Tuesday, August 31, 2010

His Girl Friday (1940)

Last week, His Girl Friday was playing at a local theater. I decided to go because I had never seen it before and I love seeing Cary Grant whenever possible, especially on a big screen. I loved how the theater was full of both old and young people and we all seemed to enjoy the film as an entire audience.  The humor and wit of the film were not missed by any of us. Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell were fabulous together. This is a screwball comedy at its best.

His Girl Friday is about a major newspaper editor ,Walter Burns (Cary Grant), who is intent on winning back his former wife and best reporter, Hildy Johnson (Rosalind Russell) after she informs him that she will be marrying an insurance salesman, Bruce Baldwin (Ralph Bellamy) within the next 24 hours, and also leaving the newspaper forever. Walter decides that he cannot let her do either of these things and does whatever he can to prevent her from leaving.

This film is in the Public Domain, so you can legally download it.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Happy Birthday: Ingrid Bergman

The weather is too hot to be enjoyed, so it looks like I am going to be able to celebrate Ingrid's birthday! It would have been her 95th birthday this year. She was so awesome! She could play any character and it was always a fantastic performance. My top 5 favorite movies from Ingrid, not in any particular order, include: Intermezzo: A Love Story, Gaslight, Notorious, Cactus Flower, and Autumn Sonata.

Ingrid died on her 67th birthday back in 1982. Not the best birthday, but she definitely lived an interesting life and it was well fulfilled, even though it was cut short. 67 is still too young to die. R.I.P. Ingrid!!!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Happy Birthday: Charles Boyer

Charles Boyer was born on August 28, 1899, in Figeac, France. I haven't seen enough films with this guy and I need to. I absolutely loved him as the villain in Gaslight (1944). He is so suave and utterly conniving at the same time; it is perfect. The only other film I've seen him in is How to Steal a Million (1966).

Sadly, on August 26, 1978, Charles Boyer took his own life a couple of days after his wife of 44 years passed away. He took a fatal dose of barbiturates. R.I.P. Charles Boyer.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Autumn Sonata: Höstsonaten (1978)

Autumn Sonata is about a failed mother-daughter relationship. The mother Charlotte Andergast (Ingrid Bergman), a well-known concert pianist, who cared more about her career than having a relationship with both her husband and children. She was neglectful and dismissive to her children, Eva who is the eldest (Liv Ullman) and Helena who is mentally and physically disabled (Lena Nyman), who desperately wanted and needed her affection. Being as selfish as she was, she was not aware of how damaging her consistent neglect was for her children. 

Eva invites Charlotte to come for a visit at her country home that she lives at with her husband Viktor (Halvar Björk) after she learns that her long time partner, Leonardo, has passed away. Charlotte agrees to come for the visit. Once she arrives, she learns that Helena has been staying with Eva for the past couple of years. This is a shock to her because she had put her into an institution to be taken care of. As Eva and Charlotte spend time together, the tension between them slowly seems to build up. Then, one night the tension seems to explode between them and the two have a long conversation about Charlotte's selfishness and how it has affected Eva's entire life, as well as others.

This is the second Ingmar Bergman film that I've watched. Now, I'm obsessed. I must see more of his films! He creates very interesting characters that have a lot of realism to them, that it's easy to identify with them. His technique of storytelling is also very engaging. Autumn Sonata is an excellent film. The acting is superb, but who would expect less with Ingrid Bergman and Liv Ullmann? The amount of emotion that was exhibited in their performances is what really made the film worth watching. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Happy Birthday: River Phoenix

River Jude Bottom, also known as River Phoenix, was born on August 23, 1970 in Madras, Oregon. Throughout his childhood, he traveled a lot with his family because they were members of the Children of God. Basically, they moved wherever they felt God wanted them to go. During this time, River learned to play the guitar and would perform while singing with his sister, Rain, on the streets of wherever they were living. They did this to earn money and also to pass out literature based on their religious beliefs.

Eventually, his parents' beliefs changed and they all moved back to the United States in 1978. River and his siblings continued performing wherever they went. Their talent was attracting a lot of attention, so the family decided to move out to California and try their hand in the entertainment industry. In 1986, River landed the role as Chris Chambers in Stand by Me, which jump-started his acting career and led to other memorable roles, such as his role in Running on Empty (1988) for which he was nominated for his first and only Oscar.

River's life was cut short after he tragically died from a drug overdose on October 31, 1993, outside of the Viper Room club in Los Angeles. He was only 23 years old. He would have been 40 years old today. Rest in Peace, River, we miss you.

Stand by Me.

River and Keanu Reeves in My Own Private Idaho. River is great in this. Strange film.

He was a very devoted animal rights activist.

Music was his passion. It sprang from his fingertips and came out through his voice.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Les quatre cents coups: The 400 Blows (1959)

This is my first time ever watching a François Truffaut film. I know a little bit about Truffaut. By little, I mean I know some of his tastes in Alfred Hitchcock's films and filming techniques, having read his interviews with Hitchcock in Hitchcock, Truffaut. I highly recommend that book; it was very informative and enjoyable. After watching The 400 Blows, I can't wait to watch my next Truffaut.

The 400 Blows is about a young misunderstood boy, Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Léaud) who is neglected by his inattentive parents. At school, he is constantly picked on and singled out for punishment and criticism by the teacher. Antoine begins to act out against his parents and teacher, skipping school, running away from home, and stealing. He is caught and punished for each of his acts of mischief, even when he tries to put them right. Eventually, these incidents become more consistent, throwing Antoine into a downward spiral until he is caught and ruled as an uncontrollable juvenile delinquent.

This film is very emotional. Truffaut uses camera techniques to capture the emotion spectacularly. I felt myself really connecting with the character. He was treated unfairly and I kept wanting someone to stand up and help him out. He isn't really that bad of a kid, but no one is really there to actually notice this.  Also, the film isn't all tragic or overly depressing. It is quite humorous at parts and the kid has some good times. I highly recommend checking out this film.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Happy Birthday: Maureen FitzSimons O'Hara

Today marks Maureen's 90th birthday. In her honor, TCM has devoted all of today to only her movies. At 5:45 EST, The Parent Trap (1961) will be showing. This is one of my personal favorites, having watched it since a child. My grandma used to watch it with me and today is actually the 4th anniversary of her death, so I'd like to watch it in remembrance.

The Quiet Man (1952) will follow after The Parent Trap, starting at 8:00 EST. I have not seen this one before, but I've been told good things about it. I'm looking forward to seeing it. It's a perfect day to watch movies because it's quite gloomy outside.

Today, Maureen resides in Glengarriff, County Cork, Ireland. She is very passionate about her country, acting, and her films. By 2012, she plans to open a Legacy Center, which will be located in Glengarriff. To learn more about the Center, her current lifestyle, and a bit about her past, be sure to listen to and watch this interview that she gave yesterday.

Monday, August 16, 2010

RIP: Elvis Presley

Elvis passed away on August 16, 1977 in Graceland. His body, along with his mother's, is buried there. Fans gather at Graceland every year for Elvis Week in order to pay tribute to him. Some still doubt that he actually died, that he staged his death and is still living it up somewhere around the world. I wish that was true!

Here are some of my favorite things about Elvis:

-He is the only performer to have been inducted into three separate music 'Halls of Fame': Rock and Roll, Country Music, and Gospel Music.

-He received 14 Grammy nominations. He won three of them.

-He was director Robert Wise's original choice to play Tony in West Side Story (1961).

-His favorite actor was James Dean and he idolized him. He considered James an acting genius. He claimed to know all of the dialogue of James' films by heart.

-He made the first ever music video of all time: Jailhouse Rock.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Happy Birthday: Alfred Hitchcock!!!

What a great day for Hitch's birthday!!! The 13th fits him, especially when it's Friday the 13th. Also, there is a nice meteor shower tonight (NASA said to look up at the sky at 3-4 am for the best. I saw one after midnight though and it was beautiful!) He would have been celebrating his 111th birthday. It's still a shock to me that the Master of Suspense never won an Oscar; even though he was nominated for 5 of them. Idiots! I think people must have been jealous of him.

His films are awesome. They've got the suspense, the glamour, and the dark humor all in one. Thank you, Hitch, you made some of my favorite films of all time!

Chatting with Cary and Ingrid.

Pushing Cary and Ingrid.

Not quite sure what's going on... He's funny!

Hitch waving to people on the set of The Birds.

On set of To Catch a Thief with the handsome Cary Grant.

Vincent Price strangling James Gregory. James Gregory strangling Hitch

Hitch and an adorable little dog!