It has been a very busy week and a fun weekend going to the zoo and seeing all the animals. The Toronto Zoo has actually helped many animals come back from the brink of extinction and they educate people about the animals. Sunday, I slept and didn’t move much and yesterday I went for my infusion and was stoned for most of the day but my pain is much better. I hope to show some pictures once I figure out how to send the pics from my phone to my email:). Anyway, this week it is all about actors giving the speech of their lives in films. Check out Wandering Through The Shelves to find out what the others have chosen. Here are my 3...
1. RUGGLES OF RED GAP-1935
I finally saw this film a couple of months ago and enjoyed it immensely. Charles Laughton plays an English Butler who is won in a bet by a man who lives in the rugged west. It is fun to see how this fish out of water tries to settle into the American way of life. The most famous part of this film is Charles Laughton’s rendition of Lincoln’s speech. The role is beautifully played by Laughton and his speech makes one love that famous speech all the more. I think it quite funny that the Englishman knows the speech while the locals have no clue....typical even for today. I chose a video where one just listens to Laughton reciting this speech..hope you give it a listen.
2. MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON-1939
How can I write about this topic and not choose a Jimmy Stewart film! James Stewart has many films where one can choose a speech but I chose one of his most famous which comes from this film about a young, naive and idealistic senator who is asked to come to Washington. He is to be a stooge for a crooked deal involving land but the old senators don’t realize who they are messing with. The last 20 or so minutes has the young senator holding the floor of the senate, never yielding, trying to showcase that the government should be for the people and not for corporate manipulations. Again, a wish for all of us.
3. THE GRAPES OF WRATH-1940
A great book written by John Steinbeck about the Great Depression, the dust bowl and the average Joe who had to leave their homes, after the banks foreclose, and travel to California. In this film, there are no snazzy costumes or musical interludes but the gritty, sad realism that was afflicting so many people in the mid west. Henry Fonda plays Tom Joad, recently released from prison who travels with his family to California only to be placed in camps and made to feel like slaves to the rich landowners who have no problem becoming richer on the hardships of the farmers who lost everything. Henry Fonda’s speech is also very famous but I love Jane Darwell’s speech about "We're the people". A great film worth seeing even once.
Which films would you choose?
Braveheart comes to mind. There's a couple good ones in Pulp Fiction. And of course, John Belushi's speech in Animal House.ReplyDelete
I have to watch Animal House again as it has been decades. I almost used Braveheart and Pulp Fiction...love Samuel Jackson in itDelete
Thanks for the life update, dear friend. I hope your pain relief lasts a long time. I love to visit a zoo that provides a natural environment for its animals. Clearly the Toronto Zoo goes well beyond that.
I have seen films #2 and #3. The first one sounds great because I admire Charles Laughton. You are correct, dear friend. As years go by, we tend to forget people, events and words spoken in the past. For example, the only Lincoln I remember is the cool dude on Mod Squad. :) Mr. Smith and Grapes are two more of the films I studied at college. James Stewart and Henry Fonda were titans of the silver screen and I am eager to watch all their work.
One of my favorite movie speeches was delivered by Delta House frat boy Otter in Animal House:
"But you can't hold a whole fraternity responsible for the behavior of a few, sick twisted individuals. For if you do, then shouldn't we blame the whole fraternity system? And if the whole fraternity system is guilty, then isn't this an indictment of our educational institutions in general? I put it to you, Greg - isn't this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America."
Perhaps the most powerful speech I ever witnessed was given by Jeff Daniels in the role of Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain in the epic film Gettysburg:
"This is a different kind of army. If you look back through history you will see men fighting for pay, for women, for some other kind of loot. They fight for land, power, because a king leads them, or just because they like killing. But we are here for something new, this has not happened much, in the history of the world. We are an army out to set other men free. America should be free ground, all of it, not divided by a line between slave states and free - all the way from here to the Pacific Ocean. No man has to bow. No man born to royalty. Here we judge you by what you do, not by who your father was. Here you can be something. Here is the place to build a home. But it's not the land, there's always more land. It's the idea that we all have value - you and me. What we are fighting for, in the end, we're fighting for each other."
Thank you, dear friend BB!
I’m so glad you placed these speeches here. Gettysburg is a sobering film and very well done. Animal house is loved by people here I see:)I believe you would really enjoy Ruggles...hope you see it one dayDelete
I haven't seen any of these. I think my school was one of the few that didn't make anyone read The Grapes of Wrath. A lot of friends I made later on all had to.ReplyDelete
It’s actually a good book even though it is not uplifting. Maybe you will see the film(s) one dayDelete
Great choices and we have a match, one I'm not surprised we paired on.ReplyDelete
Ruggles is such an under discussed treasure and Laughton (and Charlie Ruggles, ZaSu Pitts & Mary Boland) a treat in it.
Jane Darwell's speech in Grapes of Wrath does tear at the heart. A fine film of a book that can be a challenge to read. By the way John Steinbeck wrote the book not F. Scott Fitzgerald. It's the only Steinbeck book I had trouble with.
Mr. Smith is a fantastic film, a justly defined classic, and a perfect fit for the theme.
My first thought was the Soliloquy number in Carousel that Gordon MacRae performs so beautifully but I've used it before so I went searching elsewhere which provided rather easy.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)-Idealistic greenhorn Jefferson Smith (Jimmy Stewart) is selected by the political machine of his state to complete the term of a recently deceased senator. Arriving full of purpose and dreams of justice the bumpkin is taken under the wing of an esteemed but secretly crooked senior senator (Claude Rains) and guided by the at first cynical and doubtful reporter Diz Moore (Thomas Mitchell) and Smith’s secretary Clarissa Saunders (Jean Arthur). Won over by his honesty the pair try and help him when his awareness of the breathe of malfeasance in government threatens to crush his spirit. Attempting to right many wrongs this climaxes in a memorable filibuster.
Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)-Ted and Joanna Kramer (Dustin Hoffman & Meryl Streep) are in a failing marriage. Feeling suffocated Joanna leaves not only Ted but deserts their young son Billy (Justin Henry) as well to find herself in parts unknown. Up to this point a distracted, obtuse father focused on his career Ted is required to assume all parental responsibilities and forges a strong bond with his young boy. Time passes and Joanna reappears wanting Billy back regardless of the fact that she abandoned him. Ted puts up a fight and in the court case that ensues there are several memorable monologues.
A Few Good Men (1992)-On the Guantanamo Bay military base two marines perform a Code Red on a fellow marine resulting in his death. Charged and moved to the nation’s capital their case is assigned to hotshot officer Lt. Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise). They affirm that they were under orders to perform the act while their superiors Lt. Kendrick (Keifer Sutherland) and Colonel Nathan Jessup (Jack Nicholson) deny any involvement. Moving into the courtroom Kaffee takes drastic measures to uncover the truth leading to many confrontations and an epic showdown monologue.
You are so right about Ruggles and I wish it was more we’ll know. Glad we match! I always get a thrill with that. Ughhhh....I always mix those 2 up for some reason so I corrected it. Your picks are great and a Few Good Men. Kramer vs Kramer is an excellent choice and one I didn’t even think of .Delete
I am glad you are feeling better and I love the stoned comment (legal high).ReplyDelete
As usual, I have not seen any of these, nor have I heard of any of them. I HAVE heard of Grapes of Wrath, but never read it. I would have no idea what films to share in this category, but I loved your synopses, as usual, which brought these films to life for me.
Thanks for your kind words and I’m glad I am feeling better. You may see any of these films in the future..maybe:jDelete
All were great movies. I, too, wish we had people in Congress today who would be idealistic like the James Stewart character. I always enjoy reading about the movies you select.ReplyDelete
They are great and you are so right about the governmentDelete
Haven't seen any of these but did read Grapes of Wrath (LOL). Glad to hear perhaps you are feeling a bit better, hope its an upturn for you in the days ahead.ReplyDelete
Glad you read the book and maybe, one day, you will see the filmDelete
Interesting that a frivolous little film like Animal House ended up making such a huge impression on people that two of your commenters mentioned two different speeches made by its characters. That movie reached a far greater number of viewers than anyone ever expected at the time.ReplyDelete
Yes, Animal house seems to be a winner this week and a film I need to revisitDelete
Charlie Chaplin's famous speech from The Dictator, Kenneth Branagh in Henry V. I'm partial to Patrick Stewart's in Star Trek: First Contact.ReplyDelete
I almost chose The Great Dictator but it has been decades and I need to see it again. Your StarvTrek choice is perfect! I wish I would have chosen that one.Delete
Hi Birgit; I'm sorry you've had so much pain. Glad to know the treatments are working for you. Believe it or not, I've lived here since 1969 but have never been to the Toronto Zoo! It's about time I went. Sounds like a great experience. Of the movies, I've seen 2 and 3, but not 1. Sounds intresting! Charles Laughton was a great actor. My favourite movie speech is Al Pacino's "You're ALL out of order!" rant from "And Justice For All". Have a good weekend. ☺ReplyDelete
Sorry, typo! Should read "interesting"Delete
My IPad always creates boo-boos. I am feeling better and I would go to the zoo...so much fun. And Justice is brilliantDelete
I haven't seen any of these but the last two are already on my watchlist.ReplyDelete
Glad you saw the last 2..maybe one day you will see the firstDelete
Mr Smith Goes To Washington sure popped in. A great one indeed.ReplyDelete
Braveheart, Animal House, and Independence Day all came to mind as well.
All your 3 fits for sure!Delete
I haven't seen any of themReplyDelete
Maybe one day...Delete
Took the boys to the Toronto Zoo years ago. I love zoos. I've only seen Mr. Smith. I need to read Grapes of Wrath. Hope you are feeling better.ReplyDelete
Glad you saw Mr. Smith and so glad you went to the zoo. I. Feeling better which is greatDelete
I hope this helps with the pain. Living in pain sucks.ReplyDelete
I have, of course, heard of the second two. Not the first. Although, the first is totally in my wheelhouse. (I don't know what I'd pick. The first movie that came to mind was Stage Door. I think that's the one. Where Katherine Hepburn has this scene to deliver, but she can't quite do it, until opening night when her friend kills herself.)
Stage Door is a great choice!Delete
I was riveted when I first saw that scene in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. I was a kid. The movie's message of humility, hope, and determination influenced me more than cathechism classes.ReplyDelete
I love your synopsis...so trueDelete
You picked some good ones.ReplyDelete
How long does the infusion take and does it help?
Thanks...glad you like them. The Lydacane infusion takes about an hour and ..YES! It does help. It doesn’t take the pain away but it lessens it which is great. I find it helps and I have to go back every 2 months and that’s aok.Delete
Hope you're feeling better and good. Mr. Smith Goes To Washington is living the dream. Makes me think of dark counterweight speeches that do serve the purpose almost as well pulling the curtain back. For example, Andy Griffith - everything he says sounds like a speech - in A Face In The Crowd.ReplyDelete
A Face In The Crowd's Walter Matthau: "Suppose I tell you exactly what's gonna happen to you. You're gonna be back in television. Only it won't be quite the same as it was before. There'll be a reasonable cooling-off period and then somebody will say: 'Why don't we try him again in a inexpensive format. People's memories aren't too long." And you know, in a way, he'll be right. Some of the people will forget, and some of them won't. Oh, you'll have a show. Maybe not the best hour or, you know, top 10. Maybe not even in the top 35. But you'll have a show. It just won't be quite the same as it was before. Then a couple of new fellas will come along. And pretty soon, a lot of your fans will be flocking around them. And then one day, somebody'll ask: 'Whatever happened to, a, whatshisname? You know, the one who was so big. The number-one fella a couple of years ago. He was famous. How can we forget a name like that? Oh by the way, have you seen, a, Barry Mills? I think he's the greatest thing since Will Rogers.'"
Top three in no particular order.
Michael Douglas in Wall Street holding court - more than that - a tour de force at the Teldar Paper shareholders' meeting.
Stripes' Bill Murray's speech to get the despondent troops amped big-time for their parade performance which led to:
General: "Where's your drill sergeant, men?"
Murray, "Blown up sir!"
Troops, "Blown up sir!!"
General, "So am I understand that you men completed your training on your own?"
Murray, "That's the fact Jack!"
Troops, "That's the fact Jack!!"
Austin Powers: Dr. Evil's autobiographical monologue in group therapy.
You are right about Andy Griffith and that speech is excellent. Michael Douglas is great as well in Wall Street and I have not seen Stripes in decades and I have to see that and Meatballs again. Love the Dr. Evil monologueDelete
Henry Fonda's Grapes of Wrath speech was the first one that came to my mind. Off hand I can't think of another specifically, but I do know there are a number that I've liked.ReplyDelete
Tossing It Out
Actually one came to mind--it's like an internal soliloquy. At the ending of The Incredible Shrinking Man, the main character tells about becoming smaller into infinity, but it's okay because to God there is no zero. Sometimes I'll just watch the clip of that speech because I just like the ideas the character talks about.Delete
Tossing It Out
I had a tough time figuring out wha5 works this week but as the days went by, more and more films came to my head. I still have to see your second pick and it is one I have been wanting to see for ...forver.Delete
I love the Toronto Zoo! I'm glad we got to see the pandas when they were there.ReplyDelete
My first thought of a great speech in a film is Bill Pullman's speech as the president from Independence Day. The only time I can stomach American jingoism is when they're fighting aliens.
Hands down the worst speech is Marlon Brando's shadow mumbling in the dark at the end of Apocalypse Now. I watched the re-release in the theatre and loved it up until that point. The whole otherwise awesome movie just comes to a crashing halt when Brando shows up. I literally fell asleep.
I saw the Pandas also...they are just so cute that they don’t look real. If I lived close to that zoo I would volunteer. Yes, I know what you mean about American Rah Rah speeches. I liked that speech by Marlon Brando whom I think was quite nuts at that time.Delete
I love those first two choices! And I seem to vaguely recall urging you in a comment section some time ago to see 'RUGGLES OF RED GAP'. Such a little gem that's been mostly and sadly forgotten!
I couldn't think of better examples than those first two you went with.
Another one I love is the speech that Arthur Jensen (Ned Beatty) gives to Howard Beale (Peter Finch) in 'NETWORK', when he privately calls him on the carpet. There is more truth in that speech than in all the university political science classes combined!!
Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...
You did and I was so happy to f8nally see Ruggles. I had a feeling you would not like my 3rd choice. There are more than once speech in Network that would work including the famous one. In fact, one person (Dan) chose the scene where Beatric Straight confronts her husband, Will8am Holden, on his infedelity.Delete
Hi Birgit - so glad the infusion went well; these movies look interesting - one day I'll get to sit and watch lots of movies ... get myself into the habit - cheers HilaryReplyDelete
Lincoln and Gettysburg are neatly explored on different levels in Star Trek by clever script writers. Its fun seeing them herelike this.ReplyDelete
All incredible films. The Gettysburg Address brings tears to my eyes each time I read it.ReplyDelete
I live in the south - ground zero for the Civil War. Some people glamorize that conflict, but it's one of the saddest moments in our country's history.
I'm so glad to read the infusion helped your pain. I hope you are still getting relief. The zoo trip sounds like lots of fun.ReplyDelete
I've only seen the Grapes of Wrath on this list and it's been so long I don't really remember anything about it beyond the overall story. May have to watch again.
We watched "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington" & "Grapes of Wrath". I can't really remember much about the films other than I enjoyed them. I need to find these on Netflix for a second watch. Thanks for the reminder. Given this movie prompt, I can't think of any film titles at the moment that work.
As long as we’re discussing Capra films, Mr. Deeds Goes to TownReplyDelete
The Scent of a Woman
Bull Durham has several.
The Grapes of Wrath is a wonderful book.ReplyDelete
Be well, Birgit.