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Dear Brigitte (1965)
Jimmy Stewart was perfect at playing this kind of role.
Jimmy Stewart makes it look so effortless that one would think he wasn't even acting. Which is the mark of a great actor. This was his second outing with Glynis Johns, the first time was in 1951 in the black and white British film, No Highway In The Sky.
In Dear Brigette, Stewart plays a Literature Professor at a College in California that like most of the culture of the day was struggling with the rampant advances of technology threatening to over shadow everyone and everything.
The main focus of the film is on child actor Bill Mumy who later went on to star in Lost In Space. He plays a young boy named "Erasmus", who is a math wizard and who can do complex calculations in his head, seemingly without effort, and not quite knowing how he does it.
While people and forces around him would like to capitalize on his gift, his father played by Stewart struggles to protect his son from them, and allow him to remain a "innocent little boy". A delightful interlude takes place half way through the picture when "Erasmus" receives an invitation to visit Paris, France and Brigette Bardot; whom he has been secrety writing to for some time, hence the pictures title.
The Gathering (1977)
A lost gem, that should be on DVD.
Edward Asner and Maureen Stapleton, are at the top of their form in this small, made-for-TV movie from 1977. The supporting cast are all familiar faces and flesh out the story perfectly.
This film won an Emmy for best special in drama or comedy at the '78 Emmy Awards. The movie has almost a documentary feel to it. The film never sinks under a weight of sentimentality but the emotions are there, just under the surface. You get the feeling that here is a man who loved his family but always thought there would be time to enjoy them, but learns he has weeks to live and this will be his last Christmas.
Desperate to try to rekindle some feelings of love with his four adult children, he turns to his estranged wife and together they try to organize a Christmas reunion but without letting them know their father has a fatal illness.
The children all busy with their own lives in other cities and in one case, another country, struggle with their own emotions about coming back home. This is one of my all time favorite Holiday offerings and my VHS copy is from a broadcast from the 1980's, but the quality is holding up pretty well for all this time. If you can find a copy or see it listed for broadcast, be sure to not miss it.
Rugged, good outdoor fun in the African sun.
I remember going to see this in 1960's as the first sit down movie my family went to. I think I fell asleep half way through. Up until that point, I had only been to drive-in theater's.
A very typical Howard Hawkes movie. The men are macho, larger than life, and the women have a quiet strength that shows through during tough times. The film suffers from a too large cast, unfunny forced dialog, and unbelievable romantic angles that make me cringe a little. Maybe if William Holden instead of John Wayne had been cast as the main star, the romance could have been carried off. John Wayne was never at his best as a romantic lead. What is best about the movie are the excellent on location filming of animal captures, and chases. * * * out of * * * * *.
A bit of trivia. At the beginning of the film, the drunken, rowdy gang sing a song called, I believe, "Whiskey, leave me alone." This same song was sung ten years earlier in Hawkes film, 'The Big Sky' that starred Kirk Douglas. Also, does anyone else notice how much these people smoke? You cannot go more than a couple of scenes without someone either bumming a smoke, or lighting up one of their own.