Tonight I enjoyed a Judy Garland double feature with some friends. It seems I've got 'em hooked. hahaha (evil laugh). Anyway, we watched Meet Me in St. Louis (my second viewing in a week), but the main purpose of our gathering was to watch In the Good Old Summertime.
Number 3 on my Top Ten Judy Garland Movies list, In the Good Old Summertime is basically amazing. It really has it all—comedy, songs, and a love story. The plot is pretty well known at this point, originally taken from the 1940 film The Shop Around the Corner, and remade again as You've Got Mail in 1998.
Judy plays Veronica Fisher, a single working girl who writes romantic letters in her free time to a fellow she doesn't know. She gets a job at a music store where she butts heads with a dashing Mr. Larkin, played by Van Johnson, who also happens to be corresponding with an anonymous young woman. I think we can all guess what happens—after going to meet his pen pal, Mr. Larkin find that he's been writing to Miss Fisher all along. Hilarity ensues (kind of) and of course, after a few bumps in the road, they all live happily ever after.
I personally think this is Judy's funniest movie. She has some brilliant moments. The banter between her and Van Johnson is excellent. It's been said that they didn't like each other in real life, so that may have helped.
The music in this movie isn't my favorite. There aren't really any stand-out songs, they're just all mediocre. They threw in a Christmas song at the end and I think it's pretty obvious that they were trying to repeat the success of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" from Meet Me in St. Louis, but they failed miserably. I usually just fast-forward over that song.
Some of my favorite things about In the Good Old Summertime:
- The out of control flailing during "I Don't Care."
- The extremely creepy guy in the barbershop quartet. You'll know what I'm talking about when you see it.
- Everything Judy does while singing "Put Your Arms Around Me Honey."
- Basically the whole scene in the restaurant with Mr. Larkin bugging Miss Fisher. Especially the look on her face when he calls her an old maid.
I think it's required that I mention that it is in fact Liza Minnelli in the last scene. I always thought she looked rather bewildered and unresponsive. I don't think anyone would have guessed at that time that she'd go on to be successful in the entertainment industry.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Tonight I enjoyed a Judy Garland double feature with some friends. It seems I've got 'em hooked. hahaha (evil laugh). Anyway, we watched Meet Me in St. Louis (my second viewing in a week), but the main purpose of our gathering was to watch In the Good Old Summertime.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
One of my favorite things about Christmas is the movies I get to watch. The ones I feel stupid watching during the rest of the year. Here's a run down of my favorite Christmas movies:
1. White Christmas - it doesn't get much better than White Christmas. Two guys come home from the war, find success in show business, meet some talented girls, and save Christmas. Their incredible Christmas spirit even causes it to snow. Amazing. I recommend watching the DVD with audio commentary by Rosemary Clooney. She's a good time. And now, my favorite things about White Christmas:
- Bing Crosby and his incredibly corny lines such as, "You might have been stuck with this weirdsmobile for life!" and, "An egg? Brother, you laid a Vermont volleyball!"
- The fabulous Christmas dresses at the end. I want one.
- At the end when Betty gives Bob the knight on the horse figure. I have to say that for most of my life (until a few years ago) I had no idea what she gave to him. But don't worry, I get it now.
2. Holiday Affair - it's a little more obscure and that's what I like it. Janet Leigh is a widow with a young son who has a run in with a store clerk played by Robert Mitchum (yes, a strange choice for a romantic lead). Despite her best efforts (and those of her lame steady beau, Carl) Robert Mitchum won't leave her alone and he forms a bond with the son. It's a just a fun movie. The terribly unfortunate thing is it's not yet out on DVD. Luckily, TCM will be showing it on December 23rd at 9pm and the 24th at 12:45pm.
3. Miracle on 34th Street - I didn't see this movie 'till I was older, during my Maureen O'Hara phase, but it's wonderful. Natalie Wood is especially adorable. It's happy and funny with a love story and some Santa Clause action. The interesting about this film is it was released in theaters in May. The studio believed more people would see movies in the summer so they advertised it without letting on that it was a Christmas movie. Fascinating logic.
4. Meet Me in St. Louis and In the Good Old Summertime - I'm putting these together because they're both Judy Garland movies and neither of them are technically Christmas movies. They both start in the summer, but end in Christmas, so you're filled with the Christmas spirit when they're over. In the Good Old Summertime will be on TCM on Christmas Eve at 8:45am and Meet Me in St. Louis will be on TCM December 16 at 7pm and Christmas Day at 1:15am (if you're waiting up for Santa!).
Last weekend was all about Meet Me in St. Louis. It doesn’t get much better than that, really.
On Friday night, I had the pleasure of seeing it on stage for my company Christmas party at the Drury Lane Theatre in Oak Brook. It wasn’t as good as the movie, of course, but it wasn’t a total slander on Judy Garland’s legacy, like I was afraid it might be. The girl who played Esther was decent, not amazing, but she sang well. I was slightly disappointed with the girl who played Tootie, but really for a child she was quite good. I’m just used to Margaret O’Brien being completely brilliant and hilarious in the movie. No one can really compare to her.
They kept the script basically the same as the movie. They only removed a couple of fabulous lines such as:
Rose: My dear, when you get to be my age, you'll find there are more important things in life than boys!
Katie: Well, another Halloween, we’re all a year older.
Those are classics! But whatever.
They also added some dreadful songs. I could have done without them. But it’s possible that the songs from the movie are dreadful as well, and I’m just used to them so I don’t notice. But I don’t really think so. The whole second act was basically new songs except for Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. I understand that there really aren’t many songs in the second half, but for heaven’s sake, write some decent ones.
But the story is so good that you really can’t go wrong. Overall, I would give it a B. I enjoyed it.
Then, two short days later, I got to see the movie in my favorite movie theater! It was glorious. Even though I’ve seen it hundreds of times, it feels new when you see it on the big screen. It confirmed my suspicions that this may be the perfect movie. It’s funny, it’s touching, it has songs, and a disturbed 5 year old who kills off her dolls. Perfection.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
There is something mildly disturbing on iTunes. It's called Judy Garland Meets Julie Andrews. Yeah, it's a CD with some random Judy Garland and Julie Andrews songs all mixed together. I'm not sure what to make of it. First, the cover is beyond disturbing. Second, despite the fact that they happen to be my two favorite movie people, I'm not sure that my Judy Garland world should ever collide with my Julie Andrews world. It just doesn't feel right.
In other Judy news, this is a pretty interesting article about Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. It's been through many incarnations. I, of course, am loyal to the Judy version. I hate when they sing the line about hanging the star on the highest bough. Seriously. This article was showed to me by the guy at work that's planning our Christmas party where we will be enjoying Meet Me in St. Louis on stage. I think he wanted to "warn" me that we're going to sing this song at the party, but we're singing "if the Lord allows" instead of "if the fates allow." He knows I'm the only person that would probably even notice. That was very thoughtful of him. I love my Christian workplace!
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
If you're in the Chicagoland area and like stuff I like, there are some exciting events coming up. Most exciting is the Tivoli Theatre's Holiday Classic Film Festival. They show classic films every night for a week for $3. And finally, after years and years of wishing and hoping, they're going to be showing a Judy Garland film other than The Wizard of Oz. That's right, on Sunday, December 9th, they will be presenting Meet Me in St. Louis. This is a pretty big deal, I think. The rest of the line-up can be found here.
Meanwhile, at the Hollywood Blvd. Theater in Downers Grove, they will be showing It's a Wonderful Life, with a special appearance by Karolyn Grimes, whoever that is. Just kidding, she played Zuzu in the movie. Should be interesting.
I should also note that Meet Me in St. Louis will be on stage at the Drury Lane Theatre in Oak Brook. I get to see this performance for free for our company Christmas party! I'm looking forward to it and hoping that it won't completely defile the original film. You never know with these things.
In other news, I was poking around on TCM's site this week looking at their special guest programmers. It's fun to see what movies these semi-famous people pick, assuming they had any say in their choices. I found that I am most movie compatible with Kermit the Frog. Huh. I also like that one of Martha Stewart's picks is Mr. Blanding Builds His Dream House.
Friday, November 2, 2007
I like when old movies come up at work.
In an attempt to help us get to know people we don't usually work with, my company has set up scheduled lunches with other departments where we just eat and talk. It's not a bad idea; there are a lot of people I would never talk to otherwise. I had my first one yesterday and to ensure that we don't just sit there staring at each other, we were provided with a list of "starter questions" in case we're too boring to come up with anything else. Indeed we were too boring and we had to resort to the provided questions. We started off with a question about the most famous person you've met. So a few people shared their stories, and then my boss, having heard many of my stories, mentioned that I had met quite a few people. Really, I've seen them in person without actually meeting them. Nevertheless, this launched me into stories of Tony Curtis, Tippi Hedren, and Julie Andrews. Then I shared my amazing story of meeting Veronica Cartwright in the bathroom. They were mildly impressed.
This led to a lengthy discussion about old movies. It was great. Then one young fellow spoke up and revealed that he doesn't watch movies that were made before he was born. I think I had a mini heart attack. He made one exception for Jaws. Jaws?!? Not acceptable. Luckily, everyone else was appalled and they told him so.
Today at lunch, Robert Goulet came up, I'm not sure why. Things like this tend to come up when I'm present even though the lunch group consists of about 10 twenty-somethings. Anyway, we were discussing his death and one of my coworkers exclaimed,"He sang If Ever I Would Leave You and then he did!" It made me laugh.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
So I'm sure we've all heard the sad news that Robert Goulet is in the hospital awaiting a lung transplant. If I had a lung to spare, I would certainly give it to him.
This afternoon, I was talking to my boss and another coworker. My boss was running through a list of famous people she's seen in Vegas and Robert Goulet was part of the list. I was slightly disturbed that she would just assume I know who Robert Goulet is. What twenty-something knows who he is?? I do.
Then my coworker asked who Robert Goulet is. It was then that I realized there is no way to explain who he is to anyone under the age of 50. Certainly they've seen him before, but where? Emerald Nuts commercials? Will Ferrel Saturday Night Live skits? 60's TV? None of these flew with my coworker; she had no idea what we were talking about. I shyly admitted that I knew him from Camelot. Yeah, I'm a nerd.
Monday, October 22, 2007
'Tis the season! On Saturday, AMC ran a Hitchcock Marathon. It was good, but it would have been infinitely more enjoyable without the commercials, stupid AMC. I only watched two movies, but I hadn't seen either of them in some time.
Dial M for Murder was first. I really haven't seen this movie in years and I forgot most of the story. I definitely did not remember how complicated the end was. Not as complicated as Vertigo, but close. Anyway, great movie! Pretty typical Hitchcock fare; a bit of suspense in the beginning followed by lots of detective work and some crazy explanation at the end. I have to say, even now I'm not sure I could tell you exactly what happens and how they figure everything out. That's what makes it great. You can watch it over and over again and always find something new.
Rear Window was next. This has always been one of my favorite Hitchcock films despite the fact that, as my roommate so astutely pointed out, nothing actually happens. It really should be the most boring movie ever. You sit there, watching bits and pieces of random peoples' lives across the courtyard without any kind of concrete story surrounding any of them. There isn't even much of a story regarding the main characters. Jimmy Stewart broke is leg and he thinks Grace Kelly is too good for him. To top it off, the ending is really pretty boring, with no shock or twist or anything. Nevertheless, I love it! I don't know why. Maybe it touches close to home. Are we all secretly waiting for our neighbors to do something suspicious so we can speculate about them? I know I am. Also, I'm a little bit in love with Jimmy Stewart.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Deborah Kerr died on Tuesday at age 86. I found out when I received the dreaded "TCM Schedule Change Alert" email. This email almost always means that someone has died and they're going to show some of their movies in the next few days. Sure enough, TCM is going to be showing From Here to Eternity and Separate Tables on Sunday night. Hardly enough of a tribute, if you ask me.
A few years back, I went through a Deborah Kerr stage. I love her. She's so classy. She must have been Star of the Month on TCM at the time, because I have quite a few of her movies on tape; many of them are rather obscure.
Of course, I absolutely love An Affair to Remember. This may be my favorite Deborah Kerr movie and definitely one of my favorite movies of all time. Her and Cary Grant make a lovely couple and I kind of want to cry just thinking about it. Incidentally, Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr were in a much less popular picture a few years before this one called Dream Wife. It's a pretty cheesy movie, but I can't help but like it.
Here are some other Deborah Kerr favorites:
- The King and I, of course. It's a little painful that her singing was dubbed, and slightly more painful that it was dubbed by Marni Nixon who dubbed for Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady causing Eliza and Anna to basically sound the same and remind me of my bitterness. But I can look past that. Also the "Uncle Tom's Cabin" thing goes on waaaaay too long. Even still, it's a great movie!
- Tea and Sympathy. This movie is interesting and slightly disturbing. Basically, Deborah Kerr is the wife of the headmaster of a boys' school and she feels bad for this one guy that's not as masculine as the others, and is made fun of as a result. She has a little too much sympathy, I'd say.
- Beloved Infidel. Probably not the best movie, but Gregory Peck is in it and I really love him.
- The Grass Is Greener. This movie is pretty silly, but entertaining none the less. Plus, Cary Grant is in it.
- The Innocents. I haven't seen this is quite some time, but I think I need to rent it. It's a scary movie which is a little unusual for Deborah Kerr, but it's very well done.
- Marriage on the Rocks. Ok, this movie is lame. But Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin are in it, and there are some funny moments.
And now, I will go home and watch An Affair to Remember.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
I have to admit, I love old scary movies. I love them because they're scary enough for me to be temporarily freaked out, but not scary enough for me to have nightmares. I can't watch the new scary movies, they're too much.
I was pleased to find out that AMC will be showing Hitchcock Movies all day next Saturday. I was planning to watch Psycho with some friends for Halloween, but I'm guessing I won't be able to resist watching it next Saturday either. Can one watch Psycho twice in a week? The answer is yes. AMC is also running "Monsterfest" the week before Halloween, but I'm not sure if I'd classify most of their scheduled movies as classics, which is why I don't like AMC!
TCM is showing Classic Horror Directors every friday. I haven't really seen any of the scheduled films, so I can't say whether or not they're worth a watch. Last night, I watched 13 Ghosts and I got kind of bored. But really you can't go wrong with a corny scary movie. They're also featuring Boris Karloff this month. I've always been fascinated by him even though the only movie of his I've ever seen is Frankenstein which, strangely, they aren't showing.
Ok, now for my person favorite old scary movies:
—Psycho is probably my favorite. It's disturbing. I'm looking forward to showing it for Old Movie Night. I have lots of friends who haven't seen it.
—Frankenstein, the Boris Karloff one, of course. This movie has been remade too many times. The original is the best. When I was maybe 10 or so I watched it at a friend's sleepover party and had nightmares. Luckily, I doesn't affect me quite as much these days. Hopefully.
—Basically anything with Vincent Price. I love that guy, I don't know why. He has a good line of incredibly corny, scary movies. House on Haunted Hill is one of my favorites, along with any of the Edgar Allen Poe based movies. They're over the top, but great! A few of them are on TCM this month. House of Wax is also enjoyable.
I'm looking forward to a corny scary movie-filled Halloween!
Monday, October 1, 2007
Today is Julie Andrews' 72nd birthday. She looks pretty fabulous for her age, though I think it's pretty clear she's had some...cosmetic help. But for some reason, that's ok with me. I don't really have much to say about her that I haven't already said. I will point out that she's probably the only person I really like (celebrity-wise) that is still alive. That's something.
So in honor of Julie's birthday, I will now list my top 10 favorite Julie...things. That was not meant to be an incredibly lame reference to a certain Julie Andrews song, it just happened.
10. Thoroughly Modern Millie
Not my favorite Julie Andrews movie, but it has some good moments. And Carol Channing is crazy.
It's funny and entertaining.
8. Two Ellen interviews.
One from 2005 and one from 2007. Ellen's pretty funny.
7. The Princess Diaries
As much as I want to, I cannot deny that I love this movie.
6. Carol Burnett.
They're friends, I love Carol Burnett, it's great.
5. Rachel Ray Interview. It's just cute!
4. Mary Poppins
3. Camelot (Original Broadway Cast)
I also love her singing the finale which she did not do it the actual show. Her dress in this video is especially enjoyable.
2. The Sound of Music
1. My Fair Lady - Original London Cast Recording
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Here's the video of Tony Curtis at the theater the other night. I'm not sure they can actually be called videos considering you can't really see anything since it was so dark in the theater and I was using my little point and shoot camera. But the audio is ok and the stories are pretty entertaining. And the way he talks is pretty amusing in itself. There are lots of short videos. Here they are:
Tony and Jack going into the women's bathroom in their womens garb.
Filming Some Like it Hot and Tony's favorite Marilyn Monroe memory.
Story about Natalie Wood during the filming of The Great Race.
Talking about being on the cover of The Beatles Sgt. Pepper album.
Talking about Cary Grant.
Story about loosing his cufflink after appearing at a theater.
Costume stories from Some Like it Hot.
Monday, September 24, 2007
To continue my string of seeing famous old people at random movie theaters (see this, this, and this), I saw Tony Curtis this weekend. He introduced a showing of Some Like it Hot at the Hollywood Blvd. theater in Downers Grove (Chicago suburb). It's possibly the most hilarious movie ever, and it's not even skanky or obscene in any way (sort of).
I was really looking forward to seeing the movie on the big screen—it's one of those I can watch lots of times—seeing Tony Curtis in person was, frankly, just a bonus. Now, I figured this was going to be a pretty popular event, so we got there about an hour early. It was a bit more crowded than I had anticipated; the theater was basically packed, and the line to meet Tony was out the door. Luckily, I wasn't planning on meeting Tony. He's cool, but I wasn't going wait in line for an hour and pay $20 to get his autograph.
We did, however, want to get a good seat in the theater and we had to do some sneaking around in the lobby to get to the front of the waiting crowd. Luckily, 95% of the people there were 70 years of age or older, so we had no problem taking them down on our way into the theater. It was so packed that they decided to show the movie on two extra screens, but luckily we made it into the main one.
We sat for a few minutes waiting for Tony to show up in the theater. They had a little couch set up at the front for him and a microphone which is definitely more than they've done for anybody else we've seen there. I wasn't exactly sure what to expect from Tony Curtis. I know that he was married to Janet Leigh and he's Jamie Lee Curtis's father, but that's about the extent of my Tony Curtis knowledge. So I wasn't sure if he'd be interesting, or really boring, but I figured any stories about Some Like it Hot have to be good.
Tony finally made his way into the theater and the audience loved him. They stood for him as he wobbled down the aisle...he had a knee problem apparently. Not really surprising, seeing as he's about 100 years old. He went and sat down on the couch in the front while the manager of the theater tried to get him to use the microphone. He didn't want to use it, but it was definitely needed. So then he held the mic but kept talking with his hands and moving it away from his face. But it was ok because he was completely hilarious! I thought he might be a little crazy and weird, but he was actually really clever and mostly normal. He had some great, entertaining stories to tell that everyone enjoyed. He got another standing ovation the way out. Adorable!
The best part was, the manager of the theater was trying to ask Tony questions and keep things on track, but Tony would have none of it. He was going to talk about what he wanted to talk about. He wasn't going to be held back by silly questions. It was great.
Overall, the night was a huge success. Tony Curtis is by far the most interesting person we've seen at this theater. I took some video on my point and shoot digital camera and it's really dark so you can't see much, but the audio itself is entertaining. I'll be posting it once I get it uploaded.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
I'm more than a little peeved with the AFI. The other night, I was watching their 100 Years...100 Movies countdown on Bravo. I have to admit, I'm a sucker for these stupid countdowns, particularly the 100 Years...100 Songs list. I often end up getting angry at some point during the show, but in the end they're usually ok. This one the other night, however, was truly a disaster.
They redid this 100 Movies list because the original list was from 10 years ago, and it was time for an update. Really, it didn't make much of a difference. All they did was throw Lord of the Rings into the mix and called it updated. They obviously just wanted to figure out how to make more money with as little effort as possible.
Anyway, when I came in on the show, they were already on number 30 or so which was a little disappointing because I know that most of my favorite movies are not going to be in the top 30. But I watched anyway, with the assumption that at the very least, they'd talk about two movies I love that are sure to be in the top 30: The Wizard of Oz and The Sound of Music. So there I sat, patiently waiting for my movies to be discussed by celebrities I don't care about and film industry people I don't know. Finally we get to The Wizard of Oz at number 10. I was pretty pleased with its placement; top ten is pretty good. But this gets me wondering if the The Sound of Music is even going to show up...I didn't exactly expect it to be in the top ten. I continue watching as movie after movie passes by, and it soon becomes apparent that this film will not be making an appearance.
As the show came to a close, I sat on the couch in shock, not able to fathom how The Sound of Music couldn't even make it into the top 30. I quickly grabbed my computer, flipped it open, and pulled up the AFI website to see exactly where the film landed in this ridiculous list. Much to my dismay, I found that it only made it to number 40. 40?! Seriously?! This is truly an outrage. Do these people even watch these movies before coming up with these lists? Even more disturbing is the fact that in the original list from 10 years ago it was number 55!!
It's even more painful when you look at the list of (mostly lame) movies that beat it out. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre was number 38. Typically, I would not have an opinion on this, but I just saw it for the first time not long ago and it was not that great. Also, I don't know anyone else who's actually seen it except for the few people I watched it with. Singin' in the Rain made it to number 5, which was a bit of a shock. Don't get me wrong, I love the movie, but it's not as good as The Sound of Music. Lastly, Raging Bull came in at number 4, which, whatever, I haven't seen it so I don't really have an opinion. The problem is, on the original list, it was number 24. How in the world did it get so much better in 10 years that it jumped 20 spots? That's insanity.
Ok, enough of my complaining. I was relieved to find out that on the AFI blog, people are able to blog about/vote for their favorite movies, and The Sound of Music does much better in this list. In their compiled list of votes, it comes in at number 11 which appeases me a little. At least the general public isn't as moronic as the AFI. Meanwhile, Brokeback Mountain is number 1, which kind of saddens me.
So I've lost all respect for AFI. Not that I really had any respect for them to begin with. They clearly have no concept of what movies are good. This does not, however, mean that I'll stop watching their stupid countdowns. They're just so entertaining!
Thursday, September 6, 2007
I'm here to tell the world that when the word "gay" is used in a motion picture made before, say, 1970, it doesn't mean homosexual. It means happy. Jovial. And so on.
While looking it up in the dictionary, I came across this interesting bit of information:
In addition to its original and continuing senses of “merry, lively” and “bright or showy,” gay has had various senses dealing with sexual conduct since the 17th century. A gay woman was a prostitute, a gay man a womanizer, a gay house a brothel.
Fascinating. But anyway, that's not the point. The point is, when we went to see The Sound of Music with thousands of others in Grant Park, the biggest laugh of the night came when the Baroness described something as gay. It wasn't a joke! But it got the biggest laugh.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
I'm officially obsessed with Camelot, although I've not actually seen the movie or play. I've only listened to the music (way too many times now), and I have deemed it obsession-worthy. My favorite song is "Then You May Take Me to the Fair." Its happy melody disguises the fact that Guenevere is encouraging murder. I've also decided that "The Lusty Month of May" is by far the gayest song that has ever existed.
I went to see The Sound of Music the other night in Grant Park in downtown Chicago and it was beyond fabulous except for the group of drunkards sitting next to us, making obscene jokes about the movie. Now, if the obscene jokes would have been clever this would have been acceptable, but they weren't. They were stupid. For a brief moment, I had to give them credit because they seemed to know every word to every song, but shortly thereafter I realized they had a sheet with all the lyrics on it.
Speaking of obscene Sound of Music jokes, I found this video distasteful, but hilarious. It's more about the audio than the video.
After complaining to my mother about my taste for old movies and weird music that nobody else likes, she attempted to console me with this: "You are cultured, that's good. And yet you still like stupid things like Napoleon Dynamite."
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Our Old Movie Night this month featured the Bing Crosby/Bob Hope classic, Road to Utopia. I'd never seen one of these famous "road" pictures before and I was certain it would be a smash. It did not disappoint.
I'll be frank, I have no idea what the plot of this movie was. I know Bob and Bing were traveling to Alaska and running away from some big tough guys looking for gold. But the plot is not the point of this movie. The point is, Bob and Bing do weird things and they're funny. And they chase women. And they make dirty jokes that are so insinuated, I'm not sure they were even really there.
The movie makes fun on itself. Right off the bat in the first scene we see a fellow in a classroom explaining that he will be making appearances throughout the movie just to explain to us what the heck is going on. Sure enough, throughout the film his head pops up in the corner of the screen, he makes some snide remark, and disappears. I got the feeling that when the writers were sitting down to work on this movie, they wrote out hundreds of their favorite jokes and then built a movie around them, hoping it would start making sense along the way. Well, it doesn't make sense, but that doesn't matter because it's funny.
Bing Crosby is possibly the corniest man alive (or..not...alive). But isn't that why we love him? I've seen White Christmas more times than I care to say, and I think it's pretty obvious that the corniest jokes in that movie are the ones he ad libbed. I can only assume the same is true for this picture. And that's why we love Bing.
It was a great success and luckily, the DVD that this movie is on also has 3 other road pictures on it! It seems I have my work cut out for me.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
I went to Goodwill and picked up the Camelot Original Broadway Cast Recording on vinyl (Julie Andrews, of course). I haven't see Camelot, mostly because it sounds kind of depressing, and I really only know the main "Camelot" song. But I'm listening to it now and I'm only on like the fourth song, and it's already amazing. I think I'm going to end up liking this Guenevere and I'm pretty sure I'm going to need to go see the show now. I don't think I want to watch the movie...I have this feeling it'll have the same outcome as the whole My Fair Lady fiasco. Why does Julie Andrews have to always ruin things by being so good. If she would just be crappy sometimes things would be so much easier.
Anyway, the best part of my Goodwill purchase is when I got home and pulled out the record, two more records fell out. One is a 45 with two Carpenters songs that I don't know. The second is more interesting. All it says on it is United Air Lines on the top and "Take me along" at the bottom. I have no idea what that means, but I'm sure looking forward to finding out.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
This is just a quick note to say don't watch Victor/Victoria right before you go to sleep or you will have strange dreams about marrying another woman, but one of you is actually a man (pretending to be a woman), but you don't know which one. I'm warning you.
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
The Grant Park Outdoor Film Festival feature last night was The Awful Truth. I've always loved this movie so I was excited to go see it with some friends and lots and lots of strangers in a park in downtown Chicago.
If you haven't seen this movie, you need to. Cary Grant is amazing as usual and I do love Irene Dunn. They're hilarious together and the humor is clever. You really have to be paying attention to catch some of their one-liners. I think people expect old black and white movies to be a little slow and boring, but this one definitely has no boring moments.
The conversation in the car on the way home centered around whether or not Lucy and Jerry were actually cheating on each other. I don't believe we came to a conclusion. I don't really think she did, but I'm not sure about him. We're not used to not having closure these days, but this one does leave you hanging a bit.
We also discussed plans for our next and final trip downtown for The Sound of Music. I can't even wait and I'm even more excited because it seems as though I have friends who actually want to go. On top of that, I think I have friends that want to dress up for it. When I say dress up, I mean find some curtains and make clothes out of them. We attempted to assign characters to everyone last night. I want to be the Baroness, mostly so I can wear a non-curtain outfit.
Friday, August 3, 2007
My roommate is gone this weekend leaving me to watch TCM 24/7. It's great.
Joan Crawford was the "Star of the Day" today and I watched a crazy film, Autumn Leaves. I missed some of the beginning, but the gist of it was Joan Crawford gets mixed up with a younger man, Burt, and eventually, he convinces her to marry him. Not only is he like 20 years younger than her, he's also incredibly corny, saying things like, "Hey, man, that's "Bop" talk!" Plus, he's extremely needy and he kind of reminded me of Norman Bates.
A short two weeks after their wedding, Joan finds that most of what she knew of Burt's past (which apparently wasn't much) was a lie when she gets an unexpected visit from his ex-wife who she didn't know existed. She finds that his father, who he said was dead, is in fact alive, and she goes to visit him. He's wearing a referee outfit and clearly has the hots for Joan, and he basically tells her that Burt's a compulsive liar.
After some sharp investigative work, Joan finds that the father and the ex-wife are having an affair and have been scheming to get rid of Burt. Apparently, Burt had discovered his father and ex-wife having SEX and their reappearance drives him insane. Literally. He becomes convinced that Joan is in on their schemes and he slaps her a number of times before throwing a type writer at her and breaking her hand. This leads everyone to believe that he's insane. Which he is. He has no recollection of his violent outburst and Joan continues to stand by him, ignoring the advice of...pretty much everyone.
She finally meets with the sanitarium man and he basically tells her that they can fix Burt, but the only reason he's married to her is because of his neurosis and once he's fixed he probably won't want her anymore. Nevertheless, Burt's incessant weeping finally drives her crazy (not literally), and she sends him off to the loony bin. This is followed by a nice little montage of 1950's psychotherapy, also known as, electrocution.
So, Burt gets all fixed in his head, Joan comes to get him, it turns out he still wants her, and they make out in the middle of the sanitarium while a Nat King Cole song (I think) plays over the credits. The End.
My favorite Joan Crawford movie is Mildred Pierce. It doesn't get much better than a mother and daughter having affairs with each other's husbands and murdering people.
Of course, an honorable mention must be made for Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? I love when Bette Davis beats her up and pushes her down the stairs. They don't make 'em like that anymore.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
The Pirate comes out on DVD today. This is one of Judy Garland's more...unique movies. It's actually been quite awhile since I've seen it. I had it on VHS taped off the TV, but the tape broke so I haven't seen it in years. Stupid VHS!
Basically, Judy is infatuated with this pirate, Macoco. She's also engaged to this nasty old rich man. Gene Kelly is a traveling performer type guy and he comes to town, realizes she's obsessed with this pirate and pretends to be said pirate in order to woo her. Meanwhile, her nasty fiancee is not amused. Stuff happens, there's a crazy weird Gene Kelly dance sequence and all heck breaks loose when the nasty fiancee reveals that he is the real Macoco and prepares to punish Gene Kelly. But of course by this time Judy and Gene have fallen in love, she joins his little performing group and they sing "Be a Clown." And yes, "Be a Clown" is the same as "Make 'em Laugh" from Singin' in the Rain. There's no way to get around it.
What I remember about this movie is there are some hilarious moments. Funnier and more clever than most Judy movies. It is a shame that it's typically overlooked, because it's definitely worth a watch.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
For the last few days I've been listening to my Mary Poppins soundtrack at work and it's been amazing. I'm ashamed to say I got this CD as a gift a few years ago and I honestly never listened to it until I began my Julie Andrews phase a few months ago. As it turns out, it's fantastic.
It's this 2-disc special edition with all kinds of extras, and I've especially been enjoying the instrumental tracks that are included. I have to say, this is some of the best movie music ever. Yes, the songs are kind of for kids, but really, they're brilliant. The music itself is excellent and the lyrics are clever. I love that I can listen to it as an adult and find humor in things that went completely over my head when I was a child. And it's nice when Julie Andrews reminds me, "In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun" while I slave away in my cubicle (kind of).
The only issue with listening to it at work is I am sometimes overcome with an uncontrollable urge to burst out into song. How can you not want to sing Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious? And sometimes I fall asleep during Stay Awake. Also, I cry sometimes during Feed the Birds. Especially during the instrumental version when Mr. Banks gets fired. It's rough.
Since I'm on the subject, here are some of my favorite childhood memories of Mary Poppins:
- I don't remember ever wondering how they did the special effects. Mary flying and pulling ridiculously large items out of her carpet bag seemed perfectly possible to me, I guess. The only thing I was ever baffled by was when Dick Van Dyke stretched his pants out so he could dance like a penguin. How were is pants normal one minute, and huge the next? I was intrigued. The sad thing is, this is one of the few things in the movie that isn't a special effect in any way.
- It really creeped me out when Mary's reflection in the mirror sings back to her. And I had no idea what "cheeky" meant.
- I thought the mother was Miss America. The first time you see her, she's wearing her "Votes for Women" sash, and at the time I apparently couldn't read and the only other person I knew who wore such a sash was Miss America. I obviously did not take into account the fact that she was 1.) Married, and 2.) not in America.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Last night, I exposed my friends to The Birds for our July Old Movie Night. Even though about half the group had already seen it, people were excited. And rightly so. It's an amazing movie.
Yes, it's corny. And yes, we spent a lot of time just making fun of it. But every so often I had to stop making fun of it to freak out. There are some brilliantly disturbing moments, and despite the sometimes painfully fake special effects, I can't help but become completely engrossed in the film. Neither could anyone else, and I believe everyone was at least slightly nervous once or twice throughout the film. How can you not be?
I started out the evening by sharing my Veronica Cartwright story with the group. They were impressed, and rightly so. We also threw a stuffed animal duck at people as they walked in the door. It was supposed to be attacking them, but mostly they just watched with a confused stare as it flew past. We also served buffalo wings, which was very clever, I thought.
This is what I love about The Birds:
- The scene where Tippi Hedren is completely unaware of the fact that crows are taking over the playground behind her.
- No music! There's no musical score for this film, just a few mildly creepy songs and lots of bird noises.
- The fact that there's really no resolution. I think the ending upsets people at first. They just leave, without any explanation as to why the birds attacked or how they're going to be stopped. Everyone last night was a little shocked that it just ended with them driving away, but I like it that way. It leaves you with a creepy feeling.
And finally, I ate lunch outside at work today and there were lots of seagulls making lots of noise in the parking lot next door to us. I got a little nervous.
Friday, July 13, 2007
I'm an old person. I think I already knew this, but the scary thing is it's normal now. Last night I was very excited to go to a free big band concert in a park down the street from my house. I tried to get some friends to go, but I only had one taker. Although, that's pretty good, I don't really expect anyone to go to these things with me.
The thought hadn't really occurred to me that this concert was going to be full of the oldies until we were walking there and saw them. They came in droves with their blankets and chairs. This is really nothing strange to me, but I realized I was subjecting a friend to this. Can I do that?
Meanwhile, the concert was lovely. The band was great and they played some fun old songs. The old people were thrilled. And so was I.
Monday, July 9, 2007
Every summer, the great city of Chicago hosts an Outdoor Film Festival in Grant Park showing classic films. I skipped it last year because they didn't really show classic films. They were more...movies from any time that people really like and could possibly be considered classics at some point in the future.
Luckily this year they came to their senses and they're showing some actual old movies. I'm especially looking forward to The Awful Truth, a fabulous old Cary Grant, Irene Dunn movie. To my knowledge, this is not the most well known Cary Grant movie, so I was a little surprised that they chose to show it, but I'm not complaining. It's completely hilarious and it's always been one of my favorite Cary Grant films. It's complete silliness and I really love Irene Dunn. She's a great time!
They're also showing The Sound of Music, which I fully intend to see if I can find someone to see it with. How many times can one person see The Sound of Music, you ask? The answer: infinity.
Monday, July 2, 2007
I hit the vinyl jackpot the other day at Goodwill and walked away with the Bye Bye Birdie, Sound of Music and Annie soundtrack albums. Exciting, I know. I have to admit that Bye Bye Birdie is the only one that I don't already own on CD, but it doesn't matter. I like to decorate with them! So now these three wonderful albums are gracing my bedroom walls. Yep, I'm a dork. The Sound of Music one also came with a booklet type thing with pictures and info about the movie. It's basically a HUGE version of the CD booklet! What was so strange about this particular trip to Goodwill is, I've never seen any of these albums there before, but on this particular day, there were at least 2 copies of each.
Meanwhile, I've been enjoying my Bye Bye Birdie album immensely. I like to sing "How Lovely to be a Woman" while getting dressed in the morning. I've also been working on perfecting my Ann Margaret dancing. It's really coming along, but I'm pretty sure I pulled a muscle the other day. That woman is one insane dancer.
Monday, June 25, 2007
Last night was our western themed Old Movie Night. We felt it was time to pull out a good ol' John Wayne movie. We encouraged people to dress up in their fanciest western garb, but only like two people actually did it. Suckers!
Anyway, after much deliberation (there are about 2 million John Wayne movies) we decided on Stagecoach. I'd not seen it, but people always talk about, so I thought it may be a good one to try.
This is the oldest movie we've watched so far. Up to this point, we've mostly picked films from the 50's and 60's. This one is 1939. Now that's an old movie. At least to people who don't watch old movies.
Quick summary: There are some people in a town and they need to get to another town so they have to take a stagecoach. They hear there are some Apache Indians that may cause trouble for them but they go anyway. They're a special bunch of characters: A Mr. Peacock (for some reason no one can remember his name in the movie. I remembered it.) who sells whiskey or something, an alcoholic doctor who takes kindly to Mr. Peacock (for obvious reasons), a skank who's being run out of town by some stuffy old broads, some old man who stole money and left his wife, a very proper, pregnant lady (though you're not really sure she's pregnant until she actually gives birth) and some other very skinny guy with a long face. Along the way, they pick up John Wayne who escaped from jail and is on the run.
They travel around, trying not to die and finally they get attacked by Indians and John Wayne kills them all of course. Also, the United States Cavalry come to back him up. Then he falls in love with the skanky lady and he doesn't seem to know what her profession is (prostitute I presume) even though everyone else in the movie seems to know just by looking at her. This was a topic of great discussion as she is treated like scum by everyone in the movie; but how did they know she was a floozy? I say despite her floor length dress showing absolutely no obscenities at all, it is her overall appearance that gave her away. She had her hair all done up real flashy and her dress was all plaid and rather fancy for a stagecoach trip. We imagined, had the movie been in color, that the dress would have been yellow, red and blue. Now if that isn't an 1800's prostitute, I don't know what is.
By the end, John Wayne has a shoot out with some guy in a town and wins (of course) and he and his prostitute ride off into the sunset. Actually, they ride off to Mexico so that he won't go to jail.
This movie didn't go over as well as some of the others we've watched, but I think people enjoyed it. The drunk doctor provided some comic relief and, as this was a John Ford picture, there were some beautifully laid out shots that one can't help but admire.
Seeing as Stagecoach was only 97 minutes long, it was still light out by the time it was over and we were not ready to be done watching movies. Much to the boys' dismay and keeping with our western theme, we pulled out 7 Brides for 7 Brothers. I'd not seen this movie, but of course I've heard of it and I'm sure I should have seen it long ago. So we made the boys watch it. At first I believe they were a bit disturbed, but they quickly figured out that the characters may break out into song at any moment, so it stopped being so strange after awhile. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. I wouldn't say it's one of the best musicals ever, but some of the dancing was simply amazing. It was highly entertaining and a great conclusion to our western Old Movie Night.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
I think I'm becoming a Judy Garland evangelist. I've only evangelized one person so far, but I say that's pretty good!
I managed to get my roommate to watch two Judy Garland movies with me last week, Meet Me in St. Louis and Summer Stock. She seems to be obsessed with them. I'm very proud. She spent last weekend with her family and when she got home, she told me that she's watched too many old movies, to the point where she can no longer relate to her family. Brilliant! Welcome to my world. She actually told her sister to make her daughter watch a Judy movie.
It will take her some time to figure out how to bring Judy up in casual conversation with out looking like a crazy person, but I think she can do it. It's really an art form that can take many years to perfect.
I'm just proud that I've opened a young person's eyes to the magical world of Judy Garland. Now I need to work on finding my next victim.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Monday, June 11, 2007
Wow, I cannot believe I forgot to write about Judy Garland's birthday yesterday. I did not forget that it was her birthday, mind you, I just forgot to write about it. In fact, it was one of the first things I thought of in the morning and I quickly turned on TCM. They were showing Meet Me In St. Louis. Sweet! I also announced it to all my friends yesterday and received mostly blank stares. I'm used to that.
I think it's safe to saw that Judy Garland is my favorite actress. My Judy obsession started young, maybe around 7 or 8, when a couple of my cousins and I (with the encouragement of our grandma) started watching Judy movies regularly. We quickly learned all the songs, and there was no looking back. I was officially sucked in to a weird little world where bursting out into song was perfectly normal and there was always an orchestra ready to back you up. I learned all the words to songs that none of my friends had ever heard of and I thought the word "gay" just meant happy. Needless to say, not much has changed since then except that I came to the harsh realization that none of these things are considered normal for my generation.
The first Judy movie I remember seeing (besides The Wizard of Oz, I guess) is For Me and My Gal. My cousins were really into it and knew all the songs, so I had to see what all the fuss was about. Soon, we were acting out the doll shop scene and fighting over who got to be Judy and who had to be the man (my cousin Christine usually had to be the man because she was the youngest). We continued to faithfully watch our Judy movies and learn our Judy songs to our little hearts' content. It was fun.
I had a bit of a falling out when I got a little older and I decided I had to try to be "cool." I stopped with the Judy movies. I don't know exactly what I liked at that time, but it must have been boring. Then in high school, I got over myself and decided to go back to my roots. Lucky for me, Judy was TCM's star of the month one month and they showed pretty much every Judy movie ever made. I never worried about being cool again. In fact, I was so far from cool that it wasn't even worth thinking about.
I'll end with some of my favorite Judy moments:
- Easter Parade when she makes that horrid face while walking down the street trying to get the men to notice her.
- The Harvey Girls when she takes Angela Lansbury down in the saloon.
- In The Good Old Summertime when she sings I Don't Care and fails her arms about as if she's being attacked by a swarm of locusts.
- Summer Stock when she sings on a tractor.
- The end of A Star is Born when she says, "I'm Mrs. Norman Maine."
- Ballin' the Jack from For Me and My Gal. So adorable.
- "Why, it would mean the ruination of my complete life!" From The Pirate.
- The Portland Fancy in Summer Stock - I'm pretty sure we watched this part so many times that the tape got worn out and we couldn't watch it anymore.
- The whole scene in Meet Me In St. Louis when everyone is eating dinner and Warren Sheffield calls Rose long distance. Also, when Judy takes John Truett through the house and turns off all the lights, only to turn them back on after he leaves. Oh, and the Trolley Song of course.
Thursday, June 7, 2007
I think it's safe to say that YouTube is the best website that has ever existed. The things I've seen on YouTube have often been shocking to say the least, but always extremely entertaining. There's nothing like wasting away a lunch hour searching for rare Judy Garland interviews or strange performances by my favorite singers on 60's T.V. shows when they felt the need to try to prolong their clearly washed up careers.
This first video is in honor of my mother. I believe she originally found it and has been obsessed with it ever since. She makes jokes about it on a regular basis. My favorite thing about this video is the 4 guys singing with Debbie. They're just too happy.
I suppose this is just a must see—Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand. Despite my feelings towards Barbra (annoyance) I do enjoy this. But it's clear that Barbra thinks she's better than Judy. And why she's dressed like a slightly skanky sailor, I do not know.
There is a plethora of Julie Andrews/Carol Burnett videos all over YouTube, but this is by far the best one. You can only watch so many videos of them in painfully 1980's dresses singing a medley about how great it is to be friends. Yes, this video contains some painfully 80's dresses, but luckily they are sufficiently ruined by the end. Also, Julie Andrews makes fun of Americans which is always funny. I especially like when Carol Burnett asks for honey in her tea and receives a rather offended look from Julie. I can't drink tea without honey. Take that, Julie! You're in America now! There is a second part to this video which is definitely worth watching.
My last video has nothing to do with movies or really anything, but I just love it so much I had to post it. It's from The Office. Dwight is my favorite.
There are about a hundred other videos I would like to post here, but it would take too much space and time, so you're going to have to find them yourself. They're certainly out there in abundance, waiting to entertain and perplex you.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Wow, I did not realize what an ornery old man Christopher Plummer is. The Sound of Music is really the only movie I (and most people I think) have ever seen him in, much to his dismay, I'm sure. I knew there was some weirdness between him and that movie, but I finally got the chance to listen to him begrudgingly recall his experience on the Sound of Music Two-Disc 40th Anniversary Special Edition DVD audio commentary. This is not to say that he isn't wildly entertaining.
My friend recently purchased this DVD and we've been looking forward to listening to the commentary on it for awhile. It wasn't quite as amazing as it could have been...it wasn't like they were all sitting together watching the movie and talking. That's the best kind. But basically Julie Andrews talked most, and they broke in with comments from the others (Christopher Plummer, Charmian Carr who played Liesl, and the choreographer) during their scenes. This is what I learned (all of these were actually said or at least heavily insinuated by the various commentary...ers):
- Christopher Plummer hates kids. He hates them because they steal his thunder, being so darn cute and all.
- Julie Andrews feels somewhat the same way about the kids but has the tact to not actually say it.
- Christopher Plummer likes booze.
- Christopher Plummer plays the piano, but cannot sing or play guitar.
- Austria is cold and wet.
- Christopher Plummer is a huge pain in everyone's butt. Strangely, they all seemed to at least mildly enjoy working with him. Unless they're just being polite, which is likely.
- Christopher Plummer thought Eleanor Parker (The Baroness) was pretty hot and he kind of wanted to dump Maria for her.
- Charmian Carr is pretty sure that when they shot the scene with the Captain coming in to sing The Sound of Music with the children (after Maria and the Captain fight), the kids actually started to cry in real life because they finally thought maybe Christopher Plummer didn't hate them. In reality, he did hate them. He was just acting. He did like Charmian Carr though because she was 21 and he could give her booze.
There you have it. Now you don't even need to watch the commentary. In the end, Christopher Plummer did act like he enjoyed his experience, and he even said he ended up liking the children, though I'm not completely convinced.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
I got really sad about a few things today (besides the usual world hunger, etc...)
1) I was listening to the My Fair Lady soundtrack (Julie Andrews version of course) and it gave me a hankering to watch the movie. But then I realized Julie would not be in the movie. Dang it!
2) Then I got really sad that Julie Andrews can't sing anymore. This didn't really hit me until I watched Princess Diares 2 the other day (Yes, I watched Princess Diaries 2, do you have a problem with that? In my defense, I really only watched the Julie parts). In this movie, Julie sings a teenie bopper song called Crowning Glory, or something like that. This is very exciting because she's not really supposed to be able to sing since her throat-surgery-gone-bad a few years back. Anyway, I was all happy that she sang finally...it wasn't anything amazing, she kind of half spoke/half sang it, but it was good. Then I listened to the audio commentary with Julie and Garry Marshall. She started going on about how she was nervous about singing, but the song was written in a low key for her and she sort of joked that the song only consisted of about 5 notes. 5 notes?? This song, in an easy key with practically no range, is about all she can handle and that is sad.
3) I will never see Judy Garland live—not on t.v. or in person or ever alive anywhere.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Wow, I forgot how amazing this movie is. And skanky. I got the chance to watch it last night with some friends for our old movie night, and it was wildly successful.
I hadn't seen it in awhile, and I didn't really remember how suggestive some of the humor is. I'm sure some of it was over my head the last time I saw it. It's pretty skanky, but very clever with nothing blatantly raunchy...you really have to be paying attention to catch all the jokes. It's why I love old movies! The jokes got some big laughs which was a lot of fun. It's so much better watching a funny movie with a group...the laughter is contagious.
Let's talk about how incredibly ugly Jack Lemmon is as a woman. He's scary. Not just physically, but his laugh...it's strange. He was clearly having too much fun. Tony Curtis actually sort of looks like a woman to begin with so it worked out well, I think. Marilyn Monroe needs to get a bra. But otherwise, she's lovely.
Funniest part: when all the ladies cram into Jack Lemmon's bunk on the train. I think the guys in our group are seriously wondering if girls really get into their pjs, mix drinks in a hot water bottle and have tickle fights when there aren't any guys around. I'm pretty sure we don't. Except for the tickle fights.
Monday, May 14, 2007
As part of my Julie Andrews stage, I'm currently enjoying my My Fair Lady (1959 Original London Cast)CD. I've listened to it approximately 3 times straight through today at work. Pretty said, I know, but apparently it's great work music.
I have some background with My Fair Lady. It's the first movie I remember being obsessed with, around the age of 4 or so, after watching it at my grandma's house. I obviously didn't know what it was really about. What I did know was, at the beginning she had ugly clothes, and at the end she had pretty clothes. Isn't that all that really matters? I remember one time, after a viewing with my grandma, I asked her if Henry and Eliza got married at the end. It's true that there's really no closure, and that's upsetting to a 4 year old. (The whole Eliza and Henry in love question is still up for debate I think, but that's another blog post!) I had a doll named Eliza, a fish named Eliza and I had a recurring dream featuring Eliza. It's comforting/disturbing to know that my obsessive tendencies started so long ago.
Needless to say, having loved the movie so much, I was slightly devastated when I found out that Audrey Hepburn's singing was dubbed by Marni Nixon. I was slightly more devastated when I found out that Julie Andrews probably should have been in the movie, having played the role on Broadway and in London. But she was really a nobody in Hollywood at the time of the movie and was passed over for the role. However, had she been in the movie, she may not have been in Mary Poppins, and that would have been truly devastating.
So I've come to terms with all this dubbing business. I can't deny that Audrey Hepburn was a fabulous Eliza, even if she didn't do her own singing. However, when it comes to soundtracks, the London stage version has mostly spoiled the movie's musical numbers for me. Everything about the stage version is superior; the orchestra, ensemble and of course Julie Andrews. No offense to Marni Nixon, but it really doesn't get any better than Julie Andrews. Luckily, Rex Harrison was in both versions, and rightly so. He's the only Henry Higgins that I've seen or heard that doesn't look and sound completely homosexual. I suppose one could argue that Henry Higgins does act slightly gay, but I don't really think he's supposed to be. He's just British. hahaha
Anyway, moral of the story, if you're looking for the My Fair Lady soundtrack, please, I beg you, buy the original Broadway or London cast recording.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
I forgot to mention how completely amazing it was to see The Sound of Music on the big screen! I've seen it in the theater before at the sing-a-long, but it was nice to watch it without all the sing-a-long extras. I loved hearing the audience reactions, especially because I've seen it a few too many times and I always know what's coming. There was one woman near us that was especially expressive. She entertained me.
All I can really say about the movie is that it's amazing. It really is one of the best movies ever. This is a fabulous site with some silly analysis of the movie and characters, and it's hilarious! Check it out!
Friday, May 11, 2007
Julie Andrews was amazing last night. I think she might be the nicest person alive. If she's just faking being nice, I'm impressed she can pull it off so well. Or it could just be her British accent. But I'm pretty sure she's just nice. She was gracious and lovely and she very sweetly answered all these audience questions that I'm sure she's answered a million times before. She has only good things to say about everyone and everything she's been involved with.
She was about a half hour late due to some suburban rush hour traffic. Before the question and answer time, they showed a nice video with some of her movie and TV clips, including lots of funny clips with Carol Burnett. The best part was a blooper reel from her show that I didn't even know existed, "The Julie Andrews Hour." It was hilarious. Who knew Julie Andrews made mistakes??
I posted some video of the Q&A here. There were quite a few questions from kids about Princess Diaries which was cute. Also, lots of questions about her books and writing. She's been writing for 30 years, which I didn't know. She wrote her first book in the 60's for her step daughter. She was asked about the Gwen Stefani song, Wind Up, in which Gwen sings parts of the Lonely Goatherd. Julie said she was impressed with it and her and Gwen have exchanged flowers and gift baskets. Apparently that's what you do when you're rich and famous. Gift baskets.
Here's a cute clip of Julie on the Ellen show.
So I might be obsessed with Julie Andrews now.
Monday, May 7, 2007
I really can't say that I've ever met anyone famous, but this is about as close as I've come so far.
Last October, a movie theater in the area (the same one Shirley Jones was at) hosted a Hitchock festival. I was pretty excited, of course. The first night they showed Vertigo and Hitchcock's daughter was there to answer questions and whatnot before the movie. She also was signing autographs, if you really wanted Alfred Hitchcock's daughter's autograph.
Anyway, the second night was a bit more eventful; they showed The Birds, and Tippi Hedren was there, along with Veronica Cartwright who played the little girl in the movie. They were out in the lobby signing autographs and doing their thing before the movie started.
We sat down in the theater and I went to the ladies' room before the movie started. It was pretty empty in the rest room, except for one other person in a stall. When I came out to wash my hands, standing at the sink next to me was none other than Veronica Cartwright! Here's a transcript of our conversation:
Veronica Cartwright: Hi
(I try to get the stupid automatic paper towel dispenser to work, to no avail)
Veronica Cartwright: This one works.(referring to the automatic paper towel dispenser on her side)
Me: Thanks, these things never work right.
Yes, it was that exciting. I later realized she was the sister of the girl who played Brigitta in The Sound of Music, Angela Cartwright (I knew she looked familiar!), which kind of made it more exciting. But not really.
Her and Tippi both seemed very nice and pleasant and had lots of interesting things to say about Hitchcock and movies in general.
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
If you live in the Chicagoland area-or anywhere in the midwest-you won't want to miss Julie Andrews at the Tivoli theatre in Downers Grove. It's really an event to promote her book, but they will be showing The Sound of Music and she will be answering audience questions. Click here for info.
The Tivoli is my favorite movie theatre and seeing the Sound of Music there is going to be amazing! Seeing Julie Andrews in person will also be amazing, of course. The theatre was built in 1928 and restored by Classic Cinemas awhile back. It has one screen in a large auditorium with a fabulous old theatre atmosphere complete with a Wurlitzer theatre organ. Yes, part of the fun of the Tivoli is the organ interludes on the weekends. They usually show second run films for $3, but every so often they have a special event. This is definitely the most exciting event they've had. I can't wait!
Monday, April 30, 2007
Thursday, April 26, 2007
There's only one video on YouTube of Elvis and Celine's performance on American Idol last night and the quality isn't great, but here it is:
I can't stop watching!
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
That's right, Elvis was on American Idol tonight. Singing with Celine Dion. There's only one word to describe such a scene: disturbing. Disturbing partly because they took Elvis out of a video from the 60's and managed to make it look like he was standing on stage next to Celine...it actually looked kind of real. Kind of.
Disturbing mostly because Celine Dion was involved.
There were a lot of strange camera angles and such, because apparently, in the 60's, they thought crazy angles and close ups were the way to go. So they'd show all these close ups and then stick Celine in the background. Yeah, it was weird. Here's the video.
I can't say that it's not worth a viewing. It was pretty interesting and very original I guess, but I'm pretty sure Elvis is rolling over in his grave right now. If he's dead...
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
This is a big week for birthdays. Birthdays of people I like. Today is Barbra Streisand and Shirley MacLaine's birthday. I don't know that I'd say I like Barbra, but she's alright.
I went through a Shirley Maclaine stage not long ago. She's pretty great. I had avoided watching Terms of Endearment for a long time mostly because I heard how incredibly depressing it was. But when you're in a Shirley MacLaine stage, you can't just ignore it. So I rented it and yes, it is depressing, but its amazingness more than makes up for the pain it causes. My other favorite Shirley MacLaine movie is a rather obscure one called Used People. It's actually the movie that started my whole Shirley MacLaine stage. Much to my dismay, it does not yet exist on DVD. To celebrate Shirley's birthday, TCM is showing a couple of her movies this afternoon, followed by her Private Screenings interview. Should be good!
The other birthday this week is Carol Burnett, on the 26th. I love Carol Burnett. She's absolutely one of my favorites since I was a kid. I watched the Carol Burnett Show all the time, and I wanted to be a comedian because of her. I also enjoyed her in Annie as Miss Hannigan. Nobody's ever said, "she hadda go bathroom" quite like her. I've spent many years trying to copy it, to no avail. I was delighted to see her the other night on the TVLand awards, honoring Lucille Ball, my other favorite! Lucy's kids were there to accept the award, it was all very cute.
So there you have it, the birthday round-up for the week of April 23, 2007.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Last week I was incessantly flipping through my many cable channels, finding nothing interesting, as usual. I finally landed on my very favorite channel, TCM...they never let me down. They happened to be showing this crazy movie called The Next Voice You Hear...
I came in about a half hour into it, so I wasn't quite sure what was going on, but I couldn't stop watching! I was first intrigued by the woman in it who was acting as if she was going into labor but was strangely thin for a pregnant woman. I can only deduce that it was apparently indecent for a women to look pregnant on screen. Oh, the fifties. She also looked rather familiar, but I just couldn't put my finger on it. I looked it up and found it was Nancy Reagan (Nancy Davis at that time). It was definitely my first Nancy Reagan movie...kinda strange.
Anyway, from what I could tell when I started watching, the story was revolving around a very stereotypical 50's type family consisting of pregnant mom, kind of boring dad and adolescent son. One evening while everyone was huddled around their radio, God broke in precisely at 8pm with a special message for mankind. He began to broadcast every night at 8, and the townspeople (along with the entire world, apparently) listened each night in anticipation. Most of them were just confused, but some thought it was the end of the world and proceeded to freak everyone else out with their crazy antics. It was basically a mix between Leave it to Beaver and The Twilight Zone.
I won't spoil the end for you in case there's any chance that you might watch it some day, which is unlikely. But just in case, I'll keep it to myself. It's definitely worth a watch, if only for it's painfully stereotypical 50's feel with a sort of failed attempt at being creepy. And also Nancy Reagan.
Monday, April 16, 2007
We had our second Old Movie Night this weekend featuring Wait Until Dark. It was quite a success I think.
Wait Until Dark is scary. It stars Audrey Hepburn and Alan Arkin. She's blind, some guys are after her because she has this doll stuffed with heroin, and just about the whole movie takes place in her apartment. Not your typical Audrey Hepburn movie. I had seen it quite awhile ago, but I've mostly just caught random parts when it's been on tv over the years. So it had been awhile since I'd seen the whole thing. It's really an excellent movie, and there was a great moment where just about everyone in the room screamed and jumped. Luckily, I knew what was coming, so I just got to observe everyone else's shock, and then laugh at them.
If you're looking for a good suspenseful movie with some Audrey Hepburn action, this one's for you. It's very well made, and manages to stay away from most of the 60's movie corniness. But really, how can an Audrey Hepburn movie possibly be corny? The DVD has a few special features, and I'm tempted to add it to my collection.
It seemed to please the younger audience...everyone was pretty into it. They always seem surprised that these movies are in color. I guess when people think "old movie" they think black and white. So next month we're definitely showing a black and white film. I can't wait!
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
I recently rediscovered the little radio feature on iTunes. When it first came out awhile back I listened to it regularly, but then I kind of forgot about it. They have hundreds of radio stations playing a lot of completely random and sometimes weird music. It's great. As if I don't already have more than enough music to listen to!
Anyway, I found the best radio station to ever exist called Martini in the Morning. They basically just play standards...Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Ella Fitzgerald and the like. You can also listen to it from their website, www.martiniinthemorning.com. I highly recommend it.
My other favorite iTunes radio station is called Illinois Street Lounge on SomaFM. Not exactly sure what that means. Their description reads: "Classic bachelor pad, playful exotica and vintage music of tomorrow." I don't really know what that means either, but if I was in charge of writing their description, it would go something like this: "Random instrumental pop songs that go on forever and could have easily been taken straight out of a 60's Doris Day movie or Napoleon Dynamite."
Other great stations include Beatles-a-Rama, an all show tunes station, and Fistful of Soundtracks, all movie music. They seem to be adding new stations all the time...who knows what will come up next!
Monday, April 9, 2007
My favorite part of watching Easter Parade last night came when one of my guy friends likened Fred Astaire's slow motion dancing during Steppin' Out With My Baby to The Matrix. Fred was pretty ahead of his time, I guess. I love watching musicals with a bunch of twenty-somethings.