I’ve always been a romantic at heart. However, not every romance has a happy ending. But that does not make them any less a love story. Such is the case with the film Waterloo Bridge, one of classic cinema’s great romantic tragedies.
Myra Lester, a woman with no family, is a dancer in a ballet company in WWI London. A chance meeting during an air raid introduces her to the aristocratic Captain Roy Cronin. Roy is immediately smitten. Myra, however, is a bit more realistic, even fatalistic, about their chances of happiness. In spite of it all, she is quickly swept off her feet by Roy’s optimistic gallantry and they are soon engaged. But their plans to marry are interrupted by Roy’s orders to return to the front.
With the help of friend and fellow dancer Kitty, Myra manages to endure the separation. But Myra’s and Kitty’s circumstances go from bad to worse, especially when Myra receives news that Roy is dead. Giving up on her happy ending Myra does what she must to survive. Then Roy miraculously reappears very much alive and still in love with Myra. She too still loves him, but questions whether her war time experiences have ruined her ability to marry him.
Have you ever watched a movie that took you by surprise? Perhaps, it turned your expectations on end? Or maybe, you went in knowing nothing about the film and found yourself responding to it rather strongly? Such was the case for me with Nurse on Wheels, a British comedy starring Juliet Mills, daughter of John Mills and sister to Hayley.
I grew up with the Disney films of Hayley Mills and hold very fond memories of them. It was for this reason alone that I took a chance when I saw Nurse on Wheels show up in the TCM schedule recently. I had never seen Juliet Mills in a film before and knew absolutely nothing about Nurse on Wheels. I expected I might like it, but didn’t guess that it would be my favorite film discovery of the year.
Well, November was an interesting month in film for me. Thanks to a busier schedule with the holidays and a plethora of new Hallmark Christmas movies to keep up with, I didn’t watch as many classics as I normally do.
This month I managed to watch nineteen titles, although three of these were silent shorts. I also watched three silent feature films which were all extremely memorable. I added in a documentary on Mary Pickford this month too which was very fascinating. It was as much about her as it was the history of early film. I would have to say my pick of the month is the silent Where Are My Children? It is one which will stick with me a long time. Continue reading “November 2018 Film Quickie Reviews”
My Fair Lady is my very favorite musical. I’ve seen it countless times on screen and stage. It never fails to entertain and delight me with its’ ageless story.
Based on a story in Greek mythology of a sculptor who wishes to bring his creation to life, Pygmalion has seen several reincarnations on both stage and screen. Perhaps none is so famous as the film adaptation My Fair Lady.
Eliza Doolittle is the poor Cockney flower seller whose life is turned upside down due to the bet of a stranger. Professor and phoneticist Henry Higgins brags to his peer Colonel Hugh Pickering that his skills are such that he can transform the undeserving Eliza into a lady of grace and poise. Eliza dreams of rising above her station and bettering herself. She seizes the opportunity, little realizing how much will be demanded of her.
Over the years, I’ve seen several movies starring Rock Hudson. The Douglas Sirk melodramas, comedies with Doris Day and the Texas epic Giant, among others. As much as I’ve enjoyed these films, it is always someone else’s performance which catches my eye. So when the opportunity arose to view Tarnished Angels I chose to watch it for Dorothy Malone. But then I got the surprise of my life – Rock Hudson can act!
Tarnished Angels is based on the novel Pylon by William Faulkner. According to Faulkner, it is the best film adaptation of all his works. Aside from perhaps Tennessee Williams, no one could write a Southern potboiler like this native author. As usual, certain plot points of the story were toned down for the screen due to the Code. The film reunited director Douglas Sirk with Rock Hudson, Robert Stack and Dorothy Malone two years after working together on Written on the Wind. Continue reading “Rock Hudson Blogathon -Tarnished Angels (1957)”
I enjoy many of Grace Kelly’s films. However, I’ve always had a hard time connecting with her onscreen. The epitome of a Hitchcock blond, she always seemed serene, calm and distant both onscreen and off. Even while appreciating her films, I was never able to name her as one of my favorite actresses.
“Grace always had an air of mystery about her.” Frances Fuller, American Acadamy of Dramatic Arts chairperson (pg 18)
Don’t you love a good serendipitous moment? I wasn’t sure I would participate in this blogathon as much as I love the concept of it. The month of November is already pretty busy for me, and I wasn’t sure that I would have time to watch two films for one blogathon. But then I happened to watch a movie I wouldn’t have normally been interested in. I went into the viewing of She’s Working Her Way Through College knowing nothing at all about it, only to discover it is a loose musical remake of The Male Animal. Well, with the stars all aligned, I realized that now I HAD to participate in Phyllis of Phyllis Loves Classic MoviesThe Remade What? Blogathon!
The source of this story was a hit Broadway play written by James Thurber and Elliott Nugent titled The Male Animal. The basic premise of both films feature the trials of an underpaid and underappreciated English professor who teaches at a midwestern university. The university’s financial and spiritual reverence of the sports department is a thorn in the professor’s side. The professor believes some of the school’s resources should be shared with the education departments. He butts heads with the head of the school board over this. Continue reading “They Remade What?Blogathon: The Male Animal (1942) & She’s Working Her Way Through College (1952)”
Well, October was another good month for watching the classics with twenty one new to me movies. Since Rita Hayworth was TCM’s featured star, I was able to see several of her films, some of which were better than others. Although Rita always shines.
I also managed to watch four silents which I rather enjoyed. I was mesmerized by Alain Delon in the French film Purple Noon. But I think my favorite discovery was Nurse on Wheels which utterly charmed me. Too bad I can’t find it on DVD! Continue reading “October Classic Film Quickie Reviews”
In the last several decades of the fifteenth century, a Byzantine princess is sent to Moscow to marry its’ Grand Prince Ivan III. Rome hopes that with her influence, the people of Russia will turn from their Orthodox faith to Catholicism. Instead the Princess Zoe changes her name to Sophia, and adopts the Russian language, faith and culture as her own.
As the wife of the man who history will name Ivan the Great, she is not entirely trusted by her adopted homeland. Those in power fear her foreign origins and influence over her husband. She becomes a point of conflict in the Russian court and the focus of court distrust and intrigues.
While Ivan and Sophia deal with these internal conflicts, there are also external ones which demand Ivan’s attention. Among these are issues of diplomacy and war among rival nations. The most dangerous of these is war against the Golden Horde led by the Grand Khan. Closer to home is the conflict with the Russian Republic of Novrogod who resist Ivan’s attempts to unify the various Russian principalities under the throne of Moscow. Continue reading “Foreign Film Friday -Sophia (2016) Russian Television Series”
As a classic film aficionado, I’m not generally a fan of remakes. There are a few exceptions to that rule, but generally I avoid them. This is why I had no plans to watch the latest reincarnation of A Star Is Born. I’ve seen three of the previous films, including the Constance Bennett vehicle What Price Hollywood?, and excluding the version featuring Barbara Streisand. I had no desire to see yet another interpretation. But then the reviews started rolling in from fellow classic film lovers and they were all positive. So, I decided I had to watch it to decide for myself.
Each version of this film revolves around the same story. An established and famous male star, discovers a new talent. He then acts as mentor and eventually lover to this woman while guiding her through the process and pitfalls of fame. However, as her star rises, his declines thanks to his increasingly bad public behavior while battling his demons in the form of toxic addictions. There are differences among all five versions of this film. However, they are not significant as to change the main story line and character arcs. In the latest version of A Star is Born the names of the main characters are changed from Esther Blodgett and Norman Maine to Ally and Jackson Maine. Also, unlike the first three films, Ally and Jackson are singers and not actors. Continue reading “Film Review – A Star Is Born (2018)”