Butlers & Maids Blogathon – Imitation of Life (1934)

Most of the time those who serve are over looked and underappreciated. This is true in both life and art. So, I am thrilled that for once characters in service are getting the attention they deserve thanks to Paddy of Caftan Woman and Rich of Wide Screen World who are hosting the Butlers & Maids Blogathon.

It’s not very often that butlers or maids are more than a background character in film. Such is not the case with Imitation of Life which explores topics of race and gender through the prism of relationships. In the friendship between a white businesswoman and her talented black maid as well as the relationships between the two women and their daughters we see how these issues impact each character differently. Continue reading “Butlers & Maids Blogathon – Imitation of Life (1934)”

Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers Blogathon – Forever Female (1953)

It’s easy to write-off Ginger Rogers as the second half of a famous partnership with Fred Astaire. After all it is the ten films they made together which has helped cement her place in film history.

But she’s not just your typical classic movie star. No, she was a real working actress with talent. One who was equally at home in musicals, comedies and dramas. She held her own against respected actresses like Janet Gaynor and Katharine Hepburn and co-starred with in demand actors such as William Powell, Cary Grant & James Stewart.

Without intentionally planning it, I have seen a large majority of Roger’s films and was on the lookout for a new one to review for this blogathon. Forever Female perfectly fit the bill. It is one of her less discussed films, which is unfortunate given Rogers gives an excellent performance. It also boasts William Holden and Paul Douglas as cast members and talented screenwriting brothers Julius (who won and Oscar for Casablanca) & Phillip Epstein. Continue reading “Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers Blogathon – Forever Female (1953)”

Classic Film Review – Les Misérables (1935)

Les Misérables is Victor Hugo’s fictional masterpiece of commentary on law versus grace and the power of redemption. It has been adapted for the screen several times. The latest adaptation is set to air on PBS very soon.

I was fortunate enough to see the stage play on Broadway and it is one of my favorite musicals. I’ve also seen the 1998  and 2012 feature films, which I thought fell a bit short of in capturing the soul of the story I saw on stage. When the opportunity arose to view the first big screen adaptation made, of course, I had to watch it to see how it compares.

SUMMARY

Our tale is set in nineteenth century France. Jean Valjean receives an unjust prison term for a minor offense. It is while in prison he first comes into contact with the merciless Javert who eventually becomes a policeman.

After his release, he encounters a compassionate priest who challenges him to show the same mercy he has given Valjean. This changes the course of his life. Valjean assumes a new identity and leads an exemplary life. His financial success allows him to be generous with others, but from a distance.

Then another life-changing encounter occurs when Fantine, a young woman fired from his factory, dies and leaves her young daughter behind. At the same  time  the rigid Javert, has been searching for Valjean for a long time over another infraction of the law he loves so much. Valjean is barely able to escape with his new daughter Cosette. They head to Paris where they hide out for many years.

Years later a grown Cosette falls in love with the young revolutionary Marius. Marius’ group is under surveillance by none other than Javert. This brings Valjean and Javert into one last confrontation with a surprising ending.

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

 

March 2019 Quickie Film Reviews

This month I actually made it to the theater for a new release. Of the thirty two films I watched in March, seven of those were re-watches, six were modern movies, three starred Marion Davies, two with Frederic March, two silents one documentary and one foreign film.

I really loved revisiting some great classics likes Design for Living, The Bitter Tea of General Yen and Valley of the Kings. My three favorite discoveries this month were the comedies The Reluctant Debutante with Sandra Dee and Rex Harrison and Bedtime Story with Loretta Young and Frederic March. I also fell hard for the western Kit Carson. Continue reading “March 2019 Quickie Film Reviews”

September 2018 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 2018 Classic Film Quickie Reviews”

August 2018 Classic Film Quickie Reviews

I watch many more films than I have time or interest to review. So, I am trying  something a little different this month. I thought I would share the list of (new to me) classic films I watched during the month and my brief impressions of each. Let me know what you think.

George Brent & Kay Francis in Stranded

Without Honor (1949) -An unexpectedly intriguing drama about an adulterous wife who accidentally stabs her lover. Meanwhile, her vindictive brother-in-law tries to ruin her marriage. Laraine Day is an underrated actress in my opinion. Here she stars and gives an excellent performance.

Tip on a Dead Jockey (1957) -I’m working my way through Robert Taylor’s films. He is a former combat pilot who has lost his nerve and is hiding out from his life and wife in Spain. Dorothy Malone is gorgeous as his wife, but otherwise the movie is rather forgettable. Continue reading “August 2018 Classic Film Quickie Reviews”

Classic Film Review -Storm Warning (1951)

Mob mentality or its’ kinder term group think has always fascinated me. Maybe because we all grow up hearing the old reprimand, “If your friends jump off a cliff does that mean you have to?” at some point in our lives. Of course, the logical answer is no, and yet many times we find ourselves following the crowd or the trend without much thought. In it’s cruelest form mob mentality will find many normally decent people doing terrible things as part of a group that they would never consider doing by themselves. What makes us follow like sheep to the slaughter over the proverbial cliff?

Storm Warning is a black and white film from 1951 which touches on the reality of how mob mentality can corrupt even decent people.

SUMMARY

Marsha Mitchell (played by Ginger Rogers) makes a brief stop in a small southern town to visit her sister Lucy Rice (played by Doris Day) and meet Lucy’s new husband. Before she even has a chance see her sister, she witness the murder of a journalist by a group of men in white robes. Continue reading “Classic Film Review -Storm Warning (1951)”

Classic Film Review -Never Say Goodbye (1946)

Being the only classic film lover in my household, I am on a quest to prove that the classics are equal to and even better than our modern movie offerings. So I am always delighted when I introduce one that the whole family ends up enjoying (thereby proving me right!)

SUMMARY

Never Say Goodbye is just such a film. This romantic comedy reminded me a bit of The Parent Trap. It tells the story of exes Phil and Ellen Gayley and their young daughter Flip’s (short for Phillipa, named after her father of course) efforts to see them reunited. Phil is a famous artist constantly in the company of beautiful women, but still in love with his wife. Ellen is still in love with him too, but understandably has some trust issues. Encouraged by her wealthy uptight mother, she keeps Phil at arms length.

Flip is not happy with the arrangement in which she spends half the year with one parent and half with the other. She and her father collude to bring Ellen around to their way of thinking. Continue reading “Classic Film Review -Never Say Goodbye (1946)”