Archive for the ‘Favorite Fridays’ Category
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This week, Al and I pick our favorite film from the vaults of Disney…
Alix picks: Alice In Wonderland (1951)
Disney’s Alice in Wonderland is my favorite adaptation of one of my favorite books. It has become my go-to movie when I need to study but also want to have something on in the background. This usually ends with me having “All in the Golden Afternoon” or “The Walrus and the Carpenter” stuck in my head for the rest of the day. The film uses scenes from both Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and, in my opinion, perfectly captures the tone of the books. I hate when people try to make the story darker and scarier than it really is and the Disney version keeps Wonderland colorful and light, just as I imagined.
Lindsay picks: Sleeping Beauty (1959)
Although there are pictures of a seven-year-old me sitting on a boulder singing Ariel’s song with a waterlily tucked behind my ear, Princess Aurora has always been my favorite Disney princess. She got to wear a cape and dance in the forest with squirrels, bunnies, birds, and an owl AND waltz on clouds! What makes Sleeping Beauty so great, though, is perhaps not Aurora but the supporting cast of characters – the sensible Flora, the sensitive Fauna, the stubborn Merryweather, the drunken minstrel, Maleficent’s boneheaded goons, and Prince Phillip’s horse Sampson.
Lindsay picks: The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)
Watching Errol Flynn alongside frequent co-stars like Olivia de Havilland and Alan Hale is tolerable. But put Flynn opposite an acting force like Bette Davis and he turns to oatmeal. And not the steel-cut kind, either.
The strength of Davis’ performance makes it all-too-clear who played hooky from acting class a few too many times to go yachting. It’s a great credit to Bette Davis that she was able to pull off a memorable performance while acting opposite feigned emotion and melodrama.
Alix picks: Captain Blood (1935)
I read in an IMDB review for this film something to the effect of “Errol Flynn’s acting is as subtle as a stoplight.” Good thing Captain Blood is an over-the-top, melodramatic, swashbuckling adventure that only requires Flynn to portray about two emotions! The supporting cast also includes Olivia de Havilland as the damsel in distress and British actor Basil Rathbone as a Frenchman with an accent that wouldn’t be out of place in a Monty Python sketch.
You were wrong, Albert Hammond – it does rain in Southern California. But that’s okay because some films are better viewed during gloomy weather.
Lindsay chose: The Big Sleep (1946)
The whole might not be greater than the sum of its parts, but the parts are stellar enough to warrant repeated viewings. Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Howard Hawks, Raymond Chandler, and a noir-iffic Los Angeles combine to make an excellent rainy day film. I won’t supply a story overview because frankly, the almost incomprehensible plot is not a reason to watch. It’s the Bogie/Bacall chemistry and darkly alluring atmosphere of seedy characters and constant rain present in all of Chandler’s Philip Marlowe books that give the film its pizazz.
Alix chose: Sunset Boulevard (1950)
The Billy Wilder masterpiece Sunset Boulevard (also set in Los Angeles) tells the story of a struggling young screenwriter, played by William Holden, who becomes ensnared in the bizarre and deranged world of a former silent film star. The cinematographer deftly uses shadows to create the classic noir atmosphere, complimenting the mysterious plotline.
A worthy competitor to Vivien Leigh in last week’s she-gets-the-best-costumes feature, Grace Kelly was born this day in 1929. Happy birthday, Grace!
Is it just us or did Vivien Leigh get all the best costumes? On what would have been the lovely lady’s 97th birthday, we pick our favs for Vivs.
Lindsay picks: Jack Warner vs. everyone
According to almost all accounts, Warner Bros. studio production head Jack Warner was not a nice man. Warner didn’t believe in having a collaborative relationship with the stars he managed – he knew best and his word was law. He had major with some of his biggest stars at one time or another including Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, and Olivia de Havilland. This quote from director Gottfried Reinhardt says it best – “Harry Cohn was a sonofabitch, but he did it for business; he was not a sadist. [Louis B.] Mayer could be a monster, but he was not mean for the sake of meanness. Jack was.”
Alix picks: Bette Davis vs. Joan Crawford
The feelings Bette Davis and Joan Crawford had towards each other can be eloquently summed up by Ms. Davis, “The best time I ever had with Joan was when I pushed her down some stairs in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” The feud supposedly started over their mutual admiration for actor Franchot Tone (who eventually married and divorced Joan) and continued over competition for roles. The two never missed a chance to annoy each other, especially while working together on Baby Jane. Bette had a Coca Cola machine installed in her dressing room because Joan was married to the CEO of Pepsi at the time. When Bette was nominated for an Academy Award for Baby Jane (but did not win), Joan arranged to accept all the other nominated actresses awards, in case they won, in order to upstage Bette. I highly suggest checking out Bette Davis’ quotes on Joan Crawford for laughs.
Good eeevening. As today marks the anniversary of the birth of a one Mr. Hitchcock, please do allow us to pay tribute to the Master of Suspense with the following post:
Lindsay picks: To Catch A Thief (1954)
I selected this appearance because it’s one of the rare times when the main character interacts/acknowledges Hitch during his cameo. More commonly, Hitch is part of the background, as the man walking along the street or a face in the crowd. In Thief, we get to see one of Hitch’s favorite actors (Cary Grant) react to his presence in a comical moment for the viewer.
Alix picks: Lifeboat (1944)
I selected this cameo because Hitchcock had to get clever to make a cameo appearance in Lifeboat since the whole film takes place in a boat with only ten passengers. His cameo appears 24 minutes into the film on a newspaper advertisement for a fictional weight loss drug.
Just in time for Fourth of July weekend, we share our favorite films that deal with the cultural heritage and history of America! USA is a-okay! Amer-I-can! Rah!
Alix picks: The Misfits, 1961
The Misfits is an amazing film about the end of the cowboys and the Wild West. The story, especially the final scene, is incredibly moving and wonderfully shot. The film was written by Arthur Miller, directed by John Huston, and stars Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, Thelma Ritter, Eli Wallach, and Montgomery Clift. Monroe is really exceptional in the film and proves that she could do more than just play the dumb blonde, comic-relief character, although unfortunately this was the last film for both her and Gable.
Lindsay picks: Oklahoma!, 1943
Who wouldn’t want a man who owned a team of horses – one like snow, the other more like milk? That’s what Laurie (Shirley Jones) faces as she tries to resist the wooings of cool and handsome Curly (Gordon MacRae). Full of toe tappin’, knee slappin’ songs by misters Rogers and Hammerstein, Oklahoma! is a lot of fun to watch even if you don’t have a surrey with the fringe on top. Or know what a surrey is.
Alix picks: Peter P. Peters (Fred Astaire) and Linda Keene (Ginger Rogers) in Shall We Dance (1937).
Peter (Petrov) and Linda are my favorite quarreling couple because their petty arguments keep the film lighthearted and provide a lead into a few great song and dance numbers. One petty quarrel over the pronounciation of “either” and “neither” turns into the song “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” and a dance sequence on roller skates. Watch the scene here.
Lindsay picks: Nick & Nora Charles in The Thin Man (1934) and 5 sequels
Forget best quarreling couple, these two are the best fictional couple EVER. But that’s another post. Over the course of 6 films it’s great fun to watch Nick and Nora banter, bicker, tease, joke, argue, pester, and quarrel all while admittedly being very much in love. William Powell and Myrna Loy are irresistibly charming in what became their signature roles.
an·ti-he·ro: (n.) A main character in a dramatic or narrative work who is characterized by a lack of traditional heroic qualities, such as idealism or courage. See also O’Hara, Scarlett and Tatum, Chuck.
Lindsay picks: Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With The Wind (1939)
She’s ruthless, manipulative, egotistical, self-centered, shallow, foolish, elitist, proud, childish and still one of the most beloved film characters of all time. As far as antiheroes go, she’s tough to beat. Even though she consistently does stupid things in the time it takes to say “Tara”, we so desperately want to see her succeed, want her to find true happiness and love. Maybe she’ll get her act together tomorrow. After all…
Alix picks: Chuck Tatum from Ace in the Hole (1951)
Chuck Tatum is a greedy, selfish, down-on-his-luck journalist who is more concerned with his own career than the life of a man trapped in a mine. Kirk Douglas’ performance is so compelling, though, that you never think of him as a villian because you’re too drawn to his character. For me, its Tatum’s wit and sharpness that makes him such an attractive character, despite his many flaws. Here is one example of some of the great dialogue between Tatum and the other characters:
Who do you love to hate or hate to love? Let us know in the comments!