Her Twelve Men (1954)

I’ve been on a quest to see all of Greer Garson’s films and I finally caught Her Twelve Men on Turner Classic Movies the other day. The film was directed by Robert Z. Leonard in 1954. Garson plays Jan Stewart, a widow who decides to teach and is hired by Joe Hargrave (Robert Ryan).

In a lot of ways, it reminded me of a happy-go-lucky version of Judy Garland’s, A Child Is Waiting, which does seem like a stretch, but at the core it’s the same story. A woman wants to figure out what she should do with her life. She becomes a little too close to the kids she’s watching over (in Garland’s case it’s really only one child) and finds herself too involved, tries to get out of the situation–and well, in the end she finds where she belongs.

The story is heartwarming, the kids are relatable; their stories universal for the boarding school experience, and it’s a lot of fun to get internal thoughts from Garson’s character. It’s a light and lovely film.

Two For The Seesaw (1962)

Robert Mitchum and Shirley Maclaine star in this wonderful but emotionally heart-breaking romantic comedy.

Mitchum plays lawyer “Jerry Ryan” from Nebraska who arrives in New York after the break up of his marriage. At a party he meets the lovely independent, care-free and fun “Gittel Mosca” a dance teacher played by Maclaine.

After getting to know each other very quickly and learning about their very different personalities and lifestyles they fall in love and begin an affair.

But of course not all relationships run smoothly and they encounter plenty of up’s and down’s along the way.

I was very surprised at how the film ended but it was great and I really loved watching it.

I loved the emotional rollercoaster of their relationship from being in love, having a laugh together to arguing and not trusting one another.

Has anyone else seen it

Nina

Twelve O’ Clock High (1949)

This 1949 film was one of the first to attempt a realistic look at WWII, and it focuses on just how much “maximum effort” men can take. After Col. Davenport (Gary Merrill) cracks under the strain of managing a low-morale Air Force squadron, General Savage (Gregory Peck) takes over, whipping the group into shape, but running himself and those around him into the ground as well with his brusque, disciplinarian tactics. While there isn’t much action, the nuanced, taut acting and direction of the psychological drama makes for a compelling watch. Definitely recommended!

Stage Door (1937)

Well, I just got finished watching this film for the first time. I have to say I was very impressed. I’d like to say a few words about it.

It happens to be a 1937 film, so it goes along with the reviews I’ve been giving on ReelCast. *grin* I tell you… it seems every new movie I’ve watched lately has been from 1937.

I’ve heard a lot about this movie and how great it is, so I really was looking forward to seeing it. Katharine Hepburn is a great favourite of mine, and it’s so fun to see Lucille Ball in obscure little parts in her pre-Lucy days where she often doesn’t even look like the Lucy we all know and love.

This movie had a good solid story backing it, which was great. I love the way it came full circle, and it had a really powerful climax. What a performance Kate gave! It was really moving, and if I had been alone I probably would have shed tears.

It has its lightness and humour, but at the same time there’s a definite edge to the picture. There’s always that feeling that something could go wrong, after all. You worry about the poor girl whose whole heart is wrapped up in playing a part that is hers in a special way. In some ways, it reminds me of Grand Hotel, because “People come, people go, nothing ever happens,” and yet while “nothing” is happening, people’s lives are being dramatically changed.

Definitely give this one a watch. It’s an excellent piece, thought-provoking without being overly heavy.

Call Me Madam (1953)

A delightful little musical that’s become somewhat forgotten in the past 20 years due to copyrights and such, but still remains as beautiful and fresh as the day it premiered.

Call Me Madam stars Ethel Merman (re-playing her role here from the stage version), Donald O’Connor, Vera-Ellen and George Sanders. The basic plot line is that Sally Adams (Ethel Merman), a rich lady who throws parties in Washington for the upper-class society has been put as the Ambassador for America to a small country in Europe called Litchenburg. She’s supposed to secure a loan to them from America, and ends up bringing her new Press Attache Kenneth (Donald O’Connor) along for the ride. While in Litchenburg, Sally falls for the Forgein Minister, Cosmo (George Sanders) and Kenneth ends up in love with the Princess of Litchenburg, Maria (Vera-Ellen) who is already engaged in a pre-arranged marriage. Cahoots follow as Sally suspects Cosmo’s intentions towards her are purely business and Kenneth and Maria try to dodge her Husbund-to-be while falling in love.

It’s no wonder Call Me Madam won the 1954 Oscar for Best scoring of a Musical – Call Me Madam features some of the most delightful and fun numbers you’ll ever see, and the background music used during some scenes does just the right trick. You’ll love Ethel’s “1913” number at the Litchenburg Ball as she tries to liven up the party, but the stand-out number (I think) in the film is Vera-Ellen’s solo number, “Dance to the Orcerena”, a cute little folk dance done at the Country Fair. Although the costumes are a little gaudy in this number, it’s scored so beautifully and lively that you’ll want to get up and dance right along to it! Vera is simply wonderful and her dancing could never have been better.

The other musical numbers in the film are 2 versions of “it’s a lovely day today”, one sung by Vera and Donald, and the other is them doing a very Fred and Ginger dance to it out in a beautiful, broken-down castle at the Litchenburg ball. Donald also gets a great solo number called “What chance have I? (with love)” in which he drunkenly dances and sings about being in love with Princess Maria, and directly after he and Vera dance and sing to “Something to dance about”, a fast paced tap-number. There’s also a wide selection of songs sung by Ethel and George, but most of the them are pretty forgettable.

Over all, Call Me Madam is a cute and fun musical, but it does have it’s down points (namely Ethel and George’s loooong scenes). You’ll love it for the great numbers and lovely story line, and really, it’s a Musical that deserves more attention from the public.