Summertime in Texas is guaranteed hot temperatures and crazy, out of nowhere, thunderstorms. Both, ideal reasons to head indoors for some classic movies on Turner Classic.
However, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the events in Aurora, Colorado last Friday. We are a movie family. We always have been. In my May 29th post, I wrote that going to a theater to watch a movie was where “all is right in the world for 120 minutes.” How wrong does that sound for the victims of that early Friday morning massacre?
My daughter Jordan, an aspiring filmmaker in Boston, got right back on the horse and went to see a movie, alone. She was not giving that perpetrator the power to take her passion and have it jaded it with fear or anger. She saw Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom”, which we all highly recommend, by the way.
Magic happens in movies theaters. You are transported to a different place and time. You relate to a hero or heroine. You can be inspired. You get swept away with the score. You can have your heart-broken. You can be driven to eruption of out loud laughter. You root for the little guy. You boo the bad guy.
And, that was one, bad guy in Colorado.
We probably won’t ever sit in a theater again and NOT think about Aurora. But, we will still go. We will still go and have our 120 minutes of magic, where all is right in the world.
Now, for this week’s DVR alerts; movie magic from long ago.
Thursday July 24
DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES (1962)
A husband and wife fight to conquer alcoholism.
Dir: Blake Edwards Cast: Jack Lemmon, Lee Remick, Charles Bickford
BW-117 mins, TV-14, CC, Letterbox Format
The official tag line for this film says it all: “This, in its own terrifying way, is a love story.” Lemmon and Remick were both nominated for Oscars for their brilliant performances as raging alcoholics, in love. Hailed as one of the first movies to introduce AA as a realistic option for struggling alcoholics. Edwards also earned esteem for his groundbreaking portrayal of alcoholism as a disease. While the synopsis has “bleak” written all over, the performances will keep you riveted and sympathetic for these two broken souls. (Probably shouldn’t include a cocktail recipe with this post.)
Saturday July 28
WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? (1962)
A crazed, aging star torments her sister in a decaying Hollywood mansion.
Dir: Robert Aldrich Cast: Bette Davis , Joan Crawford , Victor Buono
BW-134 mins, TV-PG, CC, Letterbox Format
As per the above, this is simply terrifying! Period. Incredible performances by two of the greatest actresses of all time, Davis and Crawford. They apparently enjoyed an off-screen, career long feud with each other. In one fight scene, Davis kicked Crawford so hard that she required stitches. In a turn of fair play, Crawford filled her pockets with weights so that when Davis had to drag her body, she threw out her back. This film was a box office hit, initially grossing $9 million dollars. Today, that would mean an opening weekend of roughly $65 million. Not too bad for watching, as Jack Warner referred to them, “two old broads” slugging it out. I guess the equivalent of that today would be…hmmm…..Dame Judi Dench and Maggie Smith going at it?
JOAN CRAWFORD: THE ULTIMATE MOVIE STAR (2002)
A TCM original documentary that examines Crawford’s life and unparalleled movie career. Narrated by Angelica Huston.
C-87 mins, TV-14, CC
A great biography of the infamous actress without the emphasis on her “Mommie Dearest” parenting skills.
Sunday July 29
PAINTED VEIL, THE (1934)
A wife strays, then fights to redeem herself to her husband.
Dir: Richard Boleslawski Cast: Greta Garbo, Herbert Marshall, George Brent
BW-85 mins, TV-G, CC
This is classic romantic drama with the ever-elusive Garbo. Most Garbo fans agree that this is one of their favorites as it shows her acting depth and because she actually smiles in this film…a rarity. The film was not a success here in the U.S. but very popular in the UK. The Somerset Maugham story received more acclaim in 2006, when it was remade with Naomi Watts and Edward Norton. I would categorize this in to the rainy Sunday afternoon file. When the NFL isn’t on, of course.
ROOM FOR ONE MORE (1952)
A family with three children takes in troubled orphans.
Dir: Norman Taurog Cast: Cary Grant, Betsy Drake, Lurene Tuttle
BW-95 mins, TV-G
This is a great little romantic comedy with real life husband and wife, Grant and Drake, giving sweet, uncomplicated performances. All you have to do is kick back and enjoy. Full of 1950’s idealism, this movie feels like a pilot for a long running early television sitcom. With Cary Grant as the dad! Can you imagine? Some of the narratives and lessons depicted in this film are very “Cosby”-ish. I think we could all use a little of that, this week.