Classic Film Review -Above and Beyond (1952)

SUMMARY

Above and Beyond is the dramatized story of Lt. Col. Paul Tibbets. Tibbets is a pilot who gets cross-wise with his superior at the beginning of the film. His integrity leads him to challenge his superior and leads to a transfer and demotion.

However, his guts in standing up for his men, to his own detriment, bring him to the attention of Maj. Gen. Brent. Brent questions Tibbets about a moral conundrum warning him that his answer will decide his future. Based on Tibbets response he is then assigned the top secret task of leading a new unit whose purpose is to improve and alter the B-29 aircraft so that it can successfully deploy the atomic bomb.

Tibbets is given fairly unlimited authority, but is sworn to utmost secrecy. He is charged not to discuss this project with anyone, including his own wife and the men under his command at his new base. The only other person who is aware of the details of their assignment is his base security officer. This is a project which spans a couple of years and involves the coordination and cooperation of many, with Tibbets bearing full responsibility for enforcing the rigid guidelines to maintain secrecy. Continue reading “Classic Film Review -Above and Beyond (1952)”

Foreign Film Friday -Marriage Italian Style (1964)

SUMMARY

Marriage Italian Style tells the story of Filumena (Sophia Loren), a prostitute, and her decades long relationship as the mistress of a wealthy Neopolitan business man named Domenico (Marcello Mastroianni).

The film opens with Filumena on her deathbed requesting that the wily Domenico marry her before she passes away. He is loathe to marry her as he is already engaged to be married to one of his young employees. But, Domenico feels he owes it to her, so he agrees.

We then learn in flashbacks the history of their relationship beginning with their first meeting in a whore house when Filumena is seventeen. The first flashbacks are from Domenico’s perspective and we meet a man who is entitled and feels as if he is doing a favor to Filumena with his patronage. He eventually sets her up as his mistress and then as his dying mother’s caretaker. Finally, he trusts her to manage his businesses as he travels around Europe. Continue reading “Foreign Film Friday -Marriage Italian Style (1964)”

Classic Film Review -Bachelor in Paradise (1961)

SUMMARY

Thanks to a thieving accountant, the formerly wealthy and famous lifestyle author A.J. Niles (Bob Hope) is forced to hide out in a planned community neighborhood in California. He must use his time hiding incognito to write a new book so that he can use the royalties to pay back the government.

Of course, being a ladies man, he is instantly attracted to Rosemary Howard (Lana Turner), co-manager of the community named Paradise Village. She also happens to own the home he is sub-leasing.

The newly minted Jack Adams is out of his depths in this family friendly neighborhood. Not to mention, as a bachelor he has no skills in housekeeping or cooking now that he must fend for himself. But it isn’t too long before he is coaching all the local wives how to maintain their husband’s attention. Initially Rosemary is suspicious of his interest in her, but she gradually warms up to him as does the wife of the other co-manager of the community.

The husbands of Paradise Village are another matter. When “Jack’s” coaching disrupts their lives they take it upon themselves to get him evicted. And all the while A.J./Jack just wants to be left in peace to finish his book, so he can get back to his regular high-flying lifestyle. Continue reading “Classic Film Review -Bachelor in Paradise (1961)”

Inspirational Heroes -Jefferson Smith of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

SUMMARY

Jefferson Smith (James Stewart) is politically unknown when the governor of his state appoints him as a new senator. The governor’s powerful political backer Mr. Taylor(Edward Arnold) demands he appoint someone more amenable to their graft scheme, but Governor Hopper defies him at the behest of his sons, who sing Jeff’s praises. It turns out Jeff Smith is beloved, thanks to his work with the Boy Rangers and well respected by those who know him.

Jeff is honored and then humbled when he learns of his appointment. And even more so when he discovers that he will be working with his state’s other senator, Joseph Paine (Claude Rains), an old and revered friend of his late father’s. Continue reading “Inspirational Heroes -Jefferson Smith of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”

Classic Film Review -Christmas in Connecticut

CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT SUMMARY

Elizabeth Lane (Barbara Stanwyck) is a famous and beloved columnist for a national magazine. Her monthly articles feature delicious recipes for fancy meals.  They also describe her idyllic home life as a loving wife and mother who lives on a farm.

Her publisher Alexander Yardley(Sydney Greenstreet) receives a request to provide a family style Christmas for a naval war hero. So, he decides Elizabeth should be the host and invites himself along.

His demands through Elizabeth into a panic. Unbeknownst to Mr. Yardley and her public, she is a fraud. In reality Elizabeth Lane is a single woman who writes her articles from her New York apartment and has zero talent in the kitchen. Her close friend Uncle Felix (S.Z Sakall) actually provides the recipes which she features in her articles.

In danger of losing her job, Elizabeth agrees to an engagement with her friend John Sloane (Reginald Gardiner) who just happens to have a farm in Connecticut. They decide to continue her ruse and even manage to find a baby to pose as their child. Uncle Felix accompanies them to cook the meals Elizabeth Lane is famous for.

However, all these plans are thrown into turmoil with the arrival of Jefferson Jones (Dennis Morgan). It is love at first sight between Elizabeth and Jeff, but he thinks she is married. Further complications ensue as Mr. Yardley starts making plans for the Elizabeth Lane “family” in order to increase his circulation. Meanwhile, Uncle Felix contrives to keep Elizabeth from marrying John.

To read my full review, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.

 

#PayClassicsForward for Christmas

Aurora over at Once Upon a Screen has hit upon the genius idea of celebrating the joy of Christmas by recommending classic movies (see her post). This #PayClassicsForward prompt follows the theme of the  carol Twelve Days of Christmas.

I have created my own categories and as requested am recommending movies which might appeal to non-classic film fans. Not only am I spreading the joy of classic films, but I’m also giving the gift of recommending many lesser known but entertaining titles.

“On the first day of Christmas of Christmas…”

Continue reading “#PayClassicsForward for Christmas”

Classic Film Review -Holiday (1938)

HOLIDAY SUMMARY

Johnny Case is a self-made man who has been working since he was a child. On his first vacation in years, he meets and becomes engaged to the beautiful Julia Seton. Johnny is thrilled to have met a woman who he believes shares the same outlook on life as he does. Upon his return, he boasts of his luck to his good friends the Potters, before going to meet Julia’s family.

He is surprised when the taxi delivers him to a Fifth Avenue mansion. Thinking Julia must be employed by the owners, he goes to the back entrance. He experiences a further shock when he discovers that his new fiancée is one of THOSE Setons. Fabulously wealthy, socially connected, even their servants are haughty.

Johnny meets a kindred spirit in Julia’s older sister. Linda is chafing against the expectations and strictures of wealth and family expectation. She is thrilled with Julia’s choice of husband and offers her support for the couple in the face of Mr. Seton’s displeasure over their match.

Johnny and Julia wish to quickly tie the knot. But it doesn’t take much time to discover that Julia sees the world more like her rigid class-conscious father than her free-spirited fiancé. When Johnny expresses his desire to take time off to discover the meaning of life, things come to a head.

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

Foreign Film Friday -Sissi (1955)

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

Sissi is a German film about the real life historical figure of the Empress Elisabeth of Austria. The real Elisabeth (nicknamed Sisi) had royal Bavarian blood and was well connected through her many royal relations. She was fifteen when her first cousin, Franz Ferdinand, the Austrian emperor, fell in love with her and coerced her into marriage. Though she was renowned for her beauty, once married she lived a rather unhappy life. Sisi’s rather free upbringing made it difficult for her to adjust to the rules and strictures of court life. This was made even more difficult by her overbearing and controlling mother-in-law. Though her husband loved her, he stayed busy being emperor and she didn’t reciprocate the depth of his feelings. Although she is the longest reigning empress of Austria, she spent most of those years away from court and uninvolved in its’ politics.

Sissi is the first of a trilogy of German films which portray the life of this famous woman.  As with most historical films, it is fairly romanticized. Still it manages to give a somewhat true accounting of Sisi’s early life.

The picture covers the brief period of Elisabeth’s life prior to catching the eye of the Emperor until the day of their wedding. It introduces other historical characters such has her sister Helene, who had been the original intended bride of the Emperor. Other characters which appear are Sisi’s parents and siblings, and her aunts and uncles who were the ruling monarchs of other German principalities. Continue reading “Foreign Film Friday -Sissi (1955)”

Classic Film Review -Star of Midnight (1935)

Star of Midnight SUMMARY

When a friend approaches attorney Clay Dalzell requesting his help in finding a missing young woman, Dal reluctantly agrees. Before this amateur detective can even begin, long time friend and wannbe girlfriend Donna Mantin also requests his help retrieving some incriminating letters from a local gangster. That same evening a masked actress disappears from the theater after being recognized and Dal’s friend is shot in Dal’s apartment.

Dal must try to piece together the various puzzle pieces of these seemingly unconnected events while also fending off Donna’s amorous advances. But Dal is more accommodating towards Donna’s sleuthing efforts and allows her to help him investigate. No sooner do they discover a clue, but it turns up more questions. Will Dal and Donna crack this case or will it crack them? Continue reading “Classic Film Review -Star of Midnight (1935)”

It Takes a Thief Blogathon -Trouble in Paradise (1932)

Unlike in real life, in the cinematic world, thieves are usually lovable rogues thanks to their charm, intelligence and ingenuity. I blame Ernst Lubitsch. Long before we knew the names of John Robie, Thomas Crown or Danny Ocean, Lubitsch introduced us to the ideal image of a suave international thief in Trouble in Paradise.

SUMMARY

Our first introduction to Gaston Monescu (Herbert Marshall) comes just after a wealthy guest in a Venetian hotel has been robbed of 20,000 francs. Gaston, masquerading as a Baron, waits in a nearby hotel room for his dinner date, instructing a waiter on how to arrange the dinner. Before leaving to complete his instructions, the waiter picks a leaf off of Gaston’s dinner jacket. This is our first clue that Gaston is not all he seems.

Cue the arrival of Lily (Miriam Hopkins), a glamorous blonde claiming the title of Countess. She enters bemoaning the gossip of her peers, which will soon disclose her private dinner date with the Baron. But Lily is not what she appears to be either. Over dinner, the two confront each other over their real identities while also preening with pride over their skills as they reveal what they have stolen from each other. However, it’s not just wallets, watches and garters which are stolen this night, but hearts. It seems light fingers serve as an aphrodisiac. Gaston and Lily are instantly smitten. Continue reading “It Takes a Thief Blogathon -Trouble in Paradise (1932)”