Thursday, June 30, 2011

My Movie Character Personality Soup

A few weeks ago, I saw Brandie from True Classic's post  of movie characters she thought defined/described her, and that automatically had me thinking of who I would pick to define myself. I spent awhile and managed to come up with the top five movie characters that I feel relate to me the most:

Amanda Bonner (Katharine Hepburn) from Adam's Rib (1949, dir. George Cukor).

I've always been a feminist, so Amanda's personality and boldness hits close to home. And who wouldn't love to have those cheekbones?

Belle (Paige O'Hara) from Beauty and the Beast (1991, dir. Gary Trousdale).

She's a bookworm and people think she's strange. That's all too familiar...

Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland) from The Wizard of Oz (1939, dir. Victor Fleming).

I'm originally from a small town, and, trust me, I know what it's like wanting to be "over the rainbow".

Constance Peterson (Ingrid Bergman) in Spellbound (1945, dir. Alfred Hitchcock).

My love for Bogie made me want to choose Ilsa Lund, but I ended up going with Constance since we share a strong interest in psychology.

Jim Stark (James Dean) in Rebel Without a Cause (1955, dir. Nicholas Ray).

I wouldn't call myself a rebel or a trouble-maker by any means. But, at times, I can't help but identify with certain aspects of Dean's character in a way that I've never understood. Back to the part where people think I'm strange.

Honestly, there are probably several- maybe even dozens- more film characters much like myself, but this is just what I felt resembled me the most. 

I hope you enjoyed this post! Until next time...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Review: Pat and Mike (1952)

IMDb Synopsis: Pat Pemberton is a women's sports sensation - a champion in golf, tennis, and whatever else she decides to do. Knowing a good thing when he sees it, Mike Conovan becomes her manager. Mike has made his living fixing sports events, but he tries to go legit before Pat finds out his schemes.

It's quite rare that I review two romantic comedies in a row (as I just reviewed Designing Woman last week). It's also rare that I love both of 

I've written this in several posts before, but Katharine Hepburn is one of my favorite actresses of all time, and I absolutely love her films with Spencer Tracy. I've read before that this film was written specifically for them, and for good reason. They play so well off of each other, just as they do in other films, such as Adam's Rib and Woman of the Year, their first collaboration together. I thought both of their performances were marvelous, and I'm actually quite surprised they didn't receive Oscar nominations in 1953.

George Cukor has come to be one of my favorite directors as of late. He directed Hepburn in at least nine films,  including her film debut, A Bill of Divorcement, and two more of the nine Tracy/Hepburn films, Keeper of the Flame and Adam's Rib. Pat and Mike is one of his finest works as a director, and I think he should receive more recognition for it.

Overall, I found Pat and Mike to be a delightful film- one of the best to come out of the 1950s. Definitely recommending.

5/5 stars 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Review: Designing Woman (1957)

IMDb Synopsis: On a vacation, sports journalist Mike meets designer Marilla. They fall in love and marry right away. However back at home they realize that they're living in different worlds and know nothing about each other and exes and angry mobsters get in the way of their happily ever after.

I've probably mentioned this in a post before, but Gregory Peck and Lauren Bacall are two of my favorite actors of all time. Naturally, I was very excited to see both of them in a film together. I can honestly say that my expectations were met.

One of the reasons I dislike modern films so much is because almost all of the romantic comedies are awful- most of the actors are horrible, and I just don't find them as humorous or enjoying as the classics. I wouldn't be lying if I said that Designing Woman was one of the funniest films I've ever seen. The story and dialogue are both extraordinary- which is why it won an Oscar for Best Writing, Story, and Screenplay for screenwriter George Wells.

Peck and Bacall's performances were marvelous. I expected them to be, though, since I'd seen them do extremely well in romantic comedies before (Peck in Roman Holiday and Bacall in How to Marry a Millionaire, which I reviewed a few months ago). I also thought their chemistry was wonderful, and I really wish that they had made more films together.

Overall, I found Designing Woman to be a gem of a film from director Vincente Minnelli. I most definitely recommend seeing it if you're interested in great romantic comedies.

5/5 stars 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Review: Dead Reckoning (1947)

IMDb Synopsis: A soldier runs away rather than receive the Medal of Honor, so his buddy gets permission to investigate, and love and death soon follow.

If you're a classic film fan, you most likely are already aware that Humphrey Bogart made a lot of film noirs. This is one of the few I hadn't seen. I don't think it's as great as some of Bogart's other films, but it's most definitely worth checking out.

As far as performances go, Bogie is still witty and clever, as he always is (and he continues to make fedoras look great). Lizabeth Scott, while not as remarkable as actresses like Lauren Bacall and Gloria Grahame, is still very promising as the femme fatale. I'd also recommend watching her in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers costarring Barbara Stanwyck and Kirk Douglas.

Again, I don't think Dead Reckoning is as great a masterpiece as The Maltese Falcon or The Big Sleep, but I did find it to be a very entertaining film noir that's worth a viewing.

4/5 stars 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Review: Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

IMDb Synopsis: Powerful but unethical Broadway columnist J.J. Hunsecker coerces unscrupulous press agent Sidney Falco into breaking up his sister's romance with a jazz musician.

I've always heard a lot about Sweet Smell of Success, especially in my last few months of blogging. Many film critics call it one of the best films of all time- and for good reason.

This film stars Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis- the former I've seen in several films recently, the latter I'm slightly unfamiliar with, which has saddened me since his death last September. I found both of their performances to be spectacular and I plan to watch and review more Tony Curtis films later this year. I also thought Lancaster was quite interesting as the villain, compared to his roles in films like From Here to Eternity and Run Silent, Run Deep. His character was voted #35 on the villains portion of the American Film Institute's list "100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains."

There's also a great supporting cast, including Susan Harrison as Lancaster's sister and Martin Milner as her boyfriend. I find it a bit odd that Harrison didn't receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

Overall, Sweet Smell of Success is one of the great film noirs and one of the best films I've ever seen. I'll definitely be revisiting it soon. 

5/5 stars

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Upcoming Reviews

This post is going to be a list of seven classic films I plan on watching in the next two or so months and reviewing on my blog. Some of them are coming from Netflix, most I'm watching on TCM. Big thanks to Anna from Defiant Success for giving me this idea when I was going through a major case of writer's block.

Dead Reckoning (1947)

Pat and Mike (1952)

Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)

Designing Woman (1957)

The King and I (1956)

Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

Touch of Evil (1958)

Stay tuned for upcoming reviews on all of these films. Until next time...