Classic Film Review -Ocean’s 11 (1960)

ABOUT THE FILM
I recently watched Ocean’s 11 for the first time. No, not the version of recent years with Brad Pitt and George Clooney, but the original starring Frank Sinatra and members of The Rat Pack.
For those unfamiliar with Hollywood history, The Rat Pack was the name coined for a group of celebrity friends whose original members included Humphrey Bogart and wife Lauren Bacall, Judy Garland, David Niven, Spencer Tracy and long time love Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, director George Cukor and others.

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Classic Film Recommendations for March

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

 

Classic Film Review -Yes, My Darling Daughter (1939)

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)”

Classic Film Review-I’d Climb the Highest Mountain (1951)

Every now and then you come across a movie that just warms your heart and leaves you feeling as cozy and full as a plate of apple pie. This is one such film for me.

I’d Climb the Highest Mountain is a color film shot in location in the northern hills of Georgia which follows a newly married minister and his city wife who are assigned to this rural location in 1910. It is based on a (semi- autobiographical) novel by Corra Harris.

SUMMARY

When Reverend William Thompson bring his new wife home to their first assignment she is eager yet unprepared for living in such an isolated area. This is a woman who not only doesn’t know how to cook, but also has her own doubts about her husband’s God. Yet, she makes every effort to contribute to her community and support her husband’s work.

Bill Thompson is the kind of man that almost no one could find fault with. He is generous with his time and resources, patient with his wife and wayward members of his congregation and yet he is not so perfect as to be annoying. No, he occasionally loses his temper, meddles in his neighbor’s business and even bets and races horses (although the bet is only to bring a lost sheep into the fold.) In other words, he’s the kind of minister I think many can relate to because he is human, as is his wife who never tries to camouflage her own failings. Continue reading “Classic Film Review-I’d Climb the Highest Mountain (1951)”

Classic Film Review -The Birds (1963)

I feel like I’m one of the few people on the planet who had not seen this Hitchcock classic. To be honest, even though I’m working my way through Hitch’s films, I had put this one off The Birds because I was afraid it might be too scary. I do not do horror films and I do not like to be scared.

SUMMARY

Just in case you are not familiar with the plot, wealthy Melanie Daniels played by Tippi Hedren (Melanie Griffith’s mother and Dakota Johnson’s grandmother) has a meet cute in a San Francisco pet shop with attorney Mitch Brenner who is portrayed by Rod Taylor. He plays a little trick on her in order to repay her for a prank she perpetrated against one of his clients. Strangely enough, they are both in the shop looking for birds.

This encounter intrigues Melanie enough to track down his name and address, drive out of town to his family home to retaliate. If Melanie’s behavior doesn’t creep out you a little, then don’t worry, the birds that begin to congregate in Mitch’s small town will.

MY THOUGHTS

Once the story has both Melanie and Mitch in the same place it gets to the gist of the plot which is basically a bunch of birds terrorizing an entire town.  I’m not kidding, that’s the entire story in a nutshell. Continue reading “Classic Film Review -The Birds (1963)”

Classic Film Review -Storm Warning (1951)

Mob mentality or its’ kinder term group think has always fascinated me. Maybe because we all grow up hearing the old reprimand, “If your friends jump off a cliff does that mean you have to?” at some point in our lives. Of course, the logical answer is no, and yet many times we find ourselves following the crowd or the trend without much thought. In it’s cruelest form mob mentality will find many normally decent people doing terrible things as part of a group that they would never consider doing by themselves. What makes us follow like sheep to the slaughter over the proverbial cliff?

Storm Warning is a black and white film from 1951 which touches on the reality of how mob mentality can corrupt even decent people.

SUMMARY

Marsha Mitchell (played by Ginger Rogers) makes a brief stop in a small southern town to visit her sister Lucy Rice (played by Doris Day) and meet Lucy’s new husband. Before she even has a chance see her sister, she witness the murder of a journalist by a group of men in white robes. Continue reading “Classic Film Review -Storm Warning (1951)”

Classic Film Review -Love with the Proper Stranger (1963)

Many, many years ago I saw Love with the Proper Stranger on television. I’ve been wanting to see it again ever since. Sadly, it is rarely aired.

I remember loving Love with the Proper Stranger although I couldn’t tell you much about it. I recalled the basic story line and of course am slightly in love with both Natalie Wood and Steve McQueen who play the main characters. Who wouldn’t like a movie with Natalie and Steve in it? They are both beautiful and talented and even if there was no story in the film I could stare at them all day. Continue reading “Classic Film Review -Love with the Proper Stranger (1963)”

Classic Film Review -Never Say Goodbye (1946)

Being the only classic film lover in my household I am on a quest to prove that the classics are equal to and even better than our modern movie offerings. So I am always delighted when I introduce one that the whole family ends up enjoying (thereby proving me right!)

SUMMARY

Never Say Goodbye is just such a film. A romantic comedy which reminded me a bit of The Parent Trap, it tells the story of exes Phil and Ellen Gayley and their young daughter Flip’s (short for Phillipa, named after her father of course) efforts to see them reunited. Phil is a famous artist constantly in the company of beautiful women, but still in love with his wife. Ellen is still in love with him too, but understandably has some trust issues and encouraged by her wealthy uptight mother keeps Phil at arms length.

Flip is not happy with the arrangement in which she spends half the year with one parent and half with the other and is in collusion with her father to bring her mother around to their way of thinking. Continue reading “Classic Film Review -Never Say Goodbye (1946)”

Steve McQueen Mini-Reviews

As I mentioned in a prior post, Steve McQueen is an anomaly for me. As most would agree, he is the epitome of cool, so I want to love his films and yet the few pictures of his I had seen left me underwhelmed. This year, that changed.

Originally, I was planning on writing longer individual reviews of each of the following films. But as it has been several months since I’ve watched a few of them, some of the details have faded and left me more with my overall impressions.

The Honeymoon Machine -1961  

Lieutenant Ferguson (McQueen) and his civilian scientist friend decide to exploit a navy computer called Max in a get rich quick scheme involving a Venice casino, while trying to avoid their Admiral who is staying in the same hotel and romancing two women, one of whom is the Admiral’s daughter.

This is a breezy ninety minute caper comedy which may not be one of McQueen’s best films technically but sure is entertaining. McQueen played so many dramatic roles that it is nice to see him in lighter fare. The funniest scenes are of Signalman Burford Taylor who becomes an unwitting and very drunk co-conspirator. Continue reading “Steve McQueen Mini-Reviews”

Film Year 2016 in Review

I’m almost ashamed to admit that by my count I watched over one hundred films in the past year. That is not including made for television movies (I’m looking at you Hallmark.) Most of those were classic films, but I did manage to see a few new releases.

Here is a rundown on my film year.

In 2016 I saw the following new releases:

Of these films, the only one I didn’t enjoy was Hail Caesar. I was very disappointed as this was a movie I was eagerly awaiting due to its story about classic Hollywood. I’m a fan of series or sequels as long as the story is entertaining so I enjoyed Greek Wedding 2, Civil War and Jason Bourne.  It was great to be introduced to a new Jane Austen story in Love and Friendship and I thought the new Ben-Hur was interesting. Continue reading “Film Year 2016 in Review”