Monday, 29 August 2011

Pat and Mike (1952)

After screaming in capital letters the other day about seeing more Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy movies, my Mum and I sat down at the computer to look for some films to cover the rest of our holiday. We found some great ones, including a set of four Katharine Hepburn/Spencer Tracy films - Pat and Mike, Keeper Of The Flame, Adam's Rib (a repeat, but oh well!), and Woman of The Year. YAYAYAYAYYAYAY! We put on Pat and Mike as soon as it came and were not disappointed. This was Katharine Hepburn's favourite of the nine she made with Spencer Tracy.


Pat and Mike (1952) directed by George Cukor and Written by Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin




Cast:
Plot:



Pat Pemberton is a happy physical education teacher (and a very talented one at that). She is also in a generally happy engagement with Collier Weld, so you might say that she was a very lucky girl! But there is one particular thing that is always getting at her. Everytime she is playing a sport and her fiancee is there looking domineeringly at her, she can't do well at all.


She has to make a quick change from her pants {"These aren't pants they're slacks! Watch your language!"} because their golfing partners are "very conservative'.

One day, she and he play a game of business/pleasure golf and he really wants her to do well, but he gives her *insert DUN DUN DUN* The Look, and she can't do well at all. After the game the wife of Collier's business associate is screaming to Katharine Hepburn that she has to practice more and "TENSE! TENSE!", before she takes a shot and eventually she can't take it anymore and goes up to a row of golf balls and hits them all beautifully. They all go :-0... And she storms into the clubhouse for a drink.


The leader of the club says that she should definitely enter the Women's Gold Championship and he will help her start training. She is nearly acing the championship when she glances at her fiancee and he gives her The Look. He wants them to get married and for her to give up and forget about the whole endeavour. But she wont give up that easily and she stays while he goes back to California and she hires the kind-of-gangster sports promoter and manager, Mike Conovan.


They get along really well and he is shocked and amazed by her fantastic sports ability at not only golf, but tennis and every other sport she wants to try. They are, however faced with all the usual dificulties of sports-person fame.


Tired muscles, being worn out, and the looming prospect of Mike's "investors" and their intentions for Pat cheating so they can win bets. But non of them are as complicated as their own relationship with each other and Pat's fiancee...
The Verdict:




I honestly want to live in a Katharine Hepburn/Spencer Tracy movie (well, at least the happy ones :-D) and this one is so amazingly super cool that it deserves multiple crazy rambles. It wasn't as serious as Woman of The Year which I completely adored, but it does have some very interesting and important key features. And, as a side note, I wish Katharine Hepburn had been my PE teacher :'-(. Oh well. You can't win 'em all.

First of all, the writing is a-m-a-z-i-n-g. Garson Kanin and Ruth Gordon work so well together. Together they wrote the screenplay for both this and Adam's Rib and he alone wrote the play Born Yesterday (I might have to give the film a re-watch) and Funny Girl. That is pretty impressive and there are just so many great ideas and lines in this film, especially when Pat looks at a picture of her fiancee and his head becomes Mike's, and then when Mike is saying goodnight to his horse, the horse's head becomes Pat's! :-D

A very young Charles Bronson!

Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy are both completely fantastic, and I am so glad to be watching more Spencer Tracy. He is just too awesome (I tried looking for his Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with Ingrid Bergman, but alas! It was nowhere to be seen :'-S). But I think that in this case, the starring role is  Katharine Hepburn's. I read that she did all her own sports in Pat and Mike (:-0) and may I say that almost the best parts of the film were when she was thrashing professional male tennis players, or beating Babe Zaharias at golf. But the best two parts (tied for first place) were when she saved Spencer Tracy from a fate worse than death by grabbing Charles Bronson by the ankles and throwing away another gangster's glasses - and when her fiancee is being hideous to her and she calls out "MIKE! MIKE! MIKE! HELP!" and hides under the covers of her bed and Spencer Tracy tries to do to her fiancee what she did to Charles Bronson and fails epically. LOL!

No, but seriously, she is so good at all those sports! I had read that she was very athletic before and all that, but this is pretty super cool. And when she tells her fiancee that every time he gives her "that look" she loses her flow and he asks her "what look?", and she starts doing a really funny impersonation, I laughed so much!

And Spencer Tracy's kind-of-gangster accent deserves a paragraph of it's own. It's so funny. One minute he sounds like Spencer Tracy and the next he sounds like James Cagney. And it is also pretty epically funny when he goes out training with her and his other contracted sportsman, they are jogging and Spencer Tracy is always about three paces behind on a bicycle!


I really can't chose which is my favourite film from the duo that I've seen (Guess Who's Coming To Dinner, Adam's Rib, Woman Of The Year and Pat and Mike) and The State Of The Union seemed pretty grim. In fact, I turned it off after fifteen minutes because Angela Lansbury and Spencer Tracy were cheating on Katharine Hepburn and Kate and Spencer Tracy had two children! It just didn't seem right! No-no-no-no-no-no, definitely, NO!

Anyhow, this one probably ranks pretty high! It was great fun, and had a great script. Not to mention two great leading actors :-)


~Bette

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Spotlight on a Character Actress: Margaret Rutherford

Having recently watched all of the Miss Marple films from the 1960s in quick succession, I thought that it was time to give Margaret Rutherford a little credit, being an actress who doesn't often get that much publicity on blogs. Enjoy!


Margaret Rutherford (1892-1972)


Margaret Taylor Rutherford was an english character actress who appeared in classics such as The V.I.PsBlithe Spirit (one of my favourites), and the Miss Marple series. Due to her physical appearance and interesting mouth acrobatics that she did while speaking, she was restricted to only comedic and/or slightly insane parts. But she was well received and became known for her talent as an actress and she ended up in Noel Coward's own production on the stage of his play, "Blithe Spirit". Her success as the "psychic around the corner in a little country village" led to her recreating the role for the film adaptation of the play starring Rex Harrison. She was loved by audiences everywhere and the rest, as they say, is history.

I always have loved Margaret Rutherford in the Miss Marple murder mystery films and Blithe Spirit and The V.I.P.s. After only reading about her, she sounds a bit strange, but when you watch her you understand that her looks and strange facial expressions are all part of her style on screen.

Best Films To Start With:
  1. Murder She Said
  2. The V.I.Ps
  3. Blithe Spirit
~Bette

Thursday, 25 August 2011

You Gotta Friend In Me...

In the book I got for my birthday, "Notorious: The Life Of Ingrid Bergman" by Donald Spoto (which, yes, I will have to post about one day instead of just mentioning it) there were some great photos of Alfred Hitchcock and Ingrid Bergman together, sometimes with Gregory Peck and Cary Grant as well, but I really liked them, so I scanned them for the blog! Ingrid Bergman, Hitchcock and Cary Grant were best friends basically for life so these photos are so lovely!


In their later years


Helping with her knitting on the set of Under Capricorn


Hitch evidently has some ideas for the script...


Too much amazing all sat in one room on straw chairs...


Perfect


It looks like Gregory Peck has some sort of strangely shaped camera... I am intrigued...

This could also count as a very belated birthday post for the late, great master of suspense. His birthday came around and I was just like, "Oh! It's Hitchcock's birthday... *_* Oops." and I had nothing ready! So this is it :-)

~Bette

Monday, 22 August 2011

Adam's Rib (1949)

I watched Adam's Rib for the first time last summer and loved it. For some reason, my Mum and Dad didn't watch the whole thing with me and my little sister, so they never knew how good it was until a few days ago. When we put it on they watched intently and afterwards we were all saying "This is so good."

Adam's Rib (1949) Directed by George Cukor






Cast:






Plot:



Adam and Amanda Bonner are loving husband and wife - and both lawyers. They have a huge apartment in town and a large barn and house in Connecticut.


One day, Adam is asked to try and prosecute the wife of Mr. Warren Attinger, Dorris, for shooting at him and Beryl Caighn, a woman he claimed to be selling insurance to who was hugging him in a negligee. Hmmmmmm. Enraged by this, Amanda, who doesn't see any particular problem with the shooting, claiming it was only done to try and save Doris's home from a break-up (she had three children), takes on Doris and becomes her lawyer.



Adam is furious, not only at this, but also at the way that their "across-the-hall-songwriter" neighbour, Kip, keeps behaving inappropriately with Amanda.


But their vague troubles at home are blown completely super-sized HUMONGOUS in the Courtroom and the whole case becomes a feminist war against Adam and Warren Attinger, and at the height of it, Amanda even brings in women to demonstrate her point. One of whom lifts Adam in the air.


With the recent publication of Kip's new song, "Farewell, Amanda", and the battle in court getting so personal, Adam leaves the house and only sees Amanda to fight the last bit of the battle in court with her (which she wins for Doris). Can they save their relationship???

The Verdict:


This film is just completely amazing. Could you have amore fantasmagorical cast? Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Judy Holliday, Tom Ewell and the guy who plays Choo Choo in "Top Cat". Yes, Ok. There are probably a lot a few better casts, but this one is pretty good, no?

It is my resolution to watch more Katharine Hepburn/Spencer Tracy films. This is actually the only one I've seen (besides Guess Who's Coming To Dinner) and judging by how much I love this, I might just have to see more. MORE, I TELL YOU!!! MORE!!! Yes... Seemingly, just a little obsessed...


I also really like Judy Holliday in Adam's Rib and I'm not always crazy about her performances, but her first real scene with Katharine Hepburn is genius. Her delivery and everything is spot. on. every. time. All of this packed into one long uninterrupted take which apparently {a.k.a coming from my grandma, ninja of classic film knowledge} was shot only showing Katharine Hepburn's profile, but judy Holliday's whole face due to Katharine Hepburn's wishes to have it done that way. She was the one who got the role for Judy Holliday in the first place.

This film is guaranteed to have you humming/singing/whistling "Farewell, Amanda" for weeks afterwards. And as a result, me and my sister actually worked out the ukulele chords for the song after we watched it. And then we totally didn't take the ukuleles on a tour with us around the house belting out the song.

This is a classic with good reason. It's one of those films you really can't or don't want to criticise. And let me just say, that the scene at the end is utterly hilarious!!!

~Bette

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award

Given to me by two of the sweetest bloggers that I know, and, if I could, I would award the award right back to you! It was given to me by Meredith at Forever Classics and Rianna at Frankly My Dear. I've followed Meredith for quite some time and love her blog, and I recently discovered Rianna's blog Frankly My Dear and it's great! Amazing particularly as it's only been around for a couple of months!


So, I have to write 7 facts about myself. Ok then... {By the by, they might be a bit random, as I used up all the normal ones when I got the stylish blogger award}
  1. I used to live in America from when I was 18 months to five and a half. I lived in Chicago for a while, and then Cambridge MA, and I had have an uncontrollable obsession with the PBS Kids TV show Arthur ;-)
  2. My british accent is probably a little less posh than Greer Garson and Celia Johnson. And yes, I do drink tea and live in the country surrounded by sheep and cows.
  3. I have a thing for the 50s/60s TV series, "Bewitched". It is amazing beyond all belief of amazingness and I refuse to watch any further than series 5 when Dick York is replaced by Dick Sargent. Grrrrr.
  4. Recently people have been saying to me (to quote the fish and chip van man who I saw yesterday), "Wow! You must've grown about a foot since I last saw you!", or "You're getting taller!" So I run excitedly home to measure myself, hoping that I'll be near the 5ft 6/7 measurements of most of my friends, and without fail, the tape says 5ft 3.5. And it has for about 10 months. It kind of makes me laugh actually!!!
  5. I am really bad at compiling lists filled with facts about myself! This very list has taken me forever!!!
  6. I love vintage and vintage inspired clothing. There is this amazing shop in my town which has antiques in the front and a great vintage area at the back! They also have "Picturegoer" magazines + the like, and old sheet music *swoon*...
  7. I once played a grave digger in my primary school leaver's production of "A Christmas Carol". I narrated the play with the assistance of my trusty grave digger buddy. It was quite fun actually and I got to wield a shovel and throw bedsheets over my head and pretend to be a ghost. Could you ask for anything more?
Now for the amazing linking of the fantasmagorically awesomesauce bloggers, some of whom i have tagged before but shall tag again for their superness...
  1. Clara at Via Marguetta 51 ~ An amazing blogger who has knowledge beyond belief of classic film and her posts always draw me in :-)
  2. Sophie at Waitin' On A Sunny Day (who I can now tag, because before, she tagged me!) ~ Sophie is also a classic film fan residing in England who writes hilarious and very interesting posts . Also love her box set series!
  3. Libby at Catching The Stars ~ Such a sweet blog and a great friend. One of the first blogs I really read and her photographs and writing are amazing!
  4. Millie at ClassicForever ~ Millie is definitely one of the sweetest bloggers I know. She writes great posts about her favourite movies and has an awesome eclectic taste in film! She is also doing great work in Sierra Leone and I just wanted to wish her luck and keep going, it's amazing!
  5. Audrey at Fedoras and High Heels ~ I love this blog. We agree about loads of films and she has a lovely way of writing reviews as well as being very sweet :-D
  6. Luna at Hummingbirds Honeysuckle and Hearts ~ Luna is such a good friend and her vlogs are simply hilarious! She also does great fashion posts.
  7. Kate Gabrielle at Scathingly Brilliant ~ I have been reading this blog for ages and it is that blog that I check every day to check for updates. Fantastic blog. Fantastic outfit posts and hair that makes me sing, "Think Pink!"
  8. Emily at The Silver Screen Affair ~ I absolutely adore this blog. Emily is so sweet and all of her posts (aside from being frequent and interesting) are filled with great pictures she finds.
  9. Sarah at And...Scene! ~ It's another great one I've read for ages and ages and her reviews never fail, and her picture posts of stars doing their own thing are great!
  10. KC at Classic Movies ~ Check every day for her great birthday posts and classsic links. Yay!
  11. Meredith at Movie Montage ~ I've always liked this blog and Meredith's super cool movie thoughts, and recently she wrote a great article about Greer Garson which you can find on her blog! It was super amazing!
  12. Whitney at she is Too Fond Of Books/We Have The Stars ~ Whitney was my first blogging pal. We exchanged emails about what life would have been like if Bette Davis had played in Dracula and about movies both of us should watch. She has a great book blog and blogs fantastically about books I often haven't read. My reading list is piling up ;-D. Her classic film blog is good too!
Well, thank you for the award Meredith and Rianna! I would have awarded you if you hadn't just awarded me, it would have been a bit pointless! But you both have great blogs. I love these tagging things. they give you a chance to give credit where credit is due to your favourite blogs :-)

~Bette

Friday, 12 August 2011

Holiday (1938)

 Hi guys, I'm back! I had a great time and hope all of you on holiday are having one (and everyone who isn't, too :-D)!!! I watched some great movies and jotted a whole load of movie related thoughts in a scruffy yellow notepad and they are in the works. They should keep me busy for the rest of my holiday!!!

So I swam in clear blue waters, ate numerous keftedes (the phonetic spelling of meatballs in Greek!) and baffled everyone on the harbour with my oversized, Green, Audrey Hepburn style oval glasses ;-) and now I'm back in England where both the news and weather aren't too great, but I have some great things to do this holiday, including a trip to the National Portrait Gallery to see the exhibition, "Glamour of the Gods: Hollywood Portraits" too...

Holiday (1938) Directed by George Cukor


Cast:


Plot:



Engergetic young man, Johnny Case meets Julia Seton on a trip and they fall in love and plan to be married as soon as they get back to their home city - with Julia's father's approval, of course. When they get home, Johnny is surprised by how wealthy Julia's family is, but is happy when he realises how well he gets on with Julia's sister, Linda (although she is known as the "black sheep" of the family).


However, with Johnny's plans to go on an indefinite holiday after working for ten years straight (a plan which Julia's father disapproves of strongly), and the fact that Johnny and Julia's friends simply do not mix, complications follow. Not to mention how Linda agrees with Johnny about everything and they are becoming fast friends, but Linda cares for Julia's happiness too...


The Verdict:
I know I already wrote a tiny little bit about this film already, but I'm going to elaborate and ramble as usual (especially as I only wrote a sentence before...).

Cary Grant is in his prime in this film (*Shudder* remembrance of The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie :-S). As my family and I agreed, Cary Grant is our favourite in the The Philadelphia Story period. He shows us his acrobatic moves several times in this movie *_*. GAH!!!!! This is most certainly beyond all imagination of amazingness :O.


Katharine Hepburn is really sweet in this movie. I like her roles when she is playing this kind of character - a little more kooky than usual, not to mention that she participates in the beyond amazing feats of acrobatic skill.


All the supporting players do extremely well, especially Edward Everett Horton who stood out for me as well as Jean Dixon as his wife. I was certainly not crazy about Doris Nolan. She was always the same. She definitely didn't do it for me. But I did like Henry Kolker who played Edward Seton.


The costumes all the way through are beautiful. I am particularly in love with Katharine Hepburn's black party dress and all the thirties skirts and coat. *Swoon*
{costumes by Kallock}


This was a very nice film. While it isn't super outstanding, it manages to be a great little film, with a slight air of You Can't Take It With You. It would be a great way to spend an evening, (or anytime really!)

~Bette