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When I heard Nancy Kwan mention her work in her debut feature on the commentary track of Flower Drum Song, I knew I had to see The World of Suzie Wong sooner rather than later. So I managed to check this out of the library and just watched this with Mom, whose first time this was also for viewing. We marveled at the Hong Kong locations, the impossibly blossoming romance between William Holden and Ms. Kwan, and the drama of some of the sequences of the crowded tenements which my mom recounted experiencing when visiting the country several years back. If there's one quibble we had about the movie, it's the one scene where Nancy-after suffering a real beating from a sailor who Holden subsequently beat back-"brags" to her girlfriends about Holden's "beating" her because it meant he "loves" her! Talk about political incorrectness! Other than that scene, we both loved The World of Suzie Wong especially the touching ending. So that's a recommendation.
When I was a kid, I listened to a lot of Old-Time Radio shows that were syndicated on AM radio or FM public stations during the late '70s-early '80s of which one of the shows was "People Are Funny", the Art Linkletter show. He played practical jokes on various audience members that sounded quite funny whenever he described what was going on. So this movie has him doing what he does and you actually get to see some of the stunts being performed as they are happening and they're quite amusing, if not hilarious. There's also some music that are quite entertaining performed by the likes of Jack Haley, Rudy Vallee, and Ozzie Nelson plus a novelty singing group called The Vagabonds though one pauses when they do a blackface number. The plot is mostly miss in the humor department and drags the proceedings to the lumbering 90 min.-time slot. I'm also disappointed that the Frances Langford number was cut from the version I watched. Still, People Are Funny was an interesting curio so I say give a watch. P.S. Haley-who was the Tin Woodman in the classic The Wizard of Oz-is reunited with his co-star from that movie, Clara Blandick, who was Auntie Em in that. And that "PAF" creator John Guedel was also responsible for picking Groucho Marx to host "You Bet Your Life". He's, by the way, fictionalized as a sneaky producer in this picture. And later Stooge Joe DeRita appears near the end.
One of the extras on the Move Over, Darling DVD was this, Part 2 of Enoch Arden of which-according to the text on the listing of special features-Part 1 was missing. What I saw was compelling enough in depicting a man going on a voyage and ending up on an island alone while his wife waits for him and his kids are growing up. For several years, another man asks for her hand but she refuses most of that time waiting for her husband to come back. If you know the plot of the movie I mention at the beginning of this review, you can probably guess what happens here but since this was more of a drama, the result isn't quite what you might expect. D.W. Griffith does well enough in his direction of his silent version of Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem. So on that note, that's a recommendation. Update-The next day after this review: It seems the person who wrote about Part 1 missing was mistaken as I watched the same thing on Internet Archive with the same length. Also, music on the MOD DVD was repetitious so I definitely prefer the score on IA.
This short doc on the Move Over, Darling DVD recounts the original source for this movie as Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem "Enoch Arden" in which a man is missing for 10 years as his wife waits for him and refusing the hand of another man for most of that time. That would be filmed by D.W. Griffith in 1911 of which a scene from Part 2 of that was shown here. It also mentions the first comedy version called My Favorite Wife of which no clips were shown. We then are told of Marilyn Monroe's version called Something's Got to Give which became uncompleted because of her lateness and health problems which eventually resulted in her death which then led Fox to recast as the movie I mentioned at the beginning of this review. Parallel scenes are then provided of both versions. This, and another extra called Day vs. Monroe, were enjoyable bonuses on the MOD disc. So that's a recommendation of them both.
When James Garner died a few days ago, I suddenly had a yen to watch some of his movies. I managed to see The Americanization of Emily a couple of days ago with my mom after checking that from the library, and when Netflix delivered this one yesterday, Mom and me saw this just a couple of hours ago. Garner plays a man about to have his previous wife-Doris Day-declared dead after five years of disappearing from a sea accident so he can then marry Polly Bergen. But Day turns up rescued by Navy officers as she surprises mother-in-law Thelma Ritter and her two girls who are no longer babies. I'll stop there and just say that there are plenty of amusing supporting turns by familiar character actors like Edgar Buchanan as a judge, Fred Clark as a hotel manager, Don Knotts as a show salesman, John Astin as an insurance man, and Chuck Connors as someone who ended up on that island with Day. Day, herself, is pretty hilarious when she disguises herself as a Swedish nurse when massaging Bergen and recounting the movie My Favorite Wife of which this was a remake. The chase at the end was a bit over-the-top but what the hell! I also liked it when Garner pretended to be injured in some scenes. So on that note, I thought Move Over, Darling was a mostly fun movie to watch as did Mom. P.S. I know this was originally supposed to be a Marilyn Monroe vehicle called Something's Got to Give and having seen the scenes that were filmed for that one, it's a shame it had to be scrapped because her personal problems that resulted in her death.
The recent death of James Garner got me to finally borrow The Americanization of Emily from my local library. In the DVD there was also some extras like the theatrical trailer, commentary from director Arthur Hiller, and this-a promotional film from M-G-M that probably was shown on TV after a movie that ran short in the two-hour timeslot. It showcased the filming of the D-Day Invasion sequence from pre-production with producer Martin Ransohoff climbing some of the scaffolding to Arthur Hiller directing stars Garner and James Coburn through their paces. We also see the crew having lunch and setting up shots and lighting (even during sunny days). Not mentioned is the anti-heroic characterizations of Garner and Coburn though when this ends with a scene from the movie with Garner and Julie Andrews in a loving embrace, she mentions how she can love James' character but wouldn't want to marry him! Interesting curio for anyone getting the DVD.
When Mom and I watched Mary Poppins a few days ago-she for the first time ever-I asked her if The Sound of Music was the first time she had seen Julie Andrews on screen. She replied it wasn't and mentioned this one as such. Knowing that and that her co-star James Garner was announced dead that day got me to go to my library to check this one out a few days later. (I originally wanted to order this from Netflix but it was listed as having a "Very long wait".) When we watched it two days ago, my mom's memory wasn't rekindled by much and she later told me she might have seen this on TV maybe several years later. Let me just say that we both seem to have enjoyed this immensely though I have to admit that we laughed at different places in the narrative. I guess it depended on what scenes or lines one would consider funny considering this was both satirical and serious in places. Certainly, Garner's character is a real anti-hero with his cynical attitudes on the glories of war and how bravery isn't really worth much if it only results on more people wanting to fight battles they consider glamorous despite the real possibility of dying. Whenever Andrews came on screen, my mom half-expected her to sing something since she mainly knows her as a musical star. Wonder what audiences thought of her after she just played the mostly prim and proper Mary Poppins? While the lion's share of great lines come from Garner, Ms. Andrews is quite compelling in her changing moods concerning her feelings on James' character. Also great are Melvin Douglas as the gung ho Admiral Garner serves under and James Coburn as Garner's fellow officer who seems to change loyalties on a dime while also getting some bed time with some of the lovely Brit ladies! One of them, by the way, is played by Judy Carne who was then married to Burt Reynolds before his stardom and who would later gain fame on "Laugh In". Paddy Chayefsky wrote some pertinent lines on the insanity of wanting to make certain military units look good in combat as well as the hypocrisy of putting a "brave" front on how certain people die. So on that note, I highly recommend The Americanization of Emily. P.S. I was very amused when director Arthur Hiller on the commentary track mentioned when Samuel Goldwyn thought the person who made this was playwright Arthur Miller since my mom thought that too!
After over 30 years, I finally watched this classic Disney movie again, this time with my mom who admitted she had never seen this in its entirety before, after we both watched Saving Mr. Banks a few weeks ago. She was enchanted, as was I for the second time, with the entire thing. The songs by Richard B. and Robert M. Sherman are simply divine to listen to whether it's "A Spoonful of Sugar", "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocius", or the Oscar-winning "Chim-Chim-Cheree". Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews are a wonderful singing and dancing team here. By the way, Mr. Van Dyke maintains his charm despite having perhaps the worst fake British accent in motion picture history! Oh, and those animated sequences are some of Disney's best. Perhaps one can quibble that the musical sequences tend to be long for a family film making the whole thing possibly a chore to sit through sometimes. Still, there's so much to be amused and entertained by that this version of P.L. Travers' MP books can still be something to marvel at. Walt Disney really did himself proud here! So on that note, Mary Poppins is mostly "practically perfect in every way"!
This is a college comedy of the early '40s that has a big race involved. It involves-no, not football or basketball-but rowing. It seems the one who's supposed to help the team win has been drafted so two of the boys get someone to impersonate him. Turns out he's someone who's not very smart and actually gets sick in the sport so one of these boys gives him some pills. I'll stop there and just say this was quite amusing much of the 62-minute running time and there were also some good songs to pad the proceedings, a couple of which were sung by Gale Storm, later known on TV as "My Little Margie". Mantan Moreland and Keye Luke are also pretty amusing enough if not hilariously so. So on that note, Let's Go Collegiate is worth a look. P.S. By the way, I always like to cite when a player from my favorite movie-It's a Wonderful Life-is in another film and here's it's Frank Faylen as one of the alumni coming for a visit.
Just watched this, one of those B-musicals from the '40s which I'm sure played on the bottom half of the double bill. Of the players, one I very much noticed was Sheldon Leonard-who's in my favorite movie It's a Wonderful Life-as one of the employees of the title nightclub. I also recognized one of the tunes, "Shoo Shoo Baby", sung here by one Ida James who I remembered as a player in Cab Calloway's 1947 movie, Hi-De-Ho, as well as a duet with Nat King Cole in the Soundie of Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby? And I just found out that one of the bandleaders is played by Dick Purcell who was also Captain America in a Republic serial the same year this was made. Unfortunately, he'd soon pass away not long after making another movie. Finally, there's an appearance of one Dave Fleischer, who had just split from brother Max after Paramount ousted them from their cartoon studio which would become Famous Studios, who provides an amusing cartoon scene involving one of the Trocadero's patrons. The story's for the birds but there's some amusements to keep one's interest as well as fine music throughout. My favorite scene involved one of the leads, Johnny Downs, doing his tap routine in front of his potential in-laws of which many audience members greet it with a mixture of horror or applause! So on that note, Trocadero is worth a look.
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