William Holden Blogathon -Dear Ruth (1947)

William Holden is not an actor I pay much attention too. Though I’ve seen many of his films, I usually watch them due to interest in his co-stars more so than him.

But when The Wonderful World of Cinema, The Flapper Dame &  Love Letters to Old Hollywood announced a blogthon in his honor which just happens to coincide with his 100th birthday, I decided now is the time for me to take another look at William Holden. Luckily, TCM is also celebrating Holden this month and airing many of his movies.

Dear Ruth

The Wilkins family is your typical American family. Traffic cop judge Harry Wilkins (Edward Arnold) shares a happy and balanced marriage with wife Edie (Mary Philips) and their two daughters Ruth (Joan Caulfield) and Miriam (Mona Freeman). The only conflict in their household generally arises from teenaged Miriam’s passion for political causes. Not to mention her general meddling in the lives of her family members. For her part, Ruth is a mature young woman, ready to settle down to marriage and a home of her own with her long term beau, Albert. Continue reading “William Holden Blogathon -Dear Ruth (1947)”

Foreign Film Friday -Le Bonheur (1965)

SUMMARY

François and Thérèse are happily married with two young children. During the week Francois works as a carpenter for his uncle and on the weekends the young family enjoys exploring the nearby countryside. Their life is full of bonheur (happiness) , perhaps even idyllic.

But then François meets Émilie to whom he is instantly attracted. It’s not long before they being an affair, even though she knows that he is married. François seems to believe that his affair with Émilie is not subtracting from what he has with his wife. He doesn’t love Thérèse any less. Instead, his love with Émilie only adds to his overall happiness. But when, he finally confesses to his wife about the relationship and his viewpoint, tragedy ensues.

MY THOUGHTS

With the exception of a Netlix series I’m still in the middle of watching, my last couple of foreign film choices have not been favorites. Le Bonheur is very highly rated by IMDb reviewers which is one of the reasons, I wanted to watch it. Many of these reviews touch on the historical, technical and artistic aspects of the film. But as solely a film fan not a film critic, I tend to judge movies based on how I feel about them. And of course as the title of my website states, I am a story enthusiast. So the story is usually the most important aspect of a film for me.

First, let me just say, Le Bonheur is one of the most visually beautiful films I’ve seen. The scenes are filled with vibrant color and light (which are two things I love). I can almost smell the wildflowers and feel the brush of the wind on my skin when the family is cavorting in the country.

There is also the fact that François and Thérèse are so obviously happy, not only in love with each other, but with their children. Their two tots are utterly adorable.

Though this film is beautiful and the family charming, the story left much to be desired. It took a while for the story line of Le Bonheur to appear. For a while I felt like I was watching home videos of a young family just enjoying their life without any plot or timeline. Looking back from the end, I realize the director was most likely setting the scene for a contented family in order to show in stark contrast the effects of François’ choices. It isn’t until he takes up with Émilie, that the film felt like it adopted a pace that was going somewhere. Even then, it seemed longer to me than it’s 79 minute running time.

The main problem for me with Le Bonheur is that I found the story utterly repugnant. My personal beliefs and mindset cannot conceive of adultery (or cheating) being in any way acceptable. Though François explains his point of view, I cannot agree with it. He genuinely believes that his love affair with Émilie is additional happiness to what he already shares with his wife and children. I found this viewpoint either selfish or very naïve, especially with the tragedy that results from it.  What is worse, is that he himself suffers no consequences. He just blithely continues on with his life, suffering no true grief, guilt or remorse for what his actions have wrought.

At the beginning of Le Bonheur, I thought François was a sweet, loving, dedicated husband and father. As the film progressed, I found myself shocked and appalled by him. For me, he starts as a hero and ends as a villain, even though he never exemplifies any real villain tendencies.

Although, I fully appreciated the beauty of Le Bonheur, the story ruined it for me, so I can’t fully recommend it.

 

Doris Day Blogathon -The Glass Bottom Boat (1966)

DORIS DAY COMEDIES

As I’ve mentioned many times on this site, screwball comedy is my favorite film genre. So, it wouldn’t be hard to guess that the Doris Day comedies of the late 1950’s and 1960’s also rank among some of my favorite comedies. Though, they aren’t labeled screwball, they do have many of the same elements.

Day’s comedies weren’t ground-breaking and were often silly. But, they were always quality pictures with great dialogue, costumes and talent. They featured Day along side popular leading men like Cary Grant, David Niven, James Garner, Jack Lemmon, Rock Hudson and Rod Taylor.  Day’s comedies also gave her the opportunity to showcase the talent for which she first became a star -her voice. And while I am particular about musical films, her singing never becomes the focal point of the story, which is something I can appreciate.

Doris Day is probably best known for her three comedies opposite actor and friend Rock Hudson, with good reason. They had fabulous rapport onscreen. But as much as I love this pairing, there is another one which just edges them out in my mind. That is why today, I am focusing on one of her films with Rod Taylor, The Glass Bottom Boat. Continue reading “Doris Day Blogathon -The Glass Bottom Boat (1966)”

Classic Film Review -The Awful Truth

SUMMARY

Jerry and Lucy Warriner are a happily married society couple. Or so they think.  A misunderstanding causes an argument which leads Lucy to file for divorce. The judge grants them a divorce decree, but it is ninety days until it is final. While in court, the only point of contention which arises is who will receive custody of their beloved dog, Mr. Smith. The judge awards custody to Lucy but gives Jerry visitation rights. This provides Jerry and Lucy many instances to find themselves in each other’s company.

Urged by her aunt to move on, Lucy begins dating Daniel Leeson, a wealthy rancher from Oklahoma. Jerry’s jealousy rears its’ ugly head (again). He uses his visitation rights with Mr. Smith to disrupt Lucy’s new relationship, planting doubts in both her and Daniel’s mind.

After an embarrassing scene in which Jerry thinks he will catch Lucy with the man he suspected her of having an affair with, Jerry finally learns the truth of his wife’s faithfulness. Hat in hand, he realizes his error and apologizes, just as Lucy realizes she still loves her husband. But when he finds the man hiding in her bedroom, his suspicions are re-confirmed and he finally decides to move on.However, Lucy will not allow Jerry to be rid of her that easily. The tables turn and it becomes her turn to meddle in her soon to be ex’s promising new relationship. Will Jerry and Lucy reconcile before their ninety days are up?

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

Classic Film Review -The Sheik (1921)

SUMMARY

In The Sheik, Lady Diana Mayo is an aristocratic orphan visiting the African town of Biskra.  With only her brother to guide her, she has become wild, independent and naively fearless. Diana plans an extended tour of the desert with no one other than a local guide to protect her. Her local fellow British aristocrats warn Diana about the dangers to a local single woman travelling alone, but they she ignores them.

The night before her departure, Diana visits a local casino. To her dismay, she is denied entrance because of a private party for a young sheik. In defiance, Diana disguises herself and sneaks into the casino. It is not long until she is discovered by the Sheik, Ahmed Ben Hassan. Though he expels her, she has also caught his eye. Diana finds him equally fascinating.

Not long after she heads into the desert, Diana and her guide are surrounded by what appear to be Bedouin warriors. But, as she soon discovers, it is Ahmed. He quickly abducts her, whisking her away to his desert camp. Ahmed has his own plans for Diana, but she refuses him at every turn. It is a battle of the wills and wits. The sheik is accustomed to immediate obedience but Diana is not about to surrender her independence.

Though, she attempts to escape, eventually Diana accepts her gilded prison. But she still refuses to yield her heart to Ahmed. Just when she finally comes to terms with her emotions towards the Sheik, she is kidnapped once again by a bandit with nefarious purposes in mind. This forces both Ahmed and Diana to face the truth about their relationship. Will the Sheik recapture both Diana and her heart?

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

 

Elizabeth Taylor Blogathon -National Velvet (1944)

SUMMARY OF NATIONAL VELVET

Velvet Brown is your average young girl. She lives in a small English village with her parents, older sisters and younger brother. But Velvet has one trait that sets her apart -she is horse crazy! Not only does she pretend that she owns her own equine, but she cares even more for the noble beasts than she does people.

Velvet’s life is first upended by the arrival of Mi Taylor, a suspicious young man with possible ties to her mother. Because Mi seems to share her appreciation for horses, she convinces both Mi and her family that he should stay. Though Mi is drawn to the freedom of the open road, he reluctantly agrees for Velvet’s sake.

Velvet’s life is completely changed when she wins a high spirited horse no one else wants in the village lottery.  But this is no ordinary horse to the young Velvet. She sees something special in the Pie. Suddenly, it becomes her mission to see him win the honor and glory she thinks he deserves. When Velvet learns of Mi’s familiarity with horse racing, she sweetly coerces him into a pact to train Pie for the world’s most prestigious race, The Grand National. But the odds are small and the stakes are high and no one believes the Pie can win. No one but his young dreamy owner. Continue reading “Elizabeth Taylor Blogathon -National Velvet (1944)”

Foreign Film Friday -Good Morning (1959)

SUMMARY

In post WWII Japan, families live in small community planned housing. The men take the train in to work, if they are lucky enough to have jobs. In this community, the wives and mothers spend their days, bossing their children, preparing meals and gossiping about each other. Families are making ends meet, but barely.

The children (all of who are boys) band together for their walks to school, and make up  little challenges for fun. They also congregate at a neighbor’s house to watch television when they can get away with it.

Two of the boys, who happen to be brothers demand that their parents buy them a television, but they are refused. An argument follows about who talks too much, children or adults. So the boys Minoru and Isamu make a vow of silence between them as an act of rebellion against their parents’ refusal to purchase a television. This leads to further misunderstandings among the gossiping neighbors who already believe the boys’ mother is angry with them over some missing money. Meanwhile, the boys’ aunt has a crush on their kind English tutor and contrives reasons to show up on his doorstep. Continue reading “Foreign Film Friday -Good Morning (1959)”

31 Days of Oscar Blogathon -Classic Film Stars Who Never Won an Oscar

Every year the Academy of Motion Arts awards the golden Oscar statue to those with outstanding perfomances in their field. In honor of this year’s awards Kellee of Outspoken & Freckled,  Paula of Paula’s Cinema Club and Aurora at Once Upon a Screen... are hosting an Oscar’s blogathon. When I decided to participate I knew exactly what topic I wanted to cover.

From the time I was a child, I have adored classic films and with them many famous faces from that time period. The Oscars recognize talent, dedication and artistry, but there can only be one winner per category, per year. There are many popular and famous actors and actresses from the Golden Hollywood years who never received a competitive Oscar, even though they deserved one. Of course, a few of these received honorary Oscars at the end of their careers for a lifetime of amazing work. However, in my opinion, though an honor it may be, it feels a bit like a consolation prize.

As many know, Oscar voting is not free of bias, agenda or lobbying. So while, everyone who is nominated is certainly worthy, sometimes the winner is not always the very best of the nominees.

Today, in honor of the Oscars, I have made a list of twenty-three famous classic film stars who never won a competitive Oscar. Some of them might surprise you. I am also including the films for which they were nominated, the films for which I believe they deserved to win, as well as my personal favorites. I am not comparing their performances with the other nominees in their fields for the year that they lost. Every one nominated deserves to win, but of course that is impossible. And of course,  this list is subjective, based on my personal opinion. Continue reading “31 Days of Oscar Blogathon -Classic Film Stars Who Never Won an Oscar”

Classic Film Review -Trouble Along the Way (1953)

SUMMARY

Steve Williams is a disgraced former college football coach. After a bitter divorce, he is raising his daughter alone and making a living as a glorified bookie.

Father Burke is the aging president of small parochial college, St Anthony’s. He has just been informed that his beloved school will be closed soon due to insolvency.

Burke refuses to accept the bad news. He believes that he can  save the school by generating enough money to pay off the large debt. He has the brilliant idea of hiring Steve to create a football program which will bring in enough revenue to achieve his goal.

Initially, Steve refuses the offer. But then his ex-wife reports him to social services in an effort to regain custody of their daughter. Steve realizes that his current lifestyle will not look good to the court. So, he and his daughter Carol take on the challenge of creating a football team for a college which is better known for its’ academics than athletics. Continue reading “Classic Film Review -Trouble Along the Way (1953)”

Foreign Film Friday -La Parisienne (1957)

SUMMARY

Brigitte Laurier (Brigitte Bardot) is the precocious daughter of France’s president. She has fallen in love with her father’s employee, the handsome womanizer Michel Legrand (Henri Vidal). Not only does she arrange to become Michel’s secretary, but she sticks like glue to him outside the office despite his apparent lack of interest in her.

On a weekend when President Laurier is hosting various government officials at his home, Brigitte contrives to be found in Michel’s bed. Her furious father insists they marry. Once she has caught him, Brigitte isn’t as eager for the union since the marriage was forced upon Michel.

However, Michel surprises her by displaying a previously hidden appetite for his sexy new wife. But Brigitte hasn’t forgotten Michel’s past as a notorious ladies man. She is convinced it is only a matter of time until he cheats on her. When an old mistress phones their home, Brigitte decides two can play that game. She resolves to have an affair of her own. The problem is she has chosen an aging married prince as her partner, who is on a diplomatic trip to Paris.

Michel has no specific intentions of cheating on his wife and at first doesn’t take her stated payback seriously. But when Brigitte and the Prince Charles (Charles Boyer) both happen to disappear on the same day, his suspicions are aroused. Not only that, but if Brigitte and the Prince are linked together, it could create an international incident. Will this husband and wife reconcile before they create a political scandal? Continue reading “Foreign Film Friday -La Parisienne (1957)”