Thursday, June 18, 2020

Thursday Movie Picks-Period Drama



This week is a biggie because I could have lists and lists under period drama so it was hard to pin it down to 3 so I decided to do a theme within a theme. Wandering through the Shelves picked a biggie this week so head on over to see what everyone else has chosen. Here are my 3...

1. QUEEN CHRISTINA-1933


“I shall die a bachelor” said the great Greta Garbo as Queen Christina, the 17th century Queen of Sweden and Garbo did die a bachelor. She played this Queen as I would think this Queen would have been not that I know much about her. This was done before the Hays Code and Breen Office decided to bring the censorship sword down on the film industry so you see some strong suggestions that The Queen and her Lady in Waiting are more than just girlfriends. We see the Queen, dressed as a man, meet and fall in love with, yes, a man, played by Garbo’s once huge love, John Gilbert. They spend a wonderful night together and you know they did. It is an excellent film and sad knowing that Gilbert, once the most famous leading man in the mid to late 20s, is now a costar to Garbo. He plays his part of her lover so well. 

2.  ANNA KARENINA-1935


I actually read the lengthy book and, to be honest, Anna Karenina was so irritating in the book I was glad when she was gone which is about half way through the book from what I remember.  This film was a very good adaptation centering on Anna Karenina and her love/lust for Count Vronsky pissing off her stoic, cold husband who hurts her where it really hurts..not allowing her to see her son. I do like this film especially Frederic March as Count Vronsky but there is something in Garbo that makes me think she is just too strong to play the mentally imbalanced Anna. I could picture her rolling her eyes between takes. I have to admit that I prefer the great Vivien Leigh as Anna even though the Vronsky in that film sucks. This is the superior film and it is well acted and worth a look.

3. CAMILLE-1936


Garbo plays the title role as the doomed heroine/courtesan aka, high priced hooker, who can charm most men with her looks not to mention the bedroom slippers she wore underneath her outfits(Garbo wanted to wear them as they were more comfortable). She is the kept woman of a nasty jerk played to the hilt by sneering Henry Daniell but falls for the prettiest young man to enter the film world since Valentino-Robert Taylor. Taylor falls hard for this gal and she reciprocates but when Taylor's dad comes to visit explaining her relationship with his son will doom him, she decides to be noble. This was Garbo's favourite film and I will say she did look very lovely in the costumes and hats she wore. She acted so well and was the Meryl Streep of her day but Garbo never won an Oscar.

So which 3 would you choose?



34 comments:

  1. I never really thought about how Garbo did so many period pieces. But she did, didn't she? Good flicks. I have seen them all. That's a shocker. Hope all is well.

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    1. Wow! I am glad you saw all of them and yes, Garbo did do many period pieces and many doomed heroines

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  2. I don't think I've seen any of them.
    I'll go with Last of the Mohicans.

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    1. I need to see your pick again because it is so good and love Daniel Day Lewis

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  3. Hi, Birgit!

    Period dramas are not my favorite genre, although I am watching more of them in recent years. (I urge you to watch The Crown.) In 2007 when I binge watched hundreds of black & white films released in the mid 20th century and earlier, I somehow missed/skipped all Greta Garbo films except for Two-Faced Woman. As I watch the trailer for Queen Christina, I marvel at how those teasers were produced in the 1930s, with orchestral fanfare and big bold graphics generating hype. I love the wording "the eyes of a woman whose romance caused nations to tremble." (Same thing happened with Stormy Daniels.) Garbo truly was "magnificent," and adjective used in two of these trailers. She is also "glamorous" and "exotic." Notice how often films are referred to as "pictures." Notice the emphasis on "romance" rather than overt sexual chemistry and explicit behavior. Great screen romances offered movie goers the escape they needed during the Great Depression and wartime.

    After viewing these trailers and reading your reviews, I am adding all three of these Garbo films to my watch list. Thank you, dear friend BB, and enjoy the rest of your week!

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    1. I love these old trailers and Garbo was THE biggest star for prestige films. It's funny because she wanted more money from MGM, rightly so and they refused so she just said, "I think I'll go home now." and she did! Off she went to Sweden and was off screen for a bit. MGM had to capitulate with the result being Queen Christina. I hope you like the films.

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  4. I also picked Anna Karenina, but the newer version as I haven't seen the one from the 30's. I also did a similar theme where I stuck with one actress.

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    1. I almost chose Vivien Leigh who also made Anna Karenina and was great in it. Too bad Vronsky is so icky.

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  5. Hi Birgit...the wonderful Garbo...my Dads favorite....
    Hope you are keeping well,we are still at home and staying safe...luckily its pouring with rain so no hardship today.....take care xxx

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    1. Oh that's great that your dad loved Garbo. I had a friend in High School who's first name was Garbo because her dad loved the actress so much. It is very hot and humid here and no rain!

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  6. GARBO!! Love her and LOVE your theme!!

    I enjoyed all three but like Miss G Camille is my favored one. The first two are strong films but by the time she made Camille she was at her strongest, playing a weak, enervated character! Taylor is beautiful here, a trifle shaky but that fits. Too bad he seemed like such a tool off-screen.

    I'm sure you already know but it was supposed to be Olivier in Queen Christina but Garbo wasn't happy with him and he got the boot and she insisted on Gilbert.

    This sort of period film is one of my favorite genres but I decided that period meant any period so I took a different path.

    A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966)-Inspired by the farces of the ancient Roman playwright Plautus this hilariously tells the bawdy story of slave Pseudolus (a great Zero Mostel) "the lyingest, cheatingest, sloppiest slave in all of Rome" as he attempts to win his freedom by helping his young master woo the girl next door. Based on the stage play of the same name this has terrific songs and an excellent cast (including Buster Keaton in his last role) but it’s Mostel repeating his Tony winning performance who makes it so special.

    Julius Caesar (1953)-Adaptation of the Shakespearean play based on actual events. Brutus (James Mason) convinced by a group of Roman senators led by Caius Cassius (John Gielgud), that friend Julius Caesar (Louis Calhern) intends to dissolve the republic to install himself as monarch joins a conspiracy to assassinate him. Once done he defends his actions but Mark Antony (Marlon Brando) responds with a speech that plays upon the crowd's love for their fallen leader and a battle for power begins. High quality film with an impressive cast including Greer Garson, Deborah Kerr and Edmond O’Brien aside from those mentioned with Brando, forsaking his method mumbling for straight verse strong as Mark Antony.

    The Last Days of Pompeii (1935)-Pegs a fictitious story onto the big blow. Blacksmith Marcus (Preston Foster) consumed with bitterness upon the death of his wife and child becomes a gladiator and Pontius Pilate's (Basil Rathbone) partner before finding Christ in the days leading up to the Vesuvius eruption. Some impressive, for its day special effects when the mountain finally ruptures.

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    1. I am glad you love my theme. I don't know the backstory of Robert Taylor...enlighten me! I am surprised that I don't know this. Yes, I did know that Olivier was initially in the role but I am glad she went with Gilbert. Even though your first pick is a comedic farce, I love it! I love Zero, Phil Silvers and Jack Gilford. Michael Crawford was at his geeky best and most think of him as the first Phantom from the musical Phantom of the Opera. I have not seen your other 2 picks because I am trying to picture Brando as Marc Antony. I have wanted to see Pompeii for a long time and hope to one day.

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    2. Taylor was one of the founders of Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals (the self styled witch hunt committee in the film industry) and personally destroyed Howard Da Silva and Karen Morley's careers by naming them as Communists to HUAC.

      He was bisexual which is hardly the same thing and I can certainly understand him keeping the fact quiet considering the times but he was quite ruthless about discriminating against and hostile to people who were more open, like Sal Mineo. So not exactly a prince. :-(

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    3. Oh yes...I knew his very unsavoury way he threw people under the bus during those nasty witch hunts. Often people who don’t want to admit they are homosexual or bisexual will attack the people they are out of fear..think of J. Edgar Hoover

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    4. How did Barbara Stanwyck not slap him

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  7. Sadly, I never saw Garbo act, so these of course are all new to me. I do like how you used her as a theme within a theme, so that made me smile, as did your great synopses.

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    1. She was such a huge star and even after she retired, she was sought out for film roles but also just to get pictures of her because she became a bit reclusive. She traveled and went out but couldn't be bothered with most people...she was a different egg for sure

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  8. Of your picks I've only seen Anna Karenina and I've seen several versions. That's a good pick.

    I've watched several recently with my favorites being Gone with the Wind (my wife's favorite film which we watched again recently because of the controversy--still love it!), Dr Zhivago (prescient warning for today's advocates of socialism), and Les Miserables (the BBC Masterpiece Theater TV version is one of the best things I've seen on film even though I guess it's really a TV mini-series).

    And so many more to choose from!! This is a good genre pick this round.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out


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    1. This was a great genre pick and hope it is repeated. Gone With The Wind should never be banned or censored because you get into a bad place when you start this crap. My mom, who lived under fascism and then Communism was dead set against censorship. This is history and history can be awfully bad and one we must learn from. We must remember that Hattie McDaniel won an Oscar for her role and she made it her own and a very strong character who took no guff from Scarlett. My mom's favourite film was Dr. Zhivago and so was her brother's. My mom would shake her head when Canada was described as Socialist. She said outright that people have no idea what Socialism and Communism means because they truly have not lived under it and I have as she often said. I have seen the musical version of Les Miserables but not the TV version which I heard was excellent. I also want to see the 1935 version with Frederic March

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  9. BIRGIT ~

    I don't believe I have seen ANY of your three choices! It's extremely rare when this happens as, like you, I am a big fan of movies (and especially older ones).

    There are just SO MANY good options for this category.

    It probably wouldn't have come to my mind had Lee not mentioned it, but I could happily go along with 'LES MISERABLES', the 1935 version, because... Charles Laughton!

    'BEN-HUR' and 'THE TEN COMMANDMENTS' ("His God, IS God!" -- what a fantastic line!) are certainly two Chuck Heston movies I can happily mention.

    I recently mentioned 'AMADEUS', but it's worth mentioning again.

    I'm not sure if these next two would really count under this category (How far back in time "period" do we need to go?) But there's 'SOMEWHERE IN TIME' which I dig and own. And along a similar kind of path, there's 'DEAD AGAIN'. It's a movie that takes place half in the 1990s and half in the 1940s. Terrific neo-Noir Suspense / Mystery movie with Supernatural / Mystical / Spiritual overtones.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'STEPHEN T. McCARTHY REVIEWS...'

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    1. There are so many that I had a hard time picking. Ben Hur is excellent and love the Ten Commandments in all its campy best. Amadeus is great and often overlooked now. I think of Ben Hur and the Ten Commandments as epics. I love ..love Somewhere in Time which deserves the cult status it has become. Dead Again is another gem that deserves to be known more..love the whle reincarnation idea

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  10. Great theme within a theme. You're right, there are so many period dramas to choose from.

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  11. Hi Birgit - I'd watch those sometime ... I hadn't come across these early ones before - excellent theme - all the best - Hilary

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    1. These films are all great. Wishing you all the best!

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    2. I hope you get to see them one day. Have a great week ahead

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  12. I'm sure SOL this time on these three. Never seen a one that I can recall.

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    1. Wow! You can't think of one drama..I am in shock

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  13. I liked Camille:) Love that Garbo wore house slippers while filming;)
    Stay safe. Be healthy.

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    1. Yes she did and on more than one set since she hated to wear the uncomfortable shoes plus she had huge feet

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  14. I haven't seen any of these (I know, shocker). I have only heard of one of them- but it was fun to learn about them. I think it is awesome that Garbo wore house slippers on set. I keep a pair of nice looking slippers at work for the times my feet become too sore from my regular shoes.
    ~Jess

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  15. Hmm, not familiar with Queen Christina, but it sounds interesting. I love the tidbits you throw in.
    Stay safe. Be healthy. And pain free.

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  16. I haven't seen any of these bu I liked that you went with three films of the same actress.

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  17. Hope today's been a good day:)

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