Thursday, April 14, 2016

Thursday Movie Picks-Fish Out of Water Movies


This week at Wandering Through The Shelves, it is fish out of water movies. I wasn't sure what that meant and had to google it but I think I got it. These are my 3...

1. PYGMALION-1938


This is my favourite rendition of this Shaw play. No one does Professor Higgins better than Leslie Howard and Wendy Hiller just shines as Eliza Doolittle. I do like the musical remake with Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn(should have been Julie Andrews but it wasn't meant to be) but it doesn't hold a candle to this film. Higgins is rude and probably has Asberger's syndrome but is a brilliant linguist who bets with his friend that he can turn an ordinary cockney flower girl into a duchess! He takes Eliza off the street and teaches her how to walk, talk, eat, dance...you name it. He recreates her. The acting of these 2 leads is a tour de force and I feel Wendy Hiller's final transformation is stunning. Brilliant film, brilliant writing and brilliant acting.

2. MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON-1939


This is the film that made Jimmy Stewart a star and there is a reason....he is excellent in it. He plays an innocent homespun young man who is chosen as a senator, the bigwigs thinking he will be too dumb, innocent or both to find out what the unscrupulous louses in Washington want to do. They find out that he is not the push over they think he is and Stewart's character holds the Senate  for many hours fighting the good fight..the honest man in politics....did you hear or see hell freeze over? Stewart drank or gurgled something to make his voice hoarse. I love this film...can ya tell?

3. PLEASANTVILLE-1998


This is a beautiful film that uses the camera and colour to its great advantage. A young man, who feels out of place, gets the chance to live in the world he loves-his favourite 1950's TV show. He ends up there with his sister and loves it but slowly realizes all is not what it seems and to live, one needs colour in one's life. It is a great statement on fear and prejudice and how ordinary people can become a mob and destroy due to fear. I love its quiet beauty.



53 comments:

  1. Hi, Birgit!

    Jimmy Stewart is one of my favorite actors - so natural, so credible, so "every man" - and perfect for David vs. Goliath stories like Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (and my favorite, Anatomy of a Murder). I saw Pleasantville a number of years ago and enjoyed it. I admire Jeff Daniels (see his gripping performance in Gettysburg) and William H. Macy (priceless in Fargo).

    Thanks, dear friend BB!

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    1. Jimmy is my favourite and he is so good in this. I saw Gettysburg which is excellent and he is stellar in this.

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  2. I've only seen Pleasantville and it is fantastic. I have seen bits and pieces of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, but never bothered to give it a proper watch. Keep telling myself I am, just haven't gotten around to it. Great picks.

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    1. Pleasantville is so good.i love the way the colour is used. I hope you give Mr. Smith a try.

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  3. Love all three of these!

    While I'm variable on Leslie Howard Prof. Higgins really suited his chilly screen presence and Wendy Hiller is a flintier, tougher Eliza than Audrey could ever approach so her transformation is more impactful I think.

    Not much more I can add about Mr. Smith that you didn't say except that beside Jimmy Stewart that film is loaded wall to wall with an amazing cast. I think this may be my favorite Jean Arthur performance.

    Pleasantville is another film just loaded with great performers and a solid story. Reese and Tobey are wonderful but Joan Allen is the standout and yeah for Don Knotts.

    This was an easy week for me, all three of mine popped into my head as soon as I read the theme.

    Blast from the Past (1999)-An absurd premise, a slightly nutty 60’s scientist and his pregnant homemaker wife (Christopher Walken and Sissy Spacek, both ideal) lock themselves into a bomb shelter for 35 years under the false impression that nuclear war has been declared then sending their grown son out into a strange new world for supplies, is played with charming whimsy. Brendan Fraser uses his size and somewhat goofy personality to make son Adam believable as a big overgrown child in a man's body. He and Alicia Silverstone as Eve the woman who takes Adam under her wing have a nice vibe with her worldliness playing well off his innocence. A sweet, breezy film with the underlying message to respect each other and enjoy the world around you.

    My Cousin Vinny (1992)-Two young men are falsely accused of murder in the deep South, desperate they contact the only lawyer either knows, Vinnie the New York cousin of one of the boys who has finally passed the bar on his sixth try. Down he and his brassy fiancée come, hilarity ensues! Hard to say who is funnier Joe Pesci, the Oscar winning Marisa Tomei or the deadpan Fred Gwynne in his final performance as the judge whose patience is stretched to the limit.

    Time After Time (1979)-In the London of 1893 H.G. Wells (Malcolm McDowell) plans to use his time machine to travel to the Utopian paradise he believes is the future. As he prepares to make the journey Jack the Ripper (David Warner), on the run from the police, hijacks the machine and travels to 70’s San Francisco. When the machine returns to Victorian England Wells uses it to follow him. Perplexed by the modern world H.G. enlists the help of Amy (Mary Steenburgen) a bank teller he meets to catch Jack before he can resume his killing spree. During the pursuit Wells falls for Amy, even as she has a hard time believing his wild story of time travel. A thriller with a fine mixture of humor and suspense, McDowell and Steenburgen fell in love while making this film and were married for a decade.

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    1. Jean Arthur is so good in this film. She is a delight. I love the ones you picked. The first one is so daffy but in a wonderful way. Cousin Vinny is funny and I didn't expect that actually. I love your last pick because it is one of my favourites. I love David Warner and wish he had done so much more in his film work.

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  4. Seen the last two. Stewart was great in it indeed. And Pleasantville was a pleasant surprise. Neat idea for a movie as well.

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    1. Stewart is excellent and I love Pleasantville.

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  5. The only one I've seen is Pleasantville. I wasn't crazy about it, but it's so beautifully shot.

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    1. I thought it was great and loved the look of it.

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  6. Not seen any of these, even though I've heard of them. I loved Jimmy Stewart in the Glenn Miller Story! Sublime.

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    1. I have not seen that film! You have seen one I haven't yet.

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  7. Leslie Howard as Higgins? Yeah, I can picture that. Was probably amazing. I saw Pleasantville while sitting up one night because I was sick and couldn't lie down and breathe. I dozed through most of it.

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    1. Leslie Howard is a perfect Higgins, to me anyway

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  8. Honest man in politics? Well, now, THERE'S an oxymoron, huh?

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    1. It is! This is pure fiction of course

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  9. Honest man in politics? Well, now, THERE'S an oxymoron, huh?

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  10. BIRGIT ~
    I've not seen 'PYGMALION', just 'MY FAIR LADY' which I love. Of course, 'MR. SMITH...' is a total classic. And I haven't seen your third choice.

    This is a great category and I'd have to really give it some thought. But just off the top of my head and off the cuff... I'll mention 'HAIR' (Claude Bukowski was definitely a fish out of water), 'MIDNIGHT COWBOY' (just saw it again recently and had forgotten how tough that one is to watch), and 'LADY AND THE TRAMP'.

    I think it's cute / funny that you had to look up "fish out of water" to find out what it meant. I'd never thought about it before but I guess that must be a uniquely American expression.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. Hahahaa I have heard this expression before but my mind drew a blank when it came to movies. Once I saw the connection, then I just could choose from so many that came into my head. Midnight Cowboy is a tough film to see. Oh..if you look at my previous post I wrote Bout Laura

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  11. Leslie Howard over Rex Harrison? Are you serious with this?

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    1. I am! I have seen both and Howard is my Higgins

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  12. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is a terrific movie dripping with patriotism, something sorely lacking in today's politics.

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    1. How sad but he is one man against the rest who are corrupt so may still be true even today

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  13. I liked Pleasantville but LOVED the other two. Just watched Mr. Smith Goes to Washington a couple of weeks ago.

    I did a post on Leslie Howard a while back... http://silverfoxlair.blogspot.com/2011/04/one-of-those-guys-named-leslie.html

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    1. I love the first two also and will check out what you wrote

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  14. I really like Pleasantville because this movie illustrates how what you dream about might not always be what you think it is.

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    1. Yes and it does have that "be careful what you wish for" feel.

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  15. Mr. Smith Goes To Washington. I'm truly humbled to admit I've not seen this movie. I'm slinking off now...

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    1. Maybe this will be the year to see it:)

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  16. I don't think Jimmy Stewart ever made a bad film.
    What did you think of Shenandoah?

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    1. I know your question wasn't directed to me, SANDRA, but for the record... I LOVE 'SHENANDOAH'! It's actually one of my favorite Jimmy Stewart movies.

      ~ D-FensDogG
      'Loyal American Underground'

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    2. I love Shenandoah...it is so well acted and written

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  17. Ah, I've actually seen two of the films. Both were really good.

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  19. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is just the best and Jimmy was ROBBED of an Oscar for that performance. Jean Arthur is so good in it, too. And Claude Rains. And Harry Carey. And, well, pretty much everyone. One of my All-time Favorites. Brilliant pick!

    I love Pleasantville and the use of color just as much as you - there's just nothing like it, and so beautifully done.

    I am of two minds about Pygmalion because I adore both the Shaw and the musical although the film of My Fair Lady is not the best. But Leslie Howard and Wendy Hiller really are a great couple in the leads and that script is just fool-proof.

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    1. Jimmy should have won but it was 1939 and everyone was shocked that Robert Donat won and not Clark Gable. I loved Jean Arthur in this film as well. I do like the musical but Audrey always seemed to ladylike to play Eliza and I hated her grand dress for the ball. Harrison was also great but Howard just gave that extra something to the role for me.

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  20. Not seen that version of Pygmalion, only seen the My Fair Lady movies. I think I saw Pleasantville on TV some years back, it rings a bell.

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    1. Pygmalion is such a great film and one of my favourites

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  21. Interesting choices. I'll always havea soft spot for Pleasantville. It's so affecting.

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    1. Pleasantville is so great and the use of colour is like another character for me. I found this such an original idea

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  22. Three movies out of three, all ones I love.

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  23. I saw Mr. Smith goes to Washington years ago. There is a town called Pleasantville that is about half hour away from me.

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    1. That's cool....I wonder if it looks pretty or just a typical town

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  25. Ah Mr Smith goes to Washington...one of the all-time classics!! :)

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    1. It is a classic and Jimmy was great!

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  26. I haven't seen any of these but I think I'll check out Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

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    1. It is such a great film and so well done

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  27. Mr. Smith is probably responsible for our modern distorted view of what politicians can be instead of what they are. I, ah, guess I don't belong in Pleasantville...

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  28. I really liked Pleasantville, it had a good message to it and the black and white/color mixing was neat.

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  29. I haven't seen Pleasantville in a long time but I remember enjoying it then. It's a perfect pick for this theme as well a Pygmalion.

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