Classic screwball farce by Preston Sturges about an office clerk named Jimmy MacDonald (a nice change of pace for 30's musical star Dick Powell) who loves entering contests to win a fortune and marry his girl Betty (played by Ellen Drew). Well his latest attempt is the Maxford House Coffee Slogan Contest. As a joke, some of his co-workers put together a fake telegram which says that he won the $25,000 grand prize. And soon Jimmy is spending money all over town (which he hasn't even received yet). Stores greet him with open arms because they know he is about to get paid. But when his co-workers finally fess up, things become a little difficult. Christmas in July is a funny little gem from the master of screwball comedies, Preston Sturges. And a likeable cast is a plus. Powell is actually ok in this comedic role. Ellen Drew is really good as Betty. And a great supporting cast that includes William Demarest and Franklin Pangborn. Christmas In July is perfect viewing for any time of the year. B
Babs knows how to gain attention from a room full of men...
The divine Barbara Stanwyck and Coop re-team for this wonderful comedy classic. The two stars previously paired up in Meet John Doe earlier that year for Frank Capra. As good as that film was, I like Ball Of Fire even more. The story casts Coop as Bertram Potts a young professor who along with six other professors are compiling an encyclopedia of human knowledge. Potts is researching American slang. Things are going good until their financial backer, Miss Totten pressures them to hurry up and finish. So Bertram hits the streets to do some solo research and meets saucy nightclub singer Sugarpuss O'Shea (Stanwyck). O'Shea is at first reluctant to help Potts until she needs a place to hide out from the police who are looking to question her about her boyfriend, mob boss Joe Lilac (played by Dana Andrews).
Soon Sugarpuss is teaching the guys how to conga and all kinds of slang. Of course Bertram ends up falling for her but has do deal with Lilac. Ball Of Fire is one awesome movie. Full of humor and a sizzling performance by Stanwyck. She struts across the screen like she owns it and she does. And Coop is solid as Potts. An enjoyable comedy film.Expertly directed by Howard Hawks.
Barbara Stanywck is a delight as fun loving socialite Melsa Manton who, along with her debutante friends, hunt for a murderer while eating bonbons and having fun. Melsa also flirts with newspaper man Peter Ames (Henry Fonda). Stanwyck and Fonda get to trade barbs and engage in screwball hi-jinks while avoiding trying to fall in love. It's cool seeing the pair engage in comedy. They would later team up for the classic farce, The Lady Eve. Here in Miss Manton, things will remind you a lot of the Thin Man series as the film mixes mystery and comedy quite well. And the two leads are game enough to have a good time while pursuing a murderer. Co-starring Sam Levene, Hattie McDaniel, and Penny Singleton.
George Cukor is best know as a director of women's films. His deft hand guided many classic films centered on women. Such as Camille, Little Women, The Philadelphia Story, Susan and God, Holiday, Gaslight, parts of Gone With The Wind and of course the 1939 all star classic film The Women. That film had a dream cast of nothing but women as not one single man ever appeared in any parts of this wild and rollicking comedy. But it's ironic because men are all what these ladies talk and fight about. The cast features Norma Shearer as Mary Haines, a loving wife whose husband strays into an affair with the sexy, gold digging Crystal Allen (Joan Crawford in a top notch performance and my favorite character in the film). Mary's friend, Sylvia Fowler (hilariously played by Rosalind Russell) tries to help Mary through this crisis but ends up being the one who likes to stir things up. We all have friends like that don't we?
Sylvia and Edith meeting Crystal...
One loyal friend of Mary is Peggy (a quiet but still good performance by Joan Fontaine). After Mary runs into Crystal and has an argument with her husband, who is kept off camera, and the argument is wonderfully told to the audience by the maid to the cook in the kitchen, Mary heads to Reno for a divorce. There she runs into several more women including Paulette Goddard as Miriam (looking sensational and full of fire) and is seeing Sylvia's husband on the side. We also meet the delightfully eccentric The Countess De Lave (played by Mary Boland) who loves men like most people love candy. She just can't get enough of them.
Once in Reno, the women settle down until Sylvia shows up and says she is getting a divorce too and finds Miriam is the other woman. Which leads to a hilarious catfight with hats, shirts, and skirts soon being ripped to pieces. The Women is an amazing film with Cukor guiding all these talented actresses perfectly and creating a masterpiece. Norma Shearer who started in films in the mid-20's and made several pre-code Hollywood melodramas where she was often cast as the sexy and independent woman is more motherly in this film. And her final screen exit is a little too over melodramatic but for the most part she is good as Mary. Rosalind Russell is a hoot as Sylvia and gets in some choice bits. But it's Joan Crawford who stands out the most as Crystal. Not only is she smart, funny, sexy and gets to deliver most of the film's most memorable lines, she is also drop dead beautiful here. Her classic line at the end of the film is one for the books..."There's a word for you ladies, but it's not used in society..outside of a kennel." Damn. Of course things work out eventually by the end of the movie, but the fun part is getting there to see it.
A meeting of enemies...
Winner of 4 Monties including Best Film, Director, and Supporting Actress (a tie between Roz and Joan).
Happy Birthday to one of the great screwball film actresses of all time, Jean Arthur. The list of her great comedies include Easy Living, You Can't Take It With You, The More The Merrier, The Devil and Miss Jones and lots more. Non screwball films include Shane, and Mr. Smith Goes To Washington. Happy Birthday Jean!
EASY LIVING won the favorite Jean Arthur screwball comedy film with 7 of the 19 tallied votes. I chose Easy Living myself because I thought it was Jean's best screwball film. The More The Merrier finished second with 4 votes. A pair of Frank Capra films: You Can't Take It With You and Mr. Deeds Goes To Town both finished with 3 votes. The Devil and Miss Jones took 2 votes and The Ex-Mrs. Bradford yielded no votes. Thanks to everyone that stopped by to vote.
Happy Birthday to one of the funniest women of all time. Madeline Kahn who starred in such great comedies like What's Up Doc? (1972) a great tribute to screwball comedies; Young Frankenstein (1974); Blazing Saddles (1974) as Lili Von Shtupp in a hilarious send-up of Marlene Dietrich; High Anxiety (1977) a spoof of Hitchcock films and The Cheap Detective (1978) a spoof of private detective films. She was truly one of a kind.
Haven't done a poll on here for awhile so I decided to do one about Jean Arthur, one of the top screwball comedy queens of all time. The question is what is your favorite Jean screwball comedy. The choices are: Easy Living, You Can't Take It With You, The Devil and Miss Jones, The More The Merrier, Mr. Deeds Goes To Town, and The Ex-Mrs. Bradford. The poll will be up thru the end of September.
One of the best scenes from The Women is when Rosalind Russell and Joan Fontaine are trying to exercise...well trying to gossip but the instructor keeps getting in the way with wanting them to exercise..
Maria Tura: It's becoming ridiculous the way you grab attention. Whenever I start to tell a story, you finish it. If I go on a diet, you lose the weight. If I have a cold, you cough. And if we should ever have a baby, I'm not so sure I'd be the mother. Joseph Tura: I'm satisfied to be the father. - TO BE OR NOT TO BE (1942)
I know it's my own personal awards show, but I had to give His Girl Friday some more praise. I just wrote a post on my main blog All Good Things where my favorite film of all time took home four Monties. AWESOME! all good things
What better way to start off Monday by watching Arsenic and Old Lace. The definition of a dark comedy. When you mix humor with murderers and corpses, then throw in Cary Grant with two old bitties (his aunts) who happen to like killing single old men- then count me in. A truly different type comedy that has to be seen. Cary is of course in perfect form. Josephine Hull and Jean Adair as his aunts are quite funny. And lets not forget the long lost brother Raymond Massey who just escaped from prison and decides to come home. Plus Priscilla Lane is fetching as Cary's girlfriend-soon to be wife. Oh and Peter Lorre as Massey's sidekick. I couldn't forget about him, now could I Irene?
Happy Birthday to my third favorite actress of all time, Myrna Loy. One of her specialities was screwball comedies, which she excelled in. Thin Man anyone? But she had tons of talent and tremendous range as well. Starring in top notch dramas such as The Best Years of Our Lives. Happy Birthday Myrna!
I know that Irene Dunne won the Queen of Screwball Cinema on a poll I did here last year and she beat out Carole over on All Good Things for Favorite Classic Movie Actress but to me Carole is the queen. She is my favorite actress of all time and I just enjoy her movies, especially her screwball comedies, where she was at her best. But Irene is a close second. So here are just some random photos of Carole in her element on this beautiful Sunday morning. Enjoy!