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.

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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.

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Film Review -The Saint (1997)

The character of Simon Templar debuted in a series of books first published in the 1920’s and running through the 1980’s. There have been many film and television adaptations, but my favorite is this film version from the nineties.

SUMMARY

Raised in an orphanage, young John Rossi renames himself after his childhood heroes, the Templar Knights. While there he develops a unique set of skills, but also witnesses a tragedy which haunts him.

As an adult Simon Templar is a thief who uses his skills for his own benefit and the highest bidder. In his line of work, he changes his appearance as often as his identity and his name. Simon is personable and clever, but forms no attachments and calls no place home. Determined to see his bank account reach a comfortable fifty million dollars, before he retires, he takes one last job. Unfortunately, it happens to be for the Russian billionaire, Ivan Tretiak. On a previous job, Simon had a run-in with Tretiak’s son Ilya, whom he left with disfiguring facial scars.

Tretiak hires Simon to steal a formula for clean, inexpensive energy. This formula is a scientific breakthrough developed by the English scientist Emma Russell and her late father.

Simon is surprised to find that Emma is not what he expected. Though she is a brilliant scientist, she is also rather naive and a romantic at heart. Simon determines the best and safest way to steal the formula is to seduce her.  But in the process, he is charmed by her innocence and her willingness to release her formula publicly, instead of selling it for a profit. When Tretiak threatens Emma’s life, Simon is forced to make a decision. And when Emma discovers Simon’s secret, she puts herself in danger to confront him.

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Film Review – The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)

SUMMARY

After the devastating losses of their family restaurant and their matriarch, the Kadam family leaves India and heads for Europe. They wander, searching for a place where they can settle. Papa Kadam notices a property for sale in the small French village of Saint-Antonin. There are many reasons why it is not a good investment. One of which is a successful Michelin star rated restaurant only one hundred feet across the road. His family names other reasons to be deterred; no one in the French village will be interested in Indian food, the previous owners were not able to run a restaurant there successfully among others. But Papa’s conversations with his deceased wife and his confidence in his son Hassan’s skills as a cook override all other concerns.

Hassan is excited to put to use the skills his mother taught him in the kitchen. He has also befriended a local girl named Marguerite. She works for the formidable Madame Mallory in the restaurant across the road. Hassan realizes that in order for his family business to succeed they must all adapt to the culture and the food. Marguerite is helpful to him in this regard. But Madame Mallory does everything she can to make it difficult for their business to succeed. She lodges complaints with the town mayor about minor infractions and purchas up all the ingredients they need before they can get to the market.

When a bigoted man attacks the Kadam restaurant, Hassan is injured. The war between Papa Kadam and Madame Mallory comes to a head, with a surprising resolution. Suddenly, enemies reluctantly make peace. This changes the course of several lives, not the least of which is Hassan’s.

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Foreign Film Friday -Morocco: Love in Times of War

MORROCO: LOVE IN TIMES OF WAR

It is the early 1920’s and Spain is at war with local tribes in a Northern African area known as the Rif.  The Spanish Queen wants to boost morale and to create positive public relations for the Spanish monarch and government. So she give her good friend, the Duchess, a task. She must establish a Red Cross hospital in the Spanish occupied city of Melilla.

Several newly trained nurses, daughters of privilege, join the Duchess in travelling to Morocco to begin this endeavor. Among them are Pilar, a young widow and the Duchess’ right hand. Magdalena is a somewhat flighty but effervescent young woman who leaves her fiancé behind in Spain. Then there is Julia. Julia has not yet had time to complete nurse’s training. But she is determined to use her job as a way to search for her missing brother and fiancé who are soldiers.

Upon their arrival, the Duchess faces some opposition from the army’s director of health and sanitation, Victor Ruiz-Marquez. He does not wish to give control over hospital decisions to the Duchess. But she is able to arrange for several army doctors to be attached to her new hospital, including Dr. Fidel Calderon, Dr.Luis Garcés and Dr. Guillermo. Together, along with field nurse Verónica and ambulance driver Larbi Al Hamza, these men and women accomplish the impossible in difficult circumstances. They also see their professional and personal lives intertwine while war takes its’ toll.

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Classic Film Review -The Awful Truth

SUMMARY

Jerry and Lucy Warriner are a happily married society couple. Or so they think.  A misunderstanding causes an argument which leads Lucy to file for divorce. The judge grants them a divorce decree, but it is ninety days until it is final. While in court, the only point of contention which arises is who will receive custody of their beloved dog, Mr. Smith. The judge awards custody to Lucy but gives Jerry visitation rights. This provides Jerry and Lucy many instances to find themselves in each other’s company.

Urged by her aunt to move on, Lucy begins dating Daniel Leeson, a wealthy rancher from Oklahoma. Jerry’s jealousy rears its’ ugly head (again). He uses his visitation rights with Mr. Smith to disrupt Lucy’s new relationship, planting doubts in both her and Daniel’s mind.

After an embarrassing scene in which Jerry thinks he will catch Lucy with the man he suspected her of having an affair with, Jerry finally learns the truth of his wife’s faithfulness. Hat in hand, he realizes his error and apologizes, just as Lucy realizes she still loves her husband. But when he finds the man hiding in her bedroom, his suspicions are re-confirmed and he finally decides to move on.However, Lucy will not allow Jerry to be rid of her that easily. The tables turn and it becomes her turn to meddle in her soon to be ex’s promising new relationship. Will Jerry and Lucy reconcile before their ninety days are up?

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Film Review -The Greatest Showman (2017)

SUMMARY

The Greatest Showman is Hugh Jackman’s passion project based on the life of P.T. Barnum, circus impresario and legendary showman.

In this biographical (though not accurate) adaptation, Phineas T. Barnum rises from very humble beginnings. He accomplishes the daunting task of marrying his childhood sweetheart Charity, who turns her back on her wealthy parents and their social circle. In time, they have two beautiful daughters and a happy if financially insecure life.

But, it isn’t enough for Barnum, whose desire that his family have more, masks the deeper motivation of “proving” himself to the world and Charity’s parents. Barnum is a dreamer, visionary, gambler and risk taker. He concocts a daring idea and creates a museum where human physical oddities are on display. Despite protests from the cities residents and scathing newspaper reviews, his gamble pays off.

As his fortunes increase, he continues to take risks and see them succeed. But, it doesn’t come without a cost. Barnum’s obsession puts a strain on his marriage, deprives his daughters of his presence, and never manages to fill the need for approval and success that he seeks. Eventually, it even negatively impacts his work and loyal employees. Will the flamboyant showman who risked it all end up losing everything that matters?

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Film Review -Heart and Souls (1993)

Long before Robert Downey Jr. was famous for his role in the Marvel films he was busy racking up screen credits in many under rated films in the 1980’s and 90’s. It is in these movies where I first fell for his insouciant attitude and that liquid brown gaze. One of my favorites of these early RDJ films is the romantic comedy/fantasy Heart and Souls.

SUMMARY

At the time of Thomas Reilly’s birth there is an accident which kills four people. These four souls then find themselves connected to Thomas without understanding why. As Thomas grows, the impact of his friendship with them begins to affect his life in a negative way. In order to spare him, Milo, Penny, Harrison and Julia decide to become as invisible to Thomas as they are to the rest of the world.

It is not until Thomas is a grown man that these four learn just why they are attached to this man they have watched over silently. Before they are called back to Heaven, they have the opportunity to use Thomas as their host to complete the one task they each left undone on the earth. But their time is very limited and Thomas remembers them as a mental aberration he spent years in therapy to explain. So, he is not too happy or compliant when his four invisible friends suddenly reappear in his life demanding he interrupt his busy schedule to help them.

 

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Classic Film Review -Christmas in Connecticut

CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT SUMMARY

Elizabeth Lane (Barbara Stanwyck) is a famous and beloved columnist for a national magazine. Her monthly articles feature delicious recipes for fancy meals.  They also describe her idyllic home life as a loving wife and mother who lives on a farm.

Her publisher Alexander Yardley(Sydney Greenstreet) receives a request to provide a family style Christmas for a naval war hero. So, he decides Elizabeth should be the host and invites himself along.

His demands through Elizabeth into a panic. Unbeknownst to Mr. Yardley and her public, she is a fraud. In reality Elizabeth Lane is a single woman who writes her articles from her New York apartment and has zero talent in the kitchen. Her close friend Uncle Felix (S.Z Sakall) actually provides the recipes which she features in her articles.

In danger of losing her job, Elizabeth agrees to an engagement with her friend John Sloane (Reginald Gardiner) who just happens to have a farm in Connecticut. They decide to continue her ruse and even manage to find a baby to pose as their child. Uncle Felix accompanies them to cook the meals Elizabeth Lane is famous for.

However, all these plans are thrown into turmoil with the arrival of Jefferson Jones (Dennis Morgan). It is love at first sight between Elizabeth and Jeff, but he thinks she is married. Further complications ensue as Mr. Yardley starts making plans for the Elizabeth Lane “family” in order to increase his circulation. Meanwhile, Uncle Felix contrives to keep Elizabeth from marrying John.

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Classic Film Review -The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)

SUMMARY

Recently widowed, Lucy Muir demands her independence from her deceased husband’s overbearing family. With a small inheritance from his estate, Mrs. Muir is able to rent a small seaside cottage for her daughter, maid and herself.

Though the rental agent warns her that Gull Cottage is haunted by its’ former owner, a sea captain, Mrs. Muir insists on renting the property. It isn’t too long before the ghost of Captain Daniel Gregg attempts to frighten her away. You see, he has plans for his house and doesn’t intend to share it. But Lucia (Lu-CHEE -A) as the Captain calls her, makes for a formidable opponent. Lucia wins Daniel’s respect and they agree to share the house.

Slowly, and despite their extreme personality differences, they form a warm friendship. When Lucy is in danger of losing Gull Cottage, Daniel devises a way for her to buy the house outright. Eventually, they each develop deeper feelings for each other.  But when Lucia becomes torn between the living and the dead Daniel must make a painful decision.

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