Classic Film Review-I’d Climb the Highest Mountain (1951)

Every now and then you come across a movie that just warms your heart and leaves you feeling as cozy and full as a plate of apple pie. This is one such film for me.

I’d Climb the Highest Mountain is a color film shot in location in the northern hills of Georgia which follows a newly married minister and his city wife who are assigned to this rural location in 1910. It is based on a (semi- autobiographical) novel by Corra Harris.

SUMMARY

When Reverend William Thompson bring his new wife home to their first assignment she is eager yet unprepared for living in such an isolated area. This is a woman who not only doesn’t know how to cook, but also has her own doubts about her husband’s God. Yet, she makes every effort to contribute to her community and support her husband’s work.

Bill Thompson is the kind of man that almost no one could find fault with. He is generous with his time and resources, patient with his wife and wayward members of his congregation and yet he is not so perfect as to be annoying. No, he occasionally loses his temper, meddles in his neighbor’s business and even bets and races horses (although the bet is only to bring a lost sheep into the fold.) In other words, he’s the kind of minister I think many can relate to because he is human, as is his wife who never tries to camouflage her own failings. Continue reading “Classic Film Review-I’d Climb the Highest Mountain (1951)”

Classic Film Review -The Birds (1963)

I feel like I’m one of the few people on the planet who had not seen this Hitchcock classic. To be honest, even though I’m working my way through Hitch’s films, I had put this one off The Birds because I was afraid it might be too scary. I do not do horror films and I do not like to be scared.

SUMMARY

Just in case you are not familiar with the plot, wealthy Melanie Daniels played by Tippi Hedren (Melanie Griffith’s mother and Dakota Johnson’s grandmother) has a meet cute in a San Francisco pet shop with attorney Mitch Brenner who is portrayed by Rod Taylor. He plays a little trick on her in order to repay her for a prank she perpetrated against one of his clients. Strangely enough, they are both in the shop looking for birds.

This encounter intrigues Melanie enough to track down his name and address, drive out of town to his family home to retaliate. If Melanie’s behavior doesn’t creep out you a little, then don’t worry, the birds that begin to congregate in Mitch’s small town will.

MY THOUGHTS

Once the story has both Melanie and Mitch in the same place it gets to the gist of the plot which is basically a bunch of birds terrorizing an entire town.  I’m not kidding, that’s the entire story in a nutshell. Continue reading “Classic Film Review -The Birds (1963)”

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 -Love with the Proper Stranger (1963)

Many, many years ago I saw Love with the Proper Stranger on television. I’ve been wanting to see it again ever since. Sadly, it is rarely aired.

I remember loving Love with the Proper Stranger although I couldn’t tell you much about it. I recalled the basic story line and of course am slightly in love with both Natalie Wood and Steve McQueen who play the main characters. Who wouldn’t like a movie with Natalie and Steve in it? They are both beautiful and talented and even if movie was sub-par, I could stare at them all day. Continue reading “Classic Film Review -Love with the Proper Stranger (1963)”

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)”

TV Review -Gilmore Girls, A Year in the Life

Have I mentioned how much I adore Gilmore Girls? It ranks second only to I Love Lucy as my favorite television series. And I’m not the only one, as even after its’ final episode aired almost a decade ago, it continues to not only maintain, but to grow its’ devoted fan base.

So, when the news was released that there would be a reunion show I, like other fans, was thrilled and eagerly and impatiently awaited the new episodes which would reunite us with my much loved “friends”.

The original series charmed millions with its small town and neighborly feel, it’s fast paced and reference laden dialogue but at its’ heart were the characters and the relationships between them which attracted millions of fans and cemented the show as a modern classic.

Much as I hate to say this, after enthusiastically anticipating the continuation of the Gilmore Girls story, I found myself fairly disappointed. Continue reading “TV Review -Gilmore Girls, A Year in the Life”

TV Series Review -Leah Remini, Scientology and the Aftermath

You guys. If you are not watching this show you really should be. It is an absolutely fascinating look into the shadowy religion of Scientology. Not only that, but it also reveals the unspoken psychology behind why people are drawn to organizations like this and how these same organizations manage and control their members while also building themselves into a giant business.

Leah Remini is absolutely inspiring in this A&E documentary series. With her strong New York accent and her assertive personality she could be in danger of coming across simply as an angry person with an ax to grind. Instead, she is channeling that anger and frustration with the Church of Scientology into finding the truth. Through her own story and interviews with various ex-church members, some of who were very high ranking, she is exposing the reality and the details behind this mysterious religion. She comes across as compassionate and empathetic in those interviews and while one can sense her indignation towards her former church she never sounds as if she has a personal vendetta against the people involved. Continue reading “TV Series Review -Leah Remini, Scientology and the Aftermath”

Steve McQueen Mini-Reviews

As I mentioned in a prior post, Steve McQueen is an anomaly for me. As most would agree, he is the epitome of cool, so I want to love his films and yet the few pictures of his I had seen left me underwhelmed. This year, that changed.

Originally, I was planning on writing longer individual reviews of each of the following films. But as it has been several months since I’ve watched a few of them, some of the details have faded and left me more with my overall impressions.

The Honeymoon Machine -1961  

Lieutenant Ferguson (McQueen) and his civilian scientist friend decide to exploit a navy computer called Max in a get rich quick scheme involving a Venice casino, while trying to avoid their Admiral who is staying in the same hotel and romancing two women, one of whom is the Admiral’s daughter.

This is a breezy ninety minute caper comedy which may not be one of McQueen’s best films technically but sure is entertaining. McQueen played so many dramatic roles that it is nice to see him in lighter fare. The funniest scenes are of Signalman Burford Taylor who becomes an unwitting and very drunk co-conspirator. Continue reading “Steve McQueen Mini-Reviews”

Film Year 2016 in Review

I’m almost ashamed to admit that by my count I watched over one hundred films in the past year. That is not including made for television movies (I’m looking at you Hallmark.) Most of those were classic films, but I did manage to see a few new releases.

Here is a rundown on my film year.

In 2016 I saw the following new releases:

Of these films, the only one I didn’t enjoy was Hail Caesar. I was very disappointed as this was a movie I was eagerly awaiting due to its story about classic Hollywood. I’m a fan of series or sequels as long as the story is entertaining so I enjoyed Greek Wedding 2, Civil War and Jason Bourne.  It was great to be introduced to a new Jane Austen story in Love and Friendship and I thought the new Ben-Hur was interesting. Continue reading “Film Year 2016 in Review”

Seven Reasons to Love The Holiday (2006)

The Holiday is not just one of my favorite Christmas films, but one of my favorite films period.  This story which is now a decade old follows two women who decide to switch homes and lives for the holidays. In the process, they both meet new people, including potential love interests, and learn something about themselves.

Although there are many implausibilities about this film, I really don’t care because it has charm, warmth and heart. It harkens back to the days of classic films when you fell in love with a movie, because you fell in love with the characters and the story was moved along not by CGI action and graphic sex scenes but by great dialogue.

So, to rip off one of my favorite poets (I’m looking at you Elizabeth Barrett Browning), and without further ado…

How do I love thee, The Holiday, let me count the ways:

  1. Arthur played by Eli Wallach -Arthur is the elderly next door neighbor who Iris (Kate Winslet) befriends and who becomes a pseudo-therapist/mentor to her. I love the way they each see the truth about each other and encourage one another to live more meaningful lives. My favorite scene of Arthur is towards the end when he thinks he’s been forgotten and he walks into a benefit in his honor.  I cry every single time, because who wouldn’t want to come to the end of their life and realize that they have made a difference and are remembered well. I want an Arthur!!

Continue reading “Seven Reasons to Love The Holiday (2006)”