Cary and Irene (THE AWFUL TRUTH)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My Top 10 Favorite Screwball Films of Cary Grant recently did a top 25 of my favorite Cary Grant films which covered all genres: action, thriller, comedies, etc. So for here I decided to condense it to a top 10 list of my favorite screwball comedies starring Cary. Enjoy.

10.) TOPPER (1937) Manic screwball farce with Grant and Constance Bennett as fun loving couple George and Marion Kerby who after dying in a car crash, return as ghosts. They take it upon themselves to lighten up the life of their stuffy banker Cosmo Topper (played by Roland Young). Entertaining fantasy/comedy, that was followed by two sequels but without the services of Cary.

9.) I WAS A MALE WAR BRIDE (1949) Terrific comedy by Howard Hawks and co-starring Ann Sheridan. Cary plays Captain Henri Rochard, a French officer assigned to work with Lieut. Catherine Gates (Sheridan). Through a wacky series of misadventures, they fall in love and marry. When the war ends, Capt. Rochard tries to return to America with the other female war brides. Of course things are not that easy and Henri must resort to dressing in drag to get home. A very funny movie.

8.) MR. BLANDINGS BUILDS HIS DREAM HOUSE (1948) And now begins the screwball run of Cary films as my top 8 films are all comedies starting with this one. He and Myrna Loy play a married couple who are fed up with the city and move out to the country and buy this ramshackle of a house. The situations they have to deal with while trying to fix the place up are hysterical.

7.) THE BACHELOR & THE BOBBY-SOXER (1947) Another team up with Myrna Loy and it's even better than Mr. Blandings. Cary is perfect as a playboy who runs afoul of Judge Turner (Loy) and must date her younger sister (Shirley Temple) or face jail. It's a complicated story but it's funny as can be. Grant is in top form for this one.

6.) THE AWFUL TRUTH (1937) The first pairing of Cary and Irene is an absolute delight. They play a married couple who are getting a divorce and comic mishaps occur along the way. Classic screwball comedy at it's best.

5.) THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (1940) How's this for star power: Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, and Jimmy Stewart. Cary plays CK Dexter haven, the ex-husband to Kate's Tracy Lord. Well Tracy is planning on re-marrying much to the dismay of CK and a reporter (Stewart). A sophisticated comedy with three legends giving great performances.

4.) ARSENIC & OLD LACE (1944) Wicked black comedy with Cary as writer Mortimer Brewster who returns home to visit his two kind aunts and realize they are murdering elderly men who come a calling. Mortimer also has to deal with a visiting brother who has just escaped from prison (Raymond Massey) and his sidekick (Peter Lorre). And wonderfully directed by Frank Capra.

3.) MY FAVORITE WIFE (1940) This movie is hilarious. And I give all the credit to Irene Dunne in this one. She plays Ellen, a woman who was shipwrecked on a deserted island and declared dead. Well Nick, her husband (Grant) decides to move on with his life and re-marries. Lo and behold when Ellen returns home. Cary is good as usual but Irene is simply amazing. She makes the movie.

2.) BRINGING UP BABY (1938) The classic film with Grant, Katherine Hepburn, Skippy the dog (Asta from the Thin Man movies), a pet leopard named Baby, an escaped dangerous leopard, and an inept town sheriff all combine for a riot of a movie. And you won't be able to get that song out of your head, "I can't give you anything but love, Baby!"

1.) HIS GIRL FRIDAY (1940) No need to go into detail here. Not only is this my favorite Cary Grant movie, but it's my favorite movie, period. Grant as newspaper editor Walter Burns is terrific and Rosalind Russell is just as good as Hildy Johnson, his ace reporter and ex-wife. This has to be the fastest talking movie ever made. The wisecracks fly by every few seconds and you rarely have time to catch your breath. I watch it a few times every year.

There you have it my ten favorite Cary Grant screwball films. Note that on my original list that 8 of the top ten films were all screwball comedies. If you're curious about that list just click on the link to check it out.

Monday, August 16, 2010

It Happened One Night (1934)

One of the first and best of the screwball comedies. Enjoy this clip on how to hitchike, the Claudette Colbert way.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Some Like It Hot (1959)

Very funny comedy with everyone involved at the top of their game. Ace director Billy Wilder leads Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon through this delightful comedy romp set during the Prohibition era. Curtis and Lemmon are Joe and Jerry, musicians who pose as women on the run from the Chicago mob. They end up joining Monroe's all girl band down in Miami. Complications ensue. Doesn't get much better than this. Easily one of the best comedies ever made. Curtis and Lemmon make a great team and Monroe is super as Sugar Kane the singer who stays in trouble. Also notable is George Raft as head of the mob trying to catch the two guys who are witnesses to a murder.
Jerry: "Have I got things to tell you!"
Joe: "What happened?"
Jerry: "I'm engaged."
Joe: "Congratulations. Who's the lucky girl?"
Jerry: "I am!"

The Seven Year Itch (1955)

One of Marilyn's best roles and best films has the gorgeous one playing a young woman living in the upstairs apartment of a married man. The man is prone to daydreaming about being a real ladies man but when he finally meets Marilyn, comedic results happen quickly and often. A hilarious film that shot Monroe to stardom. It was the first pairing between Monroe and director Billy Wilder. And co-star Tom Ewell is a riot as the married man who falls for Marilyn.They would team up again a few years later for the also great comedic classic Some Like It Hot. You can't go wrong with this one. Enjoy The Seven Year Itch during this particularly hot summer season and will bring a smile to your face.

The Girl: When it gets hot like this, you know what I do. I keep my undies in the icebox!
The Girl: I think it's just elegant to have an imagination. I just have no imagination at all. I have lots of other things, but I have no imagination.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

My Top 10 Favorite Bob Hope Films

In honor of Bob Hope day on TCM's Summer Under The Stars on Sunday, I decided to make a top ten list of my favorite films of Bob Hope. Dawn, I would love to see your choices as well.
10.THEY GOT ME COVERED (1943) with Dorothy Lamour

9. MY FAVORITE BRUNETTE (1947) with Dorothy Lamour

8. ROAD TO MOROCCO (1942) with Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour

7. THE PRINCESS AND THE PIRATE (1944) with Virginia Mayo

6. CAUGHT IN THE DRAFT (1941) with Dorothy Lamour

5. ROAD TO ZANZIBAR (1941) with Bing and Dorothy

4. MY FAVORITE BLONDE (1942) with Madeline Carroll

3. THE GHOST BREAKERS (1940) with Paulette Goddard

2. THE CAT AND THE CANARY (1939) with Paulette Goddard

1. NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH (1941) with Paulette Goddard

Bob Hope.

Bob Hope, made his first films in 1934 Educational Pictures for a short-subject comedy called, Going Spanish. Hope lost his contract with them when Walter Winchell asked him about the film. Hope joked, "When they catch John Dillinger, they're going to make him sit through it twice." Shortly after that he was working for New York's Vitaphone studio in 20-minute comedies and musicals from 1934 through 1936, beginning with Paree, Paree (1934).

Paramount Pictures signed Hope for the 1938 film The Big Broadcast of 1938. During a duet with Shirley Ross accompanied by Shep Fields and his orchestra, Hope introduced the song that he became best known for, "Thanks for the Memory".

Bob Hope's best known performance was in my favorite Bob Hope movie, My Favorite Brunette(1947). A movie poking fun at film noirs. With Lon Chaney, Jr. playing Willie, a character based on his Of Mice and Men role Lennie. Peter Lorre as Kismit and cameo appearances by Alan Ladd and Bing Crosby.

He also performed in the "Road" movies in which he performed with Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour. Hope and Lamour were lifelong friends, and she is the actress most associated with his film career. Other female co-stars included Paulette Goddard, Lucille Ball, Jane Russell, and Hedy Lamarr.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Stage Door (1937) is terrific...Hollywood at it's golden best

Director Gregory La Cava assembled a stunning roster of some of the best actresses for this delightful comedy/drama. Katherine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Lucille Ball, Eve Arden, Ann Miller, Gail Patrick and Andrea Leeds. How's that for a cast. And then throw in Adolphe Menjou, Jack Carson and Franklin Pangborn, and you have one of the best film casts ever assembled. It rivals the all women cast of the 1939 classic The Women. The story has Terry Randall (Hepburn), a rich society beauty wants to see if see can make it on Broadway all by herself, with no help from her family. She goes to live in a theatrical boarding house called The Footlights Club and finds her life caught up with those of the other inmates and the ever-present disappointment that theatrical hopefuls must live with. Her room-mate Jean (the wonderfully biting Ginger Rogers) resents her from day one and their tenous relationship fuels the entire movie. The look Jean gives Terry once she realizes they're going to be room-mates is classic. While Stage Door is not really a screwball comedy, it does feature several hilarious moments and wonderful comedic dialogue. I mean with wise-crackers like Rogers, Eve Arden and Lucille Ball on hand, how could it not be. But it does turn very dramatic at times, and there is even an unexpected death that just shatters the close knit group of women. As far as the acting goes, Rogers is top notch. She easily stands out among her fellow actresses with her seen it all, done it all character Jean. Lucille Ball is also very good as Judith, as she has comic troubles with dating. Judith and Jean's double date with some visiting lumberjacks is a riot. Hepburn is ok, but at times seems uncomfortable amid all the other women. I believe Kate worked her best magic with either Tracy of Cary Grant. Regardless, Stage Door is one of my favorite films and it is a joy to watch again and again.

Judy Canfield: Do you want a date?
Jean Maitland: To some other lumberman?
Judy Canfield: Am I supposed to apologize for being born in Seattle?
Jean Maitland: Well, the last couple we went stepping with were made of lumber. Especially their feet.
Judy Canfield: All right, all right, you can stay here and gorge yourself on lamb stew again.

Terry Randall: I see that, in addition to your other charms, you have that insolence generated by an inferior upbringing.
Jean Maitland: Hmm! Fancy clothes, fancy language and everything!
Terry Randall: Unfortunately, I learned to speak English correctly.
Jean Maitland: That won't be of much use to you here. We all talk pig latin.


Terry: Do you go to sleep right away?
Jean: Sure, what do you go to bed for?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Myrna Loy

Myrna Loy, was first noticed by Rudolph Valentino, when he went to Henery Waxman studio. Valentino, was looking for a leading lady for the film, Cobra. She tested for the role, but lost out to Gertrude Olmstead. Soon after she was hired as an extra for the film, Pretty Ladies. Rambova recommended Loy, for a small role opposite Nita Naldi in the film, What Price Beauty? Photos of Loy in her exotic makeup and costume appeared in a fan magazine which led to a contract with Warner Bros. Loy's silent film roles were mostly, femme fatales or she wore yellow face to appear Asian for the films, Across the Pacific, A Girl in Every Port, The Crimson City, The Black Watch and The Desert Song.

It took years for her to overcome this stereotype, and as late as 1932 she was cast in, Thirteen Women. She also performed in small roles in, The Jazz Singer and the musicals, The Show of Shows, The Bride of the Regiment, and Under A Texas Moon. In 1934, Loy performed in, Manhattan Melodrama with Clark Gable and William Powell. After performing with Ramón Novarro in The Barbarian, Loy was cast as Nora Charles in the film, The Thin Man(1934).

The Thin Man(1934), was a comic/detective film where a married couple banter back and forth as they solve crimes. Their dog, the Wire-Haired Fox Terrier Asta, was also a popular character. Director W. S. Van Dyke, at a Hollywood party pushed her into a swimming pool, to test her reaction and her reaction was exactly what he wanted. The Thin Man became one of the year's biggest hits, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Film. She and her costar William Powell, performed in fourteen films together. Her successes in Manhattan Melodrama and The Thin Man, became a turning point in her career and she was cast in more important pictures. As Wife vs. Secretary (1936) with Clark Gable and Jean Harlow and Petticoat Fever (1936) with Robert Montgomery. She made four films with William Powell, Libeled Lady (1936), which also starred Spencer Tracy and Jean Harlow, The Great Ziegfeld (1936), in which she played Billie Burke. She also made three more films with Clark Gable. Parnell, was an historical drama and was poorly received film of both Loy's or Gable's career, but their other films in, Test Pilot and Too Hot to Handle (both 1938) were successes. By this time Loy was highly regarded for her performances in romantic comedies. She also wanted to prove that she had dramatic ability and was cast in the lead female role in The Rains Came (1939) opposite Tyrone Power. She filmed Third Finger, Left Hand (1940) with Melvyn Douglas. She also performed in, I Love You Again (1940), Love Crazy (1941) and Shadow of the Thin Man (1941), all with William Powell. With the outbreak of World War II, she put aside acting career to work closely with the Red Cross.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Myrna Loy as Mrs. Blandings: Choosing paint colors clip

Myrna is hilarious as she tells the contractor what type of colors of paint she wants for her home....

Monday, August 2, 2010

Photos of Birthday Girl Myrna Loy

Just had to post some photos of the lovely Myrna for her birthday. Enjoy.

Happy Birthday Myrna Loy (1905-1993)

In honor of Myrna's birthday, here are my Top 10 Favorite Myrna films.

1. THE THIN MAN (1934)
5. LOVE CRAZY (1941)
6. LIBELED LADY (1936)

As you can see, Myrna represented the screwball comedy genre well.