Thursday, January 7, 2016

Thursday Movie Picks-Upstairs/Downstairs films


A brand New Year...makes me think of 16 years ago when everyone was freaking out about the Y2K. Nothing like panic and bloodshed to ring in the new century. It is now 2016 and let's see what this year will bring. My hope is that some "stars" will actually name their new kid with a name that makes sense and all these kids named North, Saint, Apple etc.. will all change their names to something unique but still a name and then bitch slap their parents for giving them these names that suck.

A new year for Thursday Movie Picks hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves. This week it is all about maids and butlers-the Downstairs crowd-the butlers and maids who keep the place humming. etc... I love Downton Abbey which is coming to an end much to my dismay. This is a brilliant piece of film-making even if it is on TV. OK...Here are my 3 picks that showcase a butler or maid (or plural) in some films I have seen.

1. MY MAN GODFREY (1936)


A madcap heiress, played by Carole Lombard, is trying to find a down on your luck bum, played by her ex-husband, William Powell, for her scavenger hunt. Now he is neither a bum or down on his luck but they don't know this and hire him as the butler.  Don't think too hard about how gross it actually is for someone rich using another person for a game, just enjoy the screwball hilarity of the film. Lombard's performance is great as she does all she can to ensnare Powell as her husband. One does wonder, in this film, how the rich ever became rich since they are all a bunch of kooks. Powell and, to some degree, the father of the head of this household, are the only ones who seem to have some brains. It is a fun watch for sure.

2.  HOW TO MURDER YOUR WIFE-1965



A wealthy happily single man (Jack Lemmon), who writes a comic for the newspaper, is ably supported by his valet played by the wonderful Terry-Thomas (I love this guy) who helps him with his enactments of his comic-a spy. At a drunken bachelor party, Lemmon's character becomes enamoured with the gal in the whipped cream bikini (like any man would) and ends up married to her much to his dismay and that of his valet. What is a man to do but continue to make lovey with his Italian speaking wife all the while figuring out a way to kill her. His valet ready, willing and able to help him. The comic decides to use his comic strip as way to showcase the murder.  Despite the wish to kick just about every man in this film in their brains, you know, between their legs, I found this film to be quite funny and endearing...believe it or not. This is due to the wonderful acting of the 2 male leads. Credit also goes to Virna Lisi and Claire Trevor

3. THE HELP-2011



I really enjoyed this film despite mixed reviews. It takes place in the South during the late 50's early '60's (I believe) bringing you face to face with how the African American women were often mistreated by the people they worked for. It is a film that I found heart-warming, funny, anger-some and sad all at once. I love what the one maid did finally do to her employer-bless her for doing that-put a smile on my face.

One day I have to see the 1932 film, "Downstairs" starring John Gilbert...just saying:) What film would you pick?

45 comments:

  1. I love William Powell in anything. He had such great timing. I am at a loss to think of any upstairs-downstairs movies off the top of my head. I need more coffee. 'Jeeves, get in here'.

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    1. William Powell is a delight to watch. I hope Jeeves got you your coffee:)

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  2. I'm afraid I haven't seen any of those. I'm not sure I can even pick a movie that qualifies.

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    1. The Batman films would work I think-I have seen them everywhere today:)

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  3. I loved "The Help". I didn't think I would but I gave it a shot, and I'm glad I did, it surprised me. I've never watched Downtown Abbey, but I hear so many good things about it, I should give it a try one of these days. I think it's on either Netflix or Amazon, right? Happy New Year!!

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    1. I hear it is on Netflix. We watched it on PBS and have all the DVD's except the last season which we are watching now.

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  4. I've only seen The Help, which I really enjoyed. I know it gets a lot of crap nowadays, but I thought it was very well acted.

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    1. I thought The Help is a good film and don't really understand all the backlash it gets now

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  5. MY MAN GODFREY!!!!!!!!!!!

    I knew that I forgot a gem. I was wracking my brain about these and even once I had three I really liked I felt like something was missing. Brilliant choice!

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    1. Thank you! You had one too which I love-The Innocents!

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  6. Good morning, dear Birgit!

    FYI: My full name is Shady Dweezil Moon Unit Zappa Del Knight!

    Mrs. Shady and I are eager to devour the final season of Downton. Isn't it a shame that life imitated art to some extent when Michelle Dockery's (Lady Mary's) fiance died recently?

    I saw How To Murder Your Wife in the 60s around the time of its release. Jack Lemmon is one of my favorite actors (see The Out-of-Towners), and you and I have already discussed how much we both admire Englishman Terry-Thomas (see It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World). Italian women were all the rage in the 60s.

    The Help is another favorite of mine. On New Year's Day, Mrs. Shady and I watched Jurassic World starring Opie Taylor's daughter Bryce Dallas Howard.

    I enjoyed your butler/maid choices, dear friend Birgit. Remember Shirley Booth as Hazel?

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    1. Yes I avoided Dweezil and Moon Unit because I have a soft spot for Frank Zappa:) I did not know that about Michelle's fiancee-I will have to look that up but that is very sad. Virni, Claudia, Sophia etc... they were the rage. Terry-Thomas-divine in Mad World. My hubby and I watched the same film on New year's day...how wild is that! I do remember Shirley Booth! It is not a vivid memory but I do recall the show and liking it

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  7. Haven't seen any of these movies, but did read the book The Help; thought it was well written :)

    I have to laugh about your comment of stars and what they name their children. I just don't think people think about the future and how dealing with an odd name could be a bit difficult for some.

    betty

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    1. I heard the book is excellent. These morons are not thinking about their kids and school, future etc... If I was the one having to mark down the name of the kid I would slap the parents

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  8. OOOOOO!!!! Love your picks! Lombard and Powell are both so great in Godfrey, so is Gail Patrick as Cornelia her bitch of a sister. It's a charmer and perfect for today. Have you ever seen the 50's remake with David Niven and June Allyson? On it's own its a mild trifle with some cute parts but compared to the original it's trash.

    How to Murder Your Wife is a relic of its time but amusing because of Jack Lemmon, Terry-Thomas and Claire Trevor. Man that Virna Lisi was a stunner.

    Can't believe that I haven't seen The Help anywhere else yet and that it didn't even occur to me! The film itself is only okay but the performances make it so much better.

    I have seen John Gilbert's Downstairs and now that you've mentioned it I'm kicking myself again that I forgot about it. It's actually one of the better Gilbert performances I've seen. He plays quite the bastard most effectively.

    Inspired by Downton Abbey I went completely English with my choices this week:

    The Maids (1975)-Sisters Solange and Claire (Glenda Jackson & Susannah York) work as maids for a woman they detest, known only as Madame. Whenever she’s out they take turns dressing in her clothes and demeaning each other as Madame does to them. An adaptation of a Jean Genet play that was itself based on a famous pair of murders committed by the Papin sisters in 30’s France. Produced as part of the American Film Theatre but released theatrically this is very much a filmed play that features two award caliber performances from its lead actresses.

    The Servant (1963)-Tony, a wealthy young man moves to London and hires the seemingly docile Barrett to be his all-around servant. Barrett at first seems quite competent and yielding but Tony’s girlfriend Susan is made uneasy by him and advises Tony to send him away. Once Barrett brings his sister Vera to work there too the situation spirals downward and ultimately the question is who the servant is and who’s the master?

    The Fallen Idol (1948)-A young British boy, Phillippe, worships his father’s butler, Baines (Ralph Richardson) and Baines spins stories of his great adventures to amuse the boy. However Baines is stuck in a loveless marriage and when an accident occurs which Phillippe misconstrues his attempts to protect his hero only lead to bigger troubles for Baines. Directed by Carol Reed and winner of a slew of awards this is a great film.

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    1. Glad you like my picks and I figured you saw the John Gilbert film. I have not seen any of your picks but fallen Idol and The Servant are on my to watch list

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  9. Seen #2 a long time ago I think. Watched number 3 a few weeks ago. It was pretty good indeed. Never even heard of the first. Does Batman count? Only butler that pops in is Alfred lol

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    1. Batman counts! The first is zany and great-it would be fun to find out you watched it

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  10. I've only seen The Help, like a million times: I absolutely love it. It's touching and also has some powerful performances in it.

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    1. The Help is great and I hope you get to see the other 2-the first is a pure classic!

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    2. "How to Murder Your Wife" already was on my watchlist. Now I'll add "My Man Godfrey" too.

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  11. MY MAN GODFREY!!! Why didn't I think of this? One of my all-time favorites. Love The Help, too. So rewatchable. I have seen parts of How to Murder Your Wife and it looks like fun.

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    1. I love that first movie-a real gem. I would have slapped the sister...or maybe the mother because she is so daffy. How To...is a fun movie and all men would love to wake up or at least see Virni Lisi in a cream bikini

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  12. All interesting picks, warm greetings!

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    1. Glad you like them-greetings to you

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  13. Intresting choices, two of them I have yet to see and I only know How to Murder Your Wife from Fawlty Towers. It's one of Basil's favourite films, he's seen six times.

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    1. I forgot that Basil seen this film many times-Hahahaaaa

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  14. I've seen The Help - good, but the book is better! (I almost always say that). Another English butler you haven't mentioned is The Admirable Crichton - great fun.
    The Glasgow Gallivanter (New blog title!)

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    1. I have not seen The Admirable Crichton-Have to check that out!

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  15. Good afternoon, Birgit. It seems like I've seen parts of My Man G, but not sure if I've seen it all the way through. I'll have to rectify that.

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    1. It's a really good film-Hope you see it

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  16. Hi Birgit, Finally had a chance for a sit down and catchup visiting moment. Oh you've got some good oldies and a wonderful relatively 'newbie'. Loved The Help, and was so pleased it followed the book so well. Always love the oldies, but I'll fess up that Godfrey is my choice over the Jack Lemon one. William Powell was superb in anything he did (as was JL), but I just couldn't like Murder Your Wife for some reason. TFS & Happy New Year.

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    1. William Powell is what I call Dashing! He was excellent in all he did. Murder Your Wife would sit wrong with many people I think because of the stereotype but I enjoy the acting and funness and don't take it seriously

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  17. My Man Godfrey is one of my favorite movies. I also saw the one with June Allyson and David Niven, but can't remember a thing about it other than Allyson was being bubbly self.

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    1. I have not seen the remake and I can't see anyone being better than Lombard especially June Allyson-she is too bubbly:)

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  18. I've actually seen all three of these. (And I do love Downton Abbey, too.) My Man Godfrey makes my list of favorite all time movies. (Just don't ask how long that list is.)

    I did love how Jack Lemmon had to act out all his shenanigans so they'd be "real" for his comic strip. The end was expected, but worth it all the same.

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    1. That is great that you actually saw all of them! It is funny that he had to act them out.

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  19. Nope, not seen any of them Birgit. Like you though, I am a devotee of Downton Abbey and will be very sorry when this season ends and thus the series ends too.

    Thought of you today. In my local jewellers and they sell homemade cards for all occasions. Some of them are very attractive.

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    1. I will be sad when Downton Abbey goes and my hubby will be depressed for weeks! That's cool that the jeweler sells homemade cards

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  20. My Man Godfrey is one of the funniest movies ever! I like The Help. I felt a bit of concern that everything happens thanks to a white woman, but the maids who comprise "the help" join her in spite of the danger. They are brave women, and I was thrilled when Octavia Spencer won an Academy Award. Viola Davis is making quite a name for herself on TV. I reviewed an upstairs/downstairs movie on my blog today: Gosford Park.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. That is a great movie isn't it? I love it. People get all incensed about that one spot that a white woman helps but look at the times! If it was set today, I would not be happy either but back then, their voice would not be heard as well if a white person didn't come into play. I read your review on Gosford Park and I saw it was quite popular today

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  21. Hi, BIRGIT! Did I ever tell you that my real surname is Kringle and my parents named me Chris?

    I hope I never told you that because it would have been a lie. But I'm with you on all the screwy names. And not just screwy names, but normal names with screwy spellings: Shahn, Rykardo, Loothur, Anjellyne... Parents! Buy a friggin' dictionary and learn how to use it!

    I've only seen 'MY MAN, GODFREY' but of course it's wonderful. All you gotta say is "William Powell" and I'm all for seeing it.

    I'd have to give this topic some thought. But as you know, last night I watched 'HEAVEN CAN WAIT' (1943). Although the story wasn't primarily about them, there were several different servants in that movie who played important parts in moving the story along.

    And my favorite is the one where Jasper is serving breakfast to the bickering Strables. I've seen this movie about 12-15 times and I still need to look up the name of the Black actor who played Jasper because he was FABULOUS! To me, that whole scene is one of the funniest of all time, and if you watch him closely - his eyes and mannerisms - Jasper actually steals it!

    "BOSS! GOOD NEWS! THE CAPTAIN IS OUT! Ain't that fine? Now you just go ahead and eat your hotcakes and I'll see what else I can find out..."

    Cracks me up. Poor Jasper being the man in the middle between those two nasty walruses.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

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  22. I liked the Help, but the part that grossed me out was the pie. Also, how was the woman so dumb not to know what that pie had in it.

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  23. I've only seen The Help here. But it's a solid movie. I really enjoyed it.

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  24. I'm pretty sure I saw How to Murder Your Wife in the theater back in the 60's. I used to enjoy film like that even though I didn't get a lot of the jokes. I was always a big Jack Lemmon fan.

    The other two films I have not seen.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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