Thursday, April 4, 2024

Thursday Film Picks- A Grab Bag


There is a theme here, believe it or not, let's see if you can guess. Here are my 3 film picks...


I have a soft spot for this movie that stars Clark Gable, Jeanette MacDonald and Spencer Tracy in the epic music-filled extravaganza. It should have won the award for best special effects but it wasn't invented yet! Newsreel and documentaries will still use footage from this film for the famous 1906 earthquake that hit that city. The plot concerns a man's man huckster who owns a club who hires a singer  not knowing how talented she really is. Along for the ride is his childhood friend, Tracy, playing a priest for the first time. Gable gets up in arms when his gal goes off to be a big opera star and does not want to see how talented she is nor does he wish to see that prayer( eyeroll) will get you ahead until the big quake! It thumps the religious stuff a bit but I can get by that even when Jeanette sings " Nearer My God To Thee." ( I do love that song). The acting is quite good( love the old lady on Nob Hill) and the special effects are superb. Funny to know that Tracy and MacDonald disliked each other to the point where Gable made sure to eat lots of garlic before a kissing scene causing Jeanette to almost faint. 


I always found this film enchanting if totally farcical to Anderson's real life. Danny Kaye plays Hans who sees his fairy tales from the city, people, animals to the kids he meets every day.  The climax of the film is the ballet of the Little Mermaid which is done through the dream Kaye has. You can see how much Kaye loved children when watching this film as he was the head of Unicef for years. To be honest, I hope Anderson was more like this character but I doubt it. Why? Have you ever read the little Mermaid? The Little Matchgirl? They die! The little Christmas Tree gets thrown into the fire and the tin soldier gets melted down. He had some serious issues!


I will always state this is the best Titanic film bar none! Much better than the Love Boat sinking. Don't get me wrong, the ‘97 flick is well acted, and the special effects are outstanding as well as the music, but take away the effects, what do you have? An improbable plot( no one would ever..ever have that young kid dine at their table) where the kids would have frozen into lovesicles long time before for all the times they were in the water...really insipid. This film is based on the book of the same name which was written with many of the actual survivors still alive. This was filmed with all the real characters and shows a step by step series of errors that make this film tense and frustrating. You know the outcome, but you wish something else would have happened so these people would not have died. I love all the scenes from the Strauss's to the young woman who must have her lucky ceramic pig with her leaving all her jewelry behind.  It shows the baker who, drunk, stayed in the water for an hour but didn't suffer much at all! It's a mystery how this man survived.

So can you guess my theme?


  1. Not sure of your theme unless it's everybody dies. Yes, Anderson tales are really, really dark, like the Grimm fairy tales.

    1. I did kinda go disaster route but they all took place in April. Hans was born in April. I found Hans' work more depressing than Grumm's because Grimm always had a happily Ever After.

  2. I always thought that was so rude when they'd do the garlic thing.
    Ack. Sandra

  3. I really don't know other than that "someone always dies."

  4. I've seen all these and especially enjoyed #1 & #3. I was never that much of a Danny Kaye fan although I recognize his immense talent.
    Theme? Not really sure what it would be. Older films? I don't think so. I don't know.


  5. I'm going out on a limb with my guess, but is the theme - disasters - given the A-Z challenge is on, this D word seems doable. haha

    I agree about A Night to Remember being the better of the two films - something about originals that I'm a fan of. Remakes make me crazy.
    Sending happy smiles, Jenny

  6. Hmmm.... The only one of the three I've seen is the last one, but 'San Francisco' sounds like it might appeal to me. (The movie, NOT the city!!) I might have to look for that one on my cable channels.

    ~ Dr. DogG

  7. I just loved San Francisco, I thought it was brilliant for such an early film and I too think the Titanic film is the best, it's about the ship that couldn't sink, not the chees love story of the later film, hope you are well Birgit, Kate x

  8. Now I want to go find out who is streaming San Francisco and A Night to Remember and watch them both.

  9. From what I understand, Andersen was quite the character. I read something about him and The Little Mermaid on social media (I know, I know) that makes me see his stories in a whole other way. He was... odd... And since I can't find an actual cited article with the info, I won't go into it.

    I have not seen any of these movies, and I have no idea what your theme is. I was thinking disasters, but Andersen didn't specifically have a disaster in his life.

  10. I like almost all of San Francisco except when Jeanette hits those high notes!! I will admit she was talented, and she could indeed sing but her upper range is just too high for me. Perhaps its her particular pitch since I don’t have the same problem with Deanna Durbin’s voice. Anyway, Gable and Tracy always had wonderful chemistry, though I can see how Spence tired of their teamings since Clark always came out on top while he stood by with an understanding look on his face. However as good as Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart are in The Philadelphia Story it would have been fascinating to see them paired with Kate Hepburn as was her original plan, particularly the dynamic between Gable and she.

    I believe we’ve discussed before our mutual affection and admiration for “A Night to Remember.” I completely agree that it is the best version of events. The Kate Winslet film cannot be topped for technical brilliance, but its story is so much hogwash no matter how good Kate, Gloria, Frances Fisher and Kathy Bates are. At least the Clifton Webb/Barbara Stanwyck version has characters who you feel could have actually been on the ship and the two of them make their scenes crackle.

    I thought “Hans Christian Andersen” was fine the one time I watched it but to be honest I’ve never felt any strong pull to return to it. When I need a Danny Kaye fix, I turn to either “The Court Jester” or “White Christmas.”

    I didn’t catch onto your theme until I read the comments I must admit! But now that I see I’m going to try and produce three that not only take place in April but have the month in the title. I tried doing it without looking them up, but I had to cheat out on my second to make sure it did actually happen in April.

    The first was a snap, a big favorite of mine-“Enchanted April” (1991)-Shortly after the end of WWI two middle class English ladies (Josie Lawrence and Miranda Richardson) restless and stifled by the relentless rain in London decide impulsively to rent a chalet on the Italian Riviera for a month and take on two other boarders-a society flapper (Polly Walker) and a somewhat cantankerous widow (Joan Plowright) to help with expenses. It proves to be a transformative experience for them all. A lovely gorgeously shot film.

    “April Love” (1957)-City boy (Pat Boone!) goes to his uncle’s farm in the country and proceeds to fall in love with the lovely girl (Shirley Jones) from the neighboring farm.

    My last is a tiny cheat since it was a TV movie, but a good one. “April Morning” (1988)-Set in 1775, this chronicles the events as they lead up to the first shots fired in the Revolutionary War at the Battle of Lexington and Concord. Told from the perspective of a young man (Chad Lowe) whose family farm becomes part of the battle. Great cast-Tommy Lee Jones, Susan Blakely and Robert Urich among others-this was based on the excellent Howard Fast novel of the same name.

  11. I've only seem 1 and 3 so my first guess was disaster movies, but that doesn't fit the 2nd one. I cheated and read the other comments. ☺ Here's one: The April Fools, a 1969 romcom starring Jack Lemmon and Catherine Deneuve.

  12. I did not know that at one time Kaye headed Unicef! I always learn new things here. Happy weekend, Birgit. Sandra