Posted by Hedwig on May 3, 2009
Ok, so I got a bit distracted by twittering. But here goes:
On our holiday in France, the b/f and I watched To Be or not To Be. We didn’t really know much about it, aside from the director and genre… and we were blown away. Maybe I should have known, having enjoyed The Shop Around the Corner and chunks of Ninotchka, but I didn’t expect it to be so raucously funny, from the inaugural “Hail myself” moment to the many impersonations, with the snappy interaction between the two main actors as a cherry on top.
Back home, we watched Trouble in Paradise, with just as few ideas about the plot, but this time grand expectations… and of course, it disappointed. Not that the robbing-each-other scene in the beginning isn’t charming, or that the repartee isn’t delivered aptly, but the movie moves much more slowly than TBorTB, and the middle sort of drags.
The power of expectations, eh?
Seen, not yet written about: Singin’ in the Rain, The Man Who Knew Too Much (’34 version), The Road Warrior (aka. Mad Max 2)
Posted in 1927 - 1940, 40s, Old, Reviews | Tagged: Lubitsch, To Be or not to be, Trouble in Paradise | 1 Comment »
Posted by Hedwig on July 3, 2008
Every once in a while, Dennis Cozzalio of the Sergio Leone Infield Fly Rule makes a quiz. It’s one with no good or bad answers, but while I love reading the answers, those quizzes always make me feel a bit guilty. Or maybe ashamed is a better word for it. There are just so many gaps in my cinematic education. I could list ’em, but that would just make me feel worse. I usually manage to turn it around, see it as having many great things left to discover, but I’d better get on with the discovering if I want to live up to the name ” cinephile”.
I wasn’t very eager to discover Preston Surges. I saw the first half-hour or so of Hail, the conquering Hero once, under admitttedly bad circumstances, and it didn’t do much for me. So while his movies were on my mental “to-watch” list, I wasn’t in a big hurry.
How wrong I was.
I discovered that, first, when I was in Oslo, and bought (and watched) The Lady Eve. I wasn’t surprised by how great Barbara Stanwyck was – I’d read enough exalted descriptions of her performance, and that she managed to live up to all the hyperbolic adjectives thrown at her is impressive enough. But what I loved was how delightfully cynical it was. And sharp: the dialogue in which Jean provides a voice-over as Charles Pike walks into the dining room on the cruise ship is perfectly written, and perfectly delivered, and that’s just one example.
Still, I wasn’t quite convinced. Not enough, in any case, to make me watch Sullivan’s Travels in a hurry. But I finally got around to it tonight, and you can consider me converted. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in 40s, Reviews | Tagged: Barbara Stanwyck, Preston Surges, Sullivan's Travels, The Lady Eve, Veronica Lake | 11 Comments »
Posted by Hedwig on June 25, 2008
This installment: The Big Sleep (Howard Hawks, 1946)
The pitchable element: my dad loves The Maltese Falcon. This also has Bogie as a P.I.
The length: 110 minutes (aka: almost 40 minutes shorter than Duck, You Sucker!
The verdict: I love this film. More so, even, than the first time. It’s not that surprising: like the Coen classic loosely based on it, it’s better appreciated once you stop trying to follow the plot. I still think The Maltese Falcon is a better, more focused film, and ultimately, it has more quotable one-liners, but the banter between Bogie and Bacall is simply staggering. The speed, how they play off each other, the palpable sexual tension… One scene, where Bacall calls the cops and Bogie stops her, wouldn’t be out of place in a screwball comedy, and a good one at that (I’ve embedded the scene after the jump, unfortunately, it’s colored in and with Dutch subtitles, so you’re better off just buying the DVD for 10 euri).
My crush on Bogie is no secret by now, of course. But this one’s truly among his best, and while his pulling on his earlobe incessantly gets a bit old after a while, you never doubt for a second that all these pretty girls would, in fact, come onto him.
I’m still not quite sure about the intricate details of the plot (reportedly, Chandler wasn’t either), but I do know this: it’s fun every step of the way.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in 40s, Reviews | Tagged: Chandler, Humphrey Bogart, The Big Sleep, The Maltese Falcon | 3 Comments »
Posted by Hedwig on April 13, 2008
It’s crazy how quickly you adapt to insane prize levels. The film museum in Oslo (which I actually haven’t visited yet, but I will on Tuesday) has an amazing DVD selection, but after seeing so many great DVDs (Gun Crazy, The Killers, Touch of Evil) that cost between 170 and 300 kroner, the 100 kroner they asked for The Lady Eve sounded like a bargain. Of course, that’s still more than 13 euro, or about 20 dollars.
Anyway, The Lady Eve was worth it. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in 40s, Reviews | Tagged: Barbara Stanwyck, Henry Fonda, Preston Surges, Screwball comedy, The Lady Eve | 1 Comment »
Posted by Hedwig on January 10, 2008
The first of the three DVD’s I ordered at Christmas finally arrived. “His Girl Friday”.
I think I caught about half the words.
I also think I love it.
How can you not, after all? It’s smart. It’s a romantic comedy, but it’s bitter and cynical, and most of all, it’s funny, maybe not in a rolling on the floor kind of way, but so funny and consistently funny that you can’t help but watch with a grin. It has Cary Grant, suave as ever but really quite a cad, a crook even. And then there’s Rosalind Russell as one of the feistiest, smartest female characters ever put on screen. Sure, she falls for Grant’s tricks in the end. But she does so knowingly.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in 40s, Old, Reviews | Tagged: Cary Grant, Comedy, rom-com, Rosalind Russell, Screwball | 3 Comments »