Thursday, October 31, 2013
For my contribution to the Backlots Hitchcock Halloween Blogathon I chose the only comedy Alfred Hitchcock, the master of suspense, did, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, starring my all time favorite actress Carole Lombard. This is my favorite film of hers by the way. Screwball comedies are my favorite type of films and this one fits quite nicely into that category. Well a bit. While not a full blown screwball comedy, it is quite fun and often hilarious nonetheless. And it does feature a little suspense every now and then. Well not really but you can still enjoy this film as a departure from what Hitchcock normally does.
David looking worried at the film's beginning
The film is set in bustling New York and begins with a married couple of three years named David and Ann Smith (great pairing of Robert Montgomery and Carole Lombard) who tend to bicker and have these huge arguments from time to time when they are not speaking to one another. Such is the case at the film's beginning as the pair have been sequestered in their lavish apartment home while their staff shuttles them food and drink. This latest misunderstanding has been going on for three days and David's office, a law firm where his pal Jeff (a solid Gene Raymond) keeps calling to see has a truce been made. As Jeff sends over some critical papers for David to sign, the pair finally makes up and end up having breakfast together.
Ann and David make up after this three day session
But Ann asks a question which prompts an answer from David that doesn't exactly make her happy. She asks David if he had it to do it all over again would he. And he puts in honestly and bluntly, no he would not. He would not marry her and would remain single. Remember this key moment as it will become the focal point for the rest of the film.
But not for long because over breakfast Ann asks that pivotal question
While at work, David receives a guest in the form of Mr. Deever (Charles Halton) from Ann's hometown of Idaho comes a calling saying that the Smith's, along with several other hundreds of couples are not technically married, through some municipal and state jurisdictional matter at the time. David takes the news quite nicely but when Mr. Deever stops by their home to share the same news with Ann and Ann's mother, it doesn't have the same effect.
At dinner David tries to get the cat to have some soup...
David calls up and tells Ann they are going to the restaurant where he proposed to her and Ann believes it's where he will pop the question again. But alas things don't go that way and Ann begins to squirm as the night draws to a close. Meanwhile David is having the time of his life. Back home for a little champagne Ann finally snaps and throws a tantrum asking if and when David was going to ever marry her again. David tries to explain that he was just waiting for the right moment and before you know he is spending the night at The Beefeater's Club, a luxurious hotel where men go who are having domestic troubles. It's there he meets the seen it all Chuck (played by the always wonderful Jack Carson), who is a frequent regular at the hotel.
Mr. Deever drops by to share some news...
David tries to woo back Ann over the course of the rest of the film but Ann is steadfast in holding her ground. Saying she doesn't want to remarry David and instead finds a job and actually starts dating Jeff, much to David's chagrin. In fact the date Ann and Jeff goes on leads to a hilarious seen after Jeff catches cold and Ann tries to nurse him back to health with some liquor. At first Jeff is good to go but then it hits him like a ton of bricks and Gene Raymond gives a masterful drunken little scene.
The gorgeous Carole
For the first hour, this film is golden. It does start to sag during the final half hour just a bit as Ann and Jeff take a getaway vacation to Lake Placid, in which David follows. But it rebounds right back during the closing scenes to make this a wonderful film. Like I said it is my favorite of Carole, and that's saying something, considering her resume which includes To Be Or Not To Be, Twentieth Century and My Man Godfrey. It's just something about this premise of a couple who truly love each other despite all their fighting and bickering. It's classic Hollywood star power in Carole and Robert with solid supporting turns by a great cast. If you have never seen it, you have to check it out at least once. And it's great seeing Hitchcock do an all out comedy as most of his films always some humor and comedy in them. So you knew he was capable of doing a film like this. And he did it awesomely!
Carole does a lot of finger pointing in this movie..haha
Sunday, October 27, 2013
Next month yields a new tournament that me and my friend Desiree are hosting. It's called The Favorite Classic Movie Screen Couples. That's right 32 of your favorite on screen couples will duke it out for the crown.We compiled a list of 32 couples from TCM's book, Leading Couples and from our own personal choices. So there are some couples that didn't make the cut like Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler. But I think we got the top ones selected. Why 32 you may ask? Well so things will break down evenly. It was either 32 or 64 and there was not enough couples to get that high. So 32 it is. We broke them down into four brackets and chose the top seed couple for each. As you can tell by the banner above who the top four couples are. Here is the complete list of all 32 couples that are competing. I will have 2 of the brackets and Desiree will handle the other two on her blog, Rosalind Russell. Oh and a big thank you to my friend Josie Miller who made that wonderful banner! The fun begins Sunday, November 3rd! I will have the match selections posted before then.
1 FRED ASTAIRE & GINGER ROGERS
2 OLIVIA DE HAVILLAND & ERROL FLYNN
3 CARY GRANT & KATHARINE HEPBURN
4 CLARK GABLE & JEAN HARLOW
5 JAMES STEWART & JEAN ARTHUR
6 CARY GRANT & MYRNA LOY
7 RITA HAYWORTH & GLENN FORD
8 ESTHER WILLIAMS & VAN JOHNSON
1 HUMPHREY BOGART & LAUREN BACALL
2 CARY GRANT & IRENE DUNNE
3 GREER GARSON & WALTER PIDGEON
4 ELIZABETH TAYLOR & RICHARD BURTON
5 IRENE DUNNE & CHARLES BOYER
6 TONY CURTIS & JANET LEIGH
7 GARY COOPER & BARBARA STANWYCK
8 ALAN LADD & VERONICA LAKE
1 WILLIAM POWELL & MYRNA LOY
2 DORIS DAY & ROCK HUDSON
3 VIVIEN LEIGH & LAURENCE OLIVIER
4 GRETA GARBO & JOHN GILBERT
5 MARGARET SULLAVAN & JAMES STEWART
6 ROSALIND RUSSELL & ROBERT MONTGOMERY
7JOHN WAYNE & MAUREEN O’HARA
8 BETTE DAVIS & GEORGE BRENT
1 SPENCER TRACY & KATHARINE HEPBURN
2 JEANETTE MACDONALD & NELSON EDDY
3 PAUL NEWMAN & JOANNE WOODWARD
4 MICKEY ROONEY & JUDY GARLAND
5 CLARK GABLE & MYRNA LOY
6 ROSALIND RUSSELL & BRIAN AHERNE
7 TYRONE POWER & GENE TIERNEY
8 JOAN CRAWFORD & ROBERT MONTGOMERY
Friday, October 25, 2013
Just came across this blogathon that is taking place this Halloween. My new friend Lara Gabrielle who does the blog Backlots is hosting this spectacular event. She describes it here in her own words:
Sounds awesome doesn't it? I chose Mr. and Mrs. Smith
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Back with a new guest this month....the awesome Antoinette Miceli, a friend I met on Facebook over two years ago. Let's get things started shall we...Oh and Antoinette answers are slanted more towards the modern era which I told her was fine...we all love movies here!
1. What made you start blogging? (Disregard this one) As Antoinette currently does not have a blog
2. Who are your favorite classic or modern film stars? Name as many as you want
Classic: Bette Davis, Marlene Dietrich,
Modern: Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Jack Nicholson, Catherine-Zeta Jones, Sigourney Weaver, Julianne Moore, Helen Mirren, Lena Olin, Samuel Jackson, Angela Bassett.
Me:I love all of your choices Antoinette!!!!!
3. What are some of your favorite films? All vary in different genres, drama, comedy, action and adventure.
The Godfather, Taxi Driver, Dirty Harry, Escape to NY, Alien, Blade Runner, Superman, The Exorcist, Some of the James Bond flicks, To Live and Let Die, Goldfinger, Octopussy, Witches of Eastwick, Tootsie, Moonstruck, Working Girl, Thelma & Louise. Chicago, Black Widow, Basic Instinct.
Me: Glad to see you're a James Bond fan too..
4. Describe your first movie experience. Like where and when..at a cinema, on TV, etc..
I can remember as little girl watching Superman on the big screen, (1978), Christopher Reeve in my opinion was the best Superman ever. My parents took me to the Loews theater downtown in my city. Walking on the red carpet into the dark theater, smell of popcorn in the air. Feeling really excited. The credits blazing on the screen! Incredible.
Me: I bet that was an awesome experience..
5. What films upon first viewing did you not like, then later on when re-watching them, loved them?
Hard question. I have mixed feeling about Thelma And Louise. Great story about friendship, but the ending sucked!
Me: I feel the exact same way..
6. Describe the perfect way for you to watch a film.
Usually on the couch, with snacks. LOL
7. How many friends, family member or co-workers share your love of films?
A few friends. But we all have different tastes.
8. What is your favorite time period: the 70's, 80's, 90's, or now?
I always liked the 70's. 90's are ok.
9. What are some of your favorite film quotes?
LOL!!! *I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse",
Leave the gun, take the cannoli”,
Leave the gun, take the cannoli”,
"Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night.
"Snap out of it!", "You expect me to talk?", "No, Mr Bond, I expect you to die!".
10. What classic films have you yet to see for one reason or another?
Can you believe , Gone with the Wind. .. really. I ve seen parodies done on that film. But actually never saw it from beginning to end. Also, The Third Man. Many of my film friends rave about this movie. I should watch it soon.
Me: Oh you have to see The Third Man..It is a great film!
11. What is your favorite genre? Action, Psychological thrillers, I like to be kept on the edge of my seat. :)
12. If you threw a movie theme party, describe how you would do it. The costumes, decorations, food, etc.
The 70's , Something like the movie 54. or Saturday Night Fever, The club scene, Hanging disco ball, The bell bottoms, Go-go costumes, platform shoes. Disco music.
13. What are some films that are widely loved that you couldn't care less about?
The Batman movies like The Dark Knight , etc....and the endless sequels! starring Christian Bale. Too dark and overrated for me. I call it over saturation.
Me: Oh I will keep the Batman fans at bay for as long as possible Antoinette!
14. Who’s the biggest film fanatic that you know? Besides yourself of course. My husband. I think we both like mob themed films alot like The Godfather, Goodfellas and Casino. Combination of great actors , great movies and well written stories.
15. And finally who are some of your favorite film characters?
Oh boy, James Bond, Margo Channing, Katharine Parker, Col. Nathan Jessup, Snake Plissken, Jules Winnfield, King Leonidas, Loretta Castorini,, Jack Torrance , Don Vito Corleone, Michael Corleone, Tommy DeVito, Inspector Harry Callahan , Dorothy Michaels, Ripley.
I would like to thank Antoinette for be my guest this month as she did a wonderful job. She has some great favorites for sure. Hope everyone having her here this month.
Friday, October 4, 2013
Four of the final six matches turned into some really close ones, especially the Barbara Stanwyck/Susan Hayward match-up. Hayward ended up holding on for a one vote victory by the count of 36-35. It had been a back and forth match the entire week, with Susan finally prevailing. The second closest match was between Bette Davis and Vivien Leigh, with Davis storming back the past two days after trailing for most of the week, for a 36-34 victory. Deborah Kerr held off Janet Leigh 38-29. Audrey Hepburn withstood a late rally by Elizabeth Taylor to win 36-32. The other two matches were never really close with Ann Sheridan beating Ann-Margret 47-20 and the most lopsided match was Olivia de Havilland beating Joan Crawford by wide margin of 55-13. Team Carole picks up 5 more points for their five wins this week and finishes with 14 and a half points to Team Veronica's 6 and a half. And secures the Lombard Cup for one year. I would like to thank Kristen of Journeys in Classic Film for joining me in this annual event. We will be back next year featuring the top classic male stars. And I would like to thank everyone who took the time to vote for their favorite actresses to make this a great success.
BETTE DAVIS wins 36-34 over VIVIEN LEIGH
DEBORAH KERR wins 38-29 over JANET LEIGH
ANN SHERIDAN wins 47-20 over ANN-MARGRET
SUSAN HAYWARD wins 36-35 over BARBARA STANWYCK
AUDREY HEPBURN wins 36-32 over ELIZABETH TAYLOR
OLIVIA DE HAVILLAND wins 55-13 over JOAN CRAWFORD