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55 Movies to Get You to Christmas – #27

The Philadelphia Story
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“Young man, remove yourself!”

 

    In high school, I had to watch The Philadelphia Story for a class.  I completely fell in love with the characters – and the actors who play them – and how they all worked with and played off of each other.  With an all-star cast, it is definitely in my top 100 must-see movies of all time.  It’s hilarious and dramatic.  The word-vomit that spews from the lips of these characters is brilliant and refreshing.  
    From what I’ve read about this week’s movies, Hepburn was not a joy to work with, especially for directors.  However, she did have quite a few scripts written for her, it seems, including this one.  Grant, on the other hand, seemed to have been very easy to work with, for everyone, and donated his salary from this film to the British War Relief Society.  Stewart won Best Actor at the academy awards, and the film also won Best Adapted Screenplay.

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55 Movies to Get You to Christmas – #25

My Favorite Wife
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“Impulsive!? He’s full of…carrots.”

 

    Whenever I’m having a really horrible life and I need a movie that makes me laugh and feel better about everything, I go find the nearest VHS player and pop in My Favorite Wife.  This movie features one of my favorite actresses from that time, Irene Dunne, who was also in The Awful Truth.  This is my favorite character that I’ve seen her play.
    The film follows Dunne’s character, Ellen, who just returned from being shipwrecked on an island.  Her family thinks she’s dead, and her husband has just remarried.  As you can imagine, craziness ensues.  It was nominated for three academy awards: Best Story, Best Score and Best Art Direction. 



Most underrated character: Judge Walter Bryson who delivers some of the best lines of the film in the most hilarious way.  For having a very minor role, he is very memorable.


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55 Movies to Get You to Christmas – #24

Bringing Up Baby
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“No, I just went GAY all of a sudden!”

Like I mentioned yesterday, Cary Grant is also in today’s film: Bringing Up Baby.  This time he is teamed up with the acting phenomenon Katharine Hepburn.  Grant filmed Bringing Up Baby right after he finished shooting The Awful Truth.  This script was actually tailored to Hepburn.
One of the best aspects of this film is the ad-libbing that was done between Hepburn and Grant.  They bantered excellently, and reacted really naturally to each other.  The chemistry between the two actors/characters, and the ease with which Hepburn sinks into her character are what makes this film such fun to watch.  This film also features a leopard, which Grant was extremely afraid of, much to the enjoyment of his fellow cast members.


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55 Movies to Get You to Christmas – #23

The Awful Truth

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“In the spring, a young man’s fancy lightly turns to what he’s been thinking about all winter.”

 

    Today’s film is The Awful Truth, starring Cary Grant and Irene Dunne.  Dunne is one of my favorite classic actresses when it comes to comedies.  She has very unique delivery and is completely hilarious.  She’ll come up again later this week, as will Grant, who I just realized is in almost every film this week (actually, I think it’s every film except one.  Oops).  
    This movie focuses on the not-so-happy couple who decide they want a divorce essentially because they no longer truth each other.  They have quite a custody battle over the dog, and the visits that Grant’s character is allowed are one of the main sources of contact the couple has post-separation.  Because of these interactions, they’re able to absurdly interact and screw up each other’s romantic pursuits.  
    In these sorts of movies, every character is too mad or prideful or full of themselves that they can’t focus on how sad they would actually be in the situation.  The emotions are completely ignored – except anger – and it manages to keep the film upbeat, light, and unrealistic.  The Awful Truth is one of those films that makes me feel better after I’ve watched it.  A lot of classic movies have that affect on me, but ones with Dunne and Grant paired up like this are extra delightful.


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55 Movies to Get You to Christmas – #22

Arsenic and Old Lace

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“Insanity runs in my family.  It practically gallops.”

    Now that we’re coming out of 80’s week, let’s jet back even farther in honor of Thanksgiving and holiday traditions.  This next week I’m going to lovingly refer to as “Ye Olde” week.  For me, Thanksgiving has always had a classic feel, and I thought what better to watch this week – with all the classics on television – thank some good old black and white films.
    I realize I probably just lost half of you because most people my age and younger hate black and white films, so let me just say something about that in case you’re still reading.  I get that some black and white films are slow moving, but if you love acting (I am a stickler for acting.  As someone who was set on doing that with their life, I grew to be very passionate and particular about actors.), it’s important to watch old movies.  In my opinion, actors from the 40s and 50s were significantly better than the majority of actors in film now.  If you compare Katharine Hepburn, Irene Dunne, or Cary Grant to Olivia Wilde, Anne Hathaway, or Bradley Cooper, you see a significant difference (as in, the oldies are significantly better than the newbies).  There was so much more focus back then on articulation and facial expression and raw, pure, acting talent.  They didn’t have the computer capabilities that we have today, and soundtracks weren’t really a thing back then.  There wasn’t as much emotional manipulation with music or color, it was all on the actors and writers.  Some really beautiful films came out of that time period and they should be appreciated and not ignored.
    Alright, now that I’ve had a tiny rant, let’s focus.  Today’s movie is Arsenic and Old Lace.  This dark comedy is funny, quirky, and suspenseful, while maintaining a fun feel throughout the film.  It has just the right level of intensity and creepiness without overshadowing the comedy.  One thing I like about this film is that each character is given the chance to be comedic.  Typically, there’s one character who is the bland, straight character while one or two others are always comical.  In Arsenic and Old Lace, almost every character (except, maybe, Jonathan Brewster) is funny and goofy at some point in the movie.  I watched this for the first time in high school for a class assignment and I expected to hate it (much like The Breakfast Club), and instead fell absolutely in love with Cary Grant as an actor, and in love with this film.  This movie is one of my favorite classics and I hope that even if you hate black and white films, you’ll give this one a chance.