Today, I am excited to be participating in the Five Stars Blogathon which is being hosted by Classic FIlm TV Cafe.
Anyone who has been following my posts will know that I absolutely love movies. This being the case, asking me to pick five, and only five favorite stars was an almost impossible task! I mean really, it would be like asking me to choose my favorite book (another impossible task) or my favorite breath for that matter. But for the sake of following the rules, I have managed to narrow it down to the requested five. Just don’t get the idea that I don’t have other favorite film stars. And since this blogathon is in honor of National Classic Movie Day, I am sharing my favorite classic film stars.
Any one who knows me knows of my love for Cary Grant. His film Bringing Up Baby was my first introduction to him, to classic film and to screwball comedy, all of which remain favorites to this day. Cary Grant was a versatile actor who was equally at home in both comedies and dramas. His characters tended not to take themselves or life too seriously and yet also retained a darker edge about them which was highlighted more in his dramatic roles. And while I enjoy his later dramatic films, my preference will always be for his pre-war comedies. Who else could pull of playing men of sophistication and privilege who were able to laugh and make fun at their own expense? Continue reading “Five Stars Blogathon -My Five Favorite Film Stars”
“Don’t forget, every Cinderella has her midnight.”
This quote perfectly sums up the title of the screwball comedy, Midnight.
In the opening scene, a train arrives in Paris with a glamorously dressed woman sleeping on a bench in one of the cars. Upon awakening, she arises, grabs her evening bag and steps off of the train into the rain with no luggage. Eve Peabody quickly explains to the porter that she left her belongings in a pawn shop in Monte Carlo.
As she leaves the train station, she is accosted by taxi drivers offering her a ride which she can’t afford. One in particular seems sympathetic to her plight, so she arranges a deal with him to drive her around town to look for a job. Once she secures one, she will pay him double the rate she owes.
After Tibor Czerny agrees and spends part of his evening helping her she is no closer to securing a job and the taxi meter is climbing higher. But Eve is in luck, because Tibor is kind and has fallen in love with her at first sight, even though she admits that her long-term plan is to marry wealth. She’s a charming and honest gold-digger. Continue reading “Classic Film Review – Midnight (1939)”
As usual, I am sharing my recommendations for classic films airing on the TCM channel in May. TCM just happens to be focusing on the films of actor Clark Gable this month, so if you have only seen him in Gone with the Wind, this is a good chance to see some of his other many lovable films. All times are Central Standard Time
Gilda (1946) -This is the film that made Rita Hayworth a big star. It’s a moody drama about the love/hate relationship between Hayworth and co-star Glenn-Ford. It’s also a fine example of film noir. Showing May 1 at 8:30 AM
It Happened One Night (1934) -Gable won an Oscar for this film about a newspaper man who chases a flighty heiress around the country. One of the early examples of screwball comedy, it’s still considered a masterpiece. Showing May 2 at 7:00 PM
A Free Soul (1931) -Another Gable film with Lionel Barrymore (yes, one of those Barrymores) and Norma Shearer, one-time queen of MGM. If you think classic films are boring and sedate, this pre-code title will prove you wrong. It’s pretty darn sexy. Showing May 3 at 2:00 AM
Spartacus (1960) -If you haven’t seen this famous film starring Kirk Douglas about a slave who leads a revolt against Rome, you really should. Showing May 6 at 3:30 PM
The Children’s Hour (1961) -If you think of Audrey Hepburn as sweet and dainty, then her role in this film will come as a surprise. She co-stars with Shirley MacLaine and James Garner in this story about how gossip and rumor can ruin lives. Showing May 7 at 5:00 PM
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967) -The last of Katharine Hepburn & Spencer Tracy’s many films together. It was one of the first to tackle the subject of interracial marriage. Also starring Sidney Poitier. Showing May 12 at 11 PM
You Were Never Lovelier (1942) -People always link Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers together thanks to their multiple film pairings. However Rita Hayworth, like Fred Astaire was brought up as a dancer and their pairing in this film shows their natural grace and chemistry together. Showing May 20 at 9:15 PM
Boys Night Out (1962) – I love a young James Garner and this is a fun little comedy about a young woman who shares and apartment with four men so that she can use them as research in a psychology study. Showing May 21 at 5:00 PM
Pride and Prejudice (1940) -If you’ve never seen the original film version of Jane Austen’s story, don’t miss this one. It has its’ faults, but is still fun and stars Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson. Showing May 22 at 8:15 AM
Fury (1936) -Starring Spencer Tracy, this is a film that will really stick with you. Tracy is an innocent man who is mistaken for a criminal. It shows the scary results of mob rule/violence. Showing May 23 at 8:15 AM
Gone With The Wind (1939) -Seriously, if you haven’t already seen this book and film classic then you need to watch it. It is still one of the highest grossing films of all time and part of our cultural history. Showing May 23 at 7:00 PM
Test Pilot (1938) -One of my favorite Clark Gable films, it also stars Myrna Loy and Spencer Tracy. Gable is, what else, a test pilot, with Loy acting as his supportive wife and Tracy rounds out their trio as the best friend. This is just a fun film. Showing May 24 at 1:15 AM
Bringing Up Baby (1938) -My very first introduction to classic film, this screwball comedy stars my favorite actors Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn in a story about an heiress who shanghais a nerdy professor into helping her deliver a pet leopard to her grandmother. Yes, it is as crazy as it sound and also makes me laugh every time! Showing May 30 at 6:45 AM.
If you only watch one film, it has to be Gone with the Wind. If you have already seen that, then I recommend Bringing Up Baby.
Voice in the Wind is a relatively obscure film which tells the story of Jan Volny (pronounced with a soft J like the French name Jean), a Czech citizen and his beloved wife Marya. We are first introduced to Jan on the island of Guadalupe, a safe haven for refugees of the Nazi regime. Jan is only known as El Hombre or the crazy one, as none of the other island occupants know his true identity since he himself has forgotten it and lost his memories.
Jan is treated with some wariness, but is befriended by the morally challenged Angelo, who along with his brothers owns a ship and preys on unfortunate refugees, promising to take them to America, only to steal their valuables, kill them and toss them into the sea.
The local bar owner, another friend, allows Jan the use of his piano on which Jan continually plays the same song over and over while staring into space. In flash backs we see Jan as a popular concert pianist preparing for his last concert in his home country before emigrating to America with Marya to escape the Nazi occupation. A Nazi soldier stops by to warn him not to play The Moldau, a musical symbol of Czech patriotism, but during his encore Jan defies this order. Continue reading “Classic Film Review -Voice in the Wind (1944)”
WHO IS ALFRED HITCHCOCK?
Alfred Hitchcock earned his title as the Master of Suspense and it is one that he certainly deserves. Unlike other directors who worked in multiple genres, Hitchcock remained true to his preferred theme.
Whether directing gothic mysteries, international intrigues, courtroom dramas or thrillers, Hitchcock managed to titillate his audience with the tension inherent in the suspense of the unknown, feeding their fear with mystery.
Romantic tension is a recurring sub-theme. While usually not the focus, it is often the boiling undercurrent which adds to the overall suspense inherent to his films. Hitchcock does not display the contented happy side of romance, but rather the darker aspects of love and desire. He generally shows the male and female leads wrestling with a vital question and component of any relationship – trust, all while already finding themselves in murky circumstances.
I have seen a large number of Hitchcock films and have made a list of a few which highlight his view of romance. Hopefully, this will give a new perspective to Hitchcock’s title as the Master of Suspense. Here are five romantic films, Hitchcock style.
To see the list, please follow me here to The Silver Petticoat Review.
For classic film newbies, these are my recommendations for films playing on TCM in April. (All film times listed are Central Standard Time).
It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) -This ensemble comedy features almost every famous comedian of the time. My mother and I still laugh every time we watch it. Showing March 1 at 8:45 PM
Shadow of a Doubt (1943) -An under rated Hitchcock masterpiece, but one of my favorites. A young woman begins to suspect her favorite uncle might be a killer. Showing March 2 at 5:00 PM
Holiday (1938) -One of four films that my favorite actors Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn made together. A drama that deserves to be better known. Showing March 4 at 9:00 PM
Turnabout (1940) – A fun comedy about a husband and wife who switch bodies a la Freaky Friday style. Showing March 5 at 12:45 AM
Love Crazy (1941) -One of 14 comedies that legendary pair William Powell and Myrna Loy made together. He pretends to be insane in order to win back his wife. Showing March 9 at 5:45 AM
The Secret Garden (1949) -Based on the classic book about an orphaned girl who goes to live with her sad uncle. A beautiful and moving story. Showing March 9 at 7:15 AM
Journey for Margaret (1942) -A drama about a young couple attempting to adopt war orphans from England. It stars brilliant child actor Margaret O’Brien. Showing March 13 at 10:45 PM
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) -I can’t describe why I love this depressing family drama based on a Tennessee Williams play. It is filmed in color and stars Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor in their prime. Showing March 15 at 3:15 AM
Harvey (1950) -One of my favorite comedies about a man whose best friend is an invisible white rabbit. It stars James Stewart. Showing March 15 at 7:00 PM
Camille (1937) -This classic story stars the great Greta Garbo in a familiar story. It shares inspiration with the film Moulin Rouge. Showing March 20 at 12:45 PM
The Clock (1945) -Judy Garland’s only non-singing role. She meets, falls in love with and marries a soldier all in one weekend. I love this film and can not praise it enough. Showing March 26 at 6:45 AM
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) -If you haven’t seen this famous Audrey Hepburn film, do yourself a favor and watch it. Showing March 26 at 4:45 PM
If you only watch one of these suggestions, I recommend either Harvey or The Clock.
ABOUT THE FILM
Since the majority of my readers may not be overly familiar with classic films, I would like to recommend some of my favorites along with a few of the more famous titles playing on TCM this month, in the hopes that you will find one that interests you. So get ready to set your DVR’s friends, you won’t want to miss these. (All film times listed are Central Standard Time).
- Waterloo Bridge (1940) -A beautiful romantic drama about a ballerina who falls in love with a soldier during WWI. The ending is unexpected and will haunt you. Showing March 2 at 12:15 PM
- The Thin Man (1934) -This famous classic comedy about a detective, his wealthy wife and their dog Asta who must solve a crime is delightful. The chemistry and repartee between theWilliam Powell and Myrna Loy shot both of them into stardom another twelve films together. Showing March 10 at 10:30 AM
- Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) – One of my favorite musicals tells the tale of a group of redneck brothers who kidnap women to be their brides. So cheesy and yet so much fun to watch! Showing March 12 at 3:00 PM
- The Gold Rush (1925) -If you have never seen a silent film you can’t go wrong with Charlie Chaplin. He’s the master of melancholy humor and his character, the Little Tramp is iconic. Showing March 14 at 6:45 AM
- The Maltese Falcon (1941) -Well-known crime drama starring Humphrey Bogart as private detective Sam Spade who becomes embroiled in a mystery involving a statue of a Maltese Falcon. One of Bogart’s best films. Showing March 15 at 10:00 AM
- The Quiet Man (1952) Filmed in color and in Ireland, it’s worth seeing just for the scenery, but also for the popular pairing of John Wayne and co-star Maureen O’Hara. Wayne’s American boxer must adjust to a new wife and culture. Showing March 17 at 8:30 PM
- Gaslight (1944) -I can’t say I loved this drama about a man who intentionally tries to drive his wife insane, but it is a film that stuck with me. This film coined the phrase “gaslighting“, and is psychologically disturbing. Ingrid Bergman stars. Showing March 22 at 10:30 AM
- The Birds (1963) – Since i just did a review of this Hitchcock film, I thought you might like the opportunity to see if for yourself. Showing March 22 at 4:45 PM
- Casablanca (1942) -Arguably the most famous classic film of all time, it is a must see, which I discovered after years of avoiding it for some stupid reason. Starring Bogart and Bergman the story and characters are all perfect. If you only watch one of my recommendations, then make it this one. Showing March 23 at 5:00 PM
- How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) -A romantic comedy about three working models who decide to pool their money to rent an expensive apartment in the hopes that they will meet some wealthy men they can marry. This is filmed in color and stars Bogart’s wife Lauren Bacall as well as Marilyn Monroe. Showing March 26 at 5:00 PM
- National Velvet (1944) – Filmed in color, a beautiful film starring a young Elizabeth Taylor and Mickey Rooney, about a young girl who pursues her dream to race her horse in England’s Grand National. This is a great movie for the whole family. Showing March 27 at 4:45 PM
- Roman Holiday (1953) -Audrey Hepburn’s first American film for which she won an Oscar, about a sheltered princess who escapes her royal duties for a day exploring Rome incognito with an American journalist. Showing March 28 at 1:45 PM
- Ever in My Heart (1933) -This is an obscure drama which shows the difficulties faced by a German man married to an American woman during WWI. It explores the impact of prejudice and stars one of my favorite actresses Barbara Stanwyck. Showing March 30 at 10:30 AM
- The Women (1939) -If you watched the remake of this film in 2008, do not judge the original by it. This is a bitingly witty film about the friendships between women and starred some well-known names of the time. It stars an all-female cast, meaning not a single man appears. Showing March 31 at 10:30 AM
I think some people hesitate to venture into classic film territory because they believe the stories they tell may be outdated. But as a wise man once said, “There is nothing new under the sun.”
When Ellen Murray returns home from college and reconnects with Doug, an old flame, she makes a decision which will put her mother’s liberal morals and the rest of her family’s sanity to the test.
Ellen has been raised in a seemingly privileged and normal home, her father a banker and her mother an author. But it doesn’t take long to discover, that her mother was quite the hell-raiser in her time, having been involved with poets and women’s liberation and becoming quite familiar with the inside of the jail. Continue reading “Classic Film Review -Yes, My Darling Daughter (1939)”