Showing posts from August, 2017

Classic Film of the Week #18: The Harvey Girls (1946)

The Harvey Girls is a fun, glamorous, musical account of a legendary fight to win the old West. The titular Harvey Girls are lovely, respectable young women who are recruited to work in Harvey restaurants in early frontier towns across the west, in a bid to tame these towns and drive out the saloons and dancing girls that currently occupy the male population's time. The men who profit off of this debauchery aren't interested in seeing their customer base settle down, so they plan a counterattack to get the Harvey's out of town before they can do any damage to their businesses. Unfortunately for them, Susan Bradley--a last-minute Harvey recruit played by Judy Garland--is determined to make the restaurant a success, and won't let any man, no matter how dirty he plays, stand in her way.

I never got around to The Harvey Girls before this because I expected it to be silly, conservative fluff. I mean, a classic Hollywood musical about nice girls arriving in a rough town so t…

Classic Film of the Week #17: Tight Spot (1955)

If you've been noticing that these movie of the week posts have been coming more rapidly than once a week lately, the reason is that I've slowly but surely fallen a few weeks behind since I started this series--now I'm just playing catch-up! Today I'm taking a look at Tight Spot, a film featuring one of my favorite actresses playing a role completely unlike anything else she had ever done before: the lovely Ginger Rogers. Actors always take a risk when they step out of their comfort zone like she does here, but in this case it turns out to be a fantastic choice, with Rogers putting in one of the greatest performances I've ever seen from her.

Classic Film of the Week #16: The Defiant Ones (1958)

I have a real fondness for the bold, somewhat uneven films that started coming out as the Production Code began to die; the films that pushed the boundaries of what film-goers had been able to see for decades, but were still testing the waters of what American films should look like going forward. The films in this category which explore social issues are particularly interesting, and The Defiant Ones is no exception, a daring film that explores what racism looks like when societal comforts are removed and all that's left is a pure, desperate desire for survival at any cost.

Classic Film of the Week #15: The Pirate (1948)

One of the most intimidating things about getting into classic film is when you watch a film with a beloved classic star . . . And you can't stand them. How do you admit to the world that you think an iconic, world-renowned actor is just awful? Sometimes, that feeling never goes away, but other times, the remedy is just to find the right film--actors are actors for a reason, and sometimes it's just a particular performance that you didn't enjoy, not the actor's persona as a whole. Having now seen The Pirate, I'm relieved to say this is the case for both Gene Kelly and Judy Garland, two actors I wasn't a fan of in their most famous works--but in this underappreciated romantic musical, I simply could not love the pair more.

Classic Film of the Week #14: The Unholy Three (1925) & (1930)

Today, remakes face a lot of backlash. Hollywood has churned out so many poor ones in recent years that the very idea of trying to update a classic film causes many cinephiles to bristle; however, the truth is that remakes have always been a major part of Hollywood, and there are actually many original-remake pairings out there that are well-worth a watch. A perfect example is Lon Chaney's The Unholy Three, originally released in 1925 and remade in 1930 as a talkie. For the most part, it's a shot-for-shot remake, but the small differences between the two films offer some pretty interesting commentary on the changes in Hollywood in the transition from silence to sound--and on top of that, they're both just really great films.

July 2017 Recap

July was another crazy month, but for the first time all year, it was a good kind of crazy! I got my new job at the movie theater, and so far it's going great; I think I've finally found a place that makes me happy, after a number of pretty disappointing positions. And with all of the free time I've had (this job has less hours than my old one), I've watched a lot of movies, most of them really good. I re-watched a number of films, got through half of my planned Audrey Hepburn marathon--part 2 coming soon--watched through a number of Powell and Pressburger movies--which were a real treat--and discovered a couple of completely unexpected new favorites, which is always exciting! See a breakdown of my viewing and my new favorites after the cut.

Classic Film of the Week #13: Beauty and the Boss (1932)

One of the joys of watching classic films is discovering these beautiful, talented people who have been entirely forgotten except by the most ardent film buffs. Of course uncovering the wonder of a Bette Davis or a Cary Grant is exciting, but falling for an actor or actress who most of the world doesn't even remember ever existed? That's really something, and that's exactly the case for the star of today's film, a lovely young woman named Marian Marsh who was in a string of successful films in Hollywood's Pre-Code era--including Beauty and the Boss--and then sadly faded into obscurity.