Classic Film Review – Operation Mad Ball (1957)

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.

SUMMARY

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)”

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)”

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)”

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)”

Foreign Film Friday -And God Created Woman (1956)

SUMMARY

Juliete Hardy is a sensually precocious young woman without anyone to love her. She has been raised in an orphanage and taken in by the Vigier-Lefrancs. Her reputation in St. Tropez is well-known. Madame Vigier-Lefrancs finally threatens to return Juliete to the orphanage after she catches her chatting in the nude with the wealthy but older Eric Carradine.

But Juliete only has eyes for Christian Tardieu, the eldest son and breadwinner of the Tardieu family.  Because of this she refuses to commit to Carradine and also spurns the advances of Christian’s quiet but steady younger brother Michel. Christian promises to take her with him when he goes back to Marseilles if she will spend the night with him. But when he breaks his promise he sets into motion Juliete’s revenge. It is a revenge that will entangle Juliete with all three men and almost cost her a chance at the love she yearns for. Continue reading “Foreign Film Friday -And God Created Woman (1956)”

Lauren Bacall Blogathon -How To Marry A Millionaire (1953)

I’ve been a classic film fan since I was a young girl. But I didn’t have much access to them back then. Unless they were available at the library or occassionally airing on our local television stations, I was out of luck. One of the handful of movies I remember watching as a kid is How To Marry a Millionaire. Since then, I’ve seen it countless times. It is one of a few films that never fails to surprise me, no matter how many times I watch it. I always forget how funny it is!

FILM SYNOPSIS

Schatze, Pola and Loco are three models who devise a scheme to marry rich men. They agree to share the lease on a New York penthouse. Schatze believes that they must put themselves in the same orbit as men of wealth in order to attract them. And if they must pawn the furnishings of their new apartment to make ends meet while they hunt, well then, a girl must do what is necessary.

Schatze: You wanna catch a mouse, you set a mouse trap. All right so we set a bear trap. Now all we gotta do, is one of us has got to catch a bear.

Loco: You mean marry him?

Schatze: If you don’t marry him, you haven’t caught him, he’s caught you.

Continue reading “Lauren Bacall Blogathon -How To Marry A Millionaire (1953)”

Classic Film Review -Father is a Bachelor (1950)

SUMMARY

Johnny Rutledge (William Holden) is rootless bachelor who works for a traveling medicine show. When his employer is arrested, Johnny finds himself cooling his heels in a small town, while awaiting his employer’s release.

While out fishing he comes across a small cabin where the five young Chalotte siblings live. The oldest child confesses that his parents are dead and he is trying to keep the family together. Johnny feels sorry for them, but explains to young January that he can’t stick around to help. Past experiences have left him with a distaste for anything resembling roots or commitment. Still Johnny finds himself drawn to these children named after the months of the year. He also finds himself more and more intertwined in their lives.

When the beautiful Prudence (Coleen Gray) stops by the Chalotte home and discovers the children living there without adult supervision, Johnny steps in to keep them from being split up. But can this roaming bachelor really transform into a stable family man? Continue reading “Classic Film Review -Father is a Bachelor (1950)”

Classic Film Review -Pillow Talk (1959)

Pillow Talk introduced to the world for the first time, the popular, beloved pairing of Doris Day and Rock Hudson. It also re-invigorated the genre of romantic comedy.

SUMMARY

Jan Morrow is an interior decorator who is living the dream in New York City, except for one major annoyance. She is stuck sharing a phone line with the egotistical, womanizing bachelor Brad Allen, a man Jan has never met. Brad is a Broadway song writer who works from home. He ties up their shared phone line at all hours with his multiple affairs. All of Jan’s efforts to regulate the use of the phone meet Brad’s mocking refusal.

One evening, purely by accident, Brad catches a glimpse of Jan while they are both out on separate dates. He is shocked to find that the woman he has been arguing with is actually not the plain prude he assumed she was. Knowing that Jan would never agree to date him, Brad concocts a false identity as a tourist from Texas and rescues her from her drunken date.

Jan is thrilled to finally meet a handsome man she feels she can trust and who treats her respectfully. As Brad and Jan spend time together, her attachment to “Rex Stetson” grows.  While Brad is dating Jan using his alter ego, he also continues to pester Jan as himself over their shared phone line.

At the same time Jan continues to received marriage proposals from her wealthy client Jonathan Forbes. Jonathan is head over heels for Jan. When Jonathan discovers that his close friend Brad Allen is plying his tricks on the unsuspecting Jan, he decides to take action.

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

Classic Film Review -This Could Be the Night (1957)

SUMMARY

Jean SimmonsNewly minted college graduate and first time teacher Anne Leeds answers an advertisement for a part time evening job. Her intelligence and determination impress Rocco, the owner of a New York city night club. So Rocco hires her as his secretary, despite the fact that her prim innocence isn’t exactly the best fit for her new environment.

Anne is definitely a fish out of water and paired with her inexperience, she is not instantly popular with her new co-workers. Rocco’s business partner Tony Armotti takes a particular dislike of her and for Anne the feeling is mutual. Though, the womanizing Tony tries to get her fired, Rocco’s protective instincts keep her employed.

Slowly, Anne begins to win over the other employees of the night club with her sincerity and helpfulness. She even wins the grudging respect of Tony. Just when Anne is starting to feel at home in her job, she makes the mistake of falling for Tony which makes it difficult if not impossible for them to work together. Continue reading “Classic Film Review -This Could Be the Night (1957)”

Classic Film Review -Trouble Along the Way (1953)

SUMMARY

Steve Williams is a disgraced former college football coach. After a bitter divorce, he is raising his daughter alone and making a living as a glorified bookie.

Father Burke is the aging president of small parochial college, St Anthony’s. He has just been informed that his beloved school will be closed soon due to insolvency.

Burke refuses to accept the bad news. He believes that he can  save the school by generating enough money to pay off the large debt. He has the brilliant idea of hiring Steve to create a football program which will bring in enough revenue to achieve his goal.

Initially, Steve refuses the offer. But then his ex-wife reports him to social services in an effort to regain custody of their daughter. Steve realizes that his current lifestyle will not look good to the court. So, he and his daughter Carol take on the challenge of creating a football team for a college which is better known for its’ academics than athletics. Continue reading “Classic Film Review -Trouble Along the Way (1953)”