This was my choice and who knew it would come at a time when all this crap has hit the news from Weinstein to Spacey. What is happening, especially in Hollywood, is not new because this has been going on since the movies began. You better believe that Darryl F. Zanuck and Jack Warner make Weinstein and Spacey look like freshman in the sexual abuse arena. Marilyn Monroe was famous for saying, when she finally hit it big, “thank God, this is the last cock I’ll ever have to suck.” Sorry for the brutal language but it shows what women...and men, had to endure and still do. Anyway, I know there are many films that one can choose that features strong women and I chose women who are strong but not insane. Check out Wandering Through The Shelves to see what everyone else has chosen. Here are my 3....
1. HIS GIRL FRIDAY-1940
How can I not choose this film! It stars Cary Grant as a newspaper editor who was married to his star reporter played beautifully by Rosalind Russell. They are now divorced and she is ready to marry a nice, boring insurance agent played by Ralph Bellamy (many jokes about poor Ralph in the film. He is also known as one of the old brothers from Trading Places) but not if Cary has anything to say about it. Hildy (Rosalind Russell) finds herself in the middle of a great news story and her true love for the business overrides any want to be a housewife. Sharp direction by Howard Hawks with quick talking often over each other makes this a fast paced, funny film with a great cast and a woman in a position often held only by men.
2. ADAM`S RIB-1949
How can I not have a Katherine Hepburn film in this week`s theme. This is one of the best films of Tracy and Hepburn and, once again, a woman in a typically male dominated career. They play married lawyers who have a wonderful marriage until she takes the case of defending a woman who tried to kill her horrible excuse for a husband. The lawyer prosecuting the the woman is Spencer Tracy-the film husband of Hepburn. We see the antics in the court room and how Hepburn`s character, Amanda, plays every trick in the book to win the case even at the expense of her husband. Well written by Garson Kanin and Ruth Gordon who were good friends of Tracy and Hepburn and knew how to bring out the best in each actor. It is also the Hollywood debut of the great Judy Holliday who died too young from cancer.
3. THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER-1955
This is a great film that could be considered a horror film, thriller or a fairy tale but no matter what one may call it, it is an excellent film that was unappreciated in its day to the point that the director, film star Charles Laughton, never directed another film. The Coen brothers, Spike Lee and many others have sited how they were influenced by this film which starts Robert Mitchum as an evil preacher after money he knew was hidden somewhere in a house with a widow and 2 small children. he cons the town and the widow whom he marries and murders trying to find the money. The 2 small children run for their lives as he tries to capture them. The children come to a small home with an elderly lady who stands up to this evil man and defends the children seeing right through the so-called preacher. Such great acting from Robert Mitchum who has LOVE tattooed on one hand and HATE on the other (Have you ever seen people with this on their fingers-it comes from this film) to Lillian Gish, she started in films almost when movies began and is considered one of the best actresses.
4. ERIN BROCKOVICH-2000
I had to go with a modern film and I chose this one because I felt Julia Roberts nailed it as the brassy,, in your face real woman-Erin Brockovich. She is hired as a legal assistant whom most in the office, can`t stand and she starts to investigate why a number of people are becoming very ill with cancer, tumours and other medical issues in the small town. When she brings the information to her boss, he sees the big problem and becomes a lawyer to the townsfolk. Through the unrelenting support and hound dog investigation of Erin, the lawyer brings the corruption and poisoning of the water supply of the big company to the foreground. Everyone soon realizes not to mess with Ms. Brockovich. Julia won an Oscar for her role and she delivers a great performance in a well acted film.
Which films would you chooseÉ
I've only seen the last one - that I can remember - and it was good.ReplyDelete
I have to go with the obvious - Wonder Woman!
I 2nd thatDelete
Wow. I am four for four. I've seen them all. And I think my favorite would be His Girl Friday even though I do not like Russell. If I had a buck for every time some man told me I was uppity or didn't 'know my place', I'd be living on a private island some place warm.ReplyDelete
Now I am thinking that I want to watch the movie 'The Women' again. Even with Russell in it, lol.Delete
I've seen His Girl Friday and Erin Brockovich. I'm trying to watch more Katharine Hepburn movies, so I'll have to put Adam's Rib on my list!ReplyDelete
Although I've not even heard of the first three, I have actually seen Erin Brockovich. Roberts did a great job as Brockovich, but I liked how Marg Helgenberger handled the role of the victim. I remembered thinking how young Marg looked in comparison to her stint on CSI. Since I saw it on TV, I didn't realize it was made nearly 18 years ago.ReplyDelete
I think you chose some excellent films, especially based on your synopses. And yes, I think this is a very timely issue and now maybe females of many professions, not just actresses, will be taken seriously when they report the abuse they have suffered.
Erin Brockovich I've seen. A great one indeed. I think I've seen some of the third, barely remember though.ReplyDelete
Yep, the crap in Hollywood has been going on forever. Hopefully they flush them all away.
Can’t swear i’ve seen the first two though they are familiar enough to think I have. Definitely haven’t seen Night of the Hunter. Agree totally on Erin Brockovitch, it was great. Also agree about the sexual harassment stuff, I’m sure there is a lot more to come out, in other fields too.ReplyDelete
Meh. I haven't seen any of them.ReplyDelete
Zero Dark Thirty
Silence of the Lambs
I've never seen Night of the Hunter, but I've seen the other three. Did you know that His Girl Friday was originally written with the Hildy role as male? If I recall correctly, the director had his assistant, a woman, read the script with him, and he realized that it worked better with Hildy as a female character.ReplyDelete
They remade the movie later with a male in the role. I think it was a Walter Matthau/Jack Lemmon pairing. (It was called The Front Page. 1974. Just looked it up via imdb.com.)
Actually, Front Page was the original. It was a stage play, premiered in 1928. The film, starring Pat O'Brien as Hildy, was released in 1931.Delete
I like your choices. Any Hepburn/Tracy movie works for me. I love Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday. As I grow older, I appreciate her brassy characters more. I saw Spy with Melissa McCarthy again recently. It still holds up for me as one of the best woman roles in recent years.ReplyDelete
I love that you used Night of the Hunter! Mitchum so dominates that film that it's easy to forget how really resolute Lillian Gish's character is in and how great she is as well. Tremendous catch.ReplyDelete
Adam's Rib isn't my favorite Tracy/Hepburn flick (that's Desk Set) but it's one of the better from the pair and Judy Holliday is wonderous as she always was.
Erin Brockovich was okay and Roberts was the best she's capable of being but Oscar worthy? I didn't think so.
We match! Funny His Girl Friday was a last minute addition for me when I decided to use my original pick elsewhere but it is a super film. Poor Ralph Bellamy was ever the snook who lost the girl to the other guy during these years, glad in the later part of his career he was able to expand his roles somewhat.
I also reached back for my choices:
Three Secrets (1950)-When a private plane crashes in the remote California Mountains the only survivor is a 5-year-old boy. As word spreads that the child had been adopted at birth from a certain orphanage the three possible mothers, housewife Susan Chase (Eleanor Parker), newspaper reporter Phyllis Horn (Patricia Neal) and ex-con Ann Lawrence (Ruth Roman), gather at the mountain base to discover the truth drawing on their strength to endure the ordeal of wondering “Could that be my boy?” Solid drama with three excellent lead performances was directed by Robert Wise.
Tammy and the Bachelor (1957)-Young Tambrey "Tammy" Tyree (Debbie Reynolds) lives with her grandfather (Walter Brennan) on his houseboat in the swamps of the South. One day young pilot Peter Brent (Leslie Nielsen) crashes nearby and during his recovery Tammy develops a crush on him. He heads back to his family’s mansion telling Grandpa if anything should happen to have Tammy come to his family. Shortly after Gramps is arrested for making corn liquor and Tammy heads to town. Once there she shakes the place up with her common sense approach to all things relying on her strong sense of self to ride out any bumps along the way. Meanwhile Pete sees her in a new light. Debbie carries this with a light touch and scored an enormous hit with the theme song.
His Girl Friday (1940)-Ace reporter Hildy Johnson (Rosalind Russell) is sick of the cutthroat world of the newspaper game and tells her editor and ex-husband Walter Burns (Cary Grant) she’s quitting to get married to someone Walter considers a dolt (Ralph Bellamy). Walter tries every trick in the book to get Hildy to stay finally dangling a carrot he knows her aggressive take charge reporter’s heart can’t refuse-a murderer’s execution. Despite her protests the resourceful Hildy jumps into action and when the chance for a scoop comes along all else is pushed aside. Manic screwball comedy is noted for its extremely fast dialog patter between the leads. This set Roz on the path as THE boss lady of the movies for most of the decade.
I’m also using this week to re-recommend two films I’ve chosen before but they fit right in and both are terrific somewhat obscure films that deserve a look.ReplyDelete
Cry “Havoc” (1943)-As WWII rages in the Philippines a group of women volunteer to help the army nurses in a hospital unit on Bataan. Set mostly in their protective bunker and the switchboard that brings increasingly more dire war news this focuses on the struggles and hardships endured by the women as the front moves ever closer. The cast is comprised almost exclusively of great actresses, Margaret Sullavan, Ann Sothern, Joan Blondell and Fay Bainter among them, with only very brief glimpses of men, including a young Robert Mitchum. A compelling heavy drama leavened by doses of gallows humor.
Westward the Women (1951)-Unvarnished look at the hard road faced by a group of women settlers on a wagon train to California. Robert Taylor, weathered and hard is the rough but fair wagon master and has the only significant male role. Hope Emerson stands out as a plain speaking, no nonsense traveler but all the performances are very good. The cost of the trip is honestly depicted as heavy with human lives. Written by Frank Capra and directed with an unflinching eye by Wild Bill Wellman, an involving, unusual picture.
We share a pick! It's Erin Brockovich of course. The other three sound interesting, I'll have to add them on my list.ReplyDelete
All good choices! There are relatively few strong women in films (and I don't just mean action heroines). That's changing somewhat over time, but not quickly enough. I think people still think any strong or ambitious woman is "bitchy."ReplyDelete
I enjoyed Erin Brockovich but not the other two.ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing such a wonderful list of movies. Hollywood is shocking, and you are right, it has been going on forever.ReplyDelete
I love your choices and will add Pat and Mike and Woman of the Year. My son has love and hate tattooed on his knuckles because of Night of the Hunter. The performances in that movie are amazing. It's the most frightening film I've ever seen.ReplyDelete
Man, I need to see Night of the Hunter, already. It's been on my watchlist forever. I need to get it crossed off.ReplyDelete
I really liked your NIGHT OF THE HUNTER and HIS GIRL FRIDAY choices. (The latter movie I just watched with Beer Boy Bryan a few weeks back.)
I'll add a few more of my own...
I really enjoy (and own) MURPHY'S ROMANCE with Sally Field and James Garner. Really neat character-driven movie with fun performances! I definitely recommend it.
A huge favorite of mine is the original BORN YESTERDAY with Judy Holliday and William Holden. The female lead starts out as anything but a strong woman, but by the end... LOOK OUT!!
Also, I gotta mention Gene Tierney in THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR.
And how can we fail to add THE WIZARD OF OZ? Now that was a strong little girl -- standing up to the Wizard like that after leading her pals on such a scary adventure.
STMcC Presents 'Battle Of The Bands'
I haven't seen #1 or 2, but I enjoyed #3 and 4. Thinking of the strong female characters some of the more recent action films come to mind like Salt and Jodie Foster films. I know I've seen a lot of others, but I can't think of any in particular at the moment.ReplyDelete
Tossing It Out
"My Girl Friday" is a great movie! We saw it a few years ago and enjoyed it very much. The other vintage B&W, we haven't seen but am going to look for them. Oddly, we have not seen "Erin Brockovich". Dramas usually appeal to us less than other films but I'm willing to give it a stab. I'll look for it while I'm scouting out the others. Thanks for sharing and peaking my curiosity. Have a good weekend, my friend!
Strong women are such role models and inspiration for me.ReplyDelete
I've seen parts of His Girl Friday. I need to watch the whole thing. Don't ya love Cary Grant.
Hope all is well in your corner of the world.
Saw the first and the last. Very much enjoyed both of them. I loved your comments about Hollywood.ReplyDelete
Yay, I've seen one of these: Erin Bronkovich. I agree, Birgit. Julia Roberts nailed it. She gave me renewed respect for her. I haven't been impressed with her otherwise. It was a powerful movie that sticks with me.ReplyDelete
Have a great week, hon.
I've seen 3 or your 4: all but Night of the Hunter.ReplyDelete
My list would have to include Philadelphia Story. I know you didn't like Boyhood but I thought the mother character was fabulous, and definitely a survivor. A lot of Miyazaki films would qualify: Princess Mononoke, Nausicaa, Spirited Away, Howl, etc.
I adore My Girl Friday. I saw a digital restoration of it at the Bloor Cinema a few years ago and it blew me away. The dialogue and banter were just amazing, not like movies these days where everyone just speaks in catch phrases.ReplyDelete
Crap I just sounded really old.
I have seen Erin Brockovich- but none of the others! More to add to my list. :)ReplyDelete
Erin Brockovich was a great choice.ReplyDelete
Pretty much anything with Jodie Foster in it, especially The Accused (both Foster and Kelly McGillis play strong female characters) and Silence of the Lambs.
Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct. Whoopi Goldberg in The Color Purple. Meryl Streep in Out of Africa or anything else she's made...
I think Erin Brockovich was one of Julia's best movies. It goes without saying, Hepburn was a strong, strong woman.ReplyDelete
Second His Girl Friday pick for this theme. I haven't seen it myself but do want to see it.ReplyDelete
Your blog is very useful for me,Thanks for your sharing.ReplyDelete