Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween! I'll be back tomorrow with an entry about my "Rocky Horror Picture Show Experience" tonight. Have fun and be safe!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Love Affair (1939): A New Favorite!

I watched Love Affair on Wednesday. I apologize for this entry being short, but it took the words out of my mouth. It was a beautiful, heart-wrenching movie that has sadly fallen through the cracks, being one of so many great films made in Hollywood's greatest year.
It tells the story of Terry and Michel, who meet on an ocean liner and hit it off right away. Unfortunately, they are both engaged and not quite ready to make such a sudden decision about their futures. Terry smartlydevises a plan: the will re-evaluate their lives, and at the end of 6 months, they will meet at the top of the Empire State Building. Even though it's pretty obvious that they will both go, it makes them feel better about tying up loose ends.
July 1st comes, and Michel is there early. Terry does not show. She was so excited to get there that she did not look before crossing the street to the building. The doctors know where she was going and encourage her to tell Michel what happened, but she refuses. She will not tell him until she can run in to his arms.

I don't want to give away everything, so I will stop there. I do want to highlight a couple of beautiful scenes. First, they visit Michel's grandmother in Madiera soon after they meet. Grandma Janou is played beautifully by Maria Ouspenskaya. Terry sees her life and the beauty in her mind, and knows instantly that this is the life she wants, and that Michel must be a part of it.

Another musical number in the film (out of 3) is when Terry teaches three orphan girls a song she wrote based on Michel's words about wishing. The sisters are played very sweetly by the Brian Sisters, who unfortunately never reached the fame that the boswell sisters saw. This video also shows when all of the orphanage sings it later in the film. The voice leading in the larger version is truly angelic (the audio is not good in this video, but you will get the idea).

Now, wipe away your tears and read just a little longer.
This was the second pairing of Irene Dunne and director Leo McCarey, who first directed her in my all-time favorite movie The Awful Truth (1937). Both Dunne and Boyer consider this their favorite of all their films, and I can see why. McCarey frames them beautifully in every scene. Apparently he was fun to work with too: Boyer noted that he would work his tail off to memorize long speeches from the script, only to have McCarey order all lines paraphrased. Like all his films, he worked with a lot of improvisation, and encouraged the actors to talk over one another. This gives Love Affair a wonderful realistic touch among this amazing romance.

With six Oscar nominations and no wins, this film has fallen in to obscurity. It is now in the public domain, and I hear that the DVD print is in remarkably poor condition. The print used for the TCM broadcast is okay, but the black and white changes to a bluish tint during the middle section. Hopefully once I am a preserver of classic films, I can restore this gem to its 1939 beauty.

"Wishes are the dreams we have when we're awake".

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Coming tomorrow

After this long absence, I promise you some action tomorrow (gee, that sounds naughty!)
Love Affair
Now, Voyager
Pather Panchali
a vintage hair and makeup tutorial
and....a new header courtesy the lovely Amanda!

I hate to give you excuses, but here goes: the day after I returned from Atlanta, I got very ill. The doctor said it wasn't the flu, but that's what it felt like. I was on my butt the rest of the week. I ended up missing 6 days of class, so the past 1 1/2 weeks have been me playing catch-up, including 3 papers! I've been so terribly busy that my blog was (unfortunately) the last thing on my mind. Have no fear, I still love you!


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Classic Cinema Survey!

Amanda over at A Noodle in a Haystack has come out with a new classic film survey. I often don't complete these because I would have really null responses to many of the questions (since I'm relatively new to this world of classic film, there are still quite a few actors/actresses that I'm not familiar with yet.

1. What is your all-time favorite Clark Gable movie? I love It Happened One Night

2. Do you like Joan Crawford best as a comedienne or a drama-queen? I haven't seen any of her comedies yet. Mildred Pierce and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane are two of my favorites!

3. In your opinion, should Ginger Rogers have made more musicals post-Fred Astaire? The musical she did make post-Fred was infamously terrible (Lady in the Dark), so no. I like the way her career went. If she had continued with musicals, they would have been just like the ones with Fred, but without Fred. Just like when they tried to plug other girls in to Fred's movies, it often didn't work. 

4. I promise not to cause you bodily (or any other serious) harm if you don't agree with me on this one. So please be honest: do you like Elizabeth Taylor? Hm? No, but like Kate Gabrielle, it wouldn't detract me from watching a movie like other over dramatic actresses I don't care for (see Susan Hayward).

5. Who is your favorite offscreen Hollywood couple? I found an old hollywood gossip mag last week and loved pouring over the pictures of young Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis.  

6. How about onscreen Hollywood couple? Definitely Irene Dunne and Cary Grant, followed closely by Fred and Ginger.

7. Favorite Jean Arthur movie? Mr Smith Goes to Washington. I love the drunk scene.

8. What was the first Gregory Peck movie you saw? To Kill a Mockingbird.

9. What film made you fall in love with Alfred Hitchcock? (And for those of you that say, "I don't like Hitchcock" -- what is wrong with you?!) I have loved The Birds since I was a little girl, but the one that really made me appreciate him was Psycho.

10. What is your favorite book-to-movie adaption? The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)

11. Do you prefer Shirley Temple as a little girl or as a teenager? I haven't seen any teenager movies yet.

12. Favorite character actor? oh boy, so many. Jack Carson, Franklin Pangborn, Alice Brady, Phyllis Kennedy, Charles Coburn...I could go on!

13. Favorite Barbara Stanwyck role? Double Indemnity!!!

14. Who is your favorite of Cary Grant's leading ladies? Irene Dunne, followed by Ginger (sure, they only did two movies, but they were great ones!).

15. Bette Davis or Joan Crawford? too difficult to choose.

16. What actors and/or actresses do you think are underrated? Irene Dunne (not necessarily underrated, but forgotten), Lucille Ball (her film career)

17. What actors and/or actresses do you think are overrated? Susan Hayward, definitely. I'm also not an Audrey Hepburn fan.

18. Do you watch movies made pre-1980 exclusively, or do you spice up your viewing-fare with newer films? I'm open to everything, but I will go for an older one over something new when given the choice. Frank Capra once said "The best movies have not yet been made".

19. Is there an actor/actress who you have seen in a film and immediately loved? If so, who? Ginger, Irene Dunne, Simone Simon, Alice Brady

20. Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire? Obviously, Fred. Gene was a cutie, but Fred was so much nicer to his women!

21. Favorite Ginger Rogers drama? Kitty Foyle.

22. If you wrote a screenplay, who would be in your dream cast and what roles would they play? (Mixing actors and actresses from different generations is allowed: any person from any point in their career.) Ginger is a wise-cracking stage performer who is fighting with socialite Katharine Hepburn for the love of playwright Cary Grant. Charles Coburn plays the bumbling theater manager and Jack Carson ends up with whoever doesn't get Cary.

23. Favorite actress? Ginger Rogers.

25. Favorite actor? Cary Grant

26. And now, the last question. What is your favorite movie from each of these genres:

Drama: Mildred Pierce and Casablanca

Romance: Notorious (okay, the romantic parts of it!)

Musical: Swing Time

Comedy: The Awful Truth

Western: no favorite (yet!)

Hitchcock (he has a genre all to himself): Notorious and Sabotage

Road Trips and Illness

Once again, there will be a delay in my posting. The day after I returned from my Jeopardy audition (which went quite well, I think) I was knocked on the ground with what I thought was the flu. I went to the doctor yesterday, and apparently  it's a sinus infection. I couldn't sit up or do anything on Tuesday, and not much more on Wednesday. Today I'm up because I have to work, and tomorrow I have to go back to school, both of which are going to totally knock me out!
I was hoping that being sick would allow me to catch up on all the movies on my DVR that I need to watch, but I haven't been able to stay awake long enough to get through one! I will have new posts on Now, Voyager and Plan 9 from Outer Space by this weekend.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Au Revoir!!

I'm leaving in about 15 minutes! I'm going to Atlanta, Georgia to try out for the Jeopardy College Tournament. I'll be spending the night in Memphis tonight to reduce driving time, since I'm going alone.
I was looking to visit some classic film locations, but I couldn't find any :(
I'll leave you with some cute pictures of our Ginge:

Until Tuesday,