Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Season for Valentines: Classic Cheeky Romance

PLEASE NOTE: Due to conflicting schedules, the movie selection for February will be shown on Thursday, 2/24 instead of Tuesday, 2/22. Same time, same place. So please...make your vote count, come on out, and don't pretend you're not all hopeless romantics!!


Returning from a year up the Amazon studying snakes, the rich but unsophisticated Charles Pike meets con-artist Jean Harrington on a ship. They fall in love, but a misunderstanding causes them to split on bad terms. To get back at him, Jean disguises herself as an English lady, and comes back to tease and torment him.

The Lady Eve is a 1941 American screwball comedy film. It is about a mismatched couple who meet on a luxury liner, written by Preston Sturges based on a story by Monckton Hoffe, and directed by Sturges, his third directorial effort, after The Great McGinty and Christmas in July. The film stars Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck and features Charles Coburn, Eugene Pallette, William Demarest and Eric Blore.


Charles_Chaplin was deep into production of his silent City Lights when Hollywood was overwhelmed by the talkie revolution. After months of anguished contemplation, Chaplin decided to finish the film as it began--in silence, save for a musical score and an occasional sound effect. Once again cast as the Little Tramp, Chaplin makes the acquaintance of a blind flower girl (Virginia_Cherrill), who through a series of coincidences has gotten the impression that the shabby tramp is a millionaire. A second storyline begins when the tramp rescues a genuine millionaire (Harry_Myers) from committing suicide. When drunk, the millionaire expansively treats the tramp as a friend and equal; when sober, he doesn't even recognize him. The two plots come together when the tramp attempts to raise enough money for the blind girl to have an eye operation. Highlights include an extended boxing sequence pitting scrawny Chaplin against muscle-bound Hank_Mann, and the poignant final scene in which the now-sighted flower girl sees her impoverished benefactor for the first time. Chaplin's decision to release the silent City Lights three years into the talkie era was partially vindicated when more than one critic singled out this "comedy in pantomime" as the best picture of 1931. Hal Erickson, Rovi


A 1971 American comedy film directed by Hal Ashby. It incorporates elements of dark humor and existentialist drama, with a plot that revolves around the exploits of a young man intrigued with death, Harold (played by Bud Cort). Harold drifts away from the life that his detached mother prescribes for him, and develops a relationship with an old woman named Maude (played by Ruth Gordon).


The second screen version of the Ben Hecht/Charles MacArthur play The Front Page, His Girl Friday changed hard-driving newspaper reporter Hildy Johnson from a man to a woman, transforming the story into a scintillating battle of the sexes. Rosalind Russell plays Hildy, about to foresake journalism for marriage to cloddish Bruce Baldwin (Ralph Bellamy). Cary Grant plays Walter Burns, Hildy's editor and ex-husband, who feigns happiness about her impending marriage as a ploy to win her back. The ace up Walter's sleeve is a late-breaking news story concerning the impending execution of anarchist Earl Williams (John Qualen), a blatant example of political chicanery that Hildy can't pass up. The story gets hotter when Williams escapes and is hidden from the cops by Hildy and Walter--right in the prison pressroom. His Girl Friday may well be the fastest comedy of the 1930s, with kaleidoscope action, instantaneous plot twists, and overlapping dialogue.


Ball of Fire is a delightful retelling (by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett) of the "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" legend -- though strictly for grownups. Gary Cooper is the youngest of eight bookish professors authoring an encyclopedia. They find a perfect "research associate" in the curvaceous form of stripteaser Barbara Stanwyck, who (chastely) hides on the professors' domicile to escape her gangster boyfriend (Dana Andrews). As Stanwyck interprets various slang expression, she and the professors grow quite fond of one another; she brings out their sentimental sides, while they revive her essential decency. Naturally, Cooper is the one most smitten, though he hides his true feelings until the inevitable clinch.

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