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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Classic Film Review -Pillow to Post (1945)

SUMMARY

Idle Jean Howard wants to do her part for the war effort. Since there is a shortage of men, her father’s oil company has no salesmen. Jean volunteers for the job and despite her father’s resistance heads out onto the road to try to save some company accounts.

Although she gives it her best efforts in her cross-country sales tour, Jean has no success. She finally lands at the Black Hills Oil Co. where Earl “Slim” Clark agrees to listen to her pitch. But only if she wines and dines him first. Of course, Slim’s motives are suspect as it is clear he finds Jean extremely attractive. Jean agrees and heads out to look for a place to stay for the night

Unfortunately, Jean finds herself looking for accommodations in an overcrowded army base town. There is absolutely nothing available until a last minute cancellation secures Jean a reservation. The only problem is, the room available is in a motor court which only caters to married couples. So Jean, manages to coerce a lieutenant from the local base to register with her as her husband with the plan being that he can leave once she has checked into the room.

The Lieutenant and Jean discuss arrangements.

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Classic Film Review -Honky Tonk (1941)

FILM SUMMARY
In Honky Tonk grifter and con-man Candy Johnson is tired of being run out of every town he visits whenever the citizens discover who he is. So he and his partner hop on a train determined to find a small town which he can shape and control for even larger payouts such as graft. On the train, Candy’s eye is drawn by beautiful blonde Elizabeth Cotton who is traveling west to meet her father, a man she believes is an upstanding, honest judge. Elizabeth refuses to be tempted by Candy’s smooth line, resisting his obvious flirtation. Upon debarking in Yellow Creek, Candy recognizes Elizabeth’s father as a fellow con-artist, but keeps his secret for Elizabeth’s sake.
Candy soon begins his campaign to take over the town of Yellow Creek and Elizabeth’s affections. After winning a large stake in a gamble of Russian roulette, Candy builds his own saloon and donates money to build a town mission as a civic gesture. After a little light manhandling from Candy and a talk with the Reverend’s wife, Elizabeth admits her attraction to Candy and decides she will marry him with the mission to reform him. It’s not long before Candy is running the town and Elizabeth is running their home, but a wrench is thrown into this happy setup when the Judge grows a conscience for his daughter’s sake and decides to spill the beans on Candy’s real intentions.
Papa grows a conscience
MY THOUGHTS

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Five Stars Blogathon -My Five Favorite Film Stars

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.

CARY GRANT

Be still my beating heart!

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”

Classic Film Review – Midnight (1939)

“Don’t forget, every Cinderella has her midnight.”

This quote perfectly sums up the title of the screwball comedy, Midnight.

SUMMARY

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.

Love at first sight

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)”

Classic Film Recommendations for May

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.

 

Classic Film Review -Voice in the Wind (1944)

 

SUMMARY

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)”

Hitchcock’s Romantic Films

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.