Love Actually (2003)

This is written for Movie Rob’s September Genre Grandeur which bears the theme of all- star casts!

Today the term “all-star cast” has all but almost faded in obscurity, as now it refers to those “epic event” movies from the 60s and 70s. Disaster flicks, war movies, and historical pics- the genre is endless, but the one movie that brought the concept forward into the 21st century was the Christmas essential Love Actually (2003).

Love Actually movie.jpg
(wikipedia)

Directed by Richard Curtis, Love Actually revolves around Christmas and the love lives of an all-star cast, whose characters are all connected to each other in some way or another. Due to the fact the film came out in 2003, I was too young to watch it then, and I saw this one for first time in 2016. My guy Colin Firth was the main draw for me (he’s practically the only A list star I love in relation to today’s stars), but it turned out that everyone’s storylines and performances were enjoyable.

Take a look at this connections web! It’s a bit over whelming! (wikipedia)

Whether a subplot was cheerful, sad, heartwarming or just plain hysterical- Love Actually manages to somehow make it all worth watching. Some of the character’s predicaments even mirrored the actor’s real life: Liam Neeson’s character Daniel is grieving the loss of his wife, while Colin Firth’s Jamie is trying to win the affections of his Portuguese housekeeper Aurélia (Lúcia Moniz), with the language barrier keeping them apart.

Of course, this movie is also a chance to view the late great Alan Rickman in a role that makes you believe he’s the most lovable jerk, as his character Harry cheats on his wife Karen (Emma Thompson) for his secretary, Mia (Heike Makatsch).

Personally, I can’t skip over Hugh Grant’s David the Prime Minister. The scene of Hugh dancing down the hallway and the stairs made me laugh so hard the first time I saw it, and it’s what made me see him differently (I only knew him as Daniel Cleaver in Bridget Jones, a favorite modern day movie of mine!).

In regards to reactions to this movie, the more I read other people’s opinions, the general consensus is this movie is polarizing. It seems to divide people into the, “this movie is trashy”, camp (think about the actual plots, and YES its trashy) and the, “this movie is iconic”, camp (the All I want for Christmas is You performance, the “you are perfect” moment). I for one do say the movie is full of clichés however; it’s the actors who make you care about the storylines and the characters they are playing. No matter what anyone thinks of it, the ending montage at Heathrow Airport set to Beach Boys God Only Knows, is very powerful and can even win over the harshest of haters.

For better or worse, Love Actually also spawned a bunch of other holiday all star cast movies such as Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve and Mother’s Day. While I haven’t seen these other movies, perhaps because they just don’t contain an actor I care about (and maybe because Love Actually is British), I will admit the idea of these movies are unique and a change to the usual style of storytelling.

Overall, Love Actually may be over rated, and a tad trashy, but also full of funny and cute moments that bring Christmas cheer. Its certainly one I watch every Christmas season, plus it’s just a fun excuse to see your favorite actor from basically any other TV show / movie you love.  (Don’t believe me? Take a look at the Honest Trailer below- it’s seriously eye opening!)

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Grace Kelly at 90: 5th Annual Blogathon

The year 1929 was a stand out year in world history. Prohibition was still on, flappers were dancing, and silent movies were waning as talkies were rising. Not only was it the end to a roaring decade, it also saw the birth of some of the most prominent woman in the world: Audrey Hepburn, the future Jacqueline Kennedy, and of course the dazzling actress-turned- princess, Grace Kelly.

This year Grace would have been 90 years old, and one has to wonder: what would she be like today? Its hard to think of Grace being, “an old lady”, as of course she would have still been a serene woman. But I think being a doting grandmother; and now, great-grandmother would have been most important to her.

To celebrate Grace’s 90th birthday: Ginnie (The Wonderful World of Cinema), Samantha (Musings of a Classic Film Addict) and I (Emily; The Flapper Dame) have decided to bring back the Wonderful Grace Kelly Blogathon for its fifth year.
The rules and guidelines are the same as last year, but here they are again as a refresher:

– You can write about any topic relating to Grace- her movies, Hollywood relations/ friendships, collaborations with Hitchcock and Edith Head, her time as Princess of Monaco, her family- possibilities are endless- just make sure Grace is the center of the topic (naturally!)
-The blogathon will run November 10-12, 2019
-Duplicates are allowed, since her filmography is only 11 movies!
-Blog posts must be new material
-Maximum of 2 entries per person
-You CAN participate if you don’t have a blog- a guest post is acceptable!

and REMEMBER
1– Don’t participate if you don’t like Grace Kelly- in the past, Ginnie had participants who BASHED Grace- that’s not acceptable! AND

2- If you want to participate, YOU MUST subscribe first.
You can subscribe to to the. Blogathon with Ginnie, Samantha, or me on Twitter or by email- just let us know and we will mark you down!

THE ROSTER AS FOLLOWS

The Flapper Dame: The Bridges at Toko- Ri (1954) and Review of the Novel Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

The Wonderful World of Cinema writing for Three Enchanting Ladies : TBD

Musings of a Classic Film Addict : Grace‘s Ratatouille Nicoise

Poppity Talks Classic Film– Personal Tribute

The Stop Button – The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954)

Screen Dreams – To Catch a Thief (1955)

Pale Writer – Grace Kelly and Alfred Hitchcock’s Collaborations

Thoughts All Sort – Rear Window (1954)

Down These Mean Streets – Rear Window (1954)

4 Star Films – Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly part II

Rearl Weegie Midget Reviews – Dial M for Murder (1954)

Crítica Retrô – Grace Kelly Interviews

Overture Books And Film – The Country Girl (1954)

The Classic Movie Muse- High Society

Can’t wait to hear your choices as we celebrate 90 years of this remarkable woman!! Be sure to grab a delightfully cool banner designed by Ginnie (they turned out to be absolutely alluring, Ginnie!)

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My Special Wizard of Oz Character: The Scarecrow

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August is always a busy month for me personally, but I will always make time to do a Blogathon for really amazing fellow classic film writers, and especially when it’s about a movie I so adore.

The Wizard of Oz (1939) is a special movie that holds a place in my heart. The VHS tape I had as a child became worn out and I remember it was one of the first DVDs my Mom bought way back around 2000. To this day, I still have my Wizard of Oz Barbie set as well as have a replica copy of the original edition of the novel.

My feelings of the Wizard of Oz have remained unchanged since I was a child. Every time I watch Dorothy and her friends navigate their journey to Oz, I fall in love with the film all over again, and rediscover the true meaning of home. Dorothy’s quest to Oz has always been one that I am willing to take over and over, and what makes it fun is the friends she meets along the way. Of course, she already has Toto (her dog- of course!), but I’m talking about her three best friends she comes to love: The Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and The Cowardly Lion. Of all three of these marvelous friends, the one who has held my heart has always been The Scarecrow. Not only is he the first person to tag along with Dorothy to Oz, but throughout the film he is the one who keeps her focused and cheers her up when she’s down.

(wikipedia) Ray Bolger: Our Scarecrow!!!

Part of what draws me to the Scarecrow is the warmth and familiarity Ray Bolger brings to the role- he’s a perfect dancer and you believe he really is wobbly. I can’t imagine Buddy Ebsen as the Scarecrow (or even the Tin Man, Jack Haley is the Tin Man!) because Ray is so flawless. When I was little, I considered Dorothy and The Scarecrow to be a team, while the Lion and Tin Man were the other part of the team- I’m not sure why, but I always saw it that way!

In the Kansas scenes, the farm hand Hunk (The Scarecrow counterpart) was originally meant to be a love interest for Dorothy and hints of their relationship are present in the film, most notably in the Oz goodbye scene. It’s tearful when Dorothy’s saying goodbye to the Tin Man and Lion- but every time I watch her hug the Scarecrow saying, “I’ll miss you most of all”, it gets to me and tugs at my heartstrings without fail!!! The emotion in that scene just breaks the barriers and you really feel the true fondness Ray and Judy had for each other.

Sorry if you tear up! Know I am!!!

One little stand out moment for me between Dorothy and the Scarecrow occurs during the escape from the Witch’s castle when they use the Tin Man’s axe to break down the door. The Scarecrow hands Toto to Dorothy before she hugs anyone- it’s something I have only noticed in recent years, but it’s a detail I have come to adore. The Scarecrow knew Dorothy would be worried sick over Toto and made sure she saw him first. In the past, during this scene I was always focused and obsessed with the red hour glass of the Wicked Witch’s, (to satisfy my obsession my parents bought me a mini hot pink hour glass when I was 5; sadly it cracked!!), but its little details such as these which make their friendship really translate to the audience.

Its all about the Little Details!!

Another major reason I am drawn to the Scarecrow is, when I was little, my Uncle Mike would dance and talk like the Scarecrow for my sister and I. Uncle Mike dance and sang “If I only had a Brain” in a funny manner- and even fell down like the Scarecrow, and when watching the movie, I would always laugh extra hard because I would think back to Uncle Mike’s dance. For me personally, they became connected and to this day they still are. Because I have two Uncle Mikes, I even list Uncle Mike as Uncle Mike (Scarecrow) in my phone. In 2005 when I was going to Disney World for the first time, My Aunt and Uncle bought my sister and I Disney autograph books and they were the first ones to sign them, Uncle Mike naturally signed it as, “The Scarecrow”.

Overall, I can’t honestly say I have a true favorite character from the Wizard of Oz (I mean it’s a bit impossible!!!), but rather I can say The Scarecrow is my “special character”. My “special character” from my “special movie”!

I leave you with Ray Bolger at his finest!!!

Please click Here to read other posts from Taking Up Room’s Wizard of Oz Blogathon and Thank you so much for hosting this wonderful Blogathon to honor this amazing and timeless film!! Happy 80th Birthday Wizard of Oz!!!!

Two Lane Blacktop (1971)

When it comes to giving a fair assessment of Monte Hellman’s Two Lane Blacktop (1971) I will be the first to admit that A: its not the type of film I traditionally would watch, its a 1970’s film and I am very picky about the decade’s movies, preferring 1970’s music over movies; and B: the only reason I wanted to see it was because The Beach Boys’ Dennis Wilson (drummer until his premature 1983 death) made his only film with this movie.

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(wikipedia)

Doing more research, I quickly learned this film was in the Criterion Collection and in the National Film Registry, part of me knew I had to give this film a real chance and see why critics call it, ‘the most pure American road movie ever made‘.

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Dennis: lookin’ fine on set (wikipedia)

I would had never even heard of Two Lane Blacktop if it wasn’t for Dennis, and to see anything Dennis did around this period in his life, as he was healthy and sober, is a real treat for Beach Boys fans (such as myself!!).

With that being said, it should be noted this film is rare and not easily found on TV or streaming. It earned a cult status right from the get go in 1971, with Universal head Lew Wasserman hating the film, telling the marketing/ PR departments to kill any and all publicity about it.

The premise of Two Lane isn’t really explainable, there is no legit plot. Its real focus is on the characters: what they do and who they encounter on the open road. James Taylor is The Driver, Dennis plays The Mechanic, Laurie Bird goes by The Girl, and Warren Oates is referred to as GTO (yes, he is called after his car). We never find out their real names, and aside from Oates, none of the others ever did a movie before.

Basically, The Driver and Mechanic drive around on the open road picking up hitchhikers and participate in drag races for money. They may be ‘partners on the road’ but that’s it~ they don’t even talk to each other besides saying vital information, such as their next stop or what part of the car needs to be fixed. To say they are friends isn’t a description of how they are together- yet at the same time, they have a great dynamic.

The only real hint of plot comes when The Girl wanders in their car when they stop at a diner, and later when GTO challenges them on a cross country race for the pink slip to the loser’s car- and even then, it’s not even important to the film. This movie is more so a time capsule about America in the early 1970s:  gas stations, the open road, diners, cars, the landscapes of small towns- even vintage advertising.

Its easy to compare this movie to 1969’s Easy Rider, but I would beg to differ arguing this movie is the flip side of the coin. Its minimalist qualities and uncertain, flaky premise make it a more “laid back” movie of the New Hollywood era. However, I would be lying of I said this film is something you can half ignore while watching- as everything you see is pure cinema; and its similar to a silent film in that regard. If you watch it straightforward its going to be boring, but if you concentrate on the character’s motive’s and what they are doing- it turns into a complex film with many layers to be thought about.

Two-Lane Blacktop: Slow Ride
3 of the 4 stars, plus the 1955 Chevrolet 210

I came away from this film being totally saddened by the fact I was back in my own world, as the atmosphere it creates is a whole different one. I wanted to remain in the world of being on the road and in that feeling of being carefree. I was dying to find out more about these people who drove around in their car looking for life’s adventures. It was a bit slow in some parts, but it more than made up for it with its scenery and racing parts- (queue the lyric: TACH IT UP, TACH IT UP, BUDDY GONNA SHUT YOU DOWN!)

Overall, Two Lane Blacktop is certainly not for everyone, but for those who are interested: it’s a slow ride to savor- and take over again.

CLICK HERE to learn more on Criterion’s website

My Cousin Rachel (1952)

In honor of Dame Olivia de Havilland’s 103rd birthday the two fabulous ladies of In The Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood and Phyllis Loves Classic Movies are hosting a Blogathon in her honor.

I will admit I have not seen as many Olivia movies as I’d like to, but I really would love to delve into her filmography because she’s just one of the greatest stars from the era, and her star status is very clear when she made My Cousin Rachel (1952).

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(wikipedia)

Directed by Henry Koster and co-starring Richard Burton in his US picture debut, this film is the first of two movies based of the novel by Daphne Du Maurier. Furthermore its noteworthy for being Miss de Havilland’s first movie since winning her first Oscar for 1949’s The Heiress.

(dvdbeaver)

Burton plays Philip Ashley who was taken in by his cousin Ambrose (John Sutton), who lives on a lavish estate in Cornwall. Ambrose marries his cousin Rachel (Dame Olivia) while on a holiday in Florence. However, shortly after the wedding Ambrose dies of a “brain tumor”. While Philip suspects Rachel’s involvement, he nonetheless invites her to stay at the estate, which he will now inherit upon his 25th birthday.

(dvdbeaver)

Although skeptical of Rachel and swearing revenge on her for Ambrose’s death and her motives for being mistress of the estate, Philip eventually falls in love with her. Rachel though, is not interested in marriage, only the status of being with Philip and what he can give her. When Philip falls ill however, Rachel *does* nurse him to health- but she plans to go back to Florence. Fearing she plans to poison him before she leaves, Philip then sets out to prove it. It all culminates in a very Hitchcockian move, with all of Rachel’s guilt or innocence (including her feelings of Philip and her potential involvement with Ambrose’s death) contained in one single letter.

(dvdbeaver) The necklace!

On a personal note, I enjoyed this movie- not as much as Rebecca, as that’s a Hitchcock masterpiece, but it still holds that suspense with the simple question of: Is Rachel guilty or innocent, and who is she exactly? I often ponder what would have happened if Hitchcock directed the movie or even George Cukor, original director until creative differences with the studio either caused him to quit or be fired. (Imagine the discussions we could have had today of Hitchcock, the de Havilland sisters, and Daphne du Maurier if that had happened!)

She’s so lovely.. or is she? (dvdbeaver)

On the flip side, I do understand those who prefer the 2017 version with Rachel Weiz and Sam Calfin (which I have not seen), and also those who feel the book is the superior. I own the book, but have not read it- yet.

Part of what I feel held back the complexity and mystery of the Rachel character was the fact Olivia now had an image to live up to, as she was an Oscar winner. Had she made this movie before The Heiress, perhaps she could have played it closer to the source giving a layered performance along the lines of The Snake Pit (1948).

Overall, I do recommend the movie, as it is a great mystery and especially if you are a fan of Olivia’s and Daphne Du Maurier’s then it’s an essential!!!

The Princess Diaries 2

Its June and we all know that means one thing- June Weddings!!!

Which is exactly the theme I chose for Movie Rob’s June 2019 Genre Gandeur!

I gotta thank Movie Rob for choosing me to choose this month’s theme, as I think his GGs are a fun way to constantly keep it fresh with movies and pushing yourself to see more.

I had a bit of a hard time choosing which wedding movie I wanted to write about, and thought about reviewing Mamma Mia (2008), but I wanted to do something less talked about- so I ultimately chose to do a childhood favorite, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004).

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(Wikipedia)

In this somewhat inferior sequel to The Princess Diaries (2001), Princess Mia (Anne Hathaway) has graduated from college and is set to take the throne in Genovia, with Queen Clarice (Julie Andrews) abdicating. Its all political work until tradition dictates she must marry before she can take the throne.

Most of this movie is build up to Mia’s coronation, with a great deal  involving wedding planning once she quickly becomes engaged to lovely, British Andrew Jacoby, Duke of Kenilworth (Callum Blue).

To make things complicated, there’s another man in the picture: cheeky, mysterious, but handsome Lord Nicholas Devereaux (Chris Pine), who not only is staying on palace grounds with his Uncle, but is next in line for the throne if Mia fails to marry within Parliament’s 30 day decree.

At first, Nicholas is told by his Uncle to sabotage the engagement- but after a few close and crazy encounters with Mia (including my favorite scene when they fall in the fountain) they end up truly falling for each other. The dilemma then turns into duty or love.

My Fave scene!
Falling into the fountain and in love! (Pintrest)

The movie does have a fun bachelorette party which not only contains Julie Andrews flying down on a mattress, but also a scene in which she sings on camera for the first (and so far only) time since her throat surgery. The scene is an immaculate gem in the picture and according to the behind the scenes segment- made everyone cry.

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Queen Julie!!!
After this movie my friends and I tried blanket surfing down their stairs- we failed! (Pintrest)

And of course this movie does contain a wedding – with Mia walking down the aisle where she, not only calls it off with Andrew and abolishes the marriage law, but convinces Clarice to marry her longtime love, head of security Joe (Hector Elizondo), who earlier asked her to marry him.

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With the silhouette it reminds me of Meghan’s dress, and with the lace it reminds me of Kate’s!! (Pintrest)

In all retrospect- this movie is not as amazing as seeing it initially when I was 7 (I saw it in the theater with my Mom, Sister and a group of our friends!). Its not as brilliant as the first one and became a tad too Disney-Channel with the plot, however, Julie Andrews saves this movie, and for that its worth a watch and re-watch. The chemistry of Anne Hathaway and Chris Pine is also wonderful enough to save it, with their banter being very alluring for a Disney kids movie.

Not to mention, I do look forward to seeing if there is a third installment because Julie Andrews playing a (Dowager) Queen is always deserving of my attention!!

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“A Queen is never late, everyone else is simply early”- Queen Clarice (Pintrest)

Genre Grandeur: The Madness of King George

For Movie Rob’s Genre Grandeur, the royalty theme- I had to participate because royal themed films are my all-time favorite! It was the perfect opportunity to watch, The Madness of King George (1994), for the first time ever. I was not aware of the film until my fellow royal enthusiast Aunt told me about it. 

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(wikipedia)

Starring Dame Helen Mirren as Queen Charlotte and the late Sir Nigel Hawthorne as “The Mad” King George III, this film tackles the topic of King George III’s mental illness. 

For those who may not know, George III is the monarch America fought the Revolution against (he’s the, “taxation without representation”, King) and he is Queen Victoria’s grandfather (if you have seen season 3 of the ITV/ Masterpiece PBS TV show Victoria, this is Victoria’s mad grandfather they refer to). 

Although the research at the time suggested the King had a mental state caused by porphyria, which causes blue urine, as mentioned in the movie; recent findings have led many to conclude His Majesty was suffering a psychiatric illness and that the medicine he was taking was causing the blue urine.

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Sir Nigel Hawthorne as King George III (pintrest)

This movie is meant to be a drama, but it has its moments of humor- such as George playing cricket, giving a valet a piggy back ride in the corridor, and sliding down the railing with some of the servants.

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Family Photo! (IMDB)

The film does a fair job of balancing moments of the King’s illness versus the duties of being the monarch. The loss of America was a huge blow to George and the nation, but further issues persist such as ending the slave trade and dealing with their oldest son and heir’s Catholic mistress he wants to marry (which goes against The Marriage Act of 1772- forbidding Catholics on the throne).

But through it all, its Helen Mirren, who is the anchor and takes control when the King can’t. Even though The Prince of Wales is voted as regent, Queen Charlotte really is the one holding the family (and the monarchy) together. 

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Reel and Real life Queen, Helen Mirren as Queen Charlotte (pintrest)

This film was Miss Mirren’s first time playing a Queen as she has done so three times since: she played Queen Elizabeth I in Elizabeth I (2005), Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen (2006; for which she won the Oscar), and will soon be seen as Catherine the Great in the HBO mini-series. 

Overall, I think my Aunt was right in telling me to watch this movie, as it was an interesting look on a King many Americans dismiss as, “unfair”. 

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The real George III (wikipedia)

The costumes were stunning and the sets were beautifully put together. There are some minor historical errors, mostly done for storytelling purposes, but the one that bugged me the most was the Louisiana Purchase being displayed on a globe. Other than that, even if some of the events that occurred during ‘episodes’ of the King’s madness didn’t really happen, they sure were entertaining! 

It really is royal movie making at its finest!

2018 Classic Movie Day- 5 50’s Films

50's Blogathon

In Honor of National Classic Movie Day this year Classic Film and TV cafe is doing a theme of choosing 5 classic films from the 50s. Personally, I consider the 1950s the last true “classic” decade for movies as it all changed during the 60s. Without further ado, my choices (in chronological order) are as follows:

The Quiet Man (1952)- My favorite (non-western) John Wayne movie! I recently saw it in a theater setting in March; it was spectacular! (It really is more romantic on the big screen btw!!!)

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Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)- J’adore this film! Every song on the soundtrack, the sparkling costumes, and Jane and Marilyn together are just perfection! Who doesn’t want to be a “Little girl from Little Rock” and believe that “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend”?

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Roman Holiday (1953)- Audrey and Greg are so wonderful!!! And no one but Audrey can be that perfect in a Hollywood debut!

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Rear Window (1954)- You gotta have a Hitchcock! This is one of my favorite movies of all time and it was not only my first Hitch film, but one of my first “Classic Hollywood” movies in general. (Grace Kelly is my favorite so I had to include it!!)

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Sleeping Beauty (1959)- I have loved this film since childhood. Princess Aurora is my second favorite Disney Princess, but she was one of the first that I ever saw on screen. The storyline and characterizations may suffer a bit, but the music and the cinematic look of this movie is just a masterpiece!! Sad that its Disney’s last fairy tale he actually worked on.

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And because I am gonna cheat a little bit here are 5 runners up (to complete a top 10): Sunset Blvd (1950), Niagara (1953), Mister Roberts (1955), Lady and the Tramp (1955), An Affair to Remember (1957).

I really loved doing this little post because its an ,”easy task”, but a hard decision!! I’m off to read all of your posts!!! Happy Classic Movie Day everyone!!

(All movie posters from WIKIPEDIA)

Strait Jacket- Joan Crawford Queen of the Screen

When it comes to Joan Crawford, I may not be a major fan of hers, but do believe she had a major staying power in Hollywood that few others processed. I admire her determination and have warmed up to some of her movies, with me being able to appreciate her as an actress, so I didn’t pass up the opportunity to participate in Pale Writer and Poppity Talks Classic films Joan Crawford Queen of the Screen blogathon!

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Unlike most classic Hollywood fans, I first learned of Strait Jacket though the FX Feud 2017 miniseries. I saw the side by side comparison on YouTube shortly after and really applauded the way they were able to replicate the trailer so accurately. However, that wasn’t enough to get me to watch the movie.

Fast forward two years later and I see it playing on TCM, so I decided to DVR it and give it a shot. Initially, I thought it would be just something super campy, embarrassing, and laughable- but I was gladly proven wrong, as this movie really blew me away with its suspense and acting.

Side by side comparison- its pretty cool!

Strait Jacket is basically the movie Joan did in place of Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte (after she was replaced by Olivia de Hallivand) and I enjoyed it more than Charlotte. Joan stars as Lucy, a woman who after axe-murdering her husband and his lover, spends 20 years in a mental asylum. Lucy’s daughter Carol (Diane Baker) witnessed the murder, and she then is sent to live with Lucy’s brother, Bill and his wife, Emily (Leif Erikson and Rochelle Hudson).

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(wikipedia) The warning note was a heavy marketing tool

Directed by William Castle, this flick picks up when Lucy is released from the hospital and reunited with Carol. Carol is happy to have her Mom back again, and treats to her to a new dress, bracelets, and a wig- to make her feel 20 years younger. This all backfires however, when Lucy starts flirting with Carol’s fiancé, Michael Fields (John Anthony Hayes).

It gets even more twisted when a series of axe-murders start occurring again, and Bill and Carol suspect Lucy should be re-admitted to the mental asylum.

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(Joancrawfordbest.com) Joan believed so much in this project she participated in a national press tour to promote it

The actual twist is somewhat predictable, yet when it’s revealed, it’s still a lot to process with the whole backstory. I really can’t describe anymore plot without spoiling everything- but I will admit I was shocked by the final axe-murder victim, as well as the climactic reveal sequence.  

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(Imdb) Stunning visuals!

Overall, this movie is what I described earlier- campy and laughable- but it has solid performances that allows it to be likable. Joan is over the top – but is so brilliant at being so, that you end up being impressed by it. The axe murders by today’s standards are nothing scary- but are impressive, from the sound effect (chopping of a watermelon) to the visuals. And of course what makes this movie really work and stand out from other B-pictures of the era has to be the right amount of camp- from the opening title visuals to the scene with Joan lighting her cigarette on the turntable- it’s all in the name of entertainment.

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A true Queen of the Screen

And of course– I have to mention because this is Joan Crawford- Pepsi even has a cameo appearance. There is even blink and miss it scene with Mitchell Cox, the then-VP of Pepsi playing Lucy’s doctor.   

1964. 'Strait-Jacket.' With Diane Baker and Pepsi.
(JoanCrawfordbest.com)

CLICK HERE to buy Strait Jacket on Blu Ray from Amazon!

Why I Love William Holden

When it comes to classic movie star leading men, it’s too easy to say I quickly fall for them upon seeing a movie they are in. From Cary Grant, to William Powell, to Clark Gable, to John Wayne- there are so many to adore and admire, and then there’s William Holden. Contrary to my statement above, I actually didn’t fall immediately for Bill.

Blondie Bill (as I call him)! Publicity for Sabrina (wikipedia)

My first ever William Holden film I saw was Sabrina, and honestly I only wanted to watch because of Audrey Hepburn. I knew Humphrey Bogart from Casablanca (I’d seen in in high school film class) but I didn’t know anything about William Holden. Looking up Sabrina on IMDB, I noticed a lot of reviewers commenting on the chemistry between Audrey and Bill but I didn’t know why- who was this “William Holden” guy and why were people crazy over him? Cut to actually watching the movie- and I did notice the chemistry with Audrey, but I didn’t fall for Bill. I was, however captivated by his deep, raspy, very sexy voice- that I was hooked on, but I didn’t consider him one of “my guys” as I call them.

Bill and Audrey
(via classichollywood central) To me, this picture sums up Bill and Audrey, I was rooting for them!!

The next movie on Bill’s filmography I watched was, The Country Girl, but again, I was watching it for another lady, this time Grace Kelly. I was motivated to watch it because it was Grace’s Oscar winning performance. When viewing this film something shifted with the way I saw Bill. His scenes with Grace were pulling me into looking at him, and wondering about his character motives- was he out to sabotage Frank (Bing Crosby) or was he really doing his job as director? Hmm. The scene that changed it all for me was the kiss between Bill and Grace. IT WAS SO ELECTIRCFYING. It came out of no-where and it made me realize that Bill is someone I should notice. His character of Bernie Dodd went from romance to confusion to regret all with seconds- and it was done so quickly yet effective, I’d never seen an actor do that before so brilliantly. From that picture on, it changed the game for me.

Watch the scene that made me see Bill differently!

With two Holden pictures down, for some reason I didn’t seek out more until Born Yesterday and it was a good 2-3 months after watching The Country Girl. This was really the movie that made me completely “Ga-Ga” over Bill. Two factors overall sealed the deal. One: the elevator scene with Judy Holliday- that just made me completely utterly fall for him. Two- was the fact he was wearing glasses- BILL IN GLASSES IS A GOOD THING. Overall, for me Born Yesterday was the first time I saw Bill being the true romantic lead and right then and there, it made me a fan and admirer of his for life.

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In the end, I believe I love William Holden because he was a great human being as well as an amazing actor. He had his demons with alcohol that ultimately, sadly got to him in the end, but he never let that stop him from giving his all to a performance. He never gave a poor performance, even if the movie itself was terrible (Force of Arms being one of them).  Lastly, I guess I could mention he is a handsome gentleman (on top of being a conservationist, World War II veteran, Oscar winner- he has good looks too! 😉 ). Whenever we watch a William Holden movie my Mom always makes a point to say, “He was such a handsome man”- right you are Mom, right you are!

It has now been 38 years after his death, and yet he still has legion of fans- including “new” ones like me, who weren’t even on the planet when he died- and that fact alone speaks to why he is so beloved as an actor and as a person. Happy Birthday Mr. Holden!

GINNIE, MICHAELA, and to all the Holden Lovers- Thanks so much for writing and doing this blogathon, and showing Bill some love! Special thanks to Ginnie for inviting me to co-host, its always a pleasure!