Cary and Irene (THE AWFUL TRUTH)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Monty!!

Happy Birthday Monty!!
March 31 Birthdays.
Monty shares his Birthday with:

1976 Colin Farrell (actor)
1971 Ewan McGregor (actor)
1948 Rhea Perlman (actress)
1948 Al Gore (45th US Vice President)
1945 Gabriel (Gabe) Kaplan (actor, comedian)
1943 Christopher Walken (actor)
1935 Richard Chamberlain (actor)
1935 Herb Alpert (bandleader)
1934 Shirley Jones (singer, actress)
1928 Gordie Howe (hockey player)
1927 William Daniels (actor)
1925 Leo Buscaglia (lecturer, author)
1922 Richard Kiley (actor)
1915 Henry Morgan (Von Ost, Jr) (comedian)
1732 Franz Joseph Haydn (composer)
1596 Rene Descartes (philosopher)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Screwball Cinema in April

The usual reviews and photos by me and Dawn. Preston Sturges will be the featured director over on The Directors blog, so there will be some posts associated with him on here as well. I will start a new poll, but I haven't decided on what it will be yet. So I hope everyone will check in whenever they get a chance to hang out at Screwball Cinema.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A wonderful new video about screwball comedies....

Special thanks to Sara for this wonderful video..

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Palm Beach Story (1942)

The Palm Beach Story (1942). Romantic/screwball comedy. Written and directed by Preston Sturges. Cast: Claudette Colbert, Joel McCrea, Mary Astor and Rudy Vallée. Victor Young contributed the musical score, which included a variation of William Tell Overture for the opening scenes.

Tom and Gerry Jeffer's apartment manager shows their apartment to the future tenant an elderly man, known as the "Wienie King," who is so taken by Gerry that he gives her $700 to help pay the bills. Gerry is tired of being broke and believes that she has held her husband back that she leaves him. At Pennsylvania Station, Gerry uses her feminine charms to get a men's hunting club, to buy her a ticket on the train headed for Palm Beach, Florida. The club members become too rowdy and after the men shoot out the windows she runs into a sleeper car. In the morning, Gerry discovers that the conductors have disconnected the Club's car because of their unruliness and have left her without her suitcase. John, an eccentric and one of wealthiest men in the world, takes an interest in Gerry and joins her in Jacksonville, Florida. There the normally frugal multimillionaire buys Gerry an entire wardrobe of beautiful clothes and a ruby bracelet. (my favorite part of the movie). Gerry is thrilled to meet one of the richest men in the world, and joins him on his yacht to Palm Beach. When she sees her husband Tom waiting at the dock for her, Gerry introduces him as her brother, "Captain McGloo." John's sister, Princess Maud Centimillia, immediately makes advances toward Tom. Gerry, talks John into becoming a financial backer for Tom's airport project. Will Gerry and Tom reunite and what will happen to Toms airport project?

This movie is full of hilarious one-liners. From the moment Colbert gets aboard a train the fun starts heades toward a conclusion that is not even hinted to until the last scene of film. My favorite character is Rudy Vallee as a eccentric millionaire (and he sings). Mary Astor, as his sister, is hilariously over the top.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Olivia de Havilland is Government Girl (1943)

I remember watching this movie a long time ago on AMC. When AMC was good, showing classic films commercial free. I think it was around the late 80's or early 90's. And I remember laughing quite a bit. Haven't seen this film shown on TV since then. Government Girl is a rare foray by Olivia de Havilland into the genre of screwball comedies. Olivia was mainly known for her many films with Errol Flynn and several prestige women films like To Each His Own, Devotion, and of course Gone With The Wind. But here in Government Girl, she gets to let loose and be screamingly funny. Set in Washington, the film features Olivia as Elizabeth "Smoky" Allard, a take charge secretary who has to help a visiting businessman named Ed Browne (a solid Sonny Tufts) deal with the mire and muck in D.C. He's trying to set up factories that will produce the planes that will be key in winning the war in Europe and in the Pacific. Of course, he's not used to dealing with the politics of D.C. and Smoky has to show him the ropes. They must contend with government sanctions, greedy investors, and a snobbish  Washington matron (the always entertaining Agnes Moorehead). You could almost say this film borrows from Mr. Smith Goes To Washington and it does, but there are more moments in this film where screwball antics take control. Like when Smoky hitches a ride on the back of a motorcycle driven by Ed and he drives like a maniac, with Smoky screaming hysterically behind him. Another good scene is when Smoky and her best friend May (the talented Anne Shirley) pretend to get drunk to trap a spy for the feds. Only the girls do wind up getting drunk for real and put on quite a show for the bad guy. It's a very funny scene. Props to Olivia for doing a frenetic role like this because she gives it her all and is quite enjoyable. I wished she had did more films like this in her career. Since it's not available on DVD as of yet, the next time it airs on TV, check out Government Girl to have a very good time.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Top Hat(1933)

Top Hat (1935). Screwball comedy/musical. Fred Astaire plays an dancer named Jerry Travers, who comes to London to star in a show. Where he meets Dale Tremont (Ginger Rogers) and wants to win her affection. The film also features Eric Blore as Hardwick's valet, Erik Rhodes as Alberto Beddini, a fashion designer, and Helen Broderick as Hardwick's wife Madge. Written by Allan Scott, and Dwight Taylor. Director: Mark Sandrich. Songs written by Irving Berlin. "Top Hat, White Tie and Tails" and "Cheek to Cheek have become song classics. The dance number"Cheek to Cheek" has been referenced in many films, including The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) and The Green Mile (1999. Top Hat was the most successful picture of Astaire and Rogers' partnership (and Astaire's second most successful picture after Easter Parade) Some dance critics believe that Swing Time has a better set of dances.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bringing Up Baby (1938)

The screwball comedy extraordinaire with the zaniest situations and characters you will ever see. This is my second favorite film of all time; right behind that other comedy classic His Girl Friday. And when you think of screwball comedies, you can’t help but think of this film. Things start off normally as paleontologist David Huxley is preparing to marry his fiancée, Ms. Swallow. But first he must meet with Mr. Peabody, a lawyer representing Mrs. Carlton Random, who is ready to give the museum a million dollar donation for research. David meets Peabody at the golf course and it’s there where he runs into Susan (Katherine Hepburn). Susan is a scatterbrain rich girl who immediately is attracted to David. Susan's aunt also happens to be the same Mrs. Random. The more time Susan spends with David, the crazier the situations get. From chasing George, the family dog (who was Asta in the Thin Man films) around the Random home, who has buried David's rare dinosaur bone to pursuing Susan’s pet leopard named Baby to dealing with another leopard that is dangerous and has just escaped from the circus.

Then the whole cast winds up in a small town jail ran by one of the funniest constables you will ever see. Constable Slocum is played marvelously by Walter Catlett. Also on hand is Charles Ruggles as a would be suitor to Mrs. Random. May Robson is Mrs. Random. And Barry Fitzgerald is a hoot as the Irish gardener Gogarty. The entire cast is marvelous and I laugh furiously every time I watch this film. There have been rumblings on the message boards about this film being over-rated and not that good. To those people, I can only say to that is bollocks. They need to see this film again. Baby represents everything that is good about screwball comedies. Sheer and tremendous fun to be had by all those who watch it.

Favorite Quotes:

Susan Vance: Anyway, David, when they find out who we are they'll let us out.

David Huxley: When they find out who *you* are they'll pad the cell.

Mrs. Random: Well who are you?

David Huxley: I don't know. I'm not quite myself today.

Mrs. Random: Well, you look perfectly idiotic in those clothes.

David Huxley: These aren't my clothes.

Mrs. Random: Well, where are your clothes?

David Huxley: I've lost my clothes!

Mrs. Random: But why are you wearing *these* clothes?

David Huxley: Because I just went gay all of a sudden!

Mrs. Random: Now see here young man, stop this nonsense. What are you doing?

David Huxley: I'm sitting in the middle of 42nd Street waiting for a bus.

Susan Vance: Now, don't lose your temper.

David Huxley: My dear young lady, I'm not losing my temper. I'm merely trying to play some golf!

Susan Vance: You choose the funniest places; this is a parking lot.

Side notes:

Despite now being one of the most beloved classic films of all time, upon initial release Baby was a box office bust. The film earned only $1.2 million dollars. And caused the theatre chains to label Hepburn as box office poison.

No love from the Academy. Once again the Oscars dropped the ball when it came to getting things right. Baby received no major nominations for film, director, writer, or any of its stars. As I am fond of saying when it comes to some of the choices the Academy has made…are you kidding me?

This was the second pairing between Grant and Hepburn and the first of three comedy pairings they would do. Years earlier they made the very off beat film Slyvia Scarlett (1935) and it had Kate pretending to be a boy. Strange indeed but still a film worth seeing. The pair would team up for two more comedy classics, Holiday (1938) and The Philadelphia Story (1940).

Bringing Up Baby was directed by the versatile Howard Hawks who also helmed His Girl Friday. Hawks other classic films include Only Angels Have Wings, The Big Sleep, I Was A Male War Bride, Rio Bravo, and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

Grant was on the cusp on stardom and his flair for comedy was very evident in his early film roles. After Baby, Grant became the leading man of screwball comedies. His resume of certifiable comedy classics includes Holiday, The Philadelphia Story, My Favorite Wife, The Bachelor & the Bobby-Soxer, and I Was A Male War Bride. Throw in 1937’s The Awful Truth and Topper and you have the best actor in the best comedies doing his best work. He would later evolve into other types of films specifically thrillers with Alfred Hitchcock. But to me Cary Grant will always be remembered for those zany films he did so well.