (James Stewart) are terribly in love but Tony's snobby, uppercrust parents do not approve of Alice. Particularly because she's his secretary. Tony doesn't care what his parents think and asks Alice to marry him anyway. She agrees but she won't marry him until she has his parents' approval of both herself and her family. This is a little easier said than done, as her family is a house full of frightfully eccentric folks who do whatever they like, whenever they like. Their whole goal in life is to have fun. Tony brings his parents over a day before the scheduled date which causes much chaos. A side story is Mr. Kirby (Edward Arnold) and his attempts to buy the neighborhood and house of the Sycamore's.
YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU is a very funny film and if you walk into it out of the blue (like my roommate) you'll be terribly confused. The Mother writes plays, the sister (Ann Miller) dances, her husband sells candy and plays the xylophone, the Father makes fireworks in the cellar along with a pal of his. The only one in the entire house who isn't crazy is Alice. The Sycamore's are such a kind and friendly family that you just can't help fall in love with them. Jimmy and Jean have such great chemistry together that I'm glad they have more than one movie together (MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON). Ann Miller was fifteen at the time of shooting which makes it a bit weird that she's married...but that can be completely overlooked. Perhaps not one of Capra's most well known, but it did win Best Picture and Direction for 1938.

The die is cast. I'm a lily!
LW

Monday, September 12, 2011

Have You Met Pat and Mike?

PAT AND MIKE

Released: June 13, 1952
Directed: George Cukor
Starring: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Aldo Ray

Patricia Pemberton (Katharine Hepburn) is an excellent lady athlete but she loses her confidence whenever her disapproving fiance shoots her that look. In a fit of anger she shows up the lady golfer she was playing and is persuaded by the country club bartender to join the women's golfing champion. She's a cinch to win but along comes her fiance who buggers it all up. Mike Conovan (Spencer Tracy) is a sports agent who sees her potential and his monetary possibilities. But Pat doesn't only play golf; her talents include tennis, boxing, basketball, etc. But each time she's about to make a name for herself in a sport, her fiance shows up, jittering her.
PAT AND MIKE is a very funny film that shows off Kate Hepburn's athleticism. Spencer Tracy is great at any role and that includes shady sports agent Mike. He's just wonderful. Aldo Ray, in his second film appearance, stars as the meat head of a boxer who is Mike's other athlete. He's so dumb, but adorable. Just another fantastic Tracy/Hepburn film. In fact it was their seventh out of nine pictures made together. A real gem. The only thing that really got my goat was at the end when they didn't kiss. I think nearly every couple should kiss at least once in these types of films but...whatever. You really don't see them kiss in any of their films....

You've never been married to a lobster,
LW

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Annie Get Your Gun 'Fore I Shoot You

ANNIE GET YOUR GUN

Released: May 17, 1950
Directed: George Sidney
Starring: Betty Hutton, Howard Keel, Louis Calhern

Colonel Buffalo Bill (Louis Calhern) and company role into town with  manly and arrogant Frank Butler (Howard Keel). In each town they visit they offer a shooting contest which Butler always wins. But today Annie Oakley (Betty Hutton), a dirty young girl who happens to be a crack shot, rolls into town. She beats Frank at his own game and is offered to be part of the show by Buffalo Bill. She agrees mainly so she can hang around Frank who she's completely infatuated with. He slowly starts to fall in love with her, but in the back of his mind he knows that she's a better shot than he, and his ego won't stand for it.
ANNIE GET YOUR GUN is a very entertaining musical. Howard Keel is surprisingly dreamy. Well not surprisingly....but he's still dreamy. Betty Hutton is really great as Annie Oakley. Very glad that Judy Garland wasn't able to continue with the project. Of course, I really don't like Judy Garland...but that's beside the point. Not a very accurate account of Annie's life, but there are a lot of great songs, dancing, and shooting. And it is also very politically incorrect, but other than that...great film.

Hey Mister!
LW

Friday, September 9, 2011

Follow Your Feet and Follow The Fleet

FOLLOW THE FLEET

Released: February 26, 1936
Directed: Mark Sanrich
Starring: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Randolph Scott

Bake Baker (Fred Astaire) and Bilge Smith (Randolph Scott) are two sailors about to embark on their shore leave (no this is not like ONE THE TOWN) when Bilge sees a photo of Bake and Sherry Martin (Ginger Rogers). Sherry was once Bake's dance partner but after she rejected his marriage proposal, Bake joined the Navy while she works at some really hot night spot that reeks with class. Of course, that is not the case. Sherry works at a club called Paradise where she and Bake meet up again. Bilge is more or less hit on by Connie (Harriet Hilliard), Sherry's sister who is more or less a square. She gets prettied up and suddenly Bilge is hitting on her. She and Bilge have a night of romance but he's turned off by her talk of marriage. Bake accidentally (on purpose) gets Sherry fired and promises to get her a new job but the two ship out before any of their relationships go further. But when they return their women are either not so willing, or too willing.
I really like this film because Fred is a sailor. I mean the guy is drinking beer and chewing gum and smoking cigarettes. It's really cute and different. Perhaps some folks don't like Fred as an average joe, but I think it works out rather well for him. Randolph Scott does a fantastic job as the meat head pal. Ginger and Harriet are both beautiful and play their roles excellently. Fred and Ginger's dancing is fantastic! Also Ginger dances and sings solo which is quite rare for their partnership. Lucille Ball and Betty Grable are also hanging around. A really great film. Plus there's a monkey in a sailor suit!

Gosh, you're glad to see me,
LW

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

That's The Heiress

THE HEIRESS

Released: October 6, 1949
Directed: William Wyler
Starring: Olivia de Havilland, Montgomery Clift, Ralph Richardson

Catherine Slope (Olivia de Havilland) is a socially awkward girl during the mid to late 19th century. Her father (Ralph Richardson) is a wealthy doctor who makes it plain that he is disappointed in Catherine's lack of beauty, charm, and poise. Lavinia Penniman (Miriam Hopkins), Catherine's recently widowed aunt, has just moved in with the hope that she'll be able to do something with Catherine. At a party one night Catherine is introduced to Morris Townsend (Montgomery Clift) through her aunt. Morris is charming, sweet, and hopelessly devoted to Catherine. The two fall in love but Dr. Slope does not trust Morris. Catherine is an heiress and it is quite possible that Morris is only after her money.
Truth be told I had told myself that I wouldn't sit through this film, but I did. Mainly because I had to eat breakfast somewhere and the living room is the only place to sit. I found this movie extremely addicting. Every moment or so I'd say, "Ok, I'm going to turn off the TV!" and then BAM! something would happen and I'd have to stay on. Boring anecdote, I know.
This was a highly addictive film. Olivia de Havilland is very believable as the plain Jane despite the fact that she really is a pretty woman. Miriam Hopkins is rather annoying, but that's the point. Ralph Richardson is a complete and total jerkface. I really wanted to murder him. This is really a fantastic film. Clift is surprisingly handsome, and I say surprisingly because I'm not that familiar with his work. And he has a mustache later in the film which was super exciting for me. A fantastic film and if you're like me, then you'll probably be praying that Clift isn't a complete and total heel. To be honest, that issue isn't really addressed, it's just inferred. A real nail biter.

Yes, I can be very cruel. I have been taught by masters,
LW

Monday, September 5, 2011

You'll Find Me On Sunset Boulevard

SUNSET BOULEVARD

Released: August 10, 1950
Directed: Billy Wilder
Starring: William Holden, Gloria Swanson

SUNSET  BOULEVARD is perhaps one of the best films ever made. I may say that about alot of films, but this is on the level. And in retrospect, this entire situation we find Holden in is because he doesn't want to lose his car. All he wants is his car!
Joe Gillis (William Holden) is a down on his luck screenwriter who, in an effort to keep his car, drives into the garage of a seemingly empty mansion on Sunset Boulevard. The occupants of the house are Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson), a delusional silent film star, and her servant, Max (Erich Von Stroheim). Joe becomes employed by her to polish up her screenplay for 'SALOME'. For the remainder of the film, Joe is a virtual prisoner. Norma becomes crazier and Joe finds out much more about his 'employer' than he ought to know.
When I first saw this movie my first reaction was, "I want to be that crazy when I'm an old lady," and to be honest, my observation still stands. That and all Holden wanted was his car. This really is Billy Wilder's best film. Yes I love his other films but SUNSET BOULEVARD has more of what his other films had. The cinematography is superb and the actors are great. Holden is a fantastic actor and he really humanizes Joe and even Norma. You really hope the beginning didn't happen, although deep down you know it has.
Montgomery Clift had been signed on first to play Joe Gillis, but he turned it down at the last moment. To be honest, I don't think Clift would have been able to do so good a job as Holden. For Norma Desmond, many silent film actresses were considered and approached before Wilder chose Gloria Swanson. Erich Von Stroheim was a silent film director and had actually directed Swanson.
SUNSET BOULEVARD is a mix of fiction and truth and it really is fascinating to see where the truth ends and fiction begins. Another bit of trivia is that SUNSET BOULEVARD had started off as a comedy but it just didn't sit right, so Wilder changed it into the 'noir' film it is now. I consider it to be film noir, though I'm sure many may argue otherwise.

I am big! It's the pictures that got small,
LW

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Love We Make

THE LOVE WE MAKE



As the tenth anniversary of 9/11 approaches, the highly-anticipated feature length documentary THE LOVE WE MAKE, which chronicles Paul’s poignant and cathartic journey through the streets of New York in the aftermath of the World Trade Center's destruction, will be previewed at select theatres across the country.

For more information visit paulmccarney.com and click on news or click on the LEARN MORE button above.

A one time only event at select theatres :
• New York, NY - Regal Battery Park Stadium 11
• Los Angeles, CA - Regal LA Live Stadium 14
• Boston, MA - Regal Fenway Stadium 13 & RPX
• San Francisco, CA - Regal Hacienda Crossings Stadium 20 & IMAX
• Houston, TX - Edwards Houston Marq'E Stadium 23 & IMAX
• Chicago, IL - Regal Webster Place 11
• Washington, DC - Regal Gallery Place Stadium 14
• Atlanta, GA - Regal Atlantic Station Stadium 16 & IMAX

I won't be able to catch it, so someone had better.

LW

I've Got A Patch Of Blue

A PATCH OF BLUE

Released: December 10, 1965
Directed: Guy Green
Starring: Sidney Poitier, Shelley Winters, Elizabeth Hartman

Selina D'Arcey (Elizabeth Hartman) was accidentally blinded by her mother, Rose-Ann (Shelley Winters), when she was five years old. She grows up with her mother and "Ole Pa" (Wallace Ford) in a dumpy, one room apartment. Her grandpa is a drunk, her mother's a prostitute, and Selina strings beads to contribute to the household income. Selina begins to spend her days in the park which is where she meets Gordon Ralfe (Sidney Poitier). The two slowly begin a friendship. Gordon teaches her things such as how to cross the street and maneuver around the grocery store. Despite their blossoming friendship, Gordon feels just a bit out of place because she is white and he is black which is reaffirmed whenever they go someplace as people tend to stare at them. Selina, unused to the kindness, begins to fall in love with Gordon. And perhaps even Gordon with her.
I'm sure I would have cried if it hadn't been so early in the morning. I just caught this film on TCM this morning as I was deciding what I should eat for breakfast. I can't believe I had voluntarily avoided this film. It is so beautiful. Sidney Poitier is absolutely marvelous as soft spoken, kind hearted Gordon. Elizabeth Hartman is rather believable as blind and abused Selina. The two are so sweet together. You just hate Shelley Winters and Wallace Ford. This is a deeply moving story about an interracial friendship, and possibly love, during the beginning of the civil rights movement. The wonderful thing about A PATCH OF BLUE, is that it isn't dated at all. It has aged wonderfully. Many of the issues brought up and discussed are still valid today. There are still people as cruel and horrible as Rose-Ann. Loads of people are still as racist and close-minded. I could only imagine the reactions of this film back in 1965. A PATCH OF BLUE is also the first film to have an interracial kiss. Oh Boy! This is a movie that has to be seen by everyone. Don't be a heel and avoid it like I did for years. I'm so glad TCM exists!


There Are Far Too Many Rivers To Cross

MANY RIVERS TO CROSS

Released: February 4, 1955
Directed: Roy Rowland
Starring: Robert Taylor, Eleanor Parker, Victor McLaglen

Bushrod Gentry (Robert Taylor) is a Kentucky trapper who's got a way with the ladies. Every lady he meets wants to leave their intended and marry him, but Bushrod isn't the type to be tied down. His life is saved by Mary Stuart Cherne (Eleanor Parker) and she falls hard. She takes him to her house to recover and he's greeted by four brothers, her parents, and her fiance Luke Radford (Alan Hale Jr). Mary pulls every trick in the book to get Bushrod to marry her and she finally succeeds: by gunpoint! But that won't stop Bushrod from getting out of this shotgun wedding.
Admittedly, I expected much more from this film. I thought it was going to be more chasing and less setup. The first half is Parker trying to snare Taylor instead of trying to catch up with him after he ran off. As that was the general description I was given, huge disappointment. But it is still a very entertaining film. Alan Hale Jr. and Russel Johnson from GILLIGAN'S ISLAND fame are in this picture which is a delight. However you do see more Hale than Johnson. There's some fine shooting and lots of funny bits. Then again, it is a comedy western. Don't take it too seriously or expect much but an entertaining film.

Sometimes I'm bigger than I look,
LW