Period of Adjustment (1962) - I really wanted to write up a review and post it before TCM's airing and before Christmas but I just never got around to it. At first I thought this film was just another kooky comedy from the 1960s kind of like Lord Love a Duck. I watched the first hour and gave up. But for some reason, the film kept popping into my head and I couldn't quite let it go. I had to give it another chance.
Isabel (Jane Fonda) and George Haverstick (Jim Hutton) are newlyweds. They got married on Christmas after having met not so long ago at a hospital. They are on a honeymoon trip (traveling in a hearse!) which is turning out to be a disaster. They make a pit stop at the home of Ralph Bates (Anthony Franciosa) and his wife Dorothea (Lois Nettleton) but they only find Ralph there. Dorothea left after Ralph got fired from his job by his boss, her father. Both couples are going through a period of adjustment. The newlyweds have been thrown into their situation and are highly uncomfortable and not ready for sex and the married couple are dealing with issues of disappointment and unrealized expectations.
I watched the film again and was surprised to find that it is quite good. Newlyweds or anyone going through a new phase in their romantic relationship can appreciate this film. The main conflict of the story is essentially a battle of the sexes. The male and female characters are struggling with their respective roles, especially Franciosa's Ralph who is always trying so desperately to be "the man." One of the most interesting characters just happens to be the most quiet. And that is Ralph and Dorothea's son Skip "Junior" (Scott Robertson). He's a quiet little boy who likes to play with dolls. This angers and frustrates his dad Ralph. This innocent little boy is breaking down gender binaries unknowingly by playing with the toy that he wants to play with rather than the one he's expected to play with. The mere act of playing with a toy intended for little girls threatens his dad masculinity by voiding his influence as a male role model. In one scene, Ralph gets so angry that he throws the boy's doll into a fire. Quite an interesting subtext! I am so glad I gave this film a second chance.
Lady in Cement (1968) - Speaking of second chances, I thought I'd also give Lady in Cement another try. I didn't like it when I first watched it and this surprised me. I'm a huge fan of Tony Rome (1967) and Lady in Cement is the sort-of-sequel to that film. I have been partaking in multiple repeat viewings of Tony Rome and I was hungering for something more. So I decided to watch Lady in Cement again and I quite enjoyed it on the second viewing! There is something about the broken detective genre of the 1960s that I really enjoy. Also it's funny to see Lainie Kazan as a Spanish-American stripper! I really wish there were more than just two Tony Rome movies. There should have been more. I enjoy these much more than the James Bond films I've seen, although I like those too. For those of you who like Tony Rome and Lady in Cement, The Detective is similar but takes place in New York rather than Miami. Tony Rome is probably the most mild of the three whereas Lady in Cement and The Detective concern themselves a lot with homosexuality as part of the crime world.
The Shelter of Your Arms, a collection of Sammy Davis Jr. songs. It's quite wonderful!
I just realized this post is very 1960s and that my recent viewings have been mostly films from the 1930s or the 1960s. I'll need to start finding more films from the decades around and in between to round things out a bit.