Fred MacMurray Blogathon -The Happiest Millionaire

Long before I had a real awareness of classic film, I was unknowingly exposed to it through Disney’s feature films of the 1960’s and 70’s. These movies introduced me to the fading stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age, names like Dorothy McGuire, Jane Wyman, Adolf Menjou, Maureen O’Hara, Karl Malden, Donald Crisp, Maurice Chevalier, Walter Brennan and David Niven. One of my favorite of these films was the musical The Happiest Millionaire. It features some of the most talented actors of decades past – Fred MacMurray, Greer Garson, Gladys Cooper and Geraldine Page in a story of a wealthy but eccentric Philadelphia family.

FILM SUMMARY

John Lawless (Tommy Steele) is an Irish immigrant fresh off the boat who arrives at the Biddle household to apply as a butler. He is invited to wait for Mrs. Biddle (Greer Garson) to approve his employment. But before she can arrive, he has a rather unconventional introduction first to Mr. Biddle (Fred MacMurray), then to his daughter Cordy (Lesley Ann Warren), his sons and the starchy family matriarch Aunt Mary (Gladys Cooper). He quickly becomes embroiled in the household while also acting as the narrator for the story. Continue reading “Fred MacMurray Blogathon -The Happiest Millionaire”

Top Ten Tuesday -Favorite Films of My Childhood

Today’s Topic: Top Ten Books I Want My Future Children to Read (Or nieces and nephews, Godchildren, etc.)

Hosted by: The Broke and the Bookish

I’m deviating a bit from this week’s prompt. I have been an avid reader since I was about four years old, so I read plenty of books in my childhood. But when I think back, the stories that stick out the most in my memory are those from the films I watched. These are movies that I love to recommend not just to the children in my life but also adults. Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday -Favorite Films of My Childhood”

Eight Reasons I Loved Beauty and the Beast

At this point, everybody and their dog has seen or at least knows the story of Beauty of the Beast. The last thing the internet needs is another review. Despite the few quibbles I had with Disney’s latest version, (the CGI Beast and wolves, just…no and what was up with Belle tucking her dress up to show off her bloomers? Weird) I found it absolutely enchanting. So, I thought I would share eight things I loved about Beauty and the Beast none of which have to do with the title characters or their romance.

  1. Old Songs -It was such a pleasure to hear the familiar and famous songs of the animated classic.  It brought a feeling of nostalgia and connection and it was fun to see the song and dance choreography portrayed in a feature film.
  2. New Songs -Honestly, I didn’t love two of the three new songs, but I did appreciate what they added to the film. I did love the Beast’s solo Evermore and thought the song itself was romantic and beautiful.
  3. Gaston & LeFou -These two were one of the highlights of the film for me. Despite the controversy behind LeFou’s character, I loved how Josh Gad played him. He made me giggle. Luke Evans nailed, the arrogance, self-absorption and manipulative anger of Gaston. I really thought his was the strongest performance of the film.
  4. Phillipe the Horse -Perhaps it was just me, but Phillipe the horse seemed like a character in itself. Somehow that animal displayed personality and some acting skill. I was more worried about Phillipe than Belle when they were attacked by the wolves.
  5. Unintentional Homage to a Classic Musical -Again, maybe it is just me, but did anyone else think that the scene of Belle finishing her song on the hill outside of town, looked remarkably like the scene of Maria singing The Hills Are Alive in the Sound of Music? It literally looked like Belle was plopped down into the Austrian mountains outside of Salzburg.
  6. Honored Other Versions -I didn’t realize this while I was watching the film, but after doing some research I found that this new Beauty and the Beast honored past film and stage versions by incorporating parts specific to each version.
  7. Backstory -I saw Phantom of the Opera on Broadway once and was haunted by so many questions afterwards. Thankfully, the film version expanded the story and gave more depth and detail, particularly to the Phantom’s story, answering some of those questions. Beauty and the Beast received similar treatment and I loved having a fuller picture of both Beast’s and Belle’s pasts.
  8. The Big Reveal -I know at some point in the marketing lead up to the release of this film, I came across the names of the actors who were in Beauty and the Beast. But aside from a few glimpses at the start of the film when I saw Audra McDonald and Stanley Tucci, I had no idea who was voicing the inhabitants of the castle. So, when the spell is finally broken, and the characters became human, it was a big reveal for me to see which actors played which part. I had reactions like, I KNEW that voice sounded familiar (Ewan McGregor) and Oh my gosh, he’s so perfect as this character (Ian McKellan), or Wow, I did not expect that (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and finally, Oh, I love her so much! (Emma Thompson) And even though I knew Dan Stevens was the actor behind the Beast, in the opening scene before the curse, he is so covered in makeup as be to almost disguised. So when the Beast was transformed into human form again, it was still the first time we see the real Beast. And can I digress briefly and just say how much I love Stanley Tucci?! He is reminiscent of the character actors of Classic Hollywood and steals scenes in every film he’s in. He’s fearless as an actor and I’m always thrilled when I see him pop up in a film.

Beauty and the Beast is a film that I will want to watch again and again. I really can’t wait to see which animated fairy tale Disney will choose to remake next. I think it would be really interesting to see how they would film The Little Mermaid.

What about you? Which Disney animation tale would you love to see on the big screen?