Fondathon – Sunday in New York

JANE FONDA
Photo: Public Domain

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”

Jean Simmons Blogathon – All the Way Home (1963)

Jean Simmons & Robert Preston
JEAN SIMMONS

When discussing talented or famous film actresses of the classic film era, Jean Simmons is not a name that comes up as often as it should. Often those with larger screen personas get all the attention. I myself have been guilty of overlooking her work. And yet, she appeared in some very successful films, was twice nominated for an Oscar and continued working until she died in 2010 racking up almost one hundred film credits. So I’m absolutely thrilled that she is receiving some well deserved attention with the Jean Simmons Blogathon.

In choosing one of Jean’s films to write about, I discovered that I have seen more of her movies than I realized. Despite being a beautiful woman, she has the talent of disappearing into her roles. What’s amazing is that she accomplishes this without any drastic changes to her appearance. Instead she actually BECOMES her character.

I have a few personal favorites among her pictures, and she has several famous film titles to her credit. But I wanted to choose one that I had not seen and also which I felt is a bit more obscure among her fans. That is how I found myself watching the 1963 film, All the Way Home. Continue reading “Jean Simmons Blogathon – All the Way Home (1963)”

The Unexpected Blogathon -Nurse on Wheels (1963)

Have you ever watched a movie that took you by surprise? Perhaps, it turned your expectations on end? Or maybe, you went in knowing nothing about the film and found yourself responding to it rather strongly? Such was the case for me with Nurse on Wheels, a British comedy starring Juliet Mills, daughter of John Mills and sister to Hayley.

I grew up with the Disney films of Hayley Mills and hold very fond memories of them. It was for this reason alone that I took a chance when I saw Nurse on Wheels show up in the TCM schedule recently. I had never seen Juliet Mills in a film before and knew absolutely nothing about Nurse on Wheels. I expected I might like it, but didn’t guess that it would be my favorite film discovery of the year.

Continue reading “The Unexpected Blogathon -Nurse on Wheels (1963)”

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.

 

 

 

Deborah Kerr Blogathon -The Night of the Iguana (1964)

Don’t you love it when everything falls together unexpectedly?  I just finished reading Kendra Bean’s book Ava Gardner: A Life in Movies as well as Elizabeth Taylor: My Love Affair with Jewelry. (Both of which I recommend by the way.) Taylor’s book includes the memories attached to each piece of her jewelry and it should be no surprise that Richard Burton is often a part of those memories.  These books piqued my interest in seeing further films of these actors. Shortly after, I saw the announcement for the Deborah Kerr Blogathon hosted by Maddy Loves Her Classic Films.

As I searched for my film choice, I found The Night of the Iguana which just happens to star not only Kerr, but also Gardner, and Burton. Both books also referenced this film as it was an important one for both Gardner and Burton though for different reasons. The Burton-Taylor affair had taken the world by storm and the notoriety followed them to the set of this film. As for Gardner, this picture is often ranked as one of her best performances. Continue reading “Deborah Kerr Blogathon -The Night of the Iguana (1964)”

Foreign Film Friday -The Red Queen (2015)

SUMMARY

She was referred to as “Soviet Sophia Loren” and “the most beautiful Kremlin weapon.” But who was the Red Queen? Was she the queen of the catwalk or a KGB agent seducing foreign diplomats? How did she manage to succeed and what was the price she had to pay? The life of Regina Zbarskaya, the most famous USSR, is full of mystery and drama.

In 1950’s Communist Russia, a family tragedy leaves Zoya Kolesnikova a stigmatized orphan. Leaving her home town, she heads to Moscow to escape her past. While there she adopts the name Regina. With the help of a benefactress,she reinvents herself through education and determination.

Initially she pursues her mother’s dream of becoming an accountant, but a chance encounter leads her into the world of fashion. Regina works hard not only to become a clothes model but also to overcome past mistakes. Eventually, she realizes success not only in Russia but also world wide. But past traumas still haunt her and a life of fame has its’ price. Continue reading “Foreign Film Friday -The Red Queen (2015)”

Classic Film Review -Lover Come Back (1961)

The name of Doris Day is almost synonymous with the romantic comedies of the Sixties. In a ten year period from 1958 to 1968, she starred in over ten comedies with leading men like Clark Gable, Cary Grant, James Garner and Jack Lemmon among others. But of all her rom-com co-stars, she is best remembered for her three films opposite Rock Hudson. Even today, decades later, their names are irrevocably linked. Lover Come Back is the second of their three films together.

SUMMARY

Doris Day & Rock HudsonCarol Templeton and Jerry Webster have never met, but they work for competing advertising agencies in New York. Carol loves the creative challenge of her job. Jerry prefers to court potential clients with wining, dining and women.

When Carol loses a huge account to Jerry’s less than savory sales approach, she is enraged. She reports him to the advertising council and vows to do whatever it takes to win the next big potential account.

Though a thorn in his side, Carol isn’t Jerry’s only problem. His sniveling, neurotic friend, Peter Ramsey, who is also his boss has returned determined to take the reins of Jerry’s ad agency. Not to mention, one of the women he uses to lure in customers is threatening to spill his secrets if he doesn’t fulfill his promise of putting her on television. All of these challenges force Jerry into a creative, but risky solution with unintentional consequences. He creates a demand for a product which doesn’t exist!

In the meantime Carol is on the hunt to steal Jerry’s big account for a new product called VIP. In the process, she runs into Jerry, who she believes to be an important scientist, Dr. Linus Tyler. Once Jerry gets an eyeful of his female antagonist, he decides to play along. Because he knows she won’t give him the time of day as himself.

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

 

Foreign Film Friday -Le Bonheur (1965)

SUMMARY

François and Thérèse are happily married with two young children. During the week Francois works as a carpenter for his uncle and on the weekends the young family enjoys exploring the nearby countryside. Their life is full of bonheur (happiness) , perhaps even idyllic.

But then François meets Émilie to whom he is instantly attracted. It’s not long before they being an affair, even though she knows that he is married. François seems to believe that his affair with Émilie is not subtracting from what he has with his wife. He doesn’t love Thérèse any less. Instead, his love with Émilie only adds to his overall happiness. But when, he finally confesses to his wife about the relationship and his viewpoint, tragedy ensues. Continue reading “Foreign Film Friday -Le Bonheur (1965)”

Doris Day Blogathon -The Glass Bottom Boat (1966)

DORIS DAY COMEDIES

As I’ve mentioned many times on this site, screwball comedy is my favorite film genre. So, it wouldn’t be hard to guess that the Doris Day comedies of the late 1950’s and 1960’s also rank among some of my favorite comedies. Though, they aren’t labeled screwball, they do have many of the same elements.

Day’s comedies weren’t ground-breaking and were often silly. But, they were always quality pictures with great dialogue, costumes and talent. They featured Day along side popular leading men like Cary Grant, David Niven, James Garner, Jack Lemmon, Rock Hudson and Rod Taylor.  Day’s comedies also gave her the opportunity to showcase the talent for which she first became a star -her voice. And while I am particular about musical films, her singing never becomes the focal point of the story, which is something I can appreciate.

Doris Day is probably best known for her three comedies opposite actor and friend Rock Hudson, with good reason. They had fabulous rapport onscreen. But as much as I love this pairing, there is another one which just edges them out in my mind. That is why today, I am focusing on one of her films with Rod Taylor, The Glass Bottom Boat. Continue reading “Doris Day Blogathon -The Glass Bottom Boat (1966)”

Foreign Film Friday -Marriage Italian Style (1964)

SUMMARY

Marriage Italian Style tells the story of Filumena (Sophia Loren), a prostitute, and her decades long relationship as the mistress of a wealthy Neopolitan business man named Domenico (Marcello Mastroianni).

The film opens with Filumena on her deathbed requesting that the wily Domenico marry her before she passes away. He is loathe to marry her as he is already engaged to be married to one of his young employees. But, Domenico feels he owes it to her, so he agrees.

We then learn in flashbacks the history of their relationship beginning with their first meeting in a whore house when Filumena is seventeen. The first flashbacks are from Domenico’s perspective and we meet a man who is entitled and feels as if he is doing a favor to Filumena with his patronage. He eventually sets her up as his mistress and then as his dying mother’s caretaker. Finally, he trusts her to manage his businesses as he travels around Europe. Continue reading “Foreign Film Friday -Marriage Italian Style (1964)”