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.

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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.

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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 opposite 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)”

Classic Film Review – That Certain Woman (1937)

SUMMARY

Spoilers

Mary Donnell has bad luck with men. She begins That Certain Woman as the widow of a slain bootlegger. She married at the age of 15 thinking that she could change him. Years later she has now turned her life around. Mary keeps a low profile as the secretary to an attorney, despite newspaper attempts to sniff out her whereabouts for a “where are they now” story.
Her older married boss is just getting ready to confess his feelings for his faithful secretary. Unfortunately, he discovers that Mary is in love with irresponsible playboy heir Jack Merrick Jr. Jack talks Mary into eloping and with her boss’ blessing, she agrees. Immediately after the marriage the couple is confronted by Jack’s strict, heartless father who objects to Mary as a daughter-in-law thanks to her less then pristine background. Mary is an honorable woman whose past has been tainted by her dead husband’s behavior. But Jack Sr. manages to annul the marriage, because Junior has never had the backbone to oppose his father. However, he can’t annul her pregnancy. As years pass, the senior Merrick’s ruthless meddling continues to play out, bringing heartbreak to everyone.

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Classic Film Review -Charade (1963)

Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn are both considered film and fashion icons. Their contributions and legacies have endured and are still looked on with reverence today.

Fortunately, these two superstars collaborated on the film Charade. The film is a romantic comedy with strong elements of suspense, which is just as witty and stylish as its’ two leading actors.

SUMMARY

Regina Lampert (Audrey Hepburn) is a young American wife living in Paris who plans to divorce her husband. Before she has the chance to do so, he completely strips their luxury apartment, selling all of their belongings. He then promptly gets himself killed while fleeing Paris by train. To read the rest of my review, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.

Reel Infatuation -Crushing on Elwood P Dowd of Harvey (1950)

 

I can’t remember the first time I watched the fantasy comedy film Harvey. I first began watching classic films in the days before Turner Classic Movies made them readily available and easier to access.

But somehow I stumbled across Harvey, this film about Elwood P. Dowd and his pooka best friend, a very tall white and invisible rabbit. I watched it many times during my childhood and since. It has never failed to lose its’ wonder or to make me laugh. Part of the reason for that is an affinity for Elwood P, as he calls himself.

Every time I view this film, I am struck by how much I admire and in some ways even wish to be like the easy-going Elwood played by James Stewart. Even though he is a chronic drinker and his sister and niece wish to commit him to a sanitarium thanks to the havoc his friendship with the invisible Harvey causes them, still he has so many exemplary character traits.

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