I have been sooo busy this week, but I do have a few posts lined up for next week! Including a very special tribute to Billy Wilder on his birthday (June 22). You know I love my Billy!
I have been sooo busy this week, but I do have a few posts lined up for next week! Including a very special tribute to Billy Wilder on his birthday (June 22). You know I love my Billy!
So yesterday was National Best Friends Day, but I thought it was today *everybody rolls eyes at Carol*, so bear with me, this is a day late. Anyway, in this Top 10 Countdown, I will pick my favorite friendships in classic movies.
– The friendship has to have some degree of relevance to the story or character development
– The two characters have to have more than 15 minutes worth of screen-time together
– Family relations or couples will not count
Here we go!
10 – Don (Gene Kelly) and Cosmo (Donald O’Connor), Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Funny, adorable and boy, can they dance! They have been best friends since their days as vaudeville performers, so they go way back. They make a fantastic duo and their friendship is one of the highlights of the film for me.
9 – Bunny (Katharine Hepburn) and Peg (Joan Blondell), Desk Set (1957)
What a wonderful friendship they have. Inside jokes, drinking, laughing, sharing, plus they work together… These two are not only #FriendshipGoals but also #CoworkerGoals, if there’s such a thing. Probably not.
8 – Dennis (Dennis O’Keefe) and Tony (Alfred Ryder), T-Men (1947)
In noir world, relationships of any kind are fast, fickle, and often fake and you must never take them for granted. Which is why Dennis and Tony’s friendship, however brief, is so poignant. It was the only thing they had. Their job made them do things they had to be prepared for, but probably never really were. The few moments they share are like a breath of fresh air in an otherwise incredibly heavy film noir.
7 – Baxter (Jack Lemmon) and Dr Dreyfuss (Jack Kruschen), The Apartment (1960)
This is an interesting one, because it’s purely based on the fact they live next to each other. But nonetheless, they have a very amicable relationship, great banter and they always seem to be there for each other.
6 – Terry (Katharine Hepburn) and Jean (Ginger Rogers), Stage Door (1937)
In a movie where friendships are actually the main focal point, it was difficult to pick just one. In the end, I had to go with Terry and Jean’s friendship, because it was always such a love-hate type of relationship, with its ups and downs, and it came out on top in the end.
5 – Margo (Bette Davis) and Birdie (Thelma Ritter), All About Eve (1950)
I was torn between Margo and Birdie, and Margo and Karen, but I decided to go with Birdie in the end. She is the only person who can see through Eve the entire time and is always trying to warn Margo about her. She is also the only one who can tell Margo off when she’s being an idiot and because she’s her assistant/maid, she’s always taking care of her.
4 – Walter (Fred MacMurray) and Keyes (Edward G. Robinson), Double Indemnity (1944)
The only ‘I love you too’ that ever meant anything in noir world. Regardless of the film’s plot and outcome – no spoilers, although, who in the world hasn’t seen it?! – they were always close and their friendship was real.
3 – Rick (Humphrey Bogart) and Sam (Dooley Wilson), Casablanca (1942)
Louis would probably get jealous if he read this post, but I just have to include this particular friendship instead. It is probably the oldest relationship in the movie, and the one that never changes throughout. At the end of the day, Rick will come back to Sam, and Sam will play ‘As Time Goes By’ for Rick.
2 – Joe (Tony Curtis) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon), Some Like It Hot (1959)
Even though they had to join a female band because they were trying to avoid getting killed, it still sounds like a really fun thing to do with your best friend. I love their moments together, they are funny as hell, have incredible chemistry and I just want to go party with them.
Before I reveal my number 1 pick, here are some honorable mentions:
– Jim (James Dean) and Plato (Sal Mineo), Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
– Lily (Marlene Dietrich) and Hui Fei (Anna May Wong), Shanghai Express (1932)
– Aunt Elizabeth (May Robson) and Major Applegate (Charlie Ruggles), Bringing up Baby (1938)
– Rick (Humphrey Bogart) and Louis (Claude Rains), Casablanca (1942)
– Margo (Bette Davis) and Karen (Celeste Holm), All About Eve (1950)
– Prewitt (Montgomery Clift) and Maggio (Frank Sinatra), From Here to Eternity (1953)
1 – Dorothy (Jane Russell) and Lolerei (Marilyn Monroe), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
Even though you could argue that the film’s themes are a bit shallow and outdated, you can’t deny that the friendship between Dorothy and Lorelei is real and pretty much the driving force of the film. Dorothy’s protectiveness over Lorelei, and Lorelei’s adoration of Dorothy in a world full of men and diamonds is what gets them 1st place on my list.
There you have it! Happy belated Best Friends Day!
Musicals of the 1930s are pretty much screwball comedies with songs. And they’re absolutely fabulous. Especially Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers ones. Ten adorable little pieces of cinema, with perfectly executed song-and-dance numbers and heart-warming, albeit interchangeable plots. Two of them in particular, Top Hat and Swing Time, are the most iconic of them all. I re-watched them recently after a number of years and I still love them both for different reasons.
For me, Top Hat works better as a screwball comedy than Swing Time. And Swing Time works better as a musical than Top Hat. Ultimately, the point of these films – other than to showcase Fred and Ginger’s heavenly partnership – is to make you feel good. They’re musicals. They’re fun and lovely and beautiful. But for me personally, Top Hat has a better story and Swing Time has better numbers. Even though both of them share many of the same (screwball-y) qualities: quarrelling lovers, a doomed romance, misunderstandings, colourful supporting characters, one-liners and a wisecracking friend who serves as the voice of reason (Madge and Mabel, both played by Helen Broderick). Since I’m championing Top Hat as a screwball comedy, I have to mention one of the all-time great comedy supporting actors, the one and only Edward Everett Horton. I absolutely love that man and will watch anything he’s in. His mere presence in Top Hat almost made me question if I do indeed love Swing Time more.
Turns out I actually do. Always have. I think generally Top Hat is considered the most famous movie Fred and Ginger made together, but in my opinion Swing Time is better. There are more iconic numbers in Swing Time than Top Hat, for one – even though the all-time most iconic Fred/Ginger number, Cheek to Cheek, is indeed from Top Hat. But take a look at this: Pick Yourself Up (my favorite), A Fine Romance, the Oscar-winning The Way You Look Tonight, not to mention the majestic Never Gonna Dance. They are all incredible pieces of art from the song-and-dance era. And they’re all from Swing Time. I love them both, but Swing Time wins for me. Plus, it’s the movie that made me want to learn to tap-dance. It might have just been a spur of the moment, though. Never actually learned. But I will one day, hopefully. That’d be grand.
Ah, Mae West. Where does one begin with Mae West *cue Mae West-style double entendre*? If you know anything about her, you know she was an original, a trailblazer and a pioneer in many, many ways. And if you watch her films, you’ll realize why she was always the main attraction. When she’s on the screen, you know she’s going to be a riot and you know you’re going to have a good time.
Lowell Sherman’s She Done Him Wrong is only 65 minutes long (shortest film ever to be nominated for Best Picture) but boy is it frantic! So many things happen, from murder to attempted suicide to doomed romances, not to mention Mae West’s many, very famous one-liners. It goes a little something like this: Lady Lou (West) is the most famous woman in town and the main performer in a New York saloon. All the men want her and the feeling is mutual. However, she has an ex-boyfriend in prison who still wants her no matter what and who vows to take revenge on any man who gets in between them. One of those men is Captain Cummings (played by a very young Cary Grant), the officer at the receiving end of Lady Lou (West)’s ‘come up sometime and see me’ line. Mayhem, I tell you.
It’s a crazy ride of a film, and Mae West is a joy to watch. Full of confidence and wit, she had a ‘this is who I am, deal with it’ air about her that is just fascinating. She also had a very strange walk, that I have been trying to imitate for years. I can do the voice, so it’s safe to say I’m halfway there. Woohoo!
So, I’ve been really busy lately. Got a lot of projects I’m working on at the moment (including writing a play for my course, wish me luck!), so I haven’t had time to do anything blog-related. This weekend, though, might be a little less stressful, so I’m definitely going to do something. I’m thinking review of a movie I haven’t seen in a very long time…
Anyway, have a nice week everyone! Love you ❤
So, today is National Classic Movie Day. Happy National Classic Movie Day! 😀 Anyway, I thought I’d do a little something to celebrate. Last year, I did a list of 23 classic movie moments that I love, so this year, I’m going to do something a bit different. Basically, we classic movie buffs all wish we could invent a time machine and go back in time, just for a little while, to that glorious era. So, I’ve decided to tell you what my perfect day in Old Hollywood would be like. Mind you, I change my mind a lot. This is just something I thought of and it doesn’t have to remain that way. Anyway here we go! So, I was talking to my friend Denise a few months ago about this and we both agreed that we’d want to be best friends with Barbara Stanwyck and that the three of us would drive around and talk about everything and then she’d introduce us to everyone, because she’s a sweetheart. Ok, I don’t know about you, but the first thing I’d do would be to try and find Katharine Hepburn. I’d like to think I could keep my composure, but probably not. Deni would have to let her know that I’m not some crazy stalker. So anyway, once we’d met, we’d sit by the pool and talk about life. I’d like to think she would have liked me. And then provided we’d agree to meet again later that evening for dinner, Deni and I would go off again. Then, we’d have lunch with the Marx Brothers. Duck soup, probably HA! Anyway… then in the afternoon, we would try and sneak into the various studios to watch the shooting of our favorite movies. Later on, dinner with Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Billy Wilder, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall and Bette Davis. Imagine that! And then, we’d all go to Ciro’s, the most famous club in Hollywood history. I don’t know about you, but I’d go look for Eve Arden, Irene Dunne and Rosalind Russell (who are hopefully all at the same table) and ask to join them. I’d love to just sit with them and laugh for an hour straight. And then, Deni and I both said that, at this point, we’d try and ask Glenn Ford out on a date. She also mentioned Gregory Peck and I mentioned Sterling Hayden. Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. And then, after that, we’d go to one of George Cukor’s legendary parties. Oh yes. Oh yes indeed.
*sigh* Taxi to Old Hollywood, please!
Today is Katharine Hepburn’s birthday. And like every year for the past 10 years, I am having a marathon to celebrate. And of course, I couldn’t let May 12th go by without writing a little something about her here on the Garden. I’ve already talked about several of her movies and the many, many things I love about her, so today I thought I’d do a fun list of 5 things I love about 5 of her movies. Of course, there are many more, but I’ll leave those for next year.
Here they are!
Bringing up Baby (1938)
Stage Door (1937)
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
Woman of the year (1942)
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967)
Happy Birthday, Kate ❤
In 1944, Otto Preminger created his masterpiece, Laura (1944), a murder mystery noir surrounding the investigation into the death of Laura Hunt (Gene Tierney), led by Detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews), who ends up falling in love with her portrait. In 1950, Otto Preminger got together with Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews and cinematographer Joseph LaShelle again and made what would become his unsung masterpiece, Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950), about a short-tempered cop, Mark Dixon (Andrews), who ends up on the wrong side of the law, despite his best efforts to be a good guy.
I’ve talked about Laura many, many times here on the Garden. It’s one of my all-time favorite movies and 4th favorite noir. There is nothing I don’t love about it. From the second it starts, with the climax of its iconic theme tune and the equally iconic Laura portrait, it demands your attention. That, combined with perhaps the greatest opening line of any noir, is enough to keep Laura permanently in any noir top 10 list. But it doesn’t stop there. ..The mystery itself will keep you guessing until the end. Everybody loved Laura and that was the problem.
Where the Sidewalk Ends, on the other end, is brutal. There is no melancholic theme tune to accompany it, no lost love, only 95 minutes of relentless, unstoppable, fearless… noir. It starts in the most unassuming way, with someone whistling the forever recycled and re-used Street Scene (1931) theme tune whilst walking on the sidewalk, on which the movie’s title is written. As the rest of the credits show up on the screen, two cops drive through New York City as they follow a lead. From that moment on, Where the Sidewalk Ends is nothing but a snake pit of violence, brutality and grittiness.
The fact that these films start in such a strikingly different way tells you pretty much all you need to know about them. Laura invites you in with a welcoming theme tune and the promise of a stylish noir that is just exquisite to look at and fascinating to listen to. Where the Sidewalk Ends delivers an unapologetically raw noir, with brutal scenes and an almost intrusive atmosphere. In both cases, you are 100% drawn to them. Laura offers you a murder mystery whose suspects include Shelby Carpenter (Vincent Price), Laura’s on-again, off-again fiance, Ann Treadwell (Judith Anderson), her aunt, and of course Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb, in an Oscar-nominated performance), perhaps the single most self-centered character in all of film noir, which is saying quite a lot. Sidewalk is full of rotten characters with no redeeming qualities. Well, apart from maybe Mark Dixon, the cop who has always tried to not be like his deadbeat, thieving father. However, despite his best efforts, things turn bad. I mean, really, really bad. He accidentally kills murder suspect Ken Paine (Craig Stevens), and then to make matters worse, he falls in love with Paine’s wife Morgan (Gene Tierney). Despite this, you feel for him. In fact, very few characters in noir have had such a huge emotional and moral turmoil as Dixon.
It’s interesting to see how these two movies have gone down in movie history. Laura is one of the most beloved noirs ever, and definitely the more well-known of the two, whereas Where the Sidewalk Ends is almost inexplicably obscure. Too dark? Or just not shown on TV a lot? I don’t know. All I know is that I was completely enthralled by it. I love the fact that it’s so dark. That’s what I want in my noirs. As for Laura, well… ‘and thus, as history has proved, love is eternal’, says Waldo Lydecker in the movie’s resolution. My love for Laura certainly is.
The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) was one of the many, many movies I saw in the glorious summer of 2007. That was the year I fell in love with classic movies, and that summer I watched as many of them as I could. I actually didn’t like The Magnificent Ambersons at first, but I always like to give movies a second chance, and this one actually grew on me over time.
The Magnificent Ambersons follows the Amberson and Morgan families throughout the years. Eugene Morgan (Joseph Cotten) and Isabel Amberson (Dolores Costello) have been in love with each since they were teenagers, but she decides to marry Wilbur Minafer (Don Dillaway) instead. Fast forward about 20 years: Eugene is back in town, he’s still very much in love with Isabel and vice-versa, but her son George (Tim Holt), a.k.a. the black sheep of the family, doesn’t approve of it. On top of that, he falls in love with Lucy (Anne Baxter), Eugene’s daughter, but she doesn’t want a future with him because he has no ambition in life. Simply put, The Magnificent Ambersons is the original soap opera. Only better.
Hollywood’s rebel child Orson Welles made this movie just one year after his masterpiece, Citizen Kane (1941), and it could have easily suffered because of it. It almost did, apparently. The preview was a disaster and the movie itself was heavily edited against Welles’ will. Nonetheless, it turned out to be a fantastic film, albeit depressing. I’m guessing the reason the sleigh ride scene is so iconic is probably because it’s the only moment of happiness in this parade of misfortune, gossip and deceit. Everything from forbidden love to intimidating shadows to the constant clashing between George and his aunt Fanny (Agnes Moorehead in an Oscar-nominated performance), The Magnificent Ambersons has it all. And it is indeed magnificent.
J. J. Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster) is a newspaper columnist and the most powerful man in New York City. Whatever he says, goes. And right now, he wants to break up his sister Susan (Susan Harrison)’s relationship with Steve Dallas (Martin Milner). Enter Sidney Falco (Tony Curtis), a press agent who will do anything for J. J. Hunsecker, no matter how despicable.
Sweet Smell of Success is so sleazy, it hurts. It’s so raw and unapologetic, it’s actually painful to watch at times. And that’s what makes it so damn good. That and the dialogue. Ernest Lehman and Clifford Odets’ brilliant screenplay is incredibly tight and dripping with acid one-liners and putdowns. I’ve seen this movie a number of times and every time I watch it, I’m like ‘I wish I’d thought of that!’. So I’ve decided to do a list of my top 7 favorite quotes from Sweet Smell of Success. Here we go!
7. ‘You sound happy Sidney. Why should you be happy when I’m not?’ (J. J. Hunsecker)
6. ‘Cat’s in the bag and the bag’s in the river.’ (Sidney Falco)
5. ‘How many drinks does it take to put you on that tropical island?’ (Sidney Falco to Rita)
4. ‘I love this dirty town.’ (J. J. Hunsecker)
3. ‘You’re dead, son. Get yourself buried.’ (J. J. Hunsecker to Sidney)
2. ‘Match me, Sidney.’ (J. J. Hunsecker)
Oh, what a great movie.
See you later, folks!