Monday, 28 February 2011

Photo Of The Day

Left to right: James Garner, Steve McQueen and James Coburn at a private screening of The Great Escape.
Part of the beyond fantasmagorical cast of The Great Escape. I will never get over Steve McQueen's smile in this photo. Or him, for that matter.


Sunday, 27 February 2011

National Velvet (1944) Because... IT'S ELIZABETH TAYLOR'S BIRTHDAY!!!!!

Elizabeth Taylor is one of the only actresses to successfully make the transition from child star to grown up drama star. She was cute in films like National Velvet and Little Women, and she was also very good in Cleopatra, The V.I.Ps, and The Sandpiper. Unfortunately, she has been plagued with bad health throughout her life, and with eight marriages down the drain, she has had a tough emotional life to say the least. At the moment she is in hospital being treated for heart problems, but the doctors say that she is in a stable condition. Get well soon Elizabeth Taylor!

National Velvet

Twelve year old, Velvet Brown and her parents and three siblings live in a small village near Sussex and live a fairly normal life. Velvet dreams of having a horse of her own, and goes down to watch other horses run in the fields near her village most days after school.
It is there that she meets wanderer and handyman Mi Taylor, who is shocked when she manages to calm down a new horse called Pie. He also later realizes that Pie jumped the equivalent of the hardest jump at the Grand National, the biggest horse race in England.
Velvet's father takes Mi in because he claims that his late father had a connection with the village and their family. Velvet wins Pie in a lottery and tells her mum that she would like to enter him in the grand national. Her mother takes her to the attic and gives her the entry fee out of her reward for swimming the channel. Mi reluctantly agrees to train Pie for the national, after changing his mind about stealing money from the Brown family.

The day before the Grand National they meet the Jockey they have employed, and Velvet is disgusted to see that he doesn't care about the horse and doesn't even think he could win. Velvet asks Mi to cut all her hair off and dress her like a boy so she can race the horse in the National. She nearly wins but faints and falls of her horse just before the finish line. The doctors on the track realize she is a girl and there is a huge scandal but she becomes known throughout the country as "the girl who nearly won the Grand National".
This is a really sweet film and it gives Mickey Rooney his best shot at a grown up role. He really does very well in it, too. I am definitely not a Mickey Rooney fan. He has a bad case of small-man syndrome. He has to act big and annoying to make up for his height. No offense. Elizabeth Taylor does an amazing job playing Velvet. She was only twelve at the time, just my age. Angela Lansbury is really funny as the "sophisticated" older sister. Donald Crisp and Anne Revere are great as Velvet's parents, and Anne Revere is amazing and really deserved the Best Supporting Actress award she received at the Oscars. The show stealer, though is the toddler who plays Velvet's younger brother. He is adorable!!!!

My family have plans to watch Mrs. Miniver (1942, Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Teresa Wright) and then The Odd Couple (1967, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau) tonight, which means starting with tears and ending with hysterical laughter. And my sister spending ages trying to say Greer Garson in a Scottish accent. It comes out "Grere Gaaason". It's hilarious :D!

I am wondering about how to set up my reviews. I usually do them like this, sectioned of into different parts, but I also have done them as one long post like in my My Fair Lady post. Which do you prefer?


Saturday, 26 February 2011

"Those awards presented annually by that film society."

Well, it's that time of the year again. No, not Christmas just yet, but the Oscars ceremony is happening tomorrow! I get way too exited about these galas, coveting the outfits worn by my favourite actors and subtly hinting to my mum that I wouldn't be too tired at school if I stayed up to watch them announce the awards at about 3am my time. Here are my top 5 lists of best oscar winners in each major category (classic movies of course!). I haven't watched many foreign films yet, and special effects aren't my thing, so these lists will be more the performing, direction and script. There will also be a mixed list at the end for awards that should have been awarded but weren't. Each list is in no particular order except the top winner. These aren't necessarily my favourite performances/jobs - they are just the winners.

My Top 5... 

Best Picture Winners (Top 10)...

  1. All About Eve (1950)
  2. Rebecca (1940)
  3. Mrs. Miniver (1942)
  4. Casablanca (1943)
  5. West Side Story (1961)
  6. The Apartment (1960)
  7. It Happened One Night (1934)
  8. The Sound Of Music (1965)
  9. My Fair Lady (1964)
  10. The Greatest Show On Earth (1952)
Best Director Winners...

  1. William Wyler - Mrs. Miniver (1942)
  2. Michael Curtiz - Casablanca (1943)
  3. Billy Wilder - The Apartment (1960)
  4. Joseph L. Mankiewicz - All About Eve (1950)
  5. Frank Capra - It Happened One Night (1934)
Best Screenplay Winners... (Adaptation and Original)

  1. Joseph Mankiewicz - All About Eve (1950)
  2. Philip G. EpsteinJulius J. EpsteinHoward Koch - Casablanca (1943)
  3. James Goldman - The Lion In Winter (1968)
  4. William Rose - Guess Who's Coming To Dinner (1967)
  5. I.A.L. DiamondBilly Wilder - The Apartment (1960)
{Holy jumpin' catfish, this post is gonna be nearly as long as "Gone With The Wind"!}

Best Actor...

  1. James Cagney - Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
  2. Humphrey Bogart - The African Queen (1951)
  3. Robert Donat - Goodbye Mr. Chips (1939)
  4. Clark Gable - It Happened One Night (1934)
  5. Yul Brynner - The King And I (1956)
  6. Rex Harrison - My Fair Lady (1964)
Best Actress (in no particular order, I can't chose!)

  1. Ingrid Bergman - Gaslight (1944)
  2. Barbra Striesand and Katharine Hepburn - Funny Girl and The Lion In Winter respectively, tie (1968)
  3. Bette Davis - Jezebel (1938)
  4. Greer Garson - Mrs. Miniver (1942)
  5. Audrey Hepburn - Roman Holiday (1953)
  6. Katharine Hepburn - Guess Who's Coming To Dinner (1967)

Awards that should have been awarded but because of those annoying people at the academy weren't...
  1. Bette Davis - All About Eve (1950), but there were lots of other times she should have won, like in 1939 for Dark Victory and 1942 for Now Voyager.
  2. James Stewart - It's A Wonderful Life (1946)
  3. Irene Dunne - I remember Mama (1948)
  4. Ronald Colman - Random Harvest (1942)
  5. Thelma Ritter - All About Eve. Anne Baxter should have been nominated in the supporting actress category rather than main actress. Just because her character's name is in the title doesn't mean she has a right to go and beg the producers to classify her as a leading actress after she was put in the supporting actress category. 
  6. Jack Lemmon - The Apartment (1960)
  7. David Lean - Great Expectations (1947) + This Happy Breed (1944)
  8. Billy Wilder - Double Indemnity (1944)
  9. The Little Foxes (1941) 
To name only a few not awarded gems.

As you may know, I think that films like All About Eve and Random Harvest should have won every award under the sun, but there were some other movies that were left out at the awards. Good films that didn't even get nominated. It is certain that a film has to be one of those "award winning" films: fairly artsy, sometimes serious, hits with the public and they also have to have had an amazing amount of publicity.

There have been some good movies out around now in England, like The King's Speech which was the best modern film I have seen in donkey's years, and they deserve everything they are nominated for. Another one that is multi nominated that I found very unpleasant was The Social Network - a real downer. Not a great fan of facebook myself and reluctant to join the reams of people at my school who while away their time having arguments and gossips on facebook, I was interested to watch the film and see what the real ideas behind it was. The guy who created facebook sounds like a complete idiot, who created the whole thing basically out of angst because his girlfriend dumped him. It wasn't at all a badly made film (although the script was awful, despite the fact that it is the most tipped screenplay to win at the oscars) - it just didn't appeal to me. I did go and see Tangled, Disney's answer to Rapunzel, and found it enchanting. It really restored my faith in Disney fairy tales.


Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Everything Today Is Thoroughly Modern

I watched The Sound of Music (1964) on sunday and wanted to post a little about it, but I think I'm going to spend some time writing some good posts about it because it really does deserve more than one. I can surely find some good anecdotes too ;-). So, today I am still reviewing a Julie Andrews movie, Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967). Because It's a rainy day, I love the 20s, and this film is inexplicably awesome.

Thoroughly Modern Millie


It's New York in 1922 and young girl, Millie Dillmount is living in Mrs. Meers' "Pricilla Hotel (for single young ladies)" and looking for work as a stenographer. her plans for the future are quite simple: get a job as a stenographer  to a rich man, marry said rich man and live happily ever after. Millie bumps into the delicate and wealthy Dorothy Brown who insists on being called Ms. Dorothy and paying for even the smallest of amounts of money with a checkbook. They become very good friends. Dorothy checks into the Pricilla hotel and is given the room number of one of Millie's friends and is informed that she went back to her hometown insisting she was "just a restless girl." When Mrs. Meers learns that Dorothy is an orphan she says "Sad to be all alone in the world." While all this is going on, Mrs. Meers is kidnapping her guests and selling them into white slavery, so orphans are a main target.
At a hotel dance Millie meets lively "paperclip business man", Jimmy Smith. He takes her around town driving on the wrong side of the road in his boss's red Roadster. He also takes her and Ms. Dorothy to his benefactress's mansion on Long island. Mrs. Van Hossmere, or as she is known, Muzzy is quite the hostess, with a fountain of gin and a performance of "Little Jazz Baby". Millie starts to realize that she loves Jimmy, and not her boss Trevor Graydon, but is convinced that he loves Ms. Dorothy when he sees them running in and out of each other's guest rooms.

Now back in New York Millie interrogates Dorothy about the weekend but she says she is just upset about her career in the theatre which never really took off. (Meanwhile, Mrs. Meers is taking every chance to kidnap Dorothy.)

~~~This is a very long film, so here follows the rest of the plot in note form~~~

  • Dorothy falls in love with Trevor Graydon and Millie falls for Jimmy
  • Millie throws a cigarette into a fireworks factory where they are keeping the girls and while the whole thing is blowing up, she goes in to find Dorothy and Jimmy (dressed as a girl) who have by now been kidnapped.
  • Mrs. Meers and Millie get involved in a car chase, with Mrs. Meers screaming all the while "SHOO SHOW!!! SHOO SHOW!!!"
  • Muzzy uses her Spanish rope tricks to catch Mrs. Meers and push her into a pond where she exclaims "Oh POOK!!! Sad to be all alone in the world *achoo*."

Despite the fact that there is a randomly placed Jewish Wedding scene in the middle of the film (with Julie Andrews singing in Yiddish), this film is just great. "Oh Pook" is now a common phrase in my family and we all use Muzzy's catchphrase, "RAZBERRIES!!!!!"

George Roy Hill directed this and he did a great job. He must have been so versatile, he also directed Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid. Julie Andrews is just amazingly cute, and so is Mary tyler Moore, but the show is definitely stolen by Carol Channing as Muzzy.

She is so energetic that you get tired just watching her. And then she got shot out of a cannon and tossed around by some russian (or something like that?!) acrobats... So cool.
Oh help.
I just love everything, and James Fox's American accent is great! You'd never guess he's British.
I was just sitting and watching it and suddenly they started doing Jewish wedding dances and singing in Yiddish I was just like...

Really good musical.


Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Pride And Prejudice (1940)

Hello  readers, today I have decided to post about the 1940 adaptation of Pride And Prejudice by Jane Austin. I assume you all know the plot, but just in case, here is the plot summary of the film (and novel). Sorry, I was about to do a valentinesy post yesterday, but I started watching Sabrina with my folks and got distracted ;S.

So, Laurence Olivier plays Mr. Darcy and Greer Garson plays Elizabeth Bennett. Even before watching the film, the cast list is fantasmagorical. Every time I watch it I always wait until Mrs. Bennett goes "MR. BENNETT!!!! MR. BENNETT!!!" And try to do it at exactly the same time. I took this over to a friends house to watch at a sleepover and the next day while we were walking into the village for play rehearsals she was screeching "MR. BENNETT!!! MR. BENNETT!!!" Everyone thought we were mad, but it was awesome.

The set and costume design is just great. All of Lizzy Bennett's dresses are just beautiful. The set looks very realistic and ornate, I just love it all. I remember that my Mum got us this film and Wuthering Hieghts starring Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon. This takes me back to the days when I used to confuse Merle Oberon and Greer Garson with each other, just because we ordered their films together. What's even worse is that this was only about two years ago...

One of my favourite scenes has to be the the scene with the bow and arrow. Mr. Darcy is patronizingly showing Elizabeth how to use a bow and arrow and then suddenly she takes the bow and arrow and shoots a bulls-eye. What I don't get though, is that Mr. Darcy's lady friend (not girlfriend, but friend who is a lady) is always saying about Elizabeth, "Oh, she has no class. She is not acomplished." I'm like... SHE IS GREER GARSON FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!! WHO THE HECK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE!!!

So yes. That woman annoys me. I really do love Laurence Olivier, he can play almost anything. He is superb as Maxim De Winter in Rebecca (also 1940). His Mr. Darcy is to be sure, the most sophisticated and intelligent Darcy that have ever graced the screen (sorry Colin, but you aren't up to Laurence's standards).

I think that the portrayals in this adaptation of the Austen classic have set the standards for any other new adaptations. No matter how much I may love the other actresses who have played Elizabeth Bennett, Greer will always be Elizabteth for me.

Robert Z. Leonard does a good job directing, but I have to say that the direction is upstaged by the performances, unlike films like A Letter To Three Wives, directed by Joseph L. Menciewicz, which could be argued as a complete showcase for the insanely talented director. Every single actor does a good job, including maureen O'Sullivan, Mia Farrow's mother.

I can not tell you how enjoyable this film is. Its just so uplifting to watch. My copy is one of those weird Korean all region imports and the first scene or two are out of sinc, but I still love the scenes in the dressmakers at the beginning. Watch this film on a happy feeling night to feel even better, or on a depressing night to be made feel happy like never before :-)

Just wanted to say that I now have 50 followers!!! Yay! I am now doing a happy dance by my computer, and won't stop till I have to sleep.


Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The Lonely life: By Bette davis

All photos in this post were scanned by me :-)

I know that I just posted about an autobiography yesterday, but this one is just so special that I couldn't resist posting. I was very excited (as you all probably know) to see "The Lonely Life" by Bette Davis under the big green tree this year. With Julie Andrews reading done and dusted, I started to read this properly around two weeks ago and finished it on Monday. I feel like I haven't posted about Bette in ages. I think the last post I did about her films was before the new year... HOW COULD THIS BLOG HAVE GONE BY NEARLY TWO MONTHS WITHOUT A BETTE DAVIS POST???!!! Ah well, I'm making up for it now. I got some more of her films for Christmas and totaling up my collection I now have 19 of her films. I think I have gone over all of them before, except The Star, but I'll save that for a later post. I have only summed up the early part of Bette's life, the later is quite well known, and there is lots to write!

Ruth Elizabeth Davis was born during a thunderstorm on the 5th of April 1908 (about ninety years before moi) in Lowell Massachusetts. Her mother - also named Ruth - was Bette's saviour throughout her childhood. Just eighteen months after Bette was born, she gave birth to Bette's sister Barbara. Nicknamed Bobby, the new baby was a welcome playmate for Bette, who was becoming very much a perfectionist child. If she had even a tiny crease in her dress, she would scream and bawl and her mother would have to fetch a new one. Bette's father was tough lawyer, Harlow Morrell Davis, who, "regarded children as only a necessary evil." One night while they were sat in their garden looking up at the stars, he said, "Do you see all the stars in the sky?" to which she replied, "Yes, I see them." Expecting a sweet thought or explanation from her father, he said, "Good. Just look at the night sky and you will remember how utterly unimportant you are."

Within a few years, Harlow left Ruthie and her two children (now both names shortened to "Betty" and "Bobby") to fend for themselves. Ruthie got a job as a photographer in New York and they all moved there and the children had their first proper schooling experience since the summer camp they were sent to while Ruthie was training. Bette was the belle of every ball, and for entertainment every night, Ruthie would pull up their blinds and turn the lights off, and with popcorn and sweets, they would watch the escapades of their neighbors across the road.
I love this photo. My dad told me I looked a little like her in this pic the other day. Yay!
It was decided that Bette (who's name was now spelt with an E instead of a Y) and Bobby would be sent off to Cushing Academy, a school in Massachusettes. It was here that she met her future husband, long term sweetheart, Harmon O. Nelson. It was around now that she saw a production of The Wild Duck with Blanche Yurka, and was inspired to become a great actress. Her ambition was to play the lead in her school play. She did.
In a school production. I'm so jealous. We don't get half as much greenery as they did in our shows.
After training at the John Murray Anderson school in New York, Bette became part of several productions and stock companies (including the Goerge Cukor repertory company with long time nemesis, Miriam Hopkins), playing mainly ingenues and small parts. She then progressed to Broadway and was spotted by a talent scout for Universal Studios and she got her first contract in Hollywood after a series of screen-tests. She was cast in low budget and unsuccessful films until she shot to fame in Somerset Maugham's Of Human Bondage (1934) with Leslie Howard.
In desperate need of this outfit.
I really loved this book. From her humorous anecdotes about growing up in New England to her deep thoughts about her life and the motion picture business. The chapter she dedicated to insulting Hollywood leading men was amazing. It was just put down after put down for pages and pages. You really got the gist of her and how she felt about the way she was branded as the "Different looking one" and the "Always playing bitches" one. Unfortunately this book was written just as she started working on Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? (1962) so there was no Joan Crawford goss.
There are plenty of sweet memories about working with her great friend Joan Blondell, and how she was best friends with Olivia De Havviland. She does talk a little about her husbands (all four) but it isn't the main theme of the book, as I was afraid it may progress into being. I also only recently learned that her character in The Letter (1940) was British. My friend and I were having a text conversation a while back discussing how awesome it was that Greer Garson was British and we did have to agree in the end that Bette Davis was an honorary British citizen.

I would recommend this to anyone. It's a bit tricky to lay your hands on - they do sell them on Amazon, but they are a bit pricey!


Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Home: By Julie Andrews

I have to say I absolutely loved "Home". It was the first autobiography I read and it has probably got me unhealthily hooked. I am now nearly finished with "The Lonely life" by the one and only Bette Davis, who sounds like my kind of person. She finishes every other sentence with an exclamation mark, and writes "Ha!" lots. She also dedicated a chapter of about four pages to putting down Hollywood leading men.

I really liked Julie andrews before I read this book, but after reading it you can really tell what a sweet person she is. It made me so upset when her husband Blake Edwards died in December. It says on the cover sleeve that she is now "happily married with her director husband of 38 (I think) years, Blake Edwards". She had a tough upbringing. Born in 1935, she was around just in time to have to be evacuated for most of the war. She was born to a pianist and a teacher (wait for the serious surprise). Always very close to her father, she would dance around the garden withe him telling her about all sorts of bugs and creepy crawlies. He read poetry and he was lovely to her mother and little brother. Her mother repaid him by having an affair and becoming pregnant with tenor Ted Andrews. Julie's mother moved away with Ted to London to better their careers. It was while singing in their act that Julie was discovered and put in her first variety show, "Starlight Roof". She excelled as "The prodigy in pigtails who hit an F above high C at age 12!" She became the youngest performer to lead the Royal Variety show finale, and played many principle girl parts in countless pantomimes.
Julie, her mother and her step-father
At age fourteen, she was taken by her mother (still married to her now alcoholic step-father) to a man's house for dinner. She sang for him and his guests and at the end of the evening it was clear that her mother was not fit to drive. In the car on the way home, her mother said that she had something very serious to tell her. The man that she had known as her father all her life was not her actual father. The host of the party was. Her father had known all about it, but agreed to take the girl and her mother back. This, understandably must have scarred her for life. She never got to know her father. She didn't want to, and she didn't have to. She knew all she wanted to about him.

At age 18 she was approached about starring in the Broadway production of West End hit, "The Boyfriend". She was overwhelmed, but also quite nervous about leaving her unstable family. She did it none the less. Her family needed supporting and her parents were getting no work in their advancing state of alcoholism. She moved to New York and was a great success in "The Boyfriend." So much so that she was offered the main part in the new musical of Pygmalion, "My Fair lady". this lead her to even greater things, like a part in "Camelot", with Richard Burton.
She was by then married to her long term beau, the set designer Tony Walton. She had her first child with him, Emma. She was also offered the part of Mary Poppins around the same time, and the rest, as they say, is history.

This book was only the first part of her memoirs, and she has yet to publish the second half. HURRY UP JULIE!!! I NEED MORE INFO ON THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE AND STAR!!!!!! I just adored it. There were some slightly slow sections but it didn't bother me. She wrote it really well, and you really sympathise with her and her troubles. Yay for Julie Andrews!


Monday, 7 February 2011

Wouldn't It Be Loverly! (My Fair Lady, 1964)

"All I want is a room somewhere, 

Far away from the cold night air.
With one enormous chair, 
Aow, wouldn't it be loverly? 
Lots of choc'lates for me to eat, 
Lots of coal makin' lots of 'eat.
Warm face, warm 'ands, warm feet,
Aow, wouldn't it be loverly? 
Aow, so loverly sittin' abso-bloomin'-lutely still. 
I would never budge 'till spring 
Crept over me windowsill. 
Someone's 'ead restin' on my knee, 
Warm an' tender as 'e can be. 'hoo takes good care of me, 
Aow, wouldn't it be loverly?
Loverly, loverly, loverly, loverly"
Wouldn't It Be Loverly ~ Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe

My Fair Lady (1964)

My Fair Lady plot summary: Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn) is just a poor flower seller in Covent Garden in London, until she is overheard bawling in her native Cockney accent by Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison), phonetics professor extraordinaire. He boasts that he could pass her off for a duchess at an embassy ball. Realizing what she could achieve, she goes to Higgins to ask him for lessons in "how to be a lady" and he takes her up on her offer mainly due to a bet with his professor friend Colonel Pickering (Wilfrid Hyde-White).  Misogynistic and cynical, Higgins works her unbelievably hard and treats her very tough. They take her to a race at Ascot to show her off. It goes rather catastrophically when, after doing well until this point, she screams at the horse she bet on, 
"COME ON ROVER!!! MOVE YOUR BLOOMIN' ARSE!!!" That said, they manage to tidy her up for the embassy ball, but will she ever be able to know who she truly wants to be?

I know that My Fair Lady occasionally gets lots of schtick for not being what it said on the tin. Audrey Hepburn didn't sing her own songs, fair enough. Not many criticize the awesome Deborah Kerr for not singing in The King And I (or does she...)? We just take it that they couldn't quite manage the difficulty of the song, they are after all, not singers. I do agree that they probably should have cast Julie Andrews as Eliza Doolittle - it was her role on Broadway and she would have no doubt been great in the movie. 
Audrey's annoyed too.
Cecil Beaton was the cameraman and he did an amazing job with all of the cinematography. The Ascot race scene owes a lot to the on-stage race scene in Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942). The costumes for that scene are just amazing, no words can describe how much I want any of these dresses... maybe not the hats though.

The music is superb. I love Alan Jay Lerner - he did one of my other favourite musicals, On A Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970), which has a similar theme. My favourite songs (apart from "Wouldn't It Be Loverly") have to be "Why Can't The English" and "On The Street Where You Live".

I just adore Rex Harrison as Henry Higgins. I wish he would come and teach my class phonetics. I would laugh so hard if I saw him try and tackle my French set!!! I hear from Julie Andrew's autobiography that he was a bit of a nightmare to work with. Why does this not surprise me. It also said that he had insufferable wind, and just before his on-stage mother has to say, "Henry don't grind your teeth so!" in a performance of the Broadway show, he had the worst bout of wind. Blech.

I know this film is not perfect, but I do love it so. I would give anything to play Eliza Doolittle. Absolutely anything. I think she is possibly one of the best parts for a British actress ever. No doubt. This film has been a definite favourite of mine since I was four, and it's always going to stay a favourite. 


Friday, 4 February 2011

Mr Smith Goes To Washington (1939)

I watched Mr Smith Goes To Washington last sunday and loved it loads. Jimmy Stewart and Jean Arthur TOGETHER *YEPPEE*!!!! Sorry I haven't posted over the past week, I have had maths tests and have been revising. I then got told yesterday by my humanities teacher that I had lots of history homework due in on monday. I was like..
"Frankly my dear I don't GIVE a damn. I'm going to be too busy knitting and spending time browsing the web for amazing Clark Gable and Ingrid Bergman pics."

But it's good, I love History (surprise, surprise) and the Vietnam War is very interesting. I don't have a show on at the moment so that's one less worry.

Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (1949)

The government in Washington D.C. is corrupt, allowing rich men to pass bills designed to make them money. One state is dominated by the money of one man, a Mr. Taylor, who has been able to buy up much of the state and control everything. When one of the senators suddenly dies, a young youth-worker named Mr. Jefferson Smith is taken on to replace him. Running away on the first day and taking a tour-bus around the washington sights like an over-exited child, he is definitely one of life's enthusiasts. Mr. Smith knows nothing of the ruthless environment that these hard edged businessmen strive in, and that was the precise reason that Senator Joseph Harrison Pine hired him. When Smith's secretary, Clarissa Saunders finds out about the motives behind them hiring him, she initially decides that they are working her too hard and she doesn't need an extra worry on her hands.
Later on, she finds herself falling in love with Mr. Smith (James Stewart) and helping him write a bill to put into practice his idea to establish a national boys camp - out in a field in an area he knows of near his old home. They think it is a good idea in the Senate, but a conveniently planned date with Joseph Paine's daughter stops Mr. Smith from attending the meeting. It turns out that the site that Smith plans to camp on is where Mr. Taylor and Mr. Paine plan to build a dam, from which Taylor will profit by selling land that he has bought up cheaply, and which Paine will guide a bill for through the Senate. In a desperate attempt to stop Smith going ahead with the boys camp plan, Paine accuses him of already owning the land that millions of boys across the country are sending their pocket money to buy, therefore supposedly giving Smith a huge profit. We know these are all lies, but no one else will believe Smith.
But Clarissa, who comes to find him after a sudden resignation from her post after hearing that Smith was going out with Joseph Paine's daughter, decided that she would come back to him and help him through. At the Senate in the next meeting, Jefferson manages to hold the floor by using his rights to "Filibuster" (extend a debate) to protest against his wrongful accusation.
After many hours of this, he receives a note from Clarissa saying, "I love you!" - the first time she has told him she loves him. Smith gets lots of news coverage, but with Mr. Taylor filling all the newspapers in the state - which he owns - with lies about Smith - will Smith and Clarissa work everything out?
It's amazing how relevant this film is now. Just the other day in my beautiful England we had a case that a group of politicians used the "Filibuster" rule to stop the House of Lords passing a law about the voting system. They became so tired and out of ideas that just to keep talking (to hold the floor) that one of them even gave the House of Lords a lecture on prime numbers (!?) Frank Capra is seriously one of the best directors evah.
He is seriously genius. Claude Rains' characterization is just stupendous. No one could have done it better in a million years. James stewart is the most optimistic person ever... NO ONE IS MORE HAPPY THAN HIM!!!! He and Judy Garland (along with Greer Garson and Cary Grant)  were surely the most optimistic people in the world. Jean Arthur is just great, this is my first film I have seen her in other than The Talk Of The Town. A really well thought out film that said a lot about political issues.