During this challenging season, The Classic Movie Blog Association is hosting the Classics for Comfort Blogathon and asking participants to recommend five movies that “soothe and comfort” us. And even though I’m not a member of CMBA, I was so inspired I decided to unofficially participate.
My time and mental energy has been limited by personal and national events this past couple of months. And while I have many coping mechanisms, classic films have always been one of my main sources of comfort when life gets to be too much.
It would be very easy to fill my list exclusively with Cary Grant, William Powell, or Ernst Lubitsch films, blockbuster hits such as Gone With the Wind or Casablanca, gloriously colorful and larger than life musicals such as My Fair Lady or Seven Brides for Seven Brothers or even other film favorites I’ve written about regularly here on my site. But I wanted to challenge myself a bit to look beyond the obvious.
I had so much fun participating in Rick of Classic Film and TV Cafe’sFive Favorite Films of the Fifties blogathon last year. So when he chose to continue that theme again this year with 6 From the 60’s to celebrate National Classic Movie Day, I didn’t want to miss out.
I honestly thought narrowing down my choices for this year’s post would be much harder. After all, the Sixties are the decade of the romantic comedy. And indeed, a cursory glance at my list proves that my favorite genre is well-represented. Purely by chance, more than half of my choices were released in 1963. And I’ve also happened to fully review all but one of these.
In light of recent events, both personal and national, my entertainment choices have been guided by a sense of comfort and escapism. Which is why, I have been re-watching so many of my favorite films and trying to choose new films which offer a high entertainment value instead of a lot of drama and intensity.
Most of the time those who serve are over looked and underappreciated. This is true in both life and art. So, I am thrilled that for once characters in service are getting the attention they deserve thanks to Paddy of Caftan Woman and Rich of Wide Screen Worldwho are hosting the Butlers & Maids Blogathon.
It’s not very often that butlers or maids are more than a background character in film. Such is not the case with Imitation of Life which explores topics of race and gender through the prism of relationships. In the friendship between a white businesswoman and her talented black maid as well as the relationships between the two women and their daughters we see how these issues impact each character differently. Continue reading “Butlers & Maids Blogathon – Imitation of Life (1934)”
Supply Sgt. Eustis Clay (Steve McQueen) idolizes his friend and superior Master Sgt. Maxwell Slaughter (Jackie Gleason). The two men couldn’t be more different in temperament, personality or skills. Eustis is the male version of a dumb blonde. He is not the brightest of men, but has no problem running swindles, even if Maxwell often has to rescue him from trouble. Eustis never fails to scrounge up hard to find items for himself and Slaughter. He is also always full of new ideas of how he and Max can make “a million, maybe even a billion” dollars rather easily. Eustis is close to retiring from the army and desperately wants his friend to join him in an idyllic civilian life. As he tells Slaughter, “Max with your brains, and my ideas…”
In contrast, Slaughter is an Army lifer and has no desire to leave his only family. However, Eustis won’t take no for an answer. To that end he fixes his buddy up with the beautiful but very young and ignorant Bobby Jo Pepperdine(Tuesday Weld). Slaughter is not so easily convinced, especially since Bobby Jo is half his age. When she calls him Fatty and a host of other cruel names, it brings up all his past insecurities.
However, time is running out for Eustis and Slaughter’s friendship and Eustis is determined. He can not imagine life without Maxwell in it. Through thick and thin these friends stick together and balance each other out.
I grew up with old school Disney. Though I never understood the appeal of Mickey Mouse, I adored Donald Duck. And thanks to a well-stocked local video store, I also watched many of Disney’s live action movies from the 1950’s on. Films like Shaggy Dog, Pollyanna, Swiss Family Robinson, The Apple Dumpling Gang, The Monkey’s Uncle and others offered wonderful family entertainment for a girl whose mother was very careful about what she was allowed to watch. To this day these films also hold a high nostalgia factor for me. Which is why when choosing a film for the James Garner Blogathon, I had to pick The Castaway Cowboy.
Carole Lombard is much lauded for her skills as a comedienne, but not as much so for her dramatic performances. Perhaps, it is for this reason, that it took a while for her to grow on me.
Screwball comedy is my favorite genre, and Carole is one of its’ heroines. But when I viewed her popular films, like My Man Godfrey, Twentieth Century and Nothing Sacred, I felt I must be missing something important. To me, her performances were shrill, occasionally manic and sometimes painful for me to watch. And yet, everyone raves about her talent.