Classic Film Review -My Fair Lady (1964)

My Fair Lady is my very favorite musical. I’ve seen it countless times on screen and stage. It never fails to entertain and delight me with its’ ageless story.

Based on a story in Greek mythology of a sculptor who wishes to bring his creation to life, Pygmalion has seen several reincarnations on both stage and screen. Perhaps none is so famous as the film adaptation My Fair Lady.

SYNOPSIS

Eliza Doolittle is the poor Cockney flower seller whose life is turned upside down due to the bet of a stranger. Professor and phoneticist Henry Higgins brags to his peer Colonel Hugh Pickering that his skills are such that he can transform the undeserving Eliza into a lady of grace and poise. Eliza dreams of rising above her station and bettering herself. She seizes the opportunity, little realizing how much will be demanded of her.

I was honored to share my thoughts on this film over at The Silver Petticoat Review.

 

 

 

Rock Hudson Blogathon -Tarnished Angels (1957)

Over the years, I’ve seen several movies starring Rock Hudson. The Douglas Sirk melodramas, comedies with Doris Day and the Texas epic Giant, among others.  As much as I’ve enjoyed these films, it is always someone else’s performance which catches my eye. So when the opportunity arose to view Tarnished Angels I chose to watch it for Dorothy Malone. But then I got the surprise of my life – Rock Hudson can act!

FILM BACKGROUND

Tarnished Angels is based on the novel Pylon by William Faulkner. According to Faulkner, it is the best film adaptation of all his works. Aside from perhaps Tennessee Williams, no one could write a Southern potboiler like this native author. As usual, certain plot points of the story were toned down for the screen due to the Code. The film reunited director Douglas Sirk with Rock Hudson, Robert Stack and Dorothy Malone two years after working together on Written on the Wind. Continue reading “Rock Hudson Blogathon -Tarnished Angels (1957)”

Grace Kelly Blogathon -Living With Grace by Mary Mallory

I enjoy many of Grace Kelly’s films. However, I’ve always had a hard time connecting with her onscreen. The epitome of a Hitchcock blond, she always seemed serene, calm and distant both onscreen and off.  Even while appreciating her films, I was never able to name her as one of my favorite actresses.

“Grace always had an air of mystery about her.” Frances Fuller, American Acadamy of Dramatic Arts chairperson (pg 18)

One of the things I love about biographies and books written about celebrities is learning more about the individual behind the celebrity. So when I recently won a giveaway hosted by AnnMarie at Classic Movie Hub for a new book about Grace, I was delighted. Living with Grace -Life Lessons from America’s Princess is written by Mary Mallory. Having read one other of Mallory’s celebrity books I knew I was in for a treat. When the book arrived in all of its’ small, bright pink glory, I couldn’t wait to get started. Continue reading “Grace Kelly Blogathon -Living With Grace by Mary Mallory”

They Remade What?Blogathon: The Male Animal (1942) & She’s Working Her Way Through College (1952)

Don’t you love a good serendipitous moment? I wasn’t sure I would participate in this blogathon as much as I love the concept of it. The month of November is already pretty busy for me, and I wasn’t sure that I would have time to watch two films for one blogathon. But then I happened to watch a movie I wouldn’t have normally been interested in. I went into the viewing of She’s Working Her Way Through College knowing nothing at all about it, only to discover it is a loose musical remake of The Male Animal. Well, with the stars all aligned, I realized that now I HAD to participate in Phyllis of Phyllis Loves Classic Movies The Remade What? Blogathon!

STORY BACKGROUND

The source of this story was a hit Broadway play written by James Thurber and Elliott Nugent titled The Male Animal. The basic premise of both films feature the trials of an underpaid and underappreciated English professor who teaches at a midwestern university. The university’s financial and spiritual reverence of the sports department is a thorn in the professor’s side. The professor believes some of the school’s resources should be shared with the education departments. He butts heads with the head of the school board over this. Continue reading “They Remade What?Blogathon: The Male Animal (1942) & She’s Working Her Way Through College (1952)”

October Classic Film Quickie Reviews

Well, October was another good month for watching the classics with twenty one new to me movies. Since Rita Hayworth was TCM’s featured star, I was able to see several of her films, some of which were better than others. Although Rita always shines.

Juliet Mills in Nurse on Wheels
Photo: IMDb

I also managed to watch four silents which I rather enjoyed. I was mesmerized by Alain Delon in the French film Purple Noon. But I think my favorite discovery was Nurse on Wheels which utterly charmed me. Too bad I can’t find it on DVD! Continue reading “October Classic Film Quickie Reviews”

Foreign Film Friday -Sophia (2016) Russian Television Series

SUMMARY

In the last several decades of the fifteenth century, a Byzantine princess is sent to Moscow to marry its’ Grand Prince Ivan III. Rome hopes that with her influence, the people of Russia will turn from their Orthodox faith to Catholicism. Instead the Princess Zoe changes her name to Sophia, and adopts the Russian language, faith and culture as her own.

As the wife of the man who history will name Ivan the Great, she is not entirely trusted by her adopted homeland. Those in power fear her foreign origins and influence over her husband. She becomes a point of conflict in the Russian court and the focus of court distrust and intrigues.

While Ivan and Sophia deal with these internal conflicts, there are also external ones which demand Ivan’s attention. Among these are issues of diplomacy and war among rival nations. The most dangerous of these is war against the Golden Horde led by the Grand Khan. Closer to home is the conflict with the Russian Republic of Novrogod who resist Ivan’s attempts to unify the various Russian principalities under the throne of Moscow. Continue reading “Foreign Film Friday -Sophia (2016) Russian Television Series”

Film Review – A Star Is Born (2018)

As a classic film aficionado, I’m not generally a fan of remakes. There are a few exceptions to that rule, but generally I avoid them. This is why I had no plans to watch the latest reincarnation of A Star Is Born. I’ve seen three of the previous films, including the Constance Bennett vehicle What Price Hollywood?, and excluding the version featuring Barbara Streisand. I had no desire to see yet another interpretation. But then the reviews started rolling in from fellow classic film lovers and they were all positive. So, I decided I had to watch it to decide for myself.

SYNOPSIS

Each version of this film revolves around the same story. An established and famous male star, discovers a new talent. He then acts as mentor and eventually lover to this woman while guiding her through the process and pitfalls of fame. However, as her star rises, his declines thanks to his increasingly bad public behavior while battling his demons in the form of toxic addictions.  There are differences among all five versions of this film. However, they are not significant as to change the main story line and character arcs. In the latest version of A Star is Born the names of the main characters are changed from Esther Blodgett and Norman Maine to Ally and Jackson Maine. Also, unlike the first three films, Ally and Jackson are singers and not actors. Continue reading “Film Review – A Star Is Born (2018)”

Rita Hayworth Blogathon -Affair in Trinidad (1952)

I’ve never read a full biography about Rita Hayworth. The small amount of information I do know about her has always left me sad. From her earliest years, Rita was dominated by selfish men, starting with her father and continuing on to husbands, and men in the film industry who shaped her image. In many ways, her life was tragic one.

The knowledge of her personal life has always influenced my experience watching her films. I’m usually left with a feeling of both compassion and the melancholy of wondering what if? What if she had been in charge of her own career? What if she had found one man who would protect her instead of using, cheating and abandoning her? It is through this lens I view her performances.

SUMMARY

Affair in Trinidad begins with death. The police arrive at a local nightclub to speak with the deceased’s widow, Chris Emery (Hayworth). She is famous all over the island as a dancer whose beauty draws in scores of customers. Initially the police believe the death may be a suicide, but after seeing and speaking with the gorgeous Chris, they suspect foul play. Chris is surprised by the news but not devastated. She and her husband Neil had drifted apart in their marriage. Continue reading “Rita Hayworth Blogathon -Affair in Trinidad (1952)”

September Classic Film Quickie Reviews

This month I managed to watch twenty-four films I had never seen before. Of those, four were foreign classics. Sadly I didn’t love any of this month’s foreign film choices.

Tony Curtis, Janet Lee & Dean Martin
Who Was That Lady (1960)

Several of these films surprised me in a good way including She’s Working Her Way Through College and Without Reservations. Others surprised me in a negative way. I also watched two film adaptations of Tennessee Williams plays. All in all, September was a productive month for me in terms of classic film. Continue reading “September Classic Film Quickie Reviews”

Classic Film Review -Swing Time (1936)

SWING TIME SUMMARY

In order to marry his hometown fiancee, gambling dancer John “Lucky” Garnett (Fred Astaire) heads to New York to make $25,000. His friend and sidekick Pop (Victor Moore) follows him like a faithful dog. On his first day in the city, Lucky has an unfortunate first meeting with Penny (Ginger Rogers), a dance instructor. Not only do Lucky and Pop almost get Penny arrested, but they also cause Penny and her friend Mabel (Helen Broderick) to lose their jobs. Even though Lucky convinces Penny’s boss (Eric Blore) to re-hire her, she is not so easily won over.

But Lucky is in luck because he and Penny are now dance partners. The more time they spend together, the more they begin to fall for each other. However, both try to resist their mutual attraction. Lucky has not forgotten his purpose for being in New York, even though he never mentions it to Penny. As for Penny, her long time admirer Ricky Romero, continues to propose to her despite multiple rejections. Meanwhile Pop and Mabel connive to see Lucky and Penny end up together.

For the full review, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.