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.
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!
Marriage on the Rocks (1965) -Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Deborah Kerr star in this story of a woman who accidentally finds herself married to her husband’s best friend. Martin is good in his usual playboy role and Kerr is gorgeous. Sinatra acts half-dead in this average comedy. But I loved Hermione Baddeley as Kerr’s stalwart, bossy Scottish mother.
Affair in Trinidad (1952) -In their fourth outing together Glenn Ford and Rita Hayworth display less chemistry. The inevitable comparison to Gilda is unavoidable and unfortunate. Hayworth gives a good but subdued performance of a woman suspected of her husband’s death. It’s Ford’s performance I found lacking. Overall, it’s a good little film noir, but not a great one. Here’s my full review.
The Kiss (1929) -MGM’s and Greta Garbo’s last silent film. I found the story underwhelming and was thankful for the short running time. But hey, Lew Ayres is at his youthful prettiest.
Where the Spies Are (1966) – I’m a fan of David Niven, but not even he can save this rather dull Sixties spy film. On the upside, there are some great scenes of Beirut Lebanon before it was destroyed by war. Also, it features Catherine Deneuve’s older sister who was just on the cusp of fame before her tragic early death.
The Island of Love (1963) -A film so bad it’s good. Robert Preston and Tony Randall fleece Walter Matthau of $2 million before fleeing to a Greek isle to run another scam. Matthau is oddly and hilariously cast as a Greek mobster whose lackeys parrot his commands. Randall is also funny as a neurotic, alcoholic writer.
Plein Soleil/Purple Noon (1960) -The original Talented Mr. Ripley. A gorgeously filmed French crime drama with a gorgeous, cold-blooded killer. It has one of my favorite endings in a crime film ever. But really all you need to know is Alain Delon, Alain Delon, Alain Delon. He is my newest actor obssession.
The Conquering Power (1921) – A rather compelling silent romantic drama based on a story by Balzac featuring the theme of greed. It is also probably my favorite of Rudolph Valentino’s roles and Alice Terry is a revelation. Both give understated performances. Plus, there is a miserly villain who is more Scrooge than Scrooge is and a memorable scene where his gold becomes his tormentor.
Luxury Liner (1948) -I’m working my way through George Brent’s filmography. Here he plays a cruise ship captain whose daughter stows away on his ship. Jane Powell is the daughter and plays it a bit over the top. Still it’s a rather fun little musical that I enjoyed more than I expected.
Sergeant York (1941) -I’ve put off watching this famous classic for a long time. I was expecting the film to focus more on York’s war time service. But I appreciated getting a look at the man’s private life. You can never go wrong with Gary Cooper and I can see why everyone raves about this movie.
Tonight and Every Night (1945)-I couldn’t help but compare this Rita Hayworth musical to the much better Cover Girl. Rita is gorgeous and I was happy to see a familiar face from Seven Bride for Seven Brothers in Tommy Lawson. I’m sorry to say the leading man Lee Bowman was dull. Also, I didn’t really enjoy the music though or the costumes. Overall, I think this one will be rather forgettable.
Show People (1928) -I’m a fan of the male silent comedians and have heard good things about Marion Davies comedy skills. I did enjoy this behind the scenes satire about the film industry. But I came away even more impressed by William Haines. He reminded me of a young Kurt Russell, at least in looks.
Indiscretion of An American Wife (1953) -I’m not a fan of Jennifer Jones, although I keep trying to be. But this is not the film to change that for me. And as much praise as Montgomery Clift gets, he wasn’t that great in this film either. It reminds me quite a bit of Brief Encounter, a couple having an affair who meet at the train station. Only that film is much better done.
The Lady From Shanghai (1947)- This little film noir was fascinating. I couldn’t take my eyes off the blonde Rita Hayworth. And Orson Welles is strangely mesmerizing despite a weird Irish accent that isn’t quite believable.
The Loves of Carmen (1948) – I’ve heard of the opera Carmen, but knew little about the story. I appreciated this film adaptation. And I always like seeing Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford on screen together. Ford gave a good performance of a naïve young man who eventually grows to be a hardened criminal. I actually loved the tragic ending.
The Love Light (1921) – I wanted to love this Mary Pickford vehicle, especially after learning it was directed by her friend Frances Marion. A female silent film director! The cinematography was amazing, and Pickford is endearing. However as the picture went on it became so melodramatic that it ruined my enjoyment of the film.
Fire Down Below (1957) -How can a movie starring Robert Mitchum, Rita Hayworth and Jack Lemmon go wrong? With a disjointed story line and poor character development. Mitchum is your typical Mitchum character only less compelling, Hayworth sleepwalks through her part and Lemmon shows early signs of his famous talent. But honestly I found the secondary characters more interesting. I don’t know what to make of this film.
West of Broadway (1931) -I thought this was one of John Gilbert’s more interesting speaking roles. After returning home from WWI and being jilted by his fiancé, he drunkenly marries a gold digger. It turns out she really loves him and wants to dry him out, but he doesn’t believe she’s not after his money. Gilbert gave a really good performance along side co-star Lois Moran. I can’t say the same for the supporting actors who filled cliché parts.
Nurse on Wheels (1963) -I loved this cute little British film starring Hayley Mills sister Juliet. She takes a post as the nurse of a small village and gets embroiled in the lives of the villagers. She also falls for a local farmer bachelor. Her mother acts as her ditzy secretary. I saved it on my DVR so I can watch it again it was so utterly charming.
The Man Who Talked Too Much (1940) -Another George Brent vehicle. It’s a remake of an earlier film starring Warren William. Brent is a lawyer for a gangster. His kid brother tries to talk him into going straight. Brent is watchable as usual (for me). Richard Barthelmess deserves more screen time as the bad guy/gangster. Otherwise, it’s not that exciting of a film, but passes the time.
Our Miss Brooks (1956) -Stars Eve Arden as a teacher being pursued by three different men for various reasons. It’s a cute film and you can never go wrong with Eve Arden.
The Canterville Ghost (1944) -I’m not generally a fan of child actors, but I’ll watch anything Margaret O’Brien is in. This is another adorable film of hers with Charles Laughton as the cowardly family ghost and Robert Young as the one who can break his curse. It was a nice way to finish up my October viewing.