The Glass Bottom Boat (1966)

To celebrate Ms. Doris Day’s 97th birthday, Michaela of Love Letters to Old Hollywood is hosting the Third Doris Day Blogathon and I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to write about the 1966 rom-com The Glass Bottom Boat starring Doris and Rod Taylor (reuniting with Doris after 1965’s Do Not Disturb).

Image result for rod taylor the glass bottom boat
(via TCM)

Also starring Paul Lynde, Dom DeLuise, Edward Andrews, Alice Pearce, and George Tobias, The Glass Bottom Boat is a product of its time. It sees Doris playing Jennifer Nelson- who works part time as a mermaid for her Dad’s (Arthur Godfrey) glass-bottom boat tourist operation. One day while swimming on the job, she meets Bruce Templeton (Rod) when he accidentally snags her mermaid tail with his fishing rod! When they meet, Jennifer realizes Bruce also works at the Aero-Space lab where she works as a secretary. Bruce commissions Jennifer to write his life story (and so they can spend more time together!), but when she starts her work of following Bruce around (for the book), the security chief at the lab suspect she’s really a spy! Its then up to Jennifer to convince everyone she is not a spy- in order to catch the real spy!

Image result for doris day the glass bottom boat
(from Dorisday.net)

Just from reading other people’s reviews, this is an entry on Doris Day’s filmography that seems to divide fans. Personally, I enjoy it and do appreciate for what it is. I realize it’s not the most essential film Doris made- but it is funny, there’s the cute scene of Jennifer “walking” her dog while she’s at work, and there’s even a touch of physical comedy. The opening song is so catchy and the main titles are so colorful- which are very much a time capsule of 1960s graphics; anyone else think they are vastly overlooked!? But main thing about this flick I really adore is the chemistry between Doris and Rod- it is so magnetic! In fact, if another actor had been cast alongside her, I don’t think this movie would be enjoyable at all.

The opening credits! Love those graphics!

With that being said, I do understand why some people don’t like this movie. For starters, despite the fact the film is only 110 minutes, towards the end it does begin to drag. Secondly, the plot is not very convincing and there are some elements that have aged poorly- space age, Russian spies, some of the jokes and comedy gags.

Whatever you may think of this film, I can declare the under-rated thing about it is trying to explain it to someone due to the topics they combined to make it. You’ve got NASA, and the space factors combined with Doris working as a mermaid. Mix that with the handsomeness of Rod Taylor for a good romance and the wonderful comedic timing that Doris has and you’ve got yourself one genuine 60s slapstick comedy!

AND… You can’t forget Doris’ wardrobe! It’s fabulous and just furthermore proves she was one of the best dressed ladies on screen!

Doris Day wears mermaid costume in The Glass Bottom Boat
(from Dorisday.net) Doris the mermaid!

PS: CLICK here to see my autographed picture of of Doris I received in July 2018, after I wrote to her that May.

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4th Golden Boy Blogathon Announcement

It’s that time of year again where Ginnie, Michaela and I celebrate the actor, conservationist, Oscar winner and most importantly wonderful man William Franklin Beedle Jr. (aka William Holden).

Image result for william holden gif

The rules are the same as last year’s and as a refresher are below

1- Choose a subject. It can be anything related to William Holden, as long as you remember that the main focus is him!

  • No more than two people can claim the same subject!
  • A maximum of two entries.

2- Please submit your subject here in the comments on my blog, or on Ginnie’s or Michaelas. Tell us your topic, the name of your blog, plus its URL.

3- Once your subject is confirmed, grab one of the Bill friendly banners (below at end of page) and include it on your blog in order to help us promote the blogathon!

4- The blogathon runs from April 17 to April 19, 2019.

5- On the blogathon dates, each one of us will update a new post where you will be able to submit your entry.

Please help us spread the word about the blogathon. Talk about it to your blogger friends, share it on various social media, etc. We want to have as many participants as possible. We want to know you heart Bill Holden as much as we do!

TOPICS TAKEN TWICE

  • Stalag 17
  • Sunset Blvd

ROSTER

Love Letters to Old Hollywood – Rachel and the Stranger (1948)

The Flapper Dame– Personal tribute to William Holden

The Wonderful World of Cinema– Union Station (1950)

THE Stop Button- Stalag 17 (1953)

Poppity Talks Classic Films – Breezy (1973)

Movie Rob – Fedora (1978) and Force of Arms (1951)

Taking Up Room – Sunset Boulevard (1950)

Crimson Kimono – Sunset Boulevard (1950)

Pale Writer – Sabrina (1954)

The Midnite Drive-In  The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1957) and The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

Maddy Loves Her Classic Films – Five Favourite William Holden Films

Musings of a Classic Film Addict – Stalag 17 (1953)

Screen Dreams – Golden Boy (1939)

Real Weegie Midget Reviews – S.O.B (1980)

Overture Books and Films – Apartment for Peggy (1948)

Dubsism – Streets of Laredo (1949)

Crítica Retrô – The Moon Is Blue (1953)

William Holden Appreciation – William Holden and Conservation

The Story Enthusiast – Meet the Stewarts (1942)

***

BANNERS (This year, I made them!!)

Constance Bennett Marathon!

Capture d’écran 2019-02-07 à 14.44.05
Image result for constance bennett
(silenthollywood.com)

When choosing a star for this year’s Marathon Stars Blogathon I actually had a hard time choosing a star. Choosing Constance Bennett came to me after I had watched two movies with her in them- by coincidence- and like magic, the choice was clear that Miss Bennett was the Marathon Star for me!

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(IMDB) Looking gorgeous!

Constance Bennett was an actress who transitioned successfully from the silent era to the talkies, but sadly had a career decline once the 1930s were over. Oldest daughter of silent star Richard Bennett and sister to actresses Joan and Barbara, she was first known in movies for the clothes she wore, rather than her performances. It wasn’t until her 1937 breakthrough in Topper (alongside Mr. Cary Grant!) that made audiences and critics see her acting ability. Prior to this Blogathon, I had only seen Constance in Topper, and it was only recently I decided to give the sequels a watch. I then realized, Wow, Constance is a great actress, and I really want to do the Blogathon- so it was a perfect opportunity to watch more of her movies!!

For this marathon I watched:

Topper Takes a Trip (1938)

The sequel to the smash hit Topper, this movie follows the silly ghost shenanigans of Marion Kirby without husband George. While George has moved on due to his good deed in the previous film, Marion has another chance to prove herself by helping Cosmo Topper (Roland Young) win back his wife (Billie Burke). With a trip to Paris, this movie is every bit delightful as the original and even stars Asta Atlas too!! Personally, it was this movie when I realized Constance can hold her own in a movie, without a being a love interest!

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(TCM)
 Topper Takes a Trip
(TCM)

Merrily We Live (1938)

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(Wikipedia)

A look at the high-society rich, containing an all-star cast, this movie is one of those great screwball comedies from the 1930s. The Killbourne family’s matriarch (Billie Burke) is constantly hiring ex-convicts to be the household servants, and when the previous butler Grosvenor (Alan Mowbray) steals the silver she then vows to never hire another. However, when a handsome, yet mysterious man named Rawlins (Brian Aherne) shows up at the doorstep, the family is so charmed they decide to make him the new chauffeur!! It gets even crazier when Rawlins falls for eldest daughter Jerry (Constance)!!

Sin Takes a Holiday (1930)

Image result for sin takes a holiday
(TVtropes.com)

A pre-code in which Constance plays Sylvia, a secretary to Gaylord Stanton (Kenneth MacKenna), a rich divorce attorney, who only has affairs with married women. When Gaylord’s latest gal, Grace (Rita La Roy), says she’ll leave her husband to be with him, Gaylord gives Sylvia a proposition to be married in name only. With Slyvia secretly in love with him, she agrees, and soon after the wedding he sends her alone on a trip to Paris. When in Paris she meets Reggie Durant (Basil Rathbone) and he falls in love with her. But, when Reggie proposes, is Sylvia really willing to divorce her husband?

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(TCM)

What Price Hollywood (1932) (slight spoilers)

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(Wikipedia)

The prototype to A Star is Born, this movie is a pre code version of the timeless story. However, there are enough differences to make this stand out. While waitressing at the Brown Derby, Mary Evans (Constance) catches the sight of alcoholic director Maximillian Carey (Lowell Sherman), she accompanies him as his date to a movie premiere, and before she knows it, she’s landed herself a screen test for producer Julius Saxe (Gregory Ratoff). While Max is attracted to Mary, he avoids a romance with her fearing his alcoholism will take her down with him. With her newfound fame, Mary catches the eye of polo player Lonny Borden (Neil Hamilton); the two fall in love, and marry despite Max and Julius’s warnings. With fame taking its toll on both their careers, they divorce, and soon Mary is at the top of her game after winning the Academy Award. Her happiness is cut short however after Max commits suicide. With Max’s death plaguing the news, Mary then seeks comfort in her husband and they reconcile.

Image result for what price hollywood
(Wikipedia)

Ladies in Love (1936)

Three ladies (Constance; Janet Gaynor and Loretta Young) share an apartment and hope to find love and adventure in exotic Budapest. Although the three share an apartment they all wish for something different when Martha (Gaynor) insists they follow gypsy superstition after moving in. Susie (Loretta) wishes for independence and to be a hat shop owner, Yoli (Constance) wants a rich man, and Martha wants it all: the impossible- a home, a man, and kids! Tyrone Power, Don Ameche and Simone Simon also co-star. This film is notable for being the start of the Loretta Young- Tyrone Power film duo.

Image result for ladies in love 1936
(IMDB)

MY OPINIONS

Looking back, Merrily We Live and What Price Hollywood were stand outs for me! Merrily We Live surpassed my expectations (and was so wonderfully written up by Ginnie in her article!), while What Price was interesting to see what changes and similarities there are to A Star is Born. Sin Takes a Holiday was good- but very slow moving for a 75 minute movie. Constance and Basil had good chemistry but the pacing took forever!! Topper Takes a Trip was in fact so great that I bought it for my collection! Ladies in Love was a bit similar How to Marry a Millionaire in terms of set up and was a film I have never heard of prior to this. It may take another viewing for me to fully appreciate it.

What I do appreciate though is Constance Bennett’s acting. I feel sad that she couldn’t have made the transition like Joan and also have been a Noir Queen- that would have been super cool. Sure she would have looked great in those 40s fashions, but she would have been an even tougher femme fatale! Nonetheless, we have her wonderful movies of the 30s when she was a Queen of the Silver Screen!

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(tumblr) In a scene from Three Face East (1930)

Thanks for hosting Ginnie, Crystal and Samantha!!! You’re all super swell!

CHECK OUT THE OTHER POSTS

DAY 1 DAY 2 DAY 3

Jean Harlow steals the meal in Dinner at Eight (1933)

Happy March everyone! I’m back today for an entry for my two fellow awesome bloggers that I absolutely positively adore, Ginnie at the Wonderful World of Cinema and Samantha of Musings of A Classic Film Addict, as they are hosting a blogathon in honor of another fabulous lady (like themselves)- Jean Harlow.

Jean Harlow was the original blonde bombshell who had a brief spell in Hollywood, a tragic end, yet had an enormous impact on movies and was certainly a Queen of the Screen in the 1930s.

Dinner at Eight (1933)
(AMC filmsite)

In Hollywood, its sometimes hard to stand out, but Jean always made her presence known- and the best part of was she didn’t even have to draw extra attention to herself- she was was herself and people noticed her. And it’s exactly that quality about her that made her stand out in George Cukor’s 1933 comedy of manners pre-code flick Dinner at Eight.

Dinner at Eight is tricky to categorize and even write about. Its a comedy of manners, contains an “all star” cast (Marie Dressler, John Barrymore AND Lionel Barrymore, Wallace Beery, Lee Tracy, Edmund Lowe, Billie Burke!) is episodic in plot structure, and is pre-code in its themes (they vividly talk about topics such as suicide, infidelity, alcoholism, financial destitute, and more).

The flick is often seen as a “twin” to 1932’s Grand Hotel and a precursor to all of the comedies of the high society rich we all know and love such as: My Man Godfrey (1936), Merrily We Live (1938) , Holiday (1938), and The Philadelphia Story (1940) to name a few. While this movie is all about the preparation for the dinner and we never see the actual event, we do however see the more interesting conflicts of what the guests are dealing with before they put on their facade being “rich and stuffy” at dinner.

But because this is Jean Harlow’s blogathon, I thought it would be more fun to write why Jean makes herself the scene stealer in a picture filled with stars!

1- She makes the most of her role: Jean plays the part of Kitty Packard (wife to Wallace Beery’s Dan). In this movie there is a cast of 25 (according to wikipedia!) with 8 actors getting main billing above the title. Jean is also acting amongst some of the most famous veteran players of her day: John and Linonel Barrymore! Silent star Marie Dressler! Beloved stage star Billie Burke! But in it all, here we are talking about Jean’s legacy in the film. Many today cite this was not only her finest but most complex performance: she just wasn’t Clark Gable’s girl to win or the pretty blonde girl at the party- she had a real interesting layers to her character that made you want to keep your eyes on her in the scenes she was in.

2- She has a gorgeous wardrobe: This movie in general is just so pretty to look at! Everything is art-deco and beautiful, including Jean’s wardrobe! Don’t you just want to borrow her outfits!?

Image result for dinner at eight jean harlow
(wikipedia)
Image result for dinner at eight jean harlow
With Marie Dressler (hollywoodreporter.com)
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Pintrest
CAN I BORROW THIS!!??

3- Jean gets the snappy lines: This may be the reason we remember Jean so instantly when we discuss this movie as Jean has some of the best dialogue lines in the film. Here is just a sample of her best ones!

Dan: You mean to tell me you’ve been putting it over on me with some other man? 
Kitty: Yes, and what are ya gonna do about it, ya big gasbag?


Dan: Remember what I told you last week? 
Kitty: I don’t remember what you told me a minute ago.

and finally this last exchange which happens to be the final scene in the movie: I’m leaving it as a video so you can watch if you choose

Gotta love Jean!!! Check out the other entries here

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THANKS FOR HOSTING LADIES!!!!

Meet Cute: Easy Living (1937)

So for Valentine’s Day 2019 the very sweet and awesome Phyllis Loves Classic Movies is hosting the Meet Cute Blogathon!

There are so many cute “meet cutes” to choose from but I chose to write about the cute meeting of Jean Arthur and Ray Milland in Mitch Leisen’s Easy Living from 1937.

I’m not going to discuss the whole movie (maybe save this for another blogathon!?) but I will write a short sweet post on the scene where Mary (Jean Arthur) meets John Ball Jr (Ray Milland).

Easy-living-1937.jpg
(wikipedia)

In an absolutely classic meeting of two people, they meet in probably the most 20th century setting you can get: The Automat!

When Mary stops by just for a quick meal she gets more than she bargained for when she meets John Ball Jr who just so happens to be the son of JB Ball: the third richest banker in America (who is played by Edward Arnold- Jean and his character meet in the beginning of the film).

Image result for easy living 1937
How cute are they two? (pintrest)

What is adorable about the two meeting is Mary just thinking John is a regular ol’ worker, but in reality John is working undercover in an effort to be independent from his father. Mary 100% buys into John’s story and she invites him to stay in her luxurious suite while he looks for a job.

When the two leave the automat its for certain to say they each have fallen for each other! And for the others at the automat, well they just fall down in a hysterical sequence that makes us all wish we had this much fun while eating out.

For the rest of the film: there’s a bunch of cute scenes between them- and personally I wish Jean and Ray made another film together because they have natural chemistry- and for Jean Arthur that’s major, as she was a shy actress who sometimes had trouble playing scenes with her leading men.

What I will say is further hilarity ensures and includes a funny scene of the two trying to turn off multiple shower heads!

If you adored the scene above I hope you tune into the whole movie the next time it pops up on TCM! Its a legitimately under rated screwball comedy from its era and every time I watch it, I wish I could be lucky to meet someone in an automat!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! and Don’t forget to “meet” the other “cute” entries in the link above!

The Big Street 1942

February 2019 kicks off with the Fondathon hosted by the cool blog Sat in Your Lap and I had to write for this one because my love for Henry Fonda started when I was very young. However, instead of writing about my love for the movie that made me love him, I decided to write a piece about a film that is an oddball with still great performances: 1942’s The Big Street co-starring Lucille Ball.

TheBigStreetPoster.jpg

The Big Street is based off a short story called Little Pinks, which is the nickname for Henry Fonda’s character (real name Augustus Pinkerton II). The plot is a bit looney: demanding showgirl Gloria Lyons (Lucy) becomes paralyzed after her nightclub owner boyfriend Case Ables (Barton Maclane) pushes her down a flight of stairs after a show. Left with no money after medical expenses, she then relies on busboy Pinks to take care of her.

Pinks takes care of her out of the goodness of his heart and even though he is treated poorly by Gloria- he never wavers to be there for her. He even calls Gloria “Her Highness” when attending to her and his devotion goes so far as to push Gloria in her wheelchair from New York to Florida- that’s right, push her wheelchair– so she can recuperate in better weather.

Image result for the big street
(credit Pinterest)

Now reading what I just said, some of you may think, “who wants to watch Henry Fonda be treated like a slave and put up with it“, however, I believe below the surface there’s a lot of depth to the characters of Gloria and Pinks; and that this movie proves Lucille Ball is a real actress- as her character is so unlikable.

I truly can see in this movie that Gloria does care for and may even like Pinks- in a very, very elementary-school I like you but am too proud to say it way. Gloria is a showgirl, and has that attitude of one. Pinks is a humble busboy and shows undying loyalty. The best example of this is when after he leaves Gloria’s service to return to being a busboy once in Florida he rushes back to her side once she becomes seriously ill.

In all honesty- I’m not even sure what makes this movie watchable, but it is. Maybe its the character actor supporting cast (including Agnes Moorhead), or maybe Henry Fonda saves the day with devotion and adorableness. Personally, for me, what makes it worth watching is the chemistry that is evident between Ball and Fonda- it’s what made me want to see this one in the first place. Its not like the connection in Yours, Mine, and Ours (their 1968 reunion film) but there is something between them that is so clearly present in their scenes together- no matter how badly Pinks is being treated. (NOTE: I’m not sure if this is due to the fact they dated before this movie was made- but I think it’s evident Fonda still had a crush on her in real life)

All in all- the film does deliver with good performances and is worth checking out- even once. And when all is said and done- it’s young Henry Fonda- and that’s always worth a watch!

Remember the Night (1940)

When it comes to Barbara Stanwyck, I came to like her by “accident” in the sense I never set out to say, “I’m gonna see her films!” I came to discover her though other actors she worked with and then kind of sat back and thought, “Wow! Barbara Stanwyck really is amazing” or, “I came for this actor but hey, Barbara Stanwyck caught my eye too.”

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CREDIT: Wikipedia

Remember the Night (1940) was the very second Barbara Stanwyck picture I saw, (the first being Double Indemnity (1944)), and honestly, I wanted to watch it because of Fred MacMurray. With that being said, the exact scenario I just described above then happened when I watched this film- Barbara Stanwyck with her talent and effortless performance caught my eye.

Recently, I was discussing Remember the Night with one of my high school teachers I keep in touch with and it made me come to the conclusion this film is actually a strange blending of genres that works really well. Its part Christmas classic, screwball, but also part melodrama, and dare I say even a little bit dark.

Obviously this movie is very Christmas-y, as the whole movie is kick started by it. The movie starts off with Lee Leander (Stany) stealing a bracelet, cutting to a trial with Jack Sargent (Fred) as the prosecutor. However, due to the Christmas season, the trial is postponed. When Jack learns Lee is also a Hoosier, he offers to drop her off at her Mother’s home on the way to his family.

The screwball part comes into play when they are driving and get lost. There’s also a cute cow milking scene, but the screwball scene soon comes to an end when the pair actually arrive at her Mother’s house. Upon arriving, they learn her Mother has remarried and has cut off her daughter, never wanting to see her again.

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CREDIT: Bluray.com

Heartbroken, Lee is then taken home by Jack and spends Christmas with his family (with Beulah Bondi playing his Mom and Elizabeth Patterson as his Aunt). From this point on the film mainly is a melodrama. Christmas plays out, as well as the aftermath of Lee and Jack falling in love. It all leads up to a somewhat unsatisfying ending; that despite its loose ends still makes us watch this movie over and over again. (I don’t want to spoil this ending!! It’s something the viewer should watch for themselves)

As I brought up, Miss Stanwyck is just remarkable in this film. I almost take her performance for granted and especially when she has Mr. Fred MacMurray as her leading man; there’s just something that makes them an extremely appealing screen couple. Its unexpected, the two of them together as a couple, but it just works. I don’t think Fred was ever more believable as a man falling in love than when he was with Barbara Stanwyck.

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Fred’s fallen!! Credit: TCM

Wrapping up, I will leave you with the trailer- and going back to my original assessment, even it makes you wonder just what type of film they were trying to market.

THIS ENTRY WAS WRITTEN FOR THE REMEMBERING BARBARA STANWYCK BLOGATHON hosted by two fellow awesome bloggers Maddy Loves her Classic Films and In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood

Vivacious Lady (1938)

I cannot think of a better way to start 2019 blogging, as I am more than thrilled to help Crystal of In the Good old Days of Classic Hollywood and Robin of Pop Culture Reverie celebrate the motion pictures made in the year 1938. Speaking on a personal level, I say the films of 1938 certainly rival the ones made in 1939. 1938 has a slew of great movies in itself and its about time we recognize the year’s legacy in film history.

Vivacious Lady

For this blogathon, I chose to pay tribute to a wonderful non-dancing Ginger Rogers picture made at RKO, Vivacious Lady, produced and directed by George Stevens; co-starring James Stewart in one of his first roles as a leading man.

Vivacious Lady is a wonderful often overlooked screwball gem. Its got a plot we all are familiar with- Girl (Francey) and Boy (Professor Peter Morgan) meet, get married on a whim, and afterwards have trouble finding alone time!

For Ginger, this part was the role she had been looking for to prove herself as a straight comedic actress, she was without Fred Astaire, there were no elaborate dance or singing numbers. Whereas for James Stewart, it gave him exposure to audiences as the leading man. Up until this point he had been a supporting player, playing everything from Jean Harlow’s boyfriend in Wife vs Secretary to After the Thin Man’s “Bad Guy”- but this role elevated him to the roles he was meant to be playing.

Jimmy and Ginger

This movie benefits from their genuine chemistry and during production although the two were NOT dating Jimmy and Ginger did date closer to 1940, ending sometime when Jimmy went to war. 

Not to be ignored are the immaculate supporting cast of character actors: Beulah Bondi and Charles Coburn as Peter’s parents, James Ellison as cousin Keith and Francis Mercer as Helen, the ex-fiancee.

The stand out scene of the movie occurs with Francey and Keith teaching Mrs. Morgan how to dance “The Big Apple”- and then Mr. Morgan walks in on the lesson! The expression on Charles Coburn’s face makes me laugh every time!!

However, the funniest part comes when Francey and Helen have perhaps one of the first girl v girl cat-fight in the movies- remember this movie pre- dates The Women!

Nice one Ginger!

The scene is so hysterical without being over the top- its basically sheer perfection! Ginger recalls in her autobiography (Ginger: My Story) the fight, “was choreographed as carefully as any ballet“, and all of its humor came down to George Stevens’ editing.

In all retrospect, 1938 was a turning point for both Jimmy and Ginger- even though they never made another film together. Jimmy of course was on his way to being the star we know today, starring in You Can’t Take it With You later that year. Ginger made Carefree with Fred Astaire and Having Wonderful Time and was moving towards a solo career.

As for George Stevens, he was in the middle of his Hollywood career with not only war documentaries ahead of him, but also many legendary productions as well including Woman of the Year, Shane, and Giant.

Click here to check out TCM’s page on Vivacious Lady and to look for upcoming airdates!

CLIPS: Youtube, PICTURES- dvdbeaver.com and IMDB

John Ford: Dreaming The Quiet Man (2010)

On this Dec 30, heading into the new year, I wanted to do one of Movie Rob’s GGs (Genre Grandeur)  – I always get his emails – and when the theme of documentaries came up- it gave me a chance to A- participate and do something for a great fellow film blogger and B- do something a bit different as I’ve never reviewed a documentary before.

(credit: Amazon)

I watch a lot of documentary programs such as on Reelz Channel about the British Royal Family as well as celebrity documentaries- but in terms of legit documentaries- I wanted to tackle the the 2010 Irish documentary John Ford: Dreaming The Quiet Man (2010)- and its absolutely the best documentary you can watch if you are a true “Quiet Man Crazy” (as they are called!).

To start off, I’ll declare that it was good timing with the making of this documentary as Maureen O’Hara was interviewed (this came out 5 years before she died) which adds a great deal of authenticity. John Ford himself appears in archive footage and although John Wayne himself does not appear in any type of interview, his daughter, Aissa, does. And of course, what would a classic Hollywood documentary be without insight from Peter Bogdanovich and Martian Scorsese.

I like the style of the documentary, as it just isn’t (archive) interviews with the cast and crew of the film, there’s interviews with legitimate people- a local shop owner in Cong (where the film was shot), John Ford’s Irish cousins, Maureen’s nephew Charlie. It goes on modern day location to see what some of the most iconic film landmarks look like today (such as the Pub, the Bridge, the field where Mary- Kate and Sean go on their courting sequence). The film even goes to the site of where John Ford’s Irish family’s house was and even to Maine where he grew up.

(credit: Wikipedia)

Of all interviewees, of course, Maureen O’Hara provided the most insight. What she revealed wasn’t exactly “new” info (to the devoted fan), but what I found was that it gave viewers a sense of emotion; it’s one thing to read about her thoughts in her autobiography or in a quoted written piece, but definitely another thing to hear her talk about it. I loved to hear the feistiness of her voice when discussing Ford or the fondness she possesses when remembering John Wayne. The real treat in her interview segments was her remembering, clear as day, the words to the song she sang in the film. She SPOKE the words, but still- she didn’t pause or stumble upon saying them!  

The rest of the documentary really goes in depth to analyze the film- from the choices made in shooting the film, to the certain little details chosen to make it sentimental. Furthermore, it sets the record straight about some of the famous rumors regarding the film (yes, Wayne directed the horse race scene on the beach, no the final words whispered by Mary Kate in the end have not and will not ever be told to the public ).

Overall, this is just a splendid documentary that really makes you realize this was Ford’s ultimate picture and that he did put his whole being into making it.

Here is the trailer and if you want to see the whole film- Olive pictures has released it on DVD and Blu Ray. I have to point out- Olive has added bonus interviews and clips, trust me they are worth seeing!!! (Amazon Link)

Night of the Iguana (1964)- Richard Burton Blogathon

The Night of the Iguana poster.jpg

To be very honest I chose to do this (late) review of Night of the Iguana (so so sorry and again thanks for allowing the late posting!!!) for the Richard Burton Blogathon because 1- It was on TCM and 2- I don’t own any Burton Films. This was my first Burton film I had watched and while I didn’t love the movie- I did appreciate the performances.

Perhaps I didn’t like the movie because I’m not a super big fan of Tennessee Williams OR director John Huston (I don’t dislike Huston, I just don’t count him in my top favorites).

Night of the Iguana sees RB as Reverend Dr. T. Lawrence Shannon and the aftermath of his affair with a Sunday school teacher. The main narrative picks up two years after the event and Shannon is working as a tour bus driver in Mexico. One day after 17 year old Charlotte  Goodall (Sue Lyon) fails at seducing Shannon during a bus ride, he makes a stop at Costa Verde hotel in Mismaloya, thinking it is still run by his old friend, but soon finds his widow Maxine (Ava Gardner) running the place.

Richard Burton and Ava Gardner in The Night of the Iguana (1964)

It is there, Shannon runs into two guests: painter Hannah Jelkes (Deborah Kerr) and her poet grandfather (Cyril Delevanti). During the night’s stay Shannon faces his inner demons head on, which Burton portrays in a very evoking emotional performance.

Despite the fact the actors are all great- I, much like those in 1964, don’t understand this movie. I really don’t get the whole iguana metaphor, in terms of figurative metaphor. It’s visually there on screen yes- but I really can’t connect it with Reverend Shannon (It’s probably because I’m reading too much into it?).

In today’s view- the plot and characters of this movie have gone on to become a topic of study, but as I mentioned, at the time of release no one really cared about the plot, as the real performances were occurring off camera with just-waiting-to-break scandals. Elizabeth Taylor was staying with Burton while on location, (just after her divorce from his manager) while Deborah Kerr’s husband, Peter Viertel, was an “old friend” of Ava Gardner’s. According to IMDB, John Huston gave the cast gold plated guns during the filming.

Anyways, I do want to see more of Richard Burton’s films because he is a distinctive actor and a fine performer. Maybe one day I will actually understand this movie’s sentiments and message- but for the first time around I didn’t quite grasp it. But for now, I am dying to see Anne of a Thousand Days because I am a Tudor-holic!!!

Here’s hoping in the future I will be willing to give this one another chance!!

WRITTEN FOR THE RICHARD BURTON  BLOGATHON

PICTURES: Wikipedia, Top poster IMDB- for the others