Sylvia Scarlett (1935) -The Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy Blogathon

Ever since my introduction to classic film via the screwball comedy Bringing Up Baby, Katharine Hepburn has remained my favorite actress. Hepburn is famous not only for her unique personality but a long career, in which she appeared in many different roles and film genres. She is also well known for her love affair and eight film collaborations with Spencer Tracy. But perhaps because of Bringing Up Baby, I have always preferred her films with Cary Grant.  

FILM SUMMARY

Sylvia Scarlett is an unconventional film about a girl who passes herself off as a young man. When Sylvia’s father Henry Scarlett (Edmund Gwenn) gets into trouble with his illegal activities, the two of them flee France for England. Henry feels his daughter’s sex will be a hindrance to his getaway. So Sylvia (Katharine Hepburn) cuts her hair and becomes Sylvester. On their way to England they meet con man and trickster Jimmy Monkley (Cary Grant). Soon the three are running scams together. Sylvester is determined to turn their threesome honest and is eventually successful. Continue reading “Sylvia Scarlett (1935) -The Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy Blogathon”

Classic Film Review -It Should Happen To You (1954)

SUMMARY

After two years living and working in New York City, Gladys Glover has almost given up on her dream of making a name for herself. A chance encounter and conversation with documentary film maker Pete Sheppard however lights a spark in her. When she happens to see a billboard for rent, that spark bursts into flame.

Gladys wastes no time spending her savings just to see her name featured in a larger than life size on that billboard. Before you know it, one billboard turns into six and then into television and radio spots. But Pete, who is now her neighbor, doesn’t understand her driving desire for a famous name, particularly when her name doesn’t stand for anything in particular. He believes that a life and name can be meaningful without it being famous.  He also sees Gladys’ newfound popularity as a stumbling block to his pursuit of a relationship with her. It doesn’t help that she is also being romanced by a wealthy playboy. But Gladys is having the time of her life, happy to be famous for no particular reason other than having her name plastered all over the city and unconcerned that others are profiting from her name or that they are laughing at her expense. Continue reading “Classic Film Review -It Should Happen To You (1954)”

Classic Film Review -The Philadelphia Story (1940)

I am delighted to be able to introduce you to one of my very favorite films, The Philadelphia Story.

The Philadelphia Story Summary

Tracy Samantha Lord (Katharine Hepburn) is a Philadelphia socialite who is preparing to wed for the second time. Unfortunately for her, the editor of a popular tabloid magazine has bribed his reporter and photographer as well as Tracy’s ex-husband into providing coverage of the wedding. His bargaining chip is incriminating evidence he holds against Tracy’s philandering father. So, in spite of her wish for a quiet, private wedding she agrees to this invasion of her special event.

Her path to matrimony is unexpectedly complicated by her attraction to the male reporter Macauley “Mike” Connor (James Stewart). The arrival of her ex doesn’t make things any easier. She and CK Dexter Haven (Cary Grant) had fallen deeply in love years ago, but were driven apart by her excessively high standards and his affinity for alcohol. But now Dexter has returned to a warm welcome from Tracy’s family.  He uses his relationship to her family to constantly remind her how unsuitable her new fiancé is for her.

To add to the confusion, Liz, the female photographer is in love with Mike. It’s a love quadrangle folks! Or is it a love pentagon, it’s hard to keep track of who wants who in the few crazy days leading up to the wedding.

To read my full summary and review, please head over to The Silver Petticoat Review.   

And please check out my character spotlight of Tracy Lord.

Classic Film Review -Bonjour Tristesse (1958)

SUMMARY

Cecile is a teenager who lives with her father Raymond, a wealthy playboy. The live a carefree and fairly shallow existence in the clubs and ritzy society of Paris. The two of them are unusually close, attending the same parties and collecting the same friends. But even though she is decades younger than Raymond, Cecile has already lost the pleasure behind such a lifestyle.

Cecile then tells the audience in flashbacks the story behind her current malaise. The previous summer she and her father vacationed on the Riviera with Raymond’s  girlfriend du jour, Elsa. Despite the fact that Elsa is Raymond’s love interest, she is also young and immature enough to serve as a friend for Cecile, who finds absolutely nothing wrong with her father’s way of life.  Cecile is on the path to becoming exactly like her father, when her deceased mother’s best friend Anne arrives. Though Raymond already has one girlfriend in residence, he sees nothing wrong with an invitation to a woman he has always been interested in pursuing.

Anne arrives and at first is appalled by the insincerity and vapidness which characterize both Cecile and Raymond. But slowly, her influence begins to change both of them for the better.  Cecile is at first thrilled to have a woman she can look up to until she realizes what it might cost herself and her father. Her actions soon change the course of their lives. Continue reading “Classic Film Review -Bonjour Tristesse (1958)”

Character Spotlight -Tracy Lord of The Philadelphia Story (1940)

“Would I trade places with Tracy Lord for all her wealth and beauty? Oh boy, just ask me.” Liz Embrie

Ruth Hussey as Liz Embrie

I feel ya, Liz, but appearances can be deceiving. To the outside observer (or tabloid photographer), Tracy’s life is one of ease and privilege. Tracy is fortunate to be part of Philadelphia’s Main Line society. As played by Katharine Hepburn, she is the typical example of the haughty entitled attitudes inherent to the elite. Born into wealth, she wears it with cool sophistication along with her couture wardrobe.

Despite her engagement to “man of the people” George Kitteridge, she has had little contact with the lower classes and their daily challenges. But Tracy is oblivious to her lack of true cultural experience and really believes she is without prejudice.

Continue reading “Character Spotlight -Tracy Lord of The Philadelphia Story (1940)”

Classic Director Spotlight -Clarence Brown

Clarence Brown is an American director from the classic film era. He was highly intelligent and graduated from the University of Tennessee at the age of twenty with two engineering degrees. He worked for and eventually owned his own automobile dealership. He also served in WWI as a flight instructor and pilot before making his way into the motion picture industry.

Continue reading “Classic Director Spotlight -Clarence Brown”

The Alfred Hitchcock Blogathon -My Favorite Hitchcock Films

Alfred Hitchcock is one of the most famous directors in film history. His name is synonymous with the suspense genre and very few people would not recognize it. HIs artistry and mastery are legendary. I’m not here to discuss the finer details or technical aspects of his films. I will leave that to those more knowledgable. But I am a fan. While I’m still working my way through his filmography, I would like to share with you my personal favorites. Continue reading “The Alfred Hitchcock Blogathon -My Favorite Hitchcock Films”

Classic Film Review -Gone With the Wind

THE CLASSIC AMERICAN EPIC

What can be said about Gone With the Wind which hasn’t already been said? This epic novel by Margaret Mitchell was immediately popular upon its’ release and has remained so for decades. In fact, in recent years a Harris Poll declared it to be second only to the Bible as Americans’ favorite book and is still considered a best-seller. To this day, its’ characters, themes and portrayal of racism and the history of the Old South are topics of much debate.

GONE WITH THE WIND – THE STORY

For anyone unfamiliar with Gone With the Wind, it is the story of spoiled, Southern belle Scarlett O’Hara. Is is also a romanticized history of the South during the years of the Civil War and Reconstruction.

Scarlett is one of the best anti-heroines in literature and film. Similar to Becky Sharp of Vanity Fair, she is willful, selfish and uses her considerable charm and intellect to achieve her desires regardless of the cost to to others. She could also be considered a feminist icon for her fierce independence. She becomes the de facto head of her family and also owns and operates her own business.

Follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review for the rest of my review for this beloved film.

 

Paris -Audrey Hepburn’s Most Romantic Co-Star

Paris is the city of everyone’s dreams. At least, it has always been the city of my dreams.  It maintains an air of mystique and magic framed in the soft light of romanticism.

The city of Paris has never had a more loving cinematic portrayal than in the films of Audrey Hepburn. Hepburn herself was a little bit of magic and as chic as the city itself. She starred oppositie many famous male costars in her films, Humphrey Bogart, Fred Astaire, Gary Cooper, Cary Grant, Gregory Peck, names which are synonymous with cinema’s most romantic leading men.  But perhaps her best and most compatible co-star is the city of Paris itself.

Of course, this alternative romantic pairing was enhanced by its’ very own fairy godmother in the form of Givenchy and his fashionable film wardrobe which perfectly suited Audrey and Paris. In fact, his contribution elevated and immortalized their match.

Of Hepburn’s thirty four films, Continue reading “Paris -Audrey Hepburn’s Most Romantic Co-Star”

Classic Film Review -Camille (1936)

Based on the  novel La Dame aux Camélias by Alexander Dumas the younger, Camille is a familiar tale which also inspired the opera La Traviata and the musical film Moulin Rouge, which has brought the story to modern audiences.

STORY SUMMARY

Regardless, of its interpretation on stage or film the foundation of the story remains the same. An innocent young man with little to his name falls in love with a popular, charming, Parisian courtesan. His earnest and sincere wooing of the worldly woman breaks through her defenses tempting her to risk her heart and livelihood. It is a love story with a sad ending and one of the most popular and well-loved romances in literature.

When tragedy interrupts a good romance
MY THOUGHTS ON CAMILLE

This particular interpretation stars the great Greta Garbo who quickly rose to acclaim as a silent film actress. I have watched many of her films and cannot claim to be a fan,  in spite of her talent, because I often find her characters cold and emotionally unapproachable. However, her version of Camille is the opposite. Continue reading “Classic Film Review -Camille (1936)”