Classic Movies I would like to live in

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As you know, I’m weirdly wonderful. Or wonderfully weird, depending on how you look at it. And because of that, my long-term relationship with Classic Hollywood has had its quirks along the way. And one of them consists of imagining myself living in the actual films, like, sometimes you’re watching a film and you kind of think ‘Oh, that looks like fun!’, and you start thinking that it must been really great to be in it.

So here are some of the films that have genuinely made me think ‘I want to live in that!’:

My Man Godfrey (1936) – they’re as crazy as a box of cats and I want some of that! Screwballs have that effect on me, somehow. They’re all insane, and that’s what’s so appealing about them. I have yet to watch one that doesn’t make me want to be in it.

Meet me in St Louis (1944) – The Trolley Song… oh, The Trolley Song… that, to me, is the epitome of happiness.

Some Like it Hot (1959) – everything about it is beyond wonderful. I mean, who wouldn’t want to live in Some Like It Hot? Imagine doing all those shenanigans with Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis!

Stage Door (1937) – Oh the theatre! I did a bit of acting a few years ago and it was so much fun. I just loved the sense of community and togetherness that we all shared. Stage Door always reminds me of that.

Easy Living (1937) – THAT HOUSE! Have you seen that house? But have you seen that house?! I’ve been obsessed with it since the first time I saw the film.

To Catch a Thief (1955) – The gorgeouness all around! It all looks so idyllic.

Grand Hotel (1932) – I would love to spend one week at the Grand Hotel and meet all those characters and hear their stories and laugh and cry with them. Seems like a nice place to lose yourself in.

The Women (1939) – I mean, come on, how can you not love it? Imagine hearing those one-liners on a regular basis. And the gossip! I know it’s petty, but it’s a lot of fun!

 

There you have it, folks! Happy Sunday ❤

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My Top 15 Favorite Screwball Comedies

I love screwball comedies. They are so crazy and fun and over-the-top! I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, and I finally decided to do it, simply because I’ve been waiting too long, so I just thought ‘why not now?’

CRITERIA

This is my personal list of favorite screwball comedies. I am not claiming these are the best, in this particular order, these are just MY favorites.

This list is open for an update, because these things always change.

Some comedies don’t necessarily fit into the screwball comedy genre. There are tons of sub-genres, screwball, romantic, sophisticated, dark, supernatural, etc… There are many comedy films that I absolutely love and do not consider to be screwballs, like for instance The Philadelphia Story (1940), which is mostly a romantic/sophisticated comedy, or The Thin Man (1934), which is a regular comedy with elements of mystery/drama. These 15 films are the ones that I think are closest to the accepted definitely screwball comedy genre.

Here we go!

 

15. Nothing Sacred (1937)

      Dir. William A. Wellman

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Carole Lombard and Fredric March are fantastic together. What a great duo!

 

14. His Girl Friday (1940)

     Dir. Howard Hawks

 

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Fast, frantic and full of lines!

 

13. Midnight (1939)

     Dir. Mitchell Leisen

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Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett wrote the screenplay for this, so obviously it’s brilliant.

 

12. The Pam Beach Story (1942)

      Dir. Preston Sturges

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I love Claudette Colbert and Joel McCrea’s relationship in this. It’s so sweet!

 

11. The More the Merrier (1943)

     Dir. George Stevens

 

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I think I developed a slight crush on Joel McCrea after watching this. Also Jean Arthur is perfect in everything.

 

10. Trouble in Paradise (1932)

    Dir. Ernst Lubitsch

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Trouble in Paradise is, in many ways, the originator of all of these. I think it’s probably fair to say it’s the original screwball comedy, but that’s likely up for debate.

 

9. Merrily We Live (1938)

   Dir. Norman Z. McLeod

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My Man Godfrey’s younger cousin. Pretty much the same plot, but it is sooo lovely!

 

8. It Happened one Night (1934)

  Dir. Frank Capra

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The only Best Picture on the list, and how deserving! It’s extraordinary.

 

7. Ball of Fire (1941)

   Dir. Howard Hawks

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Barbara Stanwyck’s Sugarpuss is one of my all-time favorite movie characters. Wilder and Brackett also wrote this.

 

6. Easy Living (1937)

    Dir. Mitchell Leisen

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The taxi cab scene, Louis, the enourmous bedroom, Jean Arthur and Ray Milland’s relationship… Everything about Easy Living is fantastic.

 

5. Twentieth Century (1934)

  Dir. Howard Hawks

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It was so close! This and Easy Living were almost tied, but in the end, I had to put this one higher because I saw it on the big screen, so it has sentimental value for me.

 

4. The Awful Truth (1937)

   Dir. Leo McCarey

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Irene Dunne’s performance is the greatest screwball comedy performance by an actress in my opinion. It is incredibly complex once you analyze it.

 

3. My Man Godfrey (1936)

   Dir. Gregory LaCava

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The craziest family ever? I think so. Mind you, in a weird way, I would kind of like to live in that house for like a day or two. Sounds fun!

 

2. The Lady Eve (1941)

  Dir. Preston Sturges

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Big debate between this and Godfrey as well, but in the end, I had to go with Eve. It’s just slightly more convoluted, which is perfect for screwball.

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1. Bringing Up Baby (1938)

  Dir. Howard Hawks

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Well, of course. You all knew it. It is the greatest of them all, in my opinion, and one of my absolute favorite films in any genre, ever.

 

Happy Screwball! (don’t really know what that means, but let’s go with it)

DOUBLE BILL #5: Woman in the Window (1944) and Scarlet Street (1945)

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For a brief period of time, four of Hollywood’s biggest stars got together and formed one of the most constantly overlooked partnerships in movie history. Between 1944 and 1945, Fritz Lang, Joan Bennett, Edward G. Robinson and Dan Dureya made two films together, Woman in the Window (1944) and Scarlet Street (1945). To me, these two films always go hand-in-hand. I can never help but compare them to one another and I can’t even think of one without thinking of the other.

Woman in the Window is an interesting one. The ‘mid-life crisis’ theme that can often be found in film noir – Pitfall (1948) comes to mind – is certainly one of the best starting points in films of the genre. A man is bored with his life, his marriage and himself and he seeks some excitement elsewhere. After that, his life takes a turn for the worse. Perfect. In Woman in the Window, that man is Richard Wanley (Edward G. Robinson) a professor who, after meeting up with his friends in his club, goes outside to look at a painting of a woman in a shop window. He meets Alice Reed (Joan Bennett), the woman in the painting, and the two of them go for a drink. Later, back in her place, Alice’s lover Claude Mazard (Arthur Loft) breaks in and starts fighting with Richard, who ends up killing him. With a murder to cover up and a body to dispose of, Richard and Alice soon make a plan and decide to pretend nothing ever happened. However, Mazard’s bodyguard Heidt (Dan Dureya) knows what happened and starts blackmailing Alice. Things get worse…

I love the fact that Woman in the Window is pretty much a stereotypical film noir, with all the elements there and in the right place, yet somehow it feels different. It’s kind of quiet and almost soothing. Apart from two or three scenes, everything is quite calm, and I really like that. I suppose its tongue-in-cheek ending might have something to do with it, who knows, I just find that interesting.

Scarlet Street, on the other hand… boy, is it dark! Edward G. Robinson plays Chris Cross (and that’s not even the best name in the film), a cashier who, after attending a dinner thrown in his honor, walks home through Greenwich Village and spots Kitty March (Joan Bennett) being attacked by a man. He runs to her rescue and the two of them go to a restaurant nearby. They start talking about art and Kitty wrongly assumes he’s a famous painter. After that, she and her boyfriend Johnny Prince (best name in the film), played by Dan Duryea, start working up a scheme to extort money from Chris. After that, things start going really wrong…

Scarlet Street is just an unrelenting spiral descent into madness. And it is unafraid. It gives you a pitiful leading man, a lazy layabout femme fatale and Dan Dureya, the caddest cad that ever cadded, and on top of that, it gives you nothing to comfort you. Has there ever been a sadder ending to a film noir? I’m talking genuinely sad, not ‘dark but had it coming’ sad. It’s quite impressive.

I love the fact that they are so similar and yet so different. They both have quite similar themes, they start more or less the same way, but they go down such drastically different paths. It almost feels like Woman in the Window is the antidote to Scarlet Street. Although I think Scarlet Street might be the better movie of the two – it is actually the remake of a Renoir film called La Chiene (1931), so maybe that’s another Double Bill?

Lang, Bennett, Robinson and Dureya were simply a great foursome. I kind of feel cheated that they didn’t make more movies together, but these two make up for that.

The greatest blog post ever written!

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I love movie taglines. I love the fact that nobody has actually really nailed the art of the tagline. Then and now. For the most part, movie taglines are usually so weird and random. Like, every other crime movie always seems to be advertised as ‘the biggest crime ever committed!’ It’s actually quite fun looking up movie posters and reading the taglines, because they’re so repetitive and interchangeable and they often do not reflect the film at all (looking at you, All about Eve). Mind you, I understand completely the purpose of a tagline and how hard it is to fit a whole story into one sentence, so I’m saying this with the biggest love in my heart. It’s all in jest.

So I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite movie taglines.

Here we go!

All about Eve (1950) – ‘It’s all about women and their men!’ It absolutely isn’t.

Double Indemnity (1944) – ‘It was love and murder at first sight!’ Every single film noir ever made.

The Third Man (1949) – ‘You’ve never met anyone like him!’ Fair enough.

Citizen Kane (1941) – ‘It’s terrific!’ Bit of an underwhelming thing to say about ‘the greatest film ever made’

The Maltese Falcon (1941) – ‘A story as explosive as his blazing automatics’ I love this one. HOW COOL IS THAT?!

Born to Kill (1947) – ‘The coldest killer a woman ever loved!’ What are you talking about, she’s even worse than him!

Adam’s Rib (1949) – ‘The funniest picture in 10 years!’ Haha, why only 10 years? Why undersell it like that?

Shane (1953) – ‘In all your Motion Picture going experience, Shane will remain forever memorable!’ True but what a bizarre way to put it.

Cover Girl (1944) – ‘The most brilliant musical of our time!’ I don’t know, Meet me in St Louis came out the exact same year.

Meet me in St Louis (1944) – ‘MGM’s glorious love story with music’ See?

These are all brilliant and weird and fabulous in their own way. And there are so many more!