Back from a Break! Random Movie Thoughts
Ahhh, it feels so good to be back writing for my blog again! I’ve been taking a bit of an unplanned break from blogging lately so it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. My writing skills have gotten a bit rusty so I thought I’d start with something simple just to get myself going again.
I’m basically going to list some of the movies I’ve watched recently and include some random thoughts and/or resource links related to each movie.
In no particular viewing order, here are a few of the movies I’ve watched recently:
Princess O’Rourke (1943)
- I couldn’t believe it when I realized it, but it took me over half the movie to recognize Jane Wyman! I think it was because I’m so used to seeing her with bangs (like the picture on the left below) but instead her hair looked more like the picture on the right.
- Jack Carson was someone I never really cared for in the past, but I really liked him in this movie! I suspect that I was unfairly overlooking his talent, and I look forward to watching more of his movies.
- This was a charming comedy that I think fans of co-stars Olivia DeHavilland, Robert Cummings, Jack Carson, Jane Wyman, or Charles Coburn would really enjoy. The DVD is currently available for purchase from the Warner Archive.
Chance at Heaven (1933)
- I chose to watch this movie because I realized I have not watched many Joel McCrea movies, and I simply wanted to change that. One of my first impressions when I saw him onscreen was that I didn’t remember him being so handsome.
- I just discovered that Joel McCrea will be the Turner Classic Movies star of the month for May. Too bad I don’t have TCM! You can read Robert Osborne’s thoughts on Joel McCrea here.
- This interesting but very short (71 minutes) pre-code which also starred Ginger Rogers in one of her earliest film roles, is also available from the Warner Archive
The Apartment (1960)
- This had been on my to-watch list forever! I had heard so many great things about it and of course it won the Academy Award for Best Picture so I finally gave it a try.
- I definitely waited far too long to watch this! What a great movie and well deserving of the Academy Award!
- After watching this movie, I came away with a new found appreciation for Shirley MacLaine, who I wasn’t really sure I cared for all that much and for Jack Lemmon, whose acting I wasn’t very familiar with.
- There was a live reading of The Apartment‘s script that took place yesterday at the Times Center in Manhattan. You can read more about this event, which was organized by filmmaker Jason Reitman and included actors Paul Rudd and Emma Stone in this New York Times article. I have to admit, I’ve never heard of something like that being done.
Days of Wine and Roses (1962)
- I was so enamored with Jack Lemmon’s performance in The Apartment, that I followed it up with this movie which he starred in with actress Lee Remick, who I also really admire.
- As a movie about an alcoholic couple struggling to stay sober, it was a darker film than what I’m used to watching, but once again Jack Lemmon’s acting had me riveted.
- It’s a shame Jack Lemmon didn’t win the Academy Award for Best Actor for this part, but I’m sure Gregory Peck was equally deserving in his role in To Kill a Mockingbird, a movie which I must shamefully admit I have never seen. I must change that soon, I know!
- Ever since I realized last year that I LOVE Claire Trevor, I’ve been trying to watch as many of her movies as I can. I can’t exactly say this was a great movie, but I enjoyed her performance and it was another chance to watch Fred MacMurray, an actor who I also really like.
- One funny coincidence in this movie: Claire Trevor ordered a frozen daiquiri when she was with Fred MacMurray’s character just as Shirley MacLaine had done in The Apartment, which I had just watched a few days before.
Alexander’s Ragtime Band (1938)
- I didn’t get quite enough of Tyrone Power when I wrote a blog post about him last month so I decided to watch him in this delightful Irving Berlin musical, which I enjoyed very much.
- The DVD’s special features contain a biography of actress Alice Faye, who co-starred with Tyrone Power in this movie. I didn’t realize before watching her bio that she was such a popular actress at the height of her career.
- In 1939, Alice Faye was named one of the top ten box office draws in Hollywood. I found her life story to be very fascinating. Check it out if you get the chance!
Somewhere in the Night (1946)
- This was my first time watching a movie starring actor John Hodiak, who I later learned was once married to actress Anne Baxter. Sadly he died much too young at the age of 41.
- Even though her acting skills in this movie were very raw, there was something about actress Nancy Guild that really intrigued me. I was surprised to find out that she was signed to a 7-year contract with 20th Century Fox but only ended up making a few movies before retiring from films in 1953.
- The DVD features commentary by Eddie Muller, founder and president of The Film Noir Foundation. This was my second time listening to one of his commentaries (the first one was when I watched Road House) and it won’t be the last! I think I enjoy listening to his thoughts more than I like watching the movies!
Ring-a-Ding Girl (1963) – Episode of The Twilight Zone
- Okay, so this isn’t a movie, but I wanted to mention it anyway since it starred actress Maggie McNamara, who appeared in the movie Three Coins in the Fountain (1954) among others. This episode was written by Earl Hamner, who is probably best known for his work with the television show The Waltons.
- I was recently introduced to Maggie by Kristen from the blog Journey’s in Class Film when she wrote about her for the Gone Too Soon blogathon that we participated in last month.
- I hadn’t watched an episode of The Twilight Zone since I was a young girl! It definitely brought back memories, and I would like to watch more in the near future. If you know of other episodes starring classic movie actors or actresses, please let me know!
I enjoyed all of these movies to varying degrees, but my favorites were probably The Apartment and Alexander’s Ragtime Band.
What are some of your favorite movies that you’ve watched recently?