Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Lady from Shanghai

It's been awhile since I've posted about an Old Movie Night viewing! Last weekend we watched The Lady from Shanghai. This wasn't necessarily my first choice, but a friend had been wanting to watch it for quite some time. I was a bit hesitant since we'd watched another Orson Welles movie, Touch of Evil, last year and it didn't really go over that well. Actually, I have no idea what it was even about. Luckily, The Lady from Shanghai turned out to be better.

In it Orson Welles plays a sailor, Michael O'Hara (with a painfully fake Irish accent), who meets a really hot chick, Elsa Bannister (Rita Hayworth), in Central Park, I believe. When he's later approached by her old, creepy husband to work on his yacht, Micheal can't refuse. While working, he of course gets just a little cozy with Elsa. Soon he finds himself mixed up in some crazy murder plan involving Elsa, her creepy husband, and this crazy weird man, George Grisby, culminating in an interesting scene in a fun house involving guns and a lot of mirrors. I won't give away the end.

So if you're a fan of Orson Welles or murder mystery type movies, I'd definitely recommend this one!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Summer Stock

I can't believe I've never written about this movie. It was #1 on my Top Ten Judy Garland Movies list, and even though I made that list 2 years ago, I still have to say Summer Stock is my favorite.

This movie is great for a few reasons:

1. Judy wears overalls in it and rides a tractor ... all while singing! It doesn't get much better than that.

2. There's a character named Orville and he's everything you'd hope for in a character named Orville.

3. Gene Kelly.

I'm the first to admit that the movie is extremely corny and kinda lame. I mean really, it's about Judy running a farm and her flakey sister who invites her theater friends to put on the show in their barn. It's basically a Judy/Mickey movie with 30 year olds. Also, most of the songs are pretty lame, except of course for Get Happy, which is pretty popular, I think mostly because Judy doesn't wear any pants during the number. (Sidenote: when I was a kid watching Summer Stock, I was very confused as to why Judy was rather heavy (for her) through most of the movie, but then in Get Happy she was quite thin, as usual. I came to find later in life that Get Happy was filmed a couple weeks after regular filming ended and after Judy was back on a regular diet of pills and booze and whatever else it was that made her too skinny.)

Anyway, I recommend Summer Stock if you're a fan of MGM musicals. It's silly and overall a good time.

And now, my favorite Summer Stock moments:

- Judy singing on a tractor (of course). Especially when she's holding a note at the end and makes some insane face. I'd like to note that one of the lyrics in this song (Howdy Neighbor) actually goes, "and if the weatherman won't upset us, mister you can bet us you'll have lots of crispy lettuce in your jeans!" This has always baffled me. Crispy lettuce in my jeans?? Doesn't sound appetizing. I'd also like to point out that I just quoted that line completely from memory.

- When Marjorie Main (who plays Judy's hired help, as usual) is in the barn with the sleeping actors and she attempts to wake them up at the crack of dawn by ringing a large bell. The bell ringing itself is not terribly funny (just a little), but she starts to ring violently and it is then that her hair, in a bun on top, flies back and forth on her head like I've never seen before. It's a small moment, but amazing.

- The Portland Fancy. My cousins and I watched The Portland Fancy so many times that the tape got fuzzy. Stupid VHS. But anyway, some great dancing from Judy and Gene. It's worth watching the movie just for this part.

- When Judy and Gene sing You Wonderful You alone in the barn. So cute.

- When Judy tells off Orville, particularly when she tells him to "Go away!" and "Go home!" with crazy eyes.

Since Summer Stock is a pretty cheezy old musical, it also has a number of cringe-worthy moments:

- Any scene with Phil Silvers

- Most of Judy's outfits.

- The terrible, terrible, song at the end with the dogs. I don't think I've ever actually watched that part so I have no idea what the song is. I just know that Gene sings it with Phil Silvers and they're dressed like mangy old farmers, they're missing teeth, and I think they have sweat stains on the fronts of their shirts.

- Everyone's outfits in the final song.

- "Friendly Star." I believe this is my cousin's favorite song in the movie, but I'm not sure if she's joking or not. Plus Judy's wearing a dress with snowflakes on it while she's singing and it's clearly not winter.

This turned out to be a long post and I'm slightly disturbed that I have this much to say about Summer Stock.