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.

Man’s Favourite Sport (1964)

Brought this yesterday on dvd and watched it last night.

Directed by Howard Hawks it stars Rock Hudson and Paula Prentis in this light-hearted fun romantic comedy with plenty of laughs.

Based around a Fishing Tournament Hudson plays Angling expert “Roger Willoughby” who is asked to participate in the tournament by “Abigail Page” a press agent played by Prentis.

But there is one problem Roger has never been fishing in his life so it’s up to Abigail to teach him.

There is a scene with Roger and Abigail’s friend that is taken from Howard Hawks screwball comedy “Bringing Up Baby” when “Susan rips the back of her dress and “David” has to walk behind her to cover her.

Has anyone else seen it?

Daddy Long Legs (1955)

I just borrowed this film from the library and just absolutely adored it! This musical romance that stars Fred Astaire and Leslie Caron is somewhat like a dream that you wish would happen to you. It’s much more closer to a musical romance than a musical comedy and has a great many tears but, it’s very beautiful and cute!

Jervis Pendleton (Fred Astaire) plays a rich ‘playboy’ who falls in love with a French orphan girl, Julie Andre, who he placed in a college in America. Julie Andre had never seen the face that put her in college and starts writing letters to “Daddy Long Legs” asking if he can write back or respond or give some idea of what he looks like. Jervis wants to see how well Julie is doing in college so he goes to the spring dance at the college and takes a visit to his neice who is roomates with Julie. Jervis dances with Julie and soon he finds he is in love with her. Julie doesn’t discover that Jervis is daddy long legs until the end of the film and personally, I think that’s the best part!

I think that any musical fan would love this film, it’s got some really great music and songs like Somethin’s Gotta Give (which won an academy award). Fred’s dancing is wonderful and as always, enjoyable to watch. Leslie certainly shows her talent too, she dances quite a lot in this film and she has never been more beautiful and wonderful than in this. I do warn you that if you watch this film, don’t forget the tissue box! You can order this on DVD at amazon.com or of course check out the used and new DVDs. I really recommend this to all and I hope you take a glance at it!

Anastasia (1956)

I thought that it was a really great film. A very tense, dramatic and mysterious drama based on the story of “Anastasia” the Russian Grand Duchess played by the very talented Ingrid Bergman. Yul Brynner plays courtier “Bounine” staff member of the Royal Family.

Anastasia and her family were imprisoned and killed but there were rumours that she was still alive and had escaped. 10 years on she still had not be found even though there were many women who claimed that they were her. Bounine was the one who for the last 10 years had been looking for her or someone who resembled her as he was after 10 million pounds and needed her to get it.

Then they found a very vulunerable, troubled, sick and lonely homeless young woman by the name of Anna Anderson who greatly resembled Anastasia. Bounine asked her questions about her life to try to find out if she was Anastasia but she can’t remember much and doesn’t believe that she is her. Convinced that she maybe is Anastasia or looks closely like her Bounine gets Anna to become her. He teaches her about her life, family, personality, mannerism and interests and hopes that this will persuade her Grandmother the Empress that she is in fact her Grandaugher.

Ingrid Bergman was great and the way she played the part with all those different emotions and feelings her character had was just superb.

It was difficult to tell if Anna was Anastasia because you didn’t know if she mad but started to believed what Bounine was telling her or if she just blocked out the killing and torture of her family and truly had forgotten who she was.

Cover Girl (1944)

This is a very enjoyable and good romantic, comedy musical starring Gene Kelly and Rita Hayworth.

Rita Hayworth plays Rusty Parker a dancer in a club who auditions as the new “Cover Girl” and wins the competition. She attracts publicity to the club and meets new people who can enhance her job prospects and make her rich and famous.

Gene Kelly plays the owner of the Club and Rusty’s boyfriend who does not want her to leave the dance group but does not try to stop her when she does.

It also has a very good supporting cast especially Phil Silvers who is very funny and some great song and dance routines