Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Or as Ginger Rogers would say it in her fake Swedish accent in Bachelor Mother (1939):

'Appy Nuuu Chyea!

2008 was a strange year, mostly bad but not without its good points. I got my Master's degree (read my post about that here), I learned to knit, this blog really took off and I made lots of great new blogging friends. So many of the classic film bloggers and classic film fans I have gotten to know are witty, intelligent, kind and fun folks. I hope I get to learn even more about you in the New Year! And I look forward to lots of new blogging projects in 2009.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Good Heavens: All That Heaven Allows (1955)


All That Heaven Allows (1955) is a classic Douglas Sirk melodrama. It was the second time Sirk paired stars Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson together, the first time being in Magnificent Obsession (1954). The story is about a wealthy widow (Jane Wyman) whose two children are college-bound and she finds herself falling in love with her much younger gardener (Rock Hudson) to the dismay of the uppity society she exists in. It's a shame that I had to sum up such a fantastic movie with such a pathetic boiled down sentence such as that one, but there it is.

This film does what a social drama should do; expose the injustices of a society, whether it be society at large or a particular type of society. In this case, it's the suburban, upper-crust, country club society of the 1950's. The main character, the widow Cary, is oblivious to such injustices until she gets to know and falls in love with her gardener Ron. Sometimes it takes someone from a different world for one to understand one's own world; it allows for a sort of eye-opening introspection. This film was cast off as simple weepy melodrama for many years until people began to understand the film's underlying social commentary.

Some who watch the film may think it's over-the-top, but I think it's quite an effective movie. We are first introduced into Cary's world, then we fall in love with Ron and learn to appreciate his rebellion and then we hate everyone who is trying to keep Cary and Ron apart. And c'mon, who wouldn't fall in love with Rock Hudson? What's more romantic than seeing him feeding a lone deer on a snowy morning? If that isn't enough to make a gal weak in the knees, I don't know what is.


I read the featured article on this film on TCM's website and found out something about the film I hadn't been aware of before. To demonstrate Cary's entrapment in her world, Jane Wyman is often shown "framed" whether it be a mirror, window, doorway, etc. My favorite is the shot of her framed in the television which is presented to her as a future "companion".


And watch for a older Conrad Nagel in the film, playing the role of Harvey, Cary's would-be suitor.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Movie Consumption

I didn't quite overdose like I did last year (see my previous post about that) but I did manage to squeeze in a good number of movies during the Christmas break. I still have another week of movie-viewing which I'll consider my New Year's Movie Consumption.

The surprising thing is that I didn't watch Christmas Carol (1938). I have an annual tradition of reading the classic Dickens book (this one is the best edition) and viewing the original film. This year I skipped both. I felt like this was by no means a traditional Christmas, so I kept to non-traditional movies instead.

Dr. No (1962) ~ My introduction to the world of Bond, James Bond.

Get Smart (2008) ~ What a disappointment!

The Naked City (1948) ~ Excellent! A post about this is sure to come.

Christmas in Connecticut (1945) ~ Dennis Morgan! ::sigh::

Love, Actually (2003) ~ Dip it in yogurt, and cover it with chocolate buttons!

Holiday Affair (1949) ~ It's a Mitchum Christmas.

Kiss Me, Stupid (1964) ~ One of the sexiest films I've seen, ever!

Fortune Cookie (1966) - It's great, once you get through the first 30 minutes.

Breathless (1961) ~ Working on an essay for this one.

Bachelor Mother (1939) ~ And I'll watch it next week too!

So what did you guys watch during Christmas?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Good Heavens!

I've decided to do a short series in tribute to all those classic films that contain "Heaven" in the title. Why? Because they always get mangled in my brain and I confuse one title with the other. Watching each and writing about them will help me sort them in my mind. Plus it will be a fun project.

It often feels like there are hundreds of "Heaven" movies. Perhaps because there are also so many contemporary ones. However, there are really only 5 main ones (and various lesser-known ones). And they are...

  1. All This, and Heaven Too (1940) - Bette Davis & Charles Boyer
  2. All That Heaven Allows (1956) - Rock Hudson & Jane Wyman
  3. Heaven Can Wait (1943) - Gene Tierney & Don Ameche
  4. Heaven Knows, Mrs. Allison (1957) - Robert Mitchum & Deborah Kerr
  5. Leave Her to Heaven (1946) - Gene Tierney & Cornel Wilde
How many of the "Heaven" movies have you seen? Which one is your favorite?

I'm going to guess that Ginger's favorite is #5? Seeing as it has her favorite actress plus her current crush.

Stay tuned for more!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Case of the Robert Mitchum Look-a-Like

My good friend Kevin invited me to his office's annual Christmas party. His invitation included promises to meet his fellow co-workers, to have an official tour of the office, to imbibe a few drinks, to eat a few h'or dourves and to meet a young man who looks like Robert Mitchum. Robert Mitchum?! I couldn't quite believe my ears. No one looks like Robert Mitchum, except for... well... Robert Mitchum. The only exceptions would be his direct offspring, as is the case when you see Robert Mitchum side-by-side with his son James in Thunder Road (1958). Otherwise, Mitchum has just got too unusual a face for it to exist anywhere else.

His eyes were sad, slightly bulbous with drooping eyelids. It gave him a brooding and melancholy appearance. His face was heart-shaped, square and broad at the brow, narrowing on its way down to the chin. His nose had a smooth forward slope that broke off in the middle into a downward slant. His lips were soft and flat and almost unremarkable until he broke it out into one of his rare smiles that were as charming as they were alarming. And the piece de resistance, the dimple. Oh that wonderful little dimple planted just perfectly in the middle of his chin. While Cary Grant's chin looked like a women's derriere, Mitchum's chin looks like an angel had touched it and left the dimple in its stead. It was just glorious. Robert Mitchum's look was a kind unto its own.



So when I was chatting away at the party, swirling a glass of sauvignon blanc in my hand, Kevin alerted me to the fact that Robert Mitchum's doppelganger stood directly behind me. I was excited to see him but was skeptical too. I was casual about it and slowly scanned the room until I spotted him. I'm sure my eyes must have widened with surprise when they fell upon his face. He was the young, contemporary, fresh-faced version of Robert Mitchum. The heart-shaped face, the sad eyes, the broken nose, they were all there. The lips were thin and weak and there was no dimple but alas we can't have it all. I looked away, slightly embarassed but terribly intrigued.

As the party progressed, I met various people, all of them friendly yet none of them looked quite like a movie star the way he did, with the exception of one very pleasant woman who had a passing resemblance to a young Goldie-Hawn. And at one point I was told I looked like Rose-McGowan. Then I met the Robert Mitchum look-a-like. Kevin introduced me to him and we shook hands. He was quite striking to look at but his young masculine bravado was a bit off-putting. Kevin managed to work in the name "Robert Mitchum" and the film Out of the Past (1947) in to the conversation, albeit briefly, and he seemed to have not noticed the references. I wonder if he knew who Robert Mitchum was at all. This young man may very well be oblivious to the fact that he carries with him the face of a legendary screen star. Or he might have not been listening very intently to the conversation because it was evident that he had had a few beers at that point. It was his ever-reddening eyes that betrayed him.

The eyes. I have to elaborate on those. They were pretty fixed on Kevin as he was the one of interest in the conversation. Yet ever so often they would travel to my eyes and then, with a lack of grace or even rudimentary shame, to my decolletage. I was slightly unsettled by these glances but I would expect such attentions from an ambitious, young, hot-blooded professional man. Especially one who had been drinking. I thought to myself, "would Robert Mitchum have looked at my decolletage?" And my answer was, "of course he would!" Mitchum appreciated the ladies but he would have been much more sly about it. His eyes would have had the appearance of looking at mine while the whole time they were really looking at a region further below. Or the glances would have occurred when my eyes were turned away, so I wouldn't have noticed. Robert Mitchum was smooth not obvious, unlike his contemporary.

A few words were then spoken and we parted with Robert Mitchum's look-a-like. Thoughts reeled through my head, aided by the wine and I knew that I had to share such a story with my fellow classic film fans. And with Kevin, who enjoyed the encounter as much as I did.


Additional note: The Cary Grant comment comes from Marc-Eliot's biography of the actor. I didn't make it up, no matter how much I wish I did.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

China Seas (1935)



I recently watched China Seas (1935) and I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's humorous and dramatic as well as being hella sexy. A ship captain has to juggle his sexual feelings for floozy Dolly Portland and his lingering feelings for uppity Mrs. Barclay. All the while a band of pirates are plotting to capture the gold aboard the ship. What's a captain to do? This film has a wonderful cast

  • Clark Gable as Captain Gaskell - A sharp-tongued but soft-hearted sea captain.
  • Jean Harlow as Dolly Portland - The blonde-haired floozy who's got it bad for her toots, Gaskell.
  • Rosalind Russell as Mrs. Barclay - The uppity widower who traveled far to woo Gaskell again.
  • Robert Benchley as Charlie McCaleb - The perpetually drunk author who hasn't got a clue.
  • Lewis Stone as Tom Davids - The disgraced officer given another chance to prove himself.
  • Wallace Beery as Jamesy - The ruthless pirate leader who is smitten with Dolly.
  • Hattie McDaniel as Isabel - Dolly's fashionable and straight-talking maid.

The dialogue is sharp, crisp and quite hilarious. My favorite lines are uttered by the fast-talking Jean Harlow who made them all reflect her character's liveliness and desperation. Here are some of the gems.


Nothing alarming, just showering the dewdrops off the body beautiful.

That's just the soup I'm in.

Get on the belt line and keep them coming!

Come out of the trenches, I'm not gonna throw any bombs. I'm harmless.

You can't quit me anymore than I can quit you. And you can kiss a stack of cookbooks on that!

When a woman can love a man right down to her fingertips, she can hate him the same way.

Come on, Jamesy. Let's you and me take a powder.
(I thought this might be referring to that infamous white powder. However, it just indicates leaving to go somewhere else, like the "powder room".)


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

20 Actresses Movie Meme

I was just dying for someone to tag me for the 20 Actresses Movie Meme started The Film Experience blog. But I was patient because I knew that Ibetolis over at the excellent blog Film for the Soul would tag me. He's always very kind to think of me and I appreciate that a lot.


It was a lot of fun working on this list. I discovered that my tastes are by no means mainstream or ordinary. Ladies are presented in no particular order, except for the Queen of MGM who always gets top billing.


~ Norma Shearer ~


~ Joan Blondell ~


~ Susan Peters ~


~ Sandra Dee ~


~ Bette Davis ~




~Ruby Keeler ~



~ Doris Day ~



~ Jean Harlow ~


~ Kim Novak ~



~ Marilyn Monroe ~


~ Bonita Granville ~


~ Ginger Rogers ~


~ Jean Seberg ~


~ Jean Hagen ~


~ Caroll Baker ~


~ Shirley MacLaine ~

I couldn't just make this all about classic film ladies, when there are so many contemporary actresses I enjoy watching too. Here are a few.

~ Amy Adams ~


~ Samantha Morton ~


~ Romola Garai ~



~Ludivine Sagnier~

(thanks Jonas for the photo of Ludivine!)


I'll tag Jonas of All Talking! All Singing! All Dancing!, Ginger of Asleep in New York, Carrie of Classic Montgomery, CK Dexter Haven of Hollywood Dreamland and Sarah of Cinema Splendor. Not so much as a tag, more like a smack. Hee hee. Have fun!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

All I Want for Christmas...

Christmas in nigh upon us. I got myself a little Christmas tree. She's a beaut. It's a dwarf Alberta Spruce and the best part about it is that I get to plant it in the Spring and watch it grow. No dead tree carcass waste here. I'm on a tight budget so buying this tree was a bit of a splurge for me. I just decorated her with one sole snowman ornament and a bit of leftover yarn.

After I wrote my Buyer's Guide: Books for Classic Film Fans post, I got to thinking. As a classic film fan, what would I want for Christmas? Apart from DVDs and books that is. What other items in the form of coolness are there out there for me to enjoy? And of course, I came up with a list.

New York Herald Tribune T-Shirt (Yellow) @ Zazzle

I could wear it just like Jean Seberg did in Breathless (1960). Now all I need is a ticket to Paris and I could walk down the Champs D'Elysees and my Jean-Paul Belmondo would approach me offering me a trip to Italy. Yup. That's realistc right?

Ticket Stub Diary @ Borders

I got this for Kevin for Christmas. He's been collecting ticket stubs for eons so I thought this was the best way for him to keep the most memorable ones intact. It's so cool, I'd like one myself.


Jazz Age Note Cards @ Barnes & Noble

I picked up a set of these at my local Bob Slate Stationery store (not at B&N) and fell in love with them. I gave them out as birthday cards to many friends and now that I'm running low, I need some more! These cards are the perfect excuse for me to practice my 1920's slang.

Tattinger Champagne Ad with Grace Kelly Magnet @ All Posters

I've always loved this image of Grace Kelly behind a very tall glass of champagne. It's elegant and beautiful. And since I enjoy acquiring new magnets, this would be a perfect addition to my fridge collection.

The Waning Sex (1926) with Norma Shearer Tile Coaster @ Cafe Press

Who better to prevent nasty rings on my beloved coffee table than Norma Shearer? While the Queen of MGM may not appreciate being subjected to such a lowly task, this is still definitely a collector's item I would love to have.


Jean Harlow Bottle Cap Charm @ Etsy


Etsy is the best. Full of beautiful handmade items sold by the folks who made them. There are a lot of things here that would catch the eye of any classic film fan. It's all fun stuff like jewelry, magnets, cigarette cases, etc.

Humphrey Bogart Stamp Jigsaw Puzzle @ USPS

The United States Postal Service sure loves classic films. With Frank Sinatra and Bette Davis recently honored with stamps, classic film fans are sure to find something they want in the USPS store. And right now I would love to sit down and work on this Humphrey Bogart puzzle!


TCM Khaki Fleece Blanket @ TCM's Boutique

The office I work at is very cold. And since my work area is already plastered with classic film memorabilia, why not add to it a nice warm fleece blanket? It's dual purpose. Warmth and decoration. Plus plus. And I could also warm up with some tea in a TCM mug too!

Marilyn Monroe T-Shirt @ Retro Factory

It's to add to my collection of Marilyn Monroe T-shirts. Which is right now at 5. Yes that's right. I have 5 Monroe shirts. I am a dork. And to perpetuate my dorkiness, I need this extra-cool shirt NOW.

Regular Membership @ The Brattle Theatre

I love this theatre and my friend Kevin got me this membership as a Christmas present. Yay! What's better than supporting a local independent theatre that continually showcases excellent films? It's the gift that keeps on giving.

Stop Staring 40's Golden Vogue Holiday Dress @ Unique Vintage

I absolutely adore Unique Vintage. They have retro-ware inspired by eras from the 1920's to the 1950's. It's all sexy and fun and new (in an old way). This particular dress looks straight out of a 1940's film.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

God Speed: Van Johnson (1916-2008)


Van Johnson was an underrated comedian and actor all-around. The picture above is of him in one of my favorite movies Yours, Mine and Ours (1968). I'll miss him for sure. God Speed Van Johnson!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

L.A.M.B. Blog-a-thon: Holiday Affair (1949)

Here is my submission to the L.A.M.B. (The Large Association of Movie Blogs) Blog-a-Thon. The rules are to pick a favorite scene in a Christmas movie and write about it. Just to warn you, this will contain SPOILERS, but not to the extent that it will completely ruin the film for you.


Holiday Affair (1949)


Synopsis: Connie Ennis (Janet Leigh) is a widower with a young son, Timmy, and a divorce lawyer boyfriend, Carl (Wendell Cory). She leads a quiet life until she meets Steve Mason (Robert Mitchum), a department store clerk that catches her at her game when she's comparison shopping for a rival store. When Steve doesn't report Connie, he gets fired and the two keep running ino each other in different circumstances. Connie finds herself in a love square. Committed to Carl, yearning for Steve yet still mourning her dead husband.

People often talk about the meaning of Christmas. And in my opinion, they always get it wrong. To me, Christmas is about change. It takes place around the time of the Winter Solstice when we leave behind Fall and head into the depths of Winter. When the days cease getting shorter and start getting longer. And for many religious folks, it's when a certain baby was born bringing hope and change into the world. Christmas is a time of introspection and reflection. New Year's follows shortly after and during Christmas we are already thinking of those changes we want to implement in the new year.

Connie Ennis doesn't want things to change. She wants everything to go back to how it use to be when her husband was still alive. She craves safety, security and consistency. Especially after the traumatic and life-changing experience of losing her husband during the war and having to face raising her son by herself. When a new person, Steve Mason, comes into her life that sense of consistency is threatened. Even though she could be happy with Steve, letting him in would take her out of her comfort zone, something she's not ready to do.





My favorite scene in this movie comes towards the end. Connie needs to return some money to Steve. Her son Timmy had exchanged the train Steve had given him for Christmas so that Steve could use the money for train fare. Connie is scared to confront Steve and her boyfriend Carl sees this. He realizes he'll never have her and they "divorce". Now free, Connie willingly goes up to Steve's apartment. And this is what he says to her on learning that she and Carl are no longer together:

I guess that's my cue to propose again. But I'm not going to... Carl isn't the real threat to me. Maybe I'm not to him. This isn't two fellas and a girl. It's two fells, a girl and her husband. I can't fight a shadow. I tried, the competition's too tough. You were even going to play it safe and settle for someone you didn't love so you wouldn't be unfaithful to your husband... All anyone wants you to do is live in the present and not be afraid of the future. And maybe it can happen again if you quit pretending something that's dead is still alive."

Steve Mason is one of my favorite all-time characters just because he's so wise. He realizes that even though Connie is free from Carl, she's not free from the ghost of her late husband. If Connie is going to be with Steve, she needs to accept change, embrace it even. She needs to move forward with her life, even if it means taking a risk.

We are headed for very uncertain times in 2009. Contemplating now those changes that are currently happening or those that lay ahead, we need to be willing to accept and adapt. We can't cling to the past. We need to be willing to move into the future and to take a risk, any risk, because that might mean a chance at happiness down the road. It's going to be a tough Christmas. But not one without hope.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Buyer's Guide: Books for Classic Film Fans

Do you have a classic film fan in your life? Are you wondering what to get that person for Christmas? Sure you could get them a classic film on DVD but that is so predictable. And chances are, they already own it anyways. Instead get them a book. Yes, a book! Books are the classic film fan's darling. They are the perfect accompaniment to all those films they love so dearly. Treat a loved one (or even yourself) to one of these treasured tomes.
by Ernest Borgnine
ISBN: 9780806529417
$19.95
Hardcover
Citadel Press
August 2008


A charming and approachable autobiography about Ernest Borgnine's long life and acting career. Read my review of it here.

by Marc Eliot
ISBN: 9781400052226
$14.95
Paperback
Three Rivers Press
September 2007



Don't listen to those reviewers who panned this. Eliot's biography of the late, great Jimmy Stewart is comprehensive and well-written. You will learn more than you will ever need to know of the man who made "Auw shucks" sexy.

Collectible Coffee Table Books

by Cheryl Crane (daughter of Turner)
ISBN: 9780762433162
$35.00
Hardcover
Running Press
October 2008


This gorgeous, fully illustrated, over-sized hardcover book will make you want to become a Lana Turner fan, if you're not one already.

The Lost Collection of Ziegfeld Photographer Alfred Cheney Johnston
ISBN: 9780789313812
$40.00
Hardcover
Universe (Rizzoli)
October 2006

Beautiful sepia photographs of actresses and Ziegfeld girls shot by the reknown photographer Alfrey Cheney Johnston. You'll find Norma Shearer and Louise Brooks amongst others here.
by Peter Kobel
ISBN: 9780316117913
$45.00
Hardcover
Little, Brown and Company
November 2007

Gorgeous hardcover filled with stills, poster art and photographs from the silent film era. Silent film fans will want to caress this book once they lay their hands on it. It doesn't hurt that the writing is excellent as well.


For the Woman in Your Life


by Frank Miller
ISBN: 9780811863018
$19.95
Paperback with French Flaps
Chronicle Books
November 2008



The quintessential guide to favorite onscreen couples. Anyone who likes romance, will enjoy this book. Perfect accompaniment for viewing films on Turner Classic Movies. Read my review of it here.


For the Man in Your Life

by Warren G. Harris
ISBN: 9780307237149
$15.95
Paperback
Three Rivers Press
October 2005



This is a juicy no holds barred of the life and times of the King of Hollywood, Clark Gable. Gable was truly a man's man and reading about his exploits is just fun. Not for the faint of heart.


For Younger Kids
by Roxanne Orgill
Illustrated by Stephane Jorisch
ISBN: 9780763621216
$17.99
Hardcover
Candlewick Press
September 2007

Fans of Fred Astaire or even just kids who like to dance, will love this picture book biography of the brother-sister Astaire dancing duo. You can read an interview with the author here.

Written and Illustrated by Scott Nash
ISBN: 9780763639457
$5.99
Paperback
Candlewick Press
February 2008



Get the kids interested in Film Noir early with this madcap adventure. Private Eye Tuff Fluff is on the case to find Duckie's missing brain. You can download a fun activity sheet to go along with this book here.

For Older Kids

Written and Illustrated by Brian Selznick
ISBN: 9780439813785
$22.99
Hardcover
Scholastic
March 2007


A heavily-illustrated tome takes readers on a visual journey following the young orphan Hugo. Very influenced by early French cinema, this is sure to be a hit with young reluctant readers. Won the Caldecott Award for excellence in Children's Book illustration in 2008.


Fiction for Classic Film Lovers
by Winifred Watson
ISBN: 9781906462024
$15.00
Paperback with French Flaps
Persephone Books
February 2008


It has all the glamour and drama of a classic movie with a more direct and uncensored edge. A must-read! The novel became a major motion picture starring Amy Adams in 2008.


by Jon J Muth
ISBN: 9780810995222
$24.95
Hardcover
Abrams
April 2008




Fritz Lang's classic M (1931) comes to life in illustrator Jon J Muth's graphic novel. Read my review of it here.

Just Buy It Okay?


by National Film Registry - Library of Congress
ISBN: 9780789317643
$13.99
Universe (Rizzoli)
August 2008


I know this isn't a book, but I had to mention it anyways. This is the best Classic Film calendar there is. I buy it religiously every year and have gotten it as a gift. It's a must-have.


by Leonard Maltin
ISBN: 9780452286207
$20.00
Paperback
Plume Books
February 2005



This is the OFFICIAL companion for any and all classic film buffs. It's an absolute must. And if your classic film fan already has one, a second back-up copy will prove to be infinitely useful.


Support the book industry. Buy books as presents this Christmas. And support your local independent bookstore. All links above are to the well-known and respected independent Powell's Books.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Ten Things I Like About Old Movies

Jacqueline over at Another Old Movie Blog, did an excellent post called Ten Things I Like About Old Movies. She set aside obvious things like acting, script, camera work, etc. and listed only quirky things that she enjoyed. Self-Styled Siren also did a similar post. I'm going to join the bandwagon and do one too! It's not stealing if I give credit to folks, right?

1) Busby Berkeley-esque choreography - Women and men move in and out of shapes. It's a beautifully complex feast for the eyes. 42nd Street (1933) , Dames (1934) and The Gold Diggers of 1933 are among my favorites.



2) Men lighting Matches - Oh so sexy. They light them in unconventional ways. These men exude confidence and are not scared of a little flame. Wow. Fred MacMurray lit one with his thumb in Double Indemnity (1944), Kirk Douglas lit one on a typewriter in Ace in the Hole (1951) (see below) and William Holden lit one on another man's shirt in Stalag 17 (1953). S'all good.



3) Women's silk robes/negligees - Complete with fancy slippers or some other frou-frou. It made going to bed look like a red carpet event. Like Jean Harlow in Red-Headed Woman (1932).


4) New Year's Eve - It looks like so much more fun in an old movie than it is in real life. How I would love to have a night like Ginger Rogers had in Bachelor Mother (1939) . David Niven dolled her up and took her out for a fancy meal, dancing and a final countdown in Times Square. ::sigh:: New Year's Eve celebrations in The Divorcee (1930) and The Apartment (1960) are memorable too!



5) Coffee & Pastries - So much more delicious (and less fattening) when actors consume them on screen. There is the famous Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) scene with Audrey Hepburn balancing a pastry and cup of coffee in front of the famous Tiffany's store. Jane Wyman offers Rock Hudson a coffee and a roll in All That Heaven Allows (1956) and they fall in love over lunch. Robert Mitchum sips at a cup of coffee when he romances Janet Leigh in Holiday Affair (1949).





6) Clothes Shopping - The Women (1939) anyone? "Zips up the side and no bones." Young models wearing the latest fashions, walking and posing for potential buyers. You'd have to be famous or an industry professional to get this kind of showcase these days. It puts me in mind of How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) too.



7) Impeccably dressed Men - Cary Grant, Clark Gable, Jimmy Stewart. They all look good in a suit. Sure the women's fashions were great. But a well-dressed man is a sight to behold. If they just happen to be wearing a pocket watch, I absolutely swoon. Even ratty trenchcoats are wonderful, because they wore them well. My absolute favorite? Dennis Morgan in uniform in Christmas in Connecticut (1945). Someone get me the smelling salts! I feel a faint coming on.


8) Art Deco Architecture & Design - I'm getting really specific here. The clean, elegant lines and shapes of Art Deco were beautiful and very conducive to bringing a sense of sophistication to movies. Pools seem to fit very nicely here for some reason. I'm thinking of the communal swimming pool in Their Own Desire (1929) as well as the private one in Female (1933) (see image below).

9) Title Songs - Very popular in the late '50s and early '60s, especially for the sex comedies. Titles were taken from the song name or a song was written for the title. My favorite is Pillow Talk (1959) sung by Doris Day. But I also really love Where the Boys Are (1960) (sung by Connie Francis), Come Fly with Me (1963) (sung by Frank Sinatra) and If a Man Answers (1962) (sung by Bobby Darin).


10) Physical Comedy - We have physical comedy these days, but not to the extent of the great comedians back in the day such as Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Charlie Chaplin, The Three Stooges and Laurel and Hardy, just to name a few. They threw their bodies into their work and the results were hilarious. Even Donald O'Connor did amazing physical comedic work in Singin' in the Rain (1952). The Make 'Em Laugh number sent him to the hospital, but has kept us laughing for decades afterwards.

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