Hello, all! Hope you’re enjoying a fabulous summer week. We’ve been having some cool New England days, but it looks like a few warm beach days are heading our way. If your trying to beat the heat by staying indoors, here are my picks for this week on Turner Classic…including one of our family favorites, Some Like It Hot. (Sorry, Texans. No pun intended.) Enjoy!
Friday June 22
SEVEN YEAR ITCH, THE (1955)
A married man whose wife is on vacation falls for the blonde bombshell upstairs.
Dir: Billy Wilder Cast: Marilyn Monroe, Tommy Ewell, Evelyn Keyes
BW-104 mins, TV-PG, CC, Letterbox Format
I appreciate Marilyn Monroe, but I wouldn’t consider myself a devoted fan. I guess I just didn’t relate to her dark and troubled life or her whole blonde bombshell thing. (I’m a dark-skinned Latina; I didn’t even play with Barbies.) If you have always wanted to see the infamous white dress, billowing up around her legs, then here is your chance. The iconic scene was shot on Lexington Avenue at 1 am with over 5000 onlookers, including her husband, Joe Di Maggio. Monroe was really battling a bout of depression and self-medication during the making of this film and was having trouble taking direction, remembering lines and her cues. She had to shoot the scene many times, with the crowd cheering and clamoring each time her dress blew up. Di Maggio was not pleased. Neither was Wilder since he couldn’t use any of the footage due to the noise from the crazed fans. He recreated the street on a studio lot to finally achieve the scene he envisioned, but only after over 40 takes, as Monroe still could not remember her lines. In 2011, the white dress was auctioned at Sotheby’s for 4.6 million dollars.
SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959)
Two musicians on the run from gangsters masquerade as members of an all-girl band.
Dir: Billy Wilder Cast: Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon
BW-121 mins, TV-PG, CC, Letterbox Format
When my children were quite young, they became enamored with this hilarious film. They would pop in the DVD like a Disney flick, and watch it over and over. They also loved “Tootsie” and “The Birdcage”. I used to wonder if cross-dressing would be in their futures. Nope, just savvy taste in movies. Voted #1 on the American Film Institute’s list of 100 Funniest Movies. This is comedy at its best. Four years after “The Seven Year Itch”, Monroe was still such a mess. You can see her eyes tracking, reading her lines from a chalk board that Wilder brought in to help get the film completed. Many of her scenes took upwards of 30 takes. By the end, she had alienated many of her fellow actors on set and was not invited to the wrap party hosted by Wilder. Her personal destruction, however, did not affect the amazing performances of Lemmon and Curtis. Later, when Tony Curtis told Cary Grant that he was, indeed, impersonating him in this role, Grant replied, “I don’t talk like that!” And, Lemmon’s tango scene: pure brilliance.
STAND BY ME (1986)
Four friends share a rite of passage on a long walk to view a dead body.
Dir: Rob Reiner Cast: Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman
C-89 mins, TV-MA, CC, Letterbox Format
Ummmm….1986. I saw this at the theatre. It is on TCM. It’s official: I am old.
A fabulous movie that had that “real” feel; like peering in on these four boys lives. The movie is based on a short story called “The Body” by Stephen King from a book of short stories called “Different Seasons”. Nominated for an Oscar for Best Screenplay. Reiner won a Golden Globe for Best Director. This was Jerry Connelly’s film debut. Watch the boys faces in the train scene, as they are truly scared and crying. Reiner had such a time getting them to act realistically, that he finally lost his temper and really yelled at them. They were so upset, Reiner called “action” and got it all on film.
Did I mention that I saw this in the theatre?
Saturday June 23
BAD SEED, THE (1956)
A woman suspects that her perfect little girl is a ruthless killer.
Dir: Mervyn LeRoy Cast: Gage Clarke, Jesse White, Joan Croyden
C-129 mins, TV-PG, CC
Freaking creepy! You can put this right up there, with all of your modern thrillers and it still holds up. Three different endings were written and the end of the film was kept secret, with the last five pages of the script undistributed until they were ready to shoot. Patty McCormick was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar and Golden Globe at the age of 11. She is THAT “bad”! Eerily, you will be humming “Au Claire de la Lune” for the rest of the day. *high voice* Cr-e-e-e-py
Sunday June 24
BORN YESTERDAY (1950)
A newspaper reporter takes on the task of educating a crooked businessman’s girlfriend.
Dir: George Cukor Cast: Judy Holliday, Broderick Crawford, William Holden
BW-102 mins, TV-PG, CC
I wrote about Judy Holliday in a post about “Adam’s Rib.” I believe her to be one of the most underrated comedic actresses of classic film. Holliday had created this role on Broadway. Cukor wanted to capture her comedic timing on film, so he had the three main actors rehearse as a play, inevitably bringing in an audience to react so that he could time for laughter. Katharine Hepburn purposely created a “buzz” for Holliday during the filming of “Adam’s Rib”, stating she was “stealing scenes” from she and Spencer Tracy, just so that Judy was sure to get the “Born Yesterday” role. Holliday sadly succumbed to cancer at the age of 43, having only made a dozen movies. She did, however, win the Oscar for Best Actress for this fabulous performance.