Welcome to November 1st, All Saints Day or The Day of the Dead or whatever....Last night was Halloween and I had so few kids. When I moved here, I had 140 kids at least and this time, I had....11. I will chock it up to the neighbourhood growing up, crappy weather and being in the middle of the week. When I was young, my mom took us to this little village that looked right out of a horror movie for kids, and it was so much fun. There is one big difference....all the leaves are still on the trees! I used to go through the leaf pile and see only bare trees which looked spooky. Now, most of the leaves are still on the trees! It’s just so weird....anyway back to the show. This new month starts off with Gangsters, I already had talked about my favourite, White Heat, a while back and I talked about Public Enemy and even Some Like It Hot, so I went a little different. Check out Wandering Through The Shelves to see what the others have chosen. Here are my 3...
1. ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES-1938
How can I not choose a James Cagney film especially since I did not pick an Edward G Robinson one. This is about 2 boys growing up in a rough part of town who steal but only one gets caught and is sent to juvenile hall. This kid turns out to be James Cagney who ends up a big time gangster while his best friend becomes a priest (of course). The priest, played by Cagney’s best friend, Pat O’Brien, tries to bring him over to the good side especially since this small gang of boys, the Dead End Kids, admire the Cagney character. This film is better than the average because of the acting and the social commentary that could stand up even today. The ending of the film shocked me and kept me thinking which is a feat unto itself:).
2. A SONG IS BORN-1948
This is a remake of the brilliant comedy, Ball of Fire, that starred Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck and a film I talked about before too. This is a musical that stars Danny Kaye and his oft screen partner, Virginia Mayo. She plays the moll to a gangster who is wanted by the police and the police want to question her to implicate her boyfriend, played by the notorious Steve Cochran. She sings at a swinging nightclub where the innocent Danny Kaye goes to gain research on his book about music. The moll and the gangster hatch a plan for her to stay at Kaye’s place until the coast is clear. She does not realize that older gents live in the same place nor does she think she will fall for the babbling, innocent Kaye but she does. This is not as good as the original but I still enjoyed it and it has some brilliant musical moments from jazz greats like Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong and Tommy Dorsey. Kaye was exceptional with tongue twisting singing which leaves me in a wonderment at how he could do this with such ease...I know it’s not easy but he makes it look like that.
3. ANALYZE THIS-1999
Oh wow! I chose a new film....well I think it’s new and it is funny even if you are not into gangsters. Robert DeNiro plays the head of the gangsters (big surprise) who becomes crippled with anxiety to the point where he can’t function. He decides to see a shrink, Billy Crystal, who is not happy being his psychiatrist for obvious reasons, namely being shot and that he is getting married in a week. I wasn’t sure if DeNiro could handle comedy but he does it well here and he has good chemistry with Billy Crystal who plays the very nervous, but not a pushover, shrink. Other characters in the film often play gangsters in other films or on tv especially The Sopranos which is where I feel the people, who created that show, must have seen this and used that idea of a gangster having anxiety.
These are my 3...which are yours?