Posts tagged: Hitchcock
50 Favorite Movies of All Time (in no particular order) → #10 REAR WINDOW; Alfred Hitchcock  ~ “Intelligence. Nothing has caused the human race so much trouble as intelligence.”
I apologize for the delay. Right after the festival, I had several shows to perform and finals. Here is my review of the last day at the festival.
After we finished up with A Trip to the Moon and Other Trips, my sister and cousin caught up with us to see Charade with me and my parents.
Charade was a truly wonderful treat. It was certainly a jump in time from our previous film experience, but a wonderful one. Charade featured an older, wiser, but still just as beautiful Audrey Hepburn as a widow being pursued by her late husband’s murderers who are in search of the money he’d stolen from them, all while developing an untrustworthy romance with a much older Cary Grant.
Audrey has such a naive yet sophisticated presence in every movie that she really does her best work when she’s paired alongside some of those well-established, best-of-the-best actors, like Gregory Peck and Fred Astaire and Humphrey Bogart, many of whom were 13-30 years her senior. Here, she is 34 and Cary Grant is 58, but the chemistry between the two of them is just phenomenal and comes just at the perfect time in their careers. Cary had originally turned down the opportunity to appear with her in Roman Holiday and in Sabrina, and almost had to turn down this one as well, but he realized how terrible the script for his previous engagement was and practically crawled back to Stanley Donen to do Charade instead. And the dialogue in the script allows for the relationship to be more believable, making light of their age difference and develops a great game of cat and mouse between the two, Audrey doing the chasing this time.
Also supporting Audrey is the great Walter Matthau, who’d later go on to do such films as Hello, Dolly!, the original Taking of Pelham 123, and Grumpy Old Men. Previously, he’d done many of the Hitchcock Presents… which brought the element to the film that made it, what many called, “the best Hitchcock film that Hitchcock never made.”
The film is probably my favorite of Cary Grant’s comedies. There is something abouthim in Charade that is just absolutely carefree and unafraid to let loose. Cary has these hilarious faces! The only other time I can remember laughing as hard at a Cary Grant film would be in Arsenic and Old Lace, almost twenty years prior. I suppose that goes along with one of his lines from Charade, “You’ve just said a horrible word: Serious. When a man gets to be my age, that’s the last word he ever wants to hear. I don’t want to be serious.”
NOTE: You can actually watch Charade online, on Hulu or Netflix.
Afterwards, we caught up with my sister to catch the Women, with Norma Shearer, Rosalind Russell, and Joan Crawford, as well as more big names. This film was made in 1939, but many of you may be familiar with the 2008 remake, also featuring a mess of big name actress such as Bette Midler, Annette Bening, Cloris Leachman, and Carrie Fisher, to name a few. You may also recognize it as the film adaptation of the Broadway hit of the same name by Clare Booth Luce, originally performed (and appropriately so) at the Ethel Barrymore Theater.
The Women is a brilliant film for women. When you’re told that this film is called The Women, they aren’t joking around with the title. This film features absolutely nothing BUT women. Not once do you see anything resembling the opposite sex, besides a coat belonging to the main character’s husband. The animals, the portraits in the background, prop books’ authors, everything that has a sexual orientation is female, which I believe is appropriate as this film is all about women’s issues and their relationships. Of course, it is centered around Mary Haines and her subsequent divorce after her husband cheats on her, but even then, it isn’t his infidelity that’s the issue, its Crystal Allen’s presence in their relationship that is the point. The love that is talked of between Mr. and Mrs. Haines seems absolutely mutual, but his struggle with doing what’s right and wrong is Crystal’s manipulation, and as we women know, man is slave beneath woman’s whip of influence.
Of course, the film’s star is Joan Crawford, who plays the film’s terrible other woman. She is mean, manipulative, and does well opposite a sweet Norma Shearer. By this time, she is still stuck in roles that are more vampy, before she hits it in a serious roles like Mildred Pierce. Through the whole film, there is nothing I’d like to see more than for Mary to rip the fancy clothes her husband has bought her right off her back and push her into the street naked, but maybe thats just my feminine side talking. Joan doesn’t make you hate her but her actions. She is that woman that all women know of. She is the manipulator.
The film is definitely long and definitely filled with a lot of hormone-induced bad decisions, but I loved it. I don’t think I’d watch it again any time soon, but I respect it for its genius. I would strongly suggest that all females find time to watch it at least once.
The last film on our trip was another Cary Grant film, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream Home, featuring Myrna Loy and Melvyn Douglas, as a part of their architecture series at the festival. This film struck so well in the hearts of many Americans who just wanted a place to call their own. In fact, I remember watching and thinking, “This is just like George Washington Slept Here,” a film with Jack Benny of the same concept produced four years before Mr. Blandings. I quite enjoyed Washington Slept Here, but Mr. Blandings was just as wonderful to watch. I suppose it had more appeal the public simply because of its more famous cast. While Jack Benny carries the screen well, Mr. Blandings is more equally balance between Cary, Myrna, and Melvyn. Also placing Mr. Blandings on a higher pedestal would be RKO’s advertising department. According to our presenter, a some 40 replicas of Mr. Blandings’ home were built all across the United States.
An interesting realization I had while watching this film, it being the third Cary Grant film I’d seen throughout the festival, was realizing a necklace that Cary wore under his shirt. We didn’t see it in I’m No Angel, as he doesn’t take his shirt off, but I noticed it both in Charade and in Mr. Blandings. There’s fifteen years between the two films, but there is no mistaking that its the same necklace, a small, gold, coin-shaped pendant on a long thin chain.
All in all, the festival was a fantastic chance to see great films on the big screen, experience a slice of history, and hear what went into making these movies. Despite a bit of personal drama that when on while we were attendance, there weren’t any other people I’d wish to have attend the festival with. I could only gush to my cousin over Charade and Stanley Donen, and then only gush with her when we realized that Stanley Donen was sitting right in front of us during the film.
If you are interested in classic film or a history of films, this is definitely a place to be. If only I could go again, I would LIVE there, nestled between a hundred other people in uncomfortable seating (though I think if I even smell popcorn one more time, I might throw up). My theatre professors noticed that they’d never seen me so excited as when I came back from the festival and I think thats because, as an actress and artist, there is nothing more I’d rather be doing than making films like the ones I saw this weekend.
If you do have a chance to go, here is my advice: Bring snacks and energy drinks because you will not have time to eat nor the energy to stay awake. Bring a good camera if you wanna snapshot of any of the celebs because an iPhone will NOT do anyone justice. If you’re attempting to do a blog, blog in between films and not at the end of the day like I did or you’ll never get any sleep. And speaking of which, if you want to get the full experience, here’s my last piece of advice: SLEEP LESS, WATCH MORE.
(reposting with pictures)
First on today’s agenda would have been Bringing Up Baby, but we were all terribly worn out yesterday. So instead, we saw I’m No Angel with Mae West and a very young Cary Grant. Oscar-nominee costume designer and costume historian Deborah Nadoolman Landis introduced the film, pointing out some of the great fashion Mae West portrays in the film. Incidentally, Mae was only 4’6” and wore huge platforms to compensate. To appear normal, she would only wear floor length costumes, including her lion tamer’s outfit, which could account for her odd walk. Mae West is a true artist in this film, having come up with the story and dialogue for I’m No Angel. The sexual dialogue is comedic genius. And the young Cary Grant shows us a side of him from before he blossomed as a versatile actor. There is a humbleness that he loses quickly after hitting it big.
Second on our list was 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, which was introduced by Ben Mankiewicz and Kirk Douglas. Mr. Douglas was charming and very entertaining for the short time he was there. He talked some about breaking the Black List, his wife, and sang a Whale of a Tale. He was somewhat hard to understand, but for a 95 year old man, I don’t blame him. The movie itself was the single greatest movie-watching experience I’d ever had. The giant squid was even more real than the kraken in Pirates of the Caribbean 2. I really couldn’t guess how they made it look so real. Not only that, but I could see where other ocean-related Disney movies drew inspiration from the classic. For instance, the cannibals chasing Captain Jack Sparrow or the shark chasing after Ariel and Flounder when they go searching for treasure on a sunken ship, as my mom pointed out. I laughed at Kirk Douglas and Peter Lorre’s relationship, I held on for dear life when the squid attacked (especially when the tentacles came in the Nautilus, I jumped), and I cried when James Mason died. Such a wonderful experience.
Right after, we grabbed some Hard Rock cafe to go with us to Vertigo, introduced by Robert Osborne and Kim Novak. She looks great! And I really wish we had time to watch her handprint ceremony tomorrow at Grauman’s, but I have my movies planned. Kim looked beautiful and talked, of course, about her grey suit and working with Alfred Hitchcock. Apparently, she didn’t quite agree with some of his ideas and she was terribly uncomfortable in the suit. The movie was a masterpiece, really. The storyline was great, but what really is considered is Jimmy Stewart’s psychological journey. It’s just in Hitchcock’s style, combining supernatural suspicion and psychological mayhem into one great thriller. Both the lead actors show just how well they can stretch themselves as well. The difference between Charlotta/Madeleine and Judy was so striking that for a good ten minutes, even though I could plainly see it was the same woman, I kept expecting her to be an entirely different actress. And Jimmy Stewart, his variety is always pleasing while still keeping a hint of his humor in all his work.
The last movie was terribly difficult to choose from. It was Swing Time or Young Frankenstein. I eventually settled on Young Frankenstein as Mel Brooks presented. He spoke mostly on his best friend, Gene Wilder’s genius and the process of getting the film together. He too is looking great for a guy in his 80’s. Now, I’ve seen this movie a billion times, but I still found so many new things to laugh at. I knew Marty Feldman did a lot of stuff in the background, but I didn’t realize how much I was truly missing, like when they’re transferring the brain fluids, he’s up on the platform, shuffling! With the big screen, you see so much more detail and with the whole audience, it was like watching it for the first time again. And just as Mel says, it’s Gene’s best performance ever.
**Fun Realization: When we sat down to see I’m No Angel, I realized that Deborah Landis, you know, the Oscar Nominee and costume historian, was the same woman who commented to me on how much she loved my dress on Friday. I may or may not be purposely seeking her out the rest of the festival to show off my other amazing outfits I brought this weekend!