10 December 2010

Tell me, Mr. Taylor, where did you put your humour?

I'm surprised. I'm impressed. I'm bedazzled. I'm in love. Never knew that could happen with an actor I scorned long ago - and only because I saw all the wrong movies with him! Jesus! I'm either really narrow-minded or really snobbish - which you shouldn't be as a film freak...*utterly embarrassed expression*.

Anyway, the actor I'm talking about is none other than Robert Taylor!


A couple of months ago I watched "Camille" (1936) with Greta Garbo and Robert T., the latter playing a young, handsome suitor, and I was amazed by Robert's performance. I must remind you that I've have only seen him in some of his later movies from about the late '40s to the '50s on TCM, and I was often bored by his (let's face it) rather stiff and wooden acting in these movies. He always seemed to appear in all those stereotyp adventure films, playing a tough gunman or knight or whatever. He did nothing unusual or exceptional, he just rode his horse, killed the bad guy(s) and kissed the girl. So you can imagine I was surprised to see an eager, sensitive and expressive 'anti-Robert' in "Camille". I became very interested and started searching for other movies he made in the '30s (when he was only in his twenties). And luckily I found quite a lot. Mostly comedies which surprised me even more - and all the same made me more happier!


Gosh, I've come to adore this man! What a talent he had for comedy! I was literally gaping when I saw him jumping and sprinting across the screen like another Chaplin, being rejected (!) by girls and laughing like no one else (with a look like his) ever had! :-O

Even his more dramatic side impressed me deeply and I believe that he could pull off almost every kind of character - if he only had been given the chance. His expressions were much more varied, easy-going and natural than they were later on, and it's really such a shame that he didn't made more movies like that. I've heard some argue that it was because of the war that he became more stiff and emotionless in his later movies and that he chose more dramatic roles, wanting to get away from the cheerful roles he had had as a young actor. It's very likely that the same happened to Clark Gable, though he did pick the comedy genre again after the war and managed to pull it off. Nevertheless, it's sad how war can affect the spirit so profoundly - even or especially in those whose job literally is to act/pretend otherwise.

Well, I still find Robert's first movies his best (making him a seriously underrated actor, in my opinion!) and I'm not even finished watching the entire list, but I'm almost sure he cannot let me down after so many great performances already.


I'll treat you with a little sneak peek from one of my favorite films with him; "Personal Property" (1937):



PS. I'll be sure to update this post when I've seen the rest of the movies :)

24 November 2010

Magical Musicals No More?

Where have they gone? The musicals. Some claim the genre is now dead, and that it is only kept alive, hidden in an immortal time, and brought back from our memory when nostalgia seems to take over. The magic has died, apparently. Or has it?

Sure, musicals are still seen in our modern society – after all, Broadway still exists – so the magic cannot be entirely dead, can it?

Actually, we do have some good examples of musical creativity in this century: Rob Marshall’s successful “Chicago” (2002), Baz Luhrmann’s popular “Moulin Rouge!” (2001), and other hit-musicals such as “Dreamgirls” (2006) and “Sweeney Todd” (2007) - and even new geeky high school tv series "Glee" (2009-present) - among others. Yet, so few, compared to the number of musicals the studios once made.

"Chicago" (2002)

In the heyday of musicals, that is, about the ‘20s-‘50s, people flocked to the cinema to watch Fred and Ginger do their famous light-footed dance steps or to see Gene Kelly turn art, passion and emotions into dance. Then, during the late ‘50s and in the ‘60s, musicals started to be a bit worn out and though some had touched heavy topics from real life, the good old musicals were soon replaced by film genres that dealt with social problems and the more harsh facts of life. Time was changing and people just weren’t the pleasing kind anymore. They wanted to be slapped in the face with reality and questions of morality, sexuality, politics and ethics. There was a revolution going on; not just in the world, but also on the screen. Films like “The Godfather”, “Taxi Driver” and “The Deer Hunter” came in the ‘70s and confronted everyone with their blatant images and messages. The other side of the coin was shown. The darker, dirtier and more tabooed side. And it affected the musicals which were made in that time. Step dancing, bright colors and cheerfulness weren’t enough anymore. During the ‘70s and ‘80s, rock and pop became more prominent, bringing new dance steps to the screen and with storylines more fitted for the younger audience; some satirical, others not. You could ask yourself, if the motive of these musicals was to please the crowd; utterly pragmatic and up to the beat, or if they could still manage to capture the soul and feelings of their generation?

"An American in Paris" (1951)

Another genre that we don’t see much of anymore is the gay (lively) screwball comedy. We miss that film genre, surely? It’s not that I’m asking that we should copy what they did then (it’s not possible to even touch those magnificent pieces of film work!). But shouldn’t we at least try to dig up some of those sassy, ironic and sharp lines, attitudes and characters which were so prominent in the ‘20s-‘40s screwball days? The wonderful battle of the sexes where you didn’t have to talk about or show sex but just used your inner wipe and sexuality through guts, stubbornness and wit? Where you showed your weaknesses as well as your strengths without making it stereotype or melodramatic? Where your personality and self-irony were major contributing factors for all the bantering, flirting and falling in love? It was short, wisecracking, ironic and light, but hilarious as hell because they used wit, quirks and cleverness to get what they wanted.

"The Philadelphia Story" (1940)

Well, needless to say I miss this certain zest in our current time. I haven’t seen much of it yet, not in films at least, whereas television series, such as “Cheers” (1982-1993), “Moonlighting” (1985-1989), "10 Things I Hate About You" (2009-2010) and “Bones” (2005-present), have got the upper hand in the matter. The Brits are still running the business with their self-proclaimed self-ironic humor. It’s somehow always a blast. And the Americans are actually not so far behind, as the state of their country often makes room for a good satirical and political joke (but hey, what country doesn't?).

"Moonlighting"
Maddie Hayes (Cybill Shepherd) and David Addison (Bruce Willis)

"10 Things I Hate About You"
Kat Stratford (Lindsey Shaw) and Patrick Verona (Ethan Peck)

"Bones"
Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) and Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel)

So, perhaps musicals and screwball comedies are not so dead, after all. They’re just not … in the center anymore. The film industry is constantly changing and expanding and that’s a good sign, I guess. Yet, I still think we shouldn’t let ourselves be totally devoured by the consumerism and the norms of our society when we want to entertain, renew and please. It will rub off onto the movies, the television and the next generation. Let it not take over-hand, guys. We may swallow up some of our hidden treasures in our hurry.

16 November 2010

Looking forward to ...

"A Dangerous Method"
(2011)

A British historical biopic directed by David Cronenberg (A History of Violence, Eastern Promises), about the relationships between Sigmund Freud (played by Viggo Mortensen), Carl Jung (played by Michael Fassbender) and Sabina Spielrein (played by Keira Knightley), the woman who comes between them.

Screenplay by Christopher Hampton (Dangerous Liaisons, Atonement).


11 November 2010

The Fashion of Katharine Hepburn

I've always admired Katharine Hepburn. Not just for her brilliant acting, but also for her wonderful no-nonsense attitude and sporty, brassy style. I have always wanted to be like her. She was one of those persons who just had guts - of course, without losing her classy sense. And that was certainly reflected in her clothes. Being slender and atheltic, she wasn't afraid of experimenting with the more adrogynous or masculine side of herself and often dressed in menswear such as jackets, shirts, wide trousers and more comfortable shoes. She was one of the classic Hollywood film stars (besides Marlene Dietrich) who made it fashionable before and during the war for women to dress "casual" and practical with a masculine touch, and I believe she kept her style of fashion until her very dying day. What a gal!








Classy, stylish, original and a great icon!

09 November 2010

Audrey Hepburn - The Epitome of a Human Angel

         


Oh, sweet Audrey Hepburn will always be my favorite actress! And why is that? What makes her so different from all the other great actresses of that time, such as the other Hepburn (Katharine), Bette Davis, Ingrid Bergman or Greta Garbo? Well, the fact is that every time I watch a movie with Audrey Hepburn, she keeps surprising me. Every single time. Her integrety and commitment to her characters and the films she made never seize to amaze me. When you watch her, her intriguing facial expressions are infinite and filled with layers and questions, never  being one-dimensional or intolerant. However, the main reason for my instant love for her, besides her well-balanced, natural, down-to-earth and adorable persona, was that she was accessible. Approachable. She could connect - without much effort - and it's really no wonder people adored and loved her straight away!




At one point, Audrey was able to embody all human uncertainty and sadness in the world, but she was never afraid of appreciating life in all its bearings. A strangely paradox hereto, because in her glowing, penetrating smiles she seemed to carry all the grace, hope and joy of the world.  She had a striking vulnerability and yet an almost angelic strength and a magnetic flair, always deeply sympathetic and unpretentious in her being. She showed a unique, yet universal beauty through her mind and manner as well as body and soul, indistinguishable, and her mesmerizing persona on and off screen seemed to merge into her lovable personality. And as the most generous and unselfish gifts of all she transcended it all to us, effortless and yet with more magic than anyone will ever fathom. 

Even after this written dedication, I'm not sure I really have succeeded in describing the essence of her. The thing is, she is so many things and stands for so many feelings and ideals - glorified or not - that she is almost impossible to define and label. I just know that to me, she was and will always be an icon for all people through all time, being the most unique, genuine and captivating actress - if not person - I’ve ever seen.





PS: I haven't had the chance to see all of her movies yet, but I guess that just means that I will have a lot to look forward to, right? :) I have, however, listed my favorite films of hers so far, but I'll post the list later.

06 November 2010

Should they have won an Oscar?


When you're a so-called film fantatic (a rather self-proclaimed title, sadly), you can hardly avoid following the annual Oscar shows.  Sometimes it's a bore and quite superficial, at other times it's surprising and deep. Apart from all the celebrity stunt stuff and expensive dresses and big names, the magic still lingers on (even though, it's apparently getting bigger for every year ... I wonder what they're gonna do in year 2020 (!)). It's always a good way to get a rough picture of what's going on in the film industry of today. Of course, it's only the most prestigious award you can recieve in this industry - not just for the American cinema but for all countries - and a lot of honour and money are being put into this award show. That shouldn't, however, overshadow the point of the show, which is, basically, to praise and honour the work of art and film making.

Yet, I haven't always agreed with the choice of winners/nominees of some categories (without sounding treacherous hopefully, I've always found the panel of judges rather suspicious whoever they might be). So it happens that I - in my mind, of course - pick my own nominees or winners (not that I claim to be particularly skillful as a judge in this matter), ones that - according to me - have been overlooked or overshadowed by others though time. I often look at the actors' acting in specific moments or at their overall performance during a movie. Are they thoroughly performances, how do they come across the screen and could anyone have done it better perhaps, etc.?

I have collected many favorite magical moments of brilliant acting (many of them are listed on my page "Actors/actresses at their best"). The question is always "WHY do you find him/her brilliant/interesting...?" and so on, but I feel I could write a book about that and it would take up a lot of space. So, I'm actually more interested in your opinions and have therefore listed a few examples below:

E.g.:
Should Tom Hanks have won (or at least been nominated for) an Oscar for his wonderfully hilarious performance in "A League of Their Own?



Should Natalie Wood have got one for her striking performance in "This Property is Condemned"?



Should Paul Newman also have had the chance to be nominated for his brilliant role in "The Sting"?



Could Yul Brynner have won an Oscar for his magnificent character in "The Journey" (1959) where he played opposite beautiful Deborah Kerr?



Or what about Audrey Hepburn for her captivating acting in "The Nun's Story" and/or "Robin and Marian"?



Perhaps you can come up with other examples?

04 November 2010

Twenties Girl = Twenties Crazy!!

Reading Sophie Kinsella's "Twenties Girl" (2009), I couldn't help getting into a '20s mood - that is, I couldn't stop associating with everything regarding the 1920s that I know of! I just love when a book can do such things to you, don't you?

Anyway, I instantly remembered Theater Tuschinski in Amsterdam, Holland, when I went there with my family this summer! My God, what a magnificent and utterly beautiful building!! I was just - WOW, standing there in the middle of one of the most busy streets in the center of Amsterdam literally gaping! I have heard of and seen Art Nouveau (the artistic period at the turn of the 20th century) and Art Deco as "minor" decoration themes indoors, but NEVER as architecture! At least not the size and the beauty as of this! Well, at a distance I first thought it was some modern building housing some sort of haunted attraction, but when my mother told me what it was and that all kinds of famous people like Judy Garland and Marlene Dietrich had performed there, I just had to stop at my tracks and swallow my stupid prejudice! Pardon me, but holy smokes!! I know, I tend to get a bit overexcited when I come close to where my heroes and heroines once have walked and talked, and I guess it's a bit nerdy and silly, but I could have stayed there the rest of that day! It was just steeped in history, elegance and magic! I could almost see people all dressed up in their '20s outfits walking into the theater, chattering and laughing, while the pulsating sounds of an authentic jazz orchestra streamed out through the open doors. *Loud sigh* ~_~

The rest of my family was actually long gone at this time, except of my mother who was patiently (or not?) waiting for me until I had got my precious pictures. Sweet of her, but I wished they all had just said: "Wow, let's go in here!" ... At that point, I didn't really care if they didn't wait; an urgent need to be a part of my "historic flashback" (what I like to call it when I get caught up with classic film nostalgia) took over my self-control. I just bashed inside this wonderful building, into the main foyer (see 3rd pic below) and eventhough it was kinda dark I was already feeling as if I had stepped into one of my favorite movies - or at least taken a time machine going almost 90 years back in time! A few staff members of the theater were actually present as I stood there, alone, in the middle of the entrance, goggling, but I didn't care - I just had to get some pictures from it while I still had time. Oh, blast! What I wouldn't have given to just continue into that building of Wonderland!

The entrance of Theater Tuschinski

Absolutely amazing!

The main foyer
(Amazing! Wish I've had more time in there...)
The magical theater
(Which I, sadly, never happened to see)

*Another sigh* ... It was a magnificent experience! 

Anyway, back to the book. While reading, I started reseaching everything linked with the twenties... Art Nouveau, Art Deco, charleston etc. Of course, then I just had to go through almost all of the old silent film stars of the time like Mary Pickford, Lilian Gish and Rudolph Valentino (one of the earliest sex symbols of cinema). The latter is also mentioned in the book, and I will elaborate on his role in this later. I even watched some of Rudolph's most famous movies, "The Sheik", from 1921, and the (better) sequel "Son of the Sheik" from 1926 (filmed just a few months before his tragic death). You can't say he wasn't beautiful and sexy, I dare say! My-my! Though the acting, of course, was a bit theatrical and overdone (it often was in the silent films), the movies were actually rather good, considering the resources and experience in film industry at that time. At one point they even made Rudolph play a double role as both father and son in "Son of the Sheik" (which he must have had much fun doing) and it actually comes out extremely well! Maybe even better than later attempts to make double roles look natural and realistic. Here you can hardly tell it's two clips put together showing the same person, hehe ;)

The reason why I'm talking so much of Rudolph Valentino is actually because the love interest in the book, Ed Harrison (or 'Mr. American Frown' according to our female protagonist), is described to be a bit of a mix between Rudolph and the puppets from the old "Thunderbirds" series... Alright, I thought, how would that go together? That is, these two:


One of the most beautiful men on the
 silverscreen ever, Mr. Rudolph Valentino!
(Google him and I promise you,
you won't get disappointed!)

Virgil Tracy from "Thunderbirds"
(or any other character from
the series whom you might like)

Well, I tried finding a suitable actor who might resemble this "mix" and become a possible contender for the role (if they're ever going to make a film out of the book). So, this is what I've come up with for "Possible contenders for the character, Ed Harrison":


Ethan Peck?
(Yes, it IS Gregory Peck's grandson)

Michael Fassbender?


Montgomery Clift?
Oh, yeah, sorry, he is dead (what a shame,
would have been perfect - looks totally
like a "Thunderbird", hehe)!

Oh, shoot! When we're at the handsome dead guys, we might as well continue!

Gilbert Roland could have been a great
contender for the role as well, right?
(Ironically, also often cast as a
"Latin Lover" like Rudolph Valentino)

Alright, alright! I admit I've run out of ideas! Any other suggestions? It's obvious I'm more familiar with the dead actors than with the living ones, so I really haven't checked all of our living male actors... Perhaps you have someone better in mind?

24 September 2010

Thrills, Chills and Kills!

Are you just tired of sobbing sentimentality, gagging tear-jerkers, stereotype love, overdone poetic romance and boring everyday dramas? Then perhaps you should consider watching a new genre; something that will make your blood run cold; something wicked, unknown and - far too often - frightening real? Perhaps something like these mind-boggling, desperate and terrifying movies? If you dare ...


Sorry, Wrong Number (1948),
starring Barbara Stanwyck and Burt Lancaster

The Snake Pit (1948),
starring Olivia de Havilland and Leo Genn

Rear Window (1954),
starring James Stewart, Grace Kelly and Thelma Ritter
Wait Until Dark (1967),
starring Audrey Hepburn and Alan Arkin

Jaws (1975),
starring Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw

”Well, I think you need a drink, right, dear?” he said and took a long draw on his cigarette


Clark Gable and Constance Bennett
from After Office Hours (1935)

One thing that often strikes me when I watch American movies is the American idea of solving a problem. The first alternative that comes to them is: Alcohol. Tell me: Why do the Americans always need a drink when they can't find anything else to say? Why do they always go straight to the nearest bar to solve their sometimes rather insubstantial problems? Why do they always interrupt each other just to add: "Can I get you a drink?" and then a resounding silence follows, and the other part seems almost relieved and answers: "Yes, please; a gin on the rocks!"? And why do they always have one or more drinks cupboards in their homes? Is it an absolute necessity? Is it something we must take seriously when they are depressed and go to the bars, washing down “a few” drinks and talk about lovesickness with a bartender who reminds you more of an unemployed (and definitely underpaid) psychiatrist?

Dooley Wilson and Humphrey Bogart
from Casablanca (1942)
Well, it is probably a matter for the American film-makers that drinks and emotions belong together as Bonnie & Clyde; unseparable. But why? Is it really just typical American cinema - just like all the westerns, the American Dream theme and tough guys with big guns are typical style a la American?
What do you think? Why do you think alcohol somehow often plays a role in (mostly old?) American films? Does it transmit some unspoken feelings, just like e.g. smoking can give sex appeal? Does it have any certain symbolic meaning?




Being a non-smoker myself, I do not generally approve of smoking, but I have always find it fascinating in films and in the media. I do not believe it doesn't have any influence or symbolic meaning at all when smoking appears in the media, because kids do tend to copy their idols (sometimes in the most absurd ways) and if their cool idols smoke... Well, there is a pattern, don't you think?
Of course, back in those days (that is, the golden age of cinema) everybody smoked, the stars as well as the "common" people, and cancer wasn't really a subject you connected with smoking, anyway - at least not on the silverscreen or in the media. Practically all the film stars did commercials for cigarettes/tobacco back then. The awareness of the link between cancer and smoking was revealed much later and it was not until the late 1960s that an actor in Hollywood (and the first to do so), William Talman, made an anti-smoking commercial - just a few weeks before he himself died of lung cancer (!) ... That says quite a lot, doesn't it? I'd recommend to take a look at this interesting link to see more.


Still, as I mentioned, smoking cigarettes in the old black-and-white movies back then wasn't seen as something fatal and gross or as something simple and insignificant (at least it never came across that way), because when they did smoke - oh boy, it was the way they did it! Always in those smouldering, tantalizing, understated moments shrouded in mystery and looks filled with sexual power or tension (also a perfect way to skip the unnecessary talk and dodge the censorship of the time). Behind that ascending smoke a face could show everything and nothing of the owner's veiled desires and wishes and it gave both the counterpart and the viewer a good deal of time to read this mysterious face. I have always found these moments in film utterly intriguing and I seriously don't know what movies or perhaps especially film noir would have been without those little white sticks with the glowing ends.

To really give you an idea of what I mean, I'll show you one of the famous scenes from "To Have or Have Not" (1944) where Lauren Bacall lits a cigarette in a very sexy, subtle way while Bogie watches her with some very meaning looks. It's as always wonderfully direct without really being direct - because, hey, it's just a ciggy... Right? Take a look and see for yourself:



26 August 2010

My Top 10 Favorite Comedies of the '90s

This is my personal favorite collection of comedies from the '90s which I can totally recommend to watch:
  1. The Birdcage (1996)
  2. In & Out (1997)
  3. Father of the Bride (1991)
  4. A League of Their Own (1992)
  5. Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
  6. Dave (1993)
  7. Notting Hill (1999)
  8. The Mask (1994)
  9. Death Becomes Her (1992)
  10. Maverick (1994)
Nathan Lane and Robin Williams in "The Birdcage"

06 August 2010

Top 10-list - Gene Kelly


He was practically everything a man in Hollywood (and in show business) could be: dancer, actor, singer, choreographer, film director and producer. He made classical music and ballet in musicals modern and accessible for the audience with brilliant visual ideas, athletic and energetic movements and dance steps, and by often playing likeable and cracker-barrel characters. He was, all in all, a perfect and revolutionary musical film star!

I once wrote to a fellow Gene Kelly-fan, who asked me which Gene Kelly-movie I liked the best, and I answered:


Oh, what a hard question! I don’t know if it’s his ingenious news paper dance in “Summer Stock”, his playful fencing scene in the beginning of “The Three Musketeers”, his incredible acting in “Anchors Aweigh”, the long and beautifully artistic sequence in “An American in Paris”, the lovely couple dancing with Judy in “For Me and My Gal” and “The Pirate”, or the legendary dance scenes in “Singin’ In The Rain”? These are just a few memorable examples of his huge talent and I really can’t choose! He’s just so wide-ranging in every aspect, like a chameleon, yet he always managed to add his own personal style to it. He really was one of a kind!

Of course he can't be anything but gorgeous in all of his movies and his performances are impeccable (he was, after all, a perfectionist). However, I watched "Anchors Aweigh" the other day and I was once again confirmed in the view that he - besides being a fantastic dancer and a pretty good singer - also was an incredible actor.

This is my personal favorite top 10-list of Gene Kelly's movies (which I really can recommend to watch):
  1. The Pirate (1948)
  2. Singin’ In The Rain (1952)
  3. An American in Paris (1951)
  4. Anchors Aweigh (1945)
  5. For Me and My Gal (1942)
  6. On the Town (1949)
  7. The Three Musketeers (1948)
  8. Take Me Out to the Ball Game (1949)
  9. Summer Stock (1950)
  10. Invitation to the Dance (1956)

04 August 2010

Are you bold as Clark Gable or quirky as Bette Davis?


I guess many of you feel the same way as I do when I watch a great classic movie or any movie at all... You tend to identify yourself with the characters, you idolize them, begin to understand and love them and you are certain that they were as enthralling, wonderful and charming off screen as well as on screen, right? Well, in some extend at least. Who wouldn't give anything just to spend a day with their idol? To be this person for a day? I know I almost certainly would. Just a shame most of them are dead (or rather - that I don't have a time machine!)... But why should that stop you from "being" one of (in your eyes) the greatest actors/actresses/persons that have ever lived? Why 
keep asking yourself who you resemble the most when you easily can get the answers? These brilliant links given below will answer your questions and give you the perfect "second" identity - the one you have search for for all these years!! You are saved, my friend(s)! The quest has come to an end, the hard times are over, your prayers have been heard! Now you can reach your goal, just by answering a few questions, clicking your way through these lifesaving tests and get the result...relieved.


Why not end your suffering right now and give it a try? ;)



PS. I ended up being Clark Gable and Katharine Hepburn - couldn't be more happy, hehe! :)

Everywhere Boy



It begins with the first and eminent beat from "A Hard Day's Night" ...


Sadly, I haven't gone much to the cinema lately, but when I recently went to the capital, I got the chance to once again envelop myself in the dark, in a comfortable chair and full of swarming expectations to the film I was about to be presented. "Nowhere Boy" was it called - the new British attempt to make a "biographical" film on the Beatles legend, John Lennon's youth. Or should I call it "Everywhere Boy"? Because this movie really hits you, eventhough it isn't big or smashing; his musical talent is never further developed, yet it is moving - mainly thanks to a strong cast and (in my opinion) a brilliant production design. John Lennon, the legend, is created as a human first, then a musician who remains everywhere in our culture. And the audience don't really mind that order, I think. We are somehow always interested in our idols's background, upbringing and social relations, especially when we feel how well we "know" them and how much their talents have had an impact in our lives, right? Eventhough this isn't so much a biopic as many would think, it still manages to leave an impression on the audience. Because this is a story about a life - a beginning of an incredibly successful, but far too short and fateful life - and about a young man trying to find his place in the world among all the chaos. An outwardly tough and cool boy, still searching for an identity, who finally throws away his mask and starts to invest more of himself to the world and the people around him, when he finds out not everyone wants to abandon him. Perhaps this was his true source of inspiration for his music? And today, John Lennon is everywhere we look, even when we don't know it.

A film I can fully recommend.


03 August 2010

Ignored or forgotten?


Following this years 82nd Academy Awards, I came 
to think of another movie made years ago (more precisely 1961) which I feel was rather overlooked at the 34th Academy Awards nominations.

"The Honeymoon Machine" from 1961, starring Steve McQueen and Jim Hutton among others, contains everything a 60's-movie should contain and has one of the best original screenplays I have ever seen (by screenwriter George Wells, based on the play by Lorenzo Semple Jr.). Furthermore, it could easily fit the category Best Adapted Screenplay 1961, too. I haven't seen either "Splendor in the Grass" (winner of Best Original Screenplay) or "Judgement at Nuremberg" (winner of Best Adapted Screenplay), but I'm sure they're more than deserving of these Awards, and it's needless to say that they're very likely much more serious and deep than this movie. Anyway, I can't help adoring this crazy, lovable comedy that has a brilliant and surprising screenplay and a wonderful cast. I still think it should have won in at least one of the categories, because of its originality, yet it's arguable if it is Award stuff or not. However, it always is, isn't it?

Not much is said about "The Honeymoon Machine", except that it is lightweight and silly, yet still manage to bring out several laughs along the way, also praising Steve McQueen for one of his very few comic roles - a role he himself disliked (which is too bad because he's wonderful!).
Not forgetting Jim Hutton and Paula Prentiss, the two stars who play love-interested (often paired together in movies because of their similar heights, which were above average) and their funny "battering" along the way (I recommend another of their films, "Where The Boys Are", from 1960).

Yes, the movie is silly, but the screenplay is just too funny and brilliant, so please DO "waste" your time watching this movie! (I'd reward it an Oscar for one of the funniest comedies of its decade, anyway ;D) ...