Classics From Criterion: GREAT EXPECTATIONS (1946)

Charles Dickens is an another author who I am sorry to say I have not read which is a situation that I hope to remedy soon.  That having been said, I have recently been on a reading binge which has brought me back to my bookworm roots.  So when I was trying to decide on a movie to watch the other day it seemed only right that I choose something with a literary basis.  Which led me to my copy of David Lean’s GREAT EXPECTATIONS.

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The story is that of a boy named Pip (Anthony Wagner).  He is a poor boy and an orphan, who now lives with his sister and her husband.  One stormy evening he makes his way to the churchyard to leave flowers on the grave of his parents.  While there he is startled by a gruff man with shackles on his arms and legs.  The man, named Abel Magwitch (Finlay Currie), is an escaped convict and steals what items Pip has in his pockets and then demands that the frightened boy bring him food and a file for his chains.  Pip returns to his sisters home where he is greeted by her husband, Joe (Bernard Miles).  Joe is a blacksmith and is kind to Pip while his wife, Pip’s sister, is decidedly not.  After a less than pleasant dinner, Pip sneaks into the kitchen after everyone else is asleep and steals a meat pie and a file from Joe’s workshop.  He then hurries off to find Abel but runs into another escaped convict, this one with a scar across his cheek.  When Pip finally finds Abel he tells him about the another man with the scar.  Abel becomes agitated and thanks Pip for helping him before running off into the night.

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Sometime later soldiers come to the door looking for Joe.  They need help repairing a pair of shackles that they need in order to recapture some escaped convicts.  Joe repairs the shackles and then takes Pip along while they watch the soldiers hunt for the escaped men.  It isn’t too long before they hear sounds of a struggle and come upon Abel wrestling the man with the scar.  Abel declares his hatred for the other man and is once again arrested.  As the two men are lead back to the prison boat, Abel confesses to Joe that he stole a meat pie from his house but never mentions Pip playing any part.

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Some time passes and Pip is summoned to the great house of the eccentric spinster, Miss Havisham (Martita Hunt) to act as a companion to the teenaged girl who lives there named Estella (Jean Simmons).  Estella is cold and cruel, though beautiful, and she mocks Pip’s manners and coarse behavior at every opportunity.  Though he finds her behavior hurtful Pip still falls in love with her.  During his visits to the house he also meets a skinny young boy who challenges Pip to a fist fighting match.  Pip easily beats the boy who surprisingly stands up and politely thanks Pip before the latter takes his leave.  When Pip turns fourteen his visits come to an end as he must begin his apprenticeship as a blacksmith.  Estella also leaves at this time, heading to France in order to learn how to be a lady.

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Six years later Pip (John Mills) and Joe are visited by Miss Havisham’s lawyer, Mr. Jaggers (Francis L. Sullivan).  Mr. Jaggers tells Pip that he is the recipient of a mysterious benefactor who hopes to help turn him into a gentleman with “great expectations”.  Pip leaves Joe, who has been made a widower in recent years, along with the new housekeeper Biddy and travels to London where he is set up in an apartment by Mr. Jaggers.  At the apartment he meets his roommate, one Herbert Pocket (Alec Guinness) who in fact turns out to be the skinny boy Pip met all those years before in Miss Havisham’s garden.  Herbert is charged with teaching Pip how to become a gentleman.  Herbert and Pip run up debts in their quest to make Pip a true London gentleman.  Herbert also tells Pip the truth of Miss Havisham and her intentions when it comes to Estella (Valerie Hobson), whom Pip still loves.

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This version of GREAT EXPECTATIONS is not based so much on the book as it is the 1939 stage adaptation which happened to feature Martita Hunt and Alec Guinness in the roles they would also play in the film.  David Lean had never read the Dicken’s classic and was cajoled into seeing the play by his wife.  The ending of the film was somewhat changed from that of the book thanks to an idea once again from David Lean’s wife which lead to her receiving a screenplay credit.

While GREAT EXPECTATIONS is a slimmed down version of the classic work it in no way feels rushed or choppy.  The whole story moves along with such compelling and intriguing action that you can’t help but get swept along.  Considered one of the best, if not the best, film version of a Dickens’ story I have to say that this film was absolutely wonderful.  There is a darkly twisted sense of humor that Dickens’ seems to have in many of his stories and that is evident here.  From the death masks on the wall of the lawyer’s office to the elderly man who only wants a nod from you now and again to keep him happy, evidence of the Dickensian sensibility is everywhere.  It feels as if David Lean has a great respect for the source material and made an effort to honor that.

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For such a complex and rich story the film version does a remarkably good job of pacing and plotting.  The story never feels bogged down in details and the characters never become muddled.  Yes there are certain elements from the book that are glossed over or removed and I am sure that if/when I read Great Expectations for myself I will find many things that the film never mentioned.  But GREAT EXPECTATIONS the film is smart, funny, exciting, suspenseful, and tremendous.  It is exceptionally well done and it is a film that I had never seen before but one that has now found its way on to my favorites list.  Moreover, GREAT EXPECTATIONS the film did the one thing that I believe all films based on books should do.  It made me excited to read the book!


If you have read Great Expectations or if you have seen this film or both let me know in the comments what you thought and how it compared to the book!

 

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Classic Symbiotic Collaborations Blogathon: GLORIA SWANSON AND CECIL B DEMILLE

This post is part of the Classic Symbiotic Collaborations Blogathon hosted by CineMaven.  Be sure to check out the other posts here!

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“All right Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.”

For many people that line from SUNSET BLVD is the only indication they have that there was ever any relationship between Gloria Swanson and Cecil B. DeMille.  The truth however, goes back to the days of silent film when a young actress was trying to make her mark.

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In 1914, Gloria Swanson made her film debut as an extra in THE SONG OF SOUL.  According to Swanson herself, her initial ventures into silent cinema were just for fun but she soon found herself asked back for several more films for the Essanay company including Charlie Chaplin’s HIS NEW JOB.  In 1916 she moved to California to work with Bobby Vernon in Mack Sennett’s Keystone comedies.  Gloria Swanson longed to become a great dramatic actress but could only get work in comedy films.  All that would change in 1918 when she met director Cecil B DeMille.

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Cecil B. DeMille first began working in motion pictures in 1913 with the newly formed Lasky Feature Play Company.  His first film was THE SQUAW MAN and it was a huge hit, establishing the Lasky Company.  The first years were spent making films almost non-stop and the Lasky Company became Famous Players-Lasky.

“Miss Swanson, please.”
“This is Miss Swanson.”
“Good morning, Miss Swanson. I’m Oscar Goodstadt, the casting director at Famous Players-Lasky and I’m calling on behalf of Cecil B. De Mille. Mr. De Mille would like to see you at your earliest convenience. Could you come in at three today? Miss Swanson?”
“Oh! Yes. Yes, I can.”
Mr Goodstadt started to tell me how to get to the studio, but I said I knew where it was. Everybody knew where it was.It took up a whole block at Sunset and Vine. It was where Mary Pickford worked. And Douglas Fairbanks. And Almighty God himself, Cecil B. De Mille.

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This is a quote from Gloria Swanson’s autobiography relating her first interaction with the director who would change the course of her career.  She goes on;

Any notion I may have had of style or elegance evaporated the moment I was ushered into Mr. De Mille’s paneled office. It was vast and somber, with tall stained-glass windows and deep polar-bear rugs. Light from the windows shone on ancient firearms and other weapons on the walls, and the elevated desk and chair resembled nothing so much as a throne. I felt like a peanut poised on teetering high heels.
When he stood up behind the desk, he seemed to tower. Not yet forty, he seemed ageless, magisterial. He wore his baldness like an expensive hat, as if it were out of the question for him to have hair like other men. A sprig of laurel maybe, but not ordinary hair. He was wearing gleaming boots and riding breeches that fit him like a glove. He came over and took my hand, led me to a large sofa and sat down beside me. and proceeded to look clear through me. He said that he had seen me in a little Sennett picture and had never forgotten me, and that at the moment he was preparing a picture in which he wanted to use me. He asked me what kind of contract I had at Triangle.
“I have no contract at all.”
“Well, then, who represents you?”
“No one.”
“You mean your parents handle your business affairs?”
“Oh, no, Mr. De Mille. I’m over eighteen. I’ll be nineteen the twenty-seventh of March.”
“Ah, Aries, of course,” he said and smiled.

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This initial meeting was supposed to be the start of their partnership but legal issues intervened.  The Triangle Company, who Gloria was working for at the time, said that even though Ms. Swanson had no contract with the company she had accepted a raise which meant that she had a verbal contract with Triangle and therefore could not work with DeMille.  It would take another year before she would be able to do what she wanted.

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In 1919 Cecil B. DeMille began work on his third marriage film and he cast Gloria Swanson in the lead.  More roles followed including FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE, MALE AND FEMALE, THE AFFAIRS OF ANATOL, and WHY CHANGE YOUR WIFE? in which she posed with a real lion.  In the space of two years, her work with Cecil B DeMille had turned Gloria Swanson into a highly sought after romantic and dramatic leading lady.  She became the highest salaried actress in Hollywood making $250,000 a week in the mid 1920s.  Her time working with DeMille brought her to the attention of many other directors and film companies, and she soon was working with Sam Wood, Rudolph Valentino, Eric Von Stroheim, and even producing her own film.

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He called her “young fellow” because he thought her braver than any man he had known and she would always call him “Mr. DeMille”.  A few simple scenes in SUNSET BLVD and a few notable lines of dialogue to convey the emotion of a partnering and friendship that had lasted years.  Some people say that DeMille made Swanson into a star but I don’t think that it quite right.  I think that DeMille gave her the opportunity she needed to make the career for herself that she had always wanted.  In fact I would say that Gloria Swanson was always a star and Cecil B. DeMille was just the first person to realize it.


 

Here is a sample of Gloria Swanson talking about working with Cecil B. DeMille and his methods during filming.

 

The Backstage Blogathon: SHOW PEOPLE (1928)

This post is part of The Backstage Blogathon hosted by Fritzi of Movies Silently and Janet of Sister Celluloid.  Be sure to check out all the other posts here and here!

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Two new arrivals have come to Hollywood.  They are young Peggy Pepper (Marion Davies) and her father, Colonel Pepper (Dell Henderson), and they have come to make Peggy a star!  They make their way to the casting office in the hopes of landing a big role for Peggy thanks to, or perhaps in spite of, her acting abilities.  But things don’t go as well as they hoped and father and daughter are soon scraping by on soup and saltines in the movie lot cafeteria.  It is here that they meet Billy Boone (William Haines), a fairly successful comedic actor who works turning out slapstick flicks quickly and cheaply.

Billy is a bit brash and takes the southerners by surprise, but soon reveals himself to be a kind and helpful friend to have on the movie lot.  Peggy is initially standoffish but quickly warms up when Billy, who has taken a shine to the movie novice, promises to help her break into movies.  Peggy wants to be a great dramatic actress, so when she shows up the next morning she is ready to bring forth all the emotions needed.  Unfortunately, the only emotion Peggy needs is shock because Billy hasn’t told her that she will be making her big acting debut taking a deluge of seltzer water to the face.  At first, Peggy is horrified and refuses to go on.  But after taking some time to talk to Billy, and remembering that Gloria Swanson got her start in comedy, she decides to take it on the chin and dive into comedy.  Soon she and Billy are quite the successful comedy duo and romance is blooming offscreen as well.  But soon the big studios come sniffing around and they want Peggy…only Peggy.  Billy encourages her to take a chance on her career and follow her dream.  Somewhat reluctantly, Peggy takes her leave from comedy and heads off to the big leagues of drama.  Before too long Peggy has gained a giant ego, an insufferable attitude, and a new leading man.

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Marion Davies used her life as inspiration for SHOW PEOPLE.  In real like Marion Davies was a dramatic actress who longed to be in comedy.  In addition to her own life, Marion Davies also borrowed from the early career of Gloria Swanson and the book/play/film MERTON OF THE MOVIES.  Peggy is portrayed as somewhat of a simple country girl, a bit prissy, who dreams of making a big impact in the world of drama before being helped by a worldly comedic stunt actor a la Merton.  Peggy also starts off in the world of slapstick before moving on the period dramas with extravagant costumes and sets a la Gloria Swanson.  For her part, Marion Davies made SHOW PEOPLE in spite of the objections of William Randolph Hearst.  Hearst and Davies were in a long-term relationship during which Hearst used his considerable influence to control the direction of Davies’ career.  There are rumors that her frequent appearance in historical costume dramas came about because Hearst liked to see his lover in fancy ballgowns.  Whether or not this is true, Davies wanted to make comedy and specifically this comedy and she didn’t let anything stand in her way.  Hearst felt that slapstick was beneath her and would ruin her reputation but Davies went ahead anyway.  Of note, the seltzer water was supposed to be a pie in the original script but Hearst insisted on the change.

This is my first experience with Marion Davies and now I am eager to see more.  I am used to silent comedies being more physically based, but this is one of the most witty comedies that I have seen for a long time.  Davies makes some fantastic facial expressions that not only make you laugh just because they are funny, but also because there are subtle ribs at other stars of the silent eras.  If you are an avid silent film fan or historian of the silent era there are easter eggs galore for you to find.  But more than that, I was surprised to see what a fabulous actress Marion Davies is as a whole.  She not only is a skilled and witty comedienne, capable of physical comedy as well as verbal gags, but she is also able to convey emotions with an honesty and realism that was amazing to watch.  The fact that she stood up to the man she loved and did what she wanted to make her career what she desired it to be only makes her more fantastic.

William Haines was a big surprise to me.  I wasn’t sure what to think of him at first, as he started with his Sennet-esque impression.  He was funny to be sure but Marion was funnier, at least to me.  But when the quiet moments came, the loving moments between Billy and Peggy, the moments when real emotion was needed, William Haines truly shined.  Billy looks at Peggy with true adoration and genuine affection which William Haines does to perfection.  His over the top comedy and his brash attitude at the beginning melt away to reveal this kind and thoughtful man underneath.  It is because of his emotional honesty combined with Marion Davies’ that SHOW PEOPLE has impact where is does instead of being “just a comedy”.

SHOW PEOPLE is a great look at the Hollywood of the silent era.  Not only is the story a tribute to the history of the industry, but there are silent stars a-plenty to spot in this film.  Some of those making cameos are Douglas Fairbanks, William S. Hart, Charlie Chaplin, Marion Davies (no, that is not a typo), John Gilbert, Elinor Glyn, Louella Parsons, and Norma Talmadge.  And that isn’t even all of them!  If you know everything or nothing about the silent film industry you can enjoy SHOW PEOPLE.  And you never know, you might just learn something too.  I know I did!


 

Both Marion Davies and William Haines recently had episodes dedicated to them on the You Must Remember This podcast.  Marion’s episode is here and William’s is here.  Highly recommended listening to anyone who wants to know more about these talented performers.

Twelve Classics for 2016: THE LADY EVE (1941)

To start of my year of Twelve Classics, I decided to begin with a little Preston Sturges.  Because come one, what is better than Preston Sturges when you are feeling a bit down and stressed after the holidays?  Answer…nothing.

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Deep in the South American jungle the heir to the Pike’s Pale Ale empire, one Charles Poncefort Pike (Henry Fonda), is getting ready to set sail back to America with his valet/bodyguard/banker Muggsy and his new pet snake.  Charles, it seems, is a bit of a snake fanatic.  This fact does not deter any of the young ladies about the cruise ship he boards, in fact most of them are doing pretty much anything in their power to get his attention.  One woman who is trying not to catch Charles’ eye, at least not yet, is Jean Harrington (Barbara Stanwyck).  Jean and her father “Colonel” Harrington (Charles Coburn) are con-artists and cardsharps, and they have just found their next meal ticket in one Charles Poncefort Pike.

Jean takes her time observing Charles and the shameless flirting of the other women onboard before she finally makes her move.  Specifically, she trips him.  Then she blames him for breaking her shoe.  Charles is extremely sorry as one might imagine and Jean suggests that he make it up to her by escorting her up to her cabin to pick out a new pair of shoes.  Upstairs, Charles is unprepared for the advances of Jean and is soon putty in her hands.  Returning to the dining room, Charles and Jean join the Colonel in a friendly game of cards.  Despite Muggsy’s watchful eye, Charles has no suspicion that Jean and her father are anything but wonderful people.  In fact he wins $600!  The evening ends with Charles and Jean promising to see each other the next day, and he and the Colonel promising to play cards again soon.

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Over the course of the next several days Jean and Charles spend a great deal of time together.  Naturally, Charles falls in love with Jean but something strange begins to happen as well.  Jean falls in love with Charles.  More than that she tells her father that she has decided that she is going to marry Charles, legitimately with no cons or tricks, and that she will eventually tell him the truth about her past.  While she and Charles are onboard she promises not to reveal anything out of respect to her father but she does warn him not to try any tricks or cons on Charles.  Her father promises but privately decides to continue to con as planned.

That evening, Charles asks the Colonel for his permission to marry his daughter which the Colonel grants.  Jean goes to get some air and Charles agrees to a friendly game of cards with his future father-in-law.  By the time that Jean comes back to the table Charles has lost $32,000!  Jean is furious but the Colonel rips up the check in front of her.  She and Charles excuse themselves and soon retire to their separate cabins.  Meanwhile, Muggsy has been doing some investigating of his own and has found proof of just who Jean and her father really are, proof he shares with Charles.  The next morning Charles confronts Jean and she admits everything.  In his anger, Charles pretends that he knew the truth all along and was just stringing Jean along for a joke.  Hurt, Jean leaves and vows to return to her conning ways and never think of Charles again.  She begins to feel better when he father shows her a check for $32,000 which actually was never ripped up at all.

Some time later, Jean and her family are having a day at the races when they run into a fellow con-artist named Pearly (Eric Blorre).  Pearly is currently known as Sir Alfred McGlennan Keith and has set up quite a comfortable life for himself among the rich of Bridgefield, Connecticut.  Jean perks up at the mention of Bridgefield because that is the hometown of Charles Poncefort Pike.  Despite her father’s protests she devises to visit Sir Alfred McGlennan Keith as his niece…Lady Eve Sidwich of England.

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Do I even need to say that this is a great movie?  First of all Preston Sturges created this screenplay specifically for Barbara Stanwyck and it shows.  Jean Harrington is such a dynamic, intelligent, funny, sexy, and all around amazing woman.  She is a con-artist for sure but you never find her so devious that she is unlikeable.  Even when she is masquerading as the Lady Eve and making Charles’ life miserable, there is still a quality to her that makes you just think she is fantastic.  I honestly don’t think that anyone else could have played Jean except Barbara Stanwyck, even if the part wasn’t written specifically for her.  She can just give one look with her eyes and convey an entire scene.  She more than holds her own in every scene she is in, against the likes of Coburn, Blorre, and Palatte, as well as Demarest and Fonda.  This is not to sat that she steals the scenes from her fellow performers, rather she allows them shine while never letting the audience forget that she is still there.  Barbara Stanwyck is my favorite classic film actress and THE LADY EVE gives her room to play.

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Henry Fonda is terrific as the bumbling, naive, unworldly Charles.  He plays his inexperience as both charming and believable.  Often when there is a character that is supposed to be sheltered and unwise to the world, I find them annoying and overly child-like.  Fonda acts like a man who knows quite a bit about some things but next to nothing about many things.  He is just a quiet man who has lived his life with the knowledge that he will probably not ever get married and have a family, that he will most likely spend his life reading books and collecting snakes.  When he meets Jean its like a whole new world has opened up to him and he is so excited at the possibility.  To find out that all this happiness was based on a lie is devastating to him and for the first, and really only time in the whole movie and perhaps his life, Charles reacts cruelly.  But just like we never dislike Jean for her conning ways, we never dislike Charles for his poor behavior.  We understand why he reacted that way and we hope that he can find a way to return from that.

It speaks to the mastery of Preston Sturges that we can have a film about a con-woman and her criminal family, as well as a rich somewhat childish man and his slightly psychotic and paranoid guarding and still care about and like each and every one of them.  I will also say that the ending when it first began to take shape didn’t make total sense to me.  But as the movie went on and the full culmination became evident, I was certain that there was no other way that this story could have ended.  For a script that was written while Preston Sturges was awaiting his third divorce, THE LADY EVE is a remarkably hopeful story about love and finding ways to accept people for who they are.


This post is part of the 2016 Blindspot Series from The Matinee.  You can see more about it here with my list of films I want to watch in 2016!

 

The Loretta Young Birthday Blogathon: A NIGHT TO REMEMBER (1942)

This post is part of The Loretta Young Birthday Blogathon hosted by Cinema Dilettante and myself!  Be sure to scroll down and check out the other great entries!lygbpolaroid

What do you do when your husband only wants to write murder mysteries?  Well if you are Nancy Troy (Loretta Young), you rent a new apartment.  And so it is that Nancy and Jeff (Brian Aherne) arrive at their new home in the basement of an apartment building at 13 Gay Street in Greenwich Village.  Unfortunately, Nancy’s dreams of newly decorated homey bliss will have to wait because Eddie Turner, the building’s owner, informs them that the electricity has not yet been turned on and advises that they come back tomorrow.  Nancy is insistent that they move in that evening, despite the lack of lights and furniture, and she and Jeff are getting their bearings when Nancy spots an old friend.

Anne Carstairs (Jeff Donnell) is climbing the stairs but she is only too happy to stop and talk to Nancy.  Anne tells them that she married now and has an apartment on the second floor of the building, but she becomes unexplainably flustered when Nancy reveals that they have just taken the basement apartment.  Anne hurries off and once inside she, and several other tenants including Mr. Turner, ponder why the Troys would move into the building at all.  It seems that all the tenants share a similar dilemma which has caused them to take up residence.

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Later that evening Jeff and Nancy go to a local restaurant for dinner.  Nancy goes off to make a phone call and Jeff reacquaints himself with restaurant owner and apartment neighbor, Polly Franklin (Lee Patrick).  Polly also becomes flustered when she finds out that Jeff is now living in the basement apartment.  Meanwhile, Nancy overhears a very large man in the next booth making a phone call to someone demanding that they meet him at 13 Gay Street in the basement apartment.  Nancy returns to the table and relates her story to Jeff and Polly, who takes this as a cue to excuse herself.  Jeff decides to take matters into his own hands and confront the would be apartment thief, which results in him earning a punch on the nose.

Back in their apartment, Jeff and Nancy hear the sound of water running.  They soon find that the tub in their bathroom has recently been filled and drained of water.  Setting down the candle they have been using for light, the couple is shocked to find it moving on its own.  Upon closer examination it is found to in fact be a turtle.  Old Hickory is his name and he used to be the mascot of a certain speakeasy that used to be in residence in the basement of 13 Gay Street.  It is at this moment that the movers finally arrive with the couple’s furniture.  After several feats of strength and some male posturing, Nancy and Jeff tuck in for a comfortable night’s sleep in their own beds.  They are awakened by several police officers trooping in and out of their apartment.  The body of a man has been found in their back yard and it is someone that the Troys recognize.  It is the man from the restaurant!  Jeff soon decides that he going to solve the mystery of the murdered man and make into his next bestselling novel…much to Nancy’s dismay.

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A NIGHT TO REMEMBER, not to be confused with the film of the same name about the Titanic, is quite a fun and enjoyable screwball comedy.  I’ve read some reviews that have said that this film isn’t particularly funny or that the ending is lazy, but I have to disagree.  Too often I think when people think screwball comedy they think only of MY MAN GODFREY, BRINGING UP BABY, or THEODORA GOES WILD.  These are the pinnacle of the art form and while A NIGHT TO REMEMBER is not on the level of BRINGING UP BABY, it is still a very good screwball comedy/mystery in its own right.  The story and mystery are a bit different than the usual fare, with the film mixing comedy, suspense, mystery, and a bit of drama quite effectively.

I really enjoyed Brian Aherne in this.  His portrayal of Jeff Troy was a great combination of wit, charm, cool, and foolishness.  When he returns from the police station he is only concerned with being hungry, rather than being traumatized by a police interrogation.  At one point someone screams and when Nancy tells him to go and see what it was Jeff replies, “What do you mean?  I know what it was, someone screamed.”  And then there is the issue of the apartment door.  Aherne gives a non-traditional performance as the “hero”, being neither all knowing nor a bumbling idiot but a nice combination of the two.

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My usual thoughts regarding Loretta Young come from her roles in THE BISHOPS’S WIFE and HEROES FOR SALE.  I tend to think of her as virtuous but serious women.  But I am delighted to say that she is quite a good comedienne and A NIGHT TO REMEMBER gives her ample opportunity to show this.  She has moments of hand wringing and “Oh Jeff!”-ing of course, but there are far more moments of her keeping pace with her husband and throwing off several witty and sarcastic one liners.  She loves Jeff but remains wholly unimpressed when he tries too hard to play the hero detective.  She gets scared sometimes by the strange goings-on in her new home but never lets it get the best of her, often sticking by Jeff during his sketchier investigations.  Loretta Young looks lovely as always, but she shows a bright and witty side of her talents that I hope to see more examples of!

Is A NIGHT TO REMEMBER a great screwball comedy on par with the best of them?  No, but I do think that it comes close.  This screwball comedy mystery is a truly fun and funny movie, and one that I hope more people will take the time to see.  In a genre that can too easily fall into troupes and well-used gags, A NIGHT TO REMEMBER takes a unique and smart approach to adapting The Frightened Stiff by Kelley Roos.  If you want a film that has a little bit of everything, including Sidney Toler and a turtle, then A NIGHT TO REMEMBER is for you!  As a special birthday treat for Loretta Young, I will leave you with a chance to watch it for yourself.

 

The Loretta Young Birthday Blogathon!

The lovely Cinema Dilettante is hosting her very first blogathon and she has been so kind as to let me tag along for the fun!

The Loretta Young Birthday Blogathon started today and we are already having fun!  Be sure to follow this post or the one from Cinema Dilettante to keep up on all the great posts…mine will be coming soon.

Here is the roster of the posts from all the wonderful bloggers you can expect to see any time from January 3rd to January 6th.

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Roster

The Cinema Dilettante: Something Of Her Own

Now Voyaging: A Night To Remember

Movie Star Makeover: How To Conduct Oneself As A Lady, with our resident muse, Loretta Young

Finding Franchot: The Unguarded Hour

Carole & Co.: Taxi!

Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings: And Now Tomorrow

Love Letters To Old Hollywood: The Story Of Alexander Graham Bell

Defiant Success: The Bishop’s Wife

PortraitsByJenni: Rachel And The Stranger

Back To Golden Days: Private Number

Stardust: The Beauty of Loretta Young

CineMaven’s Essays from the Couch: The Stranger

Speakeasy Classic Movies & More: The Life Of Jimmy Dolan

Girls Do Film: Platinum Blonde

Crítica Retrô: The Films Of Loretta Young & Tyrone Power

Old Hollywood Films: The Farmer’s Daughter

Phyllis Loves Classic Movies: Come To The Stable


 

Congratulations to Kayla for a wonderful first blogathon!  Be sure to go and show her some appreciation!