February...love is in the air this month and Wandering Through The Shelves loves this time of the year for movies. I am certain Hallmark will throw up all kinds of flicks starring whoever as they fall in love with another person ending up in each other's arms after much consternation. Yup, sounds like a typical love life. They will never show a man and woman meeting at a bar, getting it on and, the next morning, he makes her breakfast before saying,"So long Olive. I'll call you." "My name is Alice," she replies before he shuts the door on her face. Ahhhh love. Anyway, here are my 3 picks...
1. DESTRY RIDES AGAIN-1939
You have James Stewart as a young man(Destry) come to this derelict and corrupt town to become sheriff and create a more peaceful atmosphere. Little does he know how corrupt it is and little do the townsfolk know how good this sheriff is. He may not want to wear his gun but that doesn't mean he doesn't get his point across even when he meets the grand Frenchy, played by Marlene Dietrich. He has a soft spot for Ms. Frenchy but she is with Corrupt Kent (no relation to Clark) and uses her wiles on Stewart not thinking he might know more than she realizes. This is Stewart's first western and Dietrich came back from being called "Box-Office poison" to win many accolades as the trampy Frenchy. She also sang 2 of her, now, signature tunes, "See What The Boys In The Backroom Will Have" and "You've Got That Look" that she would sing in her later cabaret acts. When she saw Stewart, the sex hungry Dietrich wanted him and tried everything but nothing seemed to work because he seemed to have his head stuck in the Flash Gordon comics so she made a life size replica of Flash for him and showed it in his dressing room...where she showed him even more. They had quite the affair and, apparently, she became pregnant but, without him knowing, had an abortion and that was that. On another note, the cat fight between her and Una Merkel was not choreographed. Marlene and Una got together and decided to not use any fists but everything else was fair game. The fight was done in one take but they both were quite bruised up. It is a fun-filled comedy with dramatic overtones and worth seeing.
2. I WAS A MALE WAR BRIDE-1949
I finally saw this film a couple of years back and, it was and is, delightful. It stars Cary Grant as Henri, a Frenchman(yeah, disregard this as Grant is as French as I am as pure as the driven slush) who must bring in Schindler, a lens maker. He is assigned with an American Lieutenant, Catherine, to be his driver as he is not allowed to drive any army vehicles. They know each other from previous clashes and are not amused that they must travel together on a motorcycle with a sidecar no less. Needless to say, they find their inner amore for each other and wish to be together but what will the army do to interfere. I love Cary Grant and Ann Sheridan is a pleasure. I wish more people would know about Ann Sheridan because she was quite famous in the day. I will say that Cary Grant makes the most unconvincing woman I have ever seen but that is nearer the end of the film which is ok. It's a good laugh with great shots of Germany etc.. right after the war plus the language that the army uses gives us a feel for how it was back then. D.P. (I grew up hearing that term from my dad and my mom would call herself that and laugh) means Displaced Persons for people who come from another country. I was surprised that many people, my age, have no clue what that meant.
3. THE BANDWAGON-1953
I could show a trailer from this film but who doesn't want to see Cyd Charisse slink her way around Fred Astaire. This gal had legs for ages and exuded sensuality in her dancing. Just note that Fred was 54 when he dances all his numbers. Yes, (sorry Shady), this is a musical but, along with "Singing In The Rain", it can stand on its own as a funny comedy. It stars Fred Astaire as a, once famous, now forgotten song and dance man who comes to NYC to meet up with his old pals, played by Oscar Levant and Nanette Fabray. They are writing a show and want him to star in it and have the great Jeffrey Cordova (played so well by the British song and dance man, Jack Buchanan) direct it. They also want Gabrielle Gerard(Charisse), the famous ballerina, to be his love interest in the show. Of course, the 2 leads don't hit it off when her snobbish looks at Fred get the better of him as he claims she is too tall and has no understanding of Broadway since she is a ballerina. The 2 begin to gel when they decide to take a carriage ride and dance in central park (that makes me swoon) but everyone is concerned about Cordoba's flair for the too dramatic. Buchanan plays his role so well as a Jose Ferrer meets Orson Welles ego character that he is a highlight in the film. At the time the film was made Jose Ferrer had several shows on Broadway directing and starring in them and Orson is known to be ...well...Orson. Even the director, Vincente Minelli makes fun of his former film, The Pirate, when he stages the "Faust" scene. I love the backstory that Oscar was being too Oscar berating Nanette any chance he got until she told him off in every expletive she could muster to the cheers of everyone on set. Oscar behaved after that. A very funny, musical film that is worth seeing. Can you imagine dancing like Fred at 54 years old? Yikes!!
Madeline Kahn as Lily Von Schtupp from "Blazing Saddles"..a hilarious take on Marlene Dietrich. Brilliant!
Happy movie review Thursday, dear friend!
I love Jimmy but don't like to watch Westerns. Therefore I missed Destry. However, as I have stated many times, I enjoy watching Stewart practicing his craft, and for that reason alone I would give Destry a try. I also like Brian Donlevy, so there's that.
like you, Shady is pure as the driven slush (after a dozen dogs have emptied their bladders on it). I have not seen I Was a Male War Bride, but love to watch Cary Grant in action and yessum, I know actress Ann Sheridan and have seen several of her pictures.
I've got a perfect score so far, because I have not seen Bandwagon. If you promise and guarantee that it stands on its own as a good comedy, then I would be willing to watch, especially since I like the supporting players Oscar Levant and Nanette Fabray. Thanks for sharing the story about their loud blowup on the set. Oscar was such a sourpuss that I can vividly picture the exchange in my mind. Levant was a frequent flyer on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. In all those appearances, I never saw him crack a smile, but he left Carson and the audience in hysterics.
I agree that Madeline Kahn's impression of Marlene Dietrich is brilliant. It is a natural portrayal, not an over-the-top caricature. I appreciated the ten gallon hat joke.
Thanks, BB. Enjoy the rest of your week and weekend. Hope you don't get clobbered by another major snowstorm, dear friend!
Hi Shady!...I forgot you are not a western lover. I think you will like this one due to the stars that are in it. Oscar levant was just a eyeore for real. He had a real wit and was so talented but full of angst and depression...one complicated character. I hope you get to see Male Bride as well for Grant and "Oomph" gal Sheridan. Kahn deserved the Oscar for that role.Delete
Haven't seen any of the movies but love Blazing Saddles. Good pick to wrap it up.ReplyDelete
I had to have Madeline Kahn here because she is simply brilliantDelete
I had to read "I Was a Male War Bride" twice. That title threw me. I haven't seen any of your picks this week.ReplyDelete
You read the book?...Twice? Wow, how did you like it? Maybe, one day, you will the film and compare...book almost always winsDelete
I've probably seen your first two picks but don't really remember for sure. The Bandwagon is a film that I did enjoy greatly. I saw Cyd Charisse and Tony Martin (her husband) perform at a dinner theater in Evansville Indiana in 1976. She would have been about 55 at the time and she was stunning and danced beautifully. I was 25 but she still wowed me.ReplyDelete
I've seen plenty of films with this sort of relationship theme and I think several were Fred Astaire films. Another one that jumps into my mind is The Shop Around the Corner as well as the remakes that went under the names In the Good Old Summertime and You've Got Mail.
Tossing It Out
You were so lucky to see these 2 (celebrity marriage that lasted til she passed away) and, I bet, she was stunning. you chose 3 great films that are all fit in the same mold with Shop being the first.Delete
I need to check out I Was a Male War Bride... I love Cary Grant!ReplyDelete
It's a fun oneDelete
I can't imagine dancing like Fred at 24 years old...ReplyDelete
Ahh oldies...haven't seen any of them.ReplyDelete
Yes....they are oldiesDelete
Hi Birgit, only seen Destry Rides Again, in fact it was on our TV just last week. I love James Stewart and Marlene is as always brilliant.ReplyDelete
Hope all is well with you, Kate x
I'm glad you saw it!Delete
I did not know about Jimmy Stewart and Dietrich. I loved Jimmy Stewart. He came across as such a nice guy. That's so funny about the comic books:)ReplyDelete
Hope you're feeling great today.
He was a very nice man but he was young, single and she was relentless as only Marlene could be. Honestly I think she was a nymphomaniac.Delete
I enjoyed your movie line up for this theme. These all look like excellent vintage films to see. I get such a kick out of watching Fred Astaire on the dance floor. Man, was he ever smooth! And, that chick was pretty hot with her perfectly in-synch moves! Oh I love Blazing Saddles!! Madeline Kahn...the whole cast are hilarious fun to watch. :)
Yes, that gal is Cyd Charisse who really knew how to dance. Madeline was so good in this role and should have won the Oscar. I’m glad you enjoyed my line up.Delete
Destry Rides Again is so much fun! Much of that is the oil and water pairing of Jimmy and Marlene on top of the solid direction. I ADORE Una Merkel!!! One of the great character actresses with a wonderfully distinctive voice.ReplyDelete
I like but don't love I Was a Male War Bride though I do love both of the leads. Ann and Cary were good friends offscreen. She nudged him towards the project, they had long wanted to work together feeling that they would be very simpatico onscreen (which they are) and she was worried she would be too old for comedy before they found something. It seems crazy now but back then she was right this was her last real comedy where she played the lead. I too wish she was better remembered, I think some of the reason why is that she died so young.
I WANT to love The Bandwagon but I don't. It's fine but it's always a struggle for me to get through on the few occasions I give it another try. I can't put my finger on what holds me back, I'm a huge Astaire fan, love Nanette Fabray and admire Cyd Charisse's enormous talent but have always found her cold and remote onscreen (my Dad on the other hand thought she was the best thing ever). It's a good film just not one I harbor much affection for.
What popped into my head was The Shop Around the Corner (also with Jimmy and one of my all-time faves Maggie Sullavan), the lighter than air Pillow Talk and the agile The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer.
Una is a great character actress and you are right about her voice. Yes, it’s a shame Sheridan died so young because she was such an intelligent actress and I am glad she hated her moniker as the “Oomph girl”. Oh, what a shame you don’t care for The Bandwagon because I love it. I don’t like the shoeshine number which grates on my nerves except at the very end. Cyd had an imperious air, to me, but she smoulders when she dances.Delete
Man, I have to watch Shop Around The Corner and I can’t believe I have not seen it yet since it stars James Stewart. Margaret Sullivan is another lady who died too young and didn’t make too many movies so she is not well known. Pillow Talk is great and a great pairing of Hudson and Day. I have to see The Bachelor and The Bobby Soxer again because it’s been a long time but it’s so delightful.
Obviously, I haven't seen any of these films, but I enjoyed reading your take on each of them. They all sound good, too. At least thru your eyes. Hope you are feeling better, dear Birgit.ReplyDelete
They are good films and are on many lists of some of the best. I’m glad you like reading about them. I’m feeling. Bit better.Delete
I love "I Was a Male War Bride". A bit silly, but a different look at military life than we're used to seeing from that era. Not a fan of "The Bandwagon". There's something about it that just doesn't click for me. And I've never seen the first one (although I have heard of it).ReplyDelete
War Bride is a good one but sad you don’t like The Bandwagon. I hope you get to see the first one one day.Delete
I'm an Astaire fan, so would love to see that one the most. But they all sound good. Certainly better than much of what's on Hallmark.ReplyDelete
I love this musical.Delete
0/3 for me. Blazing Saddles is sure a winner though.ReplyDelete
Blazing Saddles is greatDelete
Enemies is a strong word. Most of the movies that come to mind for me are about highly reluctant companions who fall in love:
Romancing the Stone
Addicted to Love
It Happened One Night
The Empire Strikes Back
You're right...it is a strong word, I like what you wrote better and all your picks are great. I'm going to watch The African Queen soon...again.Delete
The first one I thought of was 'WHEN HARRY MET SALLY'. A very fun movie!ReplyDelete
Then there's the wonderful 'WHAT A WAY TO GO'. Shirley MacLaine and Dean Martin's characters are at odds until he changes late in the movie.
And in 'THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR' (most romantic movie of all time, IMO), Lucy and Captain Gregg have a good number of disagreements until the inevitable occurs.
These are the only 3 I could come up with that I really enjoy and which, at least loosely, fit the theme. Hmmm.... Maybe 'MY FAIR LADY' is also a possibility.
STMcC Presents BATTLE OF THE BANDS
Great picks Stephen! Harry & Sally did start off on the wrong foot for sure. I have not seen What A Way To Go but hopefully can change that one day. Absolutely love The Ghost & Mrs. Muir! This fits well and I used this movie more than once before so I didn't choose it. The ending gets to me every time.ReplyDelete