Monday, April 19, 2010

Time for a survey

Millie and Kate have created a really cool survey:
So I thought I would take it instead of completing homework because its fun-factor is considerably higher.

Which actors do you always (or did you always) mix-up? (For example: Millie's tendency to confuse William Powell and Clark Gable when she was a thirteen, er, four year-old? Yes, I am talking in the third person.)

This is going to sound weird, but a few years ago when I was starting out with classic films, I'd get Rita Hayworth and Jean Harlow confused, because of their slightly similar sounding surnames. And also Hedy Lamarr and Gene Tierney because...?

Gidget or Beach Party?

I haven't seen either, but I'm growing more curious of each. I caught a little of Gidget on tv once though, so I'd lean more towards that one for the moment.

Favorite Movie Outfit?

Tough decision. I love this dress from Gigi:

But it could also have been the blue dress Grace Kelly wears in To Catch a Thief when she first kisses Cary Grant at her hotel door.
If you could be ANY character in ANY movie...who would you choose?

Any of the screwball heroines, like Susan Vance in Bringing Up Baby. Just to be so blissfully nuts.

If you could marry ANY character in ANY movie...who would you choose? (Excluding any Dana Andrews' characters. Seriously. ;-D)

William Powell in most any of his romantic comedies, but especially his films with Myrna Loy. He's witty, charming and just a touch wacky.

If you could live in ANY movie...which would you choose?

I wouldn't mind inhibiting those technicoloured Danny Kaye-Virginia Mayo film worlds like Wonder Man.

Black & White movies you wish were in Technicolor, or vice-versa?

It wasn't a good film to begin with, but maybe technicolour could have lifted up the musical West Point Story.

Favorite Movie Soundtrack?

I love the Ghost and Mrs Muir soundtrack. Very dreamy.

Favorite Movie Dance Sequence?

The hardest question I could ever be asked? What to choose? I love Fred and Ginger's Hard to Handle routine Roberta because it looks so spontaneous and candid. It's infectiously happy.

Coolest Movie Star? (Cough, cough, BOBBY DARIN, cough, cough)

Marcello Mastrioanni, the very definition in 8 1/2.

Sophia or Gina (Oh, how Kate enjoys replaying Gina's sad defeat OVER AND OVER!)

I used to not like Sophia, but she's growing on me so I'll pick her. But really, I need to see more films of both.

"Isn't It Romantic" in most Billy Wilder films, or "Red River" in most John Ford films?

I've seen more Billy Wilder films and 'Isn't it Romantic' makes me happy, if that's what the question means.

If you could re-cast ANY role in ANY movie, what would it be?

Why isn't an answer coming to me? I'm sure I've thought about this numerous of times, but I'll coming up blank right now.

When I was watching Designing Woman with Gregory Peck and Lauren Bacall, I did have the slight wish that Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn - if the film had been made when they were a bit younger - had been cast instead. It would have been kinda cool if they had been together in a Vincente Minelli-directed film...

One movie that should NEVER be remade? (under THE THREAT OF A SLOW, PAINFUL DEATH!)

It would be sacrilege to remake Casablanca.

Actor or Actress who you would love to be best friends with? Are you an Oscar or a Felix?

Probably leaning towards Felix.

Actor/Actress you originally hated and now love?
I didn't like Norma Shearer until a while ago. I thought she was bland, having only seen The Women (I need to get back to that film...). But then I saw The Barretts of Wimpole Street and everything changed.

Also, Leslie Howard. I thought he was the weak link in Gone With the Wind, and from there I held the belief he wasn't much of an actor. Then I saw Pygmalion and saw that in an interesting role, Leslie could rise to the occasion. Then came a succession of Leslie Howard films and my opinion did a 360.

Favorite performance that was looked over by Oscar? (Not to be confused with the aforementioned Oscar of Felix fame.)

I think Laurence Olivier should have been nominated for Carrie. One of those performances where the actor really sinks into the character. I think it's very underrated.

Bewitched or I Dream of Jeannie?

Probably Bewitched. Elizabeth Montgomery, Dick York and Agnes Moorehead equals a great formula. Though it does get a bit repetitive.

Favorite Style Icon: Fred Astaire or Cary Grant?

I love Fred and his scarf thing as belt look. And he's my favourite person in tails, so Fred by a little.

Single most favorite movie scene EVER?

In Stolen Kisses (1968), when Antoine (Jean-Pierre Leaud) proposes to Christine (Claude Jade) with a kitchen utensil. The simplicity of it just makes it moving.

Movie you really "should" see, but have subconsciously been avoiding for who knows what reason?

Lawrence of Arabia for one - its running time is intimdating though.
Really just mostly the epics - Ben Hur, Spartacus. Should get down to those.

50's Westerns or 60's Spies? (I can't even answer this myself...but you have to! MWAHAHAHA!)

60s spies are so mod, so I'll go with them. And yet all I can think of for 60s spy films is The Glass Bottom Boat. Does it even count?

Favorite splashy, colorful, obnoxious 50's musical?

I love lots of musicals, but favourite is An American in Paris - love all the songs and of course the ballet.

Favorite film setting (example: Rome, Paris, Seattle, Siberia, Chile, Sahara Desert, etc)

I like those faux European settings on the studio lot - like Top Hat's recreation of Venice. Quite a dreamland that only the films could conjure up.

If you could own the entire wardrobe of any film, which would it be?

Sabrina - that wardrobe's the epitome of chic.

Carol Burnette or Lucille Ball?

They're both funny ladies. Right now leaning towards Carol because I've been watching her skits on youtube. Plus, I loved her performance in A Wedding.

Favorite Voice. Ever. Period?

Right now it's Herbert Marshall. Love him.

Which actors would you want for relatives? (Mother, Father, Grandma, Crazy Aunt, annoying cousin, older brother, etc...)

Mother: Mary Astor in Meet Me in St. Louis. She's the only one coming to my head...Or Claudette Colbert in Since You Went Away.

Father: Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird.

Zany Older Sister: Shirley Maclaine

Grandpa: Lionel Barrymore in You Can't Take it With You

Favourite Uncle and Aunt: William Powell and Myrna Loy

A French Uncle: (well I can dream) Charles Boyer

Monday, April 5, 2010

March Highlights - film-wise

Well March has well and truly gone and without a single entry on this blog. So to kind of make up for lost time, I bring forth mini-reviews of some interesting films I saw last month.

Coal Miner's Daughter (1980) - I've been on a mini Sissy Spacek spree lately and by that I mean this film and 3 Women. And I quite adore her. I mean, she has a bit of a spooky, misfit onscreen persona about her, and she looks eternally adolescent even past her 20s - I mean this all in an endearing way.

But onto this film, I thought Sissy Spacek deserved her Oscar. She certainly fleshed out her character of real country singer Loretta Lynn, from her small town upbringing to making the big time and all the pressures that mounted in between. Plus, she sang the songs herself and thus, really owned the character. As for Tommy Lee Jones as her husband, he was nothing short of swoon-worthy. But moving on from the aesthetics, he also put in great work, trying to drive his wife's career, but at the same time having a bit of resentment of it. All in all a nice, moving biopic.

A Wedding (1978) - Ah, the frenzy of being at a wedding. Something always goes wrong and the strangest of encounters can occur. The great thing about this film is the way that the ensemble casting just works. It can be hard I imagine to focus on multiple characters and get a good story from each, but Robert Altman seems to do it with ease. There are so many interesting actors on board, and for me it was three of the actresses in particular that stood out - Carol Burnett, who is just great as the sexually repressed mother of the bride; Geraldine Chaplin as the wedding planner who lives for weddings; and Mia Farrow as the muted sister of the bride with strange revelations of her own. Quite a funny and entertaining film.

The Shining (1980) - In addition to my Sissy Spacek kick, I've had a growing interest in Shelley Duvall. I thought her performance in 3 Women was so fascinating. There's something raw and untrained about her acting. And at the same time she's so quirky and offbeat. And so she was my prime reason for finally relenting to The Shining. Otherwise, a film that also includes Stanley Kubrick and Jack Nicholson gets my intrigue.

Well, the film wasn't exactly the typical slasher horror film. Yes there's blood, there's suspense and there's supernatural elements, but they don't exactly 'scare' you. But haunt you, the images and the music certainly does, and linger with you after the end credits. And personally that's a much more satisfying experience.

I've heard a bit of criticism and poking fun of Shelley's performance, and everyone has probably heard of the 100+ takes Kubrick required for one scene. But I just think that if Shelley didn't act the way she did - where she's simultaneously weary, scared and just stunned at what's happening - I can't see how else it would have been. I mean there's no 'perfect' way to react to these kinds of situations, the reactions themselves need to be flawed and bizarre, and that adds to the surrealism of the film.