Saturday, 8 September 2012

Julia Misbehaves (1948)

I had a mini Greer Garson marathon the other day - we started with Jack Conway's loveably insane Julia Misbehaves (also starring Walter Pidgeon, Elizabeth Taylor and Peter Lawford) and then followed up with the heart-wrenchingly sad yet a little uplifting Blossoms In The Dust. I wouldn't recommend you do it that way around, but it was a great movie night. It made me realise that I've never written about this film on here before, so I said "This problem shall be rectified!" And, errr, yes. This is the rectification.

"When Greer Garson starts a picture in a bubble bath, that's news!" Such was the publicity issued from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer on January 16, 1948, as Greer prepared for the opening scene of Julia Misbehaves. As she sat, chatting gaily with the crew before a warm bathtub filled with Ardena Fluff Milk Bath while her hairdresser, Edith Hubner, swept her hair up into a curly mass, she seemed like her old self. She was pleased that despite a "No admittance" sign on the sound stage door, a steady line of friendly well-wishers crowded their way into the eight-foot-square replica of an English bathroom. While Jack Conway and Joe Ruttenburg prepared prepared to film the scene, prop man Tony Ordoqui kept filling the tub with bubbles. Irene was there to check on Greer's skin-coloured bathing suit. Al Block, the studio censor, moved about nervously, anxiously second-guessing the Production Code's view on modesty. Finally Conway shooed everyone out except Walter Pidgeon. "After all," Pidgeon argued, "as an actor who has been married to Greer Garson four times, I should have some privileges."- A Rose For Mrs Miniver: The Life Of Greer Garson by Michael Troyan. [via]

Julia Packet (Greer Garson) is a ditzy, passionate, beautiful, loveable chorus girl living in London. Married to William Packet, they have been estranged since the end of WWI. She lives on the edge, pretending suicide so that her good friend Benjie will lend her money. Suddenly out of the blue she receives a telegram asking her to her daughter Susan's (Elizabeth Taylor) wedding. William's mother sent Julia away when her daughter was a baby worrying that she would be an bad influence on Susan. Despite this, she goes to France, determined that she will see Susan's wedding. She goes by ship and on that ship she meets Freddie Ghenoccio (Cesar Romero), and The Flying Ghenoccio Brothers acrobatics Vaudeville team. She misses William in Paris who has come to tell her it was all a mistake because she suddenly had to replace Freddie's mother in their act (insert Greer dancing and singing amazingness). 

Freddie announces that he loves Julia and wants to marry her, but Julia doesn't reply. Julia gets to the Packet house and is told by William's mother that she is not wanted at the wedding. After she meets Susan who admits she sent the invitation in secret (in an emotional scene - only Greer Garson could make me cry in a screwball comedy) Julia decides that she simply cannot leave her. So she decides to stay for the wedding and is intrigued by Susan's relationship with the family painter (Peter Lawford), all sorts of crazy antics ensue including a Greer Garson certified warning about Cyclamen Pink and a tale about sea lions, but can Julia realise that she really loves William?

It seems there are three groups concerning this movie. The first is the people who've never seen it (shame on you), the people who love it (me, Sophie, Rianna, FrankaFairbanksjr and Sara) and the people who hate it. So obviously this film is better than Citizen Kane (it isn't, that was sarcasm.) Ok, so it isn't the best film in the entire world, although my 10 year old sister would dispute you on that matter, but it's sweet, fun and lovely. Jack Conway (Libeled Lady) and his comedic timing as a director is great. Greer Garson has fantastic comedic timing and I wish she'd made more comedies and hadn't been type cast as housewives as much (something that caused her much woe in her professional life).

Greer Garson is wonderful of course - as always. Her dance numbers are great as well. She just gives her all no matter what she's doing. She actually is a great singer and a fairly good dancer but even though she's no Judy Garland it doesn't take away from the greatness of the numbers. Also, there have been many a chat about "Greerlegs" on tumblr. Watch this and random harvest and you'll know why. As I said before she makes me cry when she first meets Elizabeth Taylor... ;____; SADNESS! Also, that scene where she nearly is drowned by Walter Pidgeon and his ill-advised boating trips and she wears a tablecloth? 

DAMN GURL YA LOOK GOOD EVEN IN A TABLECLOTH! Also, the dialogue in that scene after she and Walter Pidgeon sank their old rowing boat...

Greer Garson: If I'd known you were so anxious to get me in here [Walter Pidgeon's wood cabin] I could have saved my self a long cold swim!
Walter Pidgeon: Well you're here and it's results that count!
Greer Garson: I'm in no position to say your method isn't effective.
Walter Pidgeon: Well it should be, I've devoted many years to perfecting it.
Greer Garson: Oh, I suppose the method always worked!
Walter Pidgeon: Uh, had one failure, she drowned, stubborn wench.
Hahahaha. Yes. I love Greer Garson in this and everything. She's particularly lovely and vibrant in this film because in real life she had just met her final husband, Buddy Fogelson, whom she was with until he died (38 years). By the way, star of The Help, Jessica Chastain's favourite actress is Greer Garson :-D

Walter Pidgeon is hilarious and sweet as always and he and Greer work so well together. So well that my mother said at one point "WHY WERE THEY NEVER MARRIED, THEY WERE! I WON'T BELIEVE THEY WEREN'T!" Mother, welcome to my ways *evil laugh*.

Elizabeth Taylor is all young and nice and Peter Lawford is pretty creepy as he always is. I mean why would you paint Liz Taylor's head on a Lady Godiva being chased by race-horses? He's always a little weird but we'll deal with it for this movie because actually it works quite well. Elizabeth Taylor looks so youthful in this film. It was her first real romance on screen, a good four years before A Place In The Sun. She and Greer Garson work well together (Best Family: Greer Garson is your mother, Walter Pidgeon is your father and you're Elizabeth Taylor).

[My Gif]
Overall, this film is fun and enjoyable to watch




Alyssa LM said...

I adore this movie and always wish Greer Garson did more comedies because she was great in this.

Natalie said...

Ah! I want to see this! I just need to find it... Oh, Julia Misbehaves, please turn up on YouTube. Anyway, Bette, I loved this.

Anonymous said...

Hey the movie is on youtube!

L. said...

"I mean why would you paint Liz Taylor's head on a Lady Godiva being chased by race-horses". Can you explain this? Googled it and couldn't find anything :)

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