Don’t you love it when you take a chance on a movie you’ve never heard of and end up loving it? Such is the case for me with Operation Mad Ball.
WWII may be over, but there is a group of men still stationed at an American medical base in France. Among these are Captain Lock (Ernie Kovacs) and his nemesis Private Hogan (Jack Lemmon). Lock is a by the book sort of Captain who is unpopular with the other enlisted men. Pvt. Hogan, however, is a man with a glib tongue and quick mind. He is well-liked by his fellow soldiers, especially for his attempts to make life more fun on the base.
Also stationed on base is a group of female nurses, many of whom are officers. When a fellow private falls for a nurse, Hogan uses it as an excuse to play Cupid, by planning a ball. However, this is easier said than done. The machinations the men go through to secretly secure the site and the resources rivals a legitimate complex military mission. This is complicated when the base’s commanding officer Colonel Rousch (Arthur O’Connell) starts planning his own party for the same night. Hogan also needs to continually keep one step of Lock who is determined to finally catch him breaking Army regulations. Continue reading “Classic Film Review – Operation Mad Ball (1957)”
Vanity Fair is arguably the crowning achievement of British author William Makepeace Thackeray. In it, he created perhaps the greatest anti-heroine in English literature, Becky Sharp. The name of the novel is an allusion to a place found in Pilgrim’s Progress where travelers’ find themselves lured in by a fascination of material things. It can also be read as a satire on English society of that time. Thackeray’s masterpiece has been adapted for both the big and small screen many times. But despite having seen two film versions, it is iTV’s recent adaptation which finally introduced me to the brilliance of Vanity Fair.
Vanity Fair follows the journey of two young ladies from their friendship at school, through a decade of their lives.
Becky Sharp and Amelia Sedley cannot be more different. Becky is orphaned and without fortune, but uses her education, charm and beauty to make the most of her paltry connections. Above all she desires financial security and the influence of social position. She has no conscience about how she achieves these things. In her ruthless betterment of self, Becky manipulates various members of the Crawley family, Amelia’s brother Jos and eventually the Marquis de Steyne. Though she eventually obtains her objectives, it comes at a higher price than she expects.
In contrast, Amelia is sweet-natured but passive and completely naïve to the true natures of those she loves best. Unlike Becky, her only real wish is to settle down with her fiancé George Osborn to a life of happy domesticity. William Dobbin an army captain and friend to George secretly assists her in gaining her heart’s desire. Like Becky, Amelia eventually realizes her dream, but it also comes at a high cost.
As these women navigate ambition, romance, war and disappointment they must eventually face the truth and consequences of their choices. They must also decide if they are willing to change.
February didn’t prove to be a very productive month for me in watching films and series. Of course it is a short month and I was busier than usual, so I’m cutting myself some slack.
I finished fourteen films and two series in February, that includes a mix of classic and contemporary entertainment. I revisited some old favorites (Gone With the Wind, My Fair Lady and The Quiet Man), and watched some creative Shakespeare adaptations.
Hollywood isn’t often noted for its’ successful marriages. However, writer Robert Riskin and actress Fay Wray were one of the exceptions. The two were married for thirteen years until his death parted them.
Their daughter is publishing the book Fay Wray and Robert Riskin: A Hollywood Affair. I am participating in The Fay Wray and Robert Riskin Blogathon honoring these two Hollywood stars and the book hosted by Aurora of Once Upon a Screen and AnnMarie at Classic Movie Hub.
One of the things I am always bemoaning about our modern films is the lackluster, disappointing dialogue. Classic films were full of snappy one liners, rapid fire conversations full of double entendres and attraction disguised as insults. They were witty and smart, but could also be cutting and sharp. It is rare to run across this verbal brilliance in new releases. Which is why I wanted to focus on Robert Riskin for the sake of this blogathon. Continue reading “Fay Wray and Robert Riskin Blogathon – Platinum Blonde (1931)”
Don’t you love a good fairy tale? I certainly do. But you can only watch so many versions of Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast. Sometimes a fairy tale with a new story and fresh perspective is needed. And that’s just what Penelope offers.
A long time ago, a witched cursed the Wilherns. The first daughter born into this wealthy family would be born with the face of a pig. The only way to break this curse is for her to be accepted by one of her own kind – a blueblood. After many generations of sons, Penelope becomes the unfortunate bearer of this cruel curse.
Ashamed of her daughter, Jessica Wilhern has hidden her away in the family home for most of Penelope’s life. But in recent years, she has been working with a professional matchmaker to find an aristocratic man willing to marry Penelope and break the curse. Edward Vanderman, the most recent man to reject the sweet natured “pig-girl” has teamed up with Lemon, a journalist holding a long-standing grudge towards Jessica. They hire Max Campion, a gambler they believe to be a fallen blue-blood. Max agrees to secretly snap a picture of Penelope for a pay-off thousands of dollars.
But Penelope is gun-shy and doesn’t show herself to Max right away. Instead he is forced to make multiple visits to the Wilhern mansion. With a one-way mirror between them, Max and Penelope develop a friendship through many conversations. However, the individual plans of Jessica Wilhern, Edward, Lemon and Max all go awry when Penelope finally decides to run away from everyone’s plans for her. What will happen to a girl who has lived in seclusion all her life, when she finally discovers the world? Can the curse truly be broken or will Penelope find another way?
To read the full review, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.
It is a time of great internal and political conflict in Korea. The nation is slowly losing it’s autonomy to it’s more power neighbor, Japan. The disintegration of Korea’s freedom and identity is hastened by the modernization forced upon it by American and Japanese influence. Compounding the problem is that many of Korea’s nobles are actively working against their homeland for their own personal benefit.
I love a good meet-cute. You know, it’ the moment where two characters meet for the first time. In most films, the meet cute sets the stage and the tone for all that is to follow. It immediately tells you what type of relationship the two characters will have as they get to know each other better. Some meet-cutes are in fact cute, others are antagonistic. Meet-cutes are actually one of my favorite moments in a film.
Have you ever allowed your prejudice or bias influence your ability to enjoy something? I have. Aside from the music, I pretty much avoid anything from the seventies. I’m just not a fan of most of what originated from that decade. Which is why, despite hearing nothing but positive things said of What’s Up Doc? I was pretty sure I wouldn’t like it. Boy, was I wrong! What’s Up Doc? is one of the funniest films I’ve ever seen. And I say that as a connoisseur of comedic film. It’s my favorite genre. In fact, I think I laughed even harder the second time I viewed it than the first time around.
It all begins with four matching travel bags. One contains top secret stolen documents and papers. A government agent is hot on the trail, tracking them for recovery. The second belongs to the wealthy Mrs. Van Hoskins and contains her jewels. Dr. Howard Bannister is the owner of the third. It holds his beloved igneous rock collection. Howard is in town as a finalist for an important grant which would allow him to continue his studies on the effects of rocks in creating music. Accompanying him is his uptight fiancée Eunice Burns who manages his life like an automaton.
The fourth bag holds the personal effects of Judy Maxwell. Judy is a street smart young woman whom disaster seems to follow at every step. She is also remarkably book smart, full of random knowledge which she spouts off to the surprise of everyone around her. None of those carrying the bags are aware that anyone else has a bag resembling their own. And that is where the fun starts.
For the full review, please follow me over to the Silver Petticoat Review.
With the start of a new year, I decided to change my approach in watching films. In the past couple of years, I chose to watch as many new-to-me classic films as I could, whether or not they interested me. I wanted to broaden my knowledge and experience with them. And while I found some real gems, I also found myself spending a lot of time watching films I didn’t really enjoy.
This year I want to continue to watch classic films I’ve never seen before. But I also want to re-watch classic films I’ve not seen in a while or which I really enjoy watching. I also want to get back to watching newer released foreign films and series. In addition, I will be watching more contemporary films as well.
This month I had great success in newer series, especially on the foreign side. The only one of the series I listed that I didn’t love was Beauty and the Beast. I enjoyed re-watching several classic and contemporary films.
No matter what entertainment medium you favor, you can find family acting dynasties. The Fonda family is one which is well known to those who enjoy Hollywood films. Henry Fonda is the patriarch of this family of actors which includes his son Peter Fonda and grandchildren, Bridget Fonda as well as Troy Garrity. But it is Jane Fonda who I would like to focus on today.
Regardless what you think of her politics, Jane has made a name for herself outside the shadow of her father. With a career now spanning over five decades, fifty film credits, seven Oscar nominations (with two wins) she remains an active participant in the film community today.
Jane is also known for her many exercise videos, with her first one, Jane Fonda’s Workout becoming the highest-selling VHS ever. She has been married to a director (Roger Vadim), an activist (Tom Hayden) and a billionaire businessman (Ted Turner) and has two children. Continue reading “Fondathon – Sunday in New York”