Cary and Irene (THE AWFUL TRUTH)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (1969)

I recently ordered a movie on DVD from Amazon and it arrived yesterday. I immediately put it in to watch it, appropriately enough it's called If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium. It is a delightful comedy about a group of Americans on the ultimate European trip. Nine countries in 18 days as stated by Whirlwind Tours, the company that provides this hilarious and exhausting vacation package. Top billed Suzanne Pleshette leads the Americans as Samantha Perkins, a woman from Minnesota who goes on this trip to make sure she is ready to marry her beau. She immediately attracts the unwanted attention of the tour guide Charlie (an impossibly young looking Ian McShane). McShane would later on to great success as the title character in the hit 80's British show Lovejoy and recently as the ruthless saloon owner Al on the rough western series Deadwood. Anyway he is player but looks at Sam and thinks he's ready to settle down. Other cast members include Murray Hamilton (The Graduate, Jaws) as a disparate dad who is dragged on the trip by his wife. But the main he goes is to keep their teen-age daughter from having sex with her boyfriend. Norman Fell and Reva Rose are a married couple who get separated and she winds up on another tour bus with Japanese tourists. Michael Constantine is a WW2 soldier who is trying to find the girl he met during the war when he was stationed in Italy. Sandy Baron is a quite young man who gets roped into marrying an Italian woman before he escapes. Mildred Natwick is a older woman who just wants to have fun. Marty Ingels as a lothario wannabe who takes pictures of beautiful women so he can brag to his fellas back home. And Aubrey Morris is a strange man who never speaks but enjoys stealing items from the hotel rooms the group stays at. And there are tons of cameos including: singer Donovan,who provides the catchy theme song; Joan Collins, Robert Vaughn, John Cassavetes, Ben Gazzara, Senta Berger, Anita Ekberg, Virni Lisi and several beauty pagent winners of the time including Miss Belgium, Miss Germany, and Miss Holland.

This movie has a breezy and light-hearted tone. The entire cast is awesome. Pleshette, who is positively gorgeous gets a lot of sly lines and has great chemistry with McShane. Norman Fell has a standout dance scene at a club where he gets to go on stage surrounded by a bevy of young and beautiful dancers and he is loving every minute of it. That is until his wife unexpectedly shows up. Hamilton is also good as the frustrated dad who finally gets to have some fun. This movie has tons of laughs and at only 98 minutes long, a lot of ground and countries get covered fast. Which is impressive in itself. The look of the movie is also great as it perfectly captures the decade of long hair and groovy music. I loved this movie and it is one of the most underrated films I have ever seen. It will make you laugh pretty much the entire time you're watching it. I definitely will be watching it several more times and soon. And while this is technically not a screwball comedy, it does feature some screwball antics and situations. So I decided to post it here as well.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Classic Funny Ladies video

And wait for the end when Debbie Reynolds does a funny imitation...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Mating Season (1951)

The Mating Season (1951). Comedy. Director: Mitchell Leisen and produced by Charles Brackett from a screenplay by Charles Brackett, Richard Breen and Walter Reisch, based on the play Maggie by Caesar Dunn. Cast: Gene Tierney, John Lund, Miriam Hopkins, and Thelma Ritter.

After Ellen McNulty, sells her hamburger stand she decides to visit her son Val, who lives in another city. Val has recently married a socialite, Maggie. To help her out, her husband hires a maid and sends her over. At the same time, Ellen arrives. Maggie, her daughter-in-law, mistakes her for the maid. Ellen doesn't let on who she really is and decides to pretend to be a maid. The next morning Ellen arrives with her things. She talks her son into the idea but he doesn't like it very much.

Maggie's mother comes for a visit and she is nothing like Maggie. She is a snob and she doesn't like Val one bit. Mr. Kalinger invites Val and Maggie to the party. At the party, Maggie gets into an argument with an important female guest and storms out. Val, forces Maggie to call the party to apologize to the woman. She does, leading to another fight.

The next morning, Val and Maggie make up and duck into a closet for a kiss. Ellen's friends are at the door and ask to speak to "Mrs. McNulty". It is revealed that Ellen is really Val's mother. Maggie is furious with Val for hiding his mother's identity from her. She and her mother leave for a hotel. Maggie later confronts Val at his office. She tells him that he has become a snob and that she is moving to Mexico. Will Val and Maggie reunite?

I really enjoyed watching this very well done screwball comedy. You have mistaken identity an overbearing mother in law. Mix them altogether you get a movie with cynical undercurrents about the American dream. This film has an excellent cast: Miriam Hopkins, gives a wonderful over the top performance and what can I say Thelma Ritter, just amazing. I was really loved her warm hearted scenes with Gene Tierney.

Click to view, The Mating Season Movie Trailer.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Strawberry Blonde premieres on TCM

I've always wanted to see this comedy film which stars James Cagney, Olivia de Havilland, and Rita Hayworth. Well TCM is airing The Strawberry Blonde on Wednesday, May 12th at 7:45 am EST. Tune in or record it if you get the chance. I know I plan to. I can't wait to see. Cagney only did a few comedies in his career, as did Hayworth, so that makes it worth seeing for that fact alone.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Without Reservations (1946)

Without Reservations (1946). Comedy. Director: Mervyn LeRoy, and adapted by Andrew Solt from the novel "Thanks, God! I'll Take It From Here" by Jane Allen and Mae Livingston. Cast: Claudette Colbert and John Wyane.

The story begins when Kit an author travels by train to L.A. to work on the film adaptation of her book. On the way, she finds a Marine, who she believes would be perfect to play the film character. Kit lies about her who she really is when she hears Rusty and his friend, Lieutenant Dink Watson, putting down her book, Here Is Tomorrow. She quickly comes up with the name Kit Klotch and defends the book. While waiting for connecting train to Chicago, Kit receives a telegram from Baldwin, he orders her to keep track of Rusty and Dink. They both decide to leave the station in to buy some rationed whiskey, and Kit ends up missing her train while trying to keep up with them. To avoid revealing who she really is, Kit pretends that she has lost her ticket and has to travel in coach. When Consuela Callahan, a flirt whom Dink and Rusty call a "beetle," accuses Kit of stealing her orchid and Kit is thrown off the train the next morning. As they continue with their travels they come across many comedic and dramatic problems. When Rusty finds out Kit really is a famous writer, he thinks that she has been using him . Will she convince him otherwise?

I'm a huge fan of John Wayne and Claudette Colbert. This is such a cute, fun and romantic comedy. It reminds me of "It happened One Night" with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

New Poll Started

Just started a new poll which asks the questions what are your favorite screwball comedies of Cary Grant. I provided 7 choices including: Bringing Up Baby, His Girl Friday, The Philadelphia Story, The Awful Truth, My Favorite Wife, Arsenic & Old Lace, and Holiday. And also made it multiple choice, because I knew this would be difficult to choose only one. So have fun and make your choices, the poll is open all month long.

Cary Grant - The King of Screwball Comedies

My favorite actor of all time is Cary Grant and I think he is the best representation of screwball comedies. Now, he did have range as he ended up playing everything from cat burglars to french officers to wronged men. But his strength was screwball comedies. Just look at the list of comedies that he starred in: Bringing Up Baby, His Girl Friday, Arsenic & Old Lace, The Awful Truth, My Favorite Wife, Holiday, The Philadelphia Story, The Bachelor & The Bobby-Soxer, Mr. Blanding Builds His Dream House, Monkey Business, I Was A Male War Bride, and the list goes on and on. His debonair appearance gave the viewers a sense of disbelief. Could this suave guy really be that funny? Why, yes....yes he can. His performances are legendary and a part of classic cinema. And he usually upped his co-stars game to their A level. Great stars like Irene Dunne, Katherine Hepburn, Rosalind Russell, Myrna Loy and Ann Sheridan to name just a few. The first classic movie I ever saw was His Girl Friday when I was about 12 and I was struck on them after that. And immediately began following Cary's career and every time I saw another Grant film, I was always entertained. But I truly believe he was the king of screwball comedies. I'm not knocking the other veterans of this classic genre, but for me it's Cary Grant all the way.