DVD ethics

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I don’t know about you, but I like to keep my DVDs in order. I don’t mean that I like to discipline them. I mean, I like to arrange them in order. That is, I’ll pick a category and I’ll put all of the DVDs that fit into that category in the right order. It’s mostly actors. So, for instance, let’s say Katharine Hepburn. I will put all of her films together, and then, I always make sure that the last film features someone or something that will be in the next category. So, if Cary Grant is next, then the last film will be The Philadelphia Story, and so on. Sometimes, I run out of DVDs/ideas/will to live, and just think of something else that doesn’t even relate to the films themselves. I mean, Gilda (1946) and Citizen Kane (1941) are next to each other because Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles were married. Yeah, top that.

So, there you have it. A little insight into my sad, sad life. Hope you feel better about yourself.

Have a nice day! ❤

Movie references in music, part 2

A few months ago, I wrote a piece about classic movie references in music and it turned out to be very popular, and so, since there are so many references in so many songs, I thought I’d do a part II. So without further ado, here are some more of my favorite movie references:

Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes – One of the greatest songs of the 80s. Story goes, when Bette Davis’ granddaughter played her the song, she sent Kim Carnes a letter thanking her for making her ‘part of modern times’.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Deep Blue Something – A childhood favorite and a great tribute to a great film.

Norman Bates by Landscape – Awesome song and an absolutely stunning video. A direct homage to Psycho.

Quicksand by David Bowie – ‘I’m the twisted name on Garbo’s eyes’

That’ll be the day by Buddy Holly – The song’s title was taken from John Wayne’s famous line in the The Searchers (1956).

Bad Romance by Lady Gaga – ‘I want your psycho, your vertigo shtick, want you in my rear window…’

Dear Rita Hayworth by New Vaudeville Band – I first heard this song years ago when I was watching a Rita Hayworth tribute video on YouTube and loved it instantly.

Just Like Lauren Bacall by Kevin Roth – I discovered this song the same way as the Rita Hayworth one. Hey, I watch a lot of tribute videos, ok?

Grace Kelly by Mika – Such a FUN song!

Bela Lugosi’s Dead by Bauhaus – As dark as it sounds.

White Heat by Madonna – Jimmy Cagney kicks off this awesome song with his ‘How do ya like that, boys? A copper!’ speech from the film. After that, it’s pop perfection.

If your favorite isn’t on the list, check out part one here

Have a great weekend, folks!

 

To Catch a Thief (1955)

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No one has ever claimed that To Catch a Thief is the best Hitchcock film. It’s probably not even in the top 10, but it is undeniably one of his most widely beloved. Because there’s nothing not to love about it.

Filled with cheeky innuendo and a whole lotta diamonds, To Catch a Thief tells the story of John Robie (Cary Grant), a retired jewel thief who tries to clear his name after a series of copy-cat robberies take place. He figures the best way to catch the ‘cat’ is to go after the richest tourists staying in the Riviera. Enter Francie Stevens (Grace Kelly) and her mother Jessie (Jessie Royce Landis). They strike up an acquaintance with John Robie and pretty soon, John and Francie are driving down the Riviera and having a picnic together, in perhaps the most memorable scene in the film (‘Do you want a leg or a breast?’). You probably know that the road where the car chase takes place is the same where Grace Kelly had her fatal car accident 27 years later. It’s an eerie thought but nonetheless, there’s plenty in this film to make you forget that.

To Catch a Thief is probably the most visually beautiful movie ever made. Every shot is majestic. From the sun-soaked sand to the crystal waters of the Mediterranean to the breath-taking landscape of the French Riviera that greets us as the car chase begins. Not to mention Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. Was there ever anything more beautiful than those two?

I myself was lucky enough to wander through the French Riviera a few years ago with my mother. It was a wonderful experience. If only I could have gone for a swim with Cary Grant. Ah well, you can’t have everything.

Happy National Classic Movie Day!

Yes, it’s a thing, google it. I wanted to do something symbolic for this special day and so I thought, since I’m 23 years old and I feel like I’ve loved classic movies all my life, I will pick 23 of my favorite scenes from some of my favorite classic movies. Here they are:

When Grace Kelly makes her epic entrance in Rear Window (1954)

When Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine play gin rummy in The Apartment (1960)

When Bette Davis gets drunk in All about Eve (1950)

When Judy Garland sings The Trolley Song in Meet me in St Louis (1944)

When Natalie Wood comes home at the end of The Searchers (1956)

When Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant sing to Baby, the leopardy, in Bringing up Baby (1938)

When the Marx Brothers… do anything in any of their movies.

When Marilyn Monroe sings Runnin’ Wild in Some Like It Hot (1959)

When Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant kiss in Notorious (1946)

When Barbara Stanwyck walks down the stairs in Double Indemnity (1944)

When Irene Dunne sings and laughs at the same time in The Awful Truth (1937)

When Jane Greer comes out of the sun in Out of the Past (1947)

When Lee J. Cobb breaks down in 12 Angry Men (1957)

When Marlon Brando plays with Eva Marie Saint’s glove in On the Waterfront (1954)

When Gloria Swanson makes her speech at the end of Sunset Blvd (1950)

When Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire dance to ‘Never Gonna Dance’ in Swing Time (1936)

When Cathy O’Donnell helps Harold Russell in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

When Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall talk about ‘horses’ in The Big Sleep (1946)

When Orson Welles makes his ‘cuckoo clock’ speech in The Third Man (1949)

When Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford kiss in Gilda (1946)

When Cary Grant sees the painting in An Affair to Remember (1957)

When William Powell puts Carole Lombard in the shower in My Man Godfrey (1936)

When Humphrey Bogart and Claude Rains begin their beautiful friendship in Casablanca (1942)

….. and the rest, as they say….

There are many, many more scenes that I absolutely love, but these will do for now. Maybe a Part II is on the way?

Here’s to classic movies! May we watch them forever and ever.

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Stage Door (1937)

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If you like movies about show-business, you’ll love Stage Door. The Footlights Club is a theatrical boarding house in New York City, and when Terry Randall (Katharine Hepburn) moves in, all hell breaks loose. She’s not quite like the other girls: she’s classy, sophisticated, well-dressed, has far greater talent as well as a superior attitude and impeccable manners. Well, aside from her sarcastic remarks (‘It would be a terrific innovation if you could get your mind to stretch a little further than the next wise-crack.’). She doesn’t get along with any of the other girls, especially Jean Maitland (Ginger Rogers), her roommate.

The ups and downs of becoming a successful actress on Broadway are the main element of the film and there are countless sub-plots and emotional roller-coasters to delight and entertain you. Eve Arden, Gail Patrick, Adolph Menjou, Ann Miller, Andrea Leeds, Lucille Ball, Constance Collier and Jack Carson are all in it too. Talk about a great cast!

Stage Door received four Academy Award nominations: Best Picture, Best Director (Gregory LaCava), Best Supporting Actress (Andrea Leeds) and Best Screenplay (Morris Ryskind an Anthony Veiller). It won none but it ended up being a success at the box office and it is still, to this day, one of Katharine Hepburn’s most famous movies.

Katharine Hepburn, who else?

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When my friend Margaret invited me to write something for the Katharine Hepburn blogathon, I said yes right away. But then I thought, ‘What in the world could I possibly write about? This is Kate Hepburn we’re talking about, there’s not much left to write!’. And then I thought I’d just write about my love and admiration for her and her impact on my life. Oh and I’m also doing a Stage Door review, later on. But back to Kate.

I’ve loved Katharine Hepburn since I was 15 years old. My first movie was The Philadelphia Story and it continues to be my favorite of hers. For years, I’ve called her my ‘idol’. And the frustrating thing about idols is that you want to be like them, but you know you never will. I want to have her courage, her strength, her perseverance and her attitude in general, but I know I don’t. Nor have I ever pretended that I do. She’s ‘one of a kind’, as people might say. And that’s part of the reason why she’s so fascinating.

‘Fascinating’. That’s one word she used to say a lot. ‘Cold sober, I find myself absolutely fascinating.’, she once said. And she wasn’t being arrogant. She was absolutely right. She was and continues to be fascinating. If you don’t believe me, just pick up a copy of ‘Me: stories of my life’. That book is, for lack of a more irritating cliché, life-changing. It has gotten me through some tough times over the years. Whether it’s a story about her childhood, the shooting of a movie, or her many, many inspirational quotes and life lessons, there’s always something there to comfort me. Except her heart-breaking letter to Spencer Tracy. Seriously, have your hankies at the ready.

I’ve always felt like she’s like a friend to me. In fact, I’d like to think we would have been BFFs, you know, if I hadn’t been born a million years too late.

Anyway, here’s to Kate! Happy Heavenly Birthday ! ❤ On with the marathon!

Happy Birthday Kate <3

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So here it is. My favorite day of the year. Today’s Katharine Hepburn’s birthday. And, like always, I’m going to have a marathon of her movies, read a few chapters from her autobiography and annoy my Facebook friends with endless posts about her. Hey, they knew what they were getting into when they decided to become my friends.

More posts coming today! Stay tuned!

Happy Birthday Kate ❤

Les Enfants du Paradis (1945)

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‘Les Enfants du Paradis’ is one of those movies that will always inevitably be on nearly every top 10 list of the greatest movies ever made. Every filmmaker and every critic will tell you that this is one of ‘those’ movies. You know, one of the big, big classics that everyone has to watch. And sometimes, when there’s a big commotion about a particular film, people might be put off and then, when they watch it, they’re disappointed. I call this the ‘Citizen Kane syndrome’. (I personally don’t feel that way about Citizen Kane. I think it is, indeed, the greatest movie ever made.) Marcel Carne’s Les Enfants Du Paradis (or Children of Paradise), luckily, does not suffer from Citizen Kane syndrome. It’s every bit as great as everyone says it is. It’s about three hours long, divided into two parts, and it revolves around beautiful courtesan Garance and the four men who are in love with her. Set in the theater world of Paris, the American trailer called it the French version of Gone With the Wind. I personally like it even better than Gone With the Wind.

The making of the film is almost as fascinating as the film itself. It was shot in Paris and Nice during the Nazi occupation and some of its crew members were working in hiding. Some even had to discuss and submit their ideas via intermediaries. The set, made to represent Paris’ Boulevard of Crime complete with artisans, prostitutes, mimes and the likes, as well as the theater itself and the mansions, was the largest set built for a French film. In the 18 months it took to make it, it became the most expensive film made in France at that point. Needless to say, the making of Les Enfants du Paradis has been often been described as ‘miraculous’.

Francois Truffaut famously once said ‘I would have given up all of my films to have directed Les Enfants Du Paradis’. I can see his point.